New varieties provide adventure to gardening

Published Aug. 25, 2000|Updated Sep. 27, 2005

Gardeners can be an adventuresome lot, willing to try many of the new varieties that come along. Some of us take great pride in being the first on our block to have success with that new petunia or carrot. If you are one of the trailblazers you'll enjoy looking at some of the new varieties for the 2001 season.

The National Garden Bureau has long been an avenue where gardeners can find out about what's new. I'll only fill you in on those that should have some degree of success in our area and are available in garden centers or through mail order to retail customers. I've not had the opportunity to try these, so we'll have to depend on the expertise at the National Garden Bureau. The color photos certainly make them look appealing. If I know of a mail order seed source, I have listed it. Let me know which work and which don't.

Everyone is always looking for a perfect or different flower. Give one of these a try:

Ageratum F1 "Hawaii Mix": A dwarf (6-inch) mix of popular "Hawaii Series." Shell Pink, a new color addition and a Fleuroselect Quality Mark joins Blue Hawaii, Royal Hawaii Improved, and White Hawaii for a unique mix. Blooms one week ahead of other ageratums. (Johnny's Selected Seeds,

Dianthus "Bouquet Purple": This beauty looks great in garden beds and makes a terrific cut flower, also. Tall and strong-stemmed plants have an open lacy look and soft fragrance. Each "cut-and-come-again" plant pops with a bouquet of soft lavender flowers all summer long.

Lavender stoechas "Spanish": Tender perennial, 2-foot mounding shrubs with silvery-gray aromatic foliage topped with multitudes of rosy-purple flower bracts. Early blooming and heat-tolerant. I'm anxious to try this lavender. Our summer rains and heat often are hard on lavender. I've had good luck with lace leaf lavender, but it doesn't have the true fragrance of a lavender. (Renee's Garden, (888) 880-7228).

If it's new vegetables you're after, try growing some of these new varieties:

Bean, Bush "HMX 5991": This gourmet green bean has 5 to 5.5-inch long, slender, dark green pods and its eating quality rivals all. Excellent yields in 60 days from erect compact bush plants that have excellent disease tolerance. Seeds are very slow to develop. (Harris Seeds, (800) 514-4441).

Cabbage F1 "Gonzales": These early mini-cabbage are ready in about 66 days. Compact, single-serving size heads mature early and hold well in the garden without splitting. Round, blue-green heads are firm and dense, with good flavor. Plant at 8-12 inch spacing for uniform, small heads. (Johnny's Selected Seeds).

Cantaloupe "Park's Whopper Hybrid": A quick-finishing, delicious melon suitable for growing almost anywhere in the contiguous United States. Ready in just 77 days, this enormous 6-8 pound melon boasts firm flesh and succulent, juicy-sweet flavor. Resistant to Fusarium races 0-1 and 2 (a soil-borne fungus), and Powdery Mildew races 1 and 2. (Park Seed, (800) 845-3369).

Carrot F1 "Candy Stick": As sweet as its name, Candy Stick Hybrid carrot is special. Long, slender, bright orange roots have a high sugar content and pleasing texture. Strongly attached tops make it easy to harvest the delicious, 10-inch roots. Harvest in 72 days. (NK Lawn & Garden exclusive, (800) 328-2402).

Carrot "Nutri-Red": This healthful new cooking carrot, contains about the same amount of the cancer-fighting antioxidant, lycopene, as tomatoes by weight. "Nutri-Red" is a novel home garden carrot because it turns a deeper red when cooked. It is tapered, grows to about nine inches, and matures in 76 days.

You can give one or two of these new varieties a try, but there also are plenty of plants that have worked for your neighbors that you can try in your yard. Look around at your garden center and try something that catches your eye. Wise design planning tells us not to buy plants on a whim, but every once in a while it's fun to grow something just because it calls our name. Just make sure you can meet the cultural requirements of a plant. Try at least one experiment this season and have fun.

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