The Abundant Garden
Words are fine, but when it comes to gardens and gardening, photos are what really send the imagination soaring (at least for me). The Abundant Garden: A Celebration of Color, Texture, and Blooms, by Debra Prinzing and Barbara J. Denk (Cool Springs Press, 2005; $29.99) has become my new favorite evening "dream book." Granted, all the gardens pictured in the book are from Bainbridge Island, Washington, a horticultural Eden, the likes of which won't ever be seen in my area, but the garden design ideas still provide plenty of inspiration that can be translated somewhat to my own garden. The gardens featured include a rustic rural garden, a cut flower garden, a tiny garden, a plant collector's garden, a romantic garden, an ornamental grass garden, an exotic tropical-looking garden, a nostalgic rose garden, and a naturalistic garden.
Favorite or New Plant
Moonglow Sweetbay Magnolia
Sweetbay magnolia (Magnolia virginiana) is native to much of the Southeast, from Long Island south to Florida and west to Texas. It has shiny, semi-evergreen leaves and lemon-scented flowers in spring and early summer. Although not as magnificent as the southern magnolia, Magnolia grandiflora, it is an admirable substitute for gardeners in regions where the southern magnolia is not hardy. Even there, our occasional deep freezes can make the sweetbay less than ideal. Enter Magnolia virginiana 'Moonglow' (which may also be labeled 'Jim Wilson'), which can withstand temperatures as low as minus 33 degrees F. Growing to 35 or 40 feet with a spread of 15 to 20 feet, 'Moonglow' has 2- to 3-inch flowers and dark green, lustrous leaves.