New Plants and Accessories Star in Outdoor Scenes this Spring
“People want shrubs and plants that look great, are easy to grow, are good for the environment and perform well in their gardens,” says Susan McCoy, garden writer and trend spotter. “That’s just what the new products this spring promise to deliver.”
McCoy reveals a few of her favorite garden superstars for spring 2009 to help scratch that itch to get out in the garden after a long winter.
Let the Sun Shine
McCoy loves “Sunny Knock Out,” the newest addition to the Knock Out Rose (www.TheKnockOutRose.com) family. It lives up to the Knock Out reputation for blooming continuously with little to no effort, and is naturally resistant to rust, mildew, blackspot, Japanese beetles and rose midge, making it easy to avoid harsh chemicals. It is bright yellow, the latest trendy color, and has a mild, sweet fragrance. From Canada to the Gulf states, you can expect the same profusion of sunny blooms on this compact shrub that grows up to 4.5 feet tall, making it perfect to mix in flower beds, for mass plantings or as a specimen plant
Tropicals Sizzle in Your Garden
Add lots of color right up until fall’s first frost with the new Sun Parasol Crimson mandevilla. This easy tropical from Costa Farms (www.SunParasol.net) has huge crimson red, bell-shaped velvety blooms that cover the 12- to 15-foot vines, making it perfect for hanging baskets, containers, climbing up a trellis or in a landscape. Available in “Pretty” and “Giant” sizes, Sun Parasol Crimson comes in a 10-inch hanging basket or a 6-inch pot with or without a trellis. Either way, the saucer-sized blooms will add some tropical zest to your garden landscape, decks, patios and apartment balconies. Plant these beauties in six to eight hours of sun each day.
Pot up Some History
For instant garden style, McCoy loves the latest “designer” containers and accessories from Campania International (www.CampaniaInternational.com). The 2009 Chicago Collection reflects the city’s prairie style and art deco traditions with clean lines and minimal design. If you appreciate historical craftsmanship, the 18th century Colonial Williamsburg collection contains an array of garden containers, including cast-stone replicas of urns that blend a refined look with a contemporary feel. From window boxes to birdbaths, their accents will add an elegant touch inside or outside your home.
Grow ‘em Right
Start your containers off right with peat-free, organic potting soil. The Organic Mechanics (www.organicmechanicsoil.com) “Container Blend” is made of 100 percent organic materials from recycled agricultural waste products. With this rich potting mix, you’ll water less but your container plants will flower more and look greener. Plus the nutrient-rich product is reusable, a real cost benefit for gardeners. Perfect for all your containers, hanging baskets and window boxes, it is available this spring in Mid-Atlantic garden centers and Whole Foods stores.
Go Native, Go Local
Be a star in the garden this spring with American Beauties native plants (www.ABNativePlants.com), and the wildlife will thank you for providing food and shelter. Plus you’ll be making a contribution to the National Wildlife Federation Backyard Habitat program. But don’t get these natives confused with roadside “wild” flowers. These shrubs, trees, vines, grasses and perennials were hand-picked for their beauty, and their minimal need for fertilizer, water and pest control. The newest is “Iron Butterfly” Vernonia lettermannii, from Dr. Alan Armitage. This brilliant purple ironweed attracts butterflies in a wide range of soils and conditions.
This first-ever pink blueberry — “Pink Lemonade” — is a sweet new introduction from Briggs Nursery (www.BriggsNursery.com), and one of the most exciting new plants McCoy has seen in years. The pink blueberry bush provides delicious fruit rich in antioxidants plus four seasons of color — white flowers in spring, bright pink fruit in summer, great fall color and finally dusky auburn stems in winter. Growing about five feet around, this ornamental shrub looks great as a hedge border or stand-alone shrub with the added benefit of tasting great in cereal and pies, or to feed the wildlife.
Drowning With Love
Did you know that the No. 1 reason indoor plants die is people love them so much they over water them? That’s why McCoy loves the WaterStik — a no-brainer watering system that tells you when to water and when not to. Just insert the WaterStik into the container, and it blinks to tell you if it needs more water, needs you to stop watering or anything in between. For this and other state-of-the-art plant irrigation systems, visit: www.Waterstik.com.
Courtesy of ARAcontent