Sunday, January 23, 2011

SIZE DOES MATTER - New Small Garden Choices

I had the opportunity of attending a Member and Volunteer meeting at the Wegerzyn Gardens in Dayton, Ohio last week.  As part of the Five Rivers Metro Parks, this non-profit foundation has supported horticultural and educational programs for 35 years.  Kent Phillips Studebaker Nurseries Ohio
Bobby Fluck - Volunteer and Master Gardener Kent Phillips was the speaker and introduced us to these new plants for 2011.  He represented Studebaker Nurseries, a wholesale grower in Ohio.
Patio gardens, and entry ways are just two places to build a small garden. And putting the right plant in the right place is particularly important in a limited space.  Mistakes can easily be seen if a shrub over steps its bounds or the continuous maintenance to keep a plant under control needs your attention every other weekend.
New plants come into the market each year.  Hybridizers and growers are always looking for the next ‘must have’ in the garden.  So I want to share with you some of new plants that will be an asset to our small gardens. 
CornusArctic215 This is a compact Red Twig Dogwood, called ‘Artic Fire’.  Growing to only 4’, this shrub is half the size of  other Dogwoods and has twice the branches.  “Baileyii” has blooms in late spring, and, of course, the showy stems all winter.
forsythia_showoff_big As the name suggests, this Forsythia, ‘Show Off’, will make a huge impact.  At full height of 3’ – 4’, “Show Off’ will work as a short hedge, or as a specimen in your landscape.  “Mindia” is one variety and needs full sun .  The dark green foliage allows this small shrub at least three seasons of interest.
‘Lil Kim’ Rose of Sharon is easy to grow, and is hardy in Zones 5-8.  What makes this  Hibiscus shrub stand out is the blossoms last three days and her blossoms are 3” across. Top height of 3’-4’, ‘Lil Kim’ can be grown in mixed containers or perennial beds.  This is a Proven Winner variety. Give this one full sun for maximum show.
 roseofsharon_lilkim_big Leptodermis oblonga - Missouri Botanical Garden This photo of Leptodermis oblonga was taken at the Missouri Botanical Gardens.  No common name has been given to this shrub, but that does not take away from the nice show of lavender blooms it gives from summer till frost. This plant can take full sun to part shade, is drought tolerant (once established), and no known insects or diseases plague it. It grows to  a 2’- 4’ mound and is hardy to Zones 5-7 .
Rosa 'Home Run' The” KnockOut” Rose family has gotten larger.  The ‘Home Run’, an offspring, is compact and tops out at about 2’.  This is a true red with bright yellow stamens. This variety is fragrant, and butterflies and hummingbirds will come to it.  I can see this in a container. Sweet! 
Thanks for visiting, and if your garden center does not have these varieties, have them contact
As you know, my mantra is ‘Envision, Enrich, and Enjoy’, your garden.  Check out plant sizes before you plant, and by all means, sit back and enjoy!!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

A Trend in Gardening for 2011

This past year has been a tough one.  The economy is down and we are having to spend more on food, clothing, fuel.  One of the obvious victims of this belt-tightening has been the nursery and garden center industry.  Gardeners are resisting the purchase of annuals and opting for perennials.  The smaller containers are being selected rather than the gallon pots, and this may indeed be the trend for several years to come. 
As households adjust their spending, we, as passionate gardeners, are looking for ways to get our gardening ‘fix’ and not break the bank.  I had such a ‘fix’ last evening as I attended a garden club meeting of the Here and There Garden Club. P1040067

Bob Iiames is a local gardener and speaker.  His topic was “Perennials That Pop”. 
Bob’s passion was evident as he showed us his garden.  The focus of dwarf and unusual conifers was delightful.  The four seasons of color showed how his investment in plant material paid big dividends.  P1040065

How does this fit into the ‘trends’ we were talking about?  Glad you asked!

Consumers like me are seeking out ways to educate ourselves.  We want to make good choices.  GREEN ideas are out there, we just have to look for them.  Gardening books, magazines, TV and radio programming, and classes are being offered.  Local parks and Garden Clubs are seeking out good, knowledgeable folks to help us.  Web sights and Podcasts are becoming more and more available – and easy – to access.  We do not want to waste our Money, our Water, Our Time, and we want to leave our environment better than when we started.

So my #1 Trend for 2011 would be ……(wait for it!)……. Education. 

Plant groups of all kinds are a source of information. Whether you like Hosta, Daylilies, Conifers, Iris, Native Plants, or any number of other plant types, you can find a regional and national organization to suit your interests. Local County Extension offices can offer Master Gardening Courses as well.  Gathering with other gardeners is always a source of good information, and good company.

What groups do you attend?  I'm sure I have left out some.  Thanks for visiting today.