Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

Garden Talk: January 14, 2010

From NGA Editors

New Heirloom Green Tomato


Many gardeners grow heirloom tomatoes for their taste, unusual shape, and beauty. With the reintroduction of old-fashioned varieties, you can now grow tomatoes from around the world. Some are as small as a pea, while others are as large as a grapefruit. Many come in a variety of colors as well.

One the more popular heirloom tomato varieties is ?Cherokee Purple?. This heirloom has compact indeterminate vines and produces 10- to 12-ounce, rose- to purple-colored fruits with a sweet, rich flavor. For those lovers of ?Cherokee Purple?, now you can grow a sister variety, ?Cherokee Green?. A natural sport from the original heirloom, ?Cherokee Green? features 8-ounce fruits that mature to lime green with a hint of orange. It has lots of bold, acidic, tomato flavor. If you?ve never been a fan of green tomatoes, this one might be worth a try.

For more information on ?Cherokee Green?, go to: Johnny?s Selected Seeds.

Unique, Twisted Houseplant


This time of year it?s good to have easy-care houseplants around. In most parts of the country, winter is in full swing and having a touch of indoor greenery helps brighten any day. While many houseplants struggle this time of year to survive growing in low-light conditions indoors, one of the easiest to grow is the mother-in-law tongue (Sansevieria trifasciata). This houseplant grows 2 feet tall and has thick, pointy, green leaves with yellow margins. It grows slowly and thrives on neglect. It can grow in low-light conditions and requires infrequent watering.

Now comes a new selection of this old favorite. ?Twist? grows only 14 inches tall. The leaves are uniquely twisted and spiral upward. It makes a statement with its shape, while still having the same low-maintenance qualities as the original species.

For more information on ?Twist? Sansevieria, go to: Logees Greenhouses .

New Colorful Perennial Flower


There?s one word that aptly describes Heucherella ?Sweet Tea? flowers: intense. This new perennial features stunning orange, 4-inch-diameter leaves that don?t fade with the summer heat and humidity, staying beautiful until fall. The leaves have darker cinnamon-star shape in the center with a lighter orange edge.

Heucherella is a cross between a coral bell (Heuchera spp.) and foam flower (Tiarella spp.) This new Heucherella has a 2-foot-tall mounding habit and grows best -- and has the most vivid color -- in part shade with morning sun. In early summer, 7-inch-tall flower stalks emerge from the plant with creamy white blooms on top. ?Sweet Tea? is hard in USDA zones 4 to 9.

For more information on this new striking perennial flower, go to: Terra Nova Nursery.

Easy-to-Clean Bird Feeder


Winter is for bird feeding. However, it?s important to keep your feeder clean and disease-free for our feathered friends to enjoy. Bird seed left out in the rain can get moldy and harbor pathogens that can harm a wild bird?s health. With the cold weather, cleaning a feeder can be difficult.

Now there?s a new tube bird feeder that features an easy-to-clean mechanism. The Onyx Clever Clean bird feeder features a twist-release base for quick and easy clean out. It?s simple to remove old seed that has collected on the bottom of the tube feeder and replace it with flesh, new seed. The Onyx Clever Clean feeders come in 3 heights -- 12?, 18?, and 24? -- and are available for sunflower/mixed seed or nyjer seed.

For more information on these new feeders, go to: Droll Yankee.



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