Along the Garden Path: Gearing up for the 2019 garden


By Charlene Thornhill - Contributing columnist



It’s time to start thinking about our 2019 gardens – with that, the 2019 All-America Selections Winners have been announced!

For 86 years, All-America Selections (AAS), an independent non-profit organization, has been testing new, never-before-sold varieties for the home gardener. After a full season of anonymous trialing by volunteer horticulture professionals, only the top garden performers are given the AAS Winner award designation for their superior performance.

Some of the 2019 winners are: Begonia “Viking XL Red on Chocolate,” Marigold “Big Duck Gold,” Nasturtium “Baby Rose,” Petunia “Wave Carmine Velour,” Pepper “Just Sweet,” Tomato “Chef’s Choice Black,” Tomato “Fire Fly,” Tomato “Red Torch” and Tomato “Sparky.”

Check out all the details on these and all winners at www.all-americaselections.org. Planting a variety of plants is a sure way to bring pollinators to your garden!

Flowers like zinnias and verbena attract a wide variety of pollinators. If you want to attract butterflies, plant milkweed for monarchs, dill and fennel for swallowtails and food/nectar plants like tithonia and zinnia.

How about attracting more hummingbirds? Aim for flowers with a tubular structure like canna, penstemon, salvia, petunia or snapdragon.

For bees, plant flowers that have larger petals that act as landing pads for bumblebees. Native bees prefer clusters of multiple, smaller flowers like those found on oregano or large rayed flowers like sunflowers.

Plant in groups to create a ‘target’ for pollinators to find easily. Choose a variety of different colors such as blues and yellows for bees and/or oranges, reds and yellows. Source: www.all-americaselections.org and oagc.org.

Two seed companies we use and promote each year are Park Seed from Greenwood, South Carolina and the W. Atlee Burpee Company from Warminster, Pennsylvania.; both have quality seeds.

The Park Seed company has a “Zinnia Zinderella Lilac” and “Zinderella Peach.” They are a brilliant double bloom in the scabiosa form, a tufted central cluster surrounded by layers of long, slender petals. They are easy to grow, have brilliant colors and great for cutting.

Park offers new varieties of beans, peppers, tomatoes, and zucchini for 2019. Check out their website at ParkSeed.com.

Burpee has an exciting new “Busy Bee” sunflower that certainly will attract bees to your garden. New for 2019 is their “Golden Goose hybrid” summer squash, “Honeycomb Hybrid” cherry tomato, “White Knight hybrid eggplant” along with a “Whatamelon hybrid,” a specialty melon said to be a juicy-sweet midsummer refreshment. Check out their website at www.Burpee.com.

At this time of year, everything looks tempting to add to the garden. Grab your favorite drink, get on the computer and check out all the new varieties for 2019.

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By Charlene Thornhill

Contributing columnist

Charlene Thornhill is a volunteer citizen columnist. She can be reached at char.donn.thornhill@gmail.com. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author.

Charlene Thornhill is a volunteer citizen columnist. She can be reached at char.donn.thornhill@gmail.com. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author.