Northern & Central Midwest
Favorite or New Plant
Korean Angelica (Angelica gigas), an old-fashioned plant that is coming back into vogue, can give your perennial border a dramatic statement. Best of all, it grows in partial to full shade -- perfect for a woodland garden. Provide it with organic soil and moisture in dry times and the plant will thrive. This biennial or short-lived perennial has purple buds and stems, and huge dissected leaves. If you grow it from seed, small rosettes will give way to one or two sturdy purplish stems with bold leaves. The following year, several leaf stalks emerge and then in midsummer, a flower stalk appears. The flower stalk tops out at about 6 feet, and then produces umbels of dark purple flowers. Each umbel is about 10 inches across. If you cut out the flower stalk just as the blossoms open, you can extend the life of the plant. However, the flower is striking and will produce plenty of seedlings. Unfortunately, after the plant blooms, it dies. But the carpet of seedlings at its feet will provide Korean angelica for years to come.
Clever Gardening Technique
Bag Your Apples
Believe it or not, paper bags can be added to your arsenal for protecting developing apples. All you need are small lunch bags and a stapler. When apples are about an inch in diameter, about the time they need to be thinned, staple a paper bag over each fruit. The bags keep the fruit pest-free without the need for chemical controls. Yes, the trees look kind of funny, and this is only practical for those with a few trees, not an entire orchard. But it works! Remove the bags in late August so the apples can ripen, and you'll have terrific fruit.