Tropical South

June, 2004
Regional Report

Books

Xeriscaping for Florida Homes
If you want to learn ways to save on your water bill and also save work and worry and the plants in your garden, check out my book, Xeriscaping for Florida Homes (Great Outdoors Publishing, 1999; $18.95). Chapters include "It's Crass to Plant Just Grass," "Mulching to the Max," "Reusing Water -- A Natural Solution," "Xeriscape Plans that are Working," and much more. You'll find that you are already halfway there, and just looking through this book will make you part of the water-saving solution instead of part of the problem. Most libraries have the book, and if they don't, please make a big fuss and insist they get it quick.

Favorite or New Plant

Candle Bush
Candle bush (Senna alata, formerly Cassia alata) is starting to bloom already in my garden. I moved two seedlings into full sun last spring and stood back. They were large and blooming by late summer. I pruned them back to within 2 feet of the ground in spring, and I'll prune more as needed. The huge compound leaves of these shrubs give architectural beauty to the garden even when not in bloom, but from now until cold weather they will also have spires of bright yellow flowers. They do harbor fire ants that will drop down your neck if you work under them, so approach the shrubs from a safe angle. Butterflies also love them. Click on my name to see a photo of these plants.

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