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Yours might grow better than mine
By Deborah Donovan | Inside & Out

Crosley's Solo is a radio and also plays from MP3 players.


Blazin' Lime iresine tolerates shade.


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Published: 6/6/2009 12:00 AM

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Testing plants is always a challenge. Plants that don't perform in my garden might do well with your green thumb.

For example, last year I grew Blazin' Lime iresine in window boxes that got almost no sun.

While they are supposed to tolerate shade, I don't think hardly any plant likes THAT much shade. They grew tall and thin. I rather liked them because they gave some height and their variegated leaves provided brightness.

But they didn't look like the picture. You should be able to find these plants from Ball Horticulture in garden centers this year.

I also planted a few Flower Carpet Roses from Tesselaar Plants. Joy, of joy, they both survived the winter, even though I didn't mulch them as you are supposed to that first season in our Zone 5 area. They are in protected areas, however.

It will be a miracle if either comes close to the 1,000 blooms that each bush is supposed to be capable of producing. In fact, I would be thrilled with 10 percent of that performance. You guessed it, neither has a surfeit of sunshine.

Help Dad encourage the farmer within

You say your dad doesn't care much about growing flowers, but you need to get him something for Father's Day, which is coming up June 21.

Perhaps he would like to get in touch with his Midwest agrarian roots.

"The Backyard Homestead" is subtitled "produce all the food you need on just a quarter acre!" That used to be a common size for a suburban home site. The book is edited by Carleen Madigan and costs $18.95 from Storey Publishing.

Don't worry. If Dad follows the book, he will start with vegetables and move to fruit before getting into meat and eggs (chickens and other fowl). So it should be a while before village officials knock at your door and suggest the family would be happier in more rural climes.

As you may have guessed, we are talking quite a bit of work here, including canning and otherwise preserving food for our notoriously long and cold winters.

Or here's an idea: plant a walnut tree for dad, and it will be years before either of you have to deal with any harvesting issues.

The look is retro, the electronics new

But maybe you are looking for a more traditional Father's Day gift?

Crosley makes updated gifts that look traditional.

Here, for example, is the Solo radio, which looks like an old-fashioned radio. You can also use it to play music from MP3 players.

The price is $130.

Dad might also like a Memory Master CD Recorder. That offers an easy way to transfer the music on his favorite records to compact discs. Records or vinyl are technology that you might not understand, but don't worry, Dad does.

This machine costs $450, but it has a lot of extras and works with different sized records as well as cassettes.

Crosley products are available at several stores, including Macy's, Target, Restoration Hardware and Urban Outfitters. They are also online at,