Colorful winter flowers and food |Bloomers Garden Center |Central Texas Gardener

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Thanks so much for sharing your garden withus and now we're going to be talking about one of my favorite topics, winter annuals,things that will really brighten up those winter months for you.

We are joined by MarcusYoung from Bloomers out in Elgin, and welcome back to Central Texas Gardener.

Thanks Tom,it's good to be here.

This is a fun thing for gardeners to do, to brighten up theirpatios with a lot of container plants and it's a way to really extend the seasons ofour gardening isn't it? Well absolutely and especially after a long hot summer.

We'reall looking forward to fall for cooler temperatures and to get some color and also some ediblethings in the landscape.

That's right and you know one of the nice things about thewinter annuals is it doesn't require that intensive every day attention that the summertimecontainer garden does.

Yeah so it's a much more user friendly type of garden.

Right,right.

Well we're gonna be talking about some of our old time favorites but also some coolnew things and as you mentioned edibles and we're gonna start off by talking about edibleshere.

A lot of really cool beautiful edible plants that people can be using during thewinter time.

Lots of the leaf crops and I'm gonna start by talking about this particularvariety of mustard green.

This is eye catching.

Yeah it's super ornamental and when you seethat it just begs to be put into a pot or combined with some flowers and it tastes good.

Yeah, well this is Osaka Purple and it's a mustard green.

And I just wanna – we'll puta couple of these together so people can get a sense of what they look like in combination.

I'm now holding up next to it a red-veined sorrel.

And what is sorrel used for, I hear itall the time, I assume it's something you can top your salads off with.

Yeah, this one inparticular is more of a leafy – as opposed to the french sorrel which is used more insoups and things like that.

This one is actually a great salad green so an annual variety butit's very winter hardy.

Yeah very attractive as well and I'm gonna put them down here butright next to this beautiful red lettuce as well.

So you can just do a container withjust these leaf crops.

It'd be eye catching and it's something you can harvest throughoutthe wintertime.

Yeah and you can just you know pick a few leaves off and throw themin your salad and they're easy to grow so they're a lot of fun.

A lot of fun for kidsto grow these as well, they have a lot of fun with these.

Well we have a couple – wellnot a couple we have a bunch – of really beautiful planted up containers.

The next one we'regoing to talk about features a lot of favorite winter annuals for color and let's start offby talking about calendula because this is a tough performer.

You've brought us whatlooks like a double flower form.

Right, so calendula is are also called pot marigoldand it has a long history of being an edible flower.

It has kind of a peppery taste toit but it's a wonderful fall flower and it doesn't like the heat so much but it's greatfrom winter through spring.

Yeah, a lot of these plants will just sail through the wintertimethen collapse say in late April right? Yeah, they'll usually go a little longer than thatI'd say you probably count on getting them through about mid to late May then it's timeto switch over.

Some of them like the sweet alyssum have a real problem with the heat,but the alyssum – I think the fragrance is great and really is perfect for hanging basketsbecause as you walk by you can really catch that sweet fragrance.

Yeah it reminds me ofhoney, it has a nice honey fragrance to it.

Yeah.

Well this is a pretty purple variety and there'salso some snapdragons in there.

We're gonna talk more about snapdragons later but thisis something you really wanted to get out.

If you want beautiful snapdragons in the spring,plant them in the fall, right? Yes, you really need to get them started in the fall and they'regonna bloom, they're gonna give you a nice fall bloom.

When the days get shorter they'llkind of shut down on blooming but they'll keep growing during the winter and come springyou'll have big beautiful plants and then they'll burst into bloom and they'll be justamazing.

Yeah, okay well you sold me already on that one.

Now the next thing we're goingto talk about – I want to talk about the container before we talk about the plants in the containeron this one.

This is like a strawberry pot on steroids.

Right, it's kind of a new takeon an old idea.

It's called a stackable or a stackapot.

The pots themselves are a lightweightplastic, but they hold a lot of soil, and it's just a great way to get a lot of differentthings in one container.

It's kind of cool.

And you can water the top and it just filtersdown to the bottom.

Yes, each separate level has drainage that drains into the bottom layer,so you get a great watering effect, and it's really something new and kind of neat.

