Kathleen Brenzel, Garden Editor of Sunset, talks garden design & the new Sunset Western Garden Book

By on May 24, 2012

Tricia talks with Kathleen Brenzel at the 2012 San Francisco Flower & Garden Show

We had a chance to sit down with the Garden Editor of Sunset magazine at the 2012 San Francisco Flower & Garden Show. Kathleen Brenzel has vast experience with Western gardens and she spoke with Tricia in a video interview about low-budget, high-style garden design—and the breakthrough features of the new Sunset Western Garden Book, which Kathleen edited.

Sunset supports repurposing materials in gardens. They gave the Sunset Western Living Award at the San Francisco show to the Windows garden by McKenna Landscaping—full of recycled windows, wood, and metal. Edibles are front and center at Sunset’s own gardens and in the award-winning show garden as well.

Waterwise Plant List
Both Sunset magazine and their garden books have an emphasis on sustainability. Edible gardens, plants that attract beneficial insects, native plants, and drought-tolerant plants for low-water landscapes are the themes that sound over and over.

Color Photos for Every Plant Genus
The new edition of the Sunset Western Garden Book is packed with photos. Long gone are the line drawings of plants; now each plant group has color photographs, to make it easier for gardeners to identify the plants in their gardens and at the nurseries.

Cover of the Sunset Western Garden Book
The water-resistant book covers will be a boon to gardeners who carry “the Bible of Western gardening” everywhere—especially when they’re out planting.

The opening pages of the new edition look like a gardening magazine, with inspiring photos of sustainable gardens in all parts of the West. Sunset’s own gardens at their Menlo Park headquarters are strictly organic. Non-organic fertilizers, weed and pest controls were phased out years ago.

We were honored to meet with the longtime Garden Editor of Sunset, and know that you’ll enjoy hearing her thoughts about gardening in the 21st century.


  Comments (3)


I pre-ordered the new edition before it was available and cannot say enough great things about it. I especially love the pictures of each plant, and the expanded “Plants For…” area in the front. I didn’t realize the cover is waterproof until you mentioned it - total bonus!! It’s beautiful, and has a much more “Sunset Magazine” look to it than previous versions. Beautiful, and I wouldn’t be a gardener in the West without it!

Posted by Katie on May. 25, 2012 at 2:12:53 PM


Katie, We agree! Great new edition of the “must” garden book for all Westerners!

Posted by Charlotte, Peaceful Valley on Jun. 05, 2012 at 3:05:56 PM


sphinx moth is the adult of the tomato horn worm, s if people covered their tomato plants with cheese cloth at dusk then removed the cloth at dawn they oould NOT have the pesky pests t all,, I have a problem with goat head vines, as the dried seeds get stuck on everything that comes in contact with like -birds,cats,dogs,mice,ground squirrels, rabbits & coyotes -so if I miss seeing a young one & it gets big, do this, put on heavy gloves get a paint roller add a long reach handle, go to the site &  roll the paint,(fine nap), over the plant ,,all the seeds will stick on the roller, take it to the trash can & with pliers pull it off .. if you miss one you or your dog will find it later..  I use two extended paint rollers on the front of my garden tractor to keep the goat heads out of the tires.. we could all learn more if you had a “our readers tried this ” space in your monthly issues.. thank you for your reply

Posted by W.W, HEATER ,CPTN. RET. on Jul. 16, 2012 at 2:38:20 PM

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