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Long-blooming perennials key to colorful gardens

Flower on — ‘Mainacht’ or May Night salvia blooms throughout the summer in a sunny garden. (Photo courtesy Bailey Nurseries )

Flower on — ‘Mainacht’ or May Night salvia blooms throughout the summer in a sunny garden. (Photo courtesy Bailey Nurseries )

We hear all the time about planning the perennial garden so that something is in bloom all the time. When Perennials Bloom by Tomasz Anisko (2008, Timber Press, $59.95) removes any guesswork. Anisko, a native of Poland, is the curator of plants at Longwood Gardens near Philadelphia.

With scientific research and record keeping, Anisko has chronicled the flowering time of 450 herbaceous perennials through several seasons. The result is a fairly precise range of when specific plants bloom and their peak times. The book breaks down the blooms by cultivars, too.

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More gardeners will grow food this year, survey says

With food costs on the rise, more people will plant vegetable gardens this year.

Thirty-nine percent of gardeners planned to spend money on vegetable and fruit plants, according to the 2008 Early Spring Survey conducted for the Garden Writers Association by TechnoMetrica, a market intelligence company in Oradell, N.J.

That’s up from 32 percent in 2007 and 28 percent in 2006, according to the annual GWA surveys.
GWA is the sponsor, too, for Plant a Row for the Hungry, a 14-year initiative that has put more than 12.8 million pounds of food on the tables of individuals, families and others who don’t have enough to eat.

The idea is simple and easy — when plotting your vegetable garden, Plant a Row for the Hungry by designating a section for food that will be donated to a soup kitchen, food pantry, church or other organization that feed the hungry. If you grow your food in containers, you can designate one for feeding the hungry.

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