Tiny Bird’s Nests in Your Garden

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Bird’s nest fungus, probably dung-loving bird’s nest (Cyathus stercoreus), so-called because it is often found on animal dung. The arrow points to a peridiole clinging to a twig. Source: Richard Coulombe

Question: Could you identify the small dark gray cones that have invaded the soil of my corn and bean patch? Inside, there are 4 to 5 black “seeds” that seem to disperse all around, since I find them stuck on foliage well off the ground.

Richard Coulombe

Answer: They’re bird’s nest fungi, mushrooms of the family Nidulariaceae. Their name comes from their form: they look like a nest with eggs or stones inside. There are hundreds of species in five genera Crucibulum, Cyathus, Mycocalia, Nidula and Nidularia, and in one form or another, they are found all over the world.

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Common bird’s nest fungi (Crucibulum laeve) growing from a log. They look like chocolate cups filled with bonbons! Source: Ian Barthorpe, ww2.rspb.org.uk

When the fruiting body forms, it’s at first covered by a membrane that eventually tears open, revealing egg-shaped growths inside called peridioles. When drops of rain hit the nest at just the right angle, this launches the peridioles into the air where they can fall at up to 4 feet (1.2 m) from the nest. This habit gives the fungi their other common name: splash cups.

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Here you can see peridioles, some with their sticky thread they often bear, clinging to bean leaves. Source: Richard Coulombe

Many species have peridioles with a sticky thread that clings or even wraps around objects: normally plants, but even rocks, garden furniture, siding, etc. (Bird’s nest mushrooms should not be confused with artillery fungus, which also throws sticky dots onto nearby objects, but in much greater quantities and can seriously damage siding.)

When periodioles have settled on a surface, they dry out, releasing spores that germinate if they end up in a suitable medium, thus ensuring the fungus’s distribution.

The vast majority of bird’s nest fungi are saprophytes: that is, they live on dead organic matter, usually on wood or on wood residues, such as fallen branches, mulch, etc., but sometimes also dead leaves or animal dung. They’re harmless to living plants. By breaking down wood and other debris, they release minerals, enriching the soil in their vicinity, which is why many plants grow better when there are bird’s nest fungi nearby. They are mostly often seen in late summer and fall.

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Bird’s nest mushrooms are tiny and although not poisonous, wouldn’t make much of a meal! Source: Richard Coulombe

Bird’s nest mushrooms are considered harmless to both plants and animals. Rake the ground if you want to great rid of them and keep the area drier in the future to prevent them from coming back.

Or just leave them alone and invite friends to come and share your joy at finding these fascinating wonders of nature!

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Benary: 175 Years of Seeds

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As home gardeners, we don’t always know much about where the seeds we grow come from. We just buy and sow them. Simple enough!

But somewhere, somebody (actually, usually a whole lot of somebodies) is busy creating new varieties, harvesting and packing seeds, shipping them, etc. Such is the case with Benary, a wholesale German seed company that has now been sharing seeds with the world for 175 years. You’ve probably grown seeds from Benary, or at the very least, plants grown from Benary seeds, but without knowing it.

Here’s a short resumé of a fascinating company history.

The Beginning

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Ernst Benary, founder of the company. Source: www.benary.com

Ernst Benary Samenzucht für Gartensämereien und Pflanzen (Ernst Benary Seed Breeding for Garden Seeds and Plants) was founded by Ernest Benary (1819–1893) in Erfurt, Thuringia in the German Confederation in 1843, launching its first original new variety, Zinnia elegant ‘Benary’s Giant’. Amazingly, it’s still on the market 175 years later! They also bought seed from other growers for resale.

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Benary’s Giant zinnia: launched in 1859, yet still available today! Source: www.veseys.com

In 1845, Benary began producing seed catalogs in English, French and Russian as well as the original German. Their own breeding lead to such innovations as their first interspecies hybrid plant, a perennial called Haag’s Campion (Lychnis x haageana), launched in 1859. Remember, this was before Gregor Mendel first published his papers on biological inheritance: talk about being avant-garde! In fact, Mendel was one of Benary’s customers.

