Wednesday, May 19, 2010

PLANT OF THE WEEK: Bonfire Begonia

Bonfire begonias have attention-grabbing fiery red blooms. They are great in hanging baskets, growing beautifully in full sun or part shade.
We initially spotted Bonfire begonias at flower trial gardens a few years ago. They were introduced to the horticultural world by Anthony Tesselaar International, an Australian company that specializes in environmentally-friendly, disease-resistant plants.
Our grower, John Miller, grows the Bonfires in our greenhouses in Hydes, MD. Starting from a small plug, the begonias take about eight weeks to grow before they are ready to sell at Valley View Farms; but, believe me, this is only the beginning. These eye-catching plants continue to get bigger, blooming all summer and well into fall. They will grow in hanging baskets, window boxes, patio pots,and in the garden border. Like many begonias, the Bonfires will grow indoors as well, offering gardeners the option of over-wintering their plants.
Bonfire begonias are available in individually potted plants and in two styles of hanging baskets right now at Valley View Farms.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

PLANT OF THE WEEK: Knock Out Roses

Knock Out Roses have changed the way we think about roses.
Not too long ago, growing roses meant maintenance; keeping diseases at bay and pruning regularly to keep new blooms coming. Bill Radler, the breeder of Knock Out Roses, has produced a new class of roses that will thrive in most of the country. Here in Maryland, they easily withstand the extremes of our cold winters and hot summers. They even put up with the humidity here in the mid-Atlantic area.
More importantly, Knock Outs look great. They provide the WOW power the garden is looking for. In our butterfly garden here at Valley View Farms, the roses engulf an old split rail fence and act as a backdrop for some of the other plants that attract the butterflies. In my own garden, I've learned to cut Knock Out Roses in early spring to keep them from getting too tall along the narrow pathway to my back yard. I wish I had more space so that I could plant a beautiful hedge in full sun along the property line somewhere.
Knock Out Roses are now available in many colors, including the original Cherry Red, Pink, Rainbow, Blush, Sunny (yellow), White and Double Knock Out Pink and Red.
Bill Radler is sure to continue breeding for more colors and disease resistance.