Pacific Northwest

February, 2005
Regional Report

Favorite or New Plant

Sedum 'Autumn Joy'
Few plants are as rewarding and dependable as Sedum x 'Autumn Joy'. The thick, toothed leaves provide interest all summer. The 6-inch flower heads, which start out pink and eventually turn bronze, are attractive from the end of August through October and even into November. The plant grows 24 inches tall and about 18 inches wide. 'Autumn Joy' can be grown in full sun or bright shade and will grow in any type soil, as long as it is well draining. No disease or insect pests bother my 'Autumn Joy', but deer occasionally browse the developing flower heads. I've found that this type of accidental pruning results in the development of two slightly smaller flower heads, which open a little later in the season.

Clever Gardening Technique

Taking the Chill Off
Grabbing the metal handle of a garden cart with your bare hands in cold weather can be downright painful. To save myself such bone-chilling discomfort, I cover the handle with a piece of flexible foam tubing used to insulate hot water pipes. The tubing, which is available at building supply stores, comes in 6-foot lengths with an inside diameter of 1/2 inch. The foam material is easy to cut to the desired length, and it comes with a slit along one side, so it's easy to slip the tubing over the cart handle. You can keep the tubing from rotating on the handle by wrapping the ends with black electrical tape. I use this same tubing to cover the handle of my favorite one-piece, cast-aluminum hand trowel.

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