Help pick pics for Sustainable Gardening book



You may know Ginny Stibolt is a frequent commenter here and as author of Adventures of a Transplanted Gardener.  The title refers to her status as an emigre to Florida and one of the many gardeners there  having to practically learn to garden all over again.

What you might not know is that Ginny’s been hired by the University Press of Florida to write the definitive guide to environmentally responsible gardening for the state: Sustainable Gardening for Florida.   After two years of research and writing – and the exhaustive vetting required for any government publication – it was just about finished when the budget guys decided they COULD afford to include 8 pages of color photos in the middle of the book, but which to choose? 

That’s where we come in.  Help Ginny and her publishers pick the photos that’ll grab potential readers’ attention and maybe illustrate something in the text.  A selection of possible photos is here on her website and your job is to choose your top choices (up to 10) AND nominate the cover photo.   Post your choices in a comment here, through August 15.  Just so you’ll know what subjects the photos may be illustrating, the chapter titles of the book are:

1. Introduction to
Sustainability. 2. Gardening Strategies. 3.Compost and Mulch. 4. Smaller, More
Sustainable Lawns. 5. Habitats and Meadows. 6. Trees and Shrubs.  7. Container
Gardens.  8. Edible Gardens.  9. Integrated Pest Management.  10. Water and
Irrigation.  11. Harvesting Rainwater.  12. Rain Gardens, Bioswales, and Bog
Gardens.  13. Waterfront Gardening: Dealing with Salt, Sand, Muck, and Erosion.  14. Preparing for Disasters: Hurricanes and Fires.


Ginny will put all the respondents’
names in a hat and choose 2 to receive the book Ginny300as soon as
it comes out next
year.  She tells me that much of the book is useful for gardeners anywhere, even outside of Florida, and that, of course, the winners could give
the book to a Floridian and "Doesn’t
everyone know someone in Florida??"

Photo right – my online acquaintance with Ginny turned real-world last week when she visited me and my garden.


  1. Great photos! My favorites:
    #19 the spider on the sunflower
    #31 Butterfly on the zinnia
    #40 Orb Spider and web
    #50 Bee on the sunflower
    #54 Praying Mantis

    I’m partial to insects and spiders, so I think #50 would make a wonderful cover, especially with the decrease of bees for the past 2 years.

  2. My top 10:
    1, 4, 7, 11, 19, 22, 31, 46, 50, 55

    I’d use #50 for the cover as it is a very clear, sharp, well-composed photo and has a pollinator in it. 🙂

    Good luck with the book!

  3. Photos 4, 10, 12, 14, 20, 25, 28b, 31, 35, 55 illustrate several of the chapters well.

    For the cover, photo 22, 31, or 50.

    Thanks for allowing us to participate in your project.

  4. Hard to choose…so many are great. My favs:
    27, 19, 5, 32, 15, 18, 22, 24, 28a/b, 37 & 40

    I love the idea of using the parasitized caterpillers or one of the images showing multiple pollenators on one flower together for the cover. So many choices!

    Thanks for inviting us to participate!

  5. Hi GardenRant Gals, and congrats to Ginny on the book.

    My top picks:
    1, 4, 5, 10, 13, 14, 18, 19, 21, 24

    Cover: 19

    Thanks for the opportunity to join in the fun!


  6. Thanks Susan for letting me borrow your well-informed and opinionated readers.

    Thanks to all you Garden Rant readers for your feedback–it will be quite helpful in narrowing down the choices. The eight pages of color photos will be ganged in the center of the book and will be important in the selling of the book, because anyone who picks up the book will look there first. So it’s a daunting task to choose the best ones. I look forward to many responses.

    FYI, there will also be 30 line drawings within the text to illustrate various projects and situations.

  7. Ginny is a near neighbor to my NC resident gardeners wintering grounds in Orange Park Florida and being that I grew up in North Florida and an alumni of UF, I thought I could pick pictures that say Florida gardening to me.

    The ones I like are 4,5,7,10,20,30,32,33,34, and 38. I think 50 would make a good cover since colony collapse disorder has been in the news and would appeal to folks desire to help the environment.

  8. I currently live in NW Florida and grew up gardening in Jacksonville — in between I gardened in Tallahassee ~ So here is my .02.
    6 – the wild azalea – this is the only azalea I would consider growing – they are heavenly.
    27a&b – more people need to look at root systems before they purchase
    31 – zinnia – they are just the best annual ever –
    39 – yellow rain lilies are just wonderful and a great plant that you don’t see that much
    55 – I like the wasp moths – I’ve never seen (or noticed perhaps) them before – I’ll be on the lookout now.
    29 – micro-climates – I’m not a fan of those rocks, but the photo really explains the concept in one simple image.
    14 – I’m a huge fan of rain barrels -we get so much rain that any we can save is great for the landscape and prevents runoff.
    Thanks for being interested in our input ~~~

  9. Top Ten Pix: 7 10 11 14 16 26 29 31 37 50

    The Cover Shot: 46

    Here’s to life in the slow lane…sustainably. Less lawn, more wild life habitat.

