January 31, 2004
Exciting new plants will give gardeners plenty of choices
By Marge Muck For the Appeal-Democrat
The nursery industry grows and perfects new plants all the time for our enjoyment. Once a year various magazines and catalogs publish lists of the best new plants to be introduced that year. The fun part is deciding which ones to try.
The rose growers and hybridizers test and grow roses in various parts of the United States. The American Rose Society tests roses for two years in their trial center in Shreveport, La. If they do well there the roses are then tested in gardens for another two years. It is a long process until they chose those like the best and that seem to grow well in different parts of the country.
They have selected three roses for 2004. "Day Breaker" is the floribunda with yellow blend roses. "Honey Perfume" is an apricot blend floribunda with a spicy sent. The hybrid tea rose for 2004 is "Memorial Day." It has pink blend blossoms. This one is supposed to do well in the Sacramento area. Jackson Perkins lists "Sundance" as its 2004 rose of the year. It is a grand flora with blossoms that are golden yellow with orange tips.
The All-America Selection winners are chosen for beauty and disease resistance. They like four flowers.
"Fresh Look Red" celosia is said to do well in summer heat and is not fussy about watering. The flowers can be used fresh or dried to brighten dried bouquets.
"Fresh Look Yellow" has gold-yellow plumes that are 9 inches tall and 6 inches wide. Both of these are easy to grow and mostly pest free.
The 2004 petunia is "Limbo Violet." It is a single with large dark-violet flowers. This petunia grows in mounds 6 to 7 inches tall and 7 to 12 inches wide and is designed for small gardens.
If you need a hollyhock that only grows 20 to 30 inches high and like purple ruffled bloom cushion center then "Queeny Purple" is for you.
"Gypsy Deep Rose" gypsophila may be grown in containers and requires little maintenance. It grows 8 to 10 inches tall and spreads to 12 to 14 inches with dark rose-color flowers.
The All-American Selections chose two melons and one winter squash. The winter squash is a golden yellow called "Sunshine." It is said to have good flavor and stores well. The fruit is 3 to 4 pounds and like to grow in full sun on 6- to 8-foot vines.
"Sweet Beauty" is a watermelon that is 5 to 7 pounds that ripens earlier than most watermelon. It may be harvested 77 to 80 days after it is planted in the garden. "Amy" is a bright-yellow melon with white flesh. This melon matures in 70 to 80 days and may be grown on a trellis.
Maybe you would like to try some carrots. "Cosmic Purple" has purple roots with yellow-orange interiors. "Round Romeo" is a ball shaped carrot that grows well in heavy soils.
There is a new corn for 2004 named "Sugar Pearl." This white corn is ready to pick in just 73 days after planting.
Two new summer squash would be fun to try. "Flying Saucer" is a multicolored patty pan with yellow stripes. A dark green ridged zucchini "Gladio" cuts into star-shaped slices.
We all love tomatoes right out of the garden. "Amish Gold" is a cross of Sungold" and "Amish Paste." It is an indeterminate tomato with 2-inch orange fruit. "Orange Russian 117" is a bicolor orange and red marbled inside ox heart tomato. Grape-shaped tomatoes are popular lately. "Sweet Olive" is said to have small-shaped red fruit that grow on an indeterminate vine. It might be fun to try growing tomatoes in that new planter that hangs from a patio cover or balcony so the tomato plant grows upside down.
Spring is coming soon. Now is the time to order your favorite seeds from the catalogs we all seem to collect. It is doubtful that few, if any, of the 2004 plants will be available in garden centers.
Backyard Gardener runs Saturdays. Write to our local master gardeners in care of the Appeal-Democrat, P.O. Box 431, Marysville, CA 95901.