Benary’s distribution grew by leaps and bounds. Soon the company was selling seeds all over the world, not only to their original customers, the market gardeners of Western Europe, but to seed companies in France, England, Russia and North America, who then sold the seeds to their customers. Even the Tzars of Russia were growing flowers and vegetables from Benary seed!

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Plate from a Benary catalog in the 1870s. Source: Danielle Palencar, http://www.pinterest.ca

At the turn of the 20thcentury, Ernst’s sons Friedrich and John were running the company. By 1909, their sons had entered the business.

1909 was also the year Benary launched the world’s first F1 fibrous begonia: Begonia x semperflorens Primadonna. This was a huge breakthrough: a brand-new plant for gardeners to discover. (A F1-hybrid is a plant selectively bred by cross pollinating two different parent plants.) The introduction of F1 hybrid begonias revolutionized the horticulture industry by allowing growers to produce begonias reliably on a commercial scale … and gave gardeners one of the rare annuals that blooms non-stop in shade.

Near Collapse

World War I almost saw the company collapse. Other countries wouldn’t trade with Germany during the war years, so they lost most of their customer base. Still, the family hung on, supplying desperately needed vegetable seed to German market gardeners.

The business rebuilt when the war was over, soon launching the world’s first F1 hybrid tomato, ‘Heterosis’, in 1927, then another first: the triploid fibrous begonia ‘Tausendschön’ (sometimes called Thousand Wonders in English) in 1934. It is still available today.

The rise of Nazism in Germany starting in 1936 was another serious blow to the company. The name Benary is of Jewish origin. To avoid prosecution, most male members joined the Germany army. By the end of the war, seven of the nine brothers had been killed. Then Ernst Benary KG found itself on the wrong side of a newly divided Germany, in the Soviet Zone of Occupation. The company, with a staff of over 280, was soon expropriated by the East German government. The Benary family lost everything. It seemed like the dream was over.

Rebirth

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Fritz Benary. Source: ngb.org

But that was without counting on the ingenuity and persistence of Friedrich (Fritz) Benary. He moved to Western Germany and restarted the company under the name Ernst Benary Samenzucht GmbH in Hannoversch Münden, Lower Saxony. With only a bicycle as a tool, he rode from town to town, recollecting seeds from former customers and rebuilding stocks. 20 years later, Benary was back as strong as ever … and continuing to make waves in the horticultural industry, as with the introduction of the still highly popular Nonstop tuberous begonia (Begonia x tuberhybrida) in 1972.

After the sudden death of Fritz in 1979, his brother Rudolf took over. New breeding facilities began to spring up in West Germany and Austria, then, with the reunification of Germany in 1991, in East Germany as well.

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The 6th generation of Benary. Klaudia and Matthias with their four children Hans, Marianne, Käthe and Friedrich. Source: www.benary.com

Another generation, the fifth, took over in 1994, then the sixth generation in 2006. Klaudia Benary-Redlefsen owns the majority of the shares while her husband, Matthias Redlefsen manages the company with Nick ten Pas.

Innovations continue. The Big® line of begonias (Begonia x benariensis), the result of 100 years of begonia breeding, was launched in 2008 to great acclaim … and note the name Benary integrated into the Latin name! And Benary now has facilities in California, the Netherlands and China as well as Germany and Austria. Today’s Benary is a multinational company selling wholesale seeds and plant plugs to greenhouses, nurseries and seed companies all over the world, covering over 120 countries.

Super Hero

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French marigold ‘Super Hero Spry’, named in honour of Fritz Benary. Source: all-americaselections.org

To honor Fritz Benary, the company launched a new line of French marigolds (Tagetes patula) in the spring of 2018, the Super Hero series. One of them has already been awarded an All-America Selections award. ‘Super Hero Spry’ is an extremely stable bicolored compact marigold that made a great impression on judges during the trialing process

“Fritz is our superhero,” said Jen Calhoun, the company’s North American Marketing Specialist at the 2018 California Spring Trials. She then went on to announce that in further celebration of his journey, Benary employees would be distributing seed from bicycles to their customers throughout the world during the summer of 2018.


