» Archive for March, 2012

Bright New Roses

Saturday, March 10th, 2012 by Jenny Watts
    • Pansies will fill your spring flower beds with their bright faces in many shades of blue, yellow, red, pink and purple.
    • Broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, lettuce and other cool season crops should be planted this month for delicious spring harvests.
    • Rhubarb, the “pie plant”, can be planted now for mouth-watering pies for many years to come.
    • Cherry trees are still available for bare-root planting, but only for a short while longer. Start your orchard now!
    • Prune wisteria trees and vines by cutting out unwanted long runners and removing old seed pods. Don’t damage flower buds that are clustered at the end of short branches.

Bright New Roses

The line-up of bright new roses looks pretty appealing this spring. Wish reds and yellows, pinks and purples, there are roses that are perfect for almost any garden.

Start with the new, and only, AARS Winner this year: Sunshine Daydream. The light yellow Grandiflora, the first garden rose to win under no spray conditions, was selected as the best of the best after participating in the rigorous two-year AARS testing cycle. With fantastic bloom production and great vigor, this rose is sure to brighten any garden. The light yellow, cup-like flowers mature to a creamy yellow and are set off by its dark green, glossy foliage. With excellent disease resistance and a long blooming season this is truly a winner.

Another lovely yellow rose is Walking on Sunshine. This bushy floribunda rose sports tight clusters of fragrant, bright yellow buds that open to ruffled blossoms. Add in disease resistance and you have a great rose for any gardener.

Red is the color of the year and red roses are always popular. Firefighter is a large, intensely fragrant, classic Hybrid Tea rose. It was chosen as the first sponsorship rose of the ‘Remember Me’ garden fund to honor the victims of 9-11. This vigorous, bushy rose grows 5 to 6 feet tall and holds up well even in intense heat.

Purple Splash brings a new color scheme to climbing roses. Its wine-purple and white striped and speckled flowers bloom the first year with a moderately strong, spicy perfume. The mostly single flowers come in large clusters on canes that have minimal thorns. It will be a real eye-catcher in your garden.

For a bright rose with peach, coral and salmon all wrapped up in one beautiful flower, look for Colorific. Warm sunshine deepens the hues to orange, scarlet and burgundy, resulting in a festival of colors on each bush as new blooms open and others age. Strong, long stems are great for cutting and disease-resistance rounds out the colorful package.

White Licorice is a floribunda rose with ivory white blossoms touched with lemon-chiffon, that emit a powerful perfume. The hybrid-tea-shaped flowers bloom continuously all summer on sturdy stems. These beauties will look and smell lovely in a vase.

With lots of lovely roses to choose from, now is the time to check out the bright new roses for the new year.

Old King Cole

Saturday, March 10th, 2012 by Jenny Watts
    • Asparagus will provide you with delicious, low-priced spears for years to come if you plant them now from dormant crowns.
    • Raspberry, blackberry, loganberry, and boysenberry vines should be planted now for delicious, home-grown berries.
    • Prune Hydrangeas now by removing old flower heads down to the first new leaves. Don’t prune stems which have no old flowers, and they will bloom first this summer.
    • Fragrant daphne is an early-blooming shrub that will delight you with its strongly scented blooms each spring. Plant it in well-drained soil.
    • Potatoes can be planted this month. Plant red, white, yellow and russet for a variety of uses and flavors.

Old King Cole

Cole is the old English word for cabbage, and if you measure this vegetable’s popularity by the mass consumption of cole slaw, cabbage deserves the status of Old King Cole. Since cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, collards and others are closely related to cabbage, they are known collectively as Cole Crops.

Two of the most popular cole crops are broccoli and cabbage. Increased interest in healthful foods has made broccoli a regular part of most American diets. And cabbage is one of our most versatile vegetables.

Many types of broccoli can be harvested for 4 to 6 weeks. They produce large heads, which are harvested first, and then many sideshoots which prolong the harvest. Broccoli should be harvested while the buds are blue-green in color and are tightly compressed.

Broccoli is a heavy feeder, so prepare the soil with compost, well-rotted manure or a balanced fertilizer before planting. Space plants 18 inches apart. Set the young plants 1″-2″ deeper then they grew in the pots. Remove weeds around young plants, and keep plants well watered during dry spells.

Cabbages are grown around the world and there are many different kinds to try, from the delicate, loose-leaf Savoy of France to the spicy mustard cabbage of China. Cabbage has a better texture and flavor when grown in enriched soil.

Early cabbages mature in about 60 days from transplanting. Early Jersey Wakefield is a top choice for thin leaves and sweet heads, and Copenhagen Market is also early with 3- to 4-pound heads.

Mid-season varieties hold well in the garden without splitting. Red Acre is an excellent red cabbage. Heads are deep red, globe shaped, 6 to 7 inches in diameter, and they make a colorful addition to the garden landscape.

Savoy cabbages are mid- to late-season producing. They have very tender, crinkled, mild-tasting leaves on a loose head. Their flexible leaves are good for cabbage rolls.

Late cabbage has very tight heads making it especially easy to prepare coleslaw or sauerkraut. They tolerate night temperatures in the 20s, so they’re good for winter gardens.

Cabbage isn’t difficult to grow, and the big payoff is flavor: homegrown crops taste sweeter than those sold in markets. Cabbage is undaunted by frost, and hardy kinds can withstand snow.

Other cole crops include Brussels sprouts and Chinese cabbage, which grow best as a fall crops, cauliflower, collards, kale, mustard, mizuna, kohlrabi and turnips. All like to grow in cool weather, so the time to plant them is now.