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You say you want a Revolution…

everlasting revolution, hydrangea revolution, plants nouveau, gift plants, pink hydrangea

The Weeding Gnome

Plants Nouveau News for March, 2017

Dear friend,
Thank you for subscribing to the monthly newsletter for Plants Nouveau written by me, Angela Treadwell-Palmer, Founder and Co-Owner of Plants Nouveau. This revitalized e-newsletter will entertain and educate you about what’s been happening, new trends, new products, rants, raves and all of my favorite horticultural happenings throughout the year. Whether it’s a travel log of me romping through fields evaluating plants with breeders, or a video diary of the latest European and worldwide plant, gardening and marketing trends, you’ll surely be entertained. I promise to keep my whits about me, even as I rant and explore the latest trends aimed at getting people who know absolutely nothing about plants to buy them.

That’s a really hard thing to do sometimes (keep my whits about me…).

It’s been a while since I’ve written, and that’s totally my bad. You see, we’ve been growing this business at such an alarming rate, and wrapping plants from here and there around the world, that it’s been hard to make the time. I know many of you have asked where the Weeding Gnome is, and lots of you want to hear all about what’s going on in my (and Linda Guy, my business partner’s) world(s). I promise to write at least once a month and maybe more, if something pops into my head.

Pass it along please! If you like what you read and you’d like to help me change the way the world thinks about plants and horticulture, then pass this newsletter along to your friends and colleagues to spread the love.

I’d really appreciate it.

My passions these days are (in this order), my new 20′ greenhouse (if the heater ever gets hooked up), my trial garden (if the winter snow ever does melt), taking pictures (of everything), being the best lacrosse coach I can be (yes, I coach lacrosse and I love it…I was a pretty good player my self way back when), Monty Don, our newest rescue dog (who would follow me to the end of the world), and of course new, exciting plants. I’m talking plants so exciting and so gorgeous you can’t possibly pass them by. These babies will fly off the shelves and make the people who take them home so happy. Like adopting a puppy. They may not know why these plants make them happy, but I do, and we will be talking a lot about why people need plants.

Because they do.

I spend my days trying to get more people interested in plants and thinking of clever marketing ways to show the people who sell plants how to get more people to buy plants, by writing copy for tags, catalogs, ads and our website. It’s our job as marketers of plants to educate consumers and help them realize they can’t live without plants, that their souls depend on it.

If you missed our 2017 Catalog Supplement, here’s a link to read all about the new introductions we have coming to market this year. Click on this link and let Calgon take you away to a world of new plants. https://issuu.com/angelatreadwell-palmer/docs/supplementmagazine0616

If you live in the dark, snowy north like me, plant catalogs help keep the winter blues away. Enjoy!

Thanks again for reading and watch for future issues of The Weeding Gnome, delivered right to your email inbox, real soon.

Take care, be well and Happy Weeding,

Angela

 

 

 

 

everlasting revolution, hydrangea revolution, plants nouveau, gift plants, pink hydrangeaP.S. Speaking of plants we can’t live without, I’d like to talk about the most amazing little hydrangea I’ve ever seen or grown.
Hydrangea Everlasting Revolution from our breeding partners at Kolster, B.V. in the Netherlands truly is just that – a revolution.

And as the Beatles song goes;

You say you want a revolution
Well, you know
We all want to change the world
You tell me that it’s evolution
Well, you know
We all want to change the world

everlasting revolution, hydrangea revolution, plants nouveau, gift plants, pink hydrangea, blue hydrangeaAnd dang it – we really do want to change the world! We want everyone to have this perfect little plant in a lovely pot on their patio to enjoy month after month – for 150 days of flowers. Trust me, I had one in full bloom on my porch from late June to late October, and it was absolutely fabulous. That hydrangea in that ochre colored pot saw many after gardening libations consumed. It just kept blooming and blooming and the blooms that fully opened turned from pink to pale pink to deep maroon and stayed that way until we had a real hard frost in November, then I brought the plant into the greenhouse for the winter – in that same pot.  It’s now leafed out and starting to bud up for this year’s patio display, as I write. That’s Monty Don pictured in the bottom photo next to our Revolution last summer – on the porch of course, sitting in his favorite blue chair.

