Garden Trends 2019

By Teresa Woodard

Hello 2019! It’s an exciting time for the plant world as the horticulture industry experiences a renaissance. According to the 2019 Garden Trends Report by the Garden Media Group, American gardeners set a record $47.8 billion in lawn on garden retail sales (from bulbs to outdoor furniture), and the average household set a spending record of $503 up nearly $100 over the previous year. And 18-34 year-olds are spending more than ever.

Indoors is the new outdoors for the “Indoor Generation” that averages 22 hours inside a day. Apartment dwellers appreciate the physical and mental health benefits of plants.

Houseplants Craze: In Nov. 2018, the New York Times reported plant influencers in their twenties and thirties are fueling a new generation’s obsession with houseplants that’s growing faster and more tenaciously than English ivy. Horticulture stars of Instagram, like Houseplantclub, now have book deals, sponsors and hundreds of thousands of followers. In addition, a host of highly curated houseplant stores including Midwestern ones like Stump, Fern, Darling Botanical, Art Terrarium and Mod Gen are cleverly promoting plants such as pilea, fiddleleaf fig, succulents and Monstera (#MonsteraMonday).

New Plant Performers: Today’s newest annuals and perennials are more than pretty.  To make it past tough trial garden managers, these new introductions also must appeal to pollinators and stand up to the Midwest’s weather extremes.  This year’s standouts include Allium ‘Millenium,’ Agastache rugosa ‘Little Adder,’ Vinca Tattoo series, Celosia argentea ‘Asian Garden,’ Mangave ‘Inkblot,’ Portulaca ColorBlast Double Magenta, and Gomphrena ‘Truffula Pink.’ Check out the complete list of trial managers’ favorites.

‘Stem to Root’ Edibles: While plant-based diets remain hot, it’s no surprise the trend spills over into vegetable gardening and support for local growers. One theme that is gaining momentum is the stem to root concept. Advocated by Ohio chefs like Jamie Simpson of the Culinary Vegetable Institute and Cara Mangini, author of The Vegetable Butcher, they teach ways to use all parts of a vegetable.  For example, Jamie showed me how to make an asparagus salad sautéing the tips, shaving ribbons of the stalks and pressing the stem ends into a juice for a dressing.

Plants As Social Change Agents: More and more communities are recognizing the power of plants as catalysts for social change. Downtowns are carving out more green spaces for public parks. Urban neighborhoods are planting community gardens to bring nutritious produce to food deserts. Streetscapes are being redesigned with more plants to attract consumers and create an environment for increased spending. All over the country, gardens are being planted to engage veterans, convicts, at-risk teens, recovering addicts, women’s shelter residents, cancer patients, college students, immigrant families and more.

“Living Coral” Color of the Year: Pantone’s color of 2019 is “Living Coral,” and the plant industry has plenty of offerings in this hue and some even in the coral shape and name. Check out ‘Firestorm’ sedum adolphii, ‘Coral Fountain’ amaranthus, ‘Kudos Coral’ agastache, ‘Queeny Lime Orange’ zinnia, ‘Orange Peach’ cockscomb and ‘Peachberry Ice’ coral bells.

Are there fewer dragonflies, fireflies, Monarchs, praying Mantis and ladybugs, today?

Insect Apocalypse: The plight of pollinators and Monarchs has been in the news for several years, but a German study on insect decline is drawing attention to threats on the broader insect population. Personally, I’ve been tracking dragonfly counts as a part of the Ohio Odonoata Survey, and the experience is giving me a new appreciation for the role habitat plays in supporting healthy insect populations. In the gardening world, gardeners can help curb insect decline by creating healthy habitats and by learning responsible pest control practices such as IPM (Integrated Pest Management). Joe Lamp’l of Growing A Greener World does a great job of explaining IPM for home gardeners.

Plastic Waste in Gardening: Last year, plastic straws were on the hot seat as communities began to ban them and food service companies like Starbucks and McDonalds announced plans to phase them out. National Geographic coverage of floating plastic masses in the Pacific Ocean spurred further conservations about plastic pollution and the need to reduce single-use plastics. The gardening world is taking positive steps by organizing plastic pot recycling events and developing compostable containers.

