Story by Lehia Apana | Photos courtesy of University of Hawai‘i Press
When it comes to water needs, all plants are not created equal. Fred Rauch and Paul Weissich, two of Hawai‘i’s foremost horticulturists, have created a book proving just that.
Equal parts coffee-table accessory and botany index, The Watersmart Garden: 100 Great Plants for the Tropical Xeriscape teems with ideas for the gardener who covets a lush yet water-friendly landscape. Its pages bloom with visual examples, and will likely have your imagination spinning with ideas for your own outdoor space. The authors include basic gardening tips, but focus primarily on the plants, grouping them by height from ground covers and shrubs to trees and vines.
Rauch and Weissich also point out that where you plant is as important as what you plant. They encourage keeping thirsty plants together, so that intense watering is confined to one area, and grouping sun-loving plants where they can bask in the heat. To help you figure that out, the book organizes plants by zones reflecting their water needs.
This colorful book demonstrates that a water-thrifty yard doesn’t have to be a parched landscape. Crave-worthy plants include the native ‘a‘ali‘i, popular with lei makers and prized for its prismatic leaves ranging from goldenrod to deep red; and the cascading flower dust plant, whose purple foliage and miniature pink buds are worthy of a vase. Going green has never looked so pretty.
Published by University of Hawai‘i Press, November 2013, $24.99