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Hats Off to the Sombrero Series

Add a fiesta of color to your garden with Echinacea, commonly known as Coneflower. This summer, we're so excited about the new Sombrero Series of Coneflowers offering the trendiest, sizzling hot colors of 2012. Available in two varieties ~ Salsa Red and Hot Coral~ these beauties will set your garden ablaze with the deep, intense colors of a sunset on a hot summer day!

Coneflowers are long-blooming perennials that will offer up color from late spring all the way through summer. Remembering to dead head will prolong their flowering period. They require full sun and well-drained fertile soil. They are even a water-thrifty perennial that hold up even during the hottest summers. The brightly colored Sombreros are a single-flowered Echinacea that feature a well-branched and compact growing habit ~ growing about two feet tall and nearly as wide.

Coneflowers are easy to grow & maintain, and make a great addition to any landscape border. Their long sturdy stems rise above the compact foliage, making them an excellent choice for cut flowers. Their bold, dark green, coarse leaves contrast nicely with finely textured foliage of perennials such as the thread leaf Coreopsis, ornamental grasses, and Yarrow.

Wildlife is another reason to include Echinacea in your garden. First, they are deer resistant, and it is a challenge to find beautiful perennials that aren’t deer magnets! Second, butterflies are attracted to the flowers, which provide a rich source of nectar. And finally, the remaining cones on the plant add fall and winter interest to the garden and provide seeds for several species of birds, including goldfinches. With its long season of interest, easy maintenance, and benefits to wildlife, Echinacea definitely deserves top billing on your 'must have' list for this summer!

The Mini Crepe Myrtle

ORCHID CASCADE CREPE MYRTLE

We are crazy for Crepe Myrtles this time of year, especially our littlest crepe... the Orchid Cascade!

Sometimes referred to as the mini Crepe Myrtle, the blooms on this unique crepe spill to the ground in a waterfall of color, and the size make is perfect for almost anywhere. Classified as a compact grower, the Cascade Orchid variety is more of a flowering shrub only growing 12 to 16 inches tall and spreading 3 to 4 feet wide.

It will fit into almost any landscape due to the size and adds color all summer and fall. The orchid-lavender colored blooms pour down to the ground, bringing big color into small spaces! This variety will works well for formal and informal landscapes, and can also be planted for a low growing hedge. It is also great for planting in the front yard, as it will not get so large. Provide full sun for the best blooms but light shade will also be tolerated. Once established, this Crepe Myrtle is highly drought tolerant and only needs supplemental watering in times of prolonged drought.

100 Days of Blooms

NATCHEZ CREPE MYRTLE

One hundred days of exquisite summer blooms, attractive fall foliage, unique bark, good disease and insect resistance and drought-tolerance ~ what's not to like about Crepe Myrtles!

One of our favorite varieties is the 'Natchez' Crepe Myrtle, ideal tree for either formal or informal landscapes, and has become one of summer's most beautiful ornamental trees, thanks to its large clusters of white blooms that last from June through September. This tree is perfect in beds, borders, for screening or simply as a focal point in the landscape.

Natchez is a relatively fast growing tree ~ growing approximately three to five feet per year, and reaching approximately 20 to 30 feet at maturity! This sun-loving tree needs full sun to flourish and produce the largest number of blooms. Although, Natchez can survive with a small amount of shade, the number of blooms will be greatly reduced. The tree's deep green leaves in summer provide the ideal backdrop for its vivid white blooms. In fall, leaves will take on fall hues of yellow, orange and red. In winter, it features a smooth, dark cinnamon-brown, exfoliating bark that provides unique visual interest throughout the winter months. And as if this is not enough, Natchez has amazing resistance to disease and is NOT susceptible to powdery mildew.

Be sure to check out the Natchez, as well as the many other Crepe Myrtle varieties during our 30th annual Crepe Myrtle Fest, July 21-23. Get the scoop here >>

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