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The Garden Guy

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By Norman Winter | Horticulturist, Author, Speaker

There is a real upside to two new sweet potatoes making their debut in 2023. I mean that tongue and cheek, as that is actually part of their name, but their application in the landscape looks to be amazing. Here is the skinny so to speak; Sweet Caroline Upside Key Lime and Sweet Caroline Upside Black Coffee, two climbing sweet potatoes, will be hot commodities in 2023.

My first thought was why do we need a climbing sweet potato when they run, cascade, tumble, and drape with perfection? Most of all I asked what do we do with them? So, with that thought in mind I gave my trial plants to my son, James.

The new Sweet Caroline Upside sweet potatoes have scored really high in trials, as in 4.79 out of five at Penn State Flower Trials at the Southeast Agricultural Research & Extension Center. In Louisiana, they were recognized as Blue Chip Winning plants at the Louisiana State University AgCenter Hammond Research Station.

To read more pick up a copy of NTFR magazine. To subscribe call 940-872-5922.

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The Garden Guy

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By Norman Winter, Horticulturist, Author, Speaker

Nothing quite like Pink Cashmere to put the happy face on a summer that has turned oppressive from heat and humidity. No, this is not part of The Garden Guy’s latest watering wardrobe, but a new Superbena verbena making its debut in 2024.

The past three years, Superbena verbenas have steadily climbed the lists of most popular butterfly plants at The Garden Guy’s house. Varieties like Cobalt, Stormburst, Whiteout, and Royal Chambray can hold their own with a lantana any day of the week when it comes to bringing in pollinators.

To read more, pick up a copy of the September issue of NTFR magazine. To subscribe by mail, call 940-872-5922.

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Grazing North Texas

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By Tony Dean, [email protected]

Buffalobur is another one of those North Texas grazing land plants we need to be aware of, but not because it is good for grazing. This shallow tap-rooted annual is in the potato family, as is its cousin, Silverleaf nightshade. Both are poisonous plants.

Besides being a poisonous plant, buffalobur is just about the most unfriendly plant around. It forms a rounded mound from 12 to 30 inches tall and has stout, golden yellow prickles on the stems and leaves. I have vivid memories as a boy of walking into buffalobur while hoeing weeds in my uncle’s cotton patch. It just too a few encounters for me to learn to watch for this bad boy.

To read more, pick up a copy of the September issue of NTFR magazine. To subscribe by mail, call 940-872-5922.

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The Garden Guy

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By Norman Winter | Horticulturist, Author, Speaker

There was a new firecracker in town for the long Fourth of July celebration, and The Garden Guy could not have been happier. It is not the kind of firecracker to make noise other than the sounds of hummingbirds’ wings rushing in to feed. It is not just for July 4 but the entire summer as well. The plant I am referring to is Estrellita Little Star, the new Bouvardia or firecracker bush. While I flipped for the flowers, the old silver head guy went bonkers because he had never heard of a Bouvardia.

This plant is native to the southwest and needs my kind of soil in Georgia, but I am also from Texas so you would have thought I would have at least heard of Bouvardia. Bouvardia is in the Rubiaceae family with other great firecrackers like the Manettia cordifolia or firecracker vine which is incredible too, but I have never seen it for sale. Bouvardia is related to Ixora, Firebush and Crossandra too, which by the way is also a firecracker flower. The Rubiaceae family also has coffee and the gardenia, of which I would like to visit with a taxonomist on that one.

To read more, pick up a copy of the August issue of NTFR magazine. To subscribe by more, call 940-872-5922.

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