Plant Spotlights: Each year, several garden groups select a plant to promote. For 2019, the National Garden Bureau selected one annual (snapdragon), one perennial (salvia remosa), one bulb (dahlia) and one edible (pumpkin).  The Perennial Plant Association named Stachys ‘Hummelo’ as the perennial plant of the year. The American Hosta Growers Association named ‘Lakeside Paisley Print’ as the hosta of the year. And Hampton Court Palace Flower Show named ‘Starlight Symphony’ as the rose of the year.

Wishing you a happy new year of gardening!

Plant Preview from Cultivate 2018

ce074da4-9e0d-49f9-9527-088379363307By Teresa Woodard

Last week, the green industry met in Columbus, Ohio for Cultivate 2018 – a massive trade show in which 10,000 attendees and 700 exhibitors from 18 countries converged for a four-day event! Here, bulb companies from the Netherlands, seed companies from Japan and plant breeders, marketers and growers across the United States showcased their new plants and products.

Across the tradeshow floor, it was evident excitement is building in the horticulture industry as more and more people value the power of plants in our backyards, workplaces, health care institutions, schools, universities and downtown communities.

img_3649According to National Institute of Consumer Horticulture, the industry contributes $196 billion to the U.S. economy and creates more than 2 million jobs. The industry is fueling consumers’ hunger for more plants with many new varieties.  Here’s a sneak peak at 10 up-and-comers:

  1. Edibles: Two show winners include Amazel™ basil, a game-changing, mildew-resistant Italian sweet basil by Proven Winners, and Hort Couture’s Edibliss kales which combine sweet, soft edible leaves with the more flamboyant colors of ornamental kale. All-American Selections mini bell peppers (Pepper Chili Pie and Sweetie Pie) also grabbed attention for their snackable size.  

  2. Mangaves: Talk about a statement plant for containers! This succulent cross between an agave and manfreda was turning heads at the Walters Gardens booth.
  3. Perennial power: Watch for Proven Winners’ new PRIMO® series of heucheras with their big flouncy leaves in black, peach, pistachio green, rose and mahogany. They’re perfect for impatient gardeners that want quick results. For showy blooms, look for the new ‘Pop Star’ balloon flowers (Platycodon grandifloras ‘Pop Star’ white) by Benary, Poquito™ dwarf hummingbird mints (Agastache) by Terra Nova with profuse blooms in orange, blue, yellow and lavender; and Summer Spice Crème de la Creme hardy hibiscus.

     

  4. Double blooms: When a single bloom isn’t enough, breeders are introducing new double hybrids like Fall in Love™ ‘Sweetly’ Japanese anemone, MiniFamous® Uno Double PinkTastic calibrachoa and Superbells® Doublette ‘Love Swept’ calibrachoa
  5. Expanded fall plant palette: Tiring of mums for your fall displays?  Look for ornamental Corn Pink Zebra (a dwarf corn for containers) and new Sneezeweed hybrids (Helenium autumnale ‘Salud Embers’).
  6. Black-eyed vincas: In the Vinca Tatoo™ series, each vinca bloom is inked with a dark center. Colors include papaya, black cherry, tangerine and raspberry.
  7. Must-have gomphrena: ‘Truffula Pink’ was a Proven Winners standout with its heavy flower coverage, pollinator appeal and toughness in extreme heat and humidity. Plant it in mass in flower borders or containers.
  8. More mandevillas: Suntory is introducing two new giant Sun Parasol® mandevillas: 1) Giant Dark Pink with changing shades of coral pink and white blooms and 2) Giant Marbled Crimson with variegated foliage and red blooms. Columbus, Ohio gardener Paul Schrader trials many varieties in his eye-catching garden on City Park Ave. in German Village. 
  9. Canary wing begonia: Jared Hughes, 30-year-old plant breeder from central Ohio, is overwhelmed with the response to his first nationally released plant introduction with Ball Ingenuity. It’s a standout in shade gardens with its chartreuse angel-wing leaves and non-stop red blooms. The plant won the 2018 Retailers’ Choice Award at the trade show.
  10. Scented modern rose: Suntory has reintroduced perfume to disease-resistant shrub roses with its line of repeat-blooming Brindabella™ roses in red, pink, apricot, salmon, blush, white and purple.Brindarella rose

Garden Fashion Forecast

By Teresa Woodard

If there was a fashion week for the garden world, it would be this first full week of March as lifestyle magazines roll out the season’s latest plants and garden trends. Some of the themes that dominated 2016 – edible landscapes and bee-friendly gardens – are still growing and climbing to new levels. Here are ten trends curated from the latest issues of Better Homes & Gardens, Martha Stewart Living, Southern Living, Country Gardens, Garden Design and the UK’s Gardens Illustrated.

