Country Gardens book review & interview at Garden Style San Antonio


It’s an exciting day when you see that Ken Druse, a superstar in the garden-writing world, has reviewed your book. I picked up the the current issue of Country Gardens magazine (Summer 2016) at Barnes & Noble over the weekend…


…and was thrilled to discover my book cover and Ken’s review on pages 106 and 107, along with eight other new garden books “for the green-of-heart.”

The Water-Saving Garden may not be typical beach reading, but feel free to be unconventional! After all, Ken recommends it for your summer reading. Thanks, Ken and Country Gardens!


I’m also delighted to share an interview I did with the most enthusiastic, fun-loving, water-saving gardener I know, Heather Ginsburg of San Antonio Water System (SAWS). Heather and I met as fellow Texas bloggers (her blog is Xericstyle), and she’s become a real-life friend as well. Regular readers may remember my post about visiting her livable, family-friendly San Antonio garden.

I recently talked with Heather about how I got into gardening and blogging, how important social media is for what I do, how I came to write gardening books, and more. You can find the interview online at Garden Style San Antonio. Thank you, Heather and SAWS!

And remember, if you live in central or south Texas, I’d love to see you at my garden talk and book-signing at the Festival of Flowers in San Antonio this Saturday, May 28th. For all the details, click here.

I welcome your comments; please scroll to the end of this post to leave one. If you’re reading this in a subscription email, click here to visit Digging and find the comment box at the end of each post.
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Digging Deeper: News and Upcoming Events

Come see me at Festival of Flowers in San Antonio, May 28, 10:45-11:45 am (new time!). Get inspired to save water in your garden during my presentation at San Antonio’s 19th annual Festival of Flowers. I’ll be at the book-signing table after the talk, with copies of both The Water-Saving Garden and Lawn Gone! available for purchase. Tickets to the all-day festival, which includes a plant sale and exchange, speakers, and a flower show, are available at the door: $6 adults; children under 10 free. Free parking.

Do you review? Have you read my new book, The Water-Saving Garden? If you found it helpful or inspirational, please consider leaving a review — even just a sentence or two — on Amazon, Goodreads, or other sites. Online reviews are crucial in getting a book noticed. I really appreciate your help!

All material © 2006-2016 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

Read This: Gardens of Awe and Folly


Have you ever dawdled over the pages of a book because you didn’t want it to end? Vivian Swift’s Gardens of Awe and Folly: A Traveler’s Journal on the Meaning of Life and Gardening (Bloomsbury, 2016) is one of those books. I find that I’m poring over each page, often laughing aloud over a humorous observation of the author’s, lingering over her watercolor illustrations, and then setting it down, drawing out the pleasure of reading it. Perhaps when I reach the end, I’ll flip to the beginning and start again.


Equal parts travelogue, artist sketchpad, and musings on garden history and design, Gardens of Awe and Folly offers an intimate view of nine gardens (or the gardening culture of a particular place) that the author has visited on her travels. Each chapter is devoted to a garden in Paris, Key West, Marrakesh, New Orleans, Long Island (two gardens), Edinburgh, London, and Rio de Janeiro.

Swift’s conversational observations make you feel as if you’re there with her, and she’s a witty and sparkling companion. She zooms wide enough to set up the history of the place, and then zooms in with a perceptive eye on small but meaningful details: how a gate sets the mood, why a door in a wall entices the imagination, why a Hurricane Katrina survivor planted 12 roses as she rebuilt her home and garden.


It would be easy to mistake Gardens of Awe and Folly for a pretty picture book, and the hand-colored drawings of garden vignettes that fill each page are indeed beautifully rendered. But Swift’s thoughtful and joyful musings about each garden are what make this book such a jewel. Together, her words and watercolors magically transport you to each garden.


The gardens, under Swift’s observant eye and inquisitive musings, are not merely places to visit but exist to help us understand our own place in the world. For example, after sharing the history of an old public garden in Paris, she writes:

Big ideas in small places is what the garden of the Square du Vert-Galant is all about. Here’s what I think: if you ever start to feel as if yours is a measly 2/3 acre life, remember the Square du Vert-Galant. And then nothing about you, your ideas, or your garden will ever feel small again.

