Colorful Coleus, Tempting Tomatoes, Generous Grants + More New Plants in ’17

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When you are looking for color that lasts the season through, think Coleus! Coleus has a long history of use in our gardens and with new varieties each year, coleus has become an indispensable spot of color for many gardeners!

Read more about the different series of coleus out there today and check out the new 2017 additions! Beautiful!

Which one is your favorite?

Grown for its foliage, Coleus is one of the easiest and most diverse foliage in and out of the garden.  Coleus can be used in garden beds, containers, and patio pots and then brought indoors for winter color!
Learn more about how to care for and design with your Coleus for enjoyment year long!

 Continue reading… 


Is Your Garden Pollinator Friendly?

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Butterflies…Delightful Visitors!

There is no more delightful decoration for a garden than nature’s own–butterflies. On a warm sunny day, these visitors provide color and motion that doubles the pleasure of gardening. How fortunate for the gardener that it takes very little effort to make the yard attractive to butterflies!Learn more how to bring the wonder of butterflies to your garden here.

Create Your Own Pollinator-Friendly Garden

June 19 – 25, 2017 is National Pollinator Week.  To help perpetuate this great cause, National Garden Bureau is providing you with some additional specific tips on how to plant a pollinator-friendly garden.

Have fun creating your garden!

Bringing Kids, Pollinators & Gardening Together

Planting a garden to attract butterflies is an easy way to get children interested in gardening and nature while introducing them to science, all at the same time!

Read more on how to create this kid’s pollinator garden!
Exciting New Varieties!
Useful Gardening Products

NGB Garden Grant Applications Now Available

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Applications Now Available for Therapeutic Garden Grants

In 2017, National Garden Bureau and Sakata Seed America are partnering to provide $5,000 in grant money to be split among three therapeutic gardens in North America.

National Garden Bureau promotes the health and healing powers of human interaction with plants through a yearly grant program for therapeutic gardens. Sakata Seed America is a leader in breeding vegetable and ornamental seed and vegetative cuttings. They are committed to supporting organizations throughout North America to help people live productive, healthy and enriched lives.
According to the American Horticultural Therapy Association, horticultural therapy (HT) is a time-proven practice. The therapeutic benefits of garden environments have been documented since ancient times. In the 19th century, Dr. Benjamin Rush, a signer of the Declaration of Independence and recognized as the “Father of American Psychiatry,” was first to document the positive effect working in the garden had on individuals with mental illness.

HT techniques are employed to assist participants in learning new skills or regaining those that were lost. A therapeutic garden is a plant-dominated environment purposefully designed to facilitate interaction with the healing elements of nature. There are many sub-types of therapeutic gardens including healing gardens, enabling gardens, rehabilitation gardens, and restorative gardens.

National Garden Bureau and Sakata Seed America are now accepting applications from therapeutic gardens that meet the following criteria:

  1. Have a defined program using the garden to further particular goals for participants led by a qualified leader. Examples include horticultural therapy, occupational, physical, vocational or rehabilitation therapy in a garden setting or using gardening to promote positive social relationships within a community.
  2. Offer a nature experience/interface for population served, including, but not limited to veterans, special-needs children or young adults, the elderly and/or those recuperating from specific injuries or addictions.
  3. Be used for job-training, skill-building, or food growing for at-risk youth, veterans, or the elderly.
  4. Involve a large number of gardeners, clients, patients, visitors or students on a monthly basis.
To apply, therapeutic garden applicants should determine that they meet the criteria as outlined here then complete this application and submit it to the NGB office by the deadline of July 1, 2017.

In July/August, a group of horticulture therapy experts will narrow down applications to three finalists. Those three finalists will then be asked to submit a one-minute video that will be posted on All involved parties will solicit feedback from the public, using social media, to vote on the garden they wish to receive the grants. The top vote-getter will receive $3,000, second and third place will receive $1,000 each.

The panel of experts to determine the three garden finalists are:
Patty Cassidy, Registered Horticultural Therapist, American Horticultural Therapy Association board member and secretary
Barbara Kreski, Director, Horticultural Therapy Services, Chicago Botanic Garden
Julie Tracy, President, Julie+Michael Tracy Family Foundation/Growing Solutions Farm
Heather Kibble, President, National Garden Bureau, Home Garden Vegetables Division Manager, Sakata Seed America

For more information about this project or National Garden Bureau, visit: and follow National Garden Bureau on Social Media.

June is Pollinator, Rose & Perennial Month

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Bringing Kids, Pollinators & Gardening Together

Planting a garden to attract butterflies is an easy way to get children interested in gardening & nature while introducing them to science, all at the same time!

Read more on how to create a garden kids & pollinators will thank you!

Thanks to the hard work of rose breeders, today’s roses are much easier to grow. They have been bred to resist common diseases and now require much less maintenance for the home gardener.

This year is the year to give roses a try!
Learn more about them here.

June is Perennial Plant Month

Celebrate Perennial Plant Month by adding perennial AAS Winners to your garden. Perennials bring beauty, ease, and continuous blooms to your garden so give a few of these a try:

Exciting New Varieties!
Useful Gardening Products

Wal-Mart is Not Your Garden’s Friend: Iris in May?

Horticultural Warning: For those that may be interested in buying bulbs at Wal-mart…

While in the Plover, WI Wal-mart on Monday with my Mom, we happened to stroll down the aisle where they had bulbs/tubers/rhizomes — glads, canna, iris, etc. Among the selection of about 10 iris varieties were 2 Dutch Iris — “Miss Saigon” and “Eye of the Tiger”.

