Although Sunset includes more than 8000 plants in their encyclopedia, the specific information about each plant is sometimes inconsistent. I can look up one plant and find out everything I need to know (including its SSN and high school transcripts), while another plant's listing leaves out something critical, like how wide the plant gets at maturity.
Filling In The Gaps
That's why I always happy when a plant I need to know more about is listed in Sterman's book. California Gardener's Guide takes a "less is more" and a "more is more" approach: It lists only 186 plants, but packs each entry with well-researched, vital information that helps me make intelligent plant selection decisions.
The book starts with inspiring and informative introductory chapters explaining California's enviable Mediterranean climate and its affect on the garden. Sterman explains the pronounced differences in growing conditions throughout this diverse state, including easy-to-understand tables showing typical rainfall and high/low temperatures in major five regions.
Sterman's advice about planning, installing, and caring for a garden is steeped in the most fundamental concepts of sustainable landscaping: Know your site and the growing conditions each plant will face; apply the principles of water-efficient gardening; and take the time to intelligently match the right plant to the right place.
More to read about Nan Sterman's must-have book at Fine Gardening...