Coastal and Tropical South
If you can relate to the old adage, "Don't bite off more than you can chew," then The $64 Tomato, by William Alexander (Algonquin Books, 2007; $13.95), is the book is for you. Alexander's discoveries and foibles make a laugh-out-loud read for veteran gardeners, and his striking prose will make you swell with pride at our shared passion. Amid the tales of marauding woodchucks and dashed expectations, there is garden wisdom and even a tip or two gained from our rigorous taskmaster -- Nature -- and from the author's family, friends, and the occasionally evil contractors hired to transform 3 acres into a garden.
Favorite or New Plant
Hens and Chicks
The Sempervivum family of succulent plants has one member every sunny garden needs -- the happy hens and chicks. Rosettes large and small can cover a shallow bowl or planter box, even one sitting on the concrete outside the garage. Direct sun, even reflected heat, simply make this plant grow more dense and prolific. Put it wherever you need a friendly plant that can take it, and see that it gets a bit of water now and then, plus some fertilizer if you remember. Hens and chicks will make you smile every day.