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The Garden Guy: A Heart to Heart Handoff with Caladium of the Year

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By Norman Winter | Horticulturist, Author, Speaker

This time of the year you see stories not only looking back at 2023 but, of course, the prognostications for 2024. This is fun to do in the gardening world, too. For instance, the Proven Winners ‘Caladium of the Year’ for 2023 was Heart to Heart Scarlet Flame. This was an eye-opener for a lot of gardeners.

You see we think of caladiums in two basic types or forms, fancy leaves and strap leaves. Fancy leaves are large, heart or semi-heart shaped. Strap or lance-leaves are narrow, some ruffled, and generally shorter. So, this has led many gardeners to choose sides, as in bigger is better.
Scarlet Flame, the 2023 Caladium of the Year, is a strap-leaved selection and won our hearts with the number of leaves produced, vibrancy of color and the ability to work in mixes or partnerships most of us have never dreamed about.

I’ll never forget the combination with Blue Mohawk rush and Sweet Caroline Medusa Green ornamental sweet potato. It is also a caladium for sun or shade. Those of us who paid attention, will never roll our eyes at the suggestion of a strap-leaved variety again.

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

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Outdoor

Parting Shot: Grit Against the Storm…

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By Jelly Cocanougher

Brazen rumbles cut through the daylight stillness. Enamored by the grandiose symphony of the firmament, tinged in anticipation from where the light will snap next.
The clouds dance in the sky as a love letter to the electrically-charged synergy of the ground and air. It moves unashamed, reckless, and bold. It is raw power that could command attention for any being, a reminder that we are attuned to the primal opus of flora and fauna. The spirit of the prairie was awakened, the hands of a cowboy rests at the heart of it all, a symphony in combination.

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Grazing North Texas

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By Tony Dean, [email protected]

There are a handful of mean-spirited plants that seem to have developed a liking to growing in places where they are a nuisance on North Texas grazing lands. One of those plants is definitely tasajillo. I can not count the number of gates I have had to open that required a fight with this prickly foe.

I now realize there is a plausible reason why so many fence lines and gates are home to tasajillo, being that birds eat the seeds, and then deposit them along the fences thus creating a virtual nursery for this unfriendly species.

Tasajillo is a perennial member of the cactus family and can be found in all areas of the state, but with less presence in deep East Texas. It grows as individual plants or as thicket-forming clumps. This cactus seems to be most adapted to loamy soils and is often found in association with mesquite.
To read more, pick up a copy of the March 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

This time of the year is fun for a garden writer as we get the opportunity to look forward to 2024. This month the focus is Supertunia Vista Jazzberry petunia, Proven Winners 2024 Annual of the Year.

Proven Winners is a recognizable brand in the green industry and in most cases, it is what the name says it is, a winner. Supertunia Vista Jazzberry petunia is a prime example. It made its debut in 2021 which is also when I started trialing it and the year the awards started piling up. To date, Supertunia Vista Jazzberry has won 32 awards that are in print. Seven of those awards have been Perfect Score.

The where of these Perfect Scores speaks volumes. As an example, the University of Georgia, and the University of Minnesota. This covers north to south. Then there is the University of Tennessee and Oklahoma State in the middle, and there are gold medals in Illinois and Director’s Select at Penn State.

To read more, pick up a copy of the February 2024 issue of NTFR magazine. To subscribe by mail, call 940-872-5922.

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