Book Giveaway: “Foliage First” by Karen Chapman and Christina Salwitz

– Posted in: Contests and Giveaways, Garden Design, Succulents

AND THE WINNER IS: BECKY KIRTS! Becky was chosen at random and has been notified. (If I don’t hear from Becky in 48 hours, another winner will be chosen.) Thank you all for participating. I have more giveaways in mind, so stay tuned!


“Gardening with Foliage First” by Karen Chapman and Christina Salwitz is a book I wish I’d had when I began gardening 25 years ago. I think most of us start out wanting flowers. I had a thing for roses and cannas, but whenever I’d see a new flowering perennial, I had to have it.  After several years, my mish-mash of a garden just looked like a salad, except in spring.

I don’t know about you, but one glorious month out of 12 just isn’t good enough. (I’ve made numerous changes since, and now I pretty much like how it looks year-round. You can see it on YouTube.) I’ve not stopped cultivating flowers—foliage, after all, comes with them (all plants bloom, even moss and trees). However, from a garden design standpoint, I think that flowers are mainly icing on the cake.

When I speak to gardening groups, I often say (partly because I like the alliteration): “Flowers are ephemeral, they flash and fade, and then you’re left with…” (pause for dramatic effect) “foliage!” My specialty is succulents, but they’re not the only plants with highly structural leaves and dramatic forms, as “Gardening with Foliage First” abundantly illustrates.

This book belongs in every gardener’s library, so I asked publisher Timber Press if I could offer a copy to you, dear GGW readers. To enter to win it, simply leave a comment below. (To qualify, you must be 18 or older and have a mailing address in the US or Canada.) The winner will be chosen at random and notified March 31. 

To further entice you, here are a few photos from the book. Most feature succulents, many include seasonal flowers, and all show textural combos that don’t need flowers to be fabulous.

I often quote one of the book’s authors, Christina Salwitz, who quipped on Facebook, “Angelina will go home with anyone,” referring to this stonecrop’s multizone versatility. Here it’s shown with Diascia barberae ‘Darla Orange’, but that’s not all that’s going on; note the contrasting forms and textures of bulb foliage and boulder.

This stonecrop (Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’) isn’t in bloom yet, but it doesn’t matter; its broccoli-like flower heads and glossy green foliage look stunning with a feathery artemisia that suggests Spanish moss.

When Christina’s co-author Karen Chapman visited me here in southern California, she shot this vignette of an acacia, agave, and variegated myrtle, a plant I grow for its dainty foliage and the witch hazel scent of its leaves.

Karen also photographed my neighbor’s front garden for the book. The pencil-like stems of Euphorbia tirucalli ‘Sticks on Fire’ (lower left) keep their orange color year-round. I love how they contrast with the blue and green agaves and black aeoniums, don’t you?

Stipa tenuissima reseeds invasively in some regions, so I hesitate to recommend it, yet it’s one of my favorite plants for texture. According to the caption, “…the real surprise lies in the way the bleached Mexican feather grass echoes the color of those stiff spines, drawing attention to a detail that would otherwise be overlooked.” Yes!

OK, now it’s your turn! To enter to win a copy of “Foliage First”, leave a comment below. (To qualify, you must be 18 or older and have a mailing address in the US or Canada.) The winner will be chosen at random and notified March 31. I’ll also post their name here, at the top of this post. Best of luck! 


Debra Lee Baldwin
Award-winning garden photojournalist Debra Lee Baldwin authored Designing with Succulents, Succulent Container Gardens, and Succulents Simplified, all Timber Press bestsellers. Her goal is to enhance others' enjoyment and awareness of waterwise plants and gardens by showcasing the beauty and design potential of succulents via books, articles, newsletters, photos, videos, social media and more. Debra and husband Jeff live in the foothills north of San Diego. She grew up in Southern California on an avocado ranch, speaks conversational Spanish, and at age 18 graduated magna cum laude from USIU with a degree in English Literature. Her hobbies include thrifting, birding and watercolor painting. Debra's YouTube channel has had over 3,000,000 views.
Debra Lee Baldwin
Debra Lee Baldwin
123 comments… add one

Leave a Comment

Sally LaBay March 20, 2017, 8:38 pm

I love their book “fine foliage” so I know I’d love to own”foliage first” too!

