- Author: Kathy Low
Now that the mornings have become chilly, it's that time of year to start snuggling up with some good gardening books. One recent book I checked out from the Solano County Library was Diana Maranhao's Water-Smart Gardening: Save Water, Save Money and Grow the Garden You Want (Cool Springs Press, 2016). If you want to create a water-efficient garden, you should check out and read this book. It provides a brief overview of the need and benefits of water-efficient gardens then discusses different garden styles, from the Mediterranean and Desert Xeric to Cottage, and Formal/Modern Gardens. She then moves on to water-wise watering and water conservation methods, from simple hydrozoning and clay pot irrigation to create a terrace garden. One of its many strengths is it provides easy do-it-yourself instructions for the solutions presented, from creating a berm and a swale, to how to create a rain garden, to how to create a permeable surface. It also includes step by step photos.
She covers every water conservation method you've heard about, and some you may not have heard about, like the ancient companion planting practice called “The Three Sisters”. In this practice, corn is planted. And as it grows, bean seeds are planted at the corn plants' base, and squash seeds are then planted between the rows. The corn plants support the nitrogen producing bean plants, and the squash acts as a living mulch, shading the “sister's” roots.
The book concludes with information on sample low water use annuals and perennials, bulbs, groundcovers and vines, lawns, grasses, succulents, trees, and edibles.
The author has over 30 years of experience in horticulture and education and it shows. Her book is easy to read and informative. So check it out at the library!