Hello and Happy Season!
Days are getting longer, daffodils are blooming, the frogs are singing at night…. Working outdoors in our gardens, we’re conscious of the natural, yearly cycle of the seasons, and we can feel spring coming! We also sense the economic climate shifting, so we’re making some changes this season to help gardeners be thrifty and get the best value for their plant purchases. We’ve always felt that we are on one big glorious adventure with those who care about plants, and we continue to wholeheartedly support independent retailers and home gardeners. We’re all in this together!
CHANGES FOR 2009
Here’s what we’ve done to make buying Log House starts more economical, simple, and useful for gardeners:
Introduced Pennywise Pots, a broad new category of affordable starts in 2.75 inch pots, including herbs, fuchsias, impatiens, begonias, coleus, and tender perennials. We’ve also revived our program of annual bedding color, so watch your local garden center for a great selection of low cost starts. See our Pennywise Pot list and Annual Color list.
Created Grab & Grow, a new series of regional vegetable gardening kits. After talking to nursery owners and expert gardeners from all over the Northwest, we’ve designed several collections for each region, with varieties chosen for flavor, productivity, and ease of care for a novice gardener. Each convenient half flat contains a carefully chosen mix of vegetable varieties, along with detailed planting and growing information. Grab and Grow is part of our overall “Grow Your Own” vegetable campaign: in light of rising food costs and growing concern about the quality, environmental impact, and origin of what we eat, we’re expanding and emphasizing our already-impressive selection of vegetable starts. If you’ve been thinking about raising your own produce, watch for Grab and Grow Gardens to start appearing in retail nurseries next month – until then you’ll find a cornucopia of inspiring options to look forward to on our Vegetable lists.
Added descriptions and photos to our website of annual and vegetable varieties, to help you choose the right plants and grow them well. And as you can see, we’re continuing Garden News, our weekly online highlight of ready-to-go varieties along with seasonal garden tips, design ideas, and planting information. Check our website or sign up to receive Garden News as an email each week to stay up-to-date with your local nursery’s new arrivals.
….AND WE HAVE SOME GREAT NEW INTRODUCTIONS THIS SEASON:
Variegated Cat Grass
Bright white & green foliage is a special treat for the fashion-conscious feline – or the health-conscious human! This dazzling new variety is a European breeding breakthrough unveiled worldwide in winter of 2009, just in time to fill decorative pots as a living Easter basket or fresh spring centerpiece. When the holiday’s over, move the finely textured grass, which is actually a kind of barley, to a sunny window sill or patio. Hardy to around 25 degrees F, cat grass can also be planted in the perennial bed, where it will grow 2 to 3 feet tall for a terrific structural accent. Not just an outstanding seasonal ornamental, variegated cat grass provides vitamins and fiber for your cats’ diet and keeps them from chewing on your prized house plants. Edible for humans, too! Use it like wheatgrass, freshly juiced or dried into powder.
Hellebore ‘Winter Jewels’
Our hottest perennials right now are the ‘Winter Jewels’ Hellebores from world-class hybridizers Ernie and Marietta O’Byrne of Oregon. These beautiful winter-blooming hellebores have been meticulously selected and hand crossed for pure color, large blooms, and robust plants. Their cup-shaped, single or double blooms start to appear in January or February, for an unexpected display of late winter and early spring color. Glossy palm-like foliage grows 18-22 inches tall, filling a partly shady bed with lush greenery throughout the year. We have over 7000 total pots of 20 different hand crossed hybrids, including ‘Winter Jewels Cherry Blossom’, ‘Winter Jewels Red,’ ‘Winter Jewels Purple with Pink Edge,’ and ‘Winter Jewels Purple and Slate’ – plant them now and enjoy their amazing winter color for years.
Cabbage ‘Deadon Red Savoy’
Ornamental and edible variety produces solid, peppery-sweet 3-6 pound purplish heads that are pale green towards the core, and excellent for coleslaws and garnishes. The handsome plants should be planted 18-24” apart in full sun and cool, consistently moist soil. 105 days from transplant. (F1)
If you love cabbage but have limited gardening space or a small household, try these mini varieties. ‘Alcosa Savoy’ Mini yields dense blue-green 2 to 4 pounds heads with crinkly yellow interiors; ‘Caraflex’ Mini forms pointy 1 pound heads with sweet and crunchy inner leaves; and ‘Super Red 80’ Mini is a single-serving deep red cabbage with tender, crisp, peppery leaves. Space closely for mini-cabbages, just 8-12 inches apart in rows 12-18 inches apart, in full sun and moist fertile soil. 65-80 days from transplant. (F1)
Mustard ‘Ruby Streaks’
The first bicolor mustard, with finely serrated leaves that range from red-veined green to deep maroon, with sweet, mildly pungent flavor. Clip small leaves to use as beautiful baby salad greens, or cut full-size plants for steaming, braising, or stir frying. Mustards are versatile, nutritious, and easy to grow, especially in cool spring and fall weather. Plant them 6-12 inches apart in rows 18-24 inches apart in sun to light shade. 21-40 days from transplant. (OP)
Tendril Pea ‘Feisty’
Beautiful tendril shelling variety bears large pods with 6-8 sweet green peas each. Upright vining plants grow 24 to 36 inches tall, producing few leaves but many attractive tendrils which can be used for garnish, salads, or in stir fries. Plant 2-3 inches apart in rows 18-24 inches apart in sun and moist cool soil. 60 days from transplant. (OP)
Swiss Chard ‘Magenta Sunset’
Glowing purple-red stalks support glossy green, puckered leaves with bright pink veins, for a gorgeous garden ornamental that also has tender and succulent flavor. Harvest outer leaves as needed, using small leaves for salad and larger ones steamed or like spinach. Plant 10-12 inches apart in rows 18-24 inches apart in sun. 40-50 days from transplant. (OP)
You can see more of our 2009 New Introductions on the website.
Next week in Garden News we’ll have more new introductions to tell you about!
You can read previous issues of Garden News in the Log House Library.