Monday, January 02, 2012

Making A List

The past two days have been very much like a real winter in the Chicago area, high winds and snow, not much, bringing along with it very low overnight temperatures.  We are expected to warm up into the forties again by late in the week.  This type of weather is not good for plants freezing and warming without the snow for protection.

It has been a good time to look at the catalogs I have received and dream of growing the perfect plants in 2012.  Isn't is great to be a gardener and be able to assist the life cycle each year hoping for the perfect outcome?  It doesn't always happen but it sure is an adventure!

My tomatoes have not always been a success, oh I do get a crop, but I also seem to get diseases along with them.  This year I am going to try a new introduction from the Burpee Catalog called Big Daddy.  It is bred from Big Boy and supposedly has a better taste and better disease resistance.

If you are really into tomatoes, Tomato Growers Supply Company has a great catalog with lots of varieties listed that you will never find at the local nursery, even tomatoes without names just letters and numbers!

Big Daddy Tomato

I have to grow a Yugoslavian Red Butterhead Lettuce (an heirloom variety) from The Cook's Garden catalog and Navara Red Oakleaf.  The colors of both of these lettuces stunning!

Yugoslavian Butterhead Lettuce

Navara Oakleaf Lettuce

My favorite pepper is also from Burpee, Mariachi Hybrid an All America Winner.  I have grown it the past two seasons and it is very prolific, medium hot.

Mariachi Pepper

Burpee has a new Echinacea called Warm Summer that blooms June through August, think I will try this one.  Pow Wow was an expensive potted Echinacea that I tried last summer without much success.  I was not impressed by it especially when it succumbed to the heat and humidity.

Warm Summer Echinacea

The Zahara Double Fire Zinnia was a winner last year along the south side and would look great with Burpee's new introduction zinnia called Pop Art Red and Yellow (says they love heat and strong sun).

Zinnia Zahara Double Fire

Zinnia Pop Art and Red

I am not quite sure yet what I am going to do about planting under my Ninebarks with Tidal Wave Silver Petunia.  It was quite a wonderful groundcover, sprawling and about two feet high.  The color was quite soft and I am wondering if I should go with something more striking like Shockwave Petunia Coral.  Park Seeds market the Tidal Wave and I have not yet received their catalog.

Tidal Wave Silver Petunia

Petunia Shockwave Coral Crush
Introduced by Ball Horticultural

I never thought I would be into seed starting again, but I am really enjoying the thought of doing it on a small scale with my four-tiered plant lights.  It is tucked into a corner in my basement utility room and am looking forward to filling it up this year!