The Informed Gardener by Linda Chalker-Scott (University of Washington Press, 2008) is an introduction to sustainable landscaping practices. The author addresses the most common myths and misconceptions that plague home gardeners and horticultural professionals alike. Chalker-Scott is an Extension urban horticulturist and associate professor at Washington State University Puyallup Research and Extension Center. She is the Washington State editor of MasterGardener magazine and for six years she authored an online column, "Horticultural Myths".
Her book offers advice to gardeners who have wondered; Are native plants the best choice for sustainable landscaping? Should you avoid disturbing the root ball when planting? Are organic products better or safer than synthetic ones? What is the best way to control weeds-fabric or mulch? Are compost teas effective in controlling diseases? When is the best time to water in hot weather? How can you differentiate good advice from bad advice? This book has all the answers.
Favorite or New Plant
Japanese Painted Fern
I love ferns and one of my favorites is Japanese painted fern (Anthyrium niponicum). It brings new hues to my partially shady garden, providing foliage colors that go far beyond green. Japanese painted fern features fronds splashed with silver that really shine when grown near evergreen trees and shrubs. It's adapted to zones 3 to 8, and it returns to my garden year after year with no winter protection at all. These 15-inch-tall plants look great planted in masses, or surrounded by brightly colored impatiens and lobelia.