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by High Country Gardens


David Salman's Favorite Gardening Resources

In the ever expanding world of horticulture, it's good to have reliable references to check plant and gardening information. A large number of gardening books have become outdated, but the books listed here have been especially useful to me.

A quick work about plant facts on the internet. As with any subject, information on the web is often not fact checked if it's not an official organization, so don't take the first source that comes up as gospel. Always reference a few different sources to make sure the facts are correct.

These are some of the sources I refer to when looking for information:


Missouri Botanic Garden website - an excellent source for information on individual plants:

US Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Plants Data Base - an excellent source for determining where a plant is native in the US:

The Southwest Environmental Information Network (SEINet) - an invaluable source of native plant information for Arizona and adjoining states:


The Undaunted Garden: Planting for Weather-Resilient Beauty, by Lauren Springer Ogden - an excellent read especially for gardeners new to the western US. Many useful plant lists.


Plant Driven Design, by Scott Ogden and Lauren Springer Ogden - a must read book for anyone embarking on a new landscaping project.

Durable Plants for the Garden, a Plant Select® Guide - a reference text with excellent photos of all the Plant Select (Denver Botanic Garden/Colorado State University) program's recommended plants. Primarily focused on the western US.

Natural by Design: Beauty and Balance in Southwest Gardens, Judith Phillips - an excellent reference book on naturalistic landscape design. The companion book of plants is a favorite reference for information on propagation and cultural needs in the garden.

Sunset Western Garden Book, Sunset Magazine - an excellent resource for western plant information, especially California. Ignore their confusing zone system (unless you live in CA) as it doesn't jive with the USDA winter hardiness zones used by High Country Gardens and most other horticultural companies. They also have an excellent online version at:

The Color Encyclopedia of Ornamental Grasses: Sedges, Rushes, Restios, Cat-Tails and Selected Bamboos by Rick Darke - an essential guide to ornamental grasses, their classification with descriptions of a huge number of specific species and cultivars.


Santa Fe County Agricultural Extension Service, New Mexico State University - Most states have Agricultural extension agents associated with state universities. The Master Gardener programs are often associated with the Ag Extension Service where you can meet fellow gardeners.

Text and Photos by David Salman.

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