IMG_4750If you have not tried one of these – please do and let us know what you think.

 

 

 

 

 

 

MAGIC1517-Kamerplanten zegel Goud FC 1This perfect selection blooms for 150 days when sold as a gift plant.

150 days of color.

150 days of happiness.

150 days of beautiful flowers in a pot on your patio or porch for the entire summer season.

Who could ask for more?

 

 

What else are we excited about? BrunneraAngie&Leaf

To grow these false forget-me-nots (Brunnera macrphylla) is to love them. These are not walk-into-the-garden-center-and-identify-as-immediately-sexy-selections plants, but they are grow-them-in-your-garden-and-be-wowed-by-them plants. In most parts of the world, where summers are hot and humid, brunneras fade in the summer heat. They completely melt and go away for the summer.brunnera silver heart, plants nouveau

Silver Heart and Sea Heart emerge super early with leaves as thick and scratchy as an emory board, then they flower, and when I say flower – these guys flower their little heads off. Clouds of the cutest cornflower blue blooms completely cover the plant for about a month in mid spring. Once the flowers fade, the leaves start to grow bigger and bigger and bigger, until they are truly as big as your head. That’s me, pictured above, holding a leaf of Silver Heart last August.

It may in fact be larger than my head…

Not only do these new selections last until a frost, but their leaves are very resistant to foliar nematodes and ozone damage from pollution. We believe they are so resistant because the leaves are so thick and hairy. Whatever the reason, we’ll take it, right? No one likes to see brunnera leaves with black squares on them all summer.

In closing – try these. I guarantee you will fall in love with their magical powers to last all summer and light up any path at dusk. These are the perfect border plant to put along the path where you take your evening stroll. Brunnera Sea Heart with kiringeshoma

For more information on Brunnera ‘Sea Heart’ click HERE.

For more information on Brunnera ‘Silver Heart’ click HERE.

For information on growing or finding liners of these great perennials, email me at angela@plantsnouveau.com

If you’d like to know where to find liners or finished plants or Hydrangea Everlasting Revolution, email Linda Guy at lguy@plantsnouveau.com

E-Letter, News, Weeding Gnome

A Camellia to Support Cystic Fibrosis

Welcome to The Weeding Gnome Brought to you by Angela Treadwell-Palmer & Plants Nouveau This week’s Garden Notes: A Camellia for Charity — originally published on June 26th, 2014 —

Introducing a Camellia to honor Susy Dirr

Camellia ‘Susy Dirr’ PPAF

No rant today, but I would like to tell you about a very special camellia who’s royalties benefit Cystic Fibrosis. Susy Dirr was bred by famed camellia breeder Bobby Green and named after the daughter of one of Horticulture’s great teachers. Cystic Fibrosis is a debilitating, life-shortening disease that affects your ability to breath. One of the largest expenses someone with Cystic Fibrosis can encounter is a lung transplant.Camellia_Susy_Dirr

The Sweet Melissa Fund collects donations to help CF patients defer some of the cost. Susy Dirr, daughter of Dr. Michael and Bonnie Dirr, was born with Cystic Fibrosis, which makes the act of breathing a life and death struggle.

Dr. Michael Dirr is one of the most famous woody plantsmen in the US. He wrote and published many versions of his Manual of Woody Landscape Plants, a textbook that has been used by horticulture students, master gardeners and plant lovers all over the world.

The original is still sitting on my shelf. It was my one and only college textbook for the Woody Plants 101 course I took while earning my degree in Plant Science at the University of Delaware. I still use it and I believe it’s one of the only text books I still reference from college. If you still use or learned from your copy, you owe it to Dr. Dirr to grow this fabulous plant.susy-dirr-_Michael_dirr

Undaunted by her disease, Susy was valedictorian of her high school class and an honor student at the University of GA, graduating with a degree in advertising a year ahead of her class. Cystic fibrosis did not define Susy as a person. She embraced life with a joyful spirit that was uplifting to everyone around her. She made the world a better place with her compassion for others, her biting wit and brilliant mind. When a soul shines so bright, we see it in all things beautiful.

