Ketzel Levine writes about plants with the authoritative background of a botanist, the cheeky style of a woman whose VW bears the bumper sticker QUESTION AUTHORITY!, and an unabashed love for her favorite flowers. This collection of plant profiles draws from her popular weekly column in The Oregonian, and is illustrated with Renee Eisenbart’s lush watercolor paintings. Ketzel has selected 100 plants that thrive in the Pacific Northwest’s mild soggy winters and temperate dry summers—although we are not labeling this a Northwest plant book. (These plants will work elsewhere, of course, but the hardiness limitations will limit their successful planting in places where winters are long and cold.) What appeals to Ketzel are the unusual, the undervalued, the intoxicatingly fragrant, and those special plants that enslave the gardener with their singular beauty. In other words, the plants she profiles in this book are the ones that she recommends for your garden. So, whether it is clematis cirrhosa (sounds like "feminist mimosa") or ophiopogon (rhymes with "sophie showed logan") or thalictrum (rhymes with "I licked ‘em"), these plants grow well and show off something special in their particular seasons. The book will be organized by season, and each plant will be listed by its Latin name. A prominent box will furnish such details as pronunciation key, common name, basic needs, growing tip, and worst enemy. The profiles offer botanical information, occasional stories from the garden, and always a sense of enthusiasm for what makes this plant so special.
"In this deliciously naughty but entirely legit collection of 100 plant profiles, our Doyenne of Dirt sticks her slightly smudged neck out and picks her favorite gotta-have plants...makes a great gift for any gardener—-if you can bear to give it away."