Need Help?

Allan designs and plants flowering gardens in Montreal, Zone 5 [USDA Zone 4] .

See website, design work and favorite flowering plants at

Consultation and coaching for do-it-yourselfers is provided. Occasional emailed questions are welcome and answered free of charge. Oui, je parle francais.

See my work on Pinterest at Garden Guru Montreal

Entries in low-maintenace plants (1)


50 High-Impact, Low-Care Garden Plants: Book Review for











50 High-Impact, Low-Care Garden Plants                      Tracy Disabato-Aust, Timber Press

Easy care plants that require little or no maintenance are favorites of mine.

Like many other people, time is a rare commodity for me and I must manage it wisely, even in my own garden. Every now and then I focus on a perennial that I have been growing for many years. I marvel how easy it is to care for and how well it blooms, even when neglected. Perennial gardeners wish that all of their plants would behave like that. Nature, however, only cooperates with us to a limited extent. It requires research to learn about such plants and it is reassuring to discover that some garden writers are doing that work for us.

With the publication of this book, Tracy Disabato-Aust has given us a gift. For the novice gardener, the author supplies a list of plants that will help create an eye-catching low-maintenance garden. The seasoned gardener, on the other hand, may discover several plants previously ignored but still worthy of consideration. The reader should bear in mind that the plant list comes with the usual restrictions based on the amount of sunlight and humidity available in ones garden as well as recommended hardiness zones.

According to the author, and we gardeners are all in agreement, a plant must exhibit the following five characteristics to be considered high impact:-

  • Multi seasonal interest
  • Colorful foliage
  • Long lasting bloom
  • Outstanding texture
  • Architectural form

In addition, there are 12 traits that the author looks for in evaluating low-maintenance plants. Each of the 50 mentioned in this book demonstrate at least 10 out of the 12 traits:

  • Long lived
  • Tolerance for heat and humidity
  • Cold hardy
  • Deer resistant
  • Insect and disease resistant
  • Minimal or no deadheading
  • Thrives without heavy fertilization
  • Requires no staking
  • Infrequent or no division required for four years or more
  • Infrequent or no pruning required to maintain neat appearance or best  flowering
  • Non-invasive
  • Drought tolerant

This is a very welcome publication because the topic contributes to the dialogue on sustainable gardening. There is a movement in the landscape community to try and develop gardens that require very little resources such as water or fertilizer and that require almost no maintenance to keep them alive. The list of plants in this publication addresses these issues admirably.

Another welcome trait of this book is the opportunity offered to the reader to discover important plants that might have been overlooked. This reviewer was delighted to learn about a cultivar of a perennial that is hardly known in the gardening community. It is called Thalictrum Erin. I have always been a Thalictrum fan and I grow a lot of it in my garden. But I have never seen anything quite like this one. It is the tallest of all Thalictrum, growing up to 96 inches in height without staking and yet never exceeding 36 inches in width. My “eureka” moment occurred as soon as I found this information in the book. Now, I need to find this plant for my garden.

In order to understand how Ms, Disabato-Aust compiled the list of 50 plants; it is helpful to study her style of landscaping. Hers are exquisitely designed gardens that are not just flower beds but are, instead, foliage and textural compositions that include shrubs, trees and perennials. All of the plants used in the author's work are chosen for the synergistic effect they have on the viewer when used in combination with other plants. The reader should feel confident that, by including a selection from the list of 50 plants, it is possible to create an attractive garden.

Tracy Disabato-Aust has earned international acclaim as one of America’s most entertaining and knowledgeable garden writers and professional speakers. This book is just one of her many accomplishments.