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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

Archives, News, Weeding Gnome

Trending Now in Europe

One of the best parts of my job is to track trends, and one of the best shows for trends is the annual IPM Essen show in Germany. Each January, 1,600 exhibitors from 50 nations get together to show off the latest in horticultural everything. It is truly the best horticultural trade show on the planet.

For the first time, I saw packaging geared toward people who know nothing about plants, and products that were completely consumer proof. I’ve been attending this show since 2006, and I have not seen so many innovative ways to sell plants — ever. I’ve been preaching for years that Gen X (my generation), as well as Gen Y and younger — the folks who theoretically have money to buy plants right now — know very little to nothing about gardening. In fact, it has been proven time and time again that they don’t even like the word ‘gardening’ or the term ‘garden center’ because they conjure up images of getting dirty and sweating hard. Gardening is hard work. If most people don’t know how to garden, and many are not wanting to get dirty and sweaty, how the heck will we ever sell them plants? We must approach it in a different way.

plants nouveau, new plants, herbs, trendsTwo of the most innovative products I saw were more about packaging than anything. One was an amaryllis bulb dipped in a special wax that holds in moisture. It holds in moisture so much that whoever buys it never has to water it. Never. Really. It takes all of the guess work out of growing them. It’s foolproof. Grab one, place it on your dining room table and watch it grow.
Another really innovative package was for herb and veggie gardening (pictured). The bareroot plants or seeds were sold in a cardboard package with a picture of a delicious dish on the front, a recipe on the back, and the plants needed for that dish inside. Want to make homemade lasagna? Here’s your tomato, basil, oregano, rosemary and garlic starts; grow them in your garden, follow this recipe and voilá — homemade lasagna. It’s brilliant, and it makes so much sense for people who know nothing about plants. It also ties growing plants to cooking food, and we need to do more of that.

I saw some clever gift plant packaging at the show as well, including bulbs packaged in a way that resembles Lindt Truffle bags. Each one had a special, ruffled, pink tulip inside. One gift plant I found was incredibly clever and targeted perfectly to Gen Y shoppers. Cyclamen were died in pastel shades to match a palette of pastel-colored eye shadow. I know what you’re thinking — no gardener would ever! But these were not for gardeners. They were for people who like makeup and maybe have never put a finger in the soil. They don’t know it’s fake. To them, it’s beautiful. When it dies, they can go buy a new one. The marketing that went along with thesgift plants, cyclamens, make-upz, new plants, plants nouveau, trendse was fabulous. They are called Make-Upz cyclamen (pictured), and they sell them in color-coordinated pots and gift bags. I know my friend, who owns a salon, would be all over these for her spa.

dyed cyclamen, make-upz, new plants, gift plants, trends, plants nouveau

We must focus on new ways to sell plants to people who know nothing about plants. The Europeans finally get it. Will we ever get it?

The most interesting trend

I saw this summer while traveling in Europe to visit trade shows and breeders was the annualizing of perennials. What does that mean? It basically means breeders are selecting perennials that can be planted as a tiny input late in December or at least before the beginning of March, and then sold as a pot full of blooms that same year.

That’s nuts, right? What about plants that need to be vernalized? Apparently, vernalizing perennials takes too long, costs too much money and just isn’t cool anymore. And you guessed it, it absolutely means perennials that need to have a cold winter to bloom are no longer showing up in mass quantities in the marketplace.

Beloved plants like Lobelia cardinalis, some echinaceas, dicentra and others are falling out of favor with growers because they can’t be planted and brought into bloom in a few months.

What’s the good news? The cost of perennials has gone down and the new “annualized” perennials make the greatest displays in retail garden centers. In some cases, perennials like campanulas and anemones (top right) and some succulents are being sold as gift plants.

There were two cool marketing ideas that caught my eye. One was full of emotion and one showed use. I’m learning so much about how little today’s consumers know about plants, and the more I think about it, the more I realize we need to tell people how to use them. more lips, trends, new plants, gift plants, plants nouveau gift plants, more lips, trends, new plants, plants nouveau

These two ideas could help. The More Lips campaign is an overarching POP idea to put emotion into buying common gift plants. More Lips = more love, and more kisses for the person who gave the gift. The campaign was all about love, and the black and white posters had photos of people kissing, children kissing their parents, and even new moms kissing their babies. It was very powerful. There were bench wraps, plastic sleeves and tags to match.

This kind of point-of-purchase marketing grabs the attention of a shopper looking for something to take to their sweetie or maybe someone who just had a new baby. It was well done and I think it would work in grocery stores and in the gift plant section of any garden center or home store. I would buy them. It was like Anthropologie or J. Crew meets Hallmark.

Check out the tags for hedge plants called Privacy Makers (top left). It’s not really showcasing new plants, but new ideas for their use. This booth had everything from beech trees grown to perfection for making a proper hedge, to hydrangeas and common evergreens used to make a hedge around your patio or property. The tags and signage showed couples and families behind the hedges enjoying meals, glasses of wine and play time. It was such a wonderful way to portray how hedges can be used in any garden hedges, new plants, privacy makers, plants nouveau, trendsspace.

The last thing I saw that blew my mind were the fully fruited, probably 20-year-old espaliered pear and apple trees in several displays. For $400 to $500, someone could take one home and plant it without all the hard work of training it for the first five to 10 years. This is a great way to carry on a very specialized gardening skill without having to teach someone how.

Marketers keep talking about the do-it-for-me generation — well, here you go. We do it for them and the art of espaliering a fruit tree is not lost forever. Seems like a win-win situation to me.

Angela founded and co-owns Plants Nouveau, LLC., a company that specializes in introducing and marketing new plants to the nursery industry. angela@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, 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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