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“The Well-Tended Perennial Garden”, now completely revised!

I was recently interviewed by Timber Press about the new and completely revised edition of The Well-Tended Perennial Garden. Visit the Timber Press blog for the full interview!

The Well-Tended Perennial Garden is one of the bestselling gardening books of all time. When you set out to write the first edition, did you have any idea the book would become as respected and widely used as it is?

As it is said, “not in my wildest dreams” did I think the book would be so popular. I’m very grateful for the support of my readers over the years. Writing is a very isolated and exposing practice, especially as a younger woman in a male dominated field and as a first-time author. Fighting doubt and fear of failure was an ongoing process that eventually made me stronger and more confident.

The new and completely revised edition includes new plants, new garden designs, up-to-date pruning and maintenance techniques, and a fresh new package featuring hundreds of lush photographs. Tell us more about the research you did to update the book.

The updates are based, as Well-Tended has always been, on practical hands-on experience. It was fun to add the many new plants and cultivars that I’ve been growing and pruning since the first edition. Also, it’s exciting to share some of my new design projects and the lessons of sound horticultural practices for bed prep, planting, staking, division, and pest control they inspired.

Read the rest of the interview here! or // here to purchase your copy of the new book!

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Spending some “Garden Time” in Portland

Recently, I had the chance to appear on the #1 gardening show in the Northwest, “Garden Time” while in Portland, Oregon.  Our topic was my most recent book.

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Get a free copy of my book (and others) from Garden Rant

Over at the Garden Rant blog, they’ve launched their first ever “short fiction” contest….99 words or less.  (now that is really short!).   Click here to visit their site to enter. One of the prizes includes a free copy of “50 High Impact, Low Care Garden Plants”  Enjoy!

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Talking with Joe Gardener

Recently I had the opportunity to be a guest on Joe Lamp’l’s
“Growing a Greener World” podcast.   I’m sure that many of you know Joe from his role as host on GardenSmart on PBS as well as his appearances on Today, Good Morning America, Victory Garden, etc.  He is a great spokesperson for the gardening world and spending time with him was great fun, so I am repeating Joe’s post from his website about our podcast here so readers of can hear our conversation.

Click Here to Listen Now

Recently Joe Lamp’l interviewed award-winning and best-selling author Tracy DiSabato-Aust to discuss her brand new book, 50 High-Impact, Low-Care Garden Plants. Find out what are the criteria that makes each of these plants pass “Tracy’s test of toughness”. She’s also a popular garden designer and international presenter on perennial gardening, design and sustainability. They also talk about her previous best selling books and more…

Note to readers:  You can also subscribe  to Joe’s “Growing a Greener World Podcast” by using the links below

Zune iTunes RSS Feed

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So you want to be an author?

I’m often asked for publishing advice from people on gardening as well as non-gardening topics. I’m by no means the authority but I share what has worked for me with my three books…First you must truly believe in your topic and have a passion for it as well as lots of firsthand experience. Writing articles for various magazines, newsletters and even blogging is often a good way to start with topics you are interested in writing about in book form. See the response from these other venues first–learn what “issues” people are drawn to so you can accentuate those in your writing/marketing angle. Speaking on the topic is also a great way to make yourself the “expert” on it as well as to accurately learn people’s responses and see your weaknesses on the topic. Remember you have to learn in order to teach. Research you topics extensively and learn from other’s success and failure. What would make your book a contribution that’s not been offered before? There is a lot of ground work that goes down first before the book can be written. Try to find a publisher who will accept your proposal before you write the whole book or consider the pros/cons of self publishing. Once you commit to the book follow your dream and remain indomitable through the process. Then market with abandon, as it’s no use to have a book and a message to share if no one reads it!!  Good Luck and Happy Writing!

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Valentine’s Day is coming soon!

Valentine’s Day is approaching — candy is bad for your waistline, cut flowers die, jewelry is expensive, and picking a perfume is a risk—Give a gift your honey can sink their teeth into without guilt and one that will last forever,yet not break the bank!! Give a gardening book!!

A gardening book will remind your sweety of you every time they pick it up.  Sign the inside with a heartfelt message and a few hugs and kisses for good measure, and you’ve created a keepsake!  Plus…the flowers inside the pages won’t be dead by President’s day! So many great little time, but some picks appropriate for the occasion include…

  • Hot Plants for Cool Climates: Gardening with Tropical Plants in Temperate Zones by Susan A. Roth and Dennis Schrader
  • Intimate Gardens: Brooklyn Botanic Garden All-Region Guides by C. Colston Burrell with Lucy Hardiman or The Intimate Garden by Gordon and Mary Hayward
  • Monet’s Passion: Ideas, Inspiration and Insights from the Painter’s Gardens by Elizabeth Murray
  • Scents in Your Garden by Stephen Lacey (better than perfume!)
  • The Jewel Box Garden by Thomas Hobbs

