University of Vermont Extension
Department of Plant and Soil Science
TOP TIPS FOR 2008
Dr. Leonard Perry, Extension Professor
University of Vermont
Just as many think back this month
on news and events from this past year, recall some of our top
and ideas towards making your garden and landscape even better this
year. Some of these from our Green
Mountain Gardener articles included new annuals, perennials, storing
vegetables, and gardening more environmentally friendly.
Early last year we described several
of the newest introductions from seeds, winners in the All-America
program. These included two flowers and
a vegetable. Viola 'Skippy Plum-Gold'
has unique small flowers, and many of them.
African Daisy (Osteospermum) 'Asti White' has a unique
combination of pure white flowers with blue centers. Eggplant 'Hansel'
has tender and non-bitter
fruit, few seeds, and can be harvested small.
There were several new perennial
flowers highlighted in our articles this past year, beginning with the
Perennial Plant of the Year, Rozanne perennial geranium. This hardy
geranium, not to confuse with
annual geraniums (Pelargonium), begins bloom with iridescent
purplish-blue flowers on bushy plants in mid-summer. These keep
blooming until fall. Plants are hardy and require little care.
One of the trendy new groups of
perennials, with quite a few new cultivars and exciting colors each
the coneflowers (Echinacea). Some
of those we featured included low ones like 'Kim's Knee
High', double ones such as 'Razzmatazz' with rose-pink pompom flowers,
ones such as 'Orange Meadowbrite' and 'Sundown', rosy red ones such as
'Twilight', yellow ones such as 'Sunrise', and even green ones such as
Envy.' One of my favorites, new in my trials
this year, is the rich orange 'Tiki Torch'.
If you stored or froze vegetables
this past year, don't forget to check on them and make sure they are
properly. If you didn't store any, you
can still do so with a more limited selection of local crops in local
markets. Tips were provided this past
year on proper harvest, and the four main storage groups different
require. These include cold and moist
for many, such as carrots and peas.
Cool and moist should be used for snap beans, cucumbers, potatoes, and
tomatoes. Use cool and dry for garlic
and onions. Warm and dry is needed for
hot peppers and winter squash.
If you have some extra freezer
space, this storage method for vegetables is generally easy. Tips were
provided on proper times for
"blanching" most before freezing, simply scalding them in hot water
or steam for a short time to stop them from maturing.
Several articles this past year had
an emphasis on "ecological" gardening. If our climate does get warmer,
impacts such as longer growing seasons and negative impacts such as
were discussed. The National Phenology
Network was given as a resource to help you monitor from year to year
development of plants, and change of climate, on your own. Other
articles dealt with the positive impacts
of soil and organic matter on reducing carbon dioxide in the air, many
ways to garden more "green", using recyled garden products as well as
recycling home products into the garden, and tips to choose perennials
"ecologically" for lower maintenance and longer life from them.
A couple articles dealt with health
topics, such as on Lyme disease and how to avoid it
gardening. Check regularly for bites,
especially for the characteristic "bulls eye" rash. If
any doubt, check
with a physician as treated early with antibiotics Lyme disease can be
damage may occur if treated too late. Certain precautions
can avoid you being bitten.
The benefits of healing gardens,
both for mental and physical health, were
with some ideas to help you create your own.
These included using water for its serenity and sounds, planning with
the senses in mind such as with plants soft to touch or fragrant,
vistas and curving paths and bed edges.
Some of the many other articles from
this past year included topics such as water gardening, fountains,
their scents, the various values of and reasons why you should
gardening tips from designers, and deer resistant perennials. More on
these and other topics can be found
online either by season or topic
Return to Perry's Perennial