Coastal and Tropical South

June, 2012
Regional Report

Favorite or New Plant

Chinese Hat Plant
Holmskioldia sanguinea, native to the lower Himalayas and Malaysia, is a stalwart garden plant in warm climates around the world. It produces a stunning, bold fountain of light green leaves whose shape reveals their family relationship with althea and hibiscus. Chinese hat blooms with flat orange sepals surrounding scarlet red tubes and butterfly-shaped stamens. These plants are at home in garden beds and containers and are also easily pruned into espalier or column plantings. Give them a partly sunny site with well drained, organic soil, and water regularly to keep the flowers coming.

Tool or Gardening Product

Insect Repelling Super Band
My quest for an effective insect repellent that does not contain DEET has been going on for some time. I am not trying to go organic on this issue but try most everything that comes along in search of effectiveness without the headache I sometimes get from using products with DEET as their active ingredient. Now I have finally found one that works well for me. The Insect Repelling Super Band says it lasts 200 hours, but I passed that sometime back and it still works. A stretchy band tight enough to fit a wrist and flexible enough to go over a shoe on its way to you ankle, the bright yellow color is eye catching enough not to get lost in the garden shed. The band comes from Evergreen Research, costs about $3, and contains a mixture of Philippine geraniol oil, lemongrass oil, and citronella oil embedded in a spiral polyethylene band.

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