  1. Shades of Greenery – Named the 2017 Color of the Year by the Pantone Institute, greenery couldn’t be more fitting for the gardening world. While there are varying shades of green foliage, there are also plenty of green flowers to update your outdoor spaces. Try Bells of Ireland, ‘Green Envy’ Zinnia, ‘Sophistica Lime Green’ petunias, hellebores, orchids, ‘Green Flutter’ daylilies , ‘Green Star’ gladiolas, ‘Spring Green’ tulips and ‘Pistachio’ daffodils. Also, try spray-painting a bench green or adding green throw pillow for a fresh look.
  2. Shrubs Go Small – For low maintenance and small spaces, dwarf shrubs are the answer. At two-feet in size, try planting these shrubs in multiples or in a space where you don’t want to have to keep pruning to maintain a small size. Among the hydrangeas, look for ‘Tiny Tuff Stuff,’ ‘Bobo’ and ‘Little Quick Fire.” Also try ‘Green Velvet’ boxwood.

     

  3. Updated Classics — Hardwood trees are in short supply in areas of the country where ash trees have fallen to the ash borer. Top replacements include Accolade elm, State Street miyabei maple, Exclamation London planetree, Autumn Gold ginkgo, Fall Fiesta sugar maple and Shawnee Brave bald cypress.

     

  4. Pollinator Party — Gardeners are inviting pollinators to their backyards with flowers like monarda, butterfly weed, lantana, aster, liatris, lavender and borage. They’re also luring bees with trees like lindens, crabapples, redbuds, locusts and serviceberries.

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    Bee on aster

     

  5. Urban Wild – Driven by high profile urban landscapes like Chicago’s Lurie Gardens and NYC’s High Line, the wild design is gaining ground in residential outdoor spaces. Inspired designers are bringing high design to naturalized spaces. For inspiration, check out recently released books such as Wild By Design, Garden Revolution and Planting in a Post-wild World.
  6. Succulents Mania – Succulents were BIG at the winter plant trade shows, both in terms of variety (some look like rosettes while other look like sea creatures) and in terms of popularity (vendors showed them in containers, wall displays, framed and even suspended in macramé hangers).succulents framed Cultivate 7-11-16
  7. Elevated Edibles – Edibles aren’t just relegated to raised beds hidden along the ugly side of the house anymore. They’re now tucked in perennial borders, grown in pots and climbing sculptural supports. Check out recent magazines for new varieties (American Gardener), petite sizes (Country Gardens), hops (Horticulture), design ideas (Better Homes & Gardens), edible flowers (Southern Living) and a beginner’s guide (Martha Stewart Living).

     

  8. Fit for Extreme Weather – From heat waves to flooding, weather extremes are becoming the norm, and recent magazines are offering plenty of inspiration. See Country Gardens for a boggy backyard garden and Better Homes & Gardens for an arid one.

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    Primroses in a bog garden featured in Country Gardens (spring 2017)

  9. Uber Local Flowers – The locavore movement is stretching beyond foods to flowers as local flowers farms offer fresh blooms as an alternative to those shipped from faraway countries. Backyard gardeners can take this one step further with their own cutting garden.  See the March issue of Better Homes & Gardens for tips from Floret Farm.img_1757
  10. Millennial Appeal – Cashing in on the so-called Experience Economy, many savvy garden stores, yoga studios, floral farms and even clothing stores like Anthropologie are offering a host of workshops from flower arrangements to succulent containers to origami blooms. Check out the latest issue of Magnolia Journal for a floral workshop hosted by Joanna Gaines.

