Garden Talk: April 13, 2006

From NGA Editors

Garden Participation at All-Time High

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During unsettled times, people return to the garden. That adage appears to be true, according to the annual National Gardening Survey, conducted by NGA. In 2005, U.S. household participation in lawn and garden activities increased by 11 percent over the previous year. That means 83 percent of the 110 million households in the country (91 million households) participated in one or more types of do-it-yourself lawn and garden activities compared with 75 percent (82 million households) in 2004. That’s great news and the most significant increase in gardening activity since 2002. Ninety-one million households participating in lawn and garden activities is a new record, topping the previous all-time high of 85 million households back in 2001 and 2002.

What type of gardening activities are people involved in? All types. Of the 16 types of lawn and garden activities measured on the survey, 14 showed an increase in the number of households participating. The biggest increases were in lawn care, flower gardening, container gardening, and shrub care.

For more information about the survey, go to: NGA's Garden Research.

Redbuds for Small Gardens

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Dwarf and weeping ornamental trees are hot. With yard sizes of new homes getting smaller, homeowners are looking for attractive trees that will fit in small spaces. Breeders have responded by creating many dwarf and weeping versions of popular flowering trees.

Redbuds (Cercis) are the latest trees to undergo this attention. The ‘Covey’ redbud (Cercis canadensis ‘Covey’) produces bright purplish pink flowers in early spring. The tree has an umbrella form so when in bloom it looks like a cascade of color. It’s hardy in USDA zones 5 to 9.

Another small redbud is the ‘Ace of Hearts’ (Cercis canadensis ‘Ace of Hearts’). Featuring the same purplish pink flowers, this variety has small, heart-shaped leaves that are spaced close together, giving the tree a bushy appearance. It’s hardy in USDA zones 4 to 9.

Both redbuds grow less than 10 feet tall and wide at maturity, can be grown in full sun or part shade, and have yellow fall foliage color.

For more information on the ‘Covey’ redbud, go to: Wayside Gardens.

For more information on the ‘Ace of Hearts’ redbud, go to: Greenwood Nursery.

Taking the Ouch Out of Moving Large Pots

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It seems everyone has a container garden on the deck or patio these days, and gardeners are growing everything from flowers to vegetables to trees and shrubs in containers. While containers are great for their versatility, working with them can be a pain in the back. Large containers are heavy, and moving them around on a deck or in and out from winter storage can be difficult.

Now there’s a new product available that can help ease this burden. The PotLifter is a device that features 2 metal handles connected by nylon straps. The straps wrap around your container and buckle together. As two people pull up on the handles (one on each handle), the straps cinch around the pot to secure it and make it easier to lift. The PotLifter can handle up to 200 pounds and has a lifetime guarantee.

For more information on the PotLifter, go to: PotLifter.

Wall Container Gardens

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Containers are available in more shapes and sizes than ever before, but they can take up a lot of floor space on your deck or patio. Now there is a Wall Garden that attaches to a wall to create a waterfall-like garden effect. You can make your own hanging gardens of Babylon on your back balcony without taking over the sitting area.

The Wall Garden containers are only 10 inches thick, so they are easy to secure to a wall. They have “pots” embedded in the front side where up to 30 plants can be grown, and the top can be planted as well. Made from terra cotta-colored, UV-resistant polyethylene, they can be left outdoors all season without cracking or fading. The containers come in two sizes: 2 feet tall by 2 feet wide, and 2 feet tall by 3-1/3 feet wide; but they can be stacked to create an even larger wall planting.

For more information on these space-saving wall containers, go to: Lee Valley.

 
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