Trendspotting: Crystal Ball on 2013

Want a Sneak Peak at What’s Coming to Local Garden Centers?

IMG_2335By Teresa Woodard


Clematis ‘Diamantina’

A hardy super-nutritious Goji berry bush, an exquisite double clematis and a dwarf thornless raspberry bush were three of the plants that caught my fellow bloggers’ and my eyes as we toured the CENTS show (Central Environmental Nursery Trade Show) earlier this month in Columbus.  Billed as the largest annual horticulture and landscape trade show, the trade show and workshops provided a glass ball to what’s hot in 2013.  Here are five trends that created a buzz at the show:

  • Edible landscaping
    Lycium barbarum (Goji Berry)

    Lycium barbarum (Goji Berry)

    The industry is serving up more tasty options for this year’s gardens.   We saw dwarf thornless raspberries, hardy Goji berry bushes, expanded selections of heirloom plants and seeds, and increased inventories of fruit trees, especially dwarf varieties.

  • Small-space gardening – City dwellers and empty IMG_2295nesters are looking for ways to maximize their smaller gardens, and the industry is happy to oblige with new options for container gardening, vertical treatments and more dwarf varieties.  A multi-grafted espaliered crabapple, a new collection of clematis climbers and clever vertical wall planters caught our eye.
  • Heat lovers – Midwest gardeners will be delighted to find more options available in tropicals and drought-tolerant plants like succulents. Acorn Farms showed oodles of hanging baskets full of eye-catching and trailing succulents.  Willoway Nurseries displayed Brugmansia ‘Snow Bank’ — a showy variegated angel trumpet from Novalis’ “Bring on the Heat” group.

IMG_2318 IMG_2305 IMG_2269

  • Miniatures — The miniature craze continues, and the industry is stepping up its offerings with miniature hostas, succulents, conifers, and other wee plants and accessories especially suited for terrariums, fairy gardens and small containers.IMG_2260
  • Sustainable landscapes – CENTS show speakers repeatedly talked about how to garden in a more sustainable – more eco-friendly – way with ideas for lawn alternatives, suggestions for tough plants, and new solutions for pest and weed control.

Snapshots: Inaugural Poetry

Winter sunrise (640x427)

The opening verse from this week’s Inaugural Poem “One Today” by Richard Blanco:

One sun rose on us today, kindled over our shores,
peeking over the Smokies, greeting the faces
of the Great Lakes, spreading a simple truth
across the Great Plains, then charging across the Rockies.
One light, waking up rooftops, under each one, a story
told by our silent gestures moving behind windows.

Good Eats: Pomegranates

Watch an Oscar Nominee and Peel a Pomegranate

PomegranateBy Debra Knapke

Not a recipe this time, but a delicious fruit that is available in the winter and is fun to eat.  Some may consider it a pain to peel; for you, pomegranate arils (seeds) are now available in most supermarkets, already separated from the fruit.  For me, this is a jigsaw puzzle.  While watching an old movie or listening to music, I sit and peel.  The arils then show up as additions to salads, hot rice dishes – so good in wild rice recipes – and anything else that seems to need a burst of flavor.

Book Notes: Herb and the Earth

Poetic Prose for Herbal Souls on a Wintery Day 

Herbs and EarthBy Debra Knapke

Here’s my first Book Note for 2013: Herbs and the Earth by Henry Beston, originally published in 1935.

A dear friend gave me the hardback Goodine Publisher edition (1990) in 1991.  This is a book for a snowy day, a roaring fire and your favorite cup of tea.   Henry Beston’s poetic prose draws you into the beauty of herbs and the mystery of life.  When I read it the first time, I felt that I finally understood herbs and by association, the people who grow and love them.  The second time, his words settled gently on my “herbal” soul.  Periodically I pick it up and savor my favorite parts.

For the New Year, I would also like to share with you one of my favorite quotes:

“A garden is the mirror of a mind.  It is a place of life, a mystery of green moving to the pulse of the year, and pressing on and pausing the while to its own inherent rhythms.  In making a garden, there is something to be sought, and something to be found.”

Posted in Books Notes



Favorite Flora: Hardy Cyclamen

Hardy Cyclamen in October

Hardy Cyclamen in October

By Debra Knapke

Winter is a contemplative time.  In December, we often look back at the year and consider what we have or haven’t done…  In January, we look forward.

We have completed our first year as bloggers and it has been a wonderful experience.  Planning together and writing together has been an incredible learning opportunity.  No minuses; only pluses.   Thank you Teresa and Michael!!

Here is the first plant portrait for 2013: hardy cyclamen – Cyclamen hederifolium

Winter interest: to some it may seem an oxymoron, but I look forward to winter in my garden.  The bed edges create flowing pictures on the land.  Small plants and tree outlines create an other-worldly picture.  One of my favorite small plants is the hardy cyclamen.  A tuberous plant that has its seasons switched based on what we Midwestern-ers define as the garden season.  Imagine hundreds of nodding upside-down flowers emerging, without leaves, in late August /early September.   The marbled leaves create a beautiful tapestry in mid to late September and remain in the garden until late May/early June or whenever our heat hits.   Then they go into a period of dormancy.

Hardy Cyclamen in December

Hardy Cyclamen in December

This is not a plant for the impatient gardener.  I planted my original 15 tubers in 1995.  You will see single flowers and small groupings of leaves for two to four years until the tubers increase in size and seed dispersed from the flowers grow into more tiny tubers.  But the display is worth the wait.

Hardy cyclamen flowers are either pink or white.  Most of my flowers are white, but some are shaded pink to deep pink.  Siting is very important.  These diminutive plants should be nestled under a tree in an area that is sloped and drains well.  Wet sites will result in rotting tubers.  Avoid sunny western-facing sites as the leaves will burn.  Watering is an issue if we have a dry summer – which is the norm rather than the exception.  I will water the area once or twice in August to get a better flower show.

One more tip: when you plant, slightly tilt the tubers so water drains out of the slight depression that can be on the top of the tuber.

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