Garden Talk: May 6, 2013

From NGA Editors

Zinnias in Profusion

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The Profusion series of zinnias are garden favorites, appreciated for their profuse flowering all summer long, their disease resistance, and their compact size. So gardeners across the country will be pleased to learn that two new colors have been added to the lineup by Sakata Seed Corporation. Both are 2013 All-America Selections Bedding Plant Award winners. AAS Winners offer gardeners reliable new varieties that have proven their superior garden performance in Trial Grounds across North America.

'Profusion Double Deep Salmon' (pictured) is covered with 2.5 to 3 inch wide, deep pink-orange double flowers from spring to frost. Like all the zinnias in this series, it grows well in a range of climates, tolerates heat and humidity, shows good disease resistance, and is self-cleaning. All it asks is full to part sun and well-drained soil. 'Double Deep Salmon' grows 14 inches tall and about 24 inches wide.

The blossoms of 'Profusion Double Hot Cherry' zinnia are a rich rose red and keep their vibrant hue without fading even in the heat of summer. Growing 8-14 inches tall and 24 inches wide, 'Double Hot Cherry' looks great in containers or in a garden bed. Its compact size makes it a great choice for an easy care, long blooming edging plant. And it shows the same adaptability and disease resistance as the other varieties in the Profusion series.

Both these zinnias are easily grown from seed started early indoors about a month before setting out or direct-sown when the danger of frost is past. Or look for started seedlings at local garden stores.

For more information on these new zinnias and other 2013 AAS winners, go to AAS. For a mail-order source for seeds of 'Profusion Double Deep Salmon' and 'Profusion Double Hot Cherry', go to Park Seed.

Intense 'Intenz'

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If you’'re looking for something to add pizzazz to your container plantings or garden beds this summer, check out Celosia 'Intenz', a new offering from Ball Ingenuity. But you better put on your sunglasses first! This annual bears spiky plumes of an incredible deep reddish violet all summer long, adding a jolt of intense color as well as unusual texture to any planting.

The flamboyant color of this cultivar of Celosia caracas will grab attention no matter where you plant it -- in window boxes, containers, or in the landscape. Its compact size -- just 10-14 inches tall and 12 inches wide -- and mounded, upright growth habit make it a versatile choice for many different settings. Use it as an eye-catching accent plant or really liven up the garden by using it as a knock-your-socks-off edging plant. You can even grow it as a houseplant.

Combine 'Intenz' with orange flowers, such as Profusion zinnias or lantana, for a sizzling combo. Or grow it along with icy lime-green 'Envy' zinnias or silvery dusty miller for a cooling contrast. 'Intenz' will do best planted in full sun and well-drained soil and is drought and heat tolerant once it’s established. Look for 'Intenz' celosia in garden stores this spring.

For more information on 'Intenz' celosia, go to National Garden Bureau.

A Peach of a Blueberry

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Blueberries may be the ideal home garden fruit. Not only are the fruits delicious and filled with healthful phytonutrients, they are easy to grow, with few pest and disease problems, and the bushes themselves are attractive all year round, from spring flowering to summer fruiting to fall leaf and winter stem color.

The new Peach Sorbet™ Blueberry, part of the Brazelberries™ collection from Fall Creek Farm & Nursery, is a new introduction that adds four-season excitement to the landscape and is compact enough to fit into just about any garden. Growing only 2 feet tall and wide, it is a great choice for container planting or a low hedge, and for gardeners with limited space. The bell-shaped flowers of spring give way to an abundant crop of berries in summer, accenting the glossy leaves that range in color from peachy pink to orange to emerald green. And in many parts of the country, the foliage remains over the winter, changing to a rich eggplant purple.

Like all blueberries, Peach Sorbet™ needs part to full sun, acidic, well-drained soil, and regular watering through the growing season. Hardy in Zones 5-10, it fruits on new canes each spring. Annually prune out canes that have fruited when the plant is dormant, leaving new canes to fruit in the coming season.

For more about Peach Sorbet™ blueberry, go to Monrovia.

A Hydrangea for Small Spaces

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If you love the lush summer blooms of panicle hydrangea, but are challenged to find a spot for it in your landscape because of its size, you'll be happy to learn of a new dwarf cultivar from Proven Winners. Bobo® hardy hydrangea (Hydrangea paniculata 'ILVOBO') is a compact grower, reaching only 30-36 inches tall and 36-48 inches wide.

While the shrub itself is dwarf, it is covered in summer with large, creamy white flower heads held upright on strong stems that continue to grow and lengthen as they bloom. For added interest, the flowers take on a pinkish tinge in fall.

Bobo® is adapted to zones 3-9, and like all panicle hydrangeas, blooms on new wood. It thrives in full to part sun and is not fussy about soil. Its restrained size even makes it suitable for container planting. Prune in late winter or early spring before new growth begins and feed in early spring with a slow-release fertilizer formulated for trees and shrubs.

To find out more about Bobo®, go to Proven Winners.

 
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