November 15, 2011

All-America Selections announces the first AAS winners for 2012

All-America Selections (AAS) has announced the first of the newest group of AAS Winners. Following a trial period where these new, never-before-sold varieties are “Tested Nationally and Proven Locally,” AAS judges, have submitted their recommendations and scores from this year's trials. Only those entries with superior garden performance are granted an AAS Award.

With this announcement, these varieties become available for immediate sale. Commercial growers should inquire with their favorite seed supplier. AAS Winner tags are available from several tag suppliers. Consumers will find these seeds for sale in the coming months from mail-order companies and various websites. AAS Winners will also be available as young plants in lawn and garden retail stores next spring.


Salvia ‘Summer Jewel Pink’
AAS Bedding Plant Award Winner
Sister to earlier AAS Winner Salvia ‘Summer Jewel Red,’ this dwarf sized, compact plant has a prolific bloom count throughout the growing season. As a bonus, the blooms appear almost two weeks earlier than the other pink salvias used as comparisons. Commercial growers will appreciate the earliness, excellent pack performance and uniformity. Bred by Takii & Co. Ltd.







Ornamental Pepper ‘Black Olive’
AAS Flower Award Winner
The AAS Judges said this entry was a standout, especially in the Southern gardens where heat was a major presence during the 2011 trials. All season long this beauty kept its upright habit with nicely draping leaves and dark purple/black fruit which appeared in small clusters along the stems. As summer progresses, the fruits mature to red giving a beautiful contrast against the dark purple foliage and bright purple flowers. Retailers and growers can sell this multi-use ornamental as a 20-inch border plant, a great color splash for containers or as a cut flower in mixed bouquets. Bred by Seeds By Design.





Pepper ‘Cayennetta’ F1
AAS Vegetable Award Winner
‘Cayennetta’ is an excellent tasting mildly spicy pepper that is very easy to grow, even for novice gardeners. This 3- to 4-inch chili pepper yielded bigger fruits from a very well branched upright plant. It required no staking, which would make it a perfect plant for container or patio gardens. Unique to this variety is that it has good cold tolerance as well as dense foliage cover to protect the fruits from sun scorch and it handled extreme heat very well. Market growers will benefit from the heavy yield and prolific fruit set from each plant. Everyone will love the excellent pepper flavor that outshone all the comparison varieties. Bred by Floranova Ltd.





Watermelon ‘Faerie’ F1
AAS Vegetable Award Winner
‘Faerie’ is a non-traditional watermelon in that it has a creamy yellow rind with thin stripes yet still yields sweet pink-red flesh with a high sugar content and crisp texture. Home gardeners will like growing something unique in their garden and the fact that the vines are vigorous yet spread only to 11 feet. Each 7- to 8-inch fruit weighs only four to six pounds making it a perfect family-size melon. Professional growers will appreciate the disease and insect tolerance as well as the prolific fruit set that starts early and continues throughout the season. Bred by Known-You Seed Company.

November 7, 2011

How Trees, Shrubs and Perennials Are Wintered Over in the Nursery



Ever wonder how nurseries over winter their stock from one year to the next? View the photo album showing how it's done at Circle H Growers.

Click to: View photo album

May 3, 2011

Gardening Shorts


U.S. organic industry valued at $29 billion

Organic Trade Association releases its 2011 Organic Industry Survey
Organic Trade Association reports the organic industry grew at a rate of nearly 8% in 2010. The association’s 2011 Organic Industry Survey found the organic industry rose to over $28.6 billion in 2010.
“While total U.S. food sales grew by less than 1% in 2010, the organic food industry grew by 7.7%,” said Christine Bushway, OTA’s CEO and executive director. “Consumers continue to vote with their dollars in favor of the organic choice. These results illustrate the positive contribution organic agriculture and trade make to our economy, and particularly to rural livelihoods.”
In 2010, 40% of surveyed organic companies reported positive full-time employment growth. Companies with fewer than 5 employees were least likely to add full-time employees (23%). About half of the companies with more than 50 employees experienced positive full-time employment growth. This year, 46% of respondents anticipate an increase in employment over 2010 levels. In addition, 50% expect employment to remain even, and only five percent foresee a decrease.
Experiencing the most growth, organic fruits and vegetables, which represent 39.7% of total organic food value. Organic fruits and vegetables, which represent nearly 12% of all U.S. fruit and vegetable sales, reached nearly $10.6 billion in 2010, up 11.8% from 2009.
In the organic non-food sector, organic supplements led with a value of $681 million, representing 7.4% growth over 2009 figures. Organic fiber (linen and clothing) totaled a value of $605 million, achieving 16% year-over-year growth. Personal care products, at $490 million, increased 6.6% from 2009.

