Garden with Gusto

by on August 15, 2011

Award-Winning Plants to Try

Your garden is planted and looking fantastic, but you probably have a few bare spots here and there—and it’s not too early to start thinking about how to fill those spots next season.

One great resource is the Missouri Botanical Garden’s 2011 Plants of Merit. With a list of 18 easy-to-grow plants, from trees to veggies and perennials, it won’t be hard to find something new to try in your garden. Check out these stand-outs:

'Purple Flash' ornamental pepper
‘Purple Flash’ ornamental pepper

(Capsicum annuum ‘Purple Flash’) has a good tolerance for heat, humidity, and drought. You’ll love its black foliage, dark purple flowers, and glossy, jet-black fruit.
'Afterglow' winterberry
‘Afterglow’ winterberry
(Ilex verticullata ‘Afterglow’, Zones 3 to 9) is compact and dense with orange-red berries and dark green leaves that turn a brilliant yellow-bronze in the fall.

Good Bugs to the Rescue

Orcon
You’ve probably heard that ladybugs are good bugs to have in your garden because they get rid of all kinds of bad bugs, like aphids. In fact, they eat up to 50 a day! But did you know there are lots of other beneficial insects that can help you control pests, too?

If you’re looking for organic solutions to garden pest problems, Orcon has the good bugs you need.

Got problems with mites, thrips, or aphids? Order some green lacewings, often called aphid lions because they can eat as many as 1,000 aphids a day. Try beneficial nematodes to conquer grubs, cutworms, and fungus gnats. Or get some help from predatory mites that will rid your garden of other, harmful mites.

Hungry Plants Will Love These Organic Options

To keep your plants healthy and happy, you’ve got to water them and feed them (and talk to them, of course!) When it comes to plant food, though, the sheer number of options on the nursery shelves can be confusing.

Every fertilizer has its place, but if you lean toward organic options in your garden, give these two organic fertilizers a try:

fishy option
fishy option

Fish Rich is made from toxin- and mercury-free fish and gives plants calcium in addition to nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium.
makes scents makes scents
Grow Big 5-2-1 from Grower’s Secret is a fish emulsion fertilizer with a fresh lavender scent. Its special formulation claims to improve plants’ ability to take up water and nutrients.

Both Fish Rich and Grow Big 5-2-1 are safe for pets, people, and the environment.

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