Park News January 2012

  Zinnia Zahara Double Fire
Your Park Garden News
In this issue:

Your Top 11 Plants for 2011!
2012 is the Year of the Geranium, Herb, and Heuchera!
Tangerine Tango is the Color of the Year!

Ring Out the Old Year with Your Top (20)11 Plants!

'Tis the season for Top 10 lists, so we'd like to ring out the old and ring in the new with a Top 11, in honor of the year just departed. Here are our customers' Top 11 Plants of 2011:

Tomato Park's Whopper 1. Tomato Park's Whopper
For more than 4 decades, this has been America's favorite tomato for home gardens.
Original 60-cell Bio Dome 2. Original 60-cell Bio Dome
The original and still the favorite, our Bio Dome starts seedlings reliably and easily every time. What's in yours right now?
Refills for the 60-cell Bio Dome 3. Refills for the 60-cell Bio Dome
Endlessly reusable, the Bio Dome delivers crop after crop of beautiful seedlings.
Tomato Celebrity 4. Tomato Celebrity
Another classic variety, Celebrity is renowned for its disease resistance. Even gardeners who have never grown a tomato before are successful with it!
Pepper Karma 5. Pepper Karma
When we introduced it a decade ago, Karma set a new standard for big, crunchy, flavorful bell peppers!
Cucumber Diva 6. Cucumber Diva
The worst name for a vegetable ever -- Diva is anything but! This AAS-winning burpless is packed with flavor and easier than most to grow.
Morning Glory Split Second 7. Morning Glory Split Second
The amazing double-flowered Morning Glory flourishes on fences, walls, trellises, and arbors everywhere! So easy, so beautiful!
Corn Bicolor Mirai 8. Corn Bicolor Mirai
Truly a revolution in flavor and texture, Mirai corn is succulent and rich like no other. If you haven't tried it yet, put in a row this season -- you'll never look back!
Mother of Thyme 9. Mother of Thyme
It's a culinary herb, a groundcover, a trailing beauty, and a fragrant delight! No garden is complete without this spectacular plant.
Cucumber Garden Sweet Burpless 10. Cucumber Garden Sweet Burpless
New for 2011, this very heavy-yielding, mildew-resistant, delicious cuke took the gardening world by storm!
Radish Cherriette 11. Radish Cherriette
Who can resist these crunchy, mild, peppery globes of scarlet-pink? Ready in just about 3 weeks, they keep us in fresh salads all season long!
2012 is the Year of the Geranium, Herb, and Heuchera!

2012 is the Year of the Geranium, Herb, and Heuchera!If the National Gardening Bureau (NGB) has anything to say about it, 2012 will be an exceptionally colorful, fragrant, and useful one in American gardens! The NGB, a non-profit organization that promotes gardening, has declared 2012 to be the Year of the Geranium, Herb, and Heuchera.

By "Geranium," the NGB means Pelargonium, the colorful annual that graces gardens, planters, and windowboxes everywhere all summer long. (The perennial Geranium they describe as "hardy Geranium.") Pelargoniums are a large and lovely family, from the exquisite scented-foliage varieties to the brightly flowered types to the elegant trailing ivy-leafs. Some even have patterned foliage that beautifully complements the blooms! All are easy to grow in full sun and any well-drained soil, lasting right up 'til frost (and easy to root from cuttings for next year, if you desire).

2012 is also the year of the Herb, a huge category that includes plants grown for fragrance, flavor, medicinal value, and even dyes. From Strawberry Spinach to Red-leaved Perilla, herbs belong everywhere in the garden. Perennial varieties such as Horseradish should become a permanent part of our veggie patch, pest-fighters such as Calendula should grace the tomatoes with beauty as well as protection, and all the delicious culinary herbs should be well represented in any sunny spot! Mix herbs with your annuals and perennials, in front of your shrubs and among your bulbs, and see what a difference they make to the look, scent, and texture of any display!

And finally, for the first time the NGB has named a perennial of the year: our native Heuchera, often grown more for its large, showy foliage than for its small but profuse bell-shaped blooms. Bold new looks arise every season for Heuchera, but the parent of them all is Palace Purple, now available as seed and still one of the most beautiful! And for hot and humid climates, Pistache is a marvel, with huge, brilliantly colored leaves. Heuchera is a joy for the shade!

Give one or more of the 2012 Plants of the Year a try this season. All are easy to grow and very rewarding. Find out why the NGB decided they were the best for your 2012 garden!

Tangerine Tango is the Pantone Color of the Year 2012!

Pantone Tangerine TangoEach year the Pantone company, which provides uniform color standards to the design industry, selects one color to be featured for the year. In 2011 it was Honeysuckle; this year it is Tangerine Tango (PANTONE 17-1463), a "spirited reddish-orange" described as "vivacious and enticing."

We thought it would be fun to see which plants have suddenly come into vogue, thanks to their Tangerine Tango accents. Leading the pack is Zinnia Zahara Fire, with its rich, saturated russet-orange tones. Another fine contender is Pumpkin on a Stick, an ornamental eggplant (really!) that makes a stunning arrangement for the fashionable home.

Marigolds, as you might expect, are also well represented in the orange family, with the scarlet-toned Zenith Red very close in hue to Tangerine Tango, and both Janie Deep Orange and Moonsong Deep Orange also sporting stylish tones.

Looking for other Tangerine Tango flowers for your garden? Calendula Mandarin Twist and Celosia Sparkler Orange both deserve mention. And we're sure there are many more we're neglecting! So if you want to be in the height of 2012 fashion, be sure to plant some orange accents in your garden and containers this spring!

Your Garden — More than Just a Thousand Pretty Faces!

A wellWe all love our gardens for reasons that have nothing to do with practicality, but consider just a few of the advantages of maintaining a garden around your house:

  • Curb appeal - Realtors say that no home improvement repays its cost more effectively than plants.
  • Weather beaters - Using trees as windbreaks and natural shade canopies can save you energy costs; using groundcovers for erosion control on banks and slopes can prevent costly repairs.
  • Food - You don't have to be a farmer to add a few tomato plants among the Marigolds in that sunny patch of earth, and herbs can be as beautiful as the most exotic flowering plant. Fruit trees are all-season performers, with pretty blooms, fragrance, and often autumn color in addition to their delicious crops.
  • Quality of life - Do flowers really reduce stress and lift the spirits? We think so. And that may be the most "valuable" benefit of all.