Patsy Bell Hobson is a freelance garden writer. She is already thinking about next spring's garden.

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Try Something New
by Patsy Bell Hobson    

Now that 2013 is drawing to a close, it is time to think about next year. New plants and new varieties are introduced every year. The new versions may be more disease resistant, cold tolerant, have bigger fruit or even flowers in a new color. 

Try These in 2014     

Look for this new Clematis 'Sweet Summer Love' from Proven Winners. Wouldn't it be great if sweet autumn clematis flowered sooner and longer and came in other colors? Now it does! This new plant offers interesting  flowers, fragrance, ease of growth and cranberry-violet blooms that start blooming more than a month earlier than others — starting in July in the Midwest and Northeast, and continue until mid-September.

Cabin fever cures 

If, sometime in February, you start to go a little nuts, it may be cabin fever. About this time every year, real gardeners are so desperate to see something, anything grow, that they will even adopt chia pets and name them. 

Another option is to dust off the seed starting equipment and start some slow growing herbs and flowers.

Three flowers for the cure:
Dianthus (Sweet William)
Digitalis (Foxglove)
Datura (Angel's Trumpet)

Start these seed 12 weeks before the last frost date. There are several places to order seed on line or buy these locally.  

Three vegetable and herb cures: 
If you are looking for a cure in the herb or vegetable garden, start celery, leeks, parsley. These three plants are slow starters and must be sown 10 to 12 weeks before last frost date. 

Here are a few seed sources that have theses seed to get you started:
Johnny's Selected Seed
Baker Creek
Park Seed 

Resist the temptation to start tomatoes, peppers and eggplants until 8 weeks before the last frost date. If you start these vegetable seeds too early, they will become leggy.

These new Lo & Behold butterfly bushes (Buddleia sp.) are the smallest in the bunch. Only 18 to 24 inches tall, ‘Ice Chip’ (white), ‘Lilac Chip’ (lilac) and ‘Blue Chip Jr.’ (purple) can even be grown as container plants. These smaller plants are great for edging, in a mixed perennial bed or, as a ground cover. Everybody loves these fragrant, continuously flowering butterfly bushes. The Lo & Behold buddleias prefer well-drained soils and full sun. They do not require deadheading. You have one maintenance task: prune these shrubs to the ground in late winter/early spring. Flowers will bloom on new wood.

If you are a fan of the Profusion series zinnias there is a new kid in the family. Zinnia 'Profusion Double Hot Cherry' has blooms of rich rose, double petal blooms. This 2013 All-America Selections Bedding Plant Award Winner has little flowers about 2.5 inches in diameter. The plants grow just over 1 foot tall and can spread as much as 24 inches wide. Profusion zinnias are self-cleaning, meaning no deadheading is needed. Zinnia 'Profusion Double Hot Cherry' is disease resistant, easy to grow and tolerates both heat and cold. You can find starter plants this spring, but zinnia seed are easy to find and grow. Choose for borders, to fill blank spots in landscape or in containers. Butterflies love this hot color.

Green Bean 'Mascotte' is a fast-growing, prolific, compact bush bean that produces long, skinny pods that stick up above the foliage. The lofty ivory blooms are quite ornamental. ‘Mascotte’ produces slender 5-inch-long pods that stay above the foliage for easy harvest. These dwarf green beans are ideal for containers or small space gardens. Continuously producing plants are compact enough to plant in hanging baskets. Beans are tender and crisp. Seeds are easy to find. This bean is a 2014 AAS Vegetable Award Winner. When everyone else discovers these new green beans, you might be glad you ordered seed early. Beans prefer well-drained soil and full sun.

Dianthus has been around for hundreds of years. I think they are an often overlooked. This isn't the flower your grandma called pinks. These days, in addition to pale and bright pink, this collection offers lavender and white flowers in the mix. The new ‘Lace Perfume’ dianthus (Dianthus hybridus ‘Lace Perfume’) won't allow you to overlook it because of the heady fragrance. ‘Lace Perfume’ is a fringed flower that is worth taking the time to start indoors 8 weeks before last frost date.

Fragrant Dianthus ‘Lace Perfume’ grows on sturdy stems about 18 inches tall. Start these from seed for the most amazing fragrance.1

‘Aloha Mix’ nasturtiums (Tropaeolum majus ‘Aloha Mix’) are listed as great companion plant for everything from cabbages and cucumbers to tomatoes. Regardless of whether they help in the vegetable garden, nasturtiums are beautiful. Renee's Garden Seed is offering ‘Aloha Mix’ nasturtiums, which can be poked into empty space in the vegetable garden or flowerbed. They tumble over the edge of raised beds, perk up any container, and will make you smile no matter where they pop up. The packet is a mix of pastel colors.

Nasturtium ‘Aloha Mix’ are loaded with pastel flowers. Poke a few seeds in several different locations to tie your garden design together. 1

Catalina Grape-O-Licious wishbone flower (Torenia hybrid) by Proven Winners is made for the shade. This little continuous blooming annual likes shade or part shade. Hummingbirds like this plant that stands just10 inches tall in a part shade. This plant is a standout because it's hard to find nonstop blooming plants for the shade. The plant tag recommends regular fertilization of plants in pots for the best possible performance.

Catalina Grape-O-Licious wishbone flowers provide vivid color for shaded spots. 2


1. Photo courtesy of Renee's Garden Seeds
2. Photo courtesy of Proven Winners


Posted: 12/02/13   RSS | Print


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