Dani CARAPELLUCCI March 20, 2017, 8:54 pm

WHAT A SIMPLISTICALLY (it could be a word) perfect concept. I really wish I too would have heard of this book years ago… Living in Florida there’s more foliage than not.
Thank you for this opportunity, hoping I win a copy

MaryGail Nelson March 20, 2017, 9:16 pm

What an interesting looking book. would love to have it because i love foliage too. I live in Oklahoma and succulents are my favorites. can’t wait until i can move them outside this spring

Steve ryan March 20, 2017, 9:17 pm

Looks like a great book. can’t wait to see it.

Cheryl March 20, 2017, 9:31 pm

Great giveaway. Their last book inspired me to plant more foliage plants. Love the result.

Sandy Zimmer March 20, 2017, 9:36 pm

Wow, this looks like a great book! Thanks for the chance to win.

Heidi Crockett March 20, 2017, 9:46 pm

I’d love to have this book.

Terri Rodriguez March 20, 2017, 10:21 pm

I know this is going to be good! amazingly talented ladies!!

Michael Crawford March 20, 2017, 10:21 pm

I love these ladies, their photography and their idea oh yes and their book(s).

Terri Rodriguez March 20, 2017, 10:23 pm

Color ???

Maggie Towson March 20, 2017, 10:29 pm

This book looks fabulous! And I could definitely use the guidance and pairing suggestions. ?

Suzanne Osborne March 21, 2017, 2:22 am

I have been a fan and follower of these two amazing women! I am so thankful for their inspiring books!

Paula Hettman March 21, 2017, 6:33 am

I’ve been considering buying the book as I am very fond of interesting foliage combinations, but winning a copy would be even better.

Debbie March 21, 2017, 6:48 am

Foliage is like my trusty jeans…the perfect plant that’s always there to use in a bouquet, a backdrop to a flower or a cover for a not so pretty part of the yard.

Karen Frantz March 21, 2017, 8:17 am

I too want to add more foliage in my new flower beds. I love have color and texture all year!

Ali March 21, 2017, 8:25 am

I would love to learn more about garden folliage!

B. Oliver March 21, 2017, 9:42 am

Would love this book! it would be Such an asset for my shade garden!!

Laura Weaver March 21, 2017, 10:22 am

I admire the artistry and eye for color, form, texture, and design using the medium of horticulture.

Kathy March 21, 2017, 12:21 pm


Virginia Lindo March 21, 2017, 12:23 pm

Super photos. Love foliage plants and have always found them difficult to place in my landscape. Maybe this lovely book will help solve my problem.

erica grivas March 21, 2017, 12:58 pm

Loved the first book and can’t wait to enjoy the second! Pick me pleeese!

cherie dawn murphy-bohmer March 21, 2017, 1:26 pm

I would love to have this book.Love working with plants and earth.

Amy hansen March 21, 2017, 1:33 pm

i love variegated foliage and have several, they are always bright and eye catching, even those that don’t bloom!

Marilyn March 21, 2017, 2:49 pm

Would love to win this….

Rod Lutes March 21, 2017, 3:16 pm

Beautiful photos and plant combinations. The feathery artemisia is stunning and I must look for it this spring. great giveaway.

Marcia c March 21, 2017, 3:22 pm

I wish the public could see past the flowers. Foliage rules

Linda Hall March 21, 2017, 3:34 pm

I would love to win a copy of “Foliage First” TO ADD To MY GARDENING BOOK LIBRARY. I have been converting my own garden to follow such ideas, THanks for the contest!

Elizabeth Jones March 21, 2017, 4:11 pm

This looks like a terrific book. Thanks for giving one away.

Sameer Vaidya March 21, 2017, 4:12 pm

this is a very timely post. we have a new backyard and we are all about flowers right now but after reading this i realized it makes little sense to do that. we are revisiting our planting plan and playing more with texture and foliage now. thanks a ton!

BARRY SCHECHTER March 21, 2017, 4:12 pm

I will say that growing plants(inside) and flowers on my terrace has eased the transition of retirement and being a caregiver to my 95 yr old Mother . Having a green thumb helps and trial by error so this book will surely enhance my knowledge..

Donna@Gardens Eye View March 21, 2017, 4:14 pm

I am excited to see this book as foliage is such fun to play with in the garden….a creative exercise that is endless!

Christie johnson March 21, 2017, 4:16 pm

As a garden designer, I’m always on the hunt for unique and interesting foliage combinations to give my clients (and myself) year-round interest in the garden. Would love to see what Karen and christina have up their sleeves!

Ginny Tiede March 21, 2017, 4:22 pm

We’d love a copy to add to our master gardener library here in genesee county ny. the photos are so convincing, and the word needs to be spread.

