Texas Cooperative Extension,
Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas

March 2004

Book Review: Ortho's All About Dry Climate Gardening

(Dr. Douglas F. Welsh, Contributing Technical Editor)

Published by Meredith Books, Des Moines, IA, 2004. ISBN #089721499-4.

All About Dry Climate Gardening
All About Dry Climate Gardening


This guide applies simple xeriscape principles to help gardeners succeed with landscapes where water usage is limited by necessity.

The book addresses such questions as:


  • what is an arid environment?

  • is my region considered 'arid'?

  • what sort of soil do I have?

  • how can I manage water conservation?

Growing non-adapted plants, making use of microclimates, and the importance of mulching are detailed, as well as instructions for creating a Silver and Blue, Ornamental Grass, Sculpture, Prairie, Xeric Style Traditional or Victorian garden from adapted plant materials.

A large portion of Ortho's All About Dry Climate Gardening is devoted to the description of a broad range of suitable trees, shrubs, perennials, annuals, bulbs and succulents (many of which are only recently commercially available native plants from the arid regions of the Southwestern United States as well as Mexico). The illustrations are plentiful.

Dr. Doug Welsh, Extension Horticulturist at Texas A&M University, is one of the leading experts on xeriscape principles in Texas. He is co-author of the book, Xeriscape Gardening: Water Conservation for the American Landscape (Macmillan, New York, 1992).


Note: Reviewed by Cynthia W. Mueller