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Consumers to spend $1.9 billion on flowers for Mother’s Day

Total spending is expected to reach $16.3 billion

According to National Retail Federation’s 2011 Mother’s Day Consumer Intentions and Actions survey, conducted by BIGresearch, the average person celebrating the holiday expects to spend $140.73 on gifts, up from $126.90 last year. Total spending is expected to reach $16.3 billion.
Nearly two-thirds (64.9%) of consumers will buy mom flowers ($1.9 billion total). More than half (54.7%) of all celebrants will treat mom to a nice dinner or brunch, spending a total of $3.1 billion. One-third (31.8%) of Americans will buy mom clothing or accessories ($1.3 billion total).
When it comes to where consumers will make their purchases, the survey found nearly one-third (32%) of people will shop at a department store, the most in the survey’s history. Others will shop at discounters (29.6%), specialty stores including jewelers, florists and electronics stores (31.8%), online (21.5%) or at a specialty clothing store (7.1%).

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USDA issues proposal to create National Leafy Green Marketing 

Voluntary agreement would assist the leafy green industry in meeting food quality and safety requirements
USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service is requesting comment on the creation of a voluntary National Leafy Green Marketing Agreement that would assist all segments of the leafy green industry in meeting commercial food quality and safety requirements.
To reflect the different climates, production practices and markets handling leafy green produce, USDA is proposing that there be eight regional zones represented on the board. Representatives from these zones, appointed by the Secretary of Agriculture, would form a board to manage the Agreement. The board would include 26 representatives: 12 handlers, 10 farmers (at least two of which must be small farmers), one importer, one retailer, one food service representative and one member of the public.
The Secretary would also appoint a Technical Review Committee to assist the board in the development of technical requirements commonly referred to as Good Agricultural Practices, Good Handling Practices and Good Manufacturing Practices. The committee members will be one producer, one handler and one food safety expert from each of the eight zones. At least one of the eight producers must be a small farmer and one must be a certified organic farmer.
In addition to these 24 members, the Secretary will appoint a representative from the Natural Resources Conservation Service and may also appoint members from other USDA agencies such as the National Organic Program and other federal agencies such as the Food and Drug Administration. All technical requirements developed by the Technical Review Committee for the board would be made available for public comment, be consistent with FDA regulatory requirements and approved by the Secretary prior to implementation.

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Hort Couture plants to be featured at PGA event

The company will be the exclusive annuals provider for The Greenbrier Classic in July 2011

The Greenbrier, billed as “America’s Resort,” has chosen Hort Couture as the exclusive provider of annual flowers for the grounds and the Old White Golf Course that will host the 2011 PGA Greenbrier Classic, July 25-31. This is a FedEX Cup Event that features the top golfers in the world and coverage on The Golf Channel and CBS Sports, with hundreds of thousands of visitors attending the event.
The grounds staff of the West Virginia resort will be planting nearly 200,000 Hort Couture plants on the grounds. The goal of tournament organizers is to create an identity for the event with summer flowers, much like the Masters golf tournament is identified with blooming azaleas.
Hort Couture will be featuring many new, improved genetics in both landscape and mixed containers on the grounds. Among the most prolific varieties planned in the beds are POSH New Guinea impatiens, MANNEQUIN Salvia and SOUTH BEACH Lantana varieties.
Many of the company’s Tres Chic Tropicals will also be incorporated into the plantings to bring bold texture and give the grounds an “over-the-top” exterior look. Colocasia ‘Mojito,’ Pennisetum ‘Fireworks’ and Cordyline ‘Mocha Latte’ will be among the unique plants that will be featured on the grounds.

The above reprinted with permission from Greenhouse Management Copyright © 2011. All rights reserved.

