Southwestern Deserts

June, 2005
Regional Report

Tool or Gardening Product

Plant Communicator
A local gardener was using a moisture meter called the Plant Communicator in her greenhouse filled with hundreds of succulents, and I found it to be a useful gadget for measuring soil moisture, as well as soluble salts (fertilizer needs). It lets you know the status by a series of fast or slow clicks, so you don't have to read tiny words or symbols on the meter. This is especially useful if you have lots of hanging baskets ... or if your reading glasses are not to be found! Unlike some meters, it does require a battery.

Books

Floral Arranging
Dr. Andrew Weil, writing in 8 Weeks to Optimum Health, recommends adding a bouquet of fresh flowers to your weekly routine because, "They raise our spirits." What other doctor's prescription could be so delightful to follow? Here is a book that will help you fill that directive with ease. A Year Full of Flowers: Fresh Ideas to Bring Flowers Into Your Life Every Day, by Jim McCann and Julie McCann Mulligan (Rodale, 2004; $19.95) contains an abundance of floral arrangements to suit every taste and style. Divided into spring, summer, fall, and winter seasons, each arrangement includes step-by-step instructions with accompanying photos. Convenient lists detail what you need, including specific quantities of flowers, fruits, and leaves. The approximate time required, level of difficulty, and vase life is also included. If you're a novice arranger, the basics of conditioning flowers, arranging, floral supplies, and container selection are covered. The book is so beautifully photographed that it might serve as a substitute for fresh flowers if propped on a table, but treat yourself to the real thing and create one of these arrangements for your Optimum Health!

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