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The Scoop

Gardening news, notes and trivia for this week.
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Caption: The original "People's Garden" at USDA headquarters in Washington, DC. Photo taken fall 2009. Attribution.

Milestone for the USDA's "People's Garden" initiative

On June 4, 2010, US Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that "People's Gardens" now exist in all 50 states, 2 US territories and 3 foreign countries. The People's Garden initiative was begun last year as a way to show that gardening is an important part of the USDA's mission. Vilsack challenged USDA employees to create a public garden at their office or in a local community. Each People's Garden must do three things: benefit the community in some way, such as providing fresh produce to charities; foster collaboration among residents and local organizations; and use sustainable practices, such as rainwater collection for irrigation. The locations of these numerous ‘People’s Gardens’ can be viewed on-line at via a public map. Information about each garden also can be viewed by clicking on the map markers.

"Happy Birthday!" to the Knock Out Rose and Brooklyn Botanic Garden

It may be hard to believe, but the Knock Out Rose turns 10 this year! This popular line of easy-care roses began in the backyard of rose hobbyist Bill Radler, who patiently bred the original red Knock Out Rose for color, disease resistance and hardiness. In the 10 years since, the Knock Out family has expanded to include 7 cultivars in total. See for more info.

USDA People's Garden

Meanwhile the Brooklyn Botanic Garden in New York City is turning 100 this year. To celebrate, they're throwing a Centennial Bee-Day Celebration this Saturday, June 12, 2010. All visitors will gain free admission to the garden. Special activities and exhibits will commemorate the BBG's history of service to the community, as well as the hard work that pollinators do in our gardens (hence the name Bee-Day). For details see

Results of coneflower (Echinacea) evaluations

The Mt. Cuba Center, Delaware, has concluded its study of coneflowers. Over 3 years, they evaluated 43 new Echinacea cultivars and 5 species for growth habit, disease and pest resistance, winter hardiness and flower production. Leading plants include Pixie Meadowbrite, 'Pica Bella', 'Elton Knight', 'Tiki Torch' and 'Fatal Attraction'. To read the full report and see other top choices, go to Coneflowers for the Mid-Atlantic Region. It is good info for echinacea lovers anywhere.

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