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Adobe Photoshop PDFGuest Article for the Tallahassee Democrat

Photo: Book cover – David Marshall’s Design & Care of Landscapes & Gardens in the South, Volume 2, is full of color photos of landscape plants he recommends for our area.

 

January 31, 2014

By David Marshall

 

“A picture is worth a thousand words” is the philosophy behind the newly released local garden book, Design & Care of Landscapes & Gardens in the South, Volume 2. The book, just released in late January and available through Amazon.com and local garden centers for $19.95, is full of color photos of landscape plants for this area and USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 8-9.

 

Having served as University of Florida IFAS Horticulture Extension Agent in Leon County for 36 years and retiring in 2012, I put this second volume of Design & Care of Landscapes & Gardens in the South together to serve as a picture guide to some of my favorite landscape picks. Every page of the book has color photos. Altogether there are 330 photos.

 

The book is divided into seven chapters: Landscape Design, Seasonal Color, Shrubs, Trees, Groundcovers & Ornamental Grasses, Vines, and Container Gardening. Because I personally like color, as I think many of you do, too, there is a heavy emphasis on color. The seasonal color chapter is large, but other sections show color, too, such as trees with good fall color or trees with flowers or colorful berries.

 

I have already personally put the book to use as I do landscape consultations. It’s a handy way to show clients pictures of the plants I recommend to them. To enable readers to see the plants is really the reason I did the book, as I know that the old saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words”, is so true. It is not a wordy book. The text of the book consists more or less of only the descriptive captions for the photos. If you want more detailed information on plant selection and care, you will find that in the first volume of Design & Care of Landscapes & Gardens in the South, which was released December 2012. The two volumes work well together.

 

So what are some of my favorite plants pictured in the book? The cover of the book shows ‘Redhead’ coleus, an intensely red coleus that grows like it’s on steroids, combined with Stromanthe sanguinea ‘Tricolor’. ‘Redhead’ gives you easy color in the garden from March until the first killing freeze in late fall or early winter.

 

Variegated shell ginger, a striking variegated plant that can quickly brighten up an all-green area with its lime green and lemon yellow variegation, is shown several places in the book. It’s a very useful plant for most gardens.

 

‘Purple Pixie’ loropetalum, shown under “Small Shrubs”,  is a truly dwarf loropetalum that has two very good attributes. First it grows no more than about eighteen inches tall, so it is very useful as a foundation plant. And second, its leaves stay burgundy all year so it provides color.

 

Yesterday Today and Tomorrow (Brunfelsia spp.) is a larger, flowering shrub whose flowers start out purple, fade to lavender, and then to white. So, in the late spring, the shrub is covered with the fragrant flowers of all three colors. It’s a plant that should be grown and enjoyed more here.

 

Possumhaw, or deciduous holly, is especially showy when it is covered with its bright red berries during the winter when it has no leaves. Chinese pistachio is a small tree with spectacular fall color. Butterfly vine (Mascagnia macroptera) is an excellent evergreen vine that has yellow flowers all summer and tan butterfly-shaped seed pods. Oh, and I can’t leave out lavender trumpet vine (Clytostoma callistegioides), a great spring-flowering vine.

 

But there’s much more in the book. And it’s the photos that really tell the story. I hope you will enjoy the book and find it very useful.

 

David W. Marshall, Extension Agent Emeritus with University of Florida IFAS Leon County Extension is currently a landscape consultant with Esposito Garden Center and is author of the book, Design & Care of Landscapes & Gardens in the South. He currently is a member of the Leon County/UF IFAS Extension Urban Forestry/Horticulture Newspaper Column Working Group.   For more information about gardening in our area, visit the UF/ IFAS Leon County Extension website at http://leon.ifas.ufl.edu.  For gardening questions, email us at Ask-A-Mastergardener@leoncountyfl.gov

 

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