• A National Garden Bureau Special Program
  • 2014: Year of the Cucumber
    The cucumber is one of the top five most popular garden vegetables. Cucumbers are very adaptable. They have been grown in space and a mile underground in a nickel mine. Very easy to grow from seed, cucumbers deserve praise and a place in the modern garden.
  • 2013: Year of the Watermelon
    Not only are watermelons (Citrullus lanatus) delicious, they are one of the largest edible fruits grown in the U.S. It’s also one of the most useful fruits as every part is edible: the flesh can be eaten as is, the rind can be pickled and the seed can be roasted or ground into other ingredients.
  • 2012: Year of the Heuchera
    Heucheras (commonly called Coral Bells) are all-American. Literally. Different species hail from the islands off the California coast to the highest mountains in the Rockies to the Gulf of Mexico. With this diverse range of habitat, these plants are able to find a niche in everyone's garden. Breeders in America and Europe have taken a well-aimed swipe of a paintbrush between these species, and have assembled a plethora of plants with amazing flower and foliage forms that didn’t exist a scant ten years ago. Not only are these plants aesthetically pleasing, but they have become stronger, fuller, and more disease resistant. With few pests, great adaptability to containers and a seemingly unending number of forms, Heuchera should be in everyone's garden!
  • 2011: Year of the Zinnia
    For decades, zinnias have been the flowering annual of choice for spreading glorious colors throughout the garden as well as for cutting to bring indoors. But it wasn't always so. When the Spanish first saw zinnia species in Mexico, they thought the flower was so unattractive they named it mal de ojos, or "sickness of the eye!" Years of breeding have brought striking new colors, shapes, sizes, and growing habits to the humble zinnia. No present day gardener would ever describe this versatile bloomer as anything less than eye catching.
  • 2010: Year of the Marigolds
    Marigolds, native to the New World and sacred flower of the Aztecs, journeyed across the Atlantic Ocean twice to travel 3,000 miles north of their center of origin. This lengthy serpentine journey is a testimony to the rugged durability of marigolds.
  • 2009: Year of the Greens
    Their names are sometimes unfamiliar and their tastes exotic. Leafy greens are popular everywhere from gourmet restaurants, farmers' markets and supermarket produce sections to backyard gardens.
  • 2008: Year of the Eggplant
    The eggplant has been celebrated as an aphrodisiac and feared as the cause of insanity. Today it is appreciated for both its inspiring beauty and delightful flavor.
  • 2007: Year of the Cabbage and Kale
    Cabbage and kale are among the hardiest and most nutritious vegetables a home gardener can grow with ease. Both are handsome in the garden, with colors ranging from pale green through dark battleship blue, to deep reddish purple.
  • 2006: Year of the Celosia
    Celosias are one of the most eye-catching annuals to grow in the garden.
  • 2005: Year of the Melon
    According to Webster's Dictionary, melons are "the large round fruit of various plants of the gourd family, with sweet pulpy flesh and many seeds (honeydew, cantaloupe, muskmelon)."
  • 2004: Year of the Dianthus
    For centuries, Dianthus has been one of the most sought after plants for the garden.
  • 2003: Year of the Bean
    Young snap beans to eat fresh from the garden. Colorful green, purple and yellow beans. Bush beans that grow on compact stems and pole beans that clamber up tepees and trellises.
  • 2002: Year of the Vinca
    Clear flower colors and glossy green leaves make Vinca indispensable for season-long interest in the garden and in containers. Add practically no maintenance to these drought tolerant plants and you have a winning combination.
  • 2001: Year of the Basil
    Can you imagine a garden without basil? Impossible!
  • 2000: Year of the Sweet Corn
    Sweet Corn is an indisputable native of the Americas and has been consumed for 7,000 years.
  • 1999: Year of the Asian Vegetable
    The National Garden Bureau celebrates the Asian culture and the contributions to North American gardens and ethnic cuisine.
  • 1998: Year of the Geranium
    Should we call them geraniums or pelargoniums? By any name, they are definitely as sweet.
  • 1997: Year of the Petunia
    Whether edging a flower bed, covering a bare area like a ground cover, spilling out of a container or trailing from a hanging basket--petunias help keep the gardening season at its most colorful from late spring to fall.
 
A National Garden Bureau Special Program

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2014: Year of the Cucumber

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2013: Year of the Watermelon

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2012: Year of the Heuchera

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2011: Year of the Zinnia

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2010: Year of the Marigolds

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2009: Year of the Greens

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2008: Year of the Eggplant

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2007: Year of the Cabbage and Kale

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2006: Year of the Celosia

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2005: Year of the Melon

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2004: Year of the Dianthus

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2003: Year of the Bean

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2002: Year of the Vinca

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2001: Year of the Basil

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2000: Year of the Sweet Corn

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1999: Year of the Asian Vegetable

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1998: Year of the Geranium

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1997: Year of the Petunia

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Exciting News!

National Garden Bureau is launching a fundraising campaign to garner resources to help the Julie + Michael Tracy Family Foundation complete a 1.5 acre therapeutic garden, one that will assist young adults with autism learn important life and career skills. The Growing Solutions Farm is located in Chicago, Illinois and is the first beneficiary in this annual fundraising effort by the National Garden Bureau.

