Gardening By Heart
Nothing conjures up the vision of a glorious, graceful plant like the name Queen Anne's Lace. But if you knew Daucus carota was considered a weed, would it still seem so lovely? The idea that even weeds deserve respect is just one of the topics in this collection of essays by Joyce McGreevey, Gardening by Heart (Sierra Club Books, 2000; $20).
Part memoir, part journal, this book invites you to explore the creativity and spirituality of the gardening experience. It stresses the importance of staking out and enjoying your own little piece of earth, even if it is only a window box. The author urges you to try to forget schedules and take time to slow down, sit on the grass, observe the garden with a fresh eye, and smell the roses -- all of which should enhance the appreciation of your own personal Eden.
Favorite or New Plant
Always on the lookout for shade-loving plants, I'm really pleased with the astilbes I acquired a few years ago. Their attractive foliage and colorful plumes provide lots of interest in the garden, from early spring through late summer. Foliage color varies from dark green to reddish green, and flower colors include white, pink, purple, and red.
Astilbe varieties range in height from 6 to 8 inches up to 3 to 4 feet. They perform best in moist, well-drained soils and, while they love the shade, they'll tolerate some morning sun.