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Country Gardens: What’s new for planting?

This is the time of year that gardeners are getting anxious to be in the dirt. Gardeners can look forward to some exciting products. Check your local garden center for some of these newbies.

Cheyenne Spirit Coneflower is one that is available from seed. The plant has vibrant shades of red, orange, purple, scarlet, cream, yellow and white. It has a good branching habit that puts more flowers in every plant for high-impact landscapes and fuller containers. This plant was a 2013 AAS Flower Award Winner. The AAS judges and their trial garden visitors raved about the attractiveness of the flowers and the range of colors while appreciating its sturdiness and low water needs. Even during wind and rain, this compact plant does not topple over like many Echinacea. The variety of intense, bright colors adds sparkle to the garden from mid-summer through fall. As an added bonus, this maintenance-free Echinacea doesn’t even need deadheading to provide summer long beauty. Cheyenne Spirit is also a recipient of Europe’s FleuroSelect Gold Medal award for garden performance. You might be able to find the plants at better nurseries.

New varieties of plants and edibles are bred to combat specific problems, whether downy mildew-resistant Big Bounce impatiens or zucchini and squash that don’t need increasingly hard to come by pollinators to flower and fruit. All-in-one edibles are popping up in designer pellets that contain multiple seeds in one capsule, whether in the heat-tolerant mix of Asian greens, mustards and bok choi in PanAmerican’s ‘Wonder Wok’ lettuce mix or the ‘Endless Summer’ mix of romaine, green and red leaf lettuces. Playing off of the increasing interest in health, Burpee is breeding cucumbers that contain beta carotene as in ‘gold standard’ and giving already healthy veggies an additional nutritional boost.

Diamond Delight is the most vigorous double flowered Euphorbia hybrid on the market. It is extremely tolerant to heat, humidity and drought, with extra petals to create more color impact. Beautiful in containers. Deadheading is not necessary. Nice small white flowers and great for a filler.

While bedding impatiens might have problems with downy mildew, New Guinea impatiens, on the other hand, are free and clear of the disease.  They merrily go along blooming like crazy, mildew be darned.  The new and improved version of Infinity® Red is more vigorous, with a deeper, darker red flower than the previous version.  But the really cool new plants are the Ruffles™ series, which are New Guinea Impatiens, but with ruffled petals, which lends a new look to the plant.  We are starting with four colors – Ruffles™ Fuchsia Rose,  Ruffles™ Lavender, Ruffles™ Peach and, my favorite, Ruffles™ Red – with the hope of adding more colors in the years to come.

In the UK spinach is one that is being promoted to have in your garden.  You can easily grow yourself as it contains a high pesticide residue, even after washing when purchased. Grow it in containers amongst flowers or in a pot.

Kale is another vegetable that you can grow without much problem from seeds. We should all eat more of this. It is full of compounds which turn on the detoxifying system in our own cells and so help protect against various cancers. If you can find kales which look good in the garden as well as being good to eat, and give us a new boost of life, you’re on to a winner.

Flower Sprouts is a novel class of vegetables bred by crossing brussels sprouts and kale. They resemble colorful flowers or rosettes that grow on stalks of tall, upright plants just like brussels sprouts.

The tender, mildly flavored spouts have a taste and texture similar to Red Russian kale. Flower Sprouts are suited to diverse cooking methods such as lightly steaming, or sautéing, stir frying, and roasting.

When lightly cooked they will hold their color. This is one on my list to try this year. The seeds can be purchased at but they are backordered, check back for availability. If one is looking for new seeds, it does pay to order early.

If you have any gardening or houseplant questions send me an email at rcschlueter @

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