Garden Talk: June 8, 2006

From NGA Editors

Showy Red-Flowering Vine

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Looking for a new flowering annual vine to add to your summer collection? Look no further than the ‘Great Cascade Wine Red’ Lophospermum. The attractive light green, hairy leaves have ruffled edges, and the velvety red trumpet-shaped flowers bloom from early summer until frost. This tropical annual grows equally well cascading out of a hanging basket or climbing up a trellis or pillar. The vine also is vigorous enough to hide an old stump or fence.

Lophospermum thrives in full sun but can withstand part shade. The flowers are also favorites of hummingbirds.

For more information on the ‘Great Cascade Wine Red’ Lophospermum, go to: Pineae Greenhouses.

Level Your Pots

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You’ve probably heard of pot feet and pot toes. These products are used to keep containers elevated off the ground for better water drainage. Now there’s a way to keep you pots, statues, and garden ornaments level so they can be placed on uneven surfaces, such as driveways and paths.

The Potlevel is made of two circular, polypropylene wedges that rotate. Revolve the wedges to adjust the thickness of the Potlevel and create the proper angle to correct for your slope. Place your pot on the Potlevel and readjust until the pot is level.

The Potlevel is made for 8- to 14-inch-diameter pots and can hold pots weighing up to 800 pounds. It comes in two colors: terra-cotta and stone.

For more information on the Potlevel, go to: Gardener’s Supply Company.

Nutritious Mushrooms

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When we think of foods high in healthful antioxidants, fungi don't typically come to mind. But, in fact, mushrooms have been found to be high in the antioxidant ergothioneine, which protects cells within the human body.

Researchers at Pennsylvania State University tested white button, portabello, crimini, shiitake, oyster, king oyster, and maitake mushrooms for their ergothioneine content. They found portabello and crimini mushrooms, in particular, had 12 times more anti-oxidant than wheat germ and 4 times more than chicken liver -- the previous top-rated ergothioneine sources. What's more, the levels of ergothioneine didn’t decrease when the mushrooms were cooked.

For more information on this research, go to: Pennsylvania State University.

Nickel Prevents Daylily Rust

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Got daylilies? You might also be getting daylily rust. What was once considered an indestructible plant has been succumbing to a rust disease in many parts of the country. Daylily rust symptoms include orange bumps and yellow streaking of the leaves and a general downturn in the vigor of the plant. The fungus is native to Asia but has been in North America since 2000.

A common way to prevent the disease from spreading is to cut back infected foliage as soon as the streaking is noticed. Many fungicides have also been recommended to control daylily rust. Now new research indicates that nickel fertilizer can help stop the spread of this disease.

Researchers at the Southeastern Fruit and Tree Nut Research Laboratory in Byron, Georgia, sprayed various concentrations of nickel fertilizer on infected daylily plants. Potted plants were infected with rust disease and sprayed with nickel at 50, 100, 200, and 400 ppm concentrations. A repeat application was applied 10 days later. The 200 ppm spray reduced the disease by 90 percent. Nickel fertilizer products are not yet available in most garden centers but can be purchased through the Nipan Company (craw142@bellsouth.net).

For more information on daylily rust disease, go to: Southeastern Fruit and Tree Nut Research Laboratory.

 
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