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Therapeutic and Healing Gardens

 We hear time and again how gardeners use their garden spaces to unwind from their day, get away from it all, relieve stress, etc. So it’s no surprise to us who already enjoy gardening that working either indoors or outdoors with plants is good for the body and soul. In fact, we just read this blog post by Jane Gates touting all the health benefits of home gardening. These days, there is more and more research showing how gardens and garden tasks can play an extremely important role in healthcare, treating ailments and afflictions, teaching or re-teaching physical activities and even providing occupational training for the future. This is known as Horticultural Therapy.

 
According to a more precise definition by the Chicago Botanic Garden, Horticultural Therapy is the professionally directed use of plant, garden and nature activities to achieve measurable physical and mental health outcomes. Gardens built to achieve those outcomes are often called therapeutic or health care gardens and are designed by horticulture/landscape professionals in conjunction with health care professionals.  
 
There are numerous terminologies attached to this area of garden design and function so we will define a few of the different types of gardens that are similar to therapeutic gardens:
 
Healing gardens – A garden that supports generalized healing by helping patients who have had physical, mental, emotional or spiritual harm become healthful, well and whole.
 
Rehabilitation garden – A garden used as therapy to restore a patient’s mobility.
 
Enabling gardens – A garden used to teach and inspire accessible gardening by example.
 
Meditation/Contemplation garden – A garden space that encourages reflection for spiritual and mental healing.
 
The basic premise is the same, and that’s to use a garden (ornamental or edible; inside or outside; small or large) as a tool for physical and mental healing. Some garden tasks are perfect for someone with limited mobility and will possibly allow them to continue to live on their own and grow their own food. A beautiful garden setting with the right amount of sun exposure can aid healing in patients young and old. Simply having a garden on site of a hospital, rehab center or retirement home (to name a few) encourages getting outside and soaking up the sun. A teaching garden within a school will teach life and survival skills for children of all ages, abilities and economic backgrounds.
 
In some recent research on the topic, we’ve found multiple sources of useful information.
 
The American Society of Landscape Architects is an organization for professional landscape architects, the ones who design therapeutic gardens, and has this article on defining a Therapeutic Garden.
 
The Chicago Botanic Garden not only has an Enabling Garden on their grounds (read about it here) but also offers a Horticultural Therapy Certificate Program.
 
The Therapeutic Landscapes Network is an online community of people and companies interested in using horticulture as therapy.
 
For professionals, there is the American Horticulture Therapy Association that assists their members advance the practice of horticulture as therapy.
 
All gardeners should understand the many ways gardening is beneficial and encourage the establishment of therapeutic gardens in their own communities. National Garden Bureau is passionate about inspiring more people to garden and horticulture therapy just gives us one more great reason to promote gardening. The more we know, the more we can help!

  • Tomato 'Red and Yellow Pear Blend'

    These heirloom pear tomatoes from the late 1800's are a treat for all. With sweet, mild flavor, and low acidity, you can eat these little 2" long and 1" wide tomatoes like grapes. Seeds in the packet are color coded, so you can make sure to plant both the red and yellow varieties. Pear tomatoes are vigorous and very productive plants, growing up to 8' tall with lots of fruit set. They are indeterminate, producing fruit up until the first fall frost.

  • Squash, winter 'Shokichi Green' & 'Shokichi Shrio'

    Personal-sized, Kabocha Winter Squashes are ornamental as well as edible.

    'Shokichi Green' produces single serving-size, green fruits with light stripes. This small Kabocha weighs between ½ and 1¼ lb. Its diminutive size allows it to fit perfectly on a plate as well as double as a great ornamental. High yielding at 6-10 fruits per plant.

    Shokichi Shrio is a small, single serving-size gray Kabocha that is perfect for stuffing. Fruits weigh from ½-1¼ lbs.

  • Zinnia 'Zahara Double Fire'

    This recent All America Selections winners has proven garden performance. Highly basal-branching plants result in a beautiful well proportioned plant habit that is completely covered first with buds, then with consistently double and symmetrical scarlet-orange flowers. The overall effect is amazing. Zahara Double Fire will make a marvelous addition to annual gardens and containers. Even better, it exhibits highly dependable tolerances to leaf spot and mildew diseases, thus assuring prolonged garden longevity.

  • Corn 'On Deck Hybrid'

    Container Corn 'On Deck' is a phenomenal sweet corn that sets 2-3 ears in even the smallest of gardens- including containers! This variety grows to a maximum of 5’ tall and can be used as a tidy little wind screen on the porch or in the back of the garden. The 8” long bicolor ears are delectably sweet and have a great crispy kernel. Imagine just sowing 9 seeds in a 24” diameter pot and producing 27 ears of corn- that’s over an ear per inch!!

  • Tomato 'Premio'

    68 Days from transplant. (Indeterminate plant) Premio is an excellent replacement variety for Sweet Cluster, which is no longer available. Its indeterminate plant produces good yields of high quality 4 oz. fruit in clusters of 6 to 8 fruit. The clusters of fruit ripen uniformly; have a good red color and a uniform round shape. Staking is recommended for best overall yield and fruit quality. Good disease resistance.

 

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