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What a Year

Jennifer Polanz

For nearly 40 years, the Year Of program has highlighted a variety of easy-to-grow plant classes to generate increased interest in gardening. The program has continued to grow and today the National Garden Bureau (NGB) provides a wide variety of promotional material for growers, garden retailers and educators to use. First, here are the 2021 Year Of plants and a few fun facts about each, courtesy of NGB:

Annual: Year of the Sunflower

Fun Facts: Sunflowers originated in the Americas and Native Americans grew them as a crop. There are single stem and branching varieties of sunflowers.
Pictured: Musicbox Sunflower from Benary. Photo Credit: National Garden Bureau.

Vegetable/edible: Year of the Garden Bean

Fun Facts: Vining or climbing beans were part of the Three Sisters companion plantings of maize, winter squash and beans. The first stringless green bean was developed in 1894 by Calvin Keeney.
Pictured: Mardi Gras Bean Blend from Seeds By Design. Photo Credit: National Garden Bureau.

Perennial: Year of the Monarda

Fun Facts: Also called Bee Balm, Monarda has been used to soothe bee stings. It’s part of the mint family and can also be used to make herbal tea.
Pictured: SUGAR BUZZ Rockin’ Raspberry Monarda from Walters Gardens. Photo Credit: National Garden Bureau.

Bulb: Year of the Hyacinth

Fun Facts: These flowers are prized for their fragrance, but did you know the juice of the hyacinth was once used as a glue for binding books? Hyacinth bulbs contain oxalic acid, which makes them unappealing to chipmunks, voles and deer.
Pictured: Kansas Mix Hyacinth from Dutch Grown. Photo Credit: National Garden Bureau.

Flowering Shrub: Year of the Hardy Hibiscus

Fun Facts: Not to be confused with its tropical cousin, the hardy hibiscus can survive temperatures as low as -30 degrees F. It primarily includes hibiscus varieties native to North America, like Hibiscus moscheutos and Hibiscus laevis