Giveaway: The New Sunset Western Garden Book

We’ve got five copies of the The New Sunset Western Garden Book to give away to lucky readers. All you have to do is leave a comment here telling us where you live (not your address, but your city or region) and name your favorite tomato variety. This way we’ll build a list of the best tomatoes to help everyone with their summer selections.

Tuesday, March 6th we’ll announce the five winners here by the name they leave in the comments–so no anonymous entries, please. We’ll work out delivery details from there.

Please be aware that this book is written for gardeners who live the western portion of North America: California, Oregon, Washington, British Columbia, Alberta, Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Arizona, or New Mexico.

Book Review: The New Sunset Western Garden Book

The Sunset Western Garden Book was one of the first gardening books we picked up when we bought our house back in 1998. A new version is out this month, now dubbed The New Sunset Western Garden Book, and it’s a significant improvement over our old copy.

Lavish photos have replaced the drawings of my 1998 copy. The new edition has significantly more coverage of edibles, including a vegetable planting schedule as well as nice photographs of veggies worked into ornamental landscaping schemes.  One of the improvements I’m most pleased to see are lists of plants for attracting bees, butterflies, birds and beneficial insects. And Hawaii, Alaska southern British Columbia and Alberta residents will be happy to find their states and provinces included.  I also find Sunset’s zone system more useful than USDA zones.

I have a few minor quibbles with some of the advice. Adding compost when planting trees is not a good idea. Neither is solarizing. And, speaking as a beekeeper, I would never recommend using imidacloprid under any circumstances. I am happy to see invasive pampas grass moved from “maybe don’t grow” to “definitely don’t grow.”

But it’s the plant list that forms the heart of this book. Even though much of this information on the internet now, I still prefer to get it in book form. I trust the curatorial expertise of Sunset’s editors and the climate specific advice for those of us in the Western US. And the plant lists are still extremely valuable when planning a new garden or remodeling an old one.

ETA: Check out Sunset’s handy online plant finder.

We’ll be giving away six copies of the The New Sunset Western Garden Book tomorrow. Stay tuned!

Huntington Ranch Workshop: Foraging and the Living Kitchen

This Saturday March 3 from 9 a.m.-1 p.m, our friend Nancy Klehm will be leading a workshop at the Huntington Ranch entitled Foraging and the Natural Kitchen. So you’ve got two reasons to go–Nancy and the Ranch are truly amazing. Here’s the details:

Living Kitchen is a series of informal foraging and cooking workshops that aims to reorganize our connection to land, ourselves and our communities through the awareness of the spontaneous and cultivated plants around us. Led by Nance Klehm, this workshop will walk participants through the Huntington Ranch and discuss the strategy of food foresting that specifically incorporates or allows for spontaneous vegetation to build soil health, create habitat, and provide food and medicine for humans. During the tour, participants will explore the web of relationships of these plants as well as taste, smell and gather wild plant material to prepare a light foraged meal. This workshop is about direct experience, new tastes, and sharing with others.

Members: $60. Non Members: $70.
Registration: 626-405-2128

Insect Hotel

This is old news, but we thought it worth repeating in light of last week’s review of Attracting Native Pollinators.

Above is a picture of the winning design of a native pollinator habitat built by Arup Associates in response to the Beyond the Hive competition put on by the City of London.  The Core77 post we’re linking to has more views and also some pics of the runners up. It might give you some ideas for building your own habitats at home.