American Plants for American Gardens

Edith A. Roberts and Elsa Rehmann
Foreword by Darrel G. Morrison

A rediscovered classic on the use of native plants in gardening and landscaping


"Darrel Morrison's excellent introduction to the 1996 reprint places American Plants for American Gardens in its ecological historic context. He writes of the early history of ecology, native landscape trends, the decline and reemergence of ecological design, and the significance of the book. . . . American Plants for American Gardens is still one of the best books I have seen in respect to holistic natural design in the residential landscape."
Journal of the New England Garden History Society

“The book itself has great value, particularly because so little is written for gardeners about plant communities, and because we are not routinely taught how important these are for informing us about the creation of healthy and somewhat self-sustaining landscapes. . . .In short, for anyone intent on planning a landscape that will be coherent in its feel and have the benefit of naturally occurring plant associations, this is a useful book to have.”
Grow Native Massachusetts

Undeservedly out of print for decades, American Plants for American Gardens was one of the first popular books to promote the use of plant ecology and native plants in gardening and landscaping. Emphasizing the strong links between ecology and aesthetics, nature and design, the book demonstrates the basic, practical application of ecological principles to the selection of plant groups or "associations" that are inherently suited to a particular climate, soil, topography, and lighting. Specifically, American Plants for American Gardens focuses on the vegetation concentrated in the northeastern United States, but which extends from the Atlantic Ocean west to the Alleghenies and south to Georgia.

The plant community settings featured include the open field, hillside, wood and grove, streamside, ravine, pond, bog, and seaside. Plant lists and accompanying texts provide valuable information for the design and management of a wide range of project types: residential properties, school grounds, corporate office sites, roadways, and parks.

In his introduction, Darrel G. Morrison locates American Plants for American Gardens among a handful of influential early books advocating the protection and use of native plants--a major area of interest today among serious gardeners, landscape architects, nursery managers, and students of ecology, botany, and landscape design. Included is an appendix of plant name changes that have occurred since the book's original publication in 1929.

Ahead of their time in many ways, Edith A. Roberts and Elsa Rehmann can now speak to new generations of ecologically conscious Americans.

Page count: 176 pp.
Trim size: 5.5 x 8.5


List price: $34.95

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Edith A. Roberts was a professor of botany at Vassar College. Elsa Rehmann was a landscape architect and a writer and lecturer on landscape gardening. Darrel G. Morrison is a professor of landscape architecture at the University of Georgia School of Environmental Design.