Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

Garden Talk: April 12, 2007

From NGA Editors

Stunning, Compact Nasturtium


?Empress of India? nasturtium is known for its lush, dark red flowers, blue-green leaves, and trailing growth habit that reaches 12 to 16 inches long. A new version of this popular variety features the same bold flowers but on a more compact plant.

The abundant flowers of 'Princess of India' rise above the bronze-colored foliage, which grows only 8 to 10 inches tall and wide. It's a perfect choice for containers, hanging baskets, and small-space gardens. As with all nasturtiums, the leaves and flowers are edible and add a spicy taste to salads and stir-fries.

For more information on the ?Princess of India? nasturtium, go to: Thompson and Morgan Seed Company.

New Starry-Eyed Hydrangea


The smooth hydrangea (Hydrangea arborescens) is a widely grown landscape shrub, and ?Annabelle?, with its snowball-shaped flowers, has been the variety of choice for years. A newly discovered selection of this species has been found in Alabama that produces flowers with a unique shape that's sure to impress hydrangea lovers.

The ?Hayes Starburst? hydrangea (H. arborescens radiata) has dome-shaped, white flowers that open in a traditional lace-cap shape. Then after a few days the flowers become double, giving the blossoms a star-like effect. The flowering continues for several weeks. 'Hayes Starburst' grows 3 to 4 feet tall and wide in a range of well-drained soils, and is hardy in USDA zones 4 to 9.

For more information on the ?Hayes Starburst? hydrangea, go to: Spring Meadow Nursery.

No-Mess Instant Compost Tea


Compost tea is widely used by gardeners to boost plant growth, build soil humus, and increase soil microbial activity. The latest trend in compost teas is brewing the tea aerobically to get the right mix of microorganisms to benefit your plants. However, making compost tea can be cumbersome and messy.

Now there?s a new product that claims to offer some of the same humus-building properties of liquid compost tea, but in a dried form. Huma Blend (2-0-12) is essentially a dried compost tea that can be rehydrated and sprayed on fruits, vegetables, flowers, and even houseplants. Simply dilute the concentrate in water and apply it to your plants. The humic acids in Huma Blend are derived from seaweed, yucca, fish protein, and a naturally occurring mineral called Leonardite.

To find out more about this instant compost tea, go to: 360 Organics.

Blueberries May Help Ward Off Colon Cancer


Blueberries are well known for both their taste and their health benefits. Eating fresh blueberries has been shown to help slow memory loss and prevent heart disease. In addition, new research suggests that preventing colon cancer may be added to the list of benefits.

Researchers at Rutgers University and the USDA induced colon cancer in 18 rats. All the rats received a healthy diet, but half of them were fed the compound pterostilbene, while the other half were used as controls. Pterostilbene is an antioxidant that's abundant in blueberries. After eight weeks, the rats eating the diet with pterostilbene had 57 percent fewer precancerous lesions than the control group. The researchers theorize that pterostilbene may help counteract the negative effects of a high-saturated fat Western diet, which has been linked to colon cancer.

For more information on this research, go to: Medical News Today.



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