Garden Talk: February 11, 2010

From NGA Editors

Roses for Your Valentine

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It will be Valentine's Day soon, and what better gift to give a loved one than roses. But instead of spending lots of money on cut flowers that will wither in a week’s time, why not treat your Valentine to a living plant? There are many varieties of roses that are easy to grow and reward your favorite gardener with beautiful, scented flowers for years. Some of the best are the English Roses bred by David Austin. They combine the ever-blooming qualities of hybrid roses with the old-fashioned look and smell of heirloom roses. This year David Austin is introducing 5 new varieties that will surely entice you to grow more roses. Two of the best are Rosa 'Young Lycidas' and Rosa 'Wisley 2008'. Both are award-winning roses with special traits. 'Young Lycidas' blossoms are a blend of deep magenta, pink, and red. The 4-foot tall and wide shrub flowers all summer and each bloom has a classic tea rose fragrance with a hint of cedar. It won the "most fragrant rose" category at the 2009 Concurs Internacional de Roses in Barcelona, Spain.

Rosa 'Wisley 2008' won first place in the landscape rose category at the same show. It features 3-inch, soft pink roses with a fruity fragrance. It grows 5 feet tall and 3 feet wide and can be used in formal and informal gardens, as well as in a hedge. Both rose varieties are hardy in USDA zones 5 to 9.

For more information on these and other new introductions from David Austin, go to: David Austin Roses.

Sweet Raisin Cherry Tomato

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Cherry tomatoes are a popular summer garden vegetable and a favorite with kids. There are many varieties available, such as 'Sungold' and 'Super Sweet 100', that tout a high sugar content. They make a nutritious and delicious snack. Now comes a new cherry tomato variety via Israel that’s taking Europe by storm and is available in America. It’s claimed to be even sweeter than other varieties and can be eaten fresh or dried.

'Tomaccio' is a hybrid red cherry tomato bred to be productive and early. Under ideal conditions, the indeterminate vines can grow up to 9 feet tall, yielding hundreds of cherry tomato fruits starting 70 days after planting. 'Tomaccio' was also bred to be eaten fresh or dried. The fruits dry naturally in clusters cut off the vine, hence the name "sweet raisin" tomato. To accelerate the drying, tomatoes may be placed in a 100 F oven for about 3 hours.

For more information on this new cherry tomato, go to: C. Raker & Sons.

New Environmentally Friendly Slow-Release Fertilizer

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Fertilizers are added to lawns and gardens across the country at alarming rates. While they may be necessary for plant growth, excess fertilizer runs off into streams, rivers, and waterways, causing pollution. Phosphorous is one of the top culprits causing contamination and algae blooms in lakes.

Slow-release fertilizers are better for plants and the environment because they release their nutrients over time rather than all at once, allowing the plant to take up fertilizer as it needs it and reducing the amount that is wasted. Now comes a new slow-release fertilizer that is made from recycled materials.

Crystal Green fertilizer is claimed to be the only slow-release fertilizer that contains a combination of nitrogen, phosphorus, and magnesium (5-28-0 +10% Mg). Unlike other slow-release fertilizers, the phosphorus in Crystal Green is derived from recycled waste water, not mining operations, so its production has less of a negative impact on the environment. It's been tested to be low in heavy metals and other contaminants. Crystal Green fertilizer slowly dissolves over 8 to 9 months, feeding lawns and garden plants. There is little chance of fertilizer runoff or plant foliage burning.

For more information on this new slow release fertilizer, go to: Ostara .

2010 Garden Trends

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It's a new decade and new trends are sprouting up everywhere. Gardening is no exception! Each year, the Garden Media Group polls professionals in the lawn and garden industry to see what they think the trends will be for the new year. It's no surprise many of the trends for 2010 revolve around the economy, saving money, and the environment. Here's a summary of what they see happening this year.

"Main Street is in and Wall Street is out," says the Garden Media Group. There’s a new sense of self-sufficiency, taking care of each other, our friends, families, neighbors, and the land. This is reflected in a continued interested in ecological landscaping, edible gardening, and growing long-lived plants such as shrubs and perennials. The high and fast living of past years is being replaced by frugal, mindful living. Volunteerism is up and people are looking for solutions that address multiple problems.

To see all the details of these 2010 garden trends, go to: Garden Media Group.

 
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