Benary: 175 years of seeds and still going strong. 10 to 1 you grow something from Benary, probably without knowing it, in your garden every year!

Thanks for help in researching this article go to Jen Calhoun, Marianne Wilburn, Benary and the National Garden Bureau.

10 Surprising Rose Facts

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Sweet Juliet is believed to be the most expensive rose ever. Source: http://www.davidaustinroses.com

Roses (Rosa spp.) are among the most common garden plants. We all know they have striking flowers, often heavenly scented, and thorny stems and we’ve been growing them for some 5,000 years, so you’d think we know all about them. But even such popular plants have a few secrets and here are a few of them.

  1. World’s most expensive rose: ‘Juliet’, the first cut flower rose bred by English hybridizer David Austin, is said to be the most expensive rose over. It took 15 years and £12 million ($15.8 million US) to develop. It was launched in great pomp at the 2006 Chelsea Flower Show. But you can now buy it for much, much less, as it’s now being sold by florists worldwide as the ideal wedding rose.
  2. World’s tallest rose bush: ‘Bewitched’, a hybrid tea rose, is, at 5.689 m (18 ft 8 in), the tallest rose bush ever measured. It was grown by Christopher Rose in La Puente, California and officially measured on November 8, 2017.
  3. World’s tallest climbing rose: Not all roses are self-supporting and many are grown as climbers. The tallest ever, according to Guinness World Records, is a ‘Cécile Brunner’ rose 27.7 m (91 ft) tall, about 8 stories, grown by Anne and Charles Grant of Los Angeles, California. It was measured on August 1, 2004.
  4. World’s largest rose flower: Nikita K. Rulhoksoffski, a California-based rose grower and hybridizer, is said to have bred the largest rose bloom in the world. Shown at a local rose show, the pink rose measured 84 cm (33 in) in diameter. It had to be placed on the floor as it was too large for the display table.
  5. World’s smallest rose: Sudhir Khetawat of Indore, Madhya Pradesh, India, claims to have produced the smallest rose, ‘Diamond Rose’. Its flowers are only 1 cm (less than 1/3 in) in diameter. Its buds are the size of a grain of rice.

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    Rose pyramid in Ecuador. Source: www.wlrn.org

  6. World’s largest flower arrangement: A total of 546,364 cut roses were used to create a replica of a Cochasqui pyramid in the town of Tabacundo, Ecuador on July 22, 2018. Ecuador is one of the world’s most important suppliers of cut roses, but this was a stretch even for them. It required the collective resources of some 150 Ecuadorian rose growers to create the flower-decked structure. A drip irrigation system was used to keep the stems hydrated.

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    The thousand-year rose. Source: Thangmar, Wikimedia Commons

  7. World’s oldest living rose: This is believed to be the Tausendjähriger Rosenstock or thousand-year rose, a plant of Rosa canina that grows on the wall of the Hildesheim Cathedral in Germany. It is over 1,000 years old, with reports that it was planted in about 815. According to local legend, the city of Hildesheim will flourish as long as the rose does. Although the cathedral was destroyed by allied bombers in 1945, it has been since rebuilt, as has the city … and the bush survived the bombing, as its roots remained intact beneath the debris.

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    ‘Overnight Scentsation’ in space. Source: spinoff.nasa.gov

  8. Space-traveling rose: NASA took a miniature rose, ‘Overnight Scentsation’, into space in 2002 to test the effects of low gravity on the smell of roses. It turns out the flowers made fewer oils while in space, yet even so were judged to have more “floral rose aroma.”
  9. Roses needed to produce rose oil. It takes some 10,000 roses to produce one single teaspoon (5 ml) of rose oil (attar of roses), used in making perfumes. One of two roses are usually used: the damask rose (Rosa damascena) and the cabbage rose (Rosa centifolia).