So, as summer fades and hints of autumn are in the air, reflections of these lovely flowers, graceful in form and with the sweet fragrance of newly opened tea, begin to fill our senses. We reflect on Susy’s life and know that a part of her spirit remains with us in the garden.

Bobby Green, the breeder of this Camellia has generously gifted his portion of the royalties from each plant to the Sweet Melissa Fund, which helps families with cystic fibrosis.Visit http://sweetmelissafund.org for more information.

This new hardy, fall blooming camellia is a robust grower in containers in the nursery and in the garden. It’s a full, bushy plant with a dense habit, and elegant, formal double carmine pink flowers.    Camellia Susy Dirr

For Gardeners

No other species has contributed more to the garden than C. sasanqua, the winter blooming camellia. Attractive all year, and hardier than most of its cousins, these shrubs blend harmoniously with other textures and offer a plethora of flowers in Sept-Oct. Susy Dirr does that and more. The voluptuous, bubble-gum pink blooms put on a show stopping tribute, honoring an exquisite young woman who was the essence of all things beautiful.Camellia Susy Dirr (2)

For Growers

C.sasanqua is fall blooming as well, but more cold hardy than it’s cousin. Some of these new selections have proven hardy in USDA Zone 6, but we are saying zone 7 to be safe. Liners are available to Licensed Growers.

The drawing above of the Camellia ‘Susy Dirr’ flower will appear on all of our promotional pieces for this plant. Our friend and amazing illustrator, Steve Asbell in Florida drew this for us. If you ever need anything drawn, we would highly recommend Steve’s work. Not only is he humble and an incredible artist, he’s easy to work with and a really nice guy.

Happy Weeding!

Archives, E-Letter, News

Their Memories Are Amazing!

Welcome to The Weeding Gnome
By: Angela Treadwell-Palmer & Plants Nouveau

— April 3, 2015 —   IMG_8578

Their Memories are Amazing!

Ella, my 8 year-old daughter had a spa party sleep over with 5 of her friends last Friday night. They were up until 3:30am! I think they all had a great time. They were a little droopy eyed when they went home with their parents.

I noticed a few things watching this group of energetic girls flounce around my house. Keegan, her 12-year old brother volunteered to help me and be the party DJ. He played today’s pop music. They knew every word to every song he played and sang them all with hands on hips like they were backups in a Taylor Swift concert.

I didn’t grow up with pop music. My dad only listened to a few people. My brother and I hated it, but it was what it was.  Pop music was not part of our culture. Jimmy Buffett, James Taylor and Van Morrison were though. When I got to college, I didn’t know much about pop music, so I was kind of out of the loop. Remember those cassette tape and then CD of the month clubs you could join in the late 80’s/90’s? I joined them all. I wanted to have the music everyone else knew because I felt uncool.

I soon found out Jimmy Buffett was way cool and so was I because I knew every word to every dang song he sang – thanks to my dad. Kids would be like, “ How do you know all the words to these songs?”  and I’d be like, “ It’s all I ever heard growing up.  It’s all my dad played.” Kids thought my dad was cool. He was, but I was severely pop deprived.

Not like today’s kids.

Imagine first and second graders singing phrases like this from the most recent Bruno Mars hit, Uptown Funk;

“Stop, wait a minute. Fill my cup, put some liquor in it”

Or this line from I’m So Fancy by Charlie XCX:

“Trash the hotel. Let’s get drunk on the mini bar”

Really makes you feel proud when you’re driving around with a few 8 year olds in the backseat and they belt out these lines. Do they have any idea what they are singing?

Let’s hope the answer is No.

I don’t remember songs having such nasty, inappropriate lyrics when I was growing up.  Songs were nice.  Maybe that’s because I was pop deprived, but I’m thinking times have changed. Although my brother and I did find it super cool to sing Damn, That Traffic Jamby James Taylor.  We would giggle every time. Today, just about every stinking song is about sex, drugs and drinking. Even sappy country hits.

What hasn’t changed?

The fact that a child’s ability to memorize or remember things is amazing.

So why aren’t we capitalizing on this each and every day in schools, in garden center displays and in marketing plants to consumers?

