Pacific Northwest

March, 2011
Regional Report

Books

Houseplant Survival Manual
A Complete Houseplant Survival Manual by Barbara Pleasant (Workman Publishing Co., 2005; $24.95) is a terrific book from a prolific garden writer. It contains information on growing 160 houseplants -- their identification, lighting needs, and fertilizer and water requirements. It also covers propagation, selecting the proper containers and potting soils, and even addresses some of the common problems we encounter when growing indoor plants.

Tool or Gardening Product

Favorite Gardening Tool
You'll find a multitude of gardening tools on the market, all with the same theme -- to make gardening less of a chore. I happen to like gardening so I don't consider it a chore, but I'm always on the lookout for ways to make the most mundane tasks a little easier. The most valuable tool I use is a rubber trash can lid. At rest, it covers the trash can that I drag around to stash my garden debris. When I dig new beds, this lid becomes my rock basket. It works well for cradling flower bulbs, as well.

Planting time is when my lid is most versatile. It collects the soil I remove from the planting hole, and endures being shoved aside when I need room to wiggle the hoe or stomp on the shovel. It tilts helpfully in my direction when I get down on hands and knees to work with the trowel. I can fill it to the brim with soil or plants and still have room by the rim for my pruners. Once a plant is tucked into the ground and given a good drench, I fill the lid with the pruners, trowel, compost bucket, plastic nursery pot, and plant tag, and drag it to the next part of the garden to begin again.

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