Growers convention sheds light on gardening trends

Columbus, Ohio was the scene this last week for the nation’s largest gathering of greenhouse growers as they reviewed Spring 2011 and begin planning for spring 2012. It was a great opportunity to see all the new varieties of annuals and perennials that will be available for gardeners next year.

The big gardening trends are color, whether it be from flowers or foliage; container gardening and the skyrocketing popularity of herbs, vegetables and other edible crops. We have more breeders at work on ornamental crops than at any time in my lifetime and are seeing literally hundreds of new annual and perennial plants each year. In fact, many commercial growers are complaining that they hardly learn to grow and produce one variety and it is being replaced by the newer and better genetics of the next variety.

As gardening is driven more by colors, splash and design as compared to the story of a particular plant it is becoming more like the fashion or auto industries with new varieties, designer colors and new models or varieties available each year.I prefer a longer term view and urge you to watch what is doing well in your yard, your neighbor’s yard and area businesses and parks.  When you spot plants from trees to bedding plants or vegetables that are doing well here and that you like, consider adding those to your garden or landscape this fall or next spring.

Hopefully your yard enjoyed a little rain this last week but that doesn’t last long with hot drying winds and temperature above 100°. Remember that most of your flowers and vegetables need at least 1” of water per week and many need more at these hot temperatures. It is best to soak your flowers and vegetables at least a couple of times a week, but hanging baskets and smaller container gardens may need watering almost daily. Consider mulching the top of your beds with bark or hulls or installing drip irrigation to reduce water use.

Be on the lookout for crop damages from bagworms, red spider mites, grasshoppers and other pests. Consult your nurseryman for help in selecting the right controls for your pest problems. They can provide you with both organic and traditional pesticide control options for most problems.  They can also provide you with solutions for ticks, fleas, mosquitoes and the like that may be bothering your family and your pets.

The crepe myrtles and many of our color annuals are spectacular right now. Plan a walk, a party or some meditation early in the morning or late in the evening to enjoy nature’s  beauty in your yard or neighborhood. 

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