20170506_142747Miss Saigon

My first reaction at seeing any iris – Dutch, Siberian, Bearded, or otherwise – is that this is NOT the time of year to plant iris. You plant them in the late summer/early autumn.

Dutch Iris do not grow in Wisconsin — they are for the southern states. Further research on my part shows that “Miss Saigon” is for Zones 8-11 and “Eye of the Tiger” for Zones 6-9. Wisconsin is mostly Zone 3 and 4 with a bit of 5 in the southeastern part. (NOTE: Plover is a 4.) Just like the short day onions I wrote about previously, Wal-Mart just throws whatever on the shelves because most gardeners that shop at Wal-Mart do not have enough knowledge to know that they are being taken. Just because you are getting a good deal at the checkout counter does not mean that you are getting what you think you are getting. And Wal-Mart is NOT the only offender — I have seen the same in years past at Sam’s Club, ShopKo, KMart, Menards, Home Depot, and other big box chains are notorious for selling things that they -say- grow in your area, but a quick variety search online shows how much they have lied to you. By buying products that are not for your area, you have just wasted your money on what will be an expensive annual, plus you will likely tell everyone you know that you have a “black thumb” when it comes to gardening.

Miss Saigon 2Eye of the Tiger

If you want something reliable that will truly grow well, spend the extra few cents/dollars and go to a reputable horticultural seller. If you need advise on where to go, send me a message and I can send you info.

Please feel free to share this post with your friends.


© Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk!, 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk! with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


4 New Blog Posts for Garden Inspiration

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Ideas to Inspire Your Garden!

National Garden Bureau’s mission is to inspire, connect and help gardeners grow! Below are four different recent posts that we hope inspire you.

Updating Grandma’s Flowers for Today’s Garden

Want to plant some of grandma’s favorite flowers but a modern-day version?  Then you are going to be excited about the new plant varieties that are coming soon to your local retailer!

Read more about the trends spotted at a recent industry event called the California Spring Trials where breeders show their newest varieties available now, or in the near future, at your local garden retailer.

Growing and Using Basil

Basil (Ocimum basilicum) is a culinary herb of the family Lamiaceae. It is also called the “king of herbs” and the “royal herb” possibly because of the name’s meaning in Greek.

It’s easy to grow this tender annual from seed, sow in flats about 6 weeks before the last frost. Sow seeds and cover with the growing medium to about​…

Continue reading. 

How to Create a Healing Garden

In the best of times, flowers help us celebrate the joyous occasions in our lives. In more difficult times, plants give us hope and inspiration to meet life’s challenges.

The role of plants and gardens in healing is ancient but within the past few decades, the medical community is rediscovering the healing power of gardens.

Read more.

April is National Garden Month!

Back in the 1980’s, the National Garden Bureau worked with 23 cosponsoring national horticultural organizations to legislate National Garden Week, and in 1986 President Reagan signed the Proclamation. In 2002, the National Gardening Association resolved to extend the celebration to encompass the entire month of April.

All gardeners know the innumerable benefits that gardening brings to people and their communities, and this is a month where we can spread that message to those who aren’t directly involved. Read more.

2017 Is the Year of the Rose

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2017 is the Year of the Rose!
Year of the Begonia
The US National Flower first appeared around 35 million years ago and is part of the Rosaceae family which is very important for our food supply (think apples, strawberries, etc…). There are more than 150 species of Roses but very few are used in today’s gardens.

Roses have been associated with the human population since the earliest recorded history. The oldest record is from China and dates back more than 7,000 years ago and their popularity has never faded since. Modern rose hybridization started in Western Europe in the 18th Century, and today there are more than 11,000 existing varieties of hybrid roses, with more being bred every year.

National Garden Bureau is proud to present the Year of the Rose in partnership with the American Rose Society.
Join us during the 2017 #YearoftheRose! Follow us on Social Media! Use the hashtags #YearoftheRose and #Roses to post pictures of your favorite garden roses and join the conversation!
The rose industry is divided into 3 main areas, the Fragrance industry, the Fresh Flower/Florist industry and the Garden industry.

The Fragrance industry uses mostly 2 species grown specifically for that purpose. R. Gallica and R. Damascena. The industry is concentrated on the Mediterranean basin where the climate is ideal for their culture. It takes 10,000 pounds of rose petals to make 1 liter of Rose oil, one of the most widely used components in making perfumes.

The Florist rose industry produces more than 1 billion stems a year in more than 30,000 acres of greenhouses worldwide. The industry started in Europe and the US near the main urban centers in the late 19th Century and has moved into areas with climates better suited for their production. Columbia and Ecuador in South America, Kenya and Ethiopia in Africa and now China and India are the major producing areas, although there is a small but growing trend in the US to produce locally grown fresh flowers once again.

Last but not least, Garden roses have been front and center in the garden since the Middle Ages when they were widely grown for their medicinal qualities. The industry today is largely concentrated in developed countries (US, Europe, Japan, Australia…) but there are big developments in newly industrialized countries and especially in China.

Read more about the Year of the Rose including how to grow and pruning tips…

Pansy Inspire Plus Beaconsfield
Rose Pink Double Knock Out
Pansy Colossus Tricolor Imperial
Rose High Voltage
Pansy Nature Mulberry Shades
Rose Sweet Fragrance
Pansy King Henry Viola
Rose Oso Easy Italian Ice