Bill Welch and Greg Grant are the premier “Masters of Horticulture” in the country. Both of them have ample credentials to back up my claim. However, what really sets them apart is their deep knowledge and sincere love of the plants and gardening traditions of the South. They have worked for years to document, preserve and re-introduce “time tested plants” that have helped to color the fabric of the southern landscape tradition. These true southern gentlemen share a common, and almost evangelical zeal to share that knowledge (which is another southern tradition).
Their latest book, “Heirloom Gardening in the South – Yesterday’s Plants for Today’s Gardens” is a masterful compilation of their many years of saving, growing and educating others on the value of heirloom plants. Combining equal parts history, plant catalogue and how to information, this book is the perfect resource for all of us that garden in the South.
The book is easy to read and full of eye catching photographs that document everything from stunning gardens to geranium cuttings. The book is divided into five sections that tell you the history of the southern garden tradition, how to find and propagate these living antiques, where to plant them, and how to use them. It also includes an exhaustive inventory of the heirloom plants that grow here. Each plant in the inventory includes an in depth discussion of its history and habits. This section alone would be worth far more than the cover price.
As an avid reader of gardening books, I have come to realize that most of them fall into two distinct categories: picture books and books that tell you how to grow things. Rare is this book that combines these two elements. “Heirloom Gardening in the South – Yesterday’s Plants for Today’s Gardens” is just such a book. If you are serious about growing heirlooms in the south, then this book has to find its way to your bookshelf!