Growers conference offers perspective

As I  flew back into Oklahoma City on a crisp clear summer evening this last week from a few days in Columbus, Ohio at the national greenhouse growers conference it was stunning to see how green everything is here in Oklahoma in the middle of summer. There are a few crops that don’t like such “wet feet” so some vegetable crops and a few other plants are battling disease issues or just running behind from receiving too much water.  Most flowers, lawns, shrubs and trees are celebrating the extra moisture with tremendous new growth and branching and intense green color. Many of our beautiful summer flowering shrubs like crape myrtle, vitex, buddleia and the ever blooming landscape roses have been producing their best flower shows in many years creating a colorful backdrop for all of our beautiful blooming annuals and perennials.

It is shaping up as a remarkable and memorable year for most all of the flowering plants.  If you want to add more color to your yard, you still have time to plant and enjoy more hanging baskets and container gardens for this year. You can add new trees, shrubs and perennials to your permanent landscape, even in this summer heat, if you will be responsible in watering those new plantings the rest of this growing season.

The national grower’s conference is a great opportunity to see all the new crops and varieties to be released for 2011 and to visit with growers from around the country about what crops did well this year, while discussing sales and style trends. After the big surge in new vegetable gardeners last year, vegetable gardening is up again this year as more folks get involved in growing some of their own food.

The tree and shrub industry continues to be experiencing smaller markets as both commercial and home construction remains limited. Since these tree and shrub crops often take several years to grow for market, the nurserymen planned and planted for a larger market than we now have, so there is an oversupply that makes this a great time to buy more trees and shrubs or larger trees and shrubs then you normally could afford.  I would strongly encourage you take advantage of this opportunity to add trees to your yard.  Trees can add to your property values, adds shade, cooling, beauty and even energy savings, while removing carbon dioxide and pollutants and adding oxygen to your environment.

Color or flower gardening grew slightly from last year. The flower seed and cutting growers are adding new varieties, new colors and breeding for longer flowering seasons and better growth habits at an unprecedented rate.  Each year it feels a little more like the fashion business with the unveiling of the styles and colors for the new year.  Visit local gardens and get to know you local nurseryman to help you select the right plants for your yard. Don’t forget to mulch your gardens. Water as needed and enjoy this amazing stretch of lush summer gardens.

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