Gardening with the Native Plants of Tennessee: The Spirit of Place by Margie Hunter, 2002, University of Tennessee Press

s a life-long Tennessean and 22-year gardener, I became inspired to know as much as I could about the plants that have called this place home for millennia. A little research failed to produce one easy source for this information, so I decided to compile one. This book is the result. In its pages gardeners in Tennessee and the adjacent states of the Mid-South will find a wealth of information on great plants native to this area that perform well in the garden. The book's main section offers a comprehensive list of wildflowers, ferns, grasses, vines, shrubs, and trees suitable for horticulture with a full written description, cultural information, and state distribution for approximately 450 species of plants native to Tennessee and the Mid-South along with nearly 400 quality, color photographs. The depth and breadth of the plant list provide gardeners an invaluable and unprecedented reference.

    The first four chapters present a non-technical look at the natural history and ecology (geology, geography, soil, climate, plant communities, wildlife, rare plants, and exotic pest plants) of Tennessee. Gardeners in adjacent states will find much of this information equally applicable to them and can utilize the resources given to easily extend it into their immediate areas. Through this information gardeners gain a greater understanding of the unique natural character of this area and its application in their own landscapes for a richer and more successful gardening experience. By blending ecology and conservation with horticulture, it is my desire to offer an appreciation of the Mid-South's natural heritage and in the process reanimate the sense of who we are and where we live through our natural environment.

    I have found no other book expressly designed for the home gardener that includes such area-tailored information or such a comprehensive listing of plants. A detailed bibliography and appendixes of mail-order nurseries, botanical gardens, area agencies and organizations, and native plant conferences offer readers ample opportunities to further explore specific topics of interest.

    Here are just a few of the things covered:
• Explanation and description of the diverse geography in Tennessee, which offers clues to gardening successfully
• Descriptions of different plant communities in the Mid-South and the plants typically found in each
• Tips on attracting native wildlife and the types of wildlife attracted to individual plant species
• Native plants that performed well in state trial gardens
• Tips on gardening with native plants
• Summary charts of all plant species showing at a glance flower color, bloom time, site requirements, and interesting plant features
• The horticultural "bad boys" – exotic pest plants all gardeners should avoid
• How to detect plants that have been wild collected
• Native plants that are difficult to cultivate

Ordering the Book: This book should be available at all bookstores or online through Suggested retail price is $34.95. The author has copies available for sale during speaking engagements at a discounted price.

back to top

Book  News & Photos  Second Edition  Links  Home  Contact Me