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    ‘Applause’ rose: the closest to blue so far. Source: www.suntoryapplause.com

  10. There are still no blue roses: Roses come in a huge range of colors, but two are lacking: black (although there are some very dark roses) and true blue. Even genetic engineering, inserting the blue pigment delphinidin taken from a pansy (Viola x wittrockiana) into a rose in 2004, then further manipulating the genes to block the expression of the original red coloration, only resulted in a rose best described as mauve or lavender. Even so, one such GMO cultivar, ‘Applause’ is sold as a blue rose in certain countries, notably Japan.

Avoid Squirrel Problems by Planting Bulbs They Hate

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Squirrels just love tulip and crocus bulbs… and gardeners just hate squirrels! Source: www.kyforward.com

To the horror of gardeners, squirrels love freshly-planted tulip and crocus bulbs and blithely dig them up. Then they sneer at you as they eat them right in front of you! Sometimes you just feel like strangling the little pests!

However, they don’t like most other bulbs, many of which, including daffodils, snowdrops, hyacinths and anemones, are actually somewhat poisonous to squirrels, while it’s apparently the smell that keeps them away from alliums and fritillaries. Plant those bulbs and squirrels will leave your fall plantings in peace!

P.S. If you still want to plant tulip and crocus bulbs, here are some tricks for keeping squirrels away from them.

Cactus or Euphorbia?

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If you grow cactus and other succulents, you probably have a few euphorbias mixed in with the cacti. Source: mashtalegypt.com, montage: laidbackgardener.blog

In the world of succulents, that is, plants that store water in thickened stems or leaves in order to better cope with arid conditions, two different families are often mistaken one for the other: cacti (Cactaceae) and euphorbias (Euphorbiaceae, genus Euphorbia). In fact, many people simply call all succulent euphorbias “cacti,” not realizing there is a difference.

Both cacti and euphorbias tend to be stem succulents, that is, they store moisture in swollen stems, both tend to very spiny and both include a variety of species of all different shapes. They are so similar in many aspects that confusion is understandable, yet they are no more closely related to each other than dogs are to cats.

Dogs and cats are both mammals, are covered in hair, have tails and pointy teeth and are carnivores, yet few people would confuse a dog with a cat. If you’re a gardener, you really should learn to tell a euphorbia from a cactus. Once you know the difference, you’ll never confuse them again.

Convergent Evolution

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As a result of convergent evolution, many cacti and euphorbias have evolved to resemble one another. Source: www.kajuard-plantes.com & http://www.uhlig-kakteen.de

The similar appearance of cacti to euphorbias is an example of convergent evolution: the two different families evolved under similar conditions—under extreme aridity—and adopted similar survival tactics, resulting a lot of similarities. Even so, they also have their differences.

Telling the Two Apart

Here are a few tips on telling the euphorbias from cacti. You may well find you’re growing both of them without knowing it!

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A cushiony areole, with or without spines, is a sure sign of a true cactus. Source: http://www.krypton.ovh

  1. Cacti have areoles. These are cushiony, fuzzy dots from which spines, stems and flowers grow. They can be white or yellow, but are present on all cacti. No other plant has areoles. So, if you look closely at any cactus-like plant and see no areoles, as will be the case with euphorbias, that plant is definitely not a cactus! This is, hands down, the easiest way of telling the two apart. Once you know this, you’ll never confuse a cactus with any other plant again!

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    Euphorbia thorns, usually single or paired, are part of the stem and hard to remove. Cactus spines often form a circle and are easily broken off. Source: Hernán Conejeros, YouTube.ca & Elton Roberts, xerophilia.ro

  2. Euphorbias usually bear single or paired thorns (modified stems), if indeed they have thorns. They’re usually thick and are clearly part of the stem: you can’t break them off without wounding the plant. Cactus have spines (modified leaves) rather than thorns. They often form a circle, although not always, and there may also be longer spines in the circle’s center. However, no matter how they are grouped together, cactus spines always arise from those cushiony areoles mentioned above. They can be snapped off very readily and indeed, some are designed to break off and penetrate the skin of animals to dissuade them from chomping on the cactus. Note that there are both thornless euphorbias and spineless cacti, so the absence or presence of prickles is not necessarily a factor in distinguishing between the two.

