The Harmonious Garden
The Harmonious Garden, by Catherine Ziegler (Timber Press, 1996; $24.95), is a practical guide that tells you how to compose satisfying plant arrangements by balancing textures and forms along with color to produce appealing, ever-changing, and attractive landscapes. The author suggests matching the plant with the site and incorporating subtle hues and tints to provide an overall design in landscapes large and small. The book contains a 16-color wheel to encourage experimentation with various shades of primary colors for just the right effect.
Favorite or New Plant
There's really no contest ... my favorite landscape plant this time of year is definitely Camellia sasanqua. Blooms of deep to bright pink against dark, glossy green foliage from mid-December through February make this a standout in my garden.
Camellias originate from subtropical regions in China and Japan and are easily cultivated in open ground or in pots. They love warm, wet summers and moderately cold, dry winters. Cultural requirements for camellias are similar to those for rhododendron, azalea, and holly. They like acidic, well-draining soil, some afternoon sunshine, and a light application of fertilizer in early spring. Occasional pruning will keep the shrubs in shape. Camellia cultivars usually set 5 to 7 flower buds on each terminal shoot. Disbudding (removing all except one or two buds) will help the remaining buds develop into larger, longer-lasting flowers.