University of Vermont Extension 
Department of Plant and Soil Science

Fall News Article

Dr. Leonard Perry, Extension Professor
University of Vermont

While thinking back this month on news and events from this past year, recall some of our top gardening articles on new plants and their culture, including annuals, perennials, woody ornamentals, and vegetables.

Early last year we described several of the newest introductions from seeds, winners in the All-America Selections program.  'Mesa Yellow' is a compact (a foot or less tall), yellow blanket flower which has overwintered for me in USDA zone 4a.  'Twinny Peach' is a snapdragon with butterfly, double peach flowers-- a snapdragon without flowers that go snap when pinched.  'Endurio Sky Blue Martien' is the latest viola winner, flowers under an inch across and a sky blue.  'Zahara Starlight Rose' is a new zinnia, about a foot tall, that stands out with its white flowers and contrasting rose-red centers.

There were four additional All-America winning flowers released this year you might look for in seeds catalogs or seed racks.  Two additional zinnias, ‘Double Zahara Cherry’ and ‘Double Zahara Fire’, have cherry and reddish orange flowers, respectively.  Similar to others in this series, they are a foot or less tall, compact, flower through the summer, and have good disease resistance.  Marigold ‘Moonsong Deep Orange’, was a winning African marigold, only about a foot high with large flowers.  Coneflower ‘Pow Wow Wild Berry’ is a perennial coneflower,  blooming the first year from seed if started in late January.
 ‘Shiny Boy’ watermelon was the All-America winning vegetable for this past year, having red flesh in fruit up to 20 pounds.  Squash was the vegetable featured by the National Garden Bureau for 2010,  including 6 types of summer squash, and 7 types of winter squash.

The dozen easy-to-grow vegetables included tomato, peppers, and root crops such as carrots.  Considerations for having a successful vegetable garden included those relating to the site (generally full sun), varieties (especially adapted to length of growing season, and of course what you like to eat), where they will go (pay attention to spacing and layout), and then when to plant (determine whether a crop is cool season or warm season, planting or sowing the latter outside after the last spring frost).
Three perennials featured in articles this past year were the Perennial Plant of the Year—false indigo (Baptisia)—as well as speedwells (Veronica) and Culver’s root (Veronicastrum).  While both the latter two have spiked flowers, generally blue for speedwells and lavender for Culver’s root, the former are only a foot or two high at most and the latter are often 4 to 5 feet high.  There are variations in colors of the false indigo, besides the standard indigo blue, including yellows, white, and purplish to reddish shades.

Woody ornamentals featured in 2010 included lilacs and their culture.  Lilac specialists have grouped the over two dozen species and hundreds of cultivars into 7 flower colors: white, violet, blue, lilac, pink, magenta, purple.  For each of these there are singles and doubles.  In addition there is the single yellow 'Primrose', and the bicolor 'Sensation'.  

Check out the many other articles on plants and gardening (

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