Square Foot Gardening
Square Foot Gardening, by Mel Bartholomew (Rodale Press, 1981; $17) is a classic in gardening literature that is as relevant today as it was when first printed.
This is an easy-to-read book with straightforward, practical advice, including information on how to use succession planting to maximize the use of garden space and extend the season. It also gives good advice for improving your garden's soil and has planting charts based on frost dates. It's one of those reliable resources that I refer to over and over again.
Favorite or New Plant
Queen of the Prairie
I value gold-leaved plants for their capacity to brighten the dark areas of my shade garden. In early spring, the long, divided leaves of Filipendula ulmaria 'Aurea' emerge in all their golden splendor. As summer progresses, the foliage mellows to a soft greenish gold, adding warmth and light to the shade garden.
Filipendula ulmaria 'Aurea' forms a compact mound of dense leaves and thrives in rich, moist soil in a fully to partly shaded area. I cut down the foliage at the end of the summer season and divide the plants every three to four years.