If you have indoor grow lights and a taste for out-of-the-ordinary flowers that you can't find at nurseries, this book will be at your fingertips all spring. The Gardener's A-Z Guide to Growing Flowers from Seed to Bloom, by Eileen Powell (Storey Publishing, 2004; $24.95) details the requirements for sowing, transplanting, and caring for 600 plants. It specifies the light, depth, and temperature needed for germination, which is more information than you sometimes find on a seed packet.
Favorite or New Plant
Endless Summer Hydrangea
This plant may be new but I'm sure to fall in love with it. Endless Summer hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla 'Bailmer') will finally give us northerners a chance to enjoy those big blue -- or pink -- mop-head flower clusters all summer long. It flowers on both new and old wood, and prefers dappled shade or at least afternoon shade. Flowers will be blue in acid soil, pink in alkaline soil, and you can add amendments to alter the pH for the color you prefer. I've already placed my order!