Favorite or New Plant
Oceana? Blue Salvia
I went plant shopping at a local nursery recently, took one look at this plant and was completely smitten! A cultivar of gentian sage (Salvia patens 'Salsyll'), Oceana® Blue has blossoms of the most incredible, electric blue that will add an amazing accent to any garden. Growing about 2-3 feet tall and 18" wide, this tender perennial from Proven Winners will bloom all summer long with large, hooded flowers borne in upright spikes. Give it a spot with full sun and well-drained soil. In our region we can grow it as an annual or perhaps overwinter it indoors.
Grow Smart, Grow Safe
Grow Smart, Grow Safe is a downloadable consumer guide to lawn and garden products. Written by Philip Dickey of the Washington Toxics Coalition, a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting public heath and the environment by preventing pollution, this publication reviews 550 pest control and fertilizer products. It rates pesticides on criteria such as short and long term health hazards; hazards to aquatic life, birds, bees and pets; water pollution hazard; and persistence in the soil. Fertilizers are evaluated by the amount and type of nutrients they contain and how rapidly the nutrients are released. While these ratings don't indicate actual risk, which can depend on a variety of factors, they are useful as indicators of concern that can help you choose products with the least possible potential for harm. For additional information on safe gardening strategies, go to Healthy Homes and Gardens section of the Washington Toxics Coalition website. There you'll find fact sheets with information on safe outdoor insect control, lawn care and weed control. Although written specifically for Washington state gardeners, there is a lot of good information and advice that will be useful to gardeners in New England and other parts of the country as well.