  10. I chose most of these photos for their beauty, but more importantly because they show the connection between native plants and the beneficial insects they attract. If you plant it, they will come …
    In order of my preference:
    #55 – polka dotted wasps: exceptional that the humble beggar tick attracts such beauty
    #47 – vegetative buffer: doesn’t this one just say Florida all over it?
    #32 – hairstreak & wasp on fleabane: again a low key plant that’s a beauty magnet
    #7 – butterfly weed: gorgeous color
    #19 – spider on sunflower
    #22 – butterfly gardens
    #35 – toad in pot: even container gardens attract wildlife
    #37 – wren babies: more wildlife in jar; what fun to have a maternity ward on your doorstep!
    #36 – hand chopping: not a beauty shot, but illustrates that hard work is the second step [vision, knowledge and desire are first; results shown in the plant/animal pictures are the payoff]

  11. Chp. 3 – #52.
    Chp. 14 – I had to vote for #20 since that’s my house in the background after one of the storms of 2004 or 2005.
    I like #31 for the cover.

  12. My picks: 10, 4, 19, 30, 32, 34, 40, 49, 52 and 55.

    I like #6 for the cover because I have a huge soft spot for wild azaleas; however, I agree with everyone else on #50 – great photo and would make a stunning cover shot.

  13. I’m posting this for Dianne who emailed me instead. Please post your picks here so everyone can see. Thanks. Ginny

    Can’t wait for your book to come out. As an amateur photographer and gardener I really got into this project. Thanks for asking!

    Cover: picture 55 offers a strong color contrast and a striking example of animal and plant interaction. If the layout does not lend itself to the text placement I suggest using picture 31 which is very colorful

    Chapter 1 – picture 47; gardening as a way of honoring the beauty of nature
    Chapter 2 – picture 29, ingenious way of creating a low maintenance focal point
    Chapter 4 – picture 31 (if not using this for the cover) – nice to see the butterfly with wings partly open instead of resting
    Chapter 5 – picture 32 of 2 different insects in a meadow environment – nice feeling of spontaneity
    Chapter 6 – either picture 2, which is a gorgeous picture, or 6 which highlights how beautiful a native bush, that’s often overlooked, can be
    Chapter 7 – picture 37; I realize that the container garden picture in St. Augustine is very striking, but who would think to provide a container nest for birds – what a great project for young children!
    Chapter 8 – picture 4 I like the carrot coming right out of the garden – shows movement.
    Chapter 9 – picture 19 – that is a really nice action shot, and something you don’t often see in gardening books
    Chapter 11 – Cascading rain barrels picture 14, that’s impressive!
    Chapter 12 – 9, 30, 53, or 28b, depending on whether you want to show a rain garden, or emphasize the beautiful plants that can be used in them.
    Chapter 13 – Picture 13. using appropriate buffer plants helps to ensure the health of the pond and all the life it supports. This is important for water retention ponds that often simply get sodded with high maintenance grass.

    If it turns out you have to discard one, I’d vote for the carrot, not because it isn’t a great picture, but I’m not sure that carrots are as impressive to the novice grower as other garden-type fruits/veggies/herbs.


  14. Wow – all nice photos. There are lots of pretty flower books out there, but as someone looking to develop a 10-acre parcel from “scratch” I’d buy the book based on usefulness for my project. That means my favorites are 8,14,15,18,26,28,34,36,37 (love those wrens!), 38,39,41ab, 43 (thoughtful), 47, 52. Cover: egret/gator. I look forward to the book.

  15. 1. Introduction to Sustainability: no vote, recommend more photos for selection
    2. Gardening Strategies: no vote, recommend more photos for selection
    3.Compost and Mulch: photo # 24
    4. Smaller, More Sustainable Lawns: no vote, recommend more photos for selection
    5. Habitats and Meadows: photo # 22
    6. Trees and Shrubs: photo # 2
    7. Container Gardens: photo # 11
    8. Edible Gardens: photo # 4
    9. Integrated Pest Management: photo # 19
    10. Water and Irrigation: photo # 18
    11. Harvesting Rainwater: photo # 14
    12. Rain Gardens, Bioswales, and Bog Gardens: photo # 3
    13. Waterfront Gardening: Dealing with Salt, Sand, Muck, and Erosion: no vote, recommend more photos for selection
    14. Preparing for Disasters: Hurricanes and Fires: photo # 20

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