4 New Blog Posts for Garden Inspiration

Reposted with permission of the National Garden Bureau:


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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

2017 is the Year of the Brassica!

Reposted with permission of the National Garden Bureau:


2017 is the Year of the Brassica!
Year of the Brassica

The Brassica family of plants is one of the most prolific genera of vegetables in the world, enjoyed by countless generations in many forms and playing a starring role in many culturally significant recipes. Brassica vegetables, including bok choy, cabbage, cauliflower, collards, broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, kale, kohlrabi, rutabagas, and turnips are popular around the world today and have been a major food source for as long as anyone can remember. The Chinese philosopher Confucius, before dying in 479 B.C. wrote over 300 traditional songs describing life in the Chou dynasty. Many of the songs were agriculturally themed and named over 40 foods of the time, including cabbage! Perhaps current songwriters should devote more lyrics to healthy eating and the joys of agriculture!

Also known as cole crops, derived from the Latin word caulis, denoting the stem or stalk of a plant, brassica provide plenty of nutrition (vitamin C and soluble fiber) and healthy doses of glucosinolates, a compound that helps reduce the risk of various cancers of the digestive tract.  In addition, red Brassicas provide mega-doses of Anthocyanin (a powerful anti-oxidant) at bargain prices. Some glucosinolates have a bitter flavor that makes them unpalatable to some people.  Modern breeding has replaced some of the bitter glucosinolates with neutral-flavored ones so that all palates can enjoy Brassicas.

To celebrate the Year of the Brassica, try one of these Brassica recipes from Chef Jonathan Bardzik
Read more about all the different types of Brassica including Broccoli, Brussell Sprouts, Cabbage, Pak Choi, Cauliflower, Collards, Kale, Kohlrabi, Radish, Rutabaga, Turnip.
See pictures of all the different types of Brassica.
New Varieties from our members:
Brussels Sprouts Dagan
Brussels Sprouts Dagan
Cabbage Caraflex F1
Cabbage Caraflex F1
Kale Prizm F1
Kale Prizm F1
Kohlrabi Konan F1
Kohlrabi Konan F1
Radish Sweet Baby F1
Radish Sweet Baby F1
Radish Fiesta Blend
Radish Fiesta Blend
The National Garden Bureau recognizes and thanks, Jan van der Heide from Bejo Seed as the author, and Heather Kibble from Sakata Home Grown as a contributor to this fact sheet.

This brassica fact sheet is provided as an educational service of the National Garden Bureau. There are no limitations on the use. Please credit National Garden Bureau. Please consider our NGB member companies as authoritative sources for information. Click on direct links to their websites by going to ngb.org and searching our Member Directory. Gardeners looking for seed, bulb and plant sources, please select “Shop Our Members”.

Photos can be obtained from the NGB website. National Garden Bureau would like to thank our members for providing the photos for this feature. Please credit the National Garden Bureau anytime one of these images is used.

2017 is the Year of the Pansy

2017 is the Year of the Pansy!
Year of the Begonia

Pansies are such a friendly-faced flower! But until the 19th century most people considered them a weed. Today, pansies are a hybrid plant cultivated from those wildflowers in Europe and western Asia. Much of the collection and cultivation of pansies can be attributed to plantsmen and women in the UK and Europe more than 200 years ago. For example, Lady Mary Elizabeth Bennet, daughter of the Earl of Tankerville, and her gardener cross-bred a wide variety of Viola tricolor (common name “Heartsease”) and showcased their pansies to the horticultural world in 1813. Further experiments around the same time eventually grew the class to over 400 garden pansy varieties.

Garden pansies (Viola x wittrockiana) are a mixture of several species, including Viola tricolor. Oftentimes the names “pansy”, “viola”, and “violet” are interchangeable. However modern pansies are classified by the American Violet Society as having large-flowered blooms with two slightly overlapping upper petals, two side petals, and a single bottom petal, with a slight beard in its center. They’re considered annual bedding plants, used for garden decoration during cooler planting seasons. Pansies come in a rainbow of colors: from crisp white to almost black, and most all colors in between. They are also a great addition to your spring or fall vegetable garden as they are edible and pair well with lettuces. They can also be candied and used to decorate sweets or other dishes.

