Greenhouse Canada

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Consumer Watch: Varieties worth waiting for


May 1, 2009
By Amanda Ryder


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After months of peering into a snow-covered backyard, Canadians across the country are already eagerly awaiting any opportunity to get out in the grass and start preparing for spring. Your customers have been flipping through consumer gardening magazines, marking what new varieties and techniques they want to include in their backyard patch this year. Here’s a look at what the latest gardening magazines are highlighting.

After months of peering into a snow-covered backyard, Canadians across the country are already eagerly awaiting any opportunity to get out in the grass and start preparing for spring. Your customers have been flipping through consumer gardening magazines, marking what new varieties and techniques they want to include in their backyard patch this year. Here’s a look at what the latest gardening magazines are highlighting.

The Early Spring edition of GardenWise features which varieties will be hot in 2009. The list is filled with bold and eccentric varieties bursting with colour. Making the list is Campanula ramosissima ‘Meteora’, Let’s Dance Moonlight, a romantic pink hydrangea, Swainsona formosa, Gomphrena ‘Fireworks’, Lantana ‘Mary Ann’, Lewisia ‘Sunset Mix’, Zinnia elegans Distance ‘Cherry’ and ‘Golden Pod,’ an heirloom sugar snap pea.

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The Annual 2009 issue of Canadian Gardening is a special issue with a strong focus on how gardeners can garden smarter and become more eco-friendly. One particular article looks at how native plants can be an easy-to-care-for alternative. By matching the native plant to the conditions in their gardens, gardeners can reduce the amount of water, fertilizers and chemical pesticides that they use. Some of the varieties that your customers could be reading about include prairie smoke (Geum triflorum) and bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis) for spring; spotted geranium (geranium maculatum) and twin flower (Linnaea borealis) for late spring or early summer; tickseed (Coreopsis lanceolata) and purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) for midsummer; pearly everlasting (Anaphalis spp.) and ironweed (Vernonia fasciculate) for late summer; and bottle gentian (Gentiana andrewsii) and prairie dropseed grass (Sporobulus heterolepis) for fall.

The issue also highlights which backyard trends are old news and which new eco-trends people will be soon buzzing about. Here’s a breakdown of what consumers will soon be asking for:

  Old   New  
  Great expanses of lawn: hard to maintain and pesticide/water hungry   Grass replacements like trees, shrubs, perennials and groundcovers  
  Chlorinated swimming pools   Saltwater swimming pools  
  Asphalt driveways: rain run-off pollutes stormwater and adds toxins to our waterways   Porous paving surfaces that soak in rain water: surfaces like cobblestone, paving blocks or grid systems with live plants  
  Chromated copper arsenate (CCA) pressure-treated wood for fences, decks and picnic tables   Redwood and cedar are woods that don’t need to be treated, as well as non-wood materials like plastic or metal  

Trends to watch also include green roofs, straw bale outbuildings, living walls and potager gardens filled with ornamental vegetables, herbs, edible flowers, annuals and perennials.