Archive for February, 2012

Check out Janet Carson’s posts on the Arkansas Flower and Garden Show in Little Rock, AR.

Here are some of her pictures from the show:

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Our Wave Petunias colored up over the week


This weather has everything screwed up. I hate to tell you all this, but it’s still February. There is nothing more frustrating for a grower than when the weather breaks early. It’s been nice all week, but we do have a cold front coming in today and tonight.

We have a lot of new items on the list but still don’t have a lot of color. We are listing a week ahead so what you see listed as Buds will be Light Color to Color by the end of next week depending on the variety of plants. Take a close look and make sure you pay attention to the comments. Also pay attention to any updated availabilities that will show when the items do color up. I am not trying to dissuade you from ordering. I just want you to make sure you know what you will be receiving if you do order. Hopefully we will have more color pop over the weekend and be able to add in some Color comments to our availability.


We will have more annuals and vegetables available this week as well as herbs and Stepables®. We will have some hanging baskets too but mostly foliage and fern baskets. A lot of our premium items like the Confetti Gardens will not be available for another week or two.

Here are the pictures:

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peppers-1204 petunias-J6


First Batch of Perennials

scabiosa red-homestead-verbena

Butterfly Bush Rudbeckia

Sedum Lemon Ball Leucanthemum Becky

Every year Arkansas has it’s Flower and Garden Show in Little Rock as do most other major and a lot of minor cities across the country. Fort Smith will have one coming up in March. We don’t attend these shows because they are targeting consumers instead of industry customers. I have often wondered if we should go to these shows if for no other reason than to support them and to promote the plant business in general.

Since we are not there, here are some updates from Janet Carson who is there and setting up the Extension Service booths.

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FEBRUARY 22, 2012

by uamg

Today was the set up day for the Arkansas Flower & Garden Show for the garden areas.  Since Extension has a large space with gardens, we started today.  We had two raised bed kits–one I got at Sam’s and one that we ordered for quite a price for our youth gardens. I really liked the value and ease of the Sam’s garden.  We had it together in less than 5 minutes and it is made of recycled wood and was only $49.  We have set up two raised bed vegetable gardens planted with vegetables, herbs and strawberries.  Chris came and got all the backdrops in and it looks quite nice.  Tomorrow we will add the rest of our exhibit, including a backyard chicken coop and rain barrel.  We unloaded 12 cartons of frozen edamame, 70 pounds of chicken and 231 pounds of tortillas.  We will have food demonstrations Friday – Sunday.

The rest of the gardens were busy constructing elaborate displays.  Loads of rock, brick and wood were coming in all day.  A much anticipated night garden looks pretty amazing.  In addition to trucks and hardscapes, there were loads of plants coming in–everything from small perennials and vegetables to huge trees and shrubs.  It is going to be another great show.  Tomorrow will be bedlam with the addition of 100 garden booths, the flower show and florists setting up.  Amazingly, it will all come together by Friday morning.  The huge space will be a gardeners wonderland.  We open at 10 on  Friday.

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Arkansas Flower & Garden Show, day 2

FEBRUARY 23, 2012

by uamg

Today was a busy day at the Statehouse Convention Center in downtown Little Rock.  This was day two of set up for the 2012 Arkansas Flower and Garden Show and it went like clockwork.  We got the extension booth set up and it looks great.  The gardens started set up yesterday and this morning multiple booths started coming in, followed by the single booths.  It really went smoothly, with loads of MG volunteers helping to unload and set up booths.  As I was out and about buying plants and arranging for booth items, I was on Kavanaugh in the Heights and saw a garden as I was driving by. I circled around and it was  a fabulous urban garden by Little Rock Urban Farming.  I have not heard of this, and it is a wonderful garden with row covers to protect from cold–of course, not needed today as it was 81 degrees!  They had some of the best looking spinach I have seen, along with loads of lettuce, Swiss chard, carrots and more cool season things.  I don’t know who maintains this, nor who reaps the benefits, but will try to find out.

