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2002 Perennial Plant


Fri, May 3rd, 2002
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of the Year
Virginia CooperMonday, March 4, 2002

The Perennial Plant Association has named Phlox 'David' to be the plant of the year. Each year this esteemed group chooses a plant whose character and grace deserve a place of honor.

If you've grown Phlox, (and I mean the upright kind, not the draping, spring-blooming magenta kind), then you know it is nearly always covered with powdery mildew by midsummer. Phlox 'David' has shown great mildew resistance. It stands close to 3 feet tall so it is great for the back of the border and blooms when not much else is going on in the garden.

Its large heads are full of white blossoms that bloom for several weeks and usually rebloom if deadheaded early enough. Phlox is a plant whose clusters of tubular flowers attract butterflies and hummingbirds. Phlox also comes in pink, lavender and purple. It will reseed itself if left untended and, if happy, will provide years of color.

Powdery Mildew Trouble?
To keep mildew at bay on less resistant cultivars, try thinning each clump to about 6 or 8 stalks. Clip them down at the base before they get too tall. This reduces the leaf area and opens up the plant for better ventilation.

Mildew travels by spores, so if you have had a mildew problem in the past you may want to be careful to cut each plant to the ground in the fall and remove all leaves and stalks to the compost bin. Always water at the base of the plant and not the foliage. This reduces both moisture and humidity that increase spore spread and germination.

Other mildew resistant Phlox cultivars include: 'Eva Cullum', 'Miss Lingard', 'Rubymine', 'Laura' and my personal favorite, 'Katherine' (lavender and white bi-colored blossoms). Goldmine, shows good resistance and has really unusual varigated foliage.

Other plants usually covered with mildew by midsummer are Zinnias and Bee Balm. The new Zinnia 'Profusion' series shows great mildew resistance. Last year I grew both the 'Profusion' pink and the orange. They both bloomed quite profusely! The pink plants didn't grow as large as the orange, but the color was brilliant. I will grow them both again.

Bee Balm, or Monarda, is a beautiful plant that also attracts butterflies and hummingbirds. Like the Phlox it is tall, blooms at midsummer and has superior color. Also is usually covered in mildew about the time it blooms. Good choices for mildew resistance are: 'Marshall's Delight', 'Gardenview Scarl .....
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Tempos and Roadrunners

Fri, May 3rd, 2002
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Monday, May 6, 2002

We have two new used cars in the family within the past couple of months. My wife and I purchased one of them for Matt, our high school junior. The other is a "step-car". It sort of followed our oldest son, Bob, home.
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A Toast to Writers

Fri, May 3rd, 2002
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Monday, April 29, 2001

We held our semi-annual Journal writers get together last week at the Parkway Pub in Lanesboro. Most of the free-lance writers whose stories you read each week often send their work in by e-mail and dont often get the c ..... 
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