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Lavender Munstead

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Munstead Lavender is a great choice for New Jersey gardeners. Deer and rabbit resistant, butterflies love it and so do bees. This compact cultivar was introduced in 1916 and grows 12-18" high and wide. Find a dry to medium, well drained site in full sun and you'll make a friend for life (or for a long time at least).

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Go Bold With Coleus

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C. Henna

A dazzling assortment of coleus plants awaits you inside the big tent this year. Their colors are bold, vibrant and look like an artist splashed them with color. Their leaves are eye-catching with serrated edges (C. Henna), or ruffles (C. Lime Ruffles) and even scalloped (C. Dipt in Wine), adding much needed texture to your planters and mixed borders.

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The 2014 Plant Sale Is Coming!

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A Happy Buyer

It's been a long cold winter with a good snow cover to protect our plants but in these dark cold days we need to put a little PIZZAZZ into our lives. The 19th Annual Friends Plant Sale is focusing on creating gardens with pizzazz by adding a little zing to your already fabulous landscape. Gardens are never static. They grow, they change, they become sunnier or shadier and they are always created for the pleasure of the gardener who makes them. No garden is ever finished and there are no gardeners without dreams.

Ask our plant experts how to add a little sparkle to that long ignored spot in the garden. They can help you infuse your containers with vitality, flair and dazzling color. Our plant experts know their stuff and you can recognize them by their red baseball caps. They all share a passion for plants, extensive plant knowledge and a desire to send you home with the perfect plants to add a little bit of flair to your landscape.

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A Little Sneak Peak

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Featured at the Sneak Peek

Come join me on Thursday, April 10th at 6:30 pm at the Arboretum for an advance look at this year's fabulous plants being offered at the Plant Sale. After this cold winter we have some hot plants for you to choose from.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words but I will also have plenty to say about these bold new choices for your garden. I'll be showing you the best new trees, shrubs, perennials, herbs and annuals, a limited selection of which will be offered for pre-sale that night. You may use cash, check or credit card to pre-order these plants for pick-up at the sale.

I can't wait to tell you which one is my favorite -- or is that favorites?

This program is free but registration is required. You can register on-line by clicking here or by calling 973-326-7603.

See you there,

==Sue Acheson

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Herbs (Plus a Recipe)

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We have an excellent selection of culinary herbs at this year’s Plant Sale, including 5 kinds of basil and 3 kinds of thyme!

In addition to clipping fresh herbs for cooking, why not use herbs in these ways:

  • Make an herb and oil infusion to spread on bruschetta (think: italian oregano and tuscan blue rosemary)
  • Make an herbal tea (think: chamomile)
  • Make a compound butter to spread on vegetables after you’ve grilled them (think: berggarten sage and english thyme)
  • Make a Mohito or other cocktail with herbs (think: mojito mint)
  • Make herb filled ice cubes and plunk them into a cold summer soup (think: italian leaf parsley and sweet basil)
  • Make an herbal vinegar to liven up a green salad or marinated vegetables (think: cilantro or tarragon)
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A is for Anigozanthos and ...

Anigozanthos is an Australian plant, commonly called Kangaroo Paws. It will bloom in a container or in the garden from Spring into Fall. The flowers are brightly colored in shades of red, orange and yellow, tubular in shape with strap-like foliage. Cutting back the flowers regularly increases the flower display. This is a plant for sunshine and if planted in a container needs well-draining soil. They can be grown indoors as house plants and require bright light, well-draining soil and weekly fertilization. This is a pretty new plant on the gardening scene but it is charming in a container attracting hummingbirds and butterflies. If you like plants that say "touch me" you will like their velvety texture,too.

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Hellebores: Harbingers of Spring

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H. Winter Fashion

As I look out my window where I should see the fat buds of hellebores ready to burst open all I see is a blanket of white. These winter bloomers for shade gardens are harbingers of Spring's bounty and bring hope that Spring will soon follow. I guess I will have to wait a little longer, but while I am waiting I am going to take a look at what some of the newest offerings at this years plant sale will be.

H. Winter Fashion is a very floriferous white, double bloom with outward facing flowers.A long bloomer you can enjoy this plant for several months. Use it in shady beds or as a ground cover.The evergreen foliage looks good for most of the year.

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Trees & Shrubs

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Aronia arbutifolia Brilliantissima

Aronia arbutifolia ‘Brilliantissima’ – Chokeberry

This beautiful variety of a native, deciduous shrub has white flowers in May and develops bright red fruits that persist into winter. The fruits are very ornamental and a food source for wildlife. The plants are salt tolerant and will grow in moist sites as well as average soils. This adaptable shrub grows 6-10 ft. tall and not usually browse by deer.

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Some Sunny Annuals

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Agastache Heatwave

This year’s plant sale will feature 3 terrific cultivars of annual Agastache, ‘Grape Nectar’, ‘Raspberry Nectar’ and ‘Heatwave.’

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Agastache Raspberry Nectar

If you haven't tried them yet, they will certainly become one of your favorite summer plants. Agastaches are drought tolerant with a long bloom season from July to September. Their dense, colorful flower spikes are fragrant, excellent for cut flowers, and full of nectar which attracts butterflies, hummingbirds and beneficial insects. It’s a member of the mint family so deer and rabbits will leave it alone.

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Looking Back On a Great Plant Sale

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Just a week ago, volunteers congregated at the tent to begin work on the 18th Annual Friends Plant Sale. The Arboretum staff had already delivered the knocked-down shelving, so teams began work setting them units up. Soon, whirring screwdrivers and banging boards led to dozens of shelf modules filling the tent.

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