Grow the Best Strawberries
Grow the Best Strawberries, by Louise Riotte (Storey Publishing, 1999; $3.95), provides all the information you'll need to grow the greatest strawberry patch you can imagine. Topics include soil preparation, insect control, planting tips, thinning, irrigation, fertilizing, and harvesting. The author has even included some yummy strawberry recipes!
Favorite or New Plant
There's really no contest ... my favorite landscape plant this time of year is definitely Camellia sasanqua. Blooms of deep to bright pink against dark, glossy green foliage from mid-December through February make this a standout in my garden.
Camellias originate from subtropical regions in China and Japan and are easily cultivated in open ground or in pots. They love warm, wet summers and moderately cold, dry winters. Cultural requirements for camellias are similar to those for rhododendrons, azaleas, and hollies. They like acidic, well-draining soil, some afternoon sunshine, and a light application of fertilizer in early spring. Occasional pruning will keep the shrubs in shape. Camellia cultivars usually set five to seven flower buds on each terminal shoot. Disbudding (removing all except one or two buds) will help the remaining buds develop into larger, longer-lasting blooms.