Northern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

January, 2012
Regional Report

Books

Step by Step Gardening
The experts at Better Homes and Gardens have come up with Gardening Made Simple (Wiley, 2011, $24.99), a step-by-step guide to many gardening chores and projects. The beautiful color photographs and illustrations clearly illustrate the various steps involved. Everything from container gardening, growing vegetables and herbs, even successful indoor plant cultivation is covered in this excellent publication. There is a section on easy-to-grow plants and diagrams for landscape design. This is a very nice book for gardeners of all skill levels.

Favorite or New Plant

Sweet Olive
That heavenly fragrance you detect on a cold winter morning is probably from a nearby sweet olive (Osmanthus fragrans. The inconsequential flowers produce a massive sweet scent that perfumes the winter air. Osmanthus is a tidy shrub or small tree that is well suited to our climate. It will tolerate partial shade and a variety of less-than-perfect soil conditions. Tip pruning will keep the plant bushy and full, with plenty of branches to hold the fragrant flowers. Plant one, you will thank me later.

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