Friday, March 6, 2015

And MORE New Flowers for 2015 - "Million Bells" (CALIBRACHOA)

Customers often ask me for "Million Bells" petunias, which shows how good marketing pays off. "Million Bells" is a brand name one company gave to their line of calibrachoas, a close relative to petunias. Calibrachoas have smaller blooms than petunias and more of them.  So when someone comes in and asks what I have for "Million Bells" I show them all the different calibrachoas.  So here are some million bells  calibrachoa that I will grow for the first time this season.

I am trying 'Noa Papaya' this year from the Danziger company, because 'Noa Blue Legend' always does so well.  (And I think the two will be pretty in combinations as well.)

Noa Papaya by Danziger

Another new calibrachoa in the Noa series I will grow this year is 'Noa Purple Black'.

Noa Purple Black by Danziger

Another nice calibrachoa I saw last year that filled out baskets is 'Callie Light Blue.'

Callie Light blue by Syngenta Breeding

And lastly, from the Proven Winners series,  'Pomegranate Punch'.

Pomegranate Punch

Saturday, February 28, 2015

MORE New FLOWERS for 2015

Part of the reason I love the greenhouse business is that I have an opportunity to try out new varieties and then share them with my customers.  Some of my customers just want geraniums and marigolds, and that's fine.  Others are ready to try just about anything.

There's a new yellow, short (8") cosmos,  "Limara Lemon," which may be a good alternative for folks who want yellow in their containers or gardens, but don't like marigolds.

Cosmos Limara Lemon - Photo from Benary Seeds

On the other hand, if the gardener wants to try some unusual marigolds,   I like the photos of "Bambino" and "Alum Vanilla Cream" and will be growing them for sale.



I think of red salvia as "the poor man's geranium," because you can buy a six-pack at a good price and get that splash of red that many are looking for.  This year, besides the salvias in 6-packs, I am  trying a new salvia grown from cuttings.  "Saucy Red Salvia" is a sterile hybrid, and the hype promises a super-strong and flashy salvia.  Here in Vermont our winters seem so long and the summers so short, gardeners appreciate bright, bold colors.


Friday, February 27, 2015

NEW PLANTS for 2015 - Crazy Petunias

Here we go again.  There may be four feet of snow on some of the barn roof, but the seeds and rooted cuttings are ordered.  (Yet ...  it's not too late to make requests.)

I will start this year's blog with pictures of some unusual vegetatively grown petunias now offered. The advantage of root-grown petunias over petunias grown from seeds generally is that they are more vigorous and they never need dead heading.  Some of the new seed varieties, like the 'Tidal Wave' series, or the 'Opera' series, are challenging the rooted cuttings.


                                                                    Crazytunia Pulse

The disadvantage is that these rooted cuttings are patented and we growers pay a lot for not just the cuttings, but the royalties and the tags we are required to buy to go with the plants.  Of course this is seen in the eventual cost for customers.

In recent years a company in Germany, Westhoff, started pushing the possibilities of vegetatively grown petunias with their "Crazytunia" series.  I will be growing the four new varieties shown in this posting.

Crazytunia Red Blue

Crazytunia  Star Jubilee

Crazytunia Mandeville

Friday, July 25, 2014

Vermont Daylily Sale - $6.50 each

The annual daylily sale has started.  Buy five or more and they are $6.50 each.  Individually they are the regular "low price" - $7.99 each.

There are all shapes and colors to choose from.  Our plants are field dug and grown in gallon pots.

Above photo from a small display by the greenhouse.

Barbara Mitchell is a favorite pink.

I'm not normally big on orange daylilies, but Tuscawilla Tigress is a standout.  

Monday, July 7, 2014

Vermont Perennial SALE - $2.50 each

How is it possible that I have gone since March without posting anything?  I see other growers writing just about every day.  I'm simply too busy.  It has slowed down now and I find myself with a surplus of perennials in quart pots.  They have all been overwintered and will bloom this year, but it is next year that they will really show their stuff.

You know the saying about perennials?  "First year they sleep, second year they creep, third year they leap."  They are creeping now, getting ready to leap.   And they are all on sale for $2.50 each!

I have plenty of one of my favorites - sidalcea.  This is often called a miniature hollyhock.  I started them from seed last year and here's a photo from the seed company.

I use them a lot in bouquets.  We also have echinacea 'magnus' (coneflower), delphiniums, perennial sweet peas, Nora Barlow aquilegia (columbine) and loads more.  Here's a photo of our creeping phlox for sale.

And the Jacob's Ladder on sale is particularly robust.  The pretty foliage is some of the first you see in the spring. 

We are open every day EXCEPT for Monday, 9 a.m. - 6 p.m.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Geraniums - New Varieties - Seed and Zonal

Essentially there are two kinds of geraniums:  Those grown from seeds and those grown from cuttings (usually called "zonal" geraniums.)  The seed geraniums are less vigorous and more compact than the zonals, and they tend to have smaller blooms, but more of them.

I like to offer both kinds because the seed geranium is at least $1 less than the zonal geranium.  It grows well in a 4" pot, while we use larger deeper 4 1/2" pots for the zonals.  The blooms on seed geraniums shatter easily with time, which can be a good thing.  Deadheading is not needed as much as it is with zonal geraniums.
This year I will also offer 'Pinto Premium White to Rose' which is an AAS (All American Selection) bedding plant winner for 2013.  Petals start out white and then darken to rose pink.  I am hoping the bi-color effect is as pretty as the photos indicate.  Blooms are 5" across and the foliage is deep green with darker zones.