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    “Flora Workshop” in The Magnolia Journal Spring 2017

Garden Moment at ATL

magical-garden-artArt brings garden feel to subway tunnel

 By Michael Leach

I didn’t expect to have a garden moment in the subway of the Atlanta airport, but it happened. 

Shunning the train to get  in some needed walking en route to my gate, I passed several pieces of sculpture by African artists in one of the connecting tunnels between concourses. The greenish color of some of the stones, the serene faces and fluid lines suggested life outdoors and fresh air. I coveted several as focal points in my landscape.

Among my favorites were Galactic Dancer by Tapfuma Gutsa, Woman Showing Traditional Salute by Edronce Rukodzi, and Caring Mother, by Lameck Bonjisi.

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“Galactic Dancer” by Tapfuma Gutsa

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“Woman Showing Traditional Salute” by Edronce Rukodzi

 

 

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“Caring Mother” by Lameck Bonjisi


Adding further outdoor ambience was a colorful installation suggesting a leafy canopy running the entire length of another connecting tunnel.  Recorded tweets and trills of bird songs added to the fantastical effect of being deep in a whimsical, shaded garden.

Had I known my flight would be delayed by nearly an hour, I’d have hoofed it through the rest of the tunnels to see what was on exhibit. Or backtracked to look more closely at the photo exhibit and permanent exhibit of Atlanta’s history. 

To learn more about art in the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport visit: http://www.atl.com/about-atl/airport-art-program/.

Ten Trends in Outdoor Furnishings

20160919_102020By Teresa Woodard

Heartland Gardening headed to the International Gift and Home Furnishings Market at AmericasMart Atlanta to uncover trends in outdoor furnishings. Here are a few to inspire your outdoor spaces.

1)      Upgraded Recycled Furniture – One furniture manufacturer is transforming landfill waste into attractive, all-weather furniture.20160919_101725

2)      Retro Camp Gear – The growing fireplace craze is generating renewed interest in camp tools like pie irons, marshmallow sticks and popcorn poppers.

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3)      Cutting-edge Metal Furnishings – The laser-cut trend of the fashion industry is now entering the outdoor furnishings industry with metal benches cut in intricate patterns.

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4)      New Heights for Miniatures –The miniature craze remains strong with holiday additions and whimsical nature-inspired abodes.

5)      Parisian Bistro-Weave  –The classic French bistro chairs of the 19th century cafes are popping up inside kitchens and outside on patios. Available in a variety of colors and patterns, they easily mix with rustic or sophisticated pieces.

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6)      Tiki Fun – The Tiki culture, more of 1930s Hollywood than true Polynesia, is enjoying a revival in today’s backyards as homeowners create tropical backyard vacation destinations.

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7)      Modern Zen – Stone sculptures make striking centerpieces in minimalist and meditative gardens.

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8)      Statement Containers – Today’s containers go luxe in grand scale, jewel-tone colors and stone and metallic finishes.

9)      Stacked stone fountains – These smaller bubbling water features offer the alluring sound and wildlife water source without the stagnant water of traditional bird baths or the maintenance hassles of larger water features.

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10)   Salvaged wood furnishings – Look for painted pieces to add some colorful funk to your backyard.

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Plant Lust: Part 2

 

Professional Conferences and Trade Shows = More Plants, People and Gardens

By Debra Knapke

I have been attending the Annual Symposium of the Perennial Plant Association since 1992. This conference is held in different locations in the United States and Canada. It combines education sessions and tours geared toward designers, growers and retailers for whom herbaceous perennials are a part of their business focus. I have visited many prestigious Botanical Gardens and Arboretums and countless private gardens that are not often open to the public. This year, I travelled to Minneapolis, and this was the best yet (I say this, every year).

Below is a very small sample (out of 110 images) of what I experienced in early August.