All images from the book are used with permission from Bloomsbury. My thanks to Dee of Red Dirt Ramblings for recommending this book, otherwise I might not have discovered it.

I welcome your comments. If you’re reading this in an email, click here to visit Digging and find the comment link at the end of each post.
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Digging Deeper: News and Upcoming Events

Come see me at Festival of Flowers in San Antonio, May 28, 10:30-11:30 am. Get inspired to save water in your garden during my presentation at San Antonio’s 19th annual Festival of Flowers. I’ll be at the book-signing table after the talk, with copies of both The Water-Saving Garden and Lawn Gone! available for purchase. Tickets to the all-day festival, which includes a plant sale and exchange, speakers, and a flower show, are available at the door: $6 adults; children under 10 free. Free parking.

Do you review? Have you read my new book, The Water-Saving Garden? If you found it helpful or inspirational, please consider leaving a review — even just a sentence or two — on Amazon, Goodreads, or other sites. Online reviews are crucial in getting a book noticed. I really appreciate your help!

All material © 2006-2016 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

posted in Books, Design, Travel

My book recommended by Better Homes and Gardens!


Last night I was sprawled on the couch reading the new issue of Better Homes and Gardens (May 2016). Halfway through the magazine, I turned the page and saw the cover of my new book, The Water-Saving Garden, pictured along with four other gardening titles.


“Our favorite new garden titles,” it reads. What an honor! Thank you, BHG, for recommending my book to your readers!

By the way, I second BHG’s recommendation of Bill Thomas’s book, The Art of Gardening, whose design-focused look at the garden Chanticleer, with gorgeous photos by Rob Cardillo, is absolutely wonderful. The other titles look intriguing too. I notice another Ten Speed Press book (my publisher) made BHG’s list, Annie Novak’s The Rooftop Growing Guide.


By the way, if you don’t already subscribe to Better Homes and Gardens, you might consider doing so for their recent renewed focus on gardening content under the leadership of new editor-in-chief Stephen Orr, himself a garden writer and former gardening editorial director for Martha Stewart Living. This issue has a wonderful article, “Raise the Roots” by Debra Prinzing, about the design of an edible garden using Corten steel rings.


Oh yeah, baby! Regular readers know I’m strictly an ornamental gal, but this article tempted even vegetable-shunning me to think about where I might find room for a contemporary-styled veggie patch like this one. Coincidentally, the beautiful design is by fellow Ten Speed Press author Stefani Bittner, who co-authored The Beautiful Edible Garden: Design A Stylish Outdoor Space Using Vegetables, Fruits, and Herbs.

There’s lots of good garden reading for you! I’m thrilled to be included in BHG’s list. So, what garden books are you reading right now? Do share if you’ve found something really good!

I welcome your comments. If you’re reading this in an email, click here to visit Digging and find the comment link at the end of each post.
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Digging Deeper: News and Upcoming Events

I’ll be speaking on April 30, noon-12:30 pm, in Cedar Park, Texas, at Hill Country Water Gardens & Nursery’s Lily Blossom Festival. My free talk is called “How to Garden Water-Wise, Not Water-Wasteful.” An old proverb reminds us that The frog does not drink up the pond in which he lives. Don’t be a water-guzzling frog! I’ll be sharing my tips for making a garden that is water-wise, not water-wasteful. Stick around after my talk for a book signing, with autographed copies of Lawn Gone! and The Water-Saving Garden available for purchase.

Come see me at Festival of Flowers in San Antonio, May 28, time TBA. Learn more about water-saving gardening during my talk at San Antonio’s 19th annual Festival of Flowers. Get a signed copy of my book after the talk. Tickets to the all-day festival, which includes a plant sale and exchange, speakers, and a flower show, are available at the door: $6 adults; children under 10 free. Free parking.

Do you review? Have you read my new book, The Water-Saving Garden? If you found it helpful or inspirational, please consider leaving a review — even just a sentence or two — on Amazon, Goodreads, or other sites. Online reviews are crucial in getting a book noticed. I really appreciate your help!

I’m on Instagram as pamdigging. See you there!

All material © 2006-2016 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

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