Make sure you have time to come to the Statehouse Convention Center this weekend.  The gardens are really well done, along with so many diverse vendors. I got a sneak preview of the night garden and it is really cool.  I have already been shopping and bought this fabulous metal gardener with flowers.  We have added Myrtle Gardener to our booth and she is borrowing a MG nametag.  There are such great plants to choose from, along with so many different garden needs.  It is a good thing I can spread out my purchases over three (now four) days!  Hope to see you this weekend.

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Impatiens_dazzler_mix In case you haven’t kept up on the story about downy mildew on impatiens (Impatiens walleriana) like Dazzler and Super Elfin Impatiens in landscapes, last summer there were wide spread regional outbreaks of downy mildew on impatiens in trial gardens, flower beds and other landscape plantings in several states in Northeast, Florida and southern California as well as Canada, the UK and Asia.

Once the downy mildew sets in, it completely killed off all the plants in the area. There is a concern that there will be another widespread outbreak of downy mildew this year that could affect a much larger area of the country or that fears of an outbreak could affect impatiens sales.

Please be assured that here at Parks Brothers we are monitoring our impatiens plantings closely for this disease and will destroy any infected plants that may be discovered. However, in my opinion there seems to be an environmental element that is contributing to these outbreaks as opposed to infected plants being shipped from growers.

The cause of these widespread outbreaks is still being debated. No one can seem to agree on the cause of the outbreaks. I have attached links to more information.

Here is the latest from Greenhouse Grower

Will Impatiens Sales Be Hurt By Downy Mildew This Spring?

Isolated areas of the country had big enough problems in 2011 that even consumers were aware of the problem. Where is downy mildew likely to hit this year? Who will be spared?

February 21, 2012

By Carol Miller

Downy mildew alerts have been going out to growers around the country to make sure preventative measures are taken so the United States does not suffer the fate of Europe, where impatiens sales have dipped dramatically because of the disease.

In 2011, downy mildew was a big enough problem that news headlines like: “Disease killing impatiens, Florida’s top landscape flower” in Florida and “Impatiens Running Out In Cape Cod” in Massachusetts, two of the areas hardest hit by the disease.

Here are what two experts who have been following the disease here in the U.S. have to say:

Margery Daughtry, Cornell University:

Although Florida is having a terrible time with the disease right now, the Northeast and Midwest, etc., may see no problem this year if their plant supply chain is free from downy mildew. What I am waiting to find out this growing season is whether gardens that had downy mildew last year in the Northeast will develop the disease again on healthy plants put into those same beds. We have seen oospores forming in stems last year, which can, in theory, serve as overwintering structures. But I still need to witness whether this will indeed happen in the Northeast U.S. There is so very much we don’t know about this disease yet. But I think we have quite a few more years of enjoying impatiens ahead of us. Our climate is different from the U.K., in ways that might curb the disease in most years. Last year’s hurricanes really added to the drama.

Note that we are at the point today that the U.K. was way back in 2005, and they have had good years and bad years since. We should be careful not to overreact until we see how the disease will operate in different parts of the U.S.

Colleen Warfield, corporate plant pathologist, Ball Horticultural Co.:

The outbreaks (in 2011) tended to be late in the season in areas where there was a coastal or water-influence, periods of cool weather with fog, rain, or humidity. There has to be a source of inoculum in order for plants to become infected. If the pathogen overwinters in the affected landscape beds, this may impact beds in 2012. But in unaffected areas, unless the pathogen is introduced this season (by either infected plants or windblown spores, there is not likely to be an existing source of inoculum and the threat of impatiens downy mildew is low. With clean plants being sold at retail, the threat of buying an infected plant this season and bringing the problem into the home garden is very low.

Here are some links to some older articles on this:

Downy mildew causing problems on impatiens in the landscape
Your Impatiens Might Have Downy Mildew If…
Downy Mildew on Impatiens in Illinois
How To Overcome Downy Mildew Spread On Impatiens
Peace Farm Organics
February 2012