Three great books for desert gardeners have appeared in the past six months and we’re thinking now would be a good time to highlight them. All three are in stock at Southwest Gardener.

“Cool Plants For Hot Gardens” is full of extensive info on about 200 low-water-use plants that are either native or well adapted to the southwestern U.S. Greg Starr, owner of Starr Nursery in Tucson, offers key notes for each entry including if the plant attracts hummers, butterflies, its success in containers or whether it works near a pool. Best of all there’s a photo with each entry. This is a must-have encyclopedic-like reference if you garden in desert areas of Arizona, New Mexico, Texas or California. Our absolute favorite entry appears early in the book. It is labeled “Avoiding Pruning Atrocities”. If you guessed it’s a balled-up shrub, you’re right.

“Succulent Container Gardens” is Debra Lee Baldwin’s gift to succulent lovers. Here you’ll find an eye-popping array of plant pairings in containers and spaces you might never have imagined possible. Baldwin covers how to pair pots with plants, plant care and propagation, and creative displays on walls, in wreaths, hanging baskets and as floral displays. This is a book full of ideas.

“Water Wise Plants For The Southwest” deals with the nature of gardening and how to do it in a water-conscious way. The beauty of this book is its collaborative approach. Arizona’s own Mary Irish is one of four experts advice on 150 plants – everything from proper planting to efficient watering. There are sections on southwestern soils, design tips and how plants share space. We find the “water-wise wisdom” and “something you should know” tips especially helpful