Upper South

December, 2009
Regional Report

Books

Herbs for Better Health
If you've ever thought about using herbs as medicine, you can turn to no better book than Rosemary Gladstar's Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health (Storey Publishing, reprint edition 2008, $16.95). Much of the book includes specific herbal remedies for everyone in the family -- adults, babies, children, and elders. These therapies are enhanced with an A to Z herbal apothecary featuring detailed information about more than 90 herbs, as well as tips for preparing herbal remedies from scratch.

Favorite or New Plant

Oak Leaf Hydrangea
Native to the southeast, oak leaf hydrangea, Hydrangea quercifolia, is one of those plants that brings four seasons of beauty to the garden. These handsome plants form a rounded mound to 6 feet or taller, have large leaves that resemble those of oak or grape, and papery brown bark. Although oak leaf hydrangeas ultimately lose their leaves, the leaves stay on the plants long into the fall and turn gorgeous shades of red and purple. In the summer, the plants bear large panicles of white flowers that slowly turn to pink. There are a number of varieties, with 'Alice' and 'Snow Queen' being among the best and most widely available. For smaller spaces, there are several varieties that only grow to 3 feet or so. These include 'Peewee' and 'Sikes' Dwarf', plus the golden-leaved, 'Little Honey'.

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