2018 the year of the...
Each year the National Garden Bureau, the gardening industry's marketing arm, selects one annual, one perennial, one bulb and one edible plant as their crop of the year. Each selection is made by considering the plant’s popularity, ease of growing, adaptability, genetic diversity and versatility. Here are this year’s picks.
The tulip says “spring” like no other flower. This colourful bloom is a feast for our snow-blind eyes. With over 150 species of tulips and over 3,000 different varieties, it’s hard to imagine a colour that doesn’t exist! Red tulips represent true love, white tulips say “I’m sorry,” and purple tulips symbolize royalty. The world’s annual tulip crop exceeds four billion bulbs, with Holland producing the bulk of them. Tulips look best when planted in informal groups of 12 or more and shine their brightest the first spring after planting.
The Calibrachoa is a relatively new flower, making its rise to stardom in the early 1990s. It originated in Brazil just like its cousin, the petunia, and in fact, it used to be a part of the same genus. They were popular for hanging baskets and pots but not so much in the soil as they had a reputation as being “hard to grow.” Now there are much more tolerant varieties of calibrachoa and their vibrant colour makes them stand out wherever you plant them. Some colours will even change, based on temperature, fading or deepening as the weather changes.
The beet continues to climb in its popularity as we learn more and more about just how good it is for us. In ancient Rome it was actually consumed as a medicine and now we consume every part of this nutritious plant! We enjoy the greens in salad, the roots in our borscht and pickle slices and shreds taste good with just about anything! Beets are high in anti-oxidants, calcium, potassium, phosphorus and folic acid. Table beets come in many shapes and colours and are great for the health-conscious individual as well as being easy to grow.
This “cheerful” member of the sunflower family exudes a lovely sunny presence wherever it finds its home. The early North Americans used these yellow and gold flowers to make tea before coffee came on the scene. The name coreopsis comes from the Greek words “koris” for bedbug and “opsis” for view, referring to the shape of the dry fruit on the plant. Botanists often refer to it as “tickseed” in reference to the annoying little critters that their seeds resemble. The coreopsis has a carefree growing nature and prefers well-drained soil in a sunny location but will also do well in containers.