2019-01-11 / Home & Garden

2019 is the year of the...

Stopping to smell the flowers
By Arlene Marturano SCGardenLearning
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Each new year the National Garden Bureau, a non-profit organization dedicated to educating, motivating, and inspiring the public to increase their use of plants in homes, public gardens, and the workplace, selects an annual, perennial, bulb, and edible to showcase in “The Year of the…” series. Plants selected must be easy to grow and propagate, adaptable and durable in a variety of growing conditions, genetically diverse, and perform multiple purposes in the landscape. The 2019 tetrad is described below.

Snapdragons (Antirrhinum majus) are cool-season annuals in USDA zones 7-10. Coming in vibrant colors as well as pastels and bi-colors and various heights from dwarf to tall to trailing, snapdragons thrive in southern fall and winter gardens reseeding to gift the gardener by returning every year. The nostalgic dragon-shaped tubular flowers that open and close when snapped, were probably first seen in your grandmother’s garden as a playful puppet plant. Today’s new flower forms have open-face blooms and double blossoms. Slip snapdragons in hanging baskets, window boxes, patio planters and in ground beds.


Salvia ‘Spring King’ is a first year purple flowering salvia from Dummen Orange in the Netherlands. Salvia ‘Spring King’ is a first year purple flowering salvia from Dummen Orange in the Netherlands. Ornamental woodland sage (Salvia nemorosa) has several hundred garden varieties available for the sun-loving butterfly or pollinator garden. The hardy perennial is considered a carefree easy to manage mint family member. Salvia provides a season of succesthrips, sive bloom provided the gardener aggressively cuts back spent bloom to encourage rebloom. Removing all brown foliage in fall promotes healthy growth next spring. Since salvia leaves are not on the preferred menu of deer and rabbits but bees and hummingbirds frequent flowers, use the plants to your advantage.


Pumpkins are one of the most fun plants for children to grow. Pumpkins are one of the most fun plants for children to grow. Dahlias (Dahlia spp.), the native flower of Mexico, are tuberous plants in the Composite family. Sixteenth century Spanish conquistadors discovered them while conquering the Aztecs. Today’s dahlias have been hybridized with many colors, shapes, sizes and habits available. Flower faces range in diameter from 2- 15”. The largest flowers are ‘dinner plate dahlias’. Dahlias prefer full sun and rich, well-drained soil. Ample water and fertilization keeps them actively growing and flowering from mid-summer to frost. Remove faded blooms in summer to encourage continuous bloom. Aphids, corn borer, spider mites, and slugs are common pests. Diseases include tuber rots, powdery mildew and mosaic virus.

Pumpkins (Cucurbita pepo) are a nutritious edible crop native to Central America. As members of the Cucurbit family they are kin to squash, cucumber, and melons. Pumpkin seeds are planted in hills in mid-June in the Midlands for a fall harvest. Pollinators are needed for fruit production. Pumpkins are heavy feeders requiring nitrogen for vine growth and phosphorus for fruit production. While pumpkins are adapted to most South Carolina good draining soils with a pH of 6.2-6.5, heat and humidity can be a challenge. Common fungal diseases include powdery mildew, downy mildew, bacterial wilt, fruit rot, and anthracnose.


Snapdragon ‘Crackle and Pop’ lilac bicolor is a new early flowering dwarf snapdragon from FloraNova breeders. Snapdragon ‘Crackle and Pop’ lilac bicolor is a new early flowering dwarf snapdragon from FloraNova breeders. Park Seed in Greenwood sells seed of each of the 2019 plants. Brent and Becky’s Bulb sells dahlia tubers.


Dahlia ‘Starsister Red Stripes’ with a distinct star pattern in the flower center was hybridized by Dummen Orange.Dahlia ‘Starsister Red Stripes’ with a distinct star pattern in the flower center was hybridized by Dummen Orange.

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