Middle South

September, 2011
Regional Report

Shows & Events

True Nature Country Fair
The Fifth Annual True Country Fair, sponsored by the Organic Growers School, will be held October 8th at the Highland Lake Cove in Flat Rock, North Carolina. The Fair will feature vendors of local, organic, and sustainable products and resources from around the Southeast. The event also offers workshops and demonstrations on all aspects of sustainable living, a children's program, and live music. For more information, visit the Web site at www.organicgrowersschool.org.

Favorite or New Plant

'Fireworks' Gompherina
On my recent trip to the Delaware Valley, I was gobsmacked by the beauty and exuberance of 'Fireworks' gomphrena, a new sun-loving annual. Though many gardeners are familiar with the smaller globe amaranth with its round, clover-like flowers, this new gomphrena is head and shoulders, literally, above its low-growing cousin.

The plant was a showstopper at Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, where it was grown in a color-themed, 600-foot long flower border alongside a deep burgundy 'Vertigo' pennisetum grass, and lots of 'Carnival' coleus and 'Butterfly Deep Pink' pentas. At other gardens, I found it growing in containers and beds with equal success. It mixed well with a variety of other plants, especially those with chartreuse or burgundy foliage, and was a favorite of bees and butterflies.

Gomphrena 'Firecracker' grows tall and full (at least 4-feet by 2-feet), with strong, multi-branching stems topped with 1-inch blooms in hot pink tipped with bright yellow. Those who've grown the plant say it likes full sun and fertile, well-drained soil but is a no-fuss performer that thrives on neglect. It will even handle a bit of drought once established.

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Special Report - Garden to Table

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