March 30, 2012
Each year brings new ideas, techniques, and challenges to our world of plants and horticulture. Sometimes old fashioned plants get a facelift and renewed interest with the introduction of new cultivars, and we will briefly mention a few of those. Sometimes world news events motivate a renewed interest in horticulture.
The sheer joy of gardening, the pride in growing your own food, and the cost savings at the grocery store has always motivated gardeners to grow vegetables and fruits. Certainly concerns highlighted in the news over food safety and rising fuel costs have provided the additional incentive to encourage many to try the green thumb approach to food. It truly is easy for everyone.
Whether in a garden plot, a raised bed or even a container on the patio, deck or balcony, everyone can raise tomatoes, herbs, or a favorite vegetable. Don’t be afraid to try, even a small space can provide you with a little produce and a lot of fun growing it. (If you want information on RAISED BED or SQUARE FOOT GARDENING, here’s a link to simple step by step directions written by Peck’s staff member, Deb Walser.)
Here’s a few hints to get you started on container gardening…whether you are growing vegetables, herbs or beautiful flowers!
- Choose a large pot with good drainage holes
- Use a light weight/porous potting mix
- Remember that you must provide nutrients to your plants to get a good yield of vegetables and flowers. We suggest a slow release organic fertilizer like the Fox Farm Happy Frog fertilizers. Their fertilizer is derived from all natural ingredients like alfalfa meal, bone meal and bat guano. They contain natural micro-organisms that activate in the soil to help deliver a steady nutritional diet to plants. They are perfect for container gardening!
- Water early in the day to be sure your plants are well hydrated to thrive during the hot afternoons.
- Call us or stop in if you have questions or concerns about your plants. We want to help you be successful with your garden!
Now to a few of the new plant cultivars that we are excited about for this year…
URBAN APPLES –This is definitely a plant that has undergone a facelift! Stacks of apples along a narrow trunk bring you an orchard in a very small space! These apple trees have a tight columnar shape, short branches, and grow straight up creating an elegant, stately fruiting tree for small landscapes and patios. Pinkish blooms appear in spring, fruit begins appearing in early summer and apples are ready to harvest by fall. These disease resistant trees were developed by Dr. Jaroslav Tupy in the Czech Republic and just introduced to the market in 2011. We are pleased to offer two varieties: Golden Treat that produces greenish-golden apples that are tart in early fall but get sweeter the longer they’re on the tree and Blushing Delight that produces a reddish-green fruit that has a slightly sweeter flavor. Maturing at just 8 to 10 feet tall and less than 2 feet wide, these columnar trees fit into nearly any small garden or landscape. In addition, they are perfect for growing in large patio pots for condo or apartment patios or balconies. With zone 4 hardiness, the potted trees should survive overwinter in an unheated garage. Apples fresh off the tree are now possible for just about everyone!
Sugartina Summersweet (Clethra alnifolia ‘Crystalina’PP21561) - Summersweet morphed to a new compact form with this new cultivar. Pure white, very fragrant flowers adorn this dwarf shrub in mid to late summer. Dark green foliage turns a warm yellow in fall. Its claim to fame is the diminutive size at only 28 to 30 inches! Small in stature, but big on fragrance & bloom! And it is every bit the butterfly magnet, just the same as the larger clethra “cousins”!
Bombshell Hydrangea (Hydrangea paniculata ‘Bombshell’) - Has any plant family seen more adaptations and new introductions than Hydrangeas?!! We are told that this new miniature hydrangea has BOMBSHELL bloom power! Extremely prolific white flower clusters burst open in early summer and blooming continues for 4 weeks or more, breaking records for flower count. Little or no pruning is needed to keep the plant compact and tidy. Growing to only about 3’ tall & wide, this plant will explode with bloom in beds along foundations and patios or in flower gardens. Great bloomer and compact size make this new cultivar a sure winner!
There are so many new plants that we have added to our list for this year! It’s not possible to mention them all here. Please stop in so that we may show them off to you! As always, we hope to see you soon and wish you happy gardening!