Annuals with Style
In their book Annuals with Style; Design Ideas from Classic to Cutting Edge (Taunton Press, 2000; $19.95), Michael A. Ruggiero and Thomas Christopher capture the spirit of creativity as they advise on how best to use the many kinds of annuals now widely available. Scale, texture, form, and color are all considered when using annuals in pots, hanging baskets, or in flower beds. The basics -- soil preparation, mulching, watering, pinching, and fertilizing -- are thoroughly discussed, and an encyclopedia of essential annuals provides the basics as well as plentiful color photographs. Both beginning and experienced gardeners will love this book.
Favorite or New Plant
Few plants can compare to the begonia for long-lasting color, reasonable drought tolerance, easy care, and memorable impact when used in mass plantings. They perform admirably in many garden situations, including full sun in all but the hottest areas, and light to medium shade. In deep shade situations, they will stretch and become leggy, so do give them a spot with at least a few hours of sunlight for the best results. They are excellent choices for borders, mass plantings, containers, and ground covers. I love using the bronze-leaf varieties in pots to compliment feathery, gray foliage of my artemisias. The combination is outstanding!