Coastal and Tropical South
Native Ferns, Moss, and Grasses
If William Cullina hadn't decided to write about plants, he could've been a seriously funny joke writer for late night television. In his new book, Native Ferns, Moss, and Grasses: From Emerald Carpet to Amber Wave, Serene and Sensuous Plants for the Garden (Houghton Mifflin, 2008; $40), he brilliantly compares horsetails to aging rock stars, and attributes the sturdy qualities of muhly grass to its torturous origins in a "hardscrabble life rubbing shoulders with tumbleweeds." His depth of knowledge about his subject is profound, and the breadth of this book gives gardeners in our region plenty of reason to refer to it frequently. You'll save the $40 you spend on this book when you use Cullina's wisdom to select plants for your garden.
Tool or Gardening Product
We can send satellites spinning into space, but no one's found a way to fill even one with the fire ant population that has invaded the south. Until that becomes possible, gardeners must deal with them almost constantly. Unfortunately, the chemicals that are supposed to keep them at bay don't work as well as they pollute. Spinosad offers an excellent alternative control, and it's become widely available at reasonable prices. Ingredients are clearly listed on the labels of garden products; read them and seek this one.