Garden Talk: October 6, 2011
From NGA Editors
Like many gardeners these days, rose gardeners are often interested in caring for their favorite plants with as few pesticides as possible. So it is encouraging to see that Sunshine Daydream™, the 2012 All-America Rose winner, is a rose that is not only lovely to look at, but shows excellent disease resistance, including resistance to black spot, the fungal disease that is the bane of rose growers.
Sunshine Daydream™ is a grandiflora with light yellow flowers finishing cream yellow that are produced in fantastic abundance above dark green, very glossy foliage. Borne on a 5 to 5 1/2 foot tall, 4 foot wide, rounded, bushy plant, the large, cup-like blossoms keep coming from spring up to frost.
Bred by Meilland International and introduced by Conard-Pyle/Star® Roses, Sunshine Daydream™ was selected for top honors after a rigorous two-year testing cycle in 21 gardens nationwide.
To find out more about Sunshine Daydream™ and other AARS winners, go to AARS.
A Better Burning Bush?
Burning bush, Euonymus alatus, has become a popular landscape plant in many parts of the country, especially valued for its easy care and vivid red fall color. Unfortunately, it is also a vigorous spreader that invades forests throughout the eastern U.S. and is on the invasive species list in at least fifteen states. The seeds of this eastern Asian native, also known as winged euonymus for the distinctive ″wings″ on its branches, are produced prolifically and spread to woodlands by birds and rainwater, where the plants produce dense thickets that crowd out native vegetation.
So news of the development of a sterile, non-invasive cultivar of this shrub is welcome indeed. The laboratory of Professor Yi Li at the University of Connecticut's College of Agriculture and Natural Resources has bred a seedless variety of this shrub that still puts on a spectacular display of fall color, but doesn't present a threat to natural forests and woodlands. The new non-invasive burning bush is a triploid seedless variety that was developed from the popular dwarf cultivar Euonymus alatus 'Compactus'.
The research team is now working to patent the process they used to regenerate the burning bush triploid and hope to make this non-invasive variety available to the commercial horticultural industry in the near future. Then responsible gardeners will once again be able to enjoy this colorful plant in their landscapes with a clear conscience.
To read more about the development of this sterile burning bush, go to: UConn Today.
Good Golly, Miss Molly!
Who doesn't love seeing the bright colors of butterflies flitting through the garden? And there are few plants that are better at attracting these visitors than buddleia or butterfly bush. Its long panicles of flowers borne at the tips of arching stems add a graceful note to the garden and are often bedecked with the fluttering winged creatures. But the problem for gardeners short on space is that many butterfly bushes are large plants that can get five or six feet tall and wide.
Now even small space gardeners can enjoy these plants with new buddleia introductions from Proven Winners. 'Miss Molly' butterfly bush stays a restrained 4-5 feet tall and 5-6 feet wide. Its fragrant flowers are a deep Sangria-red that adds richness to the garden until late in the season.
For even more space-challenged gardeners, there is Lo & Behold® 'Purple Haze' butterfly bush (pictured) that reaches only 2-3 feet tall and 3-4 feet wide. From midsummer to frost, its uniquely horizontal branches produce an abundance of dark purple-blue flowers that radiate outward and downward like a pinwheel. This is a sterile cultivar, so you won't need to worry about weeding out unwanted self-sown seedlings.
Like all buddleias, these new varieties do best in full sun, in average soil with good drainage. Both are adapted to hardiness zones 5-9.
For more on these new butterfly bushes and other new Proven Winners® Color Choice Flowering Shrubs, go to Color Choice Plants.
Climate Resources for Gardeners
The Community Collaborative Rain, Hail, and Snow Network, or CoCoRaHS, is a non-profit, community-based network of volunteers who work together to measure and map precipitation of all kinds, with the goal of providing high quality data for natural resource, education and research applications. The National Weather Service and other meteorologists, hydrologists, city utilities involved in water supply, water conservation, storm water management, mosquito control programs, ranchers and farmers, teachers and students are just some of the organizations and individuals that visit their Web site and make use of their data. The network's sponsors include the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Science Foundation (NSF), along with a number of other organizations.
Volunteers are collecting data in all fifty states; there is information on the website if you'd like to join their ranks. There is also climate information, including a state newsletter, on climate for every state. Check the site for the CoCoRaHS Message of the Day or read meterologist Chris Spear's blog for some interesting weather-related information.
Of special interest to gardeners is their online publication Climate Resources for Master Gardeners, which presents information on aspects of climate important to gardeners, such as sunshine, temperature, microclimates, humidity and dew point, precipitation, wind, evapotranspiration, and climate change. It also lists national and state sources for more climate information.
To read about climate resources or find out how to volunteer, go to CoCoRaHS.