January 13, 2013

Maine Gardener: Invest seed money in startups like these

By TOM ATWELL

(Continued from page 1)

In the end, it recommended all threadleaf varieties. Also from Japan, it is hardy to Zone 4 – which includes most of Maine – and has varieties that top out at 5 feet and others that grow to 20 feet.

The Perennial Plant Association also selects a plant that has been proven over time.

This year’s choice is the variegated Solomon’s seal, with the botanical name polygonatum odoratum “Variegatum.”

This is a shade-tolerant plant that Nancy has grown for about a decade under maple and oak tree branches at the north side of our house. It is only 2 to 3 feet tall – much shorter than the traditional Solomon’s seal – and has cream/white bell-shaped flowers that hang beneath the main stem of the leaves.

The leaves turn a nice, soft yellow in the fall. It doesn’t require a lot of water, but you should water it well for the first year, and it does well in both average and rich soil.

If you do not already have this plant in your garden, it is one you should consider.

All-America Rose Selections – an association of rose growers – disbanded during the summer of 2012. But before it did, it named “Francis Meilland,” a pink hybrid tea rose, as its rose of the year for 2013.

The rose was produced by Meilland International and introduced by Conard Pyle, and according to the Conard Pyle website, “went through two years of testing at 10 gardens around the country, and was the first hybrid tea to win under a new no-spray program.” It is named to honor the 100th anniversary of the birth of Francis Meilland, who developed the “Peace” rose, one of the most popular roses of all time.

While searching these plant association winners, I found a couple I have not reported on in previous years. The American Hosta Growers Association selected “Rainforest Sunrise” from Winterberry Farms/Anderson as its hosta of the year. This is a fairly small hosta at 10 inches high and 25 inches wide, and has corrugated gold leaves with a dark-green margin and a lavender blossom.

And the International Herb Association selected the elder, as in elderberry, with the botanical name Sambucus as the herb of the year. The IHA cited its use for eating and healing, and its presence in literature.

Tom Atwell has been writing the Maine Gardener column since 2004. He can be contacted at 767-2297 or at:

tomatwell@me.com

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