A charcoal-gray planter on my patio is filled with Persian shield, an old-fashioned plant that gardeners have enjoyed since Victorian times. The other night, a friend marveled at its aluminumlike halo and iridescent purple leaves. "This plant is so beautiful, you don't even need a flower," he said.
That's the idea behind a new book by Bucks County gardening author Nancy J. Ondra and photographer Rob Cardillo of Ambler: Foliage: Astonishing Color and Texture Beyond Flowers (Storey Publishing, $24.95). Astonishing is the operative word here, though Ondra thinks gardening with foliage foremost in mind is "embarrassingly easy" to execute.