Troy B. Marden believes that when it comes to gardening, a lot of us could do better.
We could grow plants that are more resistant to pests and diseases, plants that are less aggressive, plants that require less effort or are just more attractive than the common varieties we’re used to seeing.
Marden, a garden designer, recommends dozens of those alternatives in Plant This Instead!
The book is designed to help gardeners make plant choices that result in better-performing, better-looking gardens.
Many of the plants he touts are natives, but not all. He includes some non-native plants that add fuss-free beauty to the garden and even suggests some alternatives to native plants that can grow out of control.
Marden includes guidance on matching plants to growing conditions, but he devotes most of the book to his recommended alternatives for specific perennials, annuals, trees, shrubs, vines and groundcovers. In some cases, he suggests better varieties of an old favorite. In others, he recommends substituting an entirely different plant — wishbone flower for disease-prone impatiens, for example, or dawn redwood for Eastern cottonwood.
It’s information that can come in handy when you’re perusing plant catalogs this time of year.
Plant This Instead! is published by Cool Springs Press and sells for $24.99 in softcover.
— Mary Beth Breckenridge