In the Garden:
The 3-inch wide blooms of Zinnia Queen Lime shade from chartreuse at the edges to bright green around the central cone. (Image courtesy of National Garden Bureau)
Summer Garden Planning
Our mailboxes may be surrounded with vibrantly colored annuals in midsummer, but they are probably filled with flowers in January -- inside seed catalogs, that is! Page upon page of cheerful offerings remind us that spring is only a dozen weeks away. It's time to get out pencil and paper and plan for color in this year's beds and borders.
Selecting Some Winners
Catalog and website plant descriptions and beautiful photos transport us from the rainy reality of winter in the Pacific Northwest to a summer garden bursting with color and heady with fragrance. But how to choose from among all that's on offer -- and how to choose the best? One way is to consider winners of the All-America Selections field trials. Each year, this nationwide trial program awards the best new annual flowers and vegetables that have. Only those flower entries with superior garden performance or vegetables with superior taste and garden performance are given the AAS stamp of approval by an impartial panel of judges. The chosen varieties are marked with an AAS Winner label.
Remember to Plan
Induced by an enchanting collection of seed catalogs, one can easily get carried away with wishes and dreams. That's what makes planning on paper a must. Gardening on paper means you can rearrange plants without a trowel -- something infinitely easier than slogging around in the mud on a wet, wintry day.
Try Something Different
Do you plant the same color scheme in your annual flower garden every year? This year, try something new -- like green flowers! Zinnia elegans 'Envy' features striking chartreuse-green blossoms. The pale yellow-green, trumpet-shaped flowers of Nicotiana alata 'Lime Green' attract hummingbirds and have the added bonus of night fragrance. Other "greenies" to try include the Amaranthus caudatus cultivars 'Green Thumb' and 'Viridis', and bells of Ireland (Moluccella laevis).
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