Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

Garden Talk: May 26, 2005

From NGA Editors

ARS Member's Choice Rose


Since 2003 The American Rose Society (ARS) has awarded a Member?s Choice Award each year to the rose that receives the highest kudos from ARS members. The award covers roses introduced to the public since the year 2000. ARS members evaluate the roses on characteristics such as overall growth, flowering, vigor, and pest resistance. Based on reports from nearly 800 members in 2004, ?Gemini? hybrid tea rose received the highest rating (8.2 out of 10) of those new roses and was awarded the Member?s Choice Award for 2005.

?Gemini? features densely packed, 4- to 5-inch-diameter flowers in coral pink with cream tones. The flowers have a slight papaya scent. The vigorous plant grows 5 to 6 feet tall and can be purchased as a grafted rose or one grown on its own rootstock. ?Gemini? won the 2000 All-America Rose Selections award and now adds this Member?s Choice Award to its trophy chest.

?Gemini? is available through Jackson & Perkins Roses.

Click here for more information about the ARS Member?s Choice Award.

Grow Bigger Potatoes


If you?re hoping to grow the biggest potatoes possible this summer, try adding more calcium to the soil. Researchers at the University of Wisconsin in Madison grew ?Russet Burbank? potatoes in test plots with supplemental calcium fertilizer. They fed plants 3.5 pounds per 1,000 square feet of either calcium nitrate or calcium chloride split equally over four treatments and applied at 4-, 6-, 8-, and 10-week intervals after planting.

The results were fewer but larger tubers in the test plots when compared to the control plots, which received no calcium supplementation. The overall yield in both calcium-amended plots was the same.

To make sure your soil has enough calcium, test the soil early in the season. If your soil is deficient, incorporate a calcium fertilizer, such as gypsum, before planting.

For more information on this potato fertilization research, contact the University of Wisconsin.

Simpler Seeding


Planting your garden from seed just got a little simpler. SeedBallz is a new product that features seeds encased in a marble-sized clay and sand ball. To plant, just spread the balls on top of the soil, then water. The water helps the ball break down, and the fertilizer contained inside the ball helps the young seedling get started. SeedBallz can be used in containers or in the ground. If gardening in the ground, prepare the seedbed as you normally would before ?planting? the SeedBallz.

SeedBallz are an easy way to garden with kids, since the balls are easier to handle than individual seeds. They also are a good idea for elderly gardeners who have stiff joints. SeedBallz varieties include a hummingbird mix, wildflower mix, poppy mix, and cosmos mix.

For more information on SeedBallz, contact the Garden Basket Company.

Rebecca's Garden Helps Seniors


Gardening continues to be one of the most important pastimes for older adults, but even healthy seniors can lose interest in this hobby because of brief illness, injury, or lack of companionship. That's why the support and help of a family member or professional caregiver can be so important. It?s a message that?s being spread nationally by Rebecca Kolls, host of the nationally syndicated Rebecca?s Garden television show.

Earlier this spring Kolls was a guest at NGA's National Garden Month kickoff celebration in Washington, D.C. She spoke about her public education campaign with Home Instead Senior Care, an international, non-medical, senior care company. The theme of the campaign is "Making gardening fun again for seniors." Home Instead offers guidance and a senior?s gardening guide for those engaged in gardening activities.

Call Home Instead Senior Care at (866)375-4218 for a free copy of the gardening guide for seniors. For more information about their senior gardening program, contact Home Instead and click on the media room.



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