Daffodils and Ribes – perfect partners for summer-dry gardens.

Recent rains here in Northern California provide the perfect opportunity to talk about summer-dry gardens.  Summer-dry gardens are supposed to be winter-wet, so I’m thinking about cycles and how important these rains are for plants to get through another dry year.  For despite these rains we are far behind our seasonal normal and we face another dry year here in the West.

It is part of my mission here at PhotoBotanic to provide photos to support best gardening practices and sustainable gardening.  I have created an entire royalty free gallery of photos in the stock library for Summer-Dry gardens.  The hope is to get more photos  of beautiful, successful gardens into the media as evidence of what CAN be done, not what might the done in the theory of catalogs.

Summer-Dry Plants DiscI have also put all the photos in my summer-dry collection onto a searchable photo database at summer-dry.com.  And the photos in the database are also on a dvd that can be ordered or downloaded from the Store here at PhotoBotanic.  What else can I do to get the word out that beautiful water wise gardens are real and do-able ?  What else indeed….

My friend Nora Harlow, who wrote the book Plants and Landscapes for Summer-Dry Climates, is now contributing to the summer-dry project.  Photos are one thing, but without plant descriptions, the photos are just eye candy.

Nora understands the climate as a gardener and landscape architect.  She will be writing plant descriptions that invite thoughtful consideration.  I love that she began her entry for the Coast Live Oak (Quercus agrifolia) with this question: “Where did the notion come from that coast live oak (Quercus agrifolia) is slow-growing? ”

What a great way to get our attention.  And to accompany her article she chose a picture of the Oaks growing in their native habitat.


Quercus agrifolia, Coast Live Oaks at Elkhorn Slough Reserve, Monterey County

Photos alone can not inspire gardeners.  We need context and words to explain how things work, how the climate informs our gardens and how our gardens reflect the lands they inhabit.

For all you summer-dry gardeners or wanna be’s, check out the eye candy here and on the summer-dry site, but use the photos as starting points for sustainable gardening.