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    Euphorbias produce milky white sap, cacti rarely do. Source:Norman E. Rees, USDA ARS

  3. Euphorbias produce milky sap if you wound them. This is a sticky latex, often toxic or irritating to the skin, and almost always white (there is just one species with yellow sap, E. adbelkuri). Most cacti have clear sap, rarely irritating to skin, although there are a very few cacti with white sap, including a few Mammillaria.

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    Cactus flowers are highly varied and usually colorful. The true flower of the euphorbia above is the center and is unremarkable; it is only made attractive by the bracts that surround it. Source: Florence Rogers, Nevada Public Radio & http://www.backyardnature.net

  4. Cactus flowers are usually showy and colorful, with typical flower parts, including petals and many stamens. Take a look at how they are placed on the plant: they always grow from a cushiony areole. Euphorbia flowers tend to be small and yellow, have no petals and are usually quite insignificant, although in some species, such as the crown of thorns (E. milii), they are surrounded by modified leaves called bracts that can be quite colorful. They never grow from areoles.
*Be aware that unscrupulous cactus growers often stick fake flowers on cactus with glue guns. If the flower on a cactus does not grow from an areole and has a glob of glue underneath, you’ve been had!
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Many euphorbias, like this Euphorbia trigona, have leaves. Few cactus do. Source: www.plantandpot.nz

  1. Cacti are almost always leafless, at least as adults (all bear two cotyledons at germination). There are only a few exceptions (Pereskia, which actually don’t look like cactus at all, and a few Opuntia, for example). On the other hand, many euphorbias with succulent stems nevertheless bear leaves.
  2. Cacti evolved in the New World and are found in North, South and Central America as well as in the Caribbean. (There is only one species, Rhipsalis baccifera, that is native to the Old World.) Succulent euphorbias evolved in the Old World, mostly Africa, Madagascar and drier areas of Asia. In the wild, both are still mostly found in their native lands, although some cacti, notably in the genus Opuntia, have escaped from culture to become weeds in other parts of the world.

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    All these euphorbias are in the single genus Euphorbia, but the cactus shown are in various genera, including Mammillaria, Trichocereus, Astrophytum, Opuntia and Cereus. Source: lonelyplant_ph, deskgram.net & http://www.ebay.co.uk

  3. Euphorbia is just one genus in the family Euphorbiaceae. They are often called spurges. There are more than 2,000 species of Euphorbia, including such popular houseplants as mottled spurge (Euphorbia lactea), pencil tree (E. tirucalli) and crown of thorns (E. milii). Cacti are a family, the Cactaceae. The family also contains about 2,000 species, but is divided into about 175 genera, including Opuntia, Echinocactus, Mammillaria and Cereus.

There you go! It isn’t all that hard to tell euphorbias from cacti. Just the lack of an areole on euphorbias should be such an obvious difference that you’ll never confuse the two again!

The ‘Red Delicious’ Falls From Favor

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‘Red Delicious’ apples, famous for their red fruits and lengthened shape ending in five points. Source: www.starkbros.com

The ‘Red Delicious’ apple was for more than 50 years the best-selling apple in the United States, but its reign is now officially over. “Only” 51.7 million Red Delicious apples will be sold in the US in 2018, a decrease of 10.7% over last year, while ‘Gala’ apple sales will exceed 52.4 million, an increase of 5.9%.

Already, Americans have been buying fewer ‘Red Delicious’ for over a decade now and the bulk of this year’s production will now be sold abroad. On the other hand, growers just can’t produce enough of the rising star in the apple world, the ‘Gala’. Many ‘Gala’ apples are still imported annually to meet the need.