Read more about the history of pansies here.

Most pansies fall into a few categories: Large (3 to 4 in.), Medium (2 to 3 in.) Multiflora (1 to 2 in.) and a new category of Trailing pansy. Some modern large-flowered pansy series are Majestic Giant Mix, bred by Sakata (a 1966 All-America Selections Winner); Delta, bred by Goldsmith Seeds; and Matrix, bred by PanAmerican Seed. Medium-sized pansy series include Crown by Sakata and Imperial from Takii & Co., Ltd. (Imperial Blue won an All-America Selections in 1975). Multiflora pansy series like Maxim and Padparadja won AAS awards in the early 1990s. New on the scene for hanging baskets and ground cover are WonderFall from Syngenta, and Cool Wave® pansies, from PanAmerican Seed – the makers of Wave® petunias. These Trailing pansies spread over 2 ft. wide and overwinter in fall gardens. Today’s garden pansy varieties can fill any sunny space – large or small, hanging overhead or growing underfoot – with soft fragrance and happy blooms.

Starting Your Pansies From Seed:
To germinate, start your pansy seeds indoors with a soilless mixture (this helps prevent disease on the seedlings). Plant seed 1/8-in. deep with a light cover and a gentle watering. Pansies prefer darkness for germination. The media temperature should be 60-65°F and keep air temperature at 70-75°F. The media should stay damp (covering with a plastic wrap or damp newspaper will help retain humidity. A fine spray or mister can be added if the media dries. Germination occurs in 10-20 days. When shoots appear, remove covering and move the flat to a brightly lit but cool room to continue to grow. Continue to grow cool. Separate seedlings into larger containers after two sets of leaves appear. Begin to feed with diluted plant food.

For Transplants or Purchased Finished Plants:
space your pansies 6 to 10 in. apart in a well-drained and fertile soil location. The best location is an area that receives morning sun. Adding granular or time-release nutrition to the soil is encouraged, especially for trailing pansies as this increases their vigor and number of blooms. Offer plenty of water at planting and during their adjustment period to help establish roots and minimize stress. Mulching can help retain moisture and reduce any weeds that may compete with your plants. Pansies planted in the spring will enjoy the warm days and cool nights of the season. Most V. wittrockiana will begin to diminish or go out of flower as nighttime temperatures begin to rise in the summer. When planted in the north for fall outdoor decorating, pansies will enjoy a shorter but colorful season of blooms and in many cases will overwinter to pop up again the following spring. Southern gardeners often use pansies as their winter color and enjoy them all season long.

For more information on Pansies, please see our NGB website Year of the Pansy page!

The National Garden Bureau recognizes and thanks, PanAm Seed as the author of this fact sheet. This fact sheet is provided as an educational service of the National Garden Bureau. There are no limitations on the use. Please credit the National Garden Bureau. Photos can be obtained from the NGB website in the area labeled “Image Downloads.” National Garden Bureau would like to thank our members for providing the photos for this feature. Please credit the National Garden Bureau anytime one of these images is used.

Pansy Inspire Plus Beaconsfield
Pansy Inspire Plus Beaconsfield
Pansy Colossus Tricolor Imperial
Pansy ColossusTricolor Imperial
Pansy Nature Mulberry Shades
Pansy Nature Mulberry Shades
Pansy King Henry Viola
Pansy King Henry 
Pansy Majestic Giants II Blue Jean
Pansy Majestic Giants II Blue Jeans
Pansy Majestic Giants II Mix
Pansy Majestic Giants II Mix
Pansy Matrix Solar Flare
Pansy Matrix Solar Flare
Pansy Panola Primrose
Pansy Panola Primrose
Pansy Cool Wave Morpho
Want to plant something new this year?

Check out the latest in new flowers and edibles from our NGB Members!

Pansy Cool Wave Morpho delivers easy spreading color in the ground and containers and is perfect for hanging baskets.

#newfor2017  #plantsomethingnew

For more information: Contact Diane Blazek at National Garden Bureau by e-mail.

Founded in 1920, the National Garden Bureau is a non-profit organization whose mission is to disseminate basic instructions for backyard gardeners and those who want to garden, that will inspire them to spend more time outdoors, enjoying all nature has to offer. 