Plants, Plants and more Plants

salvia-armistad-lyndley-park-ppa-8-3-16Sages are among my favorite plants: gorgeous flowers, hummingbird and other pollinator attractors, herbal uses, and easy to grow. Above is one of the Brazilian sage species (Salvia guaranitica ‘Amistadt’). Its electric purple blooms call you from across the garden. An older sibling (below) is Black and Blue sage (Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue’). When you grow this sage in your garden be prepared to be strafed by hummingbirds if you happen to be weeding when they wish to feed.

salvia-gauranitica-black-and-blue-lyndley-park-ppa-8-3-16isotoma-axillaris-avant-garde-white-laurentia-noerenberg-minneapolis-ppa-8-3-16From time the time, the experts are stumped. This lovely little annual had many of us asking: “What is this?” When we found a docent who had the plant list and learned that we were looking at a large-flowered laurentia (Isotoma axillaris ‘Avant Garde White’), there were more than a few sheepish expressions. The flowers were approximately 1.5” in diameter – they are usually much smaller – and they danced in the breeze. And, another plant goes on the list for next year!

allium-pink-planet-kelly-garden-minneapolis-ppa-8-3-16Alliums are another useful plant in the garden. One downside is their excessive seeding. After three to four years, you may have only alliums in your garden. Enter some of the new hybrids that make few to no fertile seeds. Pink Planet allium (above) is one of those new hybrids; Millennium is another – Millennium allium is now in my garden. I will let you know about its fecundity.

ginkgo-espalier-kelly-and-kelly-minneapolis-ppa-8-3-16At Kelly and Kelly Nursery, we saw what patience and vision can achieve. Need a fence? Create a ginkgo espalier. If you start this project now, you can have this in 10 to 15 years, or so.

 

malus-dolgo-mn-landscape-arb-8-3-16I would be remiss if I didn’t include a picture from the edible garden at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. If you are looking for the tastiest crabapple for jams and jellies then Dolgo crabapple (Malus ‘Dolgo’) is your tree. What is the only difference between a crabapple and an apple? The diameter of a crabapple is two inches or less; an apple is larger than two inches.

lily-de-historia-stirpium-leonhart-fuchs-1542-minn-landscape-arb-ppa-8-3-16Not all of the plants we see are in pots or gardens. The Minnesota Landscape Arboretum has an extensive collection of rare books in its library. This gorgeous lily was hand-colored and sold in limited folios to those who could afford books back in 1542 — 50 years after Columbus sailed the ocean blue.  (De Historia Stirpium, Leonhart Fuchs, 1542)

 

 

Design!

design-border-noerneberg-memorial-gardens-ppa-8-3-16Plants are the designer’s medium. We use the tools of line, form, texture and color to create borders, beds and vignettes. We make places of order, activity, privacy and repose. Here is a border that is peaceful and textural in nature.annual-garden-mn-landscape-arb-ppa-8-3-16

 

… while this border is a riot of hot colors. It also happens to be complimented by a “Big Bug” assassin bug.

 

 

 

Speaking of insects: bee hotels have been making appearances in all the best gardens. I’ve seen recommendations for creating tubes from paper or thin cardboard. If you look closely, you can see that all of the materials in the houses are from the garden: small drilled branches and herbaceous plant stems that are usually relegated to the compost pile. Here are two versions — a multi-level hotel and a simple bee hostal.

 

Coda

 

tree-frog-on-ligularia-minneapolis-ppa-8-3-16Being a plant addict is not a hopeless condition. There are times when something other than a plant grabs my attention. This green tree frog nestled in a ligularia leaf may have been one of the most photographed garden visitors on the garden tour. Of course we were discussing the perfect color harmony of the reddish-brown markings on the frog with the veins on the leaf. Get a bunch of designers together and what do you get? Endless discussions of color, form and texture in the garden!

 

Wishing you a beautiful fall!

Garden Tour Round-Up

Twelve Ideas You’ll Dig

 By Teresa Woodard

Throughout the heartland this summer, private gardeners have graciously opened their garden gates for public garden tours. Whether it’s a pocket garden, estate landscape or suburban backyards, I always find plenty of inspiration. I jot down notes on new plants to try, clever plant combinations and innovative design details to borrow.

Here are a dozen of my favorites.

1)      Design a seating area around a container water garden. It’s a conservation piece, easier to install than an in-ground water feature and adds to the view from indoors.

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20160626_1026512)      Look for a spot to plant an allee of trees like this one of hornbeams.

 

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3)      Vertical gardening: Whether its a wall with fabric pockets, cement blocks or pots on a fence, these vertical gardening options offer a new way to garden up and maximize tight spaces.

