History and timeline of The Sunset Western Garden Book

Timeline of the Western Garden Book

  • 1935: The book’s first plant selection guide—ancestor of the all new Plant Finder section—was published
  • 1950: Sunset introduced readers to packaged potting soil, which was just developed.
  • 1954: The first Sunset climate zone maps appeared, divided into 13 climate zones. That same year, container gardening was touted as the next big trend.
  • 1970’s: Sunset introduced readers to budding drip irrigation technology and Integrated Pest Management
  • 1972: Sunset pushed for a ban on the pesticide DDT in 1972.
  • 1982: Sunset introduced Xeriscaping (water conserving landscaping)
  • 1988: Easy composting was introduced, plus the first four-color photo gallery of Western gardens.
  • 1995: Sunset refined and expanded the climate zone maps, setting gardeners up for greater success despite the growing demands on their time.
  • 2001: Sunset introduced “natural-sustainable” gardening, well before the idea went mainstream;  the encyclopedia was expanded to include 2,000 plants.


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