April 2, 2011

Landscape architects say more people investing in yards

'Staycations' helping to lead the charge

It’s a concept that gained traction almost a decade ago, in the wake of 9/11: the ‘staycation,’ the desire of homeowners to cut down on travel and instead invest in their homes. Well, area landscape architects are hearing that word again, but for different reasons, namely a lingering recession and high gas prices. In such times, they say, people are more likely to use their vacation savings on something more permanent. That’s good news for a landscaping industry starting to bloom after a couple of years in the rough.

Gas prices have been on the rise for months, with airline fares following suit. That has plenty of people on edge, from would-be vacationers who might stay home this year to the many tourism-reliant businesses in Western Mass.

But there’s a silver lining for one group — landscape architects, who are increasingly hearing that magic word ‘staycation,’ along with rumblings that homeowners might use their vacation funds this year to create a bit of an oasis at home.

“It’s not just the middle- to lower-income people; I think that applies to everyone,” said Bill St. Clair, president of St. Clair Landscaping and Nursery in Hampden. “Let’s face it, people are watching the dollars they spend, and they’re looking to get the most bang for their buck. And I see more people staying home this year, especially since they’re saying gas could hit $5 by midsummer.”

Stephen Roberts, president of Stephen A. Roberts Landscape Architecture & Construction in Springfield, is hearing the same chatter.

“Staycation is the catchphrase — stay at home and enjoy your house; have people over and entertain without the hassles of traveling. It’s huge,” he said. “We’re really focusing on that — creating a nice environment for people at home.”

The stay-at-home trend rivals what the industry saw in the years immediately following 9/11, St. Clair said, but it’s re-emerging for a different reason, namely lingering anxiety over the economy mingled with pain at the pump. These factors, he and others told BusinessWest, are persuading families to reprioritize their extra dollars, putting them toward something more permanent than a week at a resort or on a cruise.

“In the past two years, our industry has been hit as hard as some other industries,” Roberts said, specifically citing the struggles of general contractors and those involved in moving real estate.

“People aren’t purchasing new homes; they’re staying where they are and investing whatever money they have into their homes, for their personal enjoyment,” he continued. “I see that continuing to happen as long as the housing market isn’t doing much. And I see our industry benefiting from people renovating their homes and fixing them up.”
Read more here.

Survivor rose honors heroes of 9/11


This new variety was chosen for the "Remember Me" rose garden
Survivor rose honors heroes of 9/11 - Image
Survivor, a new rose from Bailey Nurseries, is the 2011 “Remember Me” Rose Garden selection. The vibrant, scarlet-red blooms and superior performance of this rose honor the men and women who assisted and rescued others at both the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001.

Survivor is an own root rose with a fresh, fruity fragrance. The scarlet buds open to showcase a vibrant red, hybrid tea shaped bloom that perfectly contrasts with the bright disease resistant foliage.

A donation from the sale of each rose will be made to the “Remember Me” Rose Garden, a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating three gardens, one each in New York City, Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania, to honor the memory and spirit of each man, woman and child who lost their lives on September 11, 2001.

“Bailey Nurseries is honored to be part of this unique project,” said Pat Bailey, Bailey Nurseries vice president of sales and marketing. “We hope that Survivor serves as living memorial to the brave men and women who became heroes on 9/11.”

Rosa ‘Survivor'
Hardiness Zone: 5-9
Height: 3-4 feet
Flower Form, Size: Full, 3 inches
Petal Count: 30

March 26, 2011

Echinacea 'Secret Series'

Some of the hottest-selling coneflowers on the market today have double flowers. The plants of the Secret™ series all produce large double blooms on strong plants with a sturdy, medium habit. The color doesn't fade and the flower show can last till frost! The flowers make great cuts too!

Compact, multi-branched habit, means more flowers per plant
Double, anemone like flowers have super long lasting color
The "Secret" is... these are some of the best. We were never good at keeping secrets!
An exquisite cut flower, are real sensation that is easy to grow

Echinacea Secret Desire
Part of the Secret™ Series of mid-size plants with double ‘Coral Reef’ type flowers. 'Secret Desire' has very large multicolored flowers of pink and orange. Grows vigorously and forms a full plant quickly.
For more info or to order

Echinacea Secret Joy
Arising like comets in the summer garden, 'Secret Joy' features pale yellow, double flowers that are a delight to the senses. These fragrant gems make excellent cut flowers. Use en masse for the border or in a mixed bed.


