After 3 years of working on this book, it is done, and to be released in January, 2021.

Gardening in Summer-Dry Climates – by Nora Harlow and Saxon Holt; Timber Press book cover

Gardening in Summer-Dry Climates from Timber Press is available on preorder and we are just beginning to figure out virtual tours and events.

The book is only part of the overall Summer-Dry Project which has evolved from a catchy phrase to redefine mediterranean gardening techniques, to the book, a website, and an upgrade to the California WUCOLS* plant database.  There is even a new Instagram account, @summerdry.gardens “dedicated to gardeners who want to have success in climates where dry summers are not drought – they are normal”.

Agave americana, Century Plant with yellow flowering tree, Parkinsonia 'Desert Museum' at Los Angeles Natural History Museum
Agave americana, Century Plant with yellow flowering tree, Parkinsonia ‘Desert Museum’ at Los Angeles Natural History Museum

I have been photographing West Coast gardens for more than 30 years and the more I travel up and down the Pacific Coast the more I realize summer-dry is not just a term for California.  The Pacific Northwest has a reputation for being rainy but in fact, the summers are dry, and getting drier.

Albers Vista Garden, Seattle Washington
Summer-Dry in the Northwest – Albers Vista Garden, Seattle Washington

The most resilient, water conscious gardens across the entire region are attuned to this summer-dry, winter-wet climate and we have an obligation to promote these regional success and to encourage sustainable practices for the health of local habitats, local watersheds, and local biodiversity.

And now, in the midst of tumultuous climate change, we realize it’s all the more important that gardeners be stewards of the land, attuned to the local environment on behalf of all creatures. Every small act we do adds resiliency. Cumulatively gardens can make a big difference.

California native plant garden overlooking Pacific Ocean

So this is the mission of the summer-dry project – to help gardeners find those plants that will contribute to the health of the planet, redefining beauty that honors the summer dry climate.  And now the book is done.  Yeah !

drought tolerant flower garden
Colorful deer proof, summer-dry mixed border.

*WUCOLS is the Water Use Classification Of Landscape Species database that is part of the California Department of Water Resources, and the fourth edition (2014) provides evaluations of the irrigation water needs for over 3,500 taxa (taxonomic plant groups) used in California landscapes.

A gallery of Royalty-free photos from the original, now out of print book, Plants and Landscapes for Summer-Dry Climates

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