Western Mountains and High Plains
Hardy Perennials: A Complete Guide To Care and Cultivation, by Richard Bird (Sterling Publishing, 1998, $19.95), is a handy little book to help you get started growing some dependable perennials. Gardening expert Richard Bird describes a number of fascinating plants in detail and tells you how to put them to good use in your garden. If you are looking for ideas on what to grow in shade, woodland, and cottage gardens, this book will help guide you.
Favorite or New Plant
Crown of Thorns
Euphorbia milii (crown of thorns) is truly a unique, intriguing, and decorative houseplant. It has shrubby stems that are armed with long, sharp thorns. Crown of thorns can grow to three feet or more and is a great specimen plant. The so-called flowers are actually modified leaves that are termed bracts; the real flowers hide within these bracts. The plant bears clustered pairs of bright red or salmon-red bracts nearly all year. Euphorbia milii is available in many varieties that offer varying forms, sizes, and bract color.
One of the reasons that the crown of thorns makes an ideal plant for our region is its adaptability to the dry indoor air. Keep the soil barely moist, watering when the soil is dry to the touch.
Grow the plant where temperatures range from 65 to 70 degrees F during the day and 50 to 60 degrees at night. Bright, filtered sunlight from a southern, western, or eastern exposure is ideal and will result in more flowering throughout the year.