Come and take a sneak peek

I realize it’s been a little while since my last post, but I recently got back from Columbus, Ohio for the largest horticulture trade show in North America!  My colleagues and I had a great time listening to knowledgeable speakers, networking with many of our growers, as well as others in the industry, and learning about new plants that will be available next spring.  We were even able to show some of our growers a few of our favorites while we were there so they can get a head start on growing for the spring!  You’re going to love the new varieties of annuals and perennials coming out for next spring.  Here is a sneak peek of just some of my favorites I saw at the show:

Gerbera Daisy Volcanoes – I’m not usually a HUGE fan of Gerber Daisies but I fell in love with this one as soon as I saw it.  The large (over 4″ diameter!), bright yellow/orange flower head looks just like a ball of fire…so I guess it was appropriately named!  It’ll knock your socks off!  Height: 18″  Spread: 12″  Care: Full sun to part shade, well drained soil – let dry out between watering

Digiplexis Illumination ‘Flame’ – This plant seemed to be the talk of the town, and rightfully so in my opinion.  It’s a Digitalis hybrid with brilliant flower color – pink/purple edges fading into a yellow/orange center.  Digitalis are typically perennial in the mid Atlantic region, however, this variety seems to be a little more tender, but blooms spring through fall.  Height: 2-3′  Spread: 1-2′  Care: Full sun to light shade

Salvia Amistad – This new variety of salvia looks similar to the black and blue (one of my all time favorites) but instead of a blue flower, it’s purple.  Let’s see if it attracts as many hummingbirds as the B&B.  Guess we’ll find out!  Height: 3-4′  Spread: 3′  Care: Full sun to part shade, drought tolerant, attracts birds and butterflies

Gomphrena Pink Zazzle – Dazzle your containers with the new Pink Zazzle!  We could not get enough of this funky, pink, ping pong ball sized flower.  Height: 2′ Spread: 1′  Care: Full sun to part shade, well drained soil

Petunia Glamouflage Grape – Because I know we need ANOTHER variety of petunia in the world, but this one is SUPER cool.  What’s unique about this Petunia is its VARIEGATED LEAF, bright purple flower and naturally compact growth habit.  Height: 6-8″  Spread: 10-16″  Care: Full sun to part shade, keep evenly moist

So, try something new next spring and sprinkle some of these cool new varieties throughout your landscape or in your container gardens.  I’m already looking forward to giving these guys, and others, a whirl!

Yes, I grow vegetables in my front yard.

Who says your vegetable garden HAS to be in the back yard?  I grow mine in the front!  Not because I thought my neighbors and HOA would appreciate that, but because my front yard is the only place I get full sun (except for a bit on my back deck).  So I decided to bite the bullet and go with it.  In previous years I’ve grown my veggies in the front of my house in containers – just in case any neighbors got up in arms about my seemingly unconventional growing practices, I could easily move them to…well, I don’t know where, but somewhere.

No one ever complained, so this year I took it a step further and planted them all in the ground.  We went crazy with tomatoes.  My boyfriend/labor force had the bright idea to line them in front of the Boxwoods that run across the front of the house (by the way, I live in a severely suburban neighborhood, it reminds us of that movie The Burbs at times which is a little strange).  I wasn’t crazy about this idea at first but I gave in and we did it.  I thought for sure that this time we would hear some neighborly complaints.  Not only did we not get any complaints, but we actually got complements!  I couldn’t believe it.  The couple across the cul-de-sac even came by one afternoon while we were playing in the dirt and took a brief tour of our front yard…I promised her some heirloom tomatoes as soon as they’re ready.  Lord knows we’ll have enough to share!  We also have a selection of peppers (some are heirloom as well), along with tomatillos, squash, cucumber and eggplant…all of which are also growing in the front yard but in a slightly less conspicuous spot.  I won’t go into too much detail about those at this time, they’re looking a little ratty at the moment (except for the peppers) due to some crazy spring weather.

Check out these photos of what the garden is doing right now.  Hopefully in the next couple days I’ll have some actual tomato cages (I know a really cool guy who said he’d make me some) for these puppies instead of using these flimsy bamboo stakes.  The tomatoes really took off while we were on vacation with all this rain we’ve been getting so some have taken over the stakes already.  I’ll post more later in the season when other varieties are producing.  Looking forward to some funky fruits with all these heirlooms!

Who cares about annuals anyway?

The question I hear most at the garden center is “Are annuals the ones that come back every year or do I have to plant them every year?”.  In my immediate defensive answer I explain to them yes, you plant them every year, BUT they provide beautiful summer color all season long!  Although perennials will come back year after year, many will only produce color for 4-6 weeks.  I mean who doesn’t want showy, bright colorful flowers in their gardens and containers ALL SUMMER LONG?!?!  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a hater.  I love perennials too (especially ones that have interesting foliage or other fun attributes).  And a great mix of annuals and perennials can’t be beat.  But for me, annuals are where it’s at.  So check out these pics of some fun annuals and see why you should care about annuals anyway!