Orchards are rapidly removing the ‘Red Delicious’ trees, replacing them with other varieties. Don’t expect to see ‘Red Delicious’ apples in the average supermarket much longer.

The basic problem is that ‘Red Delicious’ is not so delicious. It’s a very attractive apple, perfectly red, and its skin, thick and leathery, almost waxy, makes it an excellent apple for transportation and storage. But the taste? Not so extraordinary … at least, not in the form offered on the market.

History of a Not-So-Delicious Apple

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This is the original ‘Hawkeye’ that gave birth to the much redder ‘Red Delicious’ of today. Source: www.treesofantiquity.com

The ‘Red Delicious’ type of apple was first found in Jesse Hiatt’s orchard in Peru, Iowa, in about 1870. He called it ‘Hawkeye’. He later sold the rights to Stark Nurseries who changed the name to ‘Stark Delicious’ and began propagating it. When the same nursery released a cultivar called ‘Golden Delicious’ (in fact, not a close relative of ‘Stark Delicious’, but a tree with a distinctly different genetic background) and realized this was confusing consumers, they again changed the name and began calling it ‘Red Delicious’ in 1914. Even so, the newly renamed ‘Red Delicious’ was not yet the perfectly red apple we know today, but rather red lightly marbled yellow, as per the original ‘Hawkeye’.

In 1923, New Jersey orchardist reported a bizarre situation. A branch on one of his ‘Red Delicious’ apples produced apples that turned red very early, before the fruit was fully ripe, while the other apples on the tree were still green. And the fruit was perfectly red, without the yellow marbling of the original. A representative of Stark Brothers Nursery paid $6,000 (a fortune at the time) for the branch bearing the mutation (for that’s what it was) and the nursery began to propagate the new ‘Red Delicious’ on a massive scale, convinced of its potential.

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Today’s ‘Red Delicious’ can be any one of dozens of sports of the original. Source: www.threespringsfruitfarm.com

Actually, the ‘Red Delicious’ apples in stores aren’t even true ‘Red Delicious’ apples anymore, but “sports” (mutations). No fewer than 42 sports of ‘Red Delicious’ have been patented in the US alone, including ‘Starkrimson’, ‘Redspur’, ‘Early Red One’, ‘Super Clone’ and ‘Red Chief’. All are simply sold under the name ‘Red Delicious’.

Less than twenty years after the new all-red ‘Red Delicious’ was launched, that is, by 1940, it had become the most popular apple in the United States.

Why? Not because consumers liked its taste, although it was eye-catchingly red, but because it was easy to produce, ship and maintain on store shelves. You see, it was possible to harvest the fruit when it was immature, but nevertheless completely red on the outside. Immature fruits, with their thicker skin, travel better than ripe fruits and are not as subject to bruising. Also, their shelf life is enormously prolonged: harvested at just the right stage, ‘Red Delicious’ apples still look great 9 months after the harvest, even 12 months when stored in a controlled atmosphere, a boon for growers!

On the other hand, although immature apples do sweeten somewhat after harvest, they are never as tasty as mature apples: they’re not as sweet, their skin is bitter and their texture becomes crumbly.

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Today’s supermarket ‘Red Delicious’ isn’t so delicious. Many people stop eating it after the first bite. Source: purepng.com

A fully ripe ‘Red Delicious’ harvested fresh from a tree is indeed delicious … but the supermarket ‘Red Delicious’, red outside, but “green” (immature) inside, is just barely palatable. Yet, for a long time it was widely available and inexpensive. Apple historian Tom Burford calls the ‘Red Delicious’ “the largest compost-maker in the country,” because consumers bought them, but then didn’t eat them: one third ended up in the trash. Typically, Mom would drop one in each lunch bag, but the kids would throw them away at school.

