Photographic Field Guide to New England Nature
For those whose love of the natural world extends beyond the bounds of the garden, Naturally Curious by Mary Holland (Trafalgar Square Books, 2010, $39.95) offers a fascinating, wide-ranging, and beautifully presented look at the plants, animals, and fungi with whom we share our New England landscape. Subtitled A Photographic Field Guide and Month-by-Month Journey through the Fields, Woods, and Marshes of New England, this book takes you through the seasons to tell you what mammals, amphibians, reptiles, birds, insects, spiders, plants, and fungi are doing and what to look for in every month. The "Closer Look" sections are essays that provide more in-depth information on a wide range of topics. Numerous photographs, most taken by the author herself, greatly enrich the text. Author Holland is a naturalist, wildlife photographer, and experienced environmental educator. If you'd like to deepen your understanding and appreciation of the wild world throughout our region, her book is a great resource.
Favorite or New Plant
'Biokovo' Hardy Geranium
I grow many different species and cultivars of hardy geraniums in my garden. They are attractive, low maintenance, and generally trouble-free. One of my favorites, which I use as an easy-care groundcover, is Geranium x cantabrigiense (kan-tuh-brij-ee-EN-see) 'Biokovo'. Growing 6-9 inches tall, with fragrant, semi-evergreen foliage, it is covered with pink-tinged white flowers accented with colorful pink stamens in mid spring to early summer. There is often sporadic rebloom, especially as the weather cools in late summer. In the fall, the leaves turn shades of red and orange. The flowers are held on slender stems slightly above the foliage, so when the main flush of bloom is past, I neaten up plants by clipping off the faded flowers en masse with hedge shears. The only other maintenance is a gentle raking in spring to remove tree leaves that have drifted in over the fall and winter and an occasional topdressing with compost. Plants spread, but not aggressively, and it's easy to transplant rooted sections around the garden to spread the wealth. This geranium does well in sun or light shade and is adapted to Zones 4-8. 'Karmina' is a cultivar with darker pink flowers.