Garden Talk: April 24, 2008

From NGA Editors

Unusual, Fragrant Trillium More Widely Available

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Trilliums are beautiful native wildflowers that adorn deciduous forest floors in spring. While most people are familiar with the traditional white-flowering trillium (Trillium grandiflorum), there are other species that are more unique. One that is particularly alluring, and now more readily available, is the yellow trillium (Trillium viride var luteum).

This southeastern native wildflower stands 1 foot tall and has unusual upward-facing, yellow flowers. Once open, the flowers have a delicious lemon fragrance. After the flowers fade white, golden berries form. The berries and the variegated, heart-shaped foliage make this trillium attractive into the summer long after it has finished blooming. Like all trilliums, this species grows best in shade in USDA zones 4 to 8.

For more information on Trillium viride var luteum, go to: Wayside Gardens .

New, Long-Lived, Decomposable Containers

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Landscapers and gardeners use tons of plastic pots each year. Although long lasting and good for growing plants, they take a lot of fossil fuels to make and eventually end up in the landfill. Now there’s a new container that’s more environmentally friendly and still attractive and functional.

The EcoForm pots are made from grain husks, organic pigments, and starch-based water-soluble binders. They contain no wood or petroleum ingredients. The pots are completely decomposable, yet can survive in the yard for up to five years as long as they are not buried in the ground. EcoForm pots are rugged, resisting freezing and thawing. Even in humid conditions, the water- and mildew-resistant surface remains clean and smooth.

The lightweight pots are available in a wide variety of natural colors. Pots sizes range from 3 to 12 inches in diameter in a number of shapes, such as urns, vases, and bowls. For more information on the EcoForm containers, go to: EcoForm.

Environmentally Friendly Engine Oil

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There is a plethora of new "green" technologies available to help homeowners live a more environmentally friendly existence. One of the biggest polluters in the yard is the gas-powered mower. If you aren’t ready to go electric or use a push mower, a step in the right direction to make your internal combustion lawn mower more "green" is to use alternative fuels.

The G-OIL GREEN engine oil is a new bio-fuel based engine oil specifically formulated for 2-cycle engines, such as lawn mowers and chain saws. It burns cleaner than petroleum-based engine oils, is smoke-free, and doesn’t produce noxious fumes. It performs on par with traditional engine oils and is comparably priced.

To find out more about this new technology, go to: Green Earth Technologies.

Vegetable Gardening on the Rise

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Gardening trends are often affected by the economy, and an increase in vegetable and edible gardening historically coincides with a downturn in the economy and increasing prices. Two survey sources suggest we’re starting to see that trend again.

For more than 25 years, the National Gardening Association annual survey has tracked participation levels and money spent in a variety of lawn and garden categories. In 2007, while the participation level or money spent in many gardening categories such as flower gardening and landscaping stayed the same or declined, vegetable gardening increased. According to the NGA Survey, an estimated 25 million households participated in vegetable gardening in 2007. While that number is not significantly different from the previous year, the amount of money spent on vegetable gardening increase 22 percent to 1.421 billion dollars. Money spent on berry growing increased 19 percent to 144 million dollars.

The Garden Writers' Association produces surveys throughout the growing season that track current trends in home garden activity. In the early spring 2008 survey, the amount of people who said they would be vegetable gardening this year was 39 percent. That’s an increase from 32 percent in early spring 2007.

For more information on the National Gardening Association Survey, go to: Garden Market Research.

For more information on the Garden Writers’ Association Survey results, go to: Garden Trends Research.

 
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