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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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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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Last Minute Advice

The Plant Sale is only a little more than a week away. I am so excited about all the great plants we have this year. If you are like me your favorite "must have" plant is always the one in front of you, so I thought you might like a few hints to help with the decisions:

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Great Trees to Add to the Your Landscape

Many of us are looking to add some new trees and shrubs to our landscape after the devastating storms of the past few years. When we bought our homes most of them already had trees and shrubs and we either were happy with them or decided to leave them until we got around to re-designing our landscape. With trees or shrubs there seems to be an added need to get it right the first time. A tree is not like a perennial that is easily dug up and moved from place to place. Trees and shrubs are expensive so we want to make sure we make good choices and place them properly. I once heard someone say we plant trees for posterity and that has some truth to it.

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My Favorite Plant (Today)

My favorite plant today is an oldie-but-goody, Alchemella mollis. This deer-resistant, shade-loving perennial is commonly known as Lady's Mantel and bears frothy chartreuse flowers in May and June. My reason for growing this plant is its fuzzy, palmate, blue-green leaves that after a rain or on a dewy morning hold beads of moisture. I never cease to marvel a how the simple drops are so exquisite.

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