The Gardener's Iris Book
In The Gardener's Iris Book, by William Shear (Taunton Books, 1998; $25), the author shares expertise gained from 40 years of tending iris. Starting with the tall bearded iris, the book features iris types for almost any garden conditions -- dry, wet, shady, or sunny. Step-by-step instructions and photos help with choosing, planting, and growing iris. If you have any interest in developing an iris garden, you must add this book to your collection.
Favorite or New Plant
Ligularia 'The Rocket'
'The Rocket' (Ligularia stenocephala) has gorgeous, heart-shaped, toothed leaves that grow up to 9 inches across. It produces spires of small, yellow flowers on wiry, 5-foot-tall, black stems. 'The Rocket' blooms from late June through July in my area. It grows best in part shade and brightens a corner of the garden bathed in morning sunlight but shaded from hot afternoon sun. This easy-to-grow perennial is hardy to USDA zone 4 and thrives in rich, humusy soil that holds water well.