Trees and Shrubs Simplified
Trees and Shrubs for Dummies, by Ann Whitman (IDG Books, 2000; $17), is a concise, sometimes humorous book that will help prevent serious landscaping mistakes such as planting under a power line or too near a septic system. Author Whitman thoroughly explains how to create a landscape plan that's suited to your home site, whether hilly or flat. She offers suggestions on how to solve common problems, such as screening traffic or creating a private retreat. The book, written for both novices and experts, includes dozens of photos of recommended plants and contains lists of sources for many of them.
Favorite or New Plant
Colchicum autumnale, better known as autumn crocus, is one of the plants I love this time of year. As the name implies, this bulbous plant produces flowers in the fall, at a time we very much appreciate the color they provide. This lily relative requires moist soil and prefers semi-shade but will grow in full sun if kept well watered. Fall-planted bulbs produce leaves in spring that die back during summer. In the fall, when you've forgotten they were even planted, they suddenly produce a flowering stem topped with a lovely bloom. Autumn crocus is an easy-care garden standout, available in white or shades of lavender and purple.