Garden Talk: August 3, 2006

From NGA Editors

New Burgundy Contorted Hazelnut

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Contorted hazelnut (Corylus avellana), or Harry Lauder’s walking stick, is a deciduous shrub known for its interesting, crooked branches that are most evident once the leaves drop. A new variety of contorted hazelnut also offers attractive foliage and flowers, giving this shrub four-season appeal.

Corylus avellana ‘Red Majestic’ is a new German variety that features crinkled, deep purple leaves in spring that turn red by midsummer and burgundy in autumn. In late fall, purple catkins arise from the branches, creating yet another visually interesting contrast to the branch structure and leaf color.

Contorted hazelnuts grow 10 to 12 feet tall and wide at maturity, and are hardy in USDA zones 3 to 8.

For more information on ‘Red Majestic’, go to: Wayside Gardens.

Win A Tiller

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Gardeners know the key to success in any garden is healthy soil, and that requires regular additions of organic matter. A tiller can be a valuable tool for incorporating organic matter and other amendments into soil. To help more garden groups have success with their gardens, the National Gardening Association and the Mantis company have teamed up to award free Mantis Tiller/Cultivators.

Every year 25 worthy community or youth gardening groups from across the country receive an electric or gas-powdered Mantis Tiller/Cultivator. The garden program must be charitable or educational in nature. To learn more and download the 2007 grant application, go to the Grants page on the KidsGardening.com Web site: http://www.kidsgardening.com/grants/mantis-criteria.asp

A Fountain That Runs on Sunlight

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Garden accessories are all the rage, and water features are one of the favorites of home gardeners. Fountains, babbling brooks, and waterfalls are beautiful additions to a garden, but they can be complicated and expensive to install and maintain. Now there's a cascading fountain that only needs the sun to run.

The Sun-Powdered Cascade Fountain needs no wiring or plumbing to set up. Simply place the solar panel within 14 feet of the fountain, and the sun powers the built-in pump that recirculates the water through the fountain. The water cascades from a pitcher, down through four bowls, and around again, creating a soothing atmosphere on a deck, patio, or even indoors.

The fountain comes in terra cotta or blue ceramic glaze. For more information on these sun-powered fountains, go to: Plow & Hearth.

No More Front Lawns

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In most American households, food gardens are relegated to the back yard. But front-yard vegetable gardens were the norm back in the early 20th century, when yards were used primarily to produce food for the kitchen. Los Angeles landscape architect Fritz Haeg is on a mission to bring back the front-yard edible garden. But he sees it as more than just growing food. He sees it as an attack on the American front lawn.

Haeg states on his Web site: “The lawn wastes resources and is an anti-social no-mans-land that we wrap ourselves with, reinforcing the suburban alienation of our sprawling communities. Edible Estates is a practical food producing initiative, a place-responsive landscape design proposal, a scientific horticultural experiment, a conceptual land-art project, a defiant political statement, a community out-reach program and an act of radical gardening.”

So far Haeg has demonstration gardens at homes in Lakewood, California, and Salina, Kansas, with seven more demonstration sites planned for the future. The Kansas garden features 195 different fruits, vegetables, and other edible plants that are grown organically. Haeg is not alone in his passion to transform America’s front lawns. He has solicited support from sponsors such as Ford Motor Company, the City of Pasadena, and the Wallis Foundation.

For more information on the Edible Estates initiative, go to: Edible Estates.

 
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