It’s the year of the carrot, according to the National Garden Bureau, and the season for plant sales, horticultural events and even flowery postage stamps.
YEAR OF THE … carrot?
Every year, the National Garden Bureau honors a perennial, annual, vegetable and bulb based on trends, innovations and how easy a plant is to grow. The 2016 winners are, respectively, delphinium, begonia, carrot and allium. So this is … the year of the carrot?
Now here’s a head-scratcher: The Perennial Plant Association has chosen Anemone ‘Honorine Jobert’, a plant that has been around for at least 100 years, as the 2016 Perennial of the Year. While Japanese anemones are pretty and make great cut flowers, they’re unfortunately aggressive. Unless you’re into fruitless digging of running roots, this plant isn’t for you. Why would a group dedicated to promoting plants choose one that causes such problems? Go figure.
Mark your calendars
Just when the garden starts to demand every minute we can give it, we’re lured away by some of the best plant sales and horticultural events of the year:
• April 9 is the date for the Washington Park Arboretum’s first plant sale of 2016. Early Bloomers offers a soul-satisfying assortment of choice plants in bloom, including cyclamen, trillium, trout lilies, English primroses, hellebores and an assortment of trees and shrubs. At the Graham Visitors Center, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
• April 16 is a Seattle Tilth class for newbie urban farmers: Organic Gardening 101, 10 a.m. to noon at Bellevue Botanical Garden, is a hands-on class (dress accordingly) with information on soil prep, planting, composting and watering — all the organic techniques to ensure bountiful, healthful crops come summer.
• April 30 and May 1, scoop up an impressive variety of locally grown organic starts for your food garden. Tilth’s Edible Plant Sale is a popular party of a sale from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. both days, with plenty of heirloom varieties, edible flowers, culinary herbs, tomatoes, peppers, squash and corn chosen specifically for our Puget Sound climate. At Meridian Park, 4649 Sunnyside Ave. N.
• May 15 offers a rare opportunity to hear a pre-eminent conservationist talk about a topic close to his heart: Peter Raven, director emeritus of the Missouri Botanical Garden, will speak at a benefit for the restoration of Heronswood Garden, to be held at the Point Casino Event Center in Kingston. Director of Heronswood Dan Hinkley describes Raven as an inspiring and accessible speaker, our country’s answer to England’s Richard Attenborough. In “Saving Plants, Saving Ourselves,” Raven will explore how to achieve the kind of global sustainability that will allow us and our descendants to appreciate plants for decades. Ticket-holders are invited to meet Raven on a tour of Heronswood from 10:30 a.m. to noon before the 1 p.m. lecture.
Even postage stamps are sprouting flowers this spring. Flora from tulips to carnations, roses to petunias, graces a series of stamps from the U.S. Post Office.
The 10 flower illustrations were originally published between 1891 and 1912 and are taken from The New York Botanical Garden’s vintage seed and plant catalog collection. The “Botanical Art Forever” stamps are available online or at the post office.