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The great illusion of the desert is that is appears barren, but there is life and beauty visible only to the keen eyed beholder." Maureen "Mo"Gilmer is one of the keen eyed peopleshe has been gardening for the past thirty years and shares her expertise in "YardSmart," a nationally syndicated column in Scripps Howard News Service newspapers across the country. She also appears on the DIY Network, hosting and designing for the show "Weekend Gardening." She has authored 15 books on gardening and the environment, lectured on multiple gardening topics, and is a member of The Authors Guild and Garden Writers Association of America. All of this expertise is put to good use when teaching the southern gardener. Because of the hostile climateheat, sun exposure, and windgardening in the Coachella Valley can be a tricky endeavor. Many plants even stop their photosynthesis due to the stressful high temperatures. Dryland gardening is based on years of trial and error and Gilmer has gathered the do's and don'ts in an easy-to-follow book for people of all gardening levels. She begins the book with an overview of plants that do and do not grow in the desert. She discusses growing in the extreme heat, the light frosts, and the wind that sideline many beginning gardeners. She presents outlines of the two main Coachella Valley growing seasons: fall and winter. In these outlines she includes ideal planting times, watering schedules, and relocation plans for those frosty nights. Getting deeper into the book, she discusses growing instructions for specific plants such as palms, cacti, and grasses. Speckling her growing directions with "Mo Tips" is an incredibly helpful tool. The tips are locatedthroughout the book as sidebars and offer informative tidbits that aid the novice gardener in their growing endeavors. At the end of each chapter, she has a wrap-up section called "This Chapter in a Nutshell." It highlights the key elements she would like each gardener to take away from the chapter without coming across like a school textbook. This book is a great tool for gardeners of all levels. Gilmer maps out the downfalls and successes of harvesting a dryland garden, aiding in the reader's visualization with beautiful photographs of different plant species. It is highly organized, informative, and once a person is done reading it, they feel they can begin their gardening efforts in the dry, Southern states. -- Rhiannon Ross "Foreward"