(Photo from AAS Selections Web Site)

Besides the ever-popular red and dark red zonal geranium,  I like to offer quite a few other colors.   'Classic Mosaic Purple' is relatively new and my customers really like it.

(Photo from Syngenta)

Two new varieties for me this year will be 
'Americana Rose Mega Splash'  and 'Fireworks Red-white'.


                                  (Photo from Syngenta)


More NEW geraniums in a future post.

Monday, March 10, 2014

New Annuals for 2014

I trepidatiously approach this year's growing season.  Some of you know I "lost" my partner, who was also my electrician/mechanic/plumber, to lung cancer June 11 last year.  Every thing I do now pushes the "memory buttons."   In the middle of this endless winter someone crashed into my business sign, so it is also gone.  I imagine local folks who see no greenhouse sign think I am finished as well.

Not so, I hope ... and here are a few of the fun new petunias I am looking forward to trying out this year.  They are all started from cuttings and are not available as seeds.

'Cascadias Indian Summer' is a new variety from Danziger.  The blooms start as yellow and then change to different shades of orange and terracotta. All reports on this new petunia are full of superlatives, particularly regarding its growing habit.

Photo from Greenhouse Product News

I've tried vaious picottee and striped petunias and they are often not consistent.  I am told that this  'Crazy Cherry Cheesecake' from German breeder Westhoff is "perfect."  Here in Vermont we are so starved for summer that bright colors are always appreciated.

Photos from Van Meuwen Gardens

A few years ago different companies started introducing black petunias with yellow highlights.  I decided to give another highly recommended petunia in the 'Crazy' series, 'Crazytunia Star Jubilee' a try this year.

Photo from Spring Trials

Black petunias are not my cup of tea.  However, my customers like them and I am growing 'Sweetunia Black Satin' because it is touted as the best black petunia on the market with the color staying true and not as leggy as the competition.

Photo from Greenhouse Management Magazine

Monday, September 30, 2013

Mums - Winding Down in Vermont - and a History of Chrysanthemums

The “mum season” is almost finished for me.  In fact, I close for the year Oct. 1, but I still have plants around, so anyone needing something can call.

I already have most of my orders in for next year, although I have not dealt with seed orders yet.

When Danny and I started growing mums 20 + years ago, we planted the rooted cuttings in 4” pots and then transplanted them into the gardens.  In the fall we would dig them back out and pot them.  All they offered then were solid colors.  

I grow them in pots now and some of my favorites include bicolors.


"Dazzling Stacy"

Meanwhile, I wanted to share an interesting piece by Heleigh Bostwick from about the history of mums - from their origins in China in the 15th century to their arrival in America during the colonial period.

Chrysanthemums were first cultivated as a flowering herb. The Chinese felt that these chrysanthemum herbs held the power of life and it is believed that the boiled roots were used as a headache remedy, young sprouts and petals were eaten in salads, and the leaves were brewed for a festive drink. Chrysanthemums made their way to Japan next where the people were similarly enamored of this beautiful flower. So much so that the Japanese have a National Chrysanthemum Day, known as the Festival of Happiness. 

During the 17th century these flowers were introduced to the Western world where the botanist Karl Linnaeus combined the Greek words chrysos, meaning gold with anthemon, meaning flower, to arrive at the modern day name chrysanthemum. The colonists in turn, introduced chrysanthemums to America where to this day, it is one of the most popular fall flowers, synonymous with the cool crisp, sunny days of autumn.  

Above is a bouquet made with mums, sanguisorbia canidense ("bottle brush") and some small sunflowers.  I used scented geranium foliage as a base.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

More Bouquets

These were for the Sept. 8 Farmers' Market in St. Johnsbury.  I sold every one of my mums, but I brought one of the bouquets home.  And they only cost $6 at market!  That's fine, I'm enjoying that bouquet here.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Fall Bouquets in Vermont

I enjoy making centerpiece bouquets for my stand at Saturday's St. Johnsbury Farmers' Market.  Typically I place a hunk of oasis in a container, drench it with water treated with plant food and an anti-bacterial agent  I then make a framework of foliage and put  in whatever flowers are on hand that seem to combine nicely.

Here are the five bouquets I made for Saturday's market.

This bouquet (Above, and close up below) features pink lavatera, purple ('Laura ') phlox, Pink Delight butterfly bush,  and even some allium.


This bouquet, above and below,  is more of a "wild" arrangement with golden rod and the white flowers of artemesia lactiflora.  The blue is a cutting ageratum, the rest are all perennials.


The above bouquet has hydrangea as a white highlight.  I find that the Pee Gee and Annabelle hydrangea blooms do not last long in bouquets, however for some reason the blooms from the grafted tree hydrangea (which is what I have used here) are long lasting.  


This bouquet (above and below) has the white flowers from cimicfugia (actaea) which are highly fragrant.  The other pink spikes are from butterfly weed.  The open pink flowers are Joe Pye weed and the darker pink/purple flowers are ironweed.


And finally a true summer bouquet with white phlox, double click cosmos, golden rod, verbena bonarienses, and rudbeckia laciniata, known around here as 'Golden Glow' or 'the outhouse plant.'