Coastal and Tropical South
The Complete Houseplant Survival Manual, by Barbara Pleasant (Storey Publishing, 2005; $24.95) is a book for the houseplant lovers among us. It's smart, well-illustrated, and full of advice you can use every day in the indoor environment to keep our favorites healthy and happy.
Barbara Pleasant, the well-known southern garden writer, covers the major families of popular flowering and foliage plants, focusing on their growing needs and most common problems. General houseplant care, including concise how-to instructions for watering, fills a section that makes sense of repotting, temperature control, and pruning. Well-organized and written so you can use every word and be inspired to grow more, the book lives up to its clever subtitle: Essential Know-how for Keeping (not Killing!) More Than 160 Indoor Plants.
Pleasant is also the author of Garden Stone, winner of the 2003 Garden Globe for Achievement in Writing, and author of the southern garden classic, Warm Climate Gardening. Get this book, and give one to your best gardening friend so she doesn't borrow yours. And donate one to the local library; everybody needs this information!
Tool or Gardening Product
Vermont Garden Cart
It took more than fifteen years but I finally had to do a few repairs on the large garden cart and really missed this useful backsaver while it was laid up. A gift to my dad from me long ago, I inherited this classic garden workhorse from him, and the way it looks to me, this sturdy, brilliantly designed cart will go forward another generation at least. I remember getting the kit more than twenty years ago, putting it together, and tying on a big red bow before rolling it up his driveway. The thing is huge, holds hundreds of pounds so you don't have to, and tips completely over so you can rake right into it. If I had it to do over again, I'd have bought two the first time!