We are trying, but we are not doing a great job. The produce industry is rocking though.  How many kids now call every clementine they see a Cuties™?  Sorry Halo™, you tried, but you were a couple months too late.

They ARE still just clementines people, right?

I worked from the car dealership yesterday while waiting for my Mini Cooper to be serviced. They have a great snack bar there. There’s even fruit. I thought it was so interesting when one of the sales guys walked up to the box of clementines clearly marked Darling Clementines – another brand – and he said, “ A cutie!”

Marketing at it’s finest. Way to go produce marketers. You’ve made Cuties the next Kleenex™.

Here’s my question – what can we come up with to market plants or gardening that every 8 year old will remember and repeat?

Food for thought.

The person or company that gets it right will change history and make gardening as popular as pop music.

A girl can dream, right?

Got any brilliant ideas, email me!

What’s new with Plants Nouveau?

We launched our totally new, very beautiful website this week. Check it out.
www.plantsnouveau.com

We will be adding and updating it regularly. Check back often to see what’s going on. Featured plants, Featured breeders, Travel highlights and always – lots of pictures and plenty of information about each plant we introduce.

If you love it or hate it – let me know. We’d love some constructive feedback because as I’ve learned from many, a website is never finished.  It’s like a garden, you add and rearrange it all the time and you never, ever stop.  When you stop – it dies.

A huge shout out to my former roommate and fellow University of Delaware grad, Hendrik-Jan Franke and his amazing team at Bright Orange Thread in Wilmington, Delaware. They did a fantastic job of bringing my wildest dreams to life in a website that is easy to use and so easily changed, that we will be set for years.

If you need a new website, I highly recommendwww.brightorangethread.com.

In other news, I still have 1 foot of snow in the back yard. It’s so depressing that I went out to a local garden center and bought $103 worth of forced bulbs. A girl has to do what a girl has to do – and my last amaryllis bloomed this week. I was desperate.

Happy Spring and Happy Easter to all who celebrate and of course…

Happy Weeding!

Angela

Angela Treadwell-Palmer
Founder and Co-owner, Strategic plant finder, In Charge of Magic
Plants Nouveau, LLC.


Angela’s Garden Notes
Syringa vulgaris ‘Elsdancer’
Tiny Dancer

With spring quickly approaching in most areas of the country, I long for the scent of lilacs. Do you have a smaller garden , but still long for the scent and blooms of a traditional lilac?Growing only 4′ tall at maturity, Tiny Dancer rarely needs pruning. Found by our good friend and horticultural master, John Elsley, Tiny Dancer is the perfect lilac for smaller gardens.

In the fragrance of Tiny Dancer past meets future with a memorable scent. Too long considered a leggy plant for old-fashioned gardens, this lilac has a compact form, making it ideal anywhere hard-working, low maintenance plants are needed.

In addition to the cold-hardiness expected from a lilac, Tiny Dancer boasts remarkable heat tolerance, growing and blooming where few lilacs have gone before.

Even in Zone 8, violet-purple buds open into lavender flowers, ranking it among the dogwoods and azaleas as a benchmark of spring. Large panicles measure 4 to 5 inches, and the large florets make each cluster appear luxuriously full. Foliage and flowers are in perfect scale, one complementing the other. Re-blooming lilacs just don’t put on the spring show our Tiny Dancer does. The fragrance will knock your socks off. Try it and let us know how you like it.

Want to learn more about Tiny Dancer, use this link.

Archives, E-Letter, Weeding Gnome

Cloth Napkins & Garden Gnomes

November 25, 2014

The Weeding Gnome

Each November, I like to reflect back on the year, the seasons, the garden and all who have touched my soul. In this week’s Weeding Gnome I Give Thanks.

Dear Reader,
I am thankful for:

My children – who are troopers and deal with unexpected stops along the way during every road trip to forage or identify plants and check out new garden centers.

Finally meeting new friends like Jeavanna Chapman in person – after chatting for years on Social Media. Nothing beats meeting people in person.

My travels. Since I work from home – travel is so important for me. I get to see old friends and new and see what’s going on in the world – literally.