Nancy Ketchmark March 21, 2017, 4:24 pm

Looks like a wonderful book! Would love a chance to read it!

Margie Stankoven March 21, 2017, 4:24 pm

I would love to have this book. I’ve been looking for a good book with photos on this very subject and what a great time of year to read it.

Lila March 21, 2017, 4:29 pm

What an amazing looking book! I’d love to get a copy of it. I’ve always loved plants but just recently started really learning about them and reading everything I can get my hands on. Thanks for hosting the contest and for such an informative & fun website!

Janie Kanzler March 21, 2017, 4:35 pm

Looks like a beautiful book!

Priscilla poupore March 21, 2017, 4:40 pm

I could sure use the help with planning out gardens

Nancy dyer March 21, 2017, 4:42 pm

Great idea for a book. I need help for great plants that can withstand quite a few summer days over 100* and some winter days that drop into the 20*s.

Barbara Bandhauer March 21, 2017, 4:48 pm

I love the contrasting colors as well as textures. I try to use a varigated variety when I can.

Barbara Bandhauer March 21, 2017, 4:50 pm

I love the complimentary colors as well as textures.

Lisa Biro March 21, 2017, 4:51 pm

The photos look gorgeous in this book! And living in Colorado (where it just seems to get hotter and hotter) I need to find more xeric alternatives to the plants I used to love (but they are water guzzlers!). Thanks!

Belinda March 21, 2017, 4:52 pm

The first day of spring and the promise of the garden….

Carolyn Whisler March 21, 2017, 4:54 pm

I can’t wait to read, and see, your book. I also can’t wait to get some of the feathery artemisia in my yard!

Jo Pomeroy March 21, 2017, 4:55 pm

I play around a lot with foliage in my mostly shade garden! This book looks great.

Cheryl Moon March 21, 2017, 4:56 pm

Wow, this looks like an all grown up version of their previous book, Fine Foliage which I purchased 3 years ago at the Maine Coastal Botanical gardens, and have nearly memorized. It totally enhanced the way I see every plant, and the design elements of my garden have prospered mightily.

SUSANNE O'TRIMBLE March 21, 2017, 5:05 pm

Looks like a beautiful book–can’t wait to own it!

Rusty Brauner March 21, 2017, 5:09 pm


Randi Winterman March 21, 2017, 5:16 pm

I am a lover of green plants and I especially like dense plantings to keep out the weeds.

Jenny March 21, 2017, 5:19 pm

I think I am where you were 25 years ago. I love all the flowering plants but they are so much work. I need to change my gardening style and quickly. This book my be just the incentive I need to get started.

Pattie knight March 21, 2017, 5:22 pm


Pattie knight March 21, 2017, 5:23 pm

Love this

Pattie knight March 21, 2017, 5:24 pm

Love to win

Lillian Osborne March 21, 2017, 5:30 pm

As a Gardener new to a Z 7/8 dry summer area,and with a small space to garden, this book would be most helpful to me

BERNIE March 21, 2017, 5:50 pm

I have struggled with my plant combinations. Living in the low desert of California makes it hard to find plants that will live through the summer.

Jean clark March 21, 2017, 5:54 pm

I need help choosing trees and shrubs both deciduous and evergreen that are deer resistant. This book sounds like it could help me a lot. Thank you.

joni boyer March 21, 2017, 6:01 pm

Flowers are okay if you like that sort of thing, but the shapes and textures of foliage combinations are what pleases me now

Kathy Brown March 21, 2017, 6:14 pm

The photos from this book are glorious! Just the few shown here have given me much inspiration. Thanks for sharing.

Caryn Adaryn March 21, 2017, 6:18 pm

I am redoing my yard after purchasing a home 2 years ago and taking out all the 1990’s overgrown juniper and shrubs. This is an ongoing process as developing an interesting garden not just filling it up with the ordinary. I have developed zones for succulents, flowering perennials for the insects, a stumpery in a shaded area, raised garden beds although I am planting herb and food crops in my plant beds also. This is a long process as I had to rebuild all the soil to support what was there along with new planting. Living in Zone 5 i have some limits unfortunately but put by fragile succulents in containers and winter them in the house.

Sharon Burnham March 21, 2017, 6:35 pm

Strong foliage is a must in a garden. I love contrast and harmony, something I’m always striving for.

Pat Witman March 21, 2017, 6:54 pm

While I appreciate the contrasting foliage, I have to admit that when I go to a nursery, that’s not what I think about, so I would really appreciate learning how to start adding plants for their foliage to my gardens.