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4)      Underplant shade tree and garden bench with liriope. The plant blooms purple flowers in the spring and offers an attractive groundcover to thwart weeds. Simply weed-wack the liriope in the late fall or early spring.

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5)      Support the craft brew craze and plant some hops.

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6)      Be more creative and try the unexpected.

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7)      Spray paint salvaged finds blue then add them to an all-green landscape bed like this one filled with hostas.

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8)      Add this native Queen of the Prairie to a moist spot in the yard.  I love its showy June blooms.

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9)      Go beyond the conventional turf.

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10)   Find a spot for water-loving spring primrose.

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11)   Incorporate more annuals. They add seasonal color and fill bare spots in the landscape.

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IMG_752512)   Create a small bog garden and fill it with pitcher plants like these.

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Beautiful Brassicas

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By Teresa Woodard

Yes, I’ve planted flowering kale to add fall color to borders and containers, but I had no idea how amazing brassicas — kales, cabbages, turnips, kohlrabi and mustards — could look in the landscape until last week when I visited the spring display gardens at the Riverbanks Zoo & Botanical Garden in Columbia, SC.  Brassicas are best grown in cool seasons – spring and fall, so consider purchasing some plants to add this spring or planting some seeds in August for a fall show. Fellow blogger Deb Knapke will follow up this post with another on growing tips.

The Riverbanks’ spring display garden offers plenty of inspiration. Just check out these fanciful and edible leaves and clever planting combinations.

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Ornamental Kale: Brassica oleracea (Acephala Group) ‘Peacock Red’

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Curly Kale: Brassica oleracea (Acephala Group) ‘Starbor’

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Kohlrabi: Brassica oleracea (Gongylodes Group) ‘Azur-Star’

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Cabbage: Brassica oleracea ‘OS Cross’

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Kohlrabi: Brassica oleracea (Gongylodes Group) ‘Delicacy Purple’

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White ornamental kale: Try the Crane series for cut flower arrangements.

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Upper right corner is Siberian Kale or Brassica napus (Pabularia Group) ‘Winter Red’

 

Giant Red Mustard produces a contrasting yellow flower.

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Cool season flowering plants like pansies and violas make great companion plants for brassicas.

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Kohlrabi paired with violas

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Collards take on more beauty as they flower here in yellow blooms.

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An planting of curly kale beneath a Chinese fringe tree

 

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Visit Riverbanks Zoo & Botanical Gardens’ spring display in its 34,000-square-foot walled garden area.

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Radicchio Cichorium Intybus ‘Fiero’ (Not a brassica but a beautiful edible.)

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Radicchio add eye-catching conical shapes in the spring display garden.

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A 300-foot-long canal featuring cascades and pinwheel fountains serves as the focal point of the impressive spring display in the walled garden at Riverbanks Zoo & Botanical Garden.

2016 Garden Trends

Bugs, Biophilia and Boldness

By Teresa Woodard

Hello, 2016! At Heartland Gardening, we ring in the new year with a trends round-up includingCENTS 1 some highlights from this week’s CENTS convention (Central Environmental Nursery Tradeshow) at the Greater Columbus Convention Center in downtown Columbus.

·         Embracing bugs – Today, more than ever, gardeners are appreciating insects’ important roles not just as pollinators but also as decomposers and predators to manage insect populations. They’re adding plants to attract beneficial bugs and rethinking pesticide practices that can harm them.  According to Bug Lady Suzanne Wainwright-Evans, beneficial bugs bring a $4.5 billion value to the green industry. She shared a link to helpful plant lists from Penn State’s pollinator trial gardens.

A new variegated milkweed (Asclepias 'Monarch Promise')

A new variegated milkweed (Asclepias ‘Monarch Promise’)

 

·         Designing biophilic – Economist Charlie Hall says biophilic design is today’s hottest architectural trend. Architects and landscape designers are adopting biophilic design elements to bring nature’s healing qualities to today’s homes and landscapes.  Think green roofs, green walls, natural lighting, water features and green infrastructure.

