Monthly Archives: January 2012

Serena® Blue Angelonia

Look For This Plant

Serena® Blue Angelonia

Serena® Blue Angelonia is a lush green plant with  true blue flower color.  photo by PBH

(Angelonia angustifolia) is some times called Summer Snapdragon. This sweet blue flower bloomed late spring, all summer and until frost.

No matter where you plant it, this perky upright flower is drought tolerant, heat tolerant and low maintenance. Honestly, this plant received no extra attention. I did not fertilize the angelonia all season. It did receive occasional watering during a long summer of drought.

I can only imagine how beautiful the angelonia would be with a little attention, regular watering and fertilizer. The plants reached over a foot tall with bright green foliage and narrow leaves. I planted this Ball trial in a raised bed in full sun.

The plant grew to just over a foot tall and at least that wide. Blooming nonstop all season, Angelonia needs no pinching or deadheading.

This Serena® Blue Angelonia is a clear blue upright continuous bloomer. Two more new varieties, Serena Waterfall Mixture Angelonia and Serena Mixture Improved Angelonia are beautiful color combinations. Also in this series are lavender, purple and white.

Serena® angelonia blue was a trial plant sent to me by Ball Horticultural Company  for evaluation. Angelonia is much hardier than the delicate looking blooms and foliage appear. It is truly care free. There was no hint of disease or insect damage.

I love the non fade blue color that was not phased by last summers extreme heat. I would buy this plant again and would recommend it to my friends.

More color choices:

Waterfall Mixture photo: Ball

Mixture Improved photo: Ball






Secret Valentines

When we were courting, my first husband gave me flowers all the time. He always brought me flowers. It is one of the reasons I fell in love with Jules.

He doesn’t bring me flowers anymore. Thank heavens. After we were married, instead of buying flowers, he bought me three acres. Now I grow my own flowers.

These days, if my husband bought Valentines Day roses, I might reply – in a most loving way, of course – “Are you nuts? We can’t afford roses in Winter!” Joint bank accounts and the frugal habits of a gardener will win out over seasonally inflated prices every time. Jules is my first and only husband and lifetime valentine.

Young women sometimes sit around waiting for flowers to be delivered to them. It takes a while to figure out that we get much more when we give. When we get a little older and wiser we know that sending secret valentines and friendship cards is as heartwarming as finding one in your own mailbox.

Drop a valentine in the mail to someone who might not get one. Warm up a frosty February day with a random act of kindness.

We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give. – Winston Churchill

Indigo Rose, a purple tomato


Saladette tomatoes, the smaller tomatoes, but bigger than cherries.

Saladette tomatoes, the smaller tomatoes, but bigger than cherries.

Linnaeus Day
Garden writer and photographer Christopher Tidrick, who lives and gardens in Champaign IL USA, has started a cool new blog, From The Soil.

Chris has started a Linnaeus Day series, where he and his blogging friends write about the history of a plant growing in our own garden. It’s on the 23rd of every month.

The series will honor Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus, the father of modern botanical taxonomy. Born May 23, 1707. This is some of his work:  the photo is from Wikipedia 


This plant doesn’t have much of a history because it is a new tomato.

Grow your own superfood in the back yard. Indigo Rose Tomato is the first high anthocyanin tomato.

saladette tomato

Anthocyanin rich, organic tomato is now available to home gardeners. Photo: Helen Hilman

Jim Myers, dept of horticulture at Oregon State University has been working on this classically one for ten years. He’s still working on Indigo Rose, and you can expect some more traits.

Indigo Rose Tomato

  • 75 days from transplant to harvest.
  • 2 ounces each
  • indeterminate
  • organic

What are Anthocyanins?

Anthocyanin pigments are responsible for the red, purple, and blue colors of many fruits and vegetables. Anthocyanins offer protection against certain cancers, cardiovascular disease and age-related degenerative diseases. There is evidence that anthocyanins also have anti-inflammatory activity, promote visual acuity and hinder obesity and diabetes. Food scientists and horticulturists are interested in these compounds because of their importance to the color quality of fresh and processed fruits and vegetables.

The purple coloring occurs on the portion of the fruit that is exposed to light, while the shaded portion start out green and turn deep red when mature. Inside, the flesh reveals the same red tone.

In business for more than 60 years, Nichols Garden Nursery has seed for the New Indigo Rose Organic Tomato. Nichols is an original signer of the Safe Seed Pledge, and offers no GMO/Genetically engineered seeds or plants. All their seed are untreated.

I’ve been buying herb plants and vegetable seeds from Nichols for more than 20 years. I call Rose Marie Nichols McGee when I have herb questions. One of my favorite food garden blogs is her Garden Pantry.

Buy seed here:

Nichols Garden Nursery is an independent family business serving home gardeners for more than 60 years. Phone – 800-422-3985.

Johnny’s Selected Seeds helping families, friends, and communities to feed one another by providing superior seeds, tools, information, and service. Phone – 877-Johnnys (877-564-6697).

Territorial Seed Company wants customers to be 100% satisfied with both the seed and supplies that you buy from them. Phone Orders: 800-626-0866.

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