THE Horticulture 100 1


Herewith the fourth installment in our list of the best American gardening books, horticultural societies, perennials, shrubs, and trees. (For the first 60 of the Horticulture 100, see the March/April, May/June, and July/August 2004 issues, or visit


61. Edith A. Roberts and Elsa Rehmann, American Plants for American Gardens (Macmillan, 1929; reprint, University of Georgia Press, 1996; in print) This modest-looking little volume by two Vassar faculty members contains one of the earliest and best discussions of the use of native American plant communities in garden and landscape design. The descriptions of the various communities—which include “The Open Field,” “The Oak Woods,” “The Pond,” and “The Seaside,” to name just a few—are both concise and evocative, and the accompanying plant lists are invaluable.

62. Kathleen Norris Brenzel, Sunset Western Garden Book, 7th edition (Sunset Publishing Company, 2001; in print) In its various incarnations, this classic has been a model for regional gardening guides for almost 50 years. The current edition includes an extensive alphabetic plant encyclopedia, plant selection guide, and a “Practical Guide to Gardening.” But what has always distinguised the SWGB is its ingenious system of climate zones, which takes into account not only minimum winter temperatures, but also summer highs, elevation, proximity to coast or mountains, rainfall, humidity, aridity, and length of growing season.

63. Celia Thaxter, An Island Garden (Houghton Mifflin, 1895; reprint, Houghton Mifflin, 2001; in print) Raised on one of the tiny Isles of Shoals off the New Hampshire coast, Celia Thaxter later in life helped her family run a hotel on Appledore, the largest of the islands, and became the center of a distinguished group of writers and artists. Published the year after her death, An Island Garden mixes rhapsodic description of her Appledore flower garden with good, hard-headed advice; the famous illustrations are by her friend, the American impressionist Childe Hassam.

64. Charles Dudley Warner, My Summer in a Garden (Fields, Osgood & Co., 1870; paperback reprint, Modern Library, 2002; in print) A lot of 19th-century American humorous writing hasn’t worn well, but Warner is an exception—think of him as a combination of Mark Twain and Henry Mitchell. In essence, My Summer in a Garden is a series of rueful, and very funny, meditations on the various disasters that gardens concoct in order to torment their owners.

Horticultural Societies

65. American Rhododendron Society ( Home to rhodie enthusiasts around the country, the American Rhododendron Society offers all the usual benefits of membership in a plant society; seed exchange, journal subscription, and instructions for registering new varieties. Its Web site, however, is especially useful to gardeners looking for the right rhododendron for the right spot; check the Proven Performer List for selections that thrive in your region, or browse the nursery finder for specialty growers.

66. American Rose Society ( The 24,000 members of the ARS are a testament to how popular roses are among gardeners. Encouraging the cultivation and enjoyment of roses, the ARS has almost 400 local chapters and affiliates around the country, as well as a network of consulting rosarians who help gardeners solve their rose-related problems. Members receive the monthly magazine American Rose, and can also purchase any of the many other publications the ARS produces.

67. Hardy Plant Societies (Oregon: Mid-Atlantic: The Hardy Plant Society of Oregon was founded in 1985 as an offshoot of the American Hardy Plant Society in Seattle, Washington, and has since grown to over 2,000 members. It has also been the inspiration for the founding of other hardy plant societies around the country, all of which serve as a forum for enthusiastic gardeners to discuss the best hardy herbaceous perennials for their regions. Many hardy plant societies also have semiannual plant sales, and some, like the HPSO, also sponsor lectures and produce a number of publications.

68. Master gardener programs ( Master gardeners have been helping home gardeners solve their plant-related problems since the first master gardener certification program was started at Washington State University in 1973. Since then, tens of thousands of people have become certified through their local cooperative extension or horticultural society, in all 50 states, providing their communities with a reliable source of horticultural information and education.

Native Perennials

69. Lily · Lilium Canada lily L. canadense · L. catesbaei · Oregon lily L. columbianum · Michigan lily L. michiganense · leopard lily L. pardalinum · L. parryi · wood lily L. philadelphicum · Turk’s cap lily L. superbum · Shasta lily L. washingtonianum

70. Bee balm · MonardaM. bradburyana · bee balm M. didyma · wild bergamot M. fistulosa · western wild bergamot M. menthifolia · horsemint M. punctata

71. Prickly pear · Opuntia eastern prickly pear O. humifusa · chain-link cactus O. imbricata · plains prickly pear O. macrorhiza · starvation cholla O. polyacantha · sheathed cholla O. tunicata var. davisii · O. whipplei

72. Beardtongue · Penstemon 200+ species, including P. ambiguus · P. angustifolius · P. barbatus · P. digitalis · P. eatonii · P. nitidus · P. palmeri · P. pinifolius · P. procerus · P. strictus

Native Shrubs

73. Juniper · Juniperus common juniper J. communis · alligator juniper J. deppeana · creeping juniper J. horizontalis · western juniper J. occidentalis · Rocky mountain juniper J. scopulorum · eastern red cedar J. virginiana

74. Mountain laurel · Kalmia sheep laurel K. angustifolia · hairy wicky K. hirsuta · mountain laurel K. latifolia · swamp laurel K. polifolia

75. Leucothoe coast leucothoe L. axillaris · drooping leucothoe L. fontanesiana · Florida leucothoe L. (Agarista) populifolia · sweetbells L. racemosa

76. Grape holly · Mahonia grape holly M. aquifolium · longleaf mahonia M. nervosa · creeping mahonia M. repens

Native Trees

77. Sourwood · Oxydendron arboreum

78. Spruce · Picea Engelmann spruce P. engelmannii · white spruce P. glauca · Colorado blue spruce P. pungens · red spruce P. rubens · Sitka spruce P. sitchensis

79. Pine · Pinus bristlecone pine P. aristata · jack pine P. banksiana · pinon P. edulis · limber pine P. flexilis · longleaf pine P. palustris · ponderosa pine P. ponderosa · red pine P. resinosa · pitch pine P. rigida · eastern white pine P. strobus · loblolly pine P. taeda

80. Douglas fir · Pseudotsuga menziesii

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