Garden Talk: October 26, 2006

From NGA Editors

Better Berry-Bearing Viburnum

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Fall is celebrated for its colorful foliage, and in addition many trees and shrubs exhibit beautiful berries at this time of year. Viburnum shrubs produce fall berries in colors ranging from black to red, and while berry production varies depending on the species, a new selection is touted as being one of the heaviest-fruiting viburnums available.

Viburnum nudum ‘Brandywine’ features clusters of berries that begin green, turn white, then mature to pink and blue by fall. The berries stay on the shrub all winter and are favored by birds. This variety cross-pollinates well with Viburnum nudum ‘Winterthur’, insuring a bumper fruit set. The foliage turns a burgundy red in autumn, adding to the seasonal color display.

This compact 5- to 6-foot-tall shrub only grows 5 feet wide at maturity. It thrives in full or part sun on well-drained soil. 'Brandywine' is hardy in USDA zones 5 to 9.

For more information about ‘Brandywine’ viburnum, go to: Wayside Gardens.

Flowers in the Home Keep Us Happy

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There’s nothing better for brightening your day than receiving a bouquet of flowers, but does having flowers around your home on a regular basis change your mood and make you happier? Researcher Nancy Etcoff from Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital conducted a behavioral study to determine the effect flowers have on people's moods.

Etcoff studied 54 people between the ages of 25 and 60 for one week. Each person was given a self-reporting questionnaire to determine his or her activities during the day -- whom they were with and what they were doing -- when they experienced a strong emotion. One-half of the participants had flowers consistently in their home environment, and the control group had no flowers.

The results indicated that flowers in the home influenced moods such as compassion and worry. The participants who had flowers were more compassionate, less negative, more likely to feel happy, and likely to have more enthusiasm and energy at work.

For more information about this research, go to: Society of American Florists.

No-Bend Bulb Planter

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Fall planting of spring bulbs is in full swing in many areas of the country, and one tool that can make planting easier is a long-handled bulb planter. To use this tool, you push the cylinder into the ground, then lift to remove the soil to create a planting hole. The long handle enables you to dig the hole without bending over. However, to refill the hole with soil after planting, you have to stoop down to remove the dug soil from the planter.

But stoop no more. A new tool eliminates the need to bend down to remove the soil. The Soil-Replacing Bulb Planter has a plunger that enables you to replace the soil without stooping. After planting a bulb, you simply push the plunger to release the dug soil, and tamp down the area with your foot.

For more information on the Soil-Replacing Bulb Planter, go to: Lee Valley Tools.

Winter-Hardy Camellia

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Camellias are prized shrubs in the south for their snow-white blossoms and glossy evergreen leaves. Now, with the introduction of 'Winter's Snowman' Ice Angel camellia, gardeners north of the Mason-Dixon line can grow them too. This new camellia extends the normal growing range of this shrub to USDA zone 6.

‘Winter’s Snowman’ Ice Angel camellia -- the latest in the hardy Ice Angel camellia series -- is a cross between Camellia sasanqua and Camellia oleifera and was developed at the National Arboretum in Washington, D.C. ‘Winter’s Snowman’ grows 12 feet tall but only 5 feet wide, making it an excellent choice for narrow spaces in your yard. The pale pink flower buds open into semi-double, white, anemone-like blossoms that last from fall into early winter.

‘Winter’s Snowman’ camellia grows best in full to part sun on well-drained soil. For more information on this new camellia, go to: Monrovia Nursery.

 
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