Encyclopedia of Garden Plants for Every Location

More than 3,000 Plant Recommendations
Encyclopedia of Garden Plants for Every Location

Book CoverChoose the perfect plant for 30 garden locations, from a sunny border in clay soil to a shady woodland site or soggy pond perimeter.

Planning your garden has never been easier, with a comprehensive range of more than 3,000 plants organized by size and situation.

Simple recipes show you how to create beautiful beds, borders, and garden designs.

A Special Effects section helps you find plants with fragrant, colorful, or architectural properties and offers solutions to common problems and pests, such as slugs, rabbits, and deer


Each year Smithsonian Gardens welcomes over 30 million visitors to 180 landscaped acres in Washington, DC. Our lush gardens along the National Mall are “living museums” created to complement the collections of the world’s largest complex of museums, the Smithsonian Institution.

The talented staff of Smithsonian Gardens faces similar challenges as any other gardener. Overcoming these challenges to create a healthy and beautiful garden is part of what makes gardening enjoyable and rewarding. With the release of our first gardening book, Smithsonian Gardens is proud to extend our educational mission beyond our gardens, sharing our knowledge and passion for creating successful outdoor spaces.

Let the Encyclopedia of Garden Plants for Every Location to inspire you at home. As a comprehensive guide for gardeners of all levels, this book contains helpful information for planting in a wide array of garden conditions and to achieve various garden styles. Remember choosing the proper plant to suit your conditions will lead to a thriving and sustainable garden.

Use the plant recipes or select from the thousands of plants highlighted to design your own unique space. Every garden differs and part of their appeal is in the exploration, with such diverse conditions throughout North America its best to do further investigation with your local extension office or at your neighborhood garden center.

I would like to thank everyone who worked so thoroughly on this project including two members of my staff; horticulturist James Gagliardi, and collections and education manager Cynthia Brown. I have had the honor of serving Smithsonian Gardens for over 30 years and could not be more pleased to present this book to you.

Barbara Faust
Barbara Faust
Director, Smithsonian Gardens

Discover More

Look for the Encyclopedia of Garden Plants for Every Location at the gift shop at the National Museum of Natural History, the National Museum of American History and other book sellers including:


Barnes & Noble

DK Publishing



"One of the hardest things to learn about plants is how to make them happy while maintaining your own sanity. The Smithsonian, then, has done us a great service with the Encylopedia of Garden Plants for Every Location."

-Dominique Browning, The New York Times


"A colorful and highly useful reference. It's not just an encyclopedia of perennials, shrubs and trees, but an illuminating guide to using them in a variety of conditions and a wide range of garden styles."

-Beth Botts, Chicago Tribune

About the Editor

James Gagliardi

James Gagliardi grew up gardening at his family’s 1780’s colonial home in Berlin, Connecticut. He studied horticulture at the University of Connecticut and went on to earn a master’s degree from the Longwood Graduate Program in Public Horticulture at the University of Delaware. James previously served as the horticulturist for River Farm, the headquarters of the American Horticultural Society in Alexandria, Virginia. He is currently a horticulturist with Smithsonian Gardens in Washington, D.C. He is responsible for the landscape surrounding the National Museum of Natural History, including the Butterfly Habitat Garden and the Urban Bird Habitat. He is honored to be the editor of the Smithsonian’s first gardening book, Encyclopedia of Garden Plants for Every Location.