The New Western Garden Book

The New Western Garden Book

Sunset Magazine

The climates aren't as clear cut on the western side of the country. Once you cross the Rocky Mountains, the country becomes a mottled collection of microclimates that can vary greatly within just a few miles. I live in USDA zone 5, but my home sits on hill over a river valley and the climate is closer to a zone 6 most years. My old home, five short miles away, was a definite zone 4 and experienced frost a full four weeks longer than at my current home.

The “New Western Garden Book” by the editors at Sunset Magazine tackles the issues that plague western gardeners, from our much more changeable climate to the plants that thrive here. Much of the west suffers from drought issues, so we can't always grow the same plants or grow them in the same manner as those who share our zone on the east coast.


The new edition features 500 more plants than previous versions, giving us more information and greater choice when planting our gardens. It includes trees and shrubs, foliage plants, flowers, vegetables, and even herbs.


The plant encyclopedia within lists 8,000 plants and their care requirements, including which of the “Sunset Zones” they thrive in. Sunset zones differ from USDA zones, and our only applicable in the west. In our region. For example, both Seattle and parts of Arizona are a zone 8, but growing conditions vary drastically in the two places. The Sunset Garden Book and Sunset zones provide a more in depth analysis of these differences and provide a more suitable guide for planting.