Northern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

November, 2008
Regional Report

Books

Recipes from the Garden
Do you like cookbooks? Me too! Especially those with glorious color photos that make you slather and drool. Strawberry French toast, Indonesial gado-gado, savory bread pudding with sorrel and baby artichokes, and lavender-tinted vichyssoise are only a few of the exotic and easy-to-prepare dishes presented in the lavish cookbook Recipes from the Garden, by Rosalind Creasy (Tuttle Press, 2008). The book is well organized, beginning with appetizers and ending with desserts and garnishes. If you have ever thought about transforming your garden into an edible landscape, this book will tip you over the edge. Who knew you could do so much with ornamental kale? Recipes from the Garden is a treat for the eyes and for the palate! Bon appetit!

Favorite or New Plant

Cast Iron Plant
My very first plant was an aspidistra which was given to me by my grandmother. She told me, "Don't invite the boys up to your room to see your aspidistra." Which, of course was the very first thing I did.Aspidistra is an old-time favorite indoor plant. It will put up with anything in the way of light and watering -- too much or too little of either doesn't seem to bother the hardy aspidistra. If you like to watch old movies, you will see an aspidistra featured in many indoor scenes. Heck, it was probably the same plant in every movie. Ideally, aspidistra requires a cool, partly shady location, fast-draining soil and infrequent watering. If your aspidistra begins to get brown tips on the leaves, step up the watering just a touch. Also, watch for flowers growing close to the soil. They are brown stars about 1 inch across with burgundy throats.

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