What's new in the gardening world | The Old Farmer's Almanac

What's new in the gardening world

Miniature gardens are an upcoming trend, especially ones that use tiny conifers.
Photo Credit
Doreen G. Howard
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At the end of August, I attended a garden writer’s symposium and two trade shows that featured a tempting array of new products headed to the consumer starting in January. From green lawn paint to a sensational burgundy and blue-gray sedum groundcover, I have plenty to share with you.

Given that much of the southern region of the country is experiencing a record-breaking drought, Easy Green Lawn© paint makes sense. You apply it on with a garden sprayer and let it dry for three hours. It’s supposed to keep your turf green up to three months.

The sedum, ‘Razzleberry’ from Great Garden Plants, has smoky blue foliage that is smothered with six-inch raspberry flowers in early autumn. The foliage also turns to dark purple then. Succulents of all manner have become popular due to their no-care status and low-water needs, but most lack blooms. That’s what makes this rock or gravel garden plant such a stand-out. Those brilliant flowers!

‘Razzleberry’ sedum takes abuse and faithfully blooms for nearly two months in autumn. Photo courtesy of Great Garden Plants.

Another emerging trend I saw was miniature gardens, from those in shallow pans and troughs to terrariums. One company that specializes in plants for tiny displays used a verbena that looked like a hydrangea bush in bloom. They pinch off bottom foliage, nip top growth and fertilize often to create a woody stem and tiny blooms that look just like hydrangea heads. I’ll be writing more about mini gardens later, as I came away with a wheelbarrow full of ideas.

Troughs, bowls and any shallow container are perfect for the newest craze, miniature gardens! Photo courtesy of www.miniaturegardenshoppe.com

The International Herb Association (IHA) has declared the rose the 2012 Herb of the Year. Roses are botanically classified as herbs, so herb expert Jim Long wrote a cookbook, How to Eat a Rose. He displayed goodies at the trade show from his book including rose tea and vinegar. For those with a heartier appetite, the book is also full of recipes such as a visually-stunning Rose Cake and Sunday Morning Rose Omelet.

Rose petal cake is one of the numerous tasty recipes in the cookbook How to Eat a Rose. Photo courtesy of Long Creek Herb Farm.

Look for shortages and higher prices on bales and bags of peat moss next spring. I picked up this information while networking with horticultural companies at the trade shows. Canada, where most peat is harvested, has had an extraordinarily wet summer plus extra rain from Hurricane Irene. Peat harvests have been halted. It’s dug from centuries-old bogs, and the extra moisture is making harvest nearly impossible.

I’ll have more new products to share with you in the next month or two.