Coastal and Tropical South
At last, a refined way of looking at what I call my plant collections! Authors Scott Ogden and Lauren Springer Ogden posit that for too long plants have taken a sidecar on the train of garden design. Their philosophy may be called heresy by traditionalists, but I say it is the way most of us garden. Thankfully, it has a name and a way to proceed without each gardener inventing the wheel. The title says it all: Plant-Driven Design: Creating Gardens That Honor Plants, Place, and Spirit. New from Timber Press and lavishly photographed (cat-lovers, see the last page before the index!), it's the most inspiration you'll find for $34.95.
Favorite or New Plant
Good ol' garden mums are smaller than their florist pot cousins and simpler than the long-stemmed cut mums we love this time of year. Still, garden mums are everywhere, and for good reason. Even if you buy them already in bloom, a partly sunny location and regular watering will give you several weeks of color. At that point, clip off old flowers to expose buds down lower on the stem. Fertilize the plants, keep them watered, and enjoy another round of daisy-like flowers. Yes, you can plant them in the garden and let them naturalize. Some accomplish this feat better than others, so try several different varieties.