Answer: If you can have just one gardening book in your library, choose Sunset Western Garden Book. It has tons of information on all the plants you can grow in zone 8 plus lots of suggestions for keeping plants healthy and also a section on insect and disease control.
The plants you mention are oddities and most can be found through catalogs or online nurseries (Stark Bros., Thompson Morgan, Burpee, etc.) Sometimes garden centers and nurseries will carry them so it's worth a look locally, as well. The upside-down tomato plant is simply a patio tomato plant that's planted in the bottom of a plastic gro-bag. The natural tendency is for plants to grow up towards the sun. If the plant is planted upside down the stems will grow downward for a while and then gravitate towards the sun. When a tomato plant begins developing fruit, the fruit is heavy enough to pull the stems down. You end up with an interesting plant, plus edible fruit.
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