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Gardening Techniques

Dryland Gardening

Plants that Survive and Thrive in Tough Conditions

by (author) Jennifer Bennett

Firefly Books
Initial publish date
Mar 2005
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Mar 2005
    List Price

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Where to buy it

Out of print

This edition is not currently available in bookstores. Check your local library or search for used copies at Abebooks.


An essential reference to gardening in hot and cold dry climates.

Gardening where summers are hot and prone to periods of drought, or where winters are snowy one week and freezing rain the next, is best managed by xeriscaping -- dryland gardening techniques that favor not only water conservation but also the conservation of time, energy and other resources.

Xeriscaping enthusiasts exist throughout North America wherever the climate calls for dryland gardening, from the Great Plains prairies to the California desert.

Dryland Gardening explains time-tested strategies:

  • Coping with limited access to water
  • Dealing with invasive plants
  • Dealing with trees under stress
  • Nurturing groundcovers and grasses
  • Starting bulbs, perennials and vines
  • Growing vegetables, herbs and annuals.

This book includes both practical advice for dry-climate gardeners as well as an extensive planting list for grasses and groundcovers, bulbs, perennials and vines, vegetables and annuals, herbs, roses and shrubs.

Each plant entry provides:

  • Common and botanical names
  • Detailed descriptions
  • Planting instructions, care and maintenance.

Dryland Gardening celebrates a resilient garden with a beauty that requires fewer resources and less time.


About the author

Jennifer Bennett and Turid Forsyth

Jennifer Bennett's profile page

Editorial Reviews

Hot, dry summers don't necessarily rule out having a lush, beautiful garden. With this helpful guide, gardeners can learn techniques for growing plants under harsh conditions.

Science News

Lovely guide... if the dry weather here keeps up, hers is a guide to read.

St Louis Post-Dispatch

Packages up a lot of comforting advice for dusty gardeners. Rather than fight the conditions, Bennett encourages the best practice, which is choosing the right plant for the right place.

Toronto Star

Water saving tips throughout the text and then groups suitable plants... a nice format with text arranged in easy-to-read columns.

San Gabriel Valley Tribune

Just in time comes this plant-centered book that focuses on creating beautiful, lush gardens in less-than-ideal conditions.

Seattle Times

An excellent book for advice.

Montreal Gazette

For gardeners in need of industrial-strength help, thanks either to their arid plots or irrational climate.

Ottawa Citizen

Inspiring images to encourage landscape architects and lay gardeners to adopt plant palettes that minimize the need for a resource we can no longer take for granted.

Landscape Architecture

Excellent advice on how to choose and plant drought-tolerant plants, from herbs and perennials to shrubs and grasses.

Good Times

Dryland Gardening celebrates a resilient garden with a beauty that requires fewer resources and less time.

I Can

Lovely pictures illustrate the text... Easy to read, informative and timely this book is recommended for public and horticultural libraries in zones 4-7.

Library Journal

Whether you garden in a dry region or just have a periodically dry corner of the yard, [this book] has plenty to offer.

American Gardener

A useful and à propos guide for gardeners facing up to climate change.

Harrowsmith's Truly Canadian Almanac 2008

A wealth of information gleaned by the author as she coped with challenging conditions... friendly, lucid and authoriative.

Acreage Life

Practical advice and colorful portraits of hundreds of plants... a wonderful guide to bring along when shopping.

Denver Post

This book is an excellent source of information on water conservation, low-maintenance and easy-care plants.

Fifty-Five Plus

In worthwhile book, author Jennifer Bennett points to many ... weatherproof plants that are a good choice for standing up to increasingly erratic weather.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

A timely tome for these challenging times.

Canadian Gardening

Hundreds of "tough" plants that can remain attractive even when water supplies are low... The range of plants is quite broad, including species that are suited to North American climate zones ranging from very warm to quite cold.


It's easy to trust Jennifer Bennett's advice. She has experience gardening under difficult circumstances and gladly shares the secrets of her success.

Horticulture, Gardening At Its Best

Bennett's attractive, reasonably priced text is a useful handbook to landscaping in unpromising terrain.

American Reference Books Annual 2014

Provides thoughtful instruction on various water-conservation topics... augmented by brilliant color photographs... a timely addition to the garden-resource bookshelf.


Find the answers to low-water gardening in Dryland Gardening yet have beautiful easy-care gardens... [Jennifer Bennett] has first hand experience with the many challenges of gardening with tough winds, droughts and temperature conditions.

National Garden Clubs New Book Reviews

Create beautiful landscapes by following simple tips, techniques and choosing the proper plants.

Thunder Bay Chronicle-Journal

How to make the moist of moisture, including mulching, planting strategic windbreaks and use hydrogels in the soil.

Harrisburg Patriot-News

[This book] is a must have. Although it's 10 years since it was published by Firefly, it is still relevant today in our increasingly droughty summers. It covers all the basics of water conservation and survival techniques and then launches into a wide variety of plans that can be encouraged in this environment.

The Rural Voice (Blyth ON)

Other titles by Jennifer Bennett