My husband Drew, who has become the best hole digger and sod remover this side of the Mason Dixon line. Without him, we’d be paying for lots of labor in the trail garden. He admittedly enjoys sitting on the deck after gardening and looking out at his hard work. He prefers to do this while tasting one of my Plants Nouveau gardening cocktail creations.

My business partner Linda because she’s the yin to my yang and we make a really good team.

People who walk past my garden and ask about the plants and if they can have a piece. They are the reason I do what I do and passing the information along is what gardening is all about.  I’ve had more people stop this year than ever before. Maybe that’s a good sign that gardening is becoming more popular – or at least that they are curious.

Our breeders, for without them, we would have no company and no plants.  I am very grateful for their trust, their humor and their loyalty.

Our licensed growers.  If they didn’t believe in what we do, we would not be here and no plant would ever make it into a consumer’s hand.

The birds who frequent the feeders outside my office window – for without them, it would be a very lonely, colorless winter.

My trial garden, because living with the plants is the best way to get to know them.

Cloth napkins & Garden Gnomes – because they are fun to collect, they define me and have become a part of everyday life in my family.

And finally you.  You listen to me.  You inspire me.  You feed my mind and for that – I am truly thankful.

Ella, my seven year old, modeling a vintage hydrangea at Terrain @ Styers in PA.
My Twitter friend, Jeavonna and I meeting for the first time – in real life!
Selfie with breeder Henk Holtmaat of AB-Cultivars in the Netherlands in May.
Good industry friends, Like Mark Highland of Organic Mechanics and fine growers like Pioneer Gardens make life a lot easier.
I wish for you a peaceful Thanksgiving, good times, great health, and most of all…Happy Weeding! 

 

Angela Treadwell-Palmer
Founder and Co-owner, Strategic plant finder,
In Charge of Magic
Plants Nouveau, LLC.

Archives, E-Letter, Weeding Gnome

Perennials for Fall Color

echinacea cone-fections milkshake fall color

When you think of fall color in your garden or selling fall color to your customers – do perennials come to mind?

They should!

Some coneflowers have excellent fall color. Echinacea Cone-fections™ ‘Milkshake’ has brilliant fall foliage. Not only does it look great all summer, but it feeds the birds with its bountiful seeds, and then – to top it off – it has brilliant spaghetti squash-yellow fall color.

What’s not to love about a plant named Milkshake anyway? Not only is it my all-time favorite coneflower, but it has incredible fall color. It’s quite possibly coneflower perfection. This could be the best double white echinacea for the mid-border. Milkshake is “regular” sized. It’s not tall, it’s not dwarf, it’s just the right size for all you coneflower traditionalists out there.

Blooms are held high on strong, sturdy stems and they do not age until fall. It’s as if they are fake flowers. Milkshake grows 36-40 inches tall and 24-30 inches wide.  It has proven hardy to USDA zone 5 and grows well from Vermont to North Carolina, from Minnesota  to Oklahoma and Texas.  It’s one versatile, hardy coneflower and we are proud to have it in our Cone-fections™ line.

The plant is also very sturdy and strong. Each mature plant holds 40-50 blooms (the same ones since early June…) high with great confidence and no sign of flopping. The blooms are large and fully double, and they are almost true white, with a hint of french vanilla milkshake-y-ness. Milkshake is one of the most asked about plants in the Massachusetts trial garden.  People stop and ask what it is, and if they can take some seed all summer long.

Read more about Milkshake here.

What other perennials have great fall color?  heucherella infinity, plants nouveau, purple leaved heucherella

How about heucheras (coral bells), tiarellas (foam flowers) and their hybrid cousins heucherellas (foamy bells)?  Some of them have brilliant fall color, like our Heucherella ‘Infinity’. Not only does it bloom until – well – it’s STILL blooming, so I’m not really sure when it will stop – hence the name – Infinity, but the chocolatey-purple foliage turns maroon,orange and pink when the temps drop.  Heucherella Infinity fall color

This new foamy bell – a hybrid of a coral bell ( Heuchera sp. ) and a foam flower (Tiarella sp.) is sure to please even the most discerning gardener. From the breeding program at Ab-Cultivars in the Netherlands, we bring you this amazing new heucherella that blooms to infinity and beyond.

