Growing Perennials in Cold Climates
Even if you don't garden in the coldest reaches of New England, Growing Perennials in Cold Climates (University of Minnesota Press, 2011, $39.95) is a great resource. Written by a trio of experienced Minnesota gardeners, Mike Heger, Debbie Lonee, and John Whitman, this is a revised and updated version of the book that was originally published in 1998. While it includes the latest information on species and cultivars, it retains the very helpful five star rating system that helps you identify plants that will not only survive winter cold (all plants covered are hardy at least to - 20 F), but will be outstanding performers as well. Information on planting, caring for, and propagating plants is included, as well as advice on common problems, suitable companion plants, expected longevity, and level of maintenance needed. This is an excellent reference you'll return to again and again.
Favorite or New Plant
First Yellow Geranium
Heralded by Burpee Seeds as a triumph of plant breeding, 'First Yellow' is the first true yellow Pelargonium geranium. The soft yellow double blossoms will provide a show all summer long on 12-15 inch tall plants. Like all geraniums, 'First Yellow' will do best in full sun. I think it would look nice paired with the deep blue spires of mealycup sage (Salvia farinacea). Plants are available exclusively from Burpee (http://www.burpee.com/flowers/geranium/geranium-first-yellow-prod002570.html?catId=cat40010#null).