University of Vermont Extension 
Department of Plant and Soil Science

Winter News Article
Dr. Leonard Perry, Extension Professor
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 2011 included ones on fruits, vegetables, new annuals, and new perennials.
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.  Caramel, with its orangish leaves, is one of the many new introductions of coralbells and is one of the more vigorous and hardy.  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 with small blue flowers like a forget-me-not, and silvery leaves in part shade, Jack Frost bugloss is a great choice.
New annual flowers featured were recent winners in the All-America selections program.  Arizona Apricot is a blanket flower with daisy-type flowers, a rich apricot with yellow edges, on compact plants about one foot high.  Glamour Red is an ornamental kale with fringed leaf edges, bright purple in the center.  As with other kales, this one is attractive into late fall.  Summer Jewel Red is a scarlet sage type of salvia, the bright red flowers on spikes to 2 feet high.  A good viola choice, similar to pansies only with smaller flowers, is Shangri-La Marina with light blue flowers with dark centers.
New vegetables (again All-America winners) for this past year included a pumpkin and 2 tomatoes.  Hijinks pumpkin has small and deep orange fruits, 6 to 7 inches wide, earlier than some. Lizzano tomato is has red cherry fruits, semi-determinate (between a bush and a vining type), and tolerates late blight disease.  Terenzo is another red, cherry type but as a trailing or “tumbler type” is good in hanging baskets and raised beds or walls.
Articles on vegetables included ones on how to grow them vertically or hanging, how to grow a fall vegetable garden—a season often neglected, and several of the more common tomato diseases.  Articles on fruits included ones on pruning grapes and fruit trees, how to espalier fruit trees (growing them in 2 dimensional shapes such as fans), or how to grow them in containers. 
When choosing fruit trees, it’s always best to get at least two different cultivars that bloom at the same time for cross pollination.  Even though some may be listed as “self-fertile” (if you have only room for one tree, look for these), they invariably fruit better with a partner nearby (within 50 to 100 feet).  Peaches, however, generally don’t need such cross pollination.  Several common cultivars for the north were listed for various tree fruits.
Mildews and black rots are some diseases which were described to watch for on grape plants, while main pests include the grape berry moth, Japanese beetles, and rose chafers.  A new pest to watch for on fruit plants, as well as many others, which is spreading northward through the Northeast is the brown marmorated stinkbug.  It can become quite a home nuisance as well, overwintering indoors. 
Similar to other stink bugs, the shield shape (wider at the rear) of this adult bug is about as wide as long.  Their differences from other stinkbugs may not be obvious to the untrained eye so, to make sure, consult your state university plant diagnostic clinic.  These can be found online, including those for Northeast states (   
Some of the articles this past year on indoor gardening covered paperwhites, orchids, and herbs.  Other outdoor flower articles covered the bluestars perennial, grape hyacinths, and dahlias.  A variety of other articles covered such topics as hummingbird gardens, designing an accessible garden, and invasive plants. More on these and other topics can be found online, and searched, either by season or by topic (

Return to Perry's Perennial Pages, Articles uvmext logo