Coastal and Tropical South
Jayme Jenkins and Billie Brownell have distilled a world of garden smarts into their new book, Garden Rules, subtitled "the snappy synopsis for the modern gardener." These veterans of gardening and writing have figured out that most of today's gardeners are out of time and patience. They simply want the essentials of what to do, and a way to remember it. The book gets off to the exact right start with Rule Number One: There are no rules. The authors explain that if you find something that works for you in your garden, don't discount it because it violates someone else's rule. With that grant of freedom, they're off and running with good-humored inspiration. From Cool Springs Press, April, 2011, 143 pages, $9.95.
Favorite or New Plant
Penta 'Stars and Stripes'
Every list of plants for butterfly gardens includes pentas. They bloom in hot weather, are perennial throughout most of our regions, have few if any pests, and perform well in slightly less than full sun. The cultivar 'Stars and Stripes' adds striking leaves, green edged in irregular creamy patterns, to a 2 foot tall plant. This one blooms with tight clusters of red flowers held above the leaves, handy for the butterflies that seek its nectar. This penta is a good example of how plant breeding can transform a garden classic into a 21st century favorite.