Book Review & Giveaway: The New Sunset Western Garden Book

 When I was asked to review an advance copy of the newest edition of Sunset’s classic Western Garden Book, I jumped at the chance.  This book is an icon among gardeners living on the west coast, and I wanted to see how helpful it could be to gardeners here on Colorado’s Front Range, the eastern outpost of Sunset’s territory. I’m happy to report that this book is a winner!

First and foremost, The New Sunset Western Garden Book gets the science right. The information on gardening, from soil prep and planting, to fertilizing, to pest and weed control, is spot on. I appreciate that most topics are presented with options so that I can make an informed choice.  For example, the section on weed control discusses various methods of non-chemical controls, natural herbicides, and chemical controls. The information is well organized and the clean graphics make everything easy to read.

And then, of course, there are the plants.  The Plant Finder section has multiple lists of plants for specific growing conditions, i.e. “wind-resistant” and “deer resistant,” while the Grow section features informative articles on gardening with veggies (love the big warm season/cool season crops chart!), succulents, herbs, trees, native plants, and more.  The Western Garden Book has always been known for its plant encyclopedia. The new edition has been updated to include in-depth descriptions and care tips for 9,000 plants (with at least one color photograph for every genus represented).  Wow.

The unique asset of The Western Garden Book is their plant hardiness zone system. Sunset has established 32 planting zones that take into account multiple climactic and environmental factors (as opposed to the USDA hardiness zones which are based primarily on winter cold tolerance) which are fully described and mapped out. This can be a bit confusing at first glance, but the concept is critical in the quest for creating regionally appropriate and sustainable landscapes. A word to the wise:  their zone system is still not site specific enough to be an exclusive factor when choosing plants. For example, Denver’s zone 2B rating would qualify us for planting a number of species of witch hazel (Hamamelis spp.), none of which grow well here. However, a quick check of the plants’ native origins – also included in each plant’s description – is helpful. In our example, we find that witch hazel is native to Japan, China, and eastern North America; not a good match to our dry steppe region. The plant encyclopedia certainly provides all of the tools you need to make great choices for your gardens.

But wait, there’s more. A complete glossary of gardening terms and a name pronunciation guide are also included in The New Sunset Western Garden Book, as well as inspiring landscapes and garden projects from across the West. This publication deserves pride of place in your reference library – or desktop!

Now, for the fun part, Sunset has kindly provided five (5!) books to give away!  Leave a comment letting me know why you love gardening in the West and I’ll announce the winner on March 20th (Yes, the first day of SPRING!).  

We have our winners:  Deb, Tess, Siamjade, Jill, and Liz! Please contact me ASAP with your full contact information, including mailing address. Thanks to all who participated!!

The winner will be randomly chosen by midnight March 19, 2012, and contacted within 24 hours. If the proposed winner forfeits or does not claim the prize by March 26th, the prize will be re-awarded based on the sponsor’s sole discretion. All prizes will be awarded. Please provide your name and emailto enter this contest, so I can immediately contact you if you win. The winner agrees to allow his/her first name to be mentioned in conjunction with this giveaway.

The number of eligible entries will determine the odds of winning. This giveaway is limited to U.S. residents only, who are over the age of 18 years old. No purchase necessary to win. This sweepstakes is void where prohibited by law.  By entering this giveaway, you are agreeing to these conditions.

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post and the product was provided for me to review. All expressed opinions are my own.  

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