Sunset Western Garden Book
Sunset Western Garden Book is not something you'll read cover to cover but it is an outstanding reference book and one that I consult on a regular basis. Sunset divides the West into many climate zones, depending upon elevation and proximity to bodies of water, as well as historic temperature ranges. The book contains over eight thousand plant descriptions with suggestions for each gardening zone, along with lists of tried and true plants for specific conditions. Plants that tolerate wet feet, those that grow well in the shade, shrubs and trees resistant to soil fungus, and those that can be considered for pool side plantings are just a few of the specialized lists you'll find in the book. If you want specifics about mature plant size, optimal growing conditions, care and maintenance, you'll find them in Sunset Western Garden Book.
Clever Gardening Technique
A child's round saucer-like plastic sled works better for me than a wheelbarrow for moving things around the yard. I have attached a rope to the handle of my sled and can slide it along with me over a light snow or a rain-dampened lawn. This allows me to move a bag of lime from my car to the tool shed or pick up debris from the lawn without leaving the imprint from the wheels of my garden cart on the soft ground.
I use my sled for many small pruning, weeding, and planting jobs. It follows me around over groundcovers and into flower beds where I cannot take my wheelbarrow or garden cart. It's just the right size to hold soil for a single planting project and it's easy to tip out the soil at the planting site. The sled is almost indestructible and the perfect vehicle for transporting flats of plants, hand tools, or an extra coil of hose.