Western Mountains and High Plains

June, 2010
Regional Report

Books

Organic Lawn Care
I've been receiving numerous e-mails about do-it-yourself "organic lawn care." An easy to follow book that is quite helpful is: Organic Gardening Basics: Lawns by the editors of Organic Gardening Magazine (Rodale Inc. 2000, $14.95). It is a great little reference book with friendly advice for growing your lawn organically. Learn the basics of choosing the right kind of lawn grass for specific areas, how to apply organic fertilizers and tips on how to suppress weeds, diseases and other pests.

Favorite or New Plant

Spotted Dead Nettle
Shade gardens often lack color. To remedy this, one of my highly recommended perennials for dappled shade is Lamium maculatum or spotted dead nettle. Leaves are marked with a stroke, splash, or almost complete coating of silver, bringing light to dim locations. In part shade and moist, well-drained soils, spotted dead nettle will grow quickly and fill in open spots. It readily roots at the leaf joints to form a tidy ground cover. The short spikes of hooded flowers, although not the main attraction, also create a nice display. Use it in containers and hanging baskets to accent annual flowers. The foliage variegation creates movement in the garden, giving the effect of dappled light.

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