Pacific Northwest

April, 2011
Regional Report

Books

African Violets
The African Violet Handbook, by Tony Clements (David and Charles Publishers, 2003; $19.99), covers plant care, pests, and diseases, along with tips for displaying the plants in your home. A list of popular cultivars to help you choose the colors and varieties to grow, and a section on commonly asked questions make this book is a good resource for anyone interested in growing African violets.

Favorite or New Plant

Cosmos
I can't think of an annual plant as colorful and easy to grow as cosmos. I love the fern-like foliage and the way the flowers are held high on the tall stems. They come in several colors including orange, burgundy, and white, but the pink is my favorite. Cosmos make excellent cut flowers and give a casual look to a cutting bed. I plant them in the spring after the soil has warmed. It takes only a few weeks for them to grow and begin blooming. Cosmos require full sun, moderate water, and rich garden soil. When the plants begin producing flowers I deadhead them frequently to keep them looking tidy. They tend to self-sow, but I don't thin my cosmos because I like the way they look massed together in a bed.

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