Garden Talk: April 23, 2009

From NGA Editors

New Thornless Roses

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Everyone loves roses, but no one loves the thorns. Thornless rose varieties have been available since the 1960s but now there are new, improved varieties to choose from. Smooth Touch roses feature 10 hybrid tea and floribunda varieties that are beautiful to look at and easy to grow. Plus, no more cuts and scrapes from rose thorns as these varieties are 95% thorn free. Here are two of the newest selections.

‘Smooth Snowflake’ features clusters of creamy white blossoms with ruffled edges. It blooms all summer and has a light fragrance. The compact bush only grows 32 inches tall.

‘Smooth Lollipop’ has clusters of carmine and off-white flowers. Each flower has a unique pattern of red and white making this a stunning selection. This variety grows up to 4 feet tall.

All the Smooth Touch roses are hardy in USDA zones 5 to 9, have good diseases resistance, and are repeat bloomers.

For more information on this group of thornless roses, go to: Smooth Touch Roses.

NGA Wins Book Award

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National Gardening Association has been publishing kids gardening curriculum and activity books for more than 25 years. These books are very popular with teachers and parents and one of our most recent books has just won an award. Nourishing Choices (NGA, 2009), by Eve Pranis, offers teachers, educators, parents, and health professionals a road map to successful implementation of food education and awareness programs with kids. It profiles winning schools and youth programs across the country that excite kids about healthy eating. It also has extensive resources on how to get started in your community.

Nourishing Choices has won the Silver Award of Achievement from the Garden Writers Association. This national association of gardening professionals has honored top media entries in areas such as writing, photography, illustration, and on-air talent for the past 20 years. Nourishing Choices was selected from a group of 307 entries that were judged by a panel of experts.

For more information on our award winning book, go to: Gardeningwithkids.org.

Broccoli Sprouts May Inhibit Ulcers

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It’s been widely reported that broccoli is loaded with the chemical sulfuraphane, a known antioxidant. It’s also been found this chemical has antibiotic properties. Researchers at John Hopkins University found that sulfuraphane is a potent antibiotic against Heptobacter pylori, a bacterium associated with ulcers and other stomach ailments. They also found that broccoli sprouts, which contain high levels of sulfuraphane, reduce the amount of H. pylori in the digestive tracts of patients.

For 8 weeks researchers in Japan fed 25 patients 2.5 ounces of broccoli sprouts daily and 25 other patients 2.5 ounces of alfalfa sprouts instead. Alfalfa sprouts don’t contain the chemical sulfuraphane. They found those patients eating broccoli sprouts had a 40% reduction in the amount of H. pylori bacteria in their gut compared to the patients eating alfalfa sprouts. The research results suggest eating broccoli sprouts daily may help reduce the incidence of stomach ulcers in patients.

For more information on this study, go to: Science News.

Unusual Edible Ornamental

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Edible gardening is all the rage across the country. People are looking to grow some of their own food, but not wanting to sacrifice beauty. Here’s an unusual, international edible plant that’s coming into vogue because it produces tasty roots and mint-like foliage.

Crosne or Japanese artichoke (Stachys affinis) is a low-growing plant in the mint family. The plant grows 18 inches tall with small white or pink flowers. This perennial is hardy in USDA zone 5 to 9 and grows best in full sun. Like all mints, it will spread and makes a good groundcover. By fall, small, white, edible tubers form on the roots. Harvest the tubers and replant the roots and shoots. These tubers are crunchy and taste like water chestnuts. Crosne is highly priced in Japanese cooking and a favorite French delicacy.

For more information on this unusual edible, go to: Tripple Brook Farm and Goodwin Creek Gardens

 
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