Plants for a Future
If you've ever wondered about the medicinal properties of plants, Plants for a Future Web site is a place to start. It has an ambitious inventory of herbs and plant species. The database is straightforward and easy to use. You can search by common or Latin name, and it delivers the herb's claimed attributes, historical uses by cultures throughout the world, ailments, and range of uses. The site sources are the three largest U.S. government ethnobotany databases, plus the U.S. National Park Service Flora Plant Inventory lists.
Favorite or New Plant
Everyone knows begonias -- those friendly little bedding plants found in so many shade gardens. But tuberous begonias are entirely different. Instead of delicate sprays of small, single flowers, they have very large, showy blossoms in an array of bright colors. There are two main forms of tuberous begonias: upright and pendulous. Upright types bear their flowers on strong, vertical stems, making the plants perfect for shady borders. Pendulous types (also called cascading or hanging basket begonias) have weaker stems that hang delicately over the sides of pots or baskets.
Tuberous begonias are available in every color except blue, and many have crinkled and ruffled petals. They bloom from July through November in our gardening zone, and thrive in well-drained, barely acidic, rich, organic soil.