Garden Talk: March 30, 2006

From NGA Editors

New Red and Pink Everblooming Hydrangeas

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Many gardeners in Northern climates have been enjoying the blue hydrangea ‘Endless Summer’ for a few years. Unlike most mophead hydrangeas (Hydrangea macrophylla), ‘Endless Summer’ blooms on new and old wood, so even if it dies back in winter, it still produces a flower show the next summer.

Now a new series of hardy hydrangeas is available that expands the color choices. The Forever & Ever hydrangeas also bloom on new and old wood, they are compact growers, and they produce large flowers.

Forever & Ever Red (H. macrophylla ‘Red Sensation’) grows 3 feet tall and wide and produces large, round flowers in midsummer that start out red and fade to purple. It’s hardy to USDA zone 4. Forever & Ever ‘Double Pink’ (H. macrophylla ‘RE109’) has the same growth habit, but it produces double pink or blue flowers, depending on the soil pH. It’s hardy to USDA zone 5.

For more information on these new, hardy hydrangeas, go to: Carroll Gardens.

Dual-Use Water Nozzle

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It’s time to start watering lawns and gardens. While conventional water nozzles produce a pressurized stream of water that’s good for washing cars and driveways, they aren’t the best for watering plants. There are water nozzles available that provide a gentler flow for plants, but they don’t have the pressurized stream. Now there’s a water nozzle that has both.

The Dual-Flo water nozzle allows you to regulate the water flow at the nozzle. The heavy-duty, corrosion-resistant, cast aluminum nozzle has two outlets for water. The bottom outlet provides a fully pressurized stream of water that's perfect for washing cars, windows, or tools. Turn the valve and the flow coming out of the top outlet is non-pressurized, making it easy to fill a bucket or a pet’s water dish, or water a flower pot. Each outlet has male threads that make it easy to hook up the nozzle to a garden hose, sprinkler, or fertilizer sprayer.

For more information on the Dual-Flo water nozzle, go to: Choice Products, Inc..

Unique Double-Flowered Hostas

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Hostas are one of the most popular shade perennials. They’re carefree and easy to grow, and not only are there many variations of leaf color and pattern, the flowers on many varieties are attractive and fragrant, too. Two new hosta varieties feature the most striking flowers, yet. They look more like the flowers of a night-blooming cactus than a hosta.

Hosta plantaginea ‘Venus’ has sweetly scented, "twice-double" flowers. That means they are quadruple-petaled. The 5-inch-diameter white flowers emerge in late summer and early fall after most other hosta flowers have passed.

Hosta ‘Fujibotan’ is another double-flowered selection, and this one features 2-inch-diameter, lavender flowers. Both hostas grow about 2 feet tall with green leaves. They are hardy in USDA zones 3 to 8.

For more information on these unique double-flowered hostas, go to: Wayside Gardens.

Avoid Cypress Mulch

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Hurricane Katrina’s destruction on the gulf coast extends beyond the houses and streets of New Orleans. It’s estimated that more than 64,000 acres of mature cypress forest was wiped out in the hurricane. Coastal cypress forests provide a buffer from storms, protecting inland areas. The hurricane’s destruction only highlights the ongoing loss of this valuable resource. For years mature cypress forests have been harvested not just for timber but for highly desirable mulch for gardens. Cypress mulch is not only very decorative, it has natural rot- and insect-repelling characteristics.

Unfortunately, so much of the mature cypress forests have been harvested that mulch manufacturers have begun to harvest immature stands. Not only does this prevent the forest’s regeneration, research has shown that the wood from immature cypress trees lacks the beneficial characteristics of mature trees.

One way gardeners around the country can help stem the tide of destruction of these cypress forests and therefore help protect coastal areas of the Gulf from future hurricane damage, is to avoid buying cypress mulch. Instead purchase mulch produced from plentiful sources in your region.

For more information about cypress mulch, go to: National Wildlife Federation.

 
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