Summer Readings

“Check Those Containers”, a copyrighted post, was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana 


With all the hot weather we have been having lately, it is just about impossible to go out and work in the garden for any length of time.  Besides, now is not the time to be planting anything.  The risk of losing plants in hot, dry weather is just too great.  But, I have been rereading some of my garden books hoping to get some ideas of things to plant when the weather cools down.  Fall and early winter is the best time to plant shrubs and perennials in the South.


One of the best books for finding the right plant for any type of growing condition is The Southern Gardener’s Book of Lists by Lois Trigg Chaplin.  This book has more than 200 lists of plants grouped by horticultural traits and also by uses.  It goes beyond the usual shade and sun listings.  It covers plants that are good for wet sites and dry sites, alkaline soil, clay soil, perennials that drape, shrubs that bloom four weeks or more, and annuals that take a pounding rain.  These are just a few of the categories.  These lists include trees, shrubs, annuals, roses, azaleas, perennials, vines, ferns, gournd covers, bulbs, ornamental grasses, and tropicals.  It also lists plants for certain areas like bulbs for the lower South, plants for Atlanta or Texas.  Any condition you have, this book has a list of plants that will do well there.



Another book I have been reviewing since all this hot weather set in is Tough Plants for Southern Gardens by Felder Rushing.  This book contains some of the toughest plants for Southern gardens.  Annuals, bulbs, perennials, shrubs, vines, and trees are covered.  This book is good for both experienced and novice gardeners.  Every section covered has a “Kinda Tricky” list with a “Best for Beginners” list for counterbalance.  Because of the South’s long growing season, our gardens need plants that can survive extreme heat, humidity, and sometimes drought.  This book lists them all.  Felder Rushing has also written Tough Plants for Northern Gardens, but, of course, I have not had to read that.



So, if you need to find a plant that will definitely do well in the South, check out these books.  Once cooler weather gets here, I may be able to finally use the information I’ve found in these books to buy some new plants for the garden.



  1. August 10, 2008 at 6:10 am

    Great selection of books. I will have to check those out.

  2. Jan said,

    August 10, 2008 at 6:55 am

    These are great books and cover all of the South, from Maryland to the Gulf Coast. I think you would find them helpful and interesting.

  3. Brenda Kula said,

    August 10, 2008 at 10:21 am

    I certainly need to check out that first book. Maybe I wouldn’t lose so many plants if I were a little more knowledgable from the beginning!

  4. Jan said,

    August 10, 2008 at 11:21 am

    Brenda, I use that book all the time to decide what to plant where.

  5. Jeanne said,

    August 12, 2008 at 2:58 am

    I found your blog through blotanical… I just started garden blogging and live in New Orleans… I will check out these books. Did you find them locally or online?

  6. Jan said,

    August 12, 2008 at 4:24 am

    Hi, Jeanne. Glad you joined the blogging world. I did buy these books locally in Covington from Books a Million and Barnes and Nobles. I also wrote about other garden books that are for our area. Just click on “Books” under my categories to see them. You might be interested in those too.

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