Laurie cousart March 21, 2017, 6:57 pm

Ooh, this looks great – would love a copy for my new garden! Will help with plsnt selection!

Ann Atkinson March 21, 2017, 7:03 pm

~This is a must have~
Thank you!!

Anne Sikkema March 21, 2017, 7:21 pm

I agree Debra. I think as a gardener, you come to foliage through the various stages of flowers, oneses, the latest, plant envy,etc. one day you say, “texture, shape and lasting color. is what I need. Sure,Pop in some bright, colorful lovelies, but build an interesting garden with foliage that will continually satisfy your eye and your spirit.

maggi March 21, 2017, 7:27 pm

those combos in the photos make one want to touch the garden…..except the cactus…lol

Caroline March 21, 2017, 7:52 pm

I would love to have this book!

Caroline March 21, 2017, 7:53 pm

I would love to have this book.

Manrey silva March 21, 2017, 8:02 pm

While visiting the deserts in Mexico and Texas ,I learned to love the importance of foliage.

Manrey silva March 21, 2017, 8:06 pm

Love agaves!

Karen Hamberg March 21, 2017, 8:49 pm

I love flowers, but I’m a foliage freak! Especially succulents!

Mary Nelson March 21, 2017, 8:54 pm

this book is just what I need. I would like to know more about foliage and using the different shapes and colors of foliage in my garden.

anita lusebrink March 21, 2017, 8:59 pm

I agree that foliage is a great aspect of the garden, or environment, that is often overlooked yet so necessary in practical ways (shade, habitat, transpiration,etc) and for more esoteric purposes such as calming, cooling, us and giving us an awareness of the importance of those things (and people!) that are the support structure for all the flashy, and flash-in-the-pan, things that excite us!

Geri March 21, 2017, 10:04 pm

After 10 yrs at our old country farmhouse the gardens are definitely at the mish-mash state … could really use your inspiration! It would be awesome to win a copy of this great book!!!

Mia vermillion March 21, 2017, 10:21 pm

looks like what my garden needs.

Thea Gurns March 21, 2017, 10:43 pm

Cannas? Really? hmm. Although I’m with you on the roses, specifically heritage roses. Not just the fleurs, the leaves and branches can look spectacular both in the garden and in arrangements. *want this book,* please.

Cindia sanford March 22, 2017, 12:30 am

Very interested!

Becky Kirts March 22, 2017, 6:17 am

Beautiful pictures, this is a great approach to garden design.

Lisa - Ontario March 22, 2017, 8:59 am

I use Angelina sedum in many places. it is one plant that even non gardeners comment on.

Kristin Lauersen March 22, 2017, 9:06 am

Wonderful way to approach gardening – you are so right! Flowers come and go, but foliage and structure are the base for year round interest. Would love to win it!

dan Cooper March 22, 2017, 10:31 am

I love the photos of foliage combos in your posting and in the book. What a treat to view on a cold wintery day.

Audrey Glenski March 22, 2017, 10:38 am

What great ideas I have gotten already, just from the photos! I am fairly new to gardening and am excited about learning so much from Gardening gone wild! This book would be a wonderful addition to my many gardening books; I need all the help I can get!

pamela gray March 22, 2017, 10:46 am

Foliage! It helps us breathe and looks beautiful. I would love some new ideas on how to mix foliage.

ChrisN March 22, 2017, 12:09 pm

This looks like a great book.

Linda Puleo March 22, 2017, 12:09 pm

i love the contrast in colors, especially with the succulents.

Pat Evans March 22, 2017, 1:15 pm

I particularly like lime green and burgundy foliage. If only the bunnies wouldn’t eat it to the ground during the winter. But I guess that keeps it from being invasive.

Sherry March 22, 2017, 6:09 pm

a lot of people ask about my garden and say “Where are the flowers?” I love to garden with textures. flowers are beautiful but short lived.

Susie March 22, 2017, 6:21 pm

“Foliage First” seems like my kind of book! Being an agronomist, hobbiest beekeeper, & succulent enthusiast I know about the growth aspect, but am seriously lacking in the design aspect. Would love to get some garden ideas about which plants look great all year round together & are benificial for my bees 🙂

Carol tripp March 22, 2017, 6:29 pm

So many beautiful ideas, This book would be a dream come true for me!

Sheryl @flowery prose March 22, 2017, 7:25 pm

Looks like a fantastic book for all gardeners! Thanks for the giveaway!

