University of Vermont
Department of Plant and Soil Science

gmg logo   Winter (December) News Articleline


Dr. Leonard Perry, Horticulture Professor Emeritus
University of Vermont

As you reflect on this past year and plan for next year’s gardens and landscaping, make notes (before they become distant memories) of this past year’s successes and failures.  A review of a few topics from our Green Mountain Gardener articles during 2018 ( may give you some new ideas for this coming season on new plants-- from perennials and annuals, to food crops and indoor plants; lawns; health; garden trends; and more. 

Did you embrace one or more of the garden trends for 2018, as pegged by the Garden Media Group (  These were based on the relation of nature to wellness—both of mind and body.  The seven trends included gardening practices to better deal with a changing climate, thinking of plant relationships (“social networks” for plants), repurposing old or antique objects in the garden, using more “clean air” plants indoors, incorporating soothing water features into gardens, growing more plant-based proteins in gardens, and using shades of purple in the garden—ultraviolet being the Pantone Color of the Year for 2018. 

How about new All-America Selections of Flowers and Vegetables in 2018—did you start or plant any of these?  Flower winners in this national program ( included a zinnia, ornamental pepper, marigold, gypsophila (annual baby’s breath), canna, and a cuphea (Mexican heather).  Vegetable winners for 2018 included a corn, pak choi, three peppers, and three tomatoes.

Other plants featured in articles from 2018 included oak trees—both red and white oak groups, various types of lilacs, the annual flowers nasturtium and calibrachoa, and several perennials—geum, barrenwort, coreopsis, the spring bulb fritillary, and milkweeds.  Of course the latter are essential to help support monarch butterflies which, with their low numbers relative to the past, need all the help we can provide for them in our gardens.  Swedish ivy, peperomia, rubber plant, and pothos were indoor plants covered in articles.

If you grow vegetables, you may want to review articles on beets, beneficial insects, early summer tips for the vegetable garden, common vegetable diseases, harvesting summer vegetables, storing fruits and vegetables, and effective deer fences.  A trend, covered in an article although not an official trend as noted above, is the methods for growing vegetables vertically—fun and something different, and rather essential if your space for gardening is limited.

If you’re one of the many homeowners with lawn, review the articles on helping lawns deal with droughts, compost, and moles and similar pests that play havoc in lawns and gardens.

Going along with the trend on wellness, staying healthy with gardening was covered in topics on avoiding lyme disease from ticks, and the benefits of using plants indoors. Whether you garden or not, if you enjoy birds and want to help them survive our brutal winters, check out the articles on landscaping to help birds, and feeding birds with the proper seeds, feeders, and their placement.  Not all birds are attracted to the same type feeders, or same types of food, although black oil sunflower seeds are a favorite of virtually all.

Among other articles on garden-related topics were one on bats—their importance and how to help and attract them; planting and watering tips for trees and shrubs; dealing with woodchucks in the garden; and tips for each month.

Return to Perry's Perennial Pages: Green Mountain Gardener Articles-- your reliable source of gardening information for over 50 years.