Coastal and Tropical South

March, 2008
Regional Report

Books

Historic and Venerable Plants
If you're interested in plants of the Middle East and Africa, here's a book you won't want to miss. Lytton John Musselman has written about more than 200 such plants, and his new book from Timber Press tells the stories of their origins and cultivation, as well as their religious and literary context. Figs, Dates, Laurel and Myrrh: Plants of the Bible and the Quran (2007; $24.95) includes a foreword by Garrison Keillor. He celebrates Musselman's knowledge, but admits that the notion of apricot tree as the Tree of Life is a poser. The book is full of such concepts as these drawn from the author's long career as a botanist and Bible plant scholar, delivered with the publisher's usual attention to detail and readability.

Clever Gardening Technique

Getting the Most Out of Bird Netting
Too often the directions or drawings on garden products are confusing. You try to solve a problem, such as wanting to stop birds from eating your figs, but when you drape the bird netting over the tree, birds are undeterred. What the product pictures and text might not tell you is that the netting needs to be suspended, on bamboo stakes for instance, about 6 inches above the fig tree. You then have only to drape and secure the netting to the ground or lowest branches.

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