Keeping Kids in Nature
Last Child in the Woods; Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder, by Richard Louv (Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, NC, 2005; $24.95) is about the impact of kids losing touch with the natural world in our techological age. Kids are so plugged in (and overscheduled) that they are missing out on fishing in the river, making forts in the woods, and other "playful" outdoor activities that have a lot to teach about creativity, resourcefulness, respect, etc. The book is a thoughtful wake-up call.
Favorite or New Plant
You may not have considered using sumac as a landscape plant before, but the new 'Tiger Eyes' staghorn sumac (Rhus typhina 'Tiger Eyes') could change that. The cut-leaf foliage emerges chartreuse in spring, changes to bright yellow in summer, and turns flaming red and orange in fall. At 6 feet tall and wide, it fits into many more places than its taller wild cousins. It's easy to grow in full to part sun, and it really lights up a border.