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Notes from the road: January 2009

The January 2009 lectures launching 50 High-Impact, Low-Care Plants have been fun and exciting. I kicked things off with the Landscape Contractors Association in Maryland. We had 3.5 hours to discuss Tough But Beautiful Plants and the importance of “spreading the word” of all the mental, physical, and emotional benefits of gardening with dynamic yet sustainable plants. I flew from Maryland to West Virginia to talk with the West Virginia Nursery and Landscape Association. The hour flew by there and then I went to Taylor Books, Charleston, WV for a signing. What a treat to find out that the owner Ann Saville had an interesting rooftop garden featuring several of the “50 Plants” in my new book. (see photos). A day later I was back in Columbus Ohio for the annual P.L.A.N.T. day sponsored by the Perennial Plant Association, The Ohio State University Master Gardener Volunteers, and my mentor Steven Still (see photo). What an honor to launch this new book as I had launched The Well-Tended Perennial Garden 11 years ago and The Well-Designed Mixed Garden 6 years ago. Lots of my long time gardening friends and associates attended the event and it was great to share in the joy of this new topic. The following morning I spoke at The Ohio State University Nursery Short Course and again it was a treat to be with so many colleagues. On Friday of that week I was the keynote speaker for The Western New York State Nursery and Landscape Association in Hamburg NY. Attendance was good despite yet more snow overnight and it was great to have not only professionals but numerous students in the audience. The Buffalo News ran a nice article that morning (see inset) as did in the days that followed. I’d like to thank all the sponsors of these talks for their support and commitment to education.

I hope to share with you along the way some of the frequently asked questions from lecture participants as I’m sure they may be some of the same questions you have.

Q. Are these plants readily available? A. Many of the plants are readily available while a few other will take a bit of digging to find—after all many things worth having take at least a touch of effort — as I responded to one e-mail “In the book High-Impact you will find 2.5 pages of sources listed in the back and another 5 pages in the back of Well-Designed. Also now with the internet at our fingertips all plants can be found by typing in their names and source. I’ve done design work for over 25 years and to create exceptional gardens a notch above the “ordinary” often a bit of diligence is necessary to obtain superior plants. Also our demand as designers/gardeners forces the market to supply quality material. At times I’ve ordered from over 60 nurseries nationwide. I hope this is helpful.”

Q. Is the Graham Thomas woodbine honeysuckle (Lonicera periclymenum ‘Graham Thomas”) invasive? A. NO none of the plants in 50 High Impact are invasive. The honeysuckle that are often considered invasive threats are L. japonica, L. maackii, and L. tatarica.

Q. You keep referring to “Trophy Plants”. What is that again?  A. A trophy plant has all 12 of the 12 maintenance traits we are looking for in a low maintenance plant. For example Arkansas amsonia (Amsonia hubrichtii) which is drought, deer, pests, & disease resistant, doesn’t require staking, numerous prunings or deadheading, frequent division, is cold/heat/humidity tolerant, non-invasive and long lived. On top of that it has season long interest, outstanding texture and architectural form.

Q. On a more personal note—“What do you eat?” A. I eat like and athlete because I compete in triathlons for the USA team—lean complete protein, good wholegrain carbs, fruits, veggies, good fats (olive & flax oil), and lots of water. Yum Yum!!

Q. How old is Zach now?—many readers remember Zach from his picture in Well-Tended when he was a toddler and local lecture participants remember him visiting nurseries or laying out designs with me while riding in a baby backpack. A. Believe it or not he’s 19 years old and he put the creative PowerPoint lecture together that we’ve been enjoying in this talk!

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Garden Rant interviews Tracy

The popular blog GardenRant catches up with Tracy on the lecture tour.  Read Elizabeth Licata’s coverage of the event in Buffalo and a brief interview here and here.

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A book launch tea party

Accomplishments are really only rendered special when they can be shared with those you love. I had the fortune of being surrounded by some of my dearest friends as we celebrated the release of my newest book. It was cold and snowy outside but spring was in our hearts as we laughed, sipped tea by the fire, munched cookies and talked about plants, flowers, family, dogs, and of course…more plants. These are the times that make our memories. Thank you to my friends and family for their support and enthusiasm, of not only this, but of all my small feats.

(L-R) Virginia Oswald, Janet Lehr, Karen Richards, Deb Goff, Nanette Welch, Kathy Cox, Gail Duris and my four-legged darling…Sasha xo

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A free sneak peek at “50 High-Impact, Low Care Garden Plants”

For a free sneak peek at 50 High-Impact, Low-Care Garden Plants click here.… You will be able to preview 25% of the book–going through the introduction to page 40  and enjoy some of the photographs.   I hope this whets your appetite for more!   Let others know about this link by simply clicking on the “Share This” button below.   That button makes it convenient for you to easily email this article, bookmark it, post it to MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, etc.   Help me spread the word on this new book, and let’s start getting ready for Spring!

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