But ‘Red Delicious’ sales have been in decline now since the early 1990s. That’s when consumers began to show their willingness to pay more for better-tasting imported apples (including ‘Gala’ and ‘Fuji’). Soon American orchards were replacing the bland ‘Red Delicious’ with tastier varieties to win back their market. Now produced locally, ‘Gala’, ‘Fuji’, ‘Granny Smith’ and ‘Honeycrisp’ are presently, with ‘Red Delicious’, the five best-selling apples in the US, but if the trend continues—and it likely will—‘Red Delicious’ will soon drop off the list of popular apples entirely.

Elsewhere in the World

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No doubt about it, the ‘Gala’, along with is redder sport ‘Royal Gala’, is the rising star in the apple world. Source: www.specialtyproduce.com

In Great Britain, ‘Red Delicious’ has never been popular, but the old favorite, ‘Cox’, has been replaced by the new favorite, ‘Gala’ (in the form of ‘Royal Gala’, a darker skinned sport of ‘Gala’). Other top sellers are ‘Braeburn’ (new) and ‘Russet’ (an old favorite).

‘Red Delicious’ is still commonly sold in Canada, but is rarely grown there and is usually imported from the United States. Canadians have always preferred the ‘Macintosh’ to ‘Red Delicious’ anyway, but the ‘Gala’ is now close behind the ‘Macintosh’ and even dominates in British Columbia while the ‘Cortland’ is popular everywhere and the ‘Honeycrisp’ is very trendy.

Australians like ‘Pink Lady’ and ‘Granny Smith’ (the latter developed there), but ‘Gala’ (‘Royal Gala’) is gaining fast.

In South Africa, the top three are ‘Granny Smith’, ‘Golden Delicious’ and ‘Royal Gala’.


Farewell, ‘Red Delicious’ … but with some 7,000 varieties of apple to choose from, I don’t think we’ll have a hard time finding a replacement!

Hug Your Houseplant, It’s National Indoor Plant Week!

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Every year, the third week of September, is held the National Indoor Plant Week. In 2018, that’s from September 17 to 23. The event was established in 2007 to promote and increase public awareness of the importance of live plants in interior spaces. And I’m all for it. As an enthusiastic houseplant aficionado since my childhood (I wrote my first article about houseplants when I was 14!), houseplants are such a integral part of my life that I can’t imagine living without them.

Here’s an explanation from the people at nationalindoorplantweek.com.

What is National Indoor Plant Week? It’s a Celebration!!!

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Source: www.nationalindoorplantweek.com

National Indoor Plant Week was established to increase public awareness of the importance of indoor plants and their many attributes. Only some of which include cleaning the air we breathe … we like to say, “The oxygen doesn’t arrive until the plants arrive.” Statistics have proven that indoor plants increase morale in the workplace and homes. The plant is such a miraculous living thing.

Real life office studies have been conducted to measure the direct relationship between clinical health, complaints and plant installations. Recorded health improvements in offices where interior plants were added were significant. Results show a large reduction among employees in the areas of fatigue, headache, coughs and their overall well-being rose dramatically.

Further, numerous studies have shown that plants have a positive psychological impact on people. According to a recent study, employees exposed to interior plant settings demonstrated better attitudes, positive emotions such as happiness, friendliness and assertiveness.

It’s a Celebration … So What Can You Do?

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National Indoor Plant Week celebration in Indianapolis. Source: www.engledow.com

Industry professionals (interiorscapers, greenhouses, florists, etc.) can host a plant giveaway: they do that annually in various US cities (7,000 houseplants will be given away in Chicago alone this year!). Can you imagine the enthusiasm about houseplants that creates?

Individual gardeners can buy a new houseplant … or give one to a friend or neighbor.

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Give your houseplants a bit of TLC. Source: www.midlandshealthyliving.com

Or give their current houseplants a bit of TLC. How about a nice shower to wash off dust and grime? Or repotting that plant you know needs it? And certainly, bring any that are outdoors for the summer back inside if you live in the Northern Hemisphere (yes, it’s that time of the year).

I don’t care how many houseplants you already have, growing plants is so good for us in so many ways that you really need more.

How about this for a logo, nationalindoorplantweek.com people? “You deserve a plant today!”