Soil and Composting
Soil and Composting: The Complete Guide to Building Healthy, Fertile Soil, by Nancy J. Ondra and Barbara Ellis (Houghton Mifflin, 1998; $13), provides clear and practical information to help gardeners improve most any soil type. It includes advice on taking soil samples, making compost, feeding plants organically, dealing with poor drainage, and using mulches effectively. I refer to it over and over again.
Favorite or New Plant
Pink Panda Strawberry
It's probably because I dislike weeding that I'm always on the lookout for interesting ground covers. Fragaria 'Pink Panda' is an easy-care ornamental strawberry that produces a heavy show of pink flowers in late spring, blooms off and on through the growing season, and ends with a heavy show again in the fall. This perennial produces edible fruits, but they're not quite as tasty as real strawberries. 'Pink Panda' thrives in full sunshine in average to dry soils, adapts to growing in containers, and is delightful in hanging baskets. Best of all, the bees love the flowers.