Western Mountains and High Plains
The Nature Observer's Handbook
The Nature Observer's Handbook: Learning to Appreciate Our Natural World, by John W. Brainerd (Globe Pequot Press, 1986; $9.95) is a handy little book that will help you appreciate and understand the sights, sounds, smells, and textures of forests, lakes, farms, and other natural environments. The author presents ways to observe, experience, and record your study of nature, whether in an urban landscape or the untamed wilderness. He explains how to look for signs of wildlife, how to examine plants, and how to just have fun discovering nature.
Favorite or New Plant
There are many interesting peperomia plants, but Peperomia caperata 'Red Ripple' is one that will catch your attention with its bright red stems and shiny, rippled foliage. It is small houseplant that grows into a 10- to 12-inch mound.
This plant will tolerate low light conditions and hold its color in lower light settings. If the older foliage gets a bit leggy or if leaf petioles begin to elongate, just pinch the plant back to encourage new growth.
Keep the soil moderately moist, allowing it to dry out slightly between waterings, place it in average temperatures (65 to 75 degrees F.), and fertilize in the summer about once a month. It's a great houseplant for the budding gardener or for a new, colorful addition to the indoor garden.