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Elegant Silvers: Striking Plants for Every Garden

By Jo Ann Gardner and Karen Bussolini

A bible, if you will, of the increasingly popular plants with the metallic moniker.

Metropolitan Home

Silver plants bring a luminous beauty to the landscape. Their distinctive colors, textures, and silhouettes enrich garden design; their ability to withstand extremes of heat, cold, drought, wind, and, for variegated silvers, shade makes them indispensable for gardeners. The geographic range of silver plants is broader than many assume. Silver conifers evoke snowy, colder regions and thrive in the most frigid sites. Even in four-season climates where they are frost tender, stunning agaves, yuccas, and echeverias can be grown outdoors in containers, then wintered over indoors, while other silvers, including tropicals like the downy-leaved Plectranthus argentatus, can be treated as annuals. In this comprehensive and inspirational compendium, silver aficionados Jo Ann Gardner and Karen Bussolini have selected and vividly illustrated the best candidates for a broad range of growing and design needs. Whether you decide to add a dash of quicksilver or the soothing perfume of an ancient herb, this in-depth guide to plants of uncommon beauty and versatility is certain to change the way you see and plant your garden.

Media reviews

"Consistently excellent composition and color reproduction of the nearly 120 photos by coauthor Bussolini ... highly recommended."

—G. D. Dreyer, Choice

"This book is a gold mine and a cause for celebration: a well-researched guide to silvery plants that thrive in this region."

—Lili Singer, Los Angeles Times

"Whether you decide to add a dash of quicksilver or the soothing perfume of an ancient herb, this in-depth guide to plants of uncommon beauty is certain to change the way you see and plant your garden."

Herb Companion

"So well written and amply illustrated with outstanding photographs, it will remain a work that lovers of gardening will keep in their permanent collection."

—Frank La Rosa, Del Mar Village Voice

"A must-have book that will help you introduce silver into your garden. It is beneficial for anyone, not just shade gardeners. I love the chapter on designing with silvers. The plant lists, such as "Beautiful Silvers for Tough Places," really help. ... Well worth it."

—Linda Cobb, Spartanburg Herald-Journal

"This in-depth guide to plants of uncommon beauty and versatility is certain to change the way you see and plant your garden."

Michigan Gardener

"It is a volume to savor, to come back to time and again, to display and to treasure."

—Kathleen Halloran, Herb Companion

"Karen's love of silvers runs through the book in both words and photos."

—Irene Virag, Newsday

"A book to think about and admire ... as handsome as the many plants it describes."

—Anne Farrow, Hartford Courant

"This will be the plant bible that saves your garden from the fires of hell ... Text-rich and Latin-heavy, this is a perfect reference for serious gardeners and thirsty gardens."

—Marianne Binetti, Seattle Post-Intelligencer

"The book pays homage to the breadth and variety of silvers, with photographs that Ms. Bussolini compiled over several years of visiting public and private gardens around the country, and offers detailed practical advice for incorporating them into your garden."

—Tamara Tragakiss, Litchfield County Times Monthly

"There is something refreshing about a patch of silver in the garden."

—Jean Starr, Northwest Indiana Times

"Karen Bussolini and Jo Ann Gardner have selected and illustrated the best candidates for a broad range of growing and design needs."

Perennial Plant Association Newsletter

" Elegant Silvers is the first comprehensive reference guide to these plants published in this country."

—Bruce Morse, Lakeville Journal

"Every aspect of plants with silver foliage is covered in this valuable new book."

—Graham Rice, American Gardener

"A bible, if you will, of the increasingly popular plants with the metallic moniker."

Metropolitan Home

"Helpful information on growing and placing each plant, and the best varieties to use."

—Joanne S. Carpender, National Gardener

"Whether you decide to add a dash of quicksilver or the soothing perfume of an ancient herb, this in-depth guide to plants of uncommon beauty and versatility is certain to change the way you see and plant your garden."

Sierra Heritage Magazine

"Here is a guide, and a grand one, for the growing and placing of plants defined as 'silver.'"

—Jim Dronenburg, Water Gardener

"I can now recommend Elegant Silvers ... as an excellent 'how-to-have-a-silver-garden' guide."

—John Witworth, Dig This!

"Highly recommended for any gardener or landscaper who wants to take horticultural design to the next level of creativity and depth of luminous beauty."

Biology Digest

"This book will open your eyes to the vast array of silver-foliaged plants ... The photography is as useful as the words in helping the authors make their points and helping the reader to clearly understand the messages being conveyed. A must-have reference book for all serious gardeners."

—Lorraine Ballato, Housatonic Home

"Informative, practical, illustrated with color photographs. While I've long recognized the uses of silvery plants, I now have a greater appreciation for these stunning and oh-so-useful plants. Who would not want some of these shimmering beauties in the garden?"

—Ethel Fried, Manchester (CT) Journal Inquirer

"If you're looking for some great new plants to try, look no further!"

Country Almanac

"Full of wonderful ideas on how to utilize some of the more tender varietal annuals and has a particularly useful appendix of "Beautiful Silvers for Tough Places." In all, an elegant volume on a much needed subject."

—Michael Weishan, Michael Weishan's World of Gardening

"It is a rigorous, informative book and a good read. The experienced authors allow themselves enthusiasms that reach out to the reader."

—Jill Billington, Garden (Peterborough)

"More than half of this new book is devoted to plant-by-plant rundowns of seductive silvers, but it also tells how to use silvers well in the garden and shows some great examples from around the world."

Harrisburg Patriot-News

"The choices are as varied as your imagination and your sense of design. A sterling presentation."

—George Graine, Graine Thumb

About the authors

Jo Ann Gardner

For 30 years, Jo Ann Gardner and her husband operated a hand- and horse-powered farm on Cape Breton Island. They now live in the Adirondacks where they have a small farm with extensive gardens. Gardner writes, lectures, and conducts classes on herbs, heirlooms, hardy roses, and biblical flora.

Read more about Jo Ann Gardner

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Karen Bussolini

Photographer for The Naturescaping Workbook, Karen Bussolini has been a gardener for as long as she can remember, and specializes in garden photography, writing, and lecturing. She sees connections between disciplines and has long been involved in organic, environmentally conscious gardening.

Read more about Karen Bussolini

Want this author to speak at your event? Visit the Timber Press Speakers Bureau

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