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Landscape designer Stephen Suzman likes the groundcover species Senecio mandraliscae for its fast growth and distinctive chalky-blue fleshy foliage. A native of South Africa, it grows 12 to 18 inches tall with masses of 3- to 4-inch pencil-like leaves. For more, visit Great Garden Plants.

A South Florida landscape by Sanchez & Maddux is resplendent with old-world charm.
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A roundup of tree news, including an iPhone app, great guides, and albino trees.

Can you recommend some good sources for buying seeds and offer some tips for starting plants from seed? 

—Julia Tomer, Pittsburgh 

Starting plants from seed, whether flowers, fruits, or vegetables, requires a little research. Some seeds will need an early start indoors; others can be sown directly in the garden. Most seed packets will provide you with all the information you need to have a successful season, as will the websites of many online purveyors. While I still enjoy receiving the odd seed catalogue or two by mail—Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds (rareseeds.com) is a favorite—I do most of my seed shopping online.

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In suburban New York, a reader grows tiers of organic vegetables that connect to a Craftsman-style house via a bridge.
Attracting the birds and the bees with its puckered lips, the Sticky Monkey Flower (Mimulus aurantiacus) wins our prize for best kisser.
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In gardens around Japan, moss is used to create spaces of deep tranquility and transcendent beauty.


The Spanish city of Valencia transformed a river bed into a 5.5-mile park that runs through the city—Cara Greenberg visits and reports back.
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Ever wish there was a Shazam for trees? LeafSnap is a new mobile app that can identify a tree's species by looking at a photograph of its leaf. It's a field guide for the twenty-first century, which uses facial recognition algorithms to analyze the leaf's contour so it can find a match from its index of species.
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