Lee@A Guide to Northeastern Gardening March 22, 2017, 7:40 pm

I am a landscape designer and admire all the work that Karen and christina have done. Their foliage combinations are wonderful and put together so artistically, that I would love to have a copy of their latest book!

Bridget Salata March 22, 2017, 8:32 pm

South facing garden plan needs help!!

Robin March 22, 2017, 8:36 pm

I love The cover photo. It speaks volumes for the content inside.
I hope my name is selected.

Kim Siegenthaler March 22, 2017, 8:57 pm

Foliage above flowers makes a garden!

Caol Womble March 22, 2017, 9:19 pm

already love the book from just what I’ve seen. would be a pleasure to own it. hanks

Nancy Shiffman March 22, 2017, 9:28 pm

What a beautiful book. I would love a copy.

kathy buxton March 22, 2017, 9:29 pm

I so need Direction in my garden, I have so many different gardens, flowers, succulents, containers, pool area and raised bed veggie garden, plus 2 fruit trees and 2 Chocolate lab girls who just turned 3ys. now is when I need to replant what they tore up, as teens. thanks

Pam jara March 22, 2017, 9:31 pm

Fantastic photos!cant wait to see what else lives in the pages of this book.

Beth Patterson March 22, 2017, 9:45 pm


Charlotte Owendyk March 22, 2017, 11:49 pm

Love the plant combos.

Judy MacKenzie March 22, 2017, 11:55 pm

Thanks for the book review. Sounds fabulous.

Courtney Montgomery March 23, 2017, 12:52 am

What a wonderful concept! My eyes delight in the pictures and mind races with fun ideas!
Thanks for this opportunity!

Carolyn m March 23, 2017, 12:56 am

tending to my gardens is high on my list this year.

Linda Eakins March 23, 2017, 1:38 am

I love your pics! Would love to have a copy of your book to help guide me through my journey with succulents.

Marcia Hestead March 23, 2017, 1:41 am

As I planted spring pots this week I felt like something was missing. In spite of all the colorful, bright seasonal annuals, I was hungry for bursts of new Spring foliage. A trip to the nursery provided exactly what I needed: euphorbias, ferns, heuchera, dicentra, variegated vinca, marbled hellebores, and ivy. The foliage pulled it all together to create stunning spring planters. I’m eager to get my hands on this book!

Virgina st. Clair March 23, 2017, 5:31 am

Great book will love a copy for my garden

Teresa willis March 23, 2017, 6:39 am

I love planting for texture and look forward to this book!

JennyA March 23, 2017, 9:06 am

I would love to win this book!

MaryEllen Krautter March 23, 2017, 9:19 am


Donna C Main March 23, 2017, 11:41 am

I can’t wait to read this one! I love to garden and work hard to get all the contrasting colors without flowers. That is the goal in my garden. Of course succulents are a must in southern california!

Linda PETERS March 23, 2017, 1:08 pm


Kristen March 23, 2017, 3:50 pm

Im a new Gardner, but determined to learn all I can! I’d love a copy of this book.

Petalpatch March 23, 2017, 7:34 pm

Exactly what I need… a bit of coaching as to what goes with what and why! I love folliage!

Kathy Dodd March 23, 2017, 10:10 pm

I need these ideas of what to plant together. Beautiful selections.

Matt e. March 24, 2017, 1:53 am

The blending of colors and foliage is such a spiritual, earth tuning frequency. I’m Currently exploring the art in my own garden. Fascinating book.

Cheryl woods March 25, 2017, 4:00 am

I want one of everything!

rhonda March 25, 2017, 5:28 pm

You have inspired me to use foliage first! Thank you for showing the way!

Janice Nelson March 26, 2017, 9:01 am

Looks like a must-have book for me! I would love to win it!

Ellie March 26, 2017, 2:09 pm

Love the contrasts with foliage, looks like a beautiful book Sincerely

Lerryn A Meza March 26, 2017, 11:34 pm

Looks like a wonderful book!

Katie March 28, 2017, 3:21 am

The preview photos are fabulous! Thanks for the giveaway opportunity!

Angel March 29, 2017, 12:22 pm

Awesome giveaway

Cosette March 30, 2017, 12:55 am

I must still be in the “new gardener” category, because I must confess to planning and planting my flowers in a border, then realizing that more shrubs, greases, and other foliage centered plants are needed.

Terrie leivers April 29, 2017, 1:55 pm

Love the mix of plants, shapes and colors

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