Northern & Central Midwest
Gardening Through the Golden Years
Gardening Through the Golden Years, by Jim Wilson (Cool Springs Press, 2003; $19.95) will make you smile. Although this book does give some fairly straightforward gardening advice, such as how to slow down and let the garden work for you, the best parts are the interviews with gardeners in their "golden years." These glimpses at people who love gardening will reassure you that, happily, gardening can be done forever.
Favorite or New Plant
Bee balm or bergamot (Monarda didyma) is a stalwart in the perennial garden, especially since there are now several mildew-free cultivars available. These fragrant plants draw butterflies and hummingbirds, and provide beautiful reds, pinks, and whites for the perennial palette. Monarda grows in full sun to partial shade and does best in a moist, organic soil. After they bloom in midsummer, the plants may deteriorate, so cut them back after blooming and they will send up new shoots and an occasional blossom. In the Chicago Botanic Garden's trials of monarda, 'Marshalls Delight' and 'Jacob Cline' were the most powdery mildew-resistant cultivars.