Infinity has large, dark, chocolate colored, velvety leaves that work together to form a mounding, bushy perennial, making a statement in any garden. The deeply lobed, matte finished leaves look as if they’ve been covered in dark chocolate cocoa powder. Creamy pink buds open to cream colored flowers on two foot spikes that bloom continuously from the end of May to late fall.

Read more about Infinity here.

What else? Many of the new litShic=zaCHYRIUM PRAIRIE MUNCHKIN FALL COLORtle blue stems selections on the market have great fall color too, like our Schizachyrium ‘Prairie Munchkin’.

If you are looking for a native, ornamental grass that won’t get too tall, takes poor soils with little to no organic matter and loves to be dry?  Then this new selection is for you.  Prairie Munchkin was selected from tons of seedlings by Donovan Boehm of Boehm’s Garden Center in west, central IL.  Don selected it for the steel blue new growth, the perfect size for median and municipal plantings that require plants to be 3′ tall or smaller and for the fact that it does not flop in late summer or even winter, like most little bluestems do.

Prairie Munchkin even takes good garden soil – and it STILL does not flop.  That’s amazing since most little bluestems thrive in poor soils.  Schizachyrium Prairie Munchkin fall close

Prairie Munchkin is the perfect native alternative to the highly overused Calamagrostis ‘Karl Foerster’. This new sturdy grass will make a perfect 3′ tall hedge.  Use it in naturalistic plantings in a border or mass it in a hedge row for a very minimalist, modern look, Prairie Munchkin is certainly not “small” on uses or personality.

The steel blue foliage persist throughout the heat of the summer, then the flowers appear and the foliage slowly turns a shade of strawberry blonde, then to shades of tan, blue and deep maroon for fall, finally settling in for a long winter’s nap with a bright shade of tawny for the remainder of winter.

Read more about Prairie Munchkin here. 

There’s lots of perennials with fall color or really cool seed heads that make the autumnal garden more beautiful, so don’t forget about them when designing or planning or selling for all season color.

 

Archives, E-Letter, Weeding Gnome

Time to Buy the Mums

WEeding Gnome, wood block, plants nouveau

Welcome to The Weeding Gnome By: Angela Treadwell-Palmer & Plants Nouveau

— November 14, 2014 —   

It’s Time to Buy the Mums

Wow! Time sure does fly. The Polar Vortex is making its way across the US, yet it seems like we were just trying to fit in our last summer beach day. Where does the time go?

Seasons change. Speaking of seasons, while preparing for a lecture on European trends for the Independent Plant Breeder’s Conference a few weeks ago, I had an epiphany. Before you say, “Ut-oh, here she goes”, or run away screaming, please read on.

I’m always trying to equate European trends and gardening habits with selling more plants, so I started looking at the times of year American’s buy plants. I came up with a few times, but the time of year when people go out to buy their fall mums was by far the most popular.

For a few years, my kids have been making fun of fall mums. I must confess that this is all my fault. I’m not a huge fan. I love many plants in the Chrysanthemum genus, but the ones we see each year on people’s front porches, in their pots, and planted along gas station curbs make me want to gag.

It all started one day when we were shopping at a local apple farm. I over heard not one, not two, but three couples say, “It’s time to buy some mums”. Of course, my cynical mind goes directly to questioning why. And then I repeated – It’s time to buy the mums- It’s time to buy the mums- It’s time to buy the mums – in a very low, maniacal voice. My kids loved it and now every time we are out in the fall and they hear someone say something about getting mums, they look at me and whisper, “It’s time to buy the mums!”, quietly, so no one can her them.

I know – I’m a bad mother.

I knew it when my now 12 year old, then 7 year old yelled “Old as dirt!” out the car window as we passed an elderly driver that had been holding us up. They retain and repeat everything we say.

684d4472-16d6-4ffa-be0b-c01aaf402147Lest I digress any further, let’s get back to why consumers feel the need to buy mums in the fall. Who told consumers mums were the one and only plant they need for fall decorating? Why do they NEED them? I l know garden centers try to sell other plants in the fall, but honestly, the majority of plants going out the door are mums.

