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Add sparkle to landscape with silver plants

Plant sheen — ‘Excalibur,’ a silver-leafed lungwort (Pulmonaria) shines in the shade when paired with a solid green Hosta. © Karen Bussolini

Plant sheen — ‘Excalibur,’ a silver-leafed lungwort (Pulmonaria) shines in the shade when paired with a solid green Hosta. © Karen Bussolini

There are lots of reasons to like silver plants.

First, most silver plants are deer resistant. Second, they are usually drought tolterant and third, “silver is really pizzazy with other colors,” says Karen Bussolini, who with Jo Ann Gardner, wrote Elegant Silvers: Striking Plants for Every Garden (Timber Press, $34.95).

“Once we started comparing notes on what silvers we had grown, we came up with a really long list, both of silvers we had killed and ones that had been successful,” said Bussolini, who lives in Connecticut. She will speak about these shimmering garden jewels at 7:30 p.m., Nov. 10 at Woodstock Club, 1301 W. 38th St., Indianapolis. The lecture, sponsored by the Indianapolis Museum of Art Horticultural Society and the Indianapolis Hosta Society, is free and open to the public.

While Bussolini traveled the country looking for gardens and interviewing gardeners, Gardner remained on her farm in the Adirondacks conducting research. They spent four years working on the book, said Bussolini, an award winning photographer whose images illustrate the book.

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Avoid hosta slug fest

Crinkle power - Stained Glass hostas thick, crinkly leaves protect against slug damage. © Photo courtesy Walters Gardens

Crinkle power - 'Stained Glass' hosta's thick, crinkly leaves protect against slug damage. © Photo courtesy Walters Gardens

When it comes to the shade, few perennials work as well as Hosta.

We appreciate hosta for its foliage, which comes in a wide range of green and blue hues or with the leaves variegated, edged or splotched with color. The flowers, called scapes, are almost secondary, even though several cultivars are extremely fragrant.

And while we appreciate the leaves, slugs call them dinner. The slugs eat holes in the leaves, giving them the look of Swiss cheese. Slugs work at night. A trip with a flashlight outdoors after dark will confirm the presence of a slug, a generic name for terrestrial gastropod mollusks.

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Sustainability goal of urban farm project

An urban farm program has germinated in Indianapolis, and like gardens everywhere, it holds seeds of hope, sharing and knowledge.

The program is the brainchild of Matthew Jose, a North Central High School graduate who attended Wesleyan University in Connecticut for a year before dropping out to work on a farm in Massachusetts.

Once his hands got dirty, Jose, 24, just never stopped. He worked in community garden projects in New York City and Portland, Ore.,before returning to his Hoosier roots and a job with Purdue University’s Marion County Extension Office, where he’s been about a year.

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