“Hybrids in the Garden – Not your Grandmother’s Flowers” was the title of the presentation at the January 5th Gonzales Garden Club meeting. The speaker was Cindy Moran who currently serves as the District VI Director of the Louisiana Garden Club Federation (LGCF). She belongs to the Baton Rouge Garden Club and various plant societies. She is an active grower and retired owner of a commercial nursery.
Cindy discussed why hybrid plants are favorable and recommended several worthy selections. She specified that F1 hybrids are commercially grown for their “hybrid vigor”. Growers crossbreed two species in the same genus to produce a superior plant. She explained that these “first children” plants are deliberately created for desirable characteristics such as mass bloom, uniformity, flower size, plant structure, and disease resistance. Her PowerPoint slides showed vibrant flowers that color the landscape and attract pollinators.
Cindy’s recommended cool season F1 hybrids are nicotiana (flowering tobacco), dianthus (Jolt, Amazon), begonia (whopper, baby wing, angelwing), petunias (wave) and columbine. Colorful warm season flowers are pentas (butterfly red or pink), vinca (Valiant) and Angelonia (Serena). As a bonus to the beautiful aesthetics, none of these hybrids will attract harmful insects to your garden. As an aside, Cindy declared that she does not have a hibiscus in her garden because “they are a magnet for bugs.” She ended her talk by reiterating that hybrids are grown from seeds and offered to return to present a program on vegetative propagation.
The attendees enjoyed a lunch prepared by Hostesses Loretta Ramirez, Kaye Couvillion, Janis D’Benedetto, Gwen Heck and Ellen Posey. They served chili with beans and chili with corn plus sides of cornbread muffins, tortilla chips, shredded cheese and sour cream. Dessert choices were heavenly hash squares and key lime layer cake with cream cheese icing.
Member Mary Jo Pohlig brought a horizontal floral design for educational critique. She commented that she assembled the arrangement in stages: conditioning the ferns in water the day before, inserting the fronds into the soaked oasis the night before, and collecting and inserting the fresh flower stems that morning. This type of design is suitable for long dining room tables or fireplace mantels.
The January horticulture hint is to put down lots of mulch to protect plants during this cold month. The presentation topic for the February meeting is “Success in Raised Beds”. Well wishes with high hopes for good health go out to all in this new year.