Growing the Southwest Garden: Regional Ornamental Gardening by Judith PhillipsGrowing the Southwest Garden: Regional Ornamental Gardening by Judith Phillips

Growing the Southwest Garden: Regional Ornamental Gardening

byJudith Phillips

Paperback | June 24, 2015

Pricing and Purchase Info

$33.90 online 
$37.95 list price save 10%
Earn 170 plum® points

Prices and offers may vary in store


In stock online

Ships free on orders over $25

Not available in stores


Plant selection and garden style are deeply influenced by where we are gardening. To successfully grow a range of beautiful ornamental plants, every gardener has to know the specifics of the region’s climate, soil, and geography.

Growing the Southwest Garden, by New Mexico-based garden designer Judith Phillips, is a practical and beautiful handbook for ornamental gardening in a region known for its low rainfall and high temperatures. With more than thirty years of experience gardening in the Southwest, Phillips has created an essential guide, featuring regionally specific advice on zones, microclimates, soil, pests, and maintenance. Profiles of the best plants for the region include complete information on growth and care.
Judith Phillips has spent more than forty years gardening in the Southwest and is still adapting. She is the owner of Judith Phillips Design Oasis, an ecosystem-inspired garden design and consulting service. She has designed thousands of residential gardens in New Mexico, Colorado, and Arizona, and has also been involved in public proj...
Title:Growing the Southwest Garden: Regional Ornamental GardeningFormat:PaperbackProduct dimensions:304 pages, 9.25 × 7.5 × 0.68 inShipping dimensions:9.25 × 7.5 × 0.68 inPublished:June 24, 2015Publisher:Timber PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1604695218

ISBN - 13:9781604695212


Read from the Book

Introduction: The Changing Southwest The arid Southwest has always been a place of extremes. We are home to some of the oldest continuously occupied human communities in the world and to the first commercial venture to launch civilians into space. We love extreme sports: snowboarding, white-water rafting, climbing 14,000-ft. peaks, and spelunking deep into subterranean caverns. And we are masters of an extreme sport we don’t need to leave home to enjoy: gardening. National Weather Service maps often show record daytime high temperatures in Phoenix, Arizona, while Alamosa, Colorado (scarcely 450 miles to the northeast as the crow flies), boasts the national nighttime low. Both are very dry; Phoenix in large measure due to the extreme heat, Alamosa because of its position in the rain shadow of the high peaks that surround it. While the positions of these places haven’t changed in countless human lifetimes, the number of people who live in them or visit to enjoy their natural wonders has increased dramatically.      In many ways, Phoenix and Alamosa represent the changing Southwest, always a rugged landscape visited by adventurers and settled by hardy souls who saw the potential and were enticed by living on the edge. Urbanization has buffered some of the extremes and amplified others. While we live in air-conditioned comfort and turn on the tap when we’re thirsty, the acres of hard surfaces—streets, parking lots, rooftops, and driveways that absorb heat and repel rainwater—have created heat islands in an already parched landscape. On the northern edge of the Chihuahuan Desert, where I’ve spent much of my life, climate extremes are leaving their mark. Our average 6 in. of rainfall has decreased by half some years, while hotter summers have increased the rate at which moisture evaporates. Like the meander of a phantom stream, dryness ripples through this place. The soil is parched deep below the surface and some plants now live rainfall to rainfall, as insecure a lifestyle as a family living paycheck to paycheck.  Shifts in the plant community and the wildlife it supports have been palpable for some time now, but change seems to be accelerating and intensifying: desert grass remains winter gray through several summers, awaiting rain that, like the kiss of Prince Charming, would bring it to life again. It’s no fairy tale for the thousands of songbirds who rely on those grasses, consuming 50,000 seeds per bird per day, all winter. Grasslands gray instead of green; silence where there once was birdsong; sunbaked sidewalks and dying street trees—the question is, what can and should we do about it? Individually and as communities we can do plenty. We can garden with new attention to the place we live, the plants we choose to grow, and the way we care for those places and plants. This requires no sacrifice in the quality of the landscapes we create. In fact, we’ll be more successful at growing beautiful gardens that are a joy to live in, harbor songbirds and butterflies, and don’t break the water budget. 

Editorial Reviews

“Explains the Southwest garden from every perspective, opening your eyes to its beauty, and helping you avoid costly mistakes.” —Debra Lee Baldwin, author of Succulents Simplified and Succulent Container Gardens “Judith leads the way toward understanding our changing climate. With beautiful photographs and engaging prose, she shows Southwest gardeners the designs and plants we should be using to create inspiring, comfortable, and durable landscapes.” —David Salman, founder of High Country Gardens  “When it comes to arid gardens, Judith Phillips is one of the masters. Her deep experience shines through, in elegant plant solutions for the climate, a gallery of homeowner-scale gardens, and accommodations for wildlife and humans.” —Scott Calhoun, author of The Gardener’s Guide to Cactus and columnist for Sunset “An essential guide to gardening for the region.” —Houston Lifestyles & Homes “Growing the Southwest Garden by Judith Phillips is possibly the best gardening book of the year for Colorado. Phillips, who lives in New Mexico, dispenses with hardiness zones but tells you the low temps that will kill that shrub, tree or perennial you’re mulling. She knows about mountains, microclimates and maximizing available water.” —The Denver Post “Phillips shares her tried and true tips and secrets for creating a thriving, beautiful garden in the country’s most parched region...Chock-full of information on luscious flora and spectacular succulents, Phillips’ gardening guidebook showcases some of the desert’s most unexpected and bountiful blooms and shares specifics on the region’s climate, soil and geography. Everyone from Novice to expert gardener will find the information they need to begin cultivating.” —Modern Luxury Scottsdale