University of Vermont Extension
Department of Plant and Soil Science
REVIEW FOR 2009
Dr. Leonard Perry, Extension
University of Vermont
Just as many think back this month
on news and events from this past year, recall some of our top
and ideas towards making your garden and landscape even better this
year. Some of these topics from our 2009
Green Mountain Gardener articles included new annuals, perennials,
ornamentals, vegetables, and fruits.
Early last year we described several
of the newest introductions from seeds, winners in the All-America
program. These included one flower and
three vegetables. Viola 'Rain Blue and Purple', a new selection of the
Johnny Jump-Up has many small purple and white flowers that change to
and blue with age. 'Lambkin' is an
early-maturing gourmet melon with white flesh.
'Gretel' is a white eggplant producing small fruits on small plants--
good for containers. (Try this with the
eggplant winner last year, 'Hansel').
'Honey Bear' is an acorn squash good for the north, bred at the
University of New Hampshire.
Each year the National Garden Bureau
selects a flower and vegetable of the year.
For 2009 the flower of the year was the ornamental flowering tobacco
(Nicotiana). They range
from a foot to 4 feet or so tall,
some have a light scent, and the lower forms come in a range of
colors. The vegetable of the year for 2009 is the
leafy greens. These are mainly lettuces,
but include members of other
families such as corn salad or Mache, argula, cress, Asian greens, and
There were several new perennial
flowers highlighted in our articles this past year, beginning with the
Perennial Plant of the Year, golden Hakone grass 'Aureola' (Hakonechloa
macra). Hardy in USDA zones 5 to 9,
this golden grass with green stripes on leaves spreads slowly and makes
groundcover. Only growing one foot high
or so, it resembles a cascading miniature bamboo. It is one of
the few grasses to tolerate
shade, just being less green.
Other perennials covered this past
year in the Green Mountain Gardener included bellflowers, fall foliage
perennials, and tulips. Although tulips
are grown as annuals in many areas, not being adapted as perennials to
our growing climates, some tulips are reliable perennials and are
such in catalogs and on packages.
Tips were given on harvesting early
spring vegetables, many of which also double as good fall crops.
These include crops such as carrots, lettuce,
green onions, peas, radishes, and broccoli.
There are many types of garlic discussed in an article, more than most
realize. These are planted in fall for
harvest the following summer.
Tips for a greener lawn were provided by Dr.
Wendy Sue Harper (www.nofavt.org). These
included adding fertilizer only as needed according to soil tests,
clippings on lawns (with regular mowing these shouldn't build up),
the proper height, watering properly, and cultivating a lawn of diverse
(not just of grasses). A diverse lawn
will remain green through times of stress, such as drought, and will
Some interesting facts were
presented on studies that quantify how flowers reduce stress. It
is generally assumed that giving flowers
will make someone happy, but this was proven in a Rutgers University
study. Female participants reported
positive feelings lasting several days.
In another study from
Harvard University, flowers in the home made people feel more
others, with less worry, less stress, and less depression.
Another article provided ideas for
memorial or remembrance gardens. These
might include a plant someone you are remembering liked, or landscape
such as native plants or plants for a certain season, a memorial
plaque, or a
plant with the same name as the person.
If a person really had no interest in nature or plants, perhaps a
for reflection or grieving might be more appropriate.
Some of the many other articles from
this past year included topics such as pruning dormant plants, new
ornamentals in the Cary Awards program (www.caryaward.org), methods to
crabgrass in lawns, and early spring transplanting of trees and
shrubs. For fruits, articles included growing
raspberries, drying apples, and why fruit trees fail to bear.
More on these and other topics can be found
online, and searched, either by season or by topic