University of Vermont Extension
Department of Plant and Soil Science
REVIEW FOR 2012
Dr. Leonard Perry, Extension
University of Vermont
While thinking back on news and
events from this past year, recall some of our top gardening tips and ideas
towards making your fruit or vegetable garden more bountiful and landscape more
beautiful this coming year. Some of
these topics from our 60 Green Mountain Gardener articles during 2012 included ones
on fruits, vegetables, native plants, and new plants—flowers, shrubs and trees.
New annual flowers featured were recent
winners in the All-America selections program—ones you may want to try
coming year. ‘Black Olive’ is an
ornamental pepper with shiny black fruit, both ornamental and hot when
eaten. ‘Summer Jewel Pink’ is a scarlet-sage type of
salvia, with long stalks to 18-inches high of pink flowers.
New vegetables included two new
All-America Selections winners.
‘Cayennetta’ is a mildly-spicy chili pepper, with elongated red fruits
about 3-inches long when mature.
‘Faerie’ is a watermelon with small fruits, only about 8-inches long and
4 to 6 pounds when mature. More winners
can be found on the All-America Selections website (www.all-americaselections.org),
and performance of these and many other new flowers in our Burlington, Vermont
display garden on my website (perrysperennials.info/aaswp.html).
Among the new trees and shrubs are
the Cary award winners—those voted by a team of professionals as tops for New
England. This past year’s two winners
were Adam’s needle or
yucca, and the
popular series of Knock Out roses. The
former is mound of long, sword-shaped leaves with sharp tips. There are several selections, often with gold
striping, good for Spanish-style gardens.
The roses are relatively hardy, disease resistance, and long
blooming. Knock Out is actually a group
of 7 different named selections with flower variations of pink or yellow.
New perennials voted as choice among
many professional nationwide are all hardy to at least USDA zone 4. The upright ‘Northwind’ switchgrass, to 4 feet
tall, with bluish-green leaves is attractive summer into much of winter. ‘Hot Lips’ is a great name for this choice
turtlehead, with pink flowers in late summer resembling turtle heads (with
mouth open). For spring bloom in part
shade (sun is fine in the north if in a moist soil), with white bell-shaped
flowers hanging from arching stems, is the Variegated Solomon’s Seal. It is even hardier (USDA zone 3), as is the
‘Angelina’ sedum. The needle-like leaves
of this low sedum groundcover start out a pretty chartreuse in spring, then
turn golden yellow in the full sun it really needs.
A series of articles this past year
covered native plants for wildlife, shrubs, perennials, and trees. An example of some good native evergreen
trees are the white pine, white spruce, balsam fir, hemlock, and white
cedar. For large, deciduous (losing
their leaves in winter) trees consider maples and the red oak. Smaller, deciduous native trees include the
paper birch, striped maple, musclewood, pagoda dogwood, and American
Other plant-based articles included
ones on coralbells, garden phlox, bugloss, and bearded iris for
serviceberries, and crabapples were articles on good, multi-functional small trees
for landscapes. Vines, while of great
landscape value, often have been ignored in landscape plans because many
gardeners fail to realize their potential.
Examples include the Dutchman’s Pipe for screening, the native trumpet
honeysuckle as a shade groundcover, or the clematis for its showy flowers.
Articles in 2012 on vegetables
included horseradish, potatoes, and culinary herbs. Horseradish is an easy root crop that pretty
much grows by itself, but needs its own space as it can spread aggressively. Potatoes are another root crop that is easy
to grow at home, either in the ground or “grow bags” if space is limited. Growing your own you can know they’re free of
chemicals, and you can get varieties not available in stores and markets.
Favorite culinary herbs you might
consider growing at home as annuals next summer include basil, parsley, and
dill. Perennial herbs include mints
(site carefully or grow in pots, as they can spread), chives, thyme, and
Several articles from 2012 covered
specifics of home fruit growing, including a review of my book released early
this past year. The Fruit Gardener’s Bible was a total revision of Lewis Hill’s
former Fruits and Berries for the Home
Garden from 1992. In it I cover
major small fruits, tree fruits, less common fruits, and all aspects of culture
from siting to soils to storage of the harvest.
You can learn more on this, additional information, and ordering details
from my website (homefruitgrowing.info).
Other fruit articles included those on choosing brambles, pruning berry
bushes, apple pests and diseases, fruit terms, and harvesting and storing fall
there were articles on a range of other topics, including gardening for cats,
scents in the garden, allergies, garden railways, gardening in a drought, reclaiming
a flooded yard or garden, wood chips as mulch, beneficial nematodes, and fall
care of summer bulbs. More on these and other topics can
be found online, and searched by season or by topic