Worth the Money

 “Worth the Money”, a copyrighted post, was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana

Earlier today, my daughter called and asked if I would go with her to run some errands.  Since I had nothing better to do, I agreed.  One of the places we went was the local Barnes and Nobles.  Of course, whenever I go to a book store, the first place I head to is the gardening section.  Usually there are the same books that I have seen before and have purchased, but today there were new books about gardening in the coastal south.  The one I picked to buy today was Ornamental Gardening in Acadiana and the Gulf States by Ann Justice.


This 285 page book is a question and answer type format.  Ann Justice is a gardening columnist and has the experience to answer questions about any plant used in ornamental gardening in Louisiana and neighboring Gulf Coast areas.  The Q & A’s are grouped into ten chapters covering perennials, bulbs, vines, annuals, roses, shrubs, lawns, groundcovers, maintenance, and landscaping.  One of the points that she covers that I think is so important is the time to transplant or divide plants.  So often, a gardening author will write everything there is to know about a plant, but when it comes to when you can move it or divide it, there is silence.  If there is no experienced gardener around for you to ask, you just take a guess.  But, if I am going to move a special plant because it is too big or unhappy where it is, I want to be sure it will survive.  Knowing when to do this is helpful.

One helpful piece of advice I have already learned from this book is about planting hostas down here.  A North Carolina grower found out that if hostas are planted with the crown high and some of the roots exposed and then mulched, the roots have greater exposure to winter cold.  This technique makes it possible to successfully grow these plants this far south.  I have some hostas that I transplanted last year that are not doing too well.  I think I will be trying this trick this fall.

General gardening books are helpful, but finding ones that are for your specific area are well worth the money.



  1. Meems said,

    July 12, 2008 at 11:43 am

    Your last sentence “General gardening books are helpful, but finding ones that are for your specific area are well worth the money.” could not be more true. Especially for Florida. We have so many varying zones and pockets of micro climates… the north, central and south all have different parameters for gardening. I rarely find a gardening book dealing with just my area. And while all the others are fun to read they aren’t very pragmatic.

    Your new book sounds like one you will enjoy for a long time and maybe will even become a reference over the years. congrats.
    Enjoy your weekend.
    Meems @Hoe&Shovel

  2. July 12, 2008 at 12:08 pm

    Good tip on hostas. I’ve never grown any but I’ve often admired them. For many years we southern gardens struggled to find the right information for our climate. I’m glad more and more regional garden books are being published. Blogs are a great resource, too.

  3. Jan said,

    July 12, 2008 at 8:05 pm

    Meems, I know what you mean about having books just for your area. It seems that there are more regional books available in recent years. Those are the ones that I buy almost exclusively now.

    Hi, Melissa. I am happy to find more books being written for the coastal south now. Sometimes books on Southern gardening focus more on the upper and middle South. When I first started gardening, I wondered why I couldn’t find many of the plants recommended for southern gardens. It was only after reading about what grew in the coastal south that I realized those plants didn’t grow well here. I agree that gardening blogs are a great resource. There is nothing like an experienced gardener telling you what works in his or her garden to help you become a better gardener.

  4. Eve said,

    July 13, 2008 at 12:15 pm

    I think I will keep an eye out for that book. We have a Barnes and Noble about three miles from me. All my Hostas died after the Hurricane. I couldn’t figure out why. Our house blew down from the wind, but we did not get any of the salty water. So who knows? On the other hand, my Pampas Grass has exploded..LOL

  5. Jan said,

    July 13, 2008 at 1:10 pm

    Hey, Eve, they have the book on the Barnes and Nobles website, or the local one could order it for you if it is not in stock. I just finished reading it last night and learned a lot from this author. I’m very happy with it.

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