The Gossler Guide to the Best Hardy Shrubs

One of the most highly regarded nurseries on the West Coast, the forty-year-old Gossler Farms Nursery is a hobby-turned-horticultural wonderland carved out of the farm fields of Oregon’s Willamette Valley. The Gossler family—Marjory and sons Roger and Eric—are dedicated to finding the best selections of each of the plants they grow. Woody plants are their specialty, and this guide to hardy shrubs offers readers a review of 350 of their favorite choices.

Extensive travel throughout North America and around the world has permitted Roger Gossler to gather the best newly discovered species and recently introduced cultivars of shrubs from plant collectors, public gardens, and other nurseries. After testing in the nursery’s display garden, the truly exceptional plants were put into production and added to the catalog. This guide is an expansion of that catalog.

Reading The Gossler Guide is like walking through the display garden with one of the Gossler family. The informal style, the depth of knowledge about the plants, and the passion with which the information is shared lends the book a personal quality that is totally engaging.

And the selection of plants is exceptional. The Gossler’s fascination with magnolias and their kin, species rhododendrons, hydrangeas, and witch hazels fills many pages, but that’s only the start. From Abeliophyllum to Zenobia, the array of shrubs presented is sufficient to fill any garden with choice plants.

Introductory chapters present the history of the nursery, stories of the sources of the plants offered, and the importance of understanding climate and growing conditions to help in the selection of shrubs that will succeed and satisfy. Their breakdown of plant categories—from Old War Horses to Tender Mercies and Just Plain Fun—is both enlightening and entertaining. Care and Maintenance offers a personal guide to cultivating these shrubs, and concluding lists suggest shrubs for specific purposes. For those passionate about hardy shrubs, this is a book not to be missed.

Richard G Turner Jr, editor