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High Desert Yards & Gardens

High Desert Yards & Gardens.
Lynn Ellen Doxon
Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press
Publication Date: 

paper, 230 p., $14.95.

Cheers to Lynn Ellen Doxon for writing a gardening book for one of the least understood North American environments, the high deserts of New Mexico, Arizona and west Texas. This environment features scorchingly hot summers, cold dry winters and incredibly fierce spring wind/dust storms. It presents a real challenge for most avid and amateur gardeners.

The subject matter in this book is quite broad and inclusive of all aspects of gardening. The author's emphasis on soils is right on target. The writing style is appropriate for an audience consisting of amateur gardeners and newcomers to the region. The format of information in the book is reminiscent of gardening columns and features appearing in most major newspapers.

Despite the many positive elements of this book, I found the misspelling of a number of scientific names disturbing. I also had difficulty determining which of the trees and shrubs in the author's lists were good or poor choices. The relatively low number of natives and low-water use exotics mentioned disappointed me. I am not sure the inclusion of redwoods from the cool and mild coastal climate of California or timber bamboo from moist and warm China is hardy within the geographic range identified in the text. They are probably not appropriate for a region with little rainfall and persistent low humidity.

— Boyce Tankersley, Manager of Collections Documentation, Chicago Botanic Garden.