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Web Extra: Q&A With Fort Worth Horticulturist and Local Author Steve Huddleston

Sep 16, 2015 04:29PM ● Published by Kevin

Senior Horticulturist at Fort Worth Botanic Garden Steve Huddleston is also a published author. His 2009 book "Easy Gardens for North Central Texas" (co-authored with Pamela Crawford) shows beginners and experienced gardeners alike how to create gorgeous gardens with the easiest, colorful, low water plants that north central Texas has to offer.

The book features more than 1,000 spectacular photos of annuals, perennials, shrubs, and trees that thrive with little or no irrigation and only require minutes of care per year - plants that can breeze through hot, humid, Texas summers while attracting butterflies, birds and hummingbirds. Shop for plants like a pro by taking the book with you to garden centers and checking out the latest information on the newest plants around from people who have grown them!

Create traffic-stopping color combinations from the over 150 easy examples shown. The book is extremely easy to follow, with thousands of color photographs, as well as many budget gardening tips. For Dallas/Fort Worth and 50 surrounding counties. Area includes Wichita Falls, Sherman, Denton, Arlington, Fort Worth, Dallas, Abilene, Temple, Kileen, and Waco. It can be found on Amazon 
here.

We caught up with Huddleston to talk about the book and more in this special web exclusive Q&A to supplement our upcoming September-October edition.

Mansfield Magazine: 
Take us through book-writing process from beginning to end.

Steve Huddleston: I decided to co-author the book the day the publisher called me. This was too good an opportunity to turn down. Besides, I had two children in college at the time, and I needed extra money! The biggest challenge was carving out time to do the research and writing for the book. I wanted to collect the most accurate and up-to-date information I could. After submitting my written material to the publisher, I spent a lot of time editing the material. I had to go over everything with a fine-toothed comb. It’s quite possible to overlook mistakes even after you’ve looked at something three, four, and five times! 

MM: Do you have plans of another book?
 

Huddleston: 
Not at this point. 
A publisher has not asked me to write another book. I would certainly need a publisher’s endorsement to write another book. 

MM: How did writing a book help you do better at your day job and/or in your personal life?
  

Huddleston: Writing about all the plants in the book strengthened my knowledge of plant material and their cultural requirements. Finding companion plants for each featured plant increased my ability to create, use, and recommend plant combinations. By nature, I am an organized and structured person. Writing the book challenged me to manage my time even better.

MM: Why is your book important to the average local resident?
  

Huddleston: People want high-performing, colorful, and low-maintenance plants. These are the kinds of plants my book features.   

The book covers the best annuals, perennials, shrubs, and trees in a 52-country area in north central Texas. The book highlights those plants that require the least amount of care and give you the most bang for your buck. This is the kind of information average homeowners need in order to succeed at home landscaping. 

MM: Can you give us some updates at the Botanical Garden? 

Huddleston: The rose garden has undergone a tremendous, two-stage renovation during the past two years.  New arbors, beams, fascia boards, and wooden posts on all structures have been replaced with long-lasting ipe wood. New walks have been poured. The cascade and pools have been lined with new material, and pumps have been installed that greatly improve the circulation of water.  

A new lion's head carved out of lueders limestone has been installed at the top of the ramp.  Renovation and improvement work continues in the Rock Springs Woods at the south end of the garden to transform this original part of the garden into a natural wonderland full of walks, ponds, overlooks, a bridge, and flowing water.  

MM: What's coming up this fall?  

Huddleston: Fall plant sale October 9, 2:00-7:00 P.M., and October 10, 9:00 A.M. to 2:00 P.M.  Fall Festival in the Japanese Garden on October 24, 10:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M., and October 25, 11:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M.

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