New England

August, 2006
Regional Report

Favorite or New Plant

'Sunset' Echinacea
Echinacea 'Sunset', one of the new Big Sky series from Itsaul Nurseries in Atlanta, GA, has large, gorgeous, red-orange flowers with a henna-colored central cone that bloom from July well into fall. The reflexed petals are wider than some varieties so they overlap and create more impact. 'Sunset' grows about 2-1/2 feet tall and almost as wide. It has a light fragrance. Like other echinaceas, this one likes it sunny and hot and prefers well-drained soil.

Clever Gardening Technique

Vacation-Proofing Container Plants
To help plants survive while you are on vacation, group outdoor containers -- especially clay pots -- together to shade the pots and slow evaporation. Slipping clay pots inside larger plastic pots will help too. Move them all into the shade if possible. You can even erect a temporary shade structure out of shade cloth draped over sawhorses. Before you leave, soak the pots in a kiddie swimming pool or a large bucket to make sure the rootball is saturated.

If you come home from vacation to a dried-out container, don't despair. Some plants will wilt dramatically but come back once moistened. If the water you add from the top pours right through, place the entire container in a bucket of water and let the water soak into the soil from below. If it's still hot and sunny out, place the plant in a shady, cool spot for a few days. Remove damaged foliage and hold off on fertilizer until you see it has recovered.

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