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Book Reviews

Horticultural books are valuable tools for newcomers to the garden as well as longtime green thumbs, including Salvia enthusiasts. It is our aim to review a range of new and old (but mostly still in print) gardening books that we find useful. Some will cover the broad range of gardening, whereas others will focus on sages (Salvia spp.) and closely related species as well as companion plants. Sometimes a few hours with a relaxing garden book is all it takes to inspire new choices or solutions in your garden. Please contact us if you would like to suggest a book for review.

Book Review: The Plant Lover's Guide to Salvias

Posted: Saturday, May 24, 2014
Synopsis: The Plant Lover's Guide to Salvias by John Whittlesey not only is a lavishly photographed, well-organized resource about the Salvia genus but also a lovely coffee table book that may inspire anyone who opens its pages to spend time in the garden. Whittlesey says his Canyon Creek Nursery in rural Northern California has an "extreme" Mediterranean climate with little rainfall from summer through early autumn when temperatures can reach up to 108 degrees F. Ornamental Salvias form a major part of his approach to these sere conditions.

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Book Review: Nature-Friendly Garden by Marlene A. Condon

Posted: Thursday, March 13, 2014
Synopsis: Reading Marlene A. Condon's Nature-Friendly Garden is like observing a game of toppling dominoes. All the pieces are lined up standing on end in a complex, maze-like pattern. Flick one domino and the whole structure tumbles. Similarly, the author shows how simple choices we make in our gardens have consequences that can build or destroy wildlife habitat.

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Book Review: Lawn Gone! Low-Maintenance, Sustainable, Attractive Alternatives for Your Yard

Posted: Thursday, February 27, 2014
Synopsis: This book review of "Lawn Gone" by Texas landscaper and garden writer Pam Penick concerns replacement or minimization of lawns through xeriscape, the art of planting attractive waterwise landscapes. "Lawn Gone" redefines suburban yards through designs including perennial groundcovers and small shrubs -- such as Autumn Sages (Salvia greggii spp.) -- as well as ornamental grasses, sedges and hardscape, including water features. Flowers by the Sea specializes in Salvias and other xeriscapic plants.

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Book Review: A Field Guide to the Wildflowers of Mexico's Copper Canyon Region

Posted: Tuesday, September 24, 2013
Synopsis: Copper Canyon is one of four labyrinthine gorges in Northwest Mexico's state of Chihuahua. The canyon lands are home to the indigenous Tarahumara Indians, who are famous for their reclusive culture, herbal knowledge and habit of easily running ultra marathon distances. The gorges are also home to a fabulous array of wildflowers, including Salvias, that amateur botanist Linda J. Ford documents in " "font-style: italic;">A Field Guide to the Wildflowers of Mexico's Copper Canyon Region."

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Book Review: The New Sunset Western Garden Book

Posted: Friday, September 20, 2013
Synopsis: On a day when it's too cold or hot to be outside, a gardening guide, such as The New Sunset Western Garden Book, is a useful and entertaining companion. At 768 pages long, it isn't lightweight reading. Be prepared to prop the book up on pillows in your lap as you page through it while kicking back on the couch.

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Book Review: Waterwise Gardens for Sustainable Gardens

Posted: Thursday, June 6, 2013
Synopsis: "font-style: italic;"> Lauren Springer Ogden and Scott Ogden are garden designers and writers who split their time between Texas and Colorado, but their suggestions for low water, xeriscapic landscaping can benefit gardeners far from the American West, Southwest and Deep South. The authors agree with their Dutch contemporary, Piet Oudolf, that a naturalistic landscape design based on local climate -- including water limitations -- is the most sustainable choice.

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Ask Mr Sage is one of the most popular categories in our Everything Salvias blog. Here are a few of the latest posts:
Ask Mr. Sage: How to Place Advance Orders with FBTS - Flowers by the Sea is a mail-order nursery eliminating craziness from garden planning with advance orders and customer selection of shipping dates. Ask Mr. Sage is a regular feature based on calls and emails received by FBTS. This article details how to use our redesigned preorder process and other catalog tools for making sure you get the plants you want when you want them. Ask Mr. Sage: How to Select Plants for Garden Triumph - Planning for Salvia garden success requires following the rule of selecting the right plant for the right place. Desert sages aren't appropriate for the damp Southeast. Moisture-loving ones aren't right for desert climates where they need lots of watering to survive. Flowers by the Sea Farm and Online Nursery offers tips for selecting plants based on local climate. Ask Mr. Sage is a regular feature of the FBTS Everything Salvias Blog. Ask Mr. Sage: How Should I Prune my Salvias? - Flowers by the Sea Online Nursery specializes in Salvias and often receives questions about how to prune them. Although getting good at pruning takes practice, Salvias rebound quickly if you make mistakes. A key to successful pruning is understanding the varying needs of four main categories of sages. Ask Mr. Sage is a regular feature of the FBTS Everything Salvias Blog. Ask Mr. Sage: Do You Offer Free Shipping? - Like free lunches, free shipping is a myth. Flowers by the Sea doesn't offer free shipping, because it would require increasing plant prices to cover the cost of shipping. Read more to learn how FBTS sets fair shipping prices. Ask Mr. Sage is a regular feature of the Everything Salvias Blog and is based on calls and notes from customers. Ask Mr. Sage: Best Time to Plant Drought Resistant CA Natives - Drought resistant California native sages thrive when planted in fall. It's easier for roots to become established when soil is warm, air temperatures are cooler and precipitation is increasing. Ask Mr. Sage is a regular feature of the Everything Salvias Blog and is based on calls and emails from customers. Ask Mr. Sage: What Is Shipping in Boxes Like for Salvias? - It's understandable to worry about the condition of plants following shipment in a box. However, Flowers by the Sea Online Plant Nursery is exceedingly careful to make sure your plants arrive in healthy condition. A satisfied customer sent us the photos in this article. Step by step, they illustrate the process of unpacking and hardening off FBTS plants received by 3-day ground delivery more than 1200 miles away from our Northern California farm.