Have you discovered Flickr? This searchable, online array of photos covers the world, with images taken and shared by members for free.
Want to see some gardens? Go to Flickr.com and search for them. Find portfolio series, such as "Geneva's garden" on Gratz Park by Louis Bickett; or Larry Daughtery's "Kentucky images" of beasts and butterflies, which takes you on a nature tour from your home computer.
Once you're oriented to the Web site, you can upload your own photos. It's a great way to keep the winter blahs at bay and spend some time learning about the wonders of the world around you.
HELP DIAGNOSING PLANT AILMENTS
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Tired of wondering why a certain plant isn't feeling too well?
Check out "What's Wrong With My Plant? (And How Do I Fix it?)," by David Deardorff and Kathryn Wadsworth (Timber Press, $24.95).
The book offers a visual system to diagnose any plant malady - and then match it to the right organic cure.
PLANT CHOICES HELP ELDERLY
A group of researchers at the University of Exeter in England, along with Ambius - the world's largest commercial environment plant provider - has conducted studies that show that nursing home residents feel happier and healthier when they can influence their communal surroundings with choices in artwork and plants.
"According to psychological theory, residents in a senior living home who believe that it is within their power to make a difference to the appearance of their living space should feel more empowered, thus leading to more positive feelings toward their fellow residents, the caregivers in the home, and the home itself," said principal researcher Craig Knight.
CREATING A MEADOW GARDEN
It's one thing to hear about the ecological benefits of replacing lawns with meadows. It's another thing to see it done effectively.
That's where "The American Meadow Garden" helps make the case.
Horticulturist John Greenlee's book not only explains the advantages of planting meadows filled with native plants, but it also includes numerous pictures by photographer Saxon Holt of well-designed meadow gardens. Readers can visit an array of settings where the landscapes get a little wild without looking unkempt.
Greenlee devotes a significant portion of the book to descriptions of meadow grasses and also teaches readers how to plant and maintain meadows in their yards.
"The American Meadow Garden: Creating a Natural Alternative to the Traditional Lawn" is published by Timber Press and sells for $34.95 in hardcover.
- Compiled by Megan Sexton, with wire reports