Rock gardens are as diverse as gardeners, and Rock Garden Design and Construction, by the North American Rock Garden Society and editor Jane McGary (Timber Press, 2003; $29.95), offers a look at many different ways to pair rocks with plants. The garden photos are inspirational, and the instructions are comprehensive, covering the mechanics of preparing soil, placing rocks, selecting appropriate plants, and more.
Favorite or New Plant
'Vermont Sun' Forsythia
Forsythia earns its keep with its early spring burst of color, but our New England winters can kill the flower buds and dampen the show. Forsythia mandschurica 'Vermont Sun' was bred at the University of Vermont to withstand severe cold, and it has proven its worth in many parts of the country. The variety is considered hardy to USDA Zone 3, with flower buds hardy to Zone 4a. It's a "must-have" for forsythia-lovers.