August 19, 2009

Rain Gardening in the South

book review by Freda Cameron

Where was this wonderful book when I built my rain garden two years ago? I had to scour the Web and bookstores looking for information on how to build a rain garden. There would be no crispy plants in my rain garden right now if I could have read this book first!

Rain Gardening in the South: Ecologically Designed Gardens for Drought, Deluge, and Everything in Between was written by Helen Kraus and Anne Spafford.

As I read this book, I kept having those "ah-ha" moments as the authors helped me understand what I did wrong, and right, in building my rain garden.

Kraus and Spafford explain everything from the importance of rain gardens to the fun of designing the garden and plant selections. The authors walk you through the process of understanding how water runoff flows across your property to digging out the site for your rain garden.

The book is filled with great illustrations and an abundance of photos that make it so easy to understand the concepts. There are many color design plans, such as this one by Anne Spafford, to provide inspiration for creating a beautiful rain garden. Advice is given on basic design principles that can be used for other gardens as well.

Pages and pages of ground covers, perennials, vines and shrubs are listed by sun or shade categories. These tables also provide the important details about each plant - such as size, habit, foliage and useful notes.

Finally, there was a chapter written just for me. Troubleshooting! The problem? Drainage too fast; established plants dying. Kraus and Spafford walk through the possible problems and offer solutions. And, I know they are right!

No matter where you live, Rain Gardening in the South is a great resource. Rain gardens are not only good for the environment, but solve runoff and erosion problems while being beautiful displays of flowers and foliage.

About the book authors:

Helen Kraus holds BS, MS, and Ph.D. degrees in Horticultural Science from North Carolina State University, where she currently teaches.

Anne Spafford holds a BS degree in Ornamental Horticulture and an MLA in Landscape Architecture from the University of Illinois. She teaches in the Department of Horticultural Sciences at North Carolina State University.

Published by:

Freelance travel writer. My current fiction writing projects include a completed manuscript and several works in progress.

By the way, my name is pronounced fred-ah, not freed-ah. Thank you.

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