AAS Introduces New Winners for the 2017 Garden Season

Reposted with permission of All-American Selections

16 New AAS Winners for Your 2017 Garden!
Celosia Asian Garden
2017 National Winner, Ornamental Seed 
Dianthus Interspecific Supra Pink F1
2017 National Winner, Ornamental Seed
Fennel Antares F1
2017 National Winner, Edible
Geranium Calliope® Medium Dark Red
2017 National Winner, Ornamental Vegetative
Okra Candle Fire F1
2017 National Winner, Edible
Pea Patio Pride
2017 Regional Winner – Southeast, Edible 
Penstemon barbatus Twizzle Purple F1
2017 Regional Winner – Heartland and Southeast, Edible 
Pepper Mad Hatter F1
2017 National Winner, Edible
Squash Winter Honeybaby F1
2017 Regional Winner – Heartland, Edible
Tomato Chef’s Choice Yellow F1
2017 Regional Winner – Southeast, Edible
Tomato Patio Choice Yellow F1
2017 National Winner, Edible
Verbena EnduraScape™ Pink Bicolor
2017 National Winner, Ornamental Vegetative
Vinca Mega Bloom Orchid Halo F1
2017 National Winner, Ornamental Seed
Vinca Mega Bloom Pink Halo F1
2017 National Winner, Ornamental Seed
Watermelon Mini Love F1
2017 National Winner, Edible
Zinnia Profusion Red
2017 National Winner, Ornamental Seed
All-America Selections is the only non-profit trialing organization for plants that demonstrate great garden performance throughout North America. Each variety was trialed in North America by professional, independent, volunteer judges during one growing season. Each entry was trialed next to comparison varieties that are considered best-in-class among those currently on the market. Only the best performers are declared AAS Winners.
You can purchase AAS Winners for the 2017 gardening season through these mail-order companies as well as garden centers throughout North America.

More information on these winners and all AAS Winners can be found on our AAS website.  

Perennial Plant Association’s Perennial Plant of the Year for 2017

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Asclepias tuberosa
2017 Perennial Plant of the Year™
A great pollinator plant!
Butterfly Weed – A North American Native Plant
Asclepias tuberosa are butterfly magnets. Flowers are a nectar source for many butterflies and leaves are a source for the monarch butterfly caterpillars.

Additionally, butterfly weed is subject to no serious insect or disease problems. Deer usually avoid butterfly weed.

Hardiness: USDA Zones 4 to 9

Light: Butterfly weed grows best in full sun

Soil: Grows best in well-drained soils and it is drought tolerant

Uses: Butterfly weed is a perfect selection for full-sun meadow or prairie gardens as well as formal to semi-formal urban gardens. Flower arrangers find the plants make long-lasting cut flowers.

For more information about Asclepias tuberosa, visit the Perennial Plant Association

Founded in 1920, the National Garden Bureau is a non-profit organization whose mission is to disseminate basic instructions and inspirations for backyard gardeners and those who want to garden; encouraging them to spend more time outdoors enjoying all nature has to offer. 


Seven Easy Steps to Plant an Amaryllis Bulb

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Plan(t) Ahead for Winter Color After the Holidays!

Plant some Amaryllis Bulbs now and those winter months just got a whole lot brighter!

Amaryllis Bulbs are still available as Holiday Gifts for someone special or “just because” for yourself.  Check out our NGB Members for their amaryllis selections:
American Meadows
Brent and Becky’s Bulbs
Gardener’s Supply Company
Longfield Gardens
McClure & Zimmerman
W. Atlee Burpee and Company

Watch below to see how simple it is to plant your amaryllis bulbs:

Seven Easy Steps To Plant An Amaryllis Bulb
What a bright way to cheer up your winter home after the holidays than by planting an Amaryllis.  The best part is the bulb contains everything it needs to produce those large, showy, stand-out flowers that brighten any home waiting for spring.  All you need to do is plant the bulb using our seven steps, water sparingly then sit back and watch the growth.
Thank you to our NGB member Longfield Gardens for the Amaryllis Bulbs used in this video