Favorite or New Plant
Bells of Ireland
Bells of Ireland (Moluccella laevis), with its unusual light green bells hugging the flower stalks, has enough personality to be a focal point, but its color makes it a good companion to many color schemes. The flowers are long lived in a vase, and the full, vertical flower spikes are valuable for their shape as well as their color. They also dry nicely, turning light tan. I especially like it growing with blue catmint (Nepeta) and pink salvias.
National Wildlife Federation's new book, Attracting Birds, Butterflies and Other Backyard Wildife, by David Mizejewski (Creative Homeowner, 2004; $12.95) can give new purpose to your gardening endeavors: supporting wildlife. Of course, we get something out of the deal -- enjoying the wildlife -- but the goal is to provide habitat that welcomes birds, butterflies, and other pollinators and critters, and meets their needs for food and shelter. Also included are directions for making numerous projects, such as a wildlife pond, nesting box, amphibian house, and wetland garden from stormwater runoff.