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Cold and flu season is upon us as are long stretches of sunless days. To fight off illness and depression, take an active approach to cultivate natural remedies into your lifestyle. Following are a few suggestions:
Surround yourself with green medicine - houseplants. All indoor plants have the ability to purify the air to a certain degree, but some are more beneficial than others, removing up to 90% of toxins from the air. By adding a 10-12” size plant for every 100 square feet in your home, it will make a difference. Try these easy-to-grow plants for starters.
Another plant family known for its health benefits is herbs. Used in teas and essential oils, these natural remedies are worth learning more about. For example, did you know peppermint can soothe headaches, relieve sinus pressure, and calm an upset stomach? Lemongrass aids digestion, regulates high blood pressure, and helps cold symptoms. Lavender, marjoram, sage, garlic, ginger . . . the list goes on. Start planning which ones you will grow this year.
Playing in the soil
As you pot up those herbs and houseplants, you will probably notice a lift in your spirits. Recent studies have shown that soil bacteria can act as antidepressants, boost immune systems, and increase learning abilities. So digging in the dirt is an act of wellness, too. Growing your own vegetables is another way to increase exposure to those beneficial soil bacteria as they may be contained in the food – that’s a good thing!
Whether you take a houseplant to the office, end the day with a cup of herbal tea, explore the use of essential oils, or just play in the dirt, make this a year of cultivating wellness the natural way. Start by attending our Gardeners' Retreat on Saturday, February. 17 where the focus is this very topic! Learn more at www.burlingtongardencenter.com.
Horticulturist and General Manager of Burlington Garden Center
Perennial of the Year - Allium 'Millenium'
The ornamental onion has long been used in the garden for it's whimsical purple globe-shaped flowers. Though it shares the same family name as the common chives, most ornamental onions used in the landscape are sterile and will not spread prolifically by seed. From the hundreds of Allium varieties, the Perennial Plant Association has named A. 'Millenium' as the 2018 Perennial of the Year. Developed by Mark McDonough, fondly known as the onion man, 'Millenium' has neat and tidy mounds of shiny, deep green foliage. In mid summer, a profusion of rose-pink globes will attract butterflies to your yard. Alliums in general are deer and rabbit resistant, love the sun, and mix well with other perennials and ornamental grasses.
Hosta of the Year 'World Cup'
Hosta 'World Cup' has been deemed worthy of this title for 2018 by the American Hosta Growers Association. This golden-colored hosta has deeply-cupped, wavy foliage that reaches upright to the sky. It grows 23" tall and 43" wide. It's pale purple flowers make an appearance in late June. Plant H. 'World Cup' with other shade lovers such as a fine-textured fern and varietgated hosta varieties.
Annual of the Year - Supertunia 'Bordeaux'
For all of you annual lovers, Proven Winners has not let you down with their 2018 pick: Supertunia 'Bordeaux'. It's floriferous, mounded habit makes this petunia perfect for containers, hanging baskets, or in the landscape. Planted in full to part sun it will attract butterflies and hummingbirds. 'Bordeaux' is also heat and drought tolerant and requires no deadheading. It is perfectly happy in its own container, but looks stunning with deep purple lantana and the chartreuse leaves of the sweet potato vine.
Herb of the Year - Hops
Rounding out our stellar performers is the award-winning herb, Hops, Humulus opulus, chosen by the International Herb Association. Hops are useful for more than beer-making. For ages it's shoots and roots have been used medicinally having a natural sedative quality. It's also an attractive ornamental vine. Some varieties can grow 25' in one season making it useful for providing a shady spot in which to relax.
Horticulturist & General Manager of Burlington Garden Center
Color in the landscape at this time of year can be a rather limited palette. Various shades of white (depending how dirty the snow is) mix with shades of brown and gray. No wonder we look forward to spring when the earth teems forth with life-giving greens and a Crayola box of color. While we wait, it's encouraging to look at the hues that have been chosen as Pantone's colors for 2018.
As a gardener and manager of a garden center, imagine my delight at the color of the year selected by Pantone: ultra violet. Purple has a regal and majestic meaning to it, but ultra violet was chosen to reflect "originality, ingenuity and visionary thinking" according to Pantone VP, Laurie Pressman. "It leans more to blue than red and that speaks to thoughtfulness, a mystical quality, a spiritual quality."
Hmmmm . . . thoughtful, mystical, and spiritual sound great, but what if you just like the color purple? For those of you kindred lovers of all things purple, here is a sampling of new perennials and annuals to add to your garden in spring:
‘Blueberry Ice’ Bougainvillea (shown above) is compact and perfect for small, sunny spaces. The cascading lavender-blue flower-like bracts are offset by its second-best feature - variegated green and white foliage. This tropical will slowly grow 2 to 3 ft. tall and 5 to 6 ft. wide.
‘April Night’ Salvia x sylvestris is a new salvia that blooms a month earlier than its relative ‘May Night’. Its longer bloom time of blue-violet flowers and compact, dense habit make it perfect for the garden or in patio containers. ‘April Night’ is hardy in zones 4-10.
‘Pikes Peak Purple’ Penstemon x mexicali is a hummingbird magnet! The tall spikes of grape-colored, nectar-rich flowers bloom throughout summer. This adaptable and versatile Plant Select® winner will reach 3 ft. tall when flowering, 2 to 3 ft. wide, and is hardy in zones 4-7.
Will we see more originality, ingenuity and visionary thinking as the year unfolds? Will ultra violet live up to its expectations? Let’s be positive and hope that it does. At least we know it will in the garden.
Horticulturist and General Manager of Burlington Garden Center
For more 2018 Pantone colors, visit pantone.com .