Joolie lent me her copy of The New Central Texas Gardener by Cheryl Hazeltine and Barry Lovelace (1999) shortly after I started attempting to put plants in the ground and keep them alive. I have a personal history of not being particularly great with plants (although a friend gave me some bulbine almost a year ago and it is so alive that it recently started making happiness flowers), and this book helped make the idea of gardening not quite so scary.
This book is logically organized into the big topics of gardening (climate / soil / trees / shrubs / fruits & veggies / flowers / pests / etc.), and the writing is a comfortable mix of friendly and authoritative. I really appreciated having a book where everything was geared to the hot, dry, rocky, clay-filled challenges of central Texas -- in so many gardening books and magazines half of the suggestions won't really work here since they are designed for the gardening paradise to our north.
The only thing I could have asked for would be more pictures, because who wouldn't want even more lovely pictures of lovely plants, but the combination of descriptions, line drawings, and some selected color plates do an adequate job of illustrating the plants and techniques that the authors discuss. Definitely a solid reference book for those attempting to become what the title suggests.