Itis a very attractive thing, and for people who want to grow in very tight spaces multiplethings, this is the perfect response.

And again, the top here we have some more calendulas,kind of a center piece to show some color at the top, but we have these beautiful lettucesup there too.

Yeah, lettuces are so fun to grow, and they thrive in the fall and wintermonths.

So you have the red sails there, and you have the buttercrunch, which is the greenleafy one, and the other lighter green-red one is Patty's choice, that's a selectionfrom Renee's garden seeds.

And down below that in the tower we also have pansies, andin the very bottom left there are some kales, right? Yes, and those are kales that are ornamentalbut also edible, so there's a starbor, which is the white leaf one.

That one gets supercurly, so it's really attractive.

And the redbor is going to give you the great red magentacolor.

The thing about the kales is the colder it gets, the better they taste andthe prettier they are.

Interesting, I didn't know that.

Well down in front of that we havea beautiful bowl, and we have in this some viola, which are related to pansies of course,and the pansies and the violas are just like a favorite winter color, right? Number onewinter color plant probably.

Yes, absolutely, and those are also, going along with the ediblethem, the flowers are edible on both of those.

Ok.

They can survive anything our winter wantsto dish up.

It's amazing what they survive during the cold season (Yes, it is) but thenwhen the heat comes forget about it.

Right.

But the petunias in that are kind of interesting.

Those are really full, double form.

Yeah, and the petunias are traditionally thoughtof as a spring crop, but it really is a great fall flower.

They'll hand in there prettywell in most of our winters, and that double petunia is a real eye catcher.

We have anotherbowl just beside that with kale and a lot of other things.

What's that variety of kale?That's a striking red form.

Yeah, that's a red Russian, and that's a very prolific varietyof kale from Russia, very good tasting.

That one you can harvest the leaves, just throwthem in a salad, or you can certainly cook them and steam them.

Well kale is like thesuper food of the moment, right? Or it's one of them.

It absolutely is.

It's loaded withvitamins and minerals and great fiber.

We all need to eat more kale.

Eat more kale,that's our motto.

Now I was bragging on the pansies just a moment ago, and you broughta flat that has three different forms in it.

I particularly like the one that's calledMorpheus which has a bright, bright coloration.

It's just a beautiful combination of colors.

The yellow and the purple.

But it's in the matrix series, so the Morpheus, then in thecenter there's another Morpheus.

That's in the matrix series as well, I know.

And thenthere's the Colossus, is that the name? Colossus purple, yeah.

It's another great pansy.

Theone trick people need to know to do pansies is deadhead them all.

Yes, if you don't deadheadthem, the flowers will go to seed, and then they'll start putting energy into seed production.

So keep pinching off those heads.

Off with their heads as they say.

That's the motto,that's another good motto for us today.

Speaking of heads, we have heads of cabbage and otherkinds of things, all sorts of greens in this next flat.

Actually I don't see cabbage, butI see lots of other greens in there.

But all sort of herbs and things.

Fall is a greattime for planting herbs as well.

A lot of people who are really experienced in gardeningsay this is the time.

This is it, especially if you want to grow things like parsley andcilantro, the thymes, which are all kind of sensitive to the heat.

The dill, fennel – theseare all great fall performers.

And then you have the salad greens in there, the mustardgreens, so yeah it's a great combination.

Again, any sunny bed will do and great drainagefor those plants.

Good drainage.

Mix some compost in there, and keep your leafy vegetablesand flowers fed, they like to be fed pretty regularly.

True.

Now just a brief amount oftime left, we want to make sure we talk about the snapdragons.

You brought a beautiful bowl,a container planted up.

Tell me about getting the snapdragons to perform.

That containeris the taller series, the liberty series, which is going to 18-24 inches tall, so thatwill give you some height.

There's also a rocket series which gets 3 feet tall.

Andthen the carpet series which is the dwarves.

The key to those is to get them started inthe fall and they'll perform and do great and then you'll have beautiful color in thespring.

Alright, well Marcus, thank you so much for coming out.

Marcus Young again fromBloomers in Elgin on 95 North, great to have you with us on Central Texas Gardener.

ThanksTom.

Alright, coming up next is our friend Daphne.

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