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The Garden Guy

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By Norman Winter | Horticulturist, Author, Speaker

The Garden Guy has become completely mesmerized by a bowl of blackcurrants. You can guess I am having a little fun with you. I am not talking about the fruit but the flowers referred to as Superbells Blackcurrant Punch.

This year most everything came through the winter including a few plants I am even asking where did you come from? The spring has been long, gloriously beautiful and still in progress and all of the Superbells calibrachoas taking your breath away with their beauty.
I have written about the ‘Punch Group’ but never about a single color. I love every one of them but this year I just have to dedicate a column to Superbells Blackcurrant Punch. Yes, I do have a couple of yellow bowls where they are showing out but in reality, they are mixed in a lot of my containers.

Superbells Blackcurrant Punch has won a ‘baker’s dozen’ of awards, Top Performers, and Perfect Scores north to south and east to west. Like the others they reach about 12 inches tall with up to a two-foot spread. They obviously have some cold tolerance as mine have come through the winter. The caveat is they did spend five consecutive nights in the garage. Their beauty in March and April has defied logic.

To read more, pick up a copy of the June 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

As a national garden writer, I can tell the trumpet call has gone out for the long summer ahead. This is a call for petunias, summer’s favorite flowers, and they are trumpet shaped, of course. This call is also one of panic as I hear it in the voices of gardeners saying, “I can’t find my bubblegums.”

This means they can’t find their Supertunia Vista Bubblegum petunias. There is little doubt this is the most awarded petunia of all time. You can count them, 296 awards filling 10 pages. Bubblegums and all of the Supertunias, are among the most awarded flowers available to gardeners. By awards I’m referring to rigorous university trials in both the United States and Canada.

You want to get them planted now while the temperatures are mild over much of the country and acclimation is nice and easy. Even in the south it is a great time to plant before triple digit heat indexes are the norm. Planting now will give you the longest time to enjoy a Supertunia Summer Celebration. You want to plant now because everyone is ready for season color and shopping at the local garden center is among the stiffest competition. Hence the panic over Bubblegums.

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

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Parting Shot: Big Shoes to Fill

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By Jelly Cocanougher

It starts with absorbing how to drive on old ranch roads. The beat-up pickup that has run a million miles and is somehow still hanging on – almost always with some quirks to it. I remember holding a passenger truck door closed with a rope, checking on pastures. I remember being at a farm auction baffling a half a dozen men starting a raggedy old feed truck with a scrawny wire you had to jiggle. Feet dangling trying to reach the pedals of a sketchy old truck, navigating the dirt roads with a cold Dr. Pepper and chocolate bar.

You inherit your grand daddy’s oversized gloves that are way too big to avoid pinching your fingers. From observing and acquiring the wisdom from delivering babies, mending fences, checking out water gaps, to doctoring and holding the iron that holds your generational brand. Raising the next generation right – in the dirt and absorbing how the world works.

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Parting Shot: Harvesting Resilience, The Timeless Strength of Agriculture

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By Jelly Cocanougher

He stands smiling next to a loaded trailer of cattle, a poignant snapshot of ranchers in their day-to-day activities. He is absorbed into the generational rich legacy of agriculturally based professions, with grueling hours that have poured in from the livelihood of this lifestyle.
As the heavy clouds loom in the horizon, he remains unfazed, ready to weather any challenge that comes his way. Fueled by passion and in cadence, information that has been developed from generations before him or us all, we are the backbone of agricultural communities.

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