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My Favorite Plant (Today)

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Verbena Bonariensis

My favorite plant today is Verbena bonariensis a self-sowing annual for sun with a long bloom season.

Self-sowing means that if you let the seed pods stay on the plant they will be dispersed in your garden and you can have this wonderful plant popping up year after year. If you don't like the serendipity of plants appearing in your garden simply deadhead it as it sets seed.

A look alike to Spring flowering Alliums Verbena bonariensis adds that same circular shape to the garden all Summer long. The purple flowers on wiry stems attract bees and butterflies.

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Wonderful New Annuals

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Angiozanthos Kanga Red

Sometimes gardeners come full circle and I have done that where annuals are concerned. When I first started gardening I went to a local nursery and loaded up on annuals. I was a wannabe gardener then and knew nothing except that I wanted a garden. I won't tell you what my choices were -- can you say gas station design -- but I can say that awful hodgepodge of plants gave me great joy. They did what they were supposed to and bloomed their little heads off all Summer long, but then I became a garden snob and annuals vanished from my wonderful border of perennials or my mixed borders of flowers and shrubs.

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A Workhorse in the Garden

Some plants just work hard and astilbies are one of them. They are low maintenance and long blooming. Their flowers range in colors from white to pinks to reds and their foliage may be dark green, red or bronze. With heights from 6 inches to 3 feet this is a plant that belongs in every garden. Planting several cultivars can provide a whole Summer's worth of blooms. They are bothered by few pests or diseases. They grow in part shade but if kept well watered they can take more sun. They are easily divided but do not require frequent division. They are deer resistant.

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Not Here, Deer!

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Well, here I am ready to leap off into the abyss of talking about plants that deer don't eat. It has been the most frequently asked question at every Friends Plant Sale. "What can I plant that the deer won't eat?" The answer is always the same: "That depends-----," followed by a whole list of what if's, maybes, not in my experience, might be different with your deer and so on.

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Harbingers of Spring

It is February 16. If you look out your windows what do you see? I see the Hamamelis varieties pictured here. Glowing in the winter sun like harbingers of the coming spring, they give me hope and fill me with joy. I cannot smell their subtle but intoxicating aroma from in here so they draw me outside where I can breathe in their fragrance and marvel at their quirky flowers. I already have three witchhazels but there are so many wonderful ones to choose from that maybe I need just one more.

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Get Grass Out of the Lawn

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I hate lawns. I say, "Get grasses out of the lawn and into the garden!" Ornamental grasses are your friends. It is hard to duplicate the forms, textures, movement and color variation of ornamental grasses with any other plant. They come in all sizes, some are delicate and some are bold. Their colors change with the seasons and many continue to add interest throughout the winter. They add movement and sound to the garden.They play well with others both in the garden and in containers. Most ornamental grasses are deer resistant (bet that got your attention).

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Beautiful Lonicera

Lonicera, or more commonly called honeysuckle, is considered by many to be a noxious weed but there are many varieties of honeysuckle that are not invasive but worthy additions to the garden. The bad guy here is Japanese Honeysuckle(Lonicera japonica) Now for the good guys:

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Crazy for Coleus

Crazy for Coleus

Just like the Victorians, I am crazy for coleus. Every year newer and more fanciful versions of these plants, once used in Victorian bedding out schemes, appear in the marketplace. What's so great about coleus you ask?

Their design potential is endless. They can be grown in the ground or in containers. They can be a specimen plant or used in fantastic combinations. They are trailing, mounding, small or large leaved. Their colors are vibrant or muted. In other words, coleus have something for everyone.

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The Biggest and Best Ever - 2013

The Friends 18th Annual Plant Sale

Looking back at previous year's writeups on the Friends Annual Plant Sale, I am happy to see that each one has been described as "the best ever." And, do you know, I think each one was. Well, this year's is no exception and the Friends of the Frelinghuysen Arboretum are proud to announce that the 2013 Plant Sale will be the biggest and best yet. The dates are set (see the box at the right) and plans are well under way.

Over the next several weeks my co-chair, Ilona Ontscherenki, and I will be hard at work pouring over vendor catalogs, reviewing news in the growing community, discussing availability with the plantsmen and finally placing orders with the half-dozen or so vendors we think best meet our needs. We will update the on-line plant list as we go and expect the first entries there in the next week or two.

Volunteers Needed! Click Here for More Information and Signup Form

As in past years, we will post a number of articles about new and interesting material that will be on sale, so keep watch here for news and information in the coming weeks.

Members 2013 Plant Dividends

As in past years, Member Plant Dividends will be distributed at the Friday evening Members-only Plant Sale (May 3rd) or at the main sale, Saturday and Sunday May 4 & 5), or at the Haggerty Education Center from Monday May 6th through Friday May 11th, from 9am - 4:30pm.

Click here to see this year's selections.

Not a member? Join now to be eligible for your plant divident by clicking here.

Plant Sale Sneak Preview - April 20

Mark your calendars for Saturday April 20th at 1:00p at the Arboretum’s Haggerty Education Center for a sneak peak at some of the great plant selections found at the Friends 2013 Plant Sale. Sue Acheson and Ilona Ontscherenki, plant sale co-chairs, have selected their personal favorites, the hottest new plants as well as some plants that should reside in every garden no matter how grand or small.

See how adding Fabulous Foliage will enhance your container plantings and garden design. Learn about deer-resistant (not deer-proof) varieties too.

There will be a select number of plants available for pre-order that day. These plants will be available for pick-up during the plant sale. The plants selected for pre-order are highly desirable and deserve a place in your garden. Pre-ordering ensures that you won’t be disappointed at the sale if your favorite sells out before you get to it. This has been so successful that we are making it a permanent part of the sale.

The Sneak Preview is free, but you must register in advance. Do so on-line by clicking here or call 973-326-7603. Pre-orders must be paid for at the time of ordering and we will accept cash, checks or credit cards.

== Sue Acheson, Plant Sale Co-Chair ==
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Video From Last Year's Plant Sale

The Friends 17th Annual Plant Sale has come and gone. Lots of beautiful plants found new homes, Members enjoyed the Friday afternoon party and preview sale, many more came to the Saturday and Sunday sale hours and were served by dozens of cheerful and hard-working volunteers. Through your participation, the Friends raised many thousands of dollars that will be dedicated, as always, to horticultural education.

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