I get it. They are buying plants and I need to get over it. Mums are pretty, I suppose, but the horticulturist in me says there are so many more exciting, more utilitarian plants that they could be buying – and that goes for more exciting forms of mums too.

But that’s totally NOT the point!

The point is these folks are buying plants and we want people to buy plants. We want people to garden. Are the consumers buying mums really gardeners? Should we feel lucky they buy anything?

And then it dawned on me. To these consumers, it’s a tradition, it’s not really gardening. Hmm…think about that. It’s NOT gardening. The main complaint we hear from consumers is gardening is too much work, right? That’s what all the latest market research says too. Buying mums and poinsettias isn’t considered work to these consumers, but I hate to tell them – whether they like it or not, they ARE gardening. Hehe – we tricked them into it.

Here’s a question – what else can we “trick” them into buying? I use trick in a non-literal way, but you know what I mean. Perhaps a better word is “train”? I analyzed the times each year when people who don’t really garden go into a home store, apple farm, garden center, etc., and buy “traditional” plants. So, there’s Easter, when they flock to roadside stands for lilies. Then comes Mother’s Day, when the traditional gift is a lily or forced hydrangea. Then there’s fall when they must get their mums. Finally, there’s Christmas when a large majority of American’s rush in to get a poinsettia and a Christmas tree. Don’t forget about Christmas trees – they are plants too. 

I thought about these times and then came the epiphany-a light bulb if you will.

If we want to sell more plants and get more people gardening, how do we make more plants part of our American traditions?

The person or company who taught people to buy mums in the fall was brilliant. It’s been happening for decades. I’ve got a gut feeling those same people are buying poinsettias and Christmas trees too. I’m not sure how long the Easter/Mother’s day plant tradition has been going on, but I’m guessing at least as long as I’ve been alive – and probably MUCH longer.

And… as much as I dislike mums, it IS brilliant. It’s on people’s calendars; built into their DNA and something they think they CAN’T live without. It truly is marketing genius.

Chew on this… How can we get people as excited about spring bulbs, summer perennials/annuals, ornamental grasses and the brilliant fall color of so many ornamental shrubs and trees, and I’ll even throw in other throw-away plants and cut flowers, as they are about mums? How do we make gardening an American tradition, much like it is in Europe?

I’ve got it! “Time to buy the Metasequoia glyptostroboides!”. Haha, I threw that in for my plant geek friends – you know who you are – but seriously… got any brilliant ideas?  I’d love to hear them.  Let’s chat!

Speaking of fall color, did you realize some coneflowers have excellent fall color? Not only do they look great all summer, they feed the birds with their seeds, and then they have brilliant spaghetti squash-yellow fall color.

(Sidebar: Can you tell my kitchen is being over-run with squash from my fall CSA share? And that the brilliant yellow color of the huge spaghetti squash sitting on my butcher block has been burned into my corneas? We MUST have that for dinner tonight.) What’s not to love about a plant named Milkshake anyway? Check out this week’s Garden Notes below. Not only is it my all-time favorite coneflower, but it has incredible fall color. It’s quite possibly coneflower perfection.

Thanks for reading! Have a great weekend, eat some squash, and Happy Weeding!

Angela

Angela Treadwell-Palmer
Plants Nouveau, LLC.
Founder and Co-owner, Strategic plant finder, In Charge of Magic


Angela’s Garden Notes 

Echinacea Cone-fections‘Milkshake’ PP#20594

This could be the best double white echinacea for the mid-border. Milkshake is “regular” sized. It’s not tall, it’s not dwarf, it’s just the right size for all you coneflower traditionalists out there.
Blooms are held high on strong, sturdy stems and they do not age until fall. It’s as if they are fake flowers. Milkshake grows 36-40 inches tall and 24-30 inches wide.  It has proven hardy to USDA zone 5 and grows well from Vermont to North Carolina, from Minnesota  to Oklahoma and Texas.  It’s one versatile, hardy coneflower and we are proud to have it in our Cone-fections™ line.

The plant is also very sturdy and strong. Each mature plant holds 40-50 blooms (the same ones since early June…) high with great confidence and no sign of flopping. The blooms are large and fully double, and they are almost true white, with a hint of french vanilla milkshake-y-ness.

Read more about Milkshake here.

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