A Book Review Nov 1993

[b035] Gardening Success with Difficult Soils: Limestone, Alkaline Clay, and Caliche by Scott Ogden. Dallas: Taylor Publishing Co., 1992.

Instead of cursing the soil of Cochise County, gardeners can reap its blessings as they recognize its composition, its needs, its nutrients, and the many native and exotic adaptive plants that it can grow. This 1992 book can help Cochise County gardeners to appreciate and exploit soil that is mostly limestone, alkaline clay, and caliche.

The author starts out by identifying the nature of calcareous soils, discusses its garden chemistry, explains the value of humus in enriching such soils, details the necessary ground preparation, and begins a remarkable catalog of lime-loving plants that can be selected for gardening pleasure. In later chapters covering more than 150 pages, the author describes mixed border plants, her herbaceous plants, mid-season flowers, lime-tolerant shrubs and trees, plants for heavy, wet clay soils, and plants for dry banks and chalk gardens, heat loving annuals and biennials, night-blooming plants, wildlife plants, roses, shade plants, vines and ground covers, plants of the Sierra Madre, and fruits and vegetables for limy ground.

A listing of plant sources and plant societies, along with references and an extensive index complete a book that every Cochise County gardener will appreciate...especially Master Gardeners who are called upon to sensitize their neighbors and other Sierra Vistans to the joys and successes of gardening according to the land. Ogden's book is available from the Cochise County library system.

Frank L. Christ
November, 1993