As if the usual horticultural challenges aren't enough, gardeners in the Southwest have lately faced additional trials, like sudden freezes and prolonged drought. If you're feeling a bit stressed, fellow gardener David Wann offers words of comfort in The Zen of Gardening in the High and Arid West (Fulcrum Publishing, 2003; $18). Here are some examples.
"Go easy on yourself. Gardening is best practiced without shame, doubt, regret, envy, or dread. The only good garden is a no-guilt garden."
"If at first you don't succeed, keep planting. Wipe the slate clean by burying the evidence and hauling it to the compost pile."
"Harvest the intangibles. It's not just food we're after, but knowledge, serenity, and calmness...Remember what gardens do best is help gardeners grow."
Besides such philosophical advice, Wann passes along practical pointers on growing everything from asparagus to edamame. Wann's lists of flowers, trees, and shrubs are especially useful for gardeners in Sunset climate zones 1a-3b.