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September 2017
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New plants earn high marks in summer garden trials

Winning performance — ‘Scarlet Star’ verbena thrives despite drought and neglect. Photo courtesy Proven Winners

Winning performance — ‘Scarlet Star’ verbena thrives despite drought and neglect. Photo courtesy Proven Winners

Two new plants that were on trial in the summer garden passed muster with high marks.

Just about any plant in my landscape has to survive on benign neglect. No prima donnas allowed.

Verbena ‘Scarlet Star’ lost its luster in a large container during a long dry spell with no water. The flowers dried up and turned brown, but the foliage stayed dark green.

However, with a soaking from the hose and a shot of liquid fertilizer, the plant revived to carry on through the season. This verbena has large, dense, red flowers with a white eye or star. It is hardy to about 15 degrees F, so it still looks great as I write this in early November.

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Best locally grown produce in the backyard

Garden patience - Green tomatoes await warmer temperatures to ripen. © Photo Jo Ellen Meyers Sharp

Garden patience - Green tomatoes await warmer temperatures to ripen. © Photo Jo Ellen Meyers Sharp

The weather has begun to cooperate by ripening our produce.

That wonderful spell of pleasant summer temperatures mixed with cool, rainy days has been washed from our memory by sweaty, 90-degree days.

The hot weather, though, is just what our green tomatoes need to ripen up. Peppers, eggplant and other warm-season crops also will begin to take on the colors for picking.

There are lots of reasons to be pleased we’re growing our own.

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Three no-fail annuals for summer delights

Babywing pink begonia (Photo courtesy Proven Winners)

Babywing pink begonia (Photo courtesy Proven Winners)

Three low-maintenance annuals are definitely worth growing this summer.

Babywing begonia is a subdued cousin of the fabulous dragon wingbegonia, all the rage a few summers ago and still on the list ofall-time great plants. Babywing’s (Begonia x hybrida) green leaves are smaller, but its pink or white flowers are just as large and showy.

The plant is heat tolerant and does not need deadheading. Babywinghas a mounded growing habit and will get up to 15 inches tall and 10inches wide.

Babywing does great in sun or shade. You do not have to remove thespent flowers, called deadheading. Grow in containers, window boxes orin the ground. Allow to dry out between watering.

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