Northern & Central Midwest
Purple Swedish Ivy (Plectranthus purpuratus)
This draping plant is a favorite because it's a carefree, lush houseplant as well as a striking addition to outdoor hanging baskets in summer. It grows beautifully in medium light in the house and in shade outdoors. Swedish ivy takes little care except occasional pinching and evenly moist soil. Cuttings root easily, so there's every opportunity to grow your own plants. The soft purple leaves are a wonderful accent to chartreuse, gray, and deep green foliage in outdoor containers.
Kitchen Garden Planner
Planning any kind of edible garden this year? The book, Kitchen Garden Planner, by Darrell Trout (Meredith Books, 1999; $34.95) will put you in the mood, however tired you are from last year's garden. Take a tour of several types of kitchen gardens, complete with plans, plant lists, and gorgeous photos to inspire you. True to kitchen gardening, the plans are filled with luscious vegetables, handsome flowers, and tasty herbs.