Garden Lunacy: A Growing Concern, by Art Wolk (AAB Book Publishing, 2005; $26.95), is a must read if you just want to take a break from ordinary gardening books. It's not about plants, but rather about gardeners and you'll burst out laughing as Art Wolk shares his views on horticulture and his own oddball behavior as a gardener. You'll get a unique perspective on the joys, fears, successes, and failures of passionate and sometimes obsessive gardeners. And, you'll get a few chuckles, too.
Favorite or New Plant
Flowering kale, sometimes called ornamental cabbage, is an annual well worth growing in the fall and winter months. It will retain its crispy foliage from fall to early winter despite the cool weather and frequent brushes with frost. In the Pacific Northwest, this plant begins to show its true colors in late summer. The waxy green heads have pink, red, white, cream, or maroon centers and sometimes you'll have multiple colors on the leaves and within the centers of the plants. Flowering kale can be used in mass plantings to make a bold display. They are perfect companions to other cool temperature tolerant plants, such as pansies, violas, calendulas, or dianthus. Flowering kale performs well in full sun to partial shade.