The New Flower Gardener
The New Flower Gardener by Pippa Greenwood (Barnes & Noble Books, 2002; $13) is illustrated with photos gorgeous enough to inspire even non-gardeners. The book starts by exploring the basics of flower gardening, including seed starting and proper planting techniques. Step-by-step instructions for rooting cuttings and dividing plants are accompanied by how-to photographs to help beginners gain confidence with their very first try. Plants are conveniently arranged in chapters according to shape ("Trumpets & Bells," "Spikes & Spires"), and each plant profile includes pertinent information about soil types, watering requirements, and mature size. The final section addresses topics such as choosing plants for specific sites and conditions, fast-growing flowers, and flowers for cutting. It's a bookshelf "must" for experienced and novice gardeners alike.
Clever Gardening Technique
Winter Storage for Garden Stakes and Pots
My garden shed is crowded with tools and supplies so I can't afford to be careless about storage habits if I expect to be able to step inside without tripping. Here are two winter storage tips that allow me to keep a path clear.
To keep my garden stakes neatly organized, I store them in tall 30- or 36-inch clay chimney flue tiles. I prefer the rectangular tiles to the round ones because the rectangular ones tuck into corners and fit tightly side by side. As I gather the stakes in the fall, I sort them by size and material. Bamboo goes into one set of tiles, metal in another.
Finding space to store pots is also a problem, so I keep as many as I can in one of those ready-made, shed-type enclosures for garbage cans. The addition of a shelf inside increases the storage space. When the garbage bin is full, I put the rest of my pots on shelves attached to the outside of the shed. Terra-cotta pots are sturdier than you might think. Just be sure to store them upside-down to prevent water -- which expands as it freezes -- from collecting inside and cracking or splitting the pots. To prevent plastic pots from blowing away, I stack them into 2- to 3-foot towers and weigh each stack down with a terra-cotta pot.