Five new plant varieties and five new gardening products have won 2010 MGA Green Thumb Awards presented by the Mailorder Gardening Association. Bringing home awards in the Plants, Bulbs and Seeds division were Agave neomexicana ‘Sunspot’ from High Country Gardens, Advantage Cell Grown Transplant from Fall Creek Farm and Nursery, Double Phlox ‘Tiara’ from Van Bourgondien, Spice Zee Nectaplum from Nature Hills Nursery and Botanical Selections Seed Packet Line from Botanical Interests.
Honored in the Tools, Supplies and Accessories division were Eleanor’s Garden Container Kit from Eleanor’s Garden, Territorial’s Tasty Tomato Collection from Territorial Seed Company, FreezePruf™ Frost Protector for Plants from The Liquid Fence Company, Iron X™ Selective Weed Killer for Lawns from Gardens Alive! and Critter Chaser XR™ Deer and Rabbit Repellent Strips from Gardens Alive!
Winners of the 2010 MGA Green Thumb Awards were chosen by an independent panel of garden writers and editors. The winning products were selected based on their uniqueness, technological innovation, ability to solve a gardening problem or provide a gardening opportunity, and potential appeal to gardeners.
The MGA Green Thumb Awards recognize outstanding new garden products available by mail or online. The awards are sponsored by the Mailorder Gardening Association, the world’s largest nonprofit association of companies that sell garden products directly to consumers. For more information, visit the MGA website.
‘Sunspot’ is the most cold-hardy variegated Agave currently in cultivation. This succulent, evergreen native plant has stout blue-green leaves with striking, creamy-yellow variegation on the outer leaf edges. The plant’s main rosette is just 12-15 inches wide and 9-12 inches tall, making it small enough for virtually any garden and a perfect container plant. When grown in the ground, ‘Sunspot’ will produce “pups” which will grow to form a multi-stemmed cluster of variegateed rosettes. Agave neomexicana ‘Sunspot’ is cold hardy in USDA zones 6-9. Plants sell exclusively from High Country Gardens, (800) 925-9387.
Advantage Cell Grown Transplants offer an innovative alternative to bareroot plants. Fall Creek Nursery’s 30 years of experience in producing blueberry plants for mailorder garden catalogs has resulted in a unique cell growing system. Blueberry plants grown as Advantage Cell Grown Transplants have fully intact, vigorous and clean root systems, which minimize transplant shock. The plant’s increased vigor will result in faster plant growth and fruit production, as well as increased overall plant health and ease of handling. Garden catalogs that sell Advantage Cell Grown blueberry plants include J.W. Jung, J.E. Miller Nurseries and Nourse Farms.
Plant species are constantly being lost throughout the world as a result of habitat loss, climate change, pollution, insect and disease problems and even over-collection in the wild. Botanical Interests is working with botanic gardens throughout the United States to protect native North American species that are rare and potentially endangered. The initial 15 varieties offered in the Botanical Selections line of seeds were chosen in conjunction with the Denver Botanic Gardens. The varieties include Artemisia Fringed Sage, Prairie Aster, Compass Plant, Echinacea Yellow Coneflower, Fleabane, Butterfly Gaura, Leadplant, Scarlet Globemallow, Firecracker Penstemon and Prairie Blue Sage. From Botanical Interests, (720) 880-7293.
Spice Zee Nectaplum™ is a delicious cross between a nectarine and a plum that boasts the best of both fruits. The white-fleshed, soft ripe fruit mature early with a sugary yet spicy-sweet flavor. The fruit’s skin is dark maroon at fruit set, and then it turns pale pink when ripe. The soft, ripe fruit is unparalled in flavor, and both the nectarine and plum traits are easily detectable. In addition to providing abundant fruit with great flavor, Spice Zee Nectaplum is a beautiful ornamental tree with purplish-pink springtime blooms followed by dark red leaves that mature to a rich greenish red in late summer. The nectaplums on this self-pollinating tree are ready to harvest in late July. From Nature Hills Nursery, (888) 864-7663.
Double Phlox Tiara is the first ever double flowering phlox, bringing a new look to a perennial garden favorite. The beautiful, pristine double-white flowers unfurl like a rose bud atop compact deep green foliage. As an added bonus, these double-petaled flowers are delightfully fragrant. Large, number one size roots mean vibrant, robust plants that are cold hardy throughout USDA zones 4-8. From Van Bourgondien, (888) 528-8333.
Eleanor’s Garden is a complete, compact and portable garden-in-a-kit that includes everything you need to raise fresh, healthy food. This urban gardening system addresses and eliminates virtually every barrier to gardening. Accommodating nearly any space, the system expands both vertically and horizontally with additional kits. Eleanor’s Garden makes gardening simple and enjoyable for people of all ages and abilities—no matter where you live. The garden’s four-square-foot containers and unique interlocking drainage collection system prevent water damage. Available from Eleanor’s Garden, (877) 476-9834.
Tomatoes are America’s favorite backyard garden crop, and Territorial’s Tasty Tomato Collection is a treasure trove of everything a gardener needs to successfully grow tomatoes from seed. The kit includes a 10-inch by 20-inch flat with 50 peat pots nestled inside, a seven-inch-tall vented propagation dome, an eight-quart bag of organic seed starting mix, five pounds of Territorial’s complete 6-5-3 fertilizer, red mulch, three kozy coats to keep plants protected during chilly nights, a tomato growers test kit and a 32-page booklet that answers virtually every tomato-growing question. Also included are five kinds of tomato seeds: Sweet Million Cherry, Stupice Ultra Early, Fantastic Beefsteak, Brandywine and Heinz 2653 sauce tomato. The collection sells exclusively from Territorial Seed Co., (800) 626-0866.
Now there is a way to protect plants against a sudden frost or freeze. FreezePruf™ is a scientific breakthrough that improves a plant’s natural cold tolerance up to 9.4 degress Fahrenheit (depending upon the variety of the plant). Developed by botanists, this eco-safe spray protects a plant externally and systemically by enhancing both its natural “anti-freeze” properties and its ability to survive ice crystal damage. FreezePruf’s biodegradable formula is designed to resist washing away by rain or snow, and one application of the spray lasts up to six weeks. FreezePruf is available from Stokes Tropicals, (866) 478-2502, and from www.LiquidFence.com .
Iron X™ Selective Weed Killer for Lawns suppresses weeds quickly and effectively without damaging grass. Iron X targets broad-leaf weeds such as dandelions, clover, chickweed, plantain and more. This all-natural product is made from iron, and once sprayed over a lawn it will kill weeds within days. People and pets can enter the treated area as soon as the spray dries. A 16-ounce bottle of concentrate, which makes 3.25 gallons of spray, sells exclusively from Gardens Alive!, (513) 354-1482.
Now there is an easy and environmentally friendly way to protect prized flowers, trees, shrubs and vegetable gardens from pesky four-legged critters. Using a patented technology, Critter Chaser XR™ Deer and Rabbit Repellent Strips release an odor slowly and evenly over time that deer and rabbits can’t stand. These odors mimic those of carnivorous predators, so ravenous deer and rabbits stay away. But these odors are not offensive to people. Place Critter Chaser XR strips every two to four feet to keep the critters away. Replace every four to five weeks for best results. A package of five Critter Chaser XR strips sells exclusively from Gardens Alive!, (513) 354-1482.
Since 1998, the MGA Green Thumb Awards have recognized the best new plants and gardening products available each year from gardening catalogs and websites. The Mailorder Gardening Association, the world’s largest nonprofit association of companies that sell garden products directly to consumers, sponsors the MGA Green Thumb Awards. For more information, visit the MGA website.
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