Everyone is anxious to begin gardening tasks this year, especially after the cold and rainy weather we’ve been experiencing.
It’s a great time to start planning the types of plants we’d like to grow, with annual flowers ranking high on the list. We should all become aware, however, that a fast spreading mildew has been identified as the killer of one of our most beloved flowers, the Impatiens.
Highly sought after for shady areas of our gardens, the plant has grown to become a standard for continuous flower blooms throughout the growing season. It quickly develops and expands in our soil, and is a significant addition to most gardens.
The mildew has swept through Europe, and is now reaching the U.S. The fungal disease affects all varieties of Impatiens with the common yellowing of leaves and the eventual death of the plant. Greenhouses across the globe are scrambling to replace the shade-loving plant with something else. It is said that the disease can remain in the soil for up to 10 years.
Plants are not quite out in the marketplace yet, and no one is sure how many retailers will carry the plant this spring.
I intend to plant Begonias this year in the spot I usually select for Impatiens. A beautiful replacement, yet rather costly.
Keith Barber is a data reporter at The Daily Reporter. He can be reached in his garden at 414-225-1821.