Sunday, April 17, 2011

Containers of Coleus

Saturday, April 17, 2011

Almost 9 PM and the wind is still blowing. Just returned from a brief walk with Karl the Wonder Dog...his choice. He is not enamored with thunder storms or wind. He demonstrated this dislike with a beeline for the house that straightened the leash and my arm like a shot of the lightning he dislikes. I thought for a minute he/we had just encountered our first bear of spring but he was trembling as I patted him and pushed him into the house. I do need to get back into "thinking bear" as they are programmed to tour houses at night when they awake in the spring and I know our house is on their "must visit" list.

I belong to the Garden Writers Association and do enough additional writing to receive promotional materials from hort companies. I have never been bothered by the mail and products we receive and sometimes am surprised that it arrives just because people know I like to garden. As 2010 ended, I received a CD from Ball Horticultural Company in Chicago. This is one of the largest seed companies in the world and marketing is something they have well planned. The CD provided plenty of marketing examples as well as photos that can be integrated with a growers own marketing endeavor. None of these are my personal pictures and their use is permitted by Ball. I like seeing the new offerings and perhaps you will too.

My eye caught the new-to-me pictures of coleus. This is a plant that has been given new life by several hybridizers who respect it for its diverse use. Gardeners often thought this was strictly a shade plant but modern varieties tolerate more sun, less shade, and when proper watering is considered, its potential grows too. Here are some new examples starting with Lava Rose up top and Chocolate Mint just below. Click to enlarge.

Chocolate Mint



Electric Lime

Mint Mocha


Dark Chocolate

Coleus make great plants to add to your containers. They do require pinching as the season progresses to keep them in shape but this is an easy operation. Actually you can root all the larger pieces you pinch off if you need extra plants. As summer moves along they will begin to flower. The flowers are not attractive and I think are best removed when they start. Kind of one of those hosta type analogies--do you leave the flower scapes or take them off? I'm a leave-them-on-hostas and a take-them-off-coleus person. Regardless, keep an eye out when you visit your favorite garden centers and give the new coleus varieties a try.

Writing from the mountain above Peacham Pond where warmer weather, melting snow and a now-clear back field will bring out the wildlife tonight. Have to remind Gail and Alex that the bears will be back. You remember too!

George Africa
The Vermont Gardener
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Cherdecor said...

You are a most gifted writer, George. I can see myself walking with you and your wonder dog. Love the picture you paint using words.

You are also a gifted gardener. Your coleus pictures are brilliant in color. Since last summer's drought, I have fallen in love with the coleus. They did well~ perhaps because they were planted in a pot and watered well.

PicketFenceCrafts said...

I love the pics of coleus. I have revived my love for coleus just last year when I bought a chocolate variety from a local garden center. It adorned my deck all summer and I brought it indoors in this winter (I live in Midwestern Illinois). I now have several starts from the mother plant to plant in my window boxes as soon as it warms up!