Spring is coming, and we're so excited, we can't help but give you a small taste of the best new products on the way. Here are are few hints to get you dreaming of next year's garden!
We are delighted to announce that Impatiens SunPatiens® Variegated Spreading White has won the 2011 American Garden Award! Receiving more votes than its 6 competitors, this SunPatiens® wowed home gardeners with its beautiful gold-and-green leaves, tolerance of sun as well as shade, and extra-long bloom season. Of course, Park gardeners have been enjoying SunPatiens® Variegated Spreading White for several seasons now, so it's nice to see one of our own favorites get the recognition it deserves!
The judges pointed out that this SunPatiens® works very well in a night garden, because its white blooms and lighter leaves stand out in the twilight hours. We'd like to add that it's very versatile, looking just as nice in baskets and windowboxes as it does on the garden floor.
Second place was awarded to Dahlia Dahlinova Hypnotica® Lavender, with its huge, bowl-you-over purple blooms. Third place went to Petunia Easy Wave® Neon Rose, a vibrant new color with all the vigor and flower power we've come to love in the Waves®!
The American Garden Award is an annual contest open to all gardeners across the country. You can vote online for your favorite. We grow all of the nominated plants in our trial gardens, so plan to come see them "in person" at next year's Flower Day in June!
The essential Christmas flower, amaryllis is famously easy to grow. You can give it fearlessly to people who have never gardened in their lives, and it will send up strong green shoots that erupt with up to 4 huge, brilliantly colored, long-lasting blooms. The whole process takes just 6 to 8 weeks, and about the only issue is that sometimes the flowers are so heavy, they topple the stems. And even that is easy to fix with amaryllis stakes, a popsicle stick, or a pencil!
But what if you're a gardener who wants to get more than one year's bloom out of your amaryllis?
Caring for your amaryllis after it blooms isn't difficult at all. Simply snip off the faded flowers and continue to give the plant water and light. One or more leaves may wilt, but that's fine.
When the weather warms in spring, you can put your amaryllis pot outdoors if you like, but make sure night temperatures do not fall below 50 degrees F. (It also makes a fine houseplant.) Feed your amaryllis monthly in spring and early summer.
By mid- to late summer, it's time for your amaryllis to go dormant to prepare for another season of flowering. Let the soil in its pot dry out completely, and store it in a cool, dark place. (Not below 50 degrees F, however!)
Eight to twelve weeks later, bring the pot back into the light. Trim any dead leaves, and water it well, freshening it with new potting soil if need be. Put it in a sunny spot and wait for those green shoots, which should appear within about 6 weeks (and possibly sooner). You're off and running for another season of winter blooms!
You can repeat this process with your amaryllis for many years. And one day you may notice little bulblets on the side of the big bulb. These are babies, and if you gently separate them from their parent and put them in their own pot with potting soil, they will grow. It will be 3 to 5 years before they bloom, but care for them exactly as you do the blooming parent, and before you know it, you'll have another gorgeous amaryllis blossoming over the holidays!
Our popular mushroom kits are back at last! If you haven't grown your own gourmet Shiitakes or meaty Portabellas yet, now is a great time to pick up a kit for the holidays and get the kids or grandkids in on the action!
Mushrooms start from spores, and our kits make them so easy to grow! All you add is water, and the easy-to-follow directions tell you just how much. And the best part? They will keep producing as long as you let a few mushrooms mature completely without harvesting them. Caring for the mushroom crop is effortless, and you will start to see young 'shrooms immediately. Shiitakes can be ready to eat in just 2 weeks, and will produce more than 2 pounds in less than 2 months with our kit!
Give this fun "indoor gardening" project a go this season, and we predict you'll love the results. Homegrown mushrooms bear little resemblance to the rubbery store-bought specimens we're all used to. They have an aroma, delicate texture, and flavor that only lasts while they're fresh. And they don't get any fresher than straight from the countertop to your plate!
You may have noticed that our new site design includes a place for product reviews. This is a feature many gardeners have wanted for quite some time, and we're delighted to finally make it available. Now all we need is.... your reviews!
For our next contest, simply write a review of a products on the parkseed.com website, and you will automatically be entered. (Don't forget to provide a valid e-mail address, so we may contact you if you win.) This can be anything from a seed variety you've grown to a plant to a garden accessory you've used! As long as it's on the site right now, you can review it. Your opinion will help other gardeners to decide whether or not this is an item they want for their own garden.
From all the reviews written between now and November 30th, we will select one at random to win a $25 Park Seed Gift Certificate. Wouldn't that be a nice way to begin browsing the new 2012 Big Seed Book — with $25 of credit in your pocket?!
Nov. 6 — Daylight Savings Time Ends — Did you "fall back"? Set your clocks back one hour to give yourself more morning daylight to garden by... or, if you're like me, another hour to sleep in!