For more info or to order
Echinacea Secret Lust
You will lust after this one. It has "Razzmatazz"-like double flowers with red orange disc flowers and contrasting light pink rays. These double flowers bloom and bloom and bloom all summer and fall. A well-branched compact habit top of the picture and you are hooked. Fool proof and sun proof!
For more info or to order

Echinacea Secret Passion
You, too, will feel passionate about this Echinacea. It has bright, flamingo pink double cones and contrasting lighter pink ray florets. In addition, ‘Secret Passion’ blooms and blooms and blooms all summer and fall. It has a well branched, compact habit. You can use 'Secret Passion' en masse for the border, in a mixed bed, and as a cut flower.



Echinacea Secret Pride
Charming, double white flowers are kissed with butter at their petal-tips. Fragrant flowers stand out against the dark-green foliage.



Echinacea Secret Romance
You will be delighted and amazed with the wonderful and very large, salmon pink 'Coral Reef' style double flowers. In addition 'Secret Romance' has a lovely, well-branched compact habit. You will want to romance this one. Bouquets of cut flowers from just one plant!



March 22, 2011

Heuchera Vienna

Heuchera 'Vienna' is amazing in its color, habit, and blooming. With veiled leaves orange to rose orange, a compact dense habit, and reblooming rose pink flowers in short wands you are bound to be impressed. Use in the front of the border, for accent, or in containers. One of our City™ Series which bloom and bloom and bloom.


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Zone: 4-9 Zone Map
Foliage Height: 7 Inches
Width: 15 Inches

Flowering Height: 16 Inches
Plant Habit: Mounding
Exposure: Sun/Part Sun
Water: Moderate
Landscape Uses: Mass planting, Accent Plant, Rock Garden, Edging, Borders, Containers
Comments: Compared to 'Peach Flambé', 'Vienna' has leaves that are more angular and veiled. The leaves are more orange and hold the color through the summer. The flowers are rose pink and more showy.
Blooms: Spring/Summer/Fall



Click to view available Heuchera varieties

Heuchera Root Beer

Lovely root beer colored foliage combined with creamy yellow flowers. 'Root Beer' forms a mound of color year round and is sure to charm you with its spring bloom. The third in the "soda series" which includes 'Ginger Ale' and 'Cherry Cola'.


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Zone: 4-9 Zone Map
Foliage Height: 6 Inches
Width: 14 Inches

Flowering Height: 18 Inches
Plant Habit: Mounding
Exposure: Sun/Part Sun
Water: Moderate
Landscape Uses: Mass planting, Accent Plant, Rock Garden, Edging, Borders, Containers
Comments: It's a sibling of 'Cherry Cola' with red brown foliage with creamy yellow flowers and a compact habit.
Blooms: Spring



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Heuchera Pear Crisp

Tightly ruffled yellow foliage makes a cute mound.


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Zone: 4-9 Zone Map
Foliage Height: 8 Inches
Width: 17 Inches

Flowering Height: 14 Inches
Plant Habit: Mounding

Exposure: Sun
Water: Moderate

Landscape Uses: Mass planting, Accent Plant, Rock Garden, Edging, Borders, Containers
Comments: It is tighter and more ruffled than any others, with leaves in amber and peach shades. It forms a low tight mound.
Blooms: Spring



Click to view available Heuchera varieties

Heuchera Peach Crisp

The second in the Crisp™ Series, 'Peach Crisp' is a visual marvel. With an extremely ruffled peach to amber leaf color, and a tight mounding habit, it works well in a container, as an edger, or a textural color spot. Prefers full sun and good drainage.


Click for more info or to order


Zone: 4-9 Zone Map
Foliage Height: 6 Inches
Width: 14 Inches

Flowering Height: 15 Inches
Plant Habit: Mounding

Exposure: Sun
Water: Moderate

Landscape Uses: Mass planting, Accent Plant, Rock Garden, Edging, Borders, Containers
Comments: It's tighter and more ruffled than any others, with leaves in amber and peach shades. It forms a low tight mound.
Blooms: Spring



Click to view available Heuchera Varieties