Northern California Coastal & Inland Valleys
The New Age Herbalist
If you are interested in the medicinal, nutritional, or relaxation qualities of various herbs, The New Age Herbalist, by Richard Mabey and Michael McIntyre (Collier Books, 1988; $18), is for you. It contains photographs and illustrations of various herb plants and describes in detail not only their uses, but also how to prepare them for those uses. It provides cultivation tips and an alphabetical list of commonly used plants, including their basic care and propagation.
Favorite or New Plant
Poppies add interest and elegance to a garden. The pink flowers of the breadbox poppy (Papaver somniferum) resemble a peony in size and form and are held above gray-green leaves on long stems. This poppy can grow to 4 to 5 feet tall under ideal conditions. Once the plant has finished flowering and has gone to seed, large seed pods develop, which are as interesting as the flowers.
This poppy is an annual but readily self-sows seeds and may survive a mild winter. Plant in full sun in well- drained soil amended with organic compost for best results.