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Biophilia design elements like green walls, green roofs and green infrastructure

 

·         Changing demographics – Hall also says two changing demographic groups – Millennials (ages 18-34) and Baby Boomers (ages 51-69) will offer opportunities for the green industry. As the Millennials begin to buy homes, they will be adding landscapes, and as Baby Boomers age they will demand more landscape services to maintain their properties.

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Economist Charles Hall at CENTS 2016

 

·         Growing edibles – More and more nurseries are jumping on the edibles trend, so consumers will have even more options at their local garden centers. At the CENTS show, Debra Knapke presented on “Native Edibles” and said that adding plants that have multiple functions, edibility being one of them, is a way to build functional plant communities.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

·         Bold backyards — The Garden Media Group reports homeowners are taking a bolder approach to outdoor living. Customization, new lighting and sound options are driving the trend for these ultra-personalized backyards. Homeowners are moving away from subtle, minimalist aesthetics toward designs that heighten sensory appeal. At the CENTS show, we saw bold tropicals, striking succulents and beautiful porcelain outdoor tiles. In the color palette, orange and sangria continue to be popular colors.  Pantone, the global color authority, recently announced its colors of the year for 2016: Rose Quartz and Serenity (muted shades of pink and blue).  We’ll have to wait and see how these pale colors play out in the horticulture world in the next season or two.

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Porcelain outdoor tiles showcased at CENTS 2016

The Power of Annuals

Each year, 15,000 annuals are planted at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Gardens. Here, Canna ‘Bengal Tiger’ and Coleus ‘Keystone Kopper’ dress up the Reptile House.

Winning Plants for Summer Color

 By Teresa Woodard

In the gardening world, annual plants are often the step-child to the perennial darlings.  But Scott Beuerlein, horticulturalist at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Gardens, opened my eyes to the virtues of annuals at the recent Plant Trials Day hosted at the beautifully landscaped zoo.

He says the colorful flowers can’t be beat for their “50 MPH wow”. They may only last for a season, but their color is nonstop for several months.  Plus, they pack a lot of punch in container gardens,  add traffic-stopping curb appeal to the landscape, build community pride in public spaces, bring joy to senior centers and hospitals, offer nectar and pollen to several pollinators, and even minimize weeds when densely planted.

Here are ten favorites at the zoo.

Pennisetum 'Rubrum' (purple fountain grass) and Flame Thrower Coleus 'Spiced Curry'

Pennisetum ‘Rubrum’ (purple fountain grass) and Flame Thrower Coleus ‘Spiced Curry’

Coleus 'Premium Sun Crimson Gold with Sedum 'Lemon Coral' and gazania.

Coleus ‘Premium Sun Crimson Gold’ with Sedum ‘Lemon Coral’ and gazania.

Salvia 'Golden Delicious' and Zinnia 'Sahara Double Fire'

Salvia ‘Golden Delicious’ and Zinnia ‘Sahara Double Fire’

Coleus 'Lime Time' and Lantana 'Luscious Citrus Blend'

Coleus ‘Lime Time’ and Lantana ‘Luscious Citrus Blend’

Coleus 'Colorblaze Kingswood Torch', Dwarf Morning Glory 'Blue My Mind' and Lantana 'Little Lucky Pot of Gold'

Coleus ‘Colorblaze Kingswood Torch’, Dwarf Morning Glory ‘Blue My Mind’ and Lantana ‘Little Lucky Pot of Gold’

Colocasia, Lantana 'Luscious Marmalade' and Ipomoea 'Sweet Caroline Light Green' (sweet potato vine)

Colocasia, Lantana ‘Luscious Marmalade’ and Ipomoea ‘Sweet Caroline Light Green’ (sweet potato vine)

 

Impatiens 'Bounce Cherry' and Verbena 'Lanai Candy Cane'

Impatiens ‘Bounce Cherry’ and Verbena ‘Lanai Candy Cane’

Dahlia 'Mystic Illusion'

Dahlia ‘Mystic Illusion’

Coleus 'Dipt in Wine' and Euphorbia 'Glitz' with red begonias

Coleus ‘Dipt in Wine’ and Euphorbia ‘Glitz’ with red begonias

Pennisetum 'Vertigo' and Coleus 'Alabama' and dahlias.

Pennisetum ‘Vertigo’ and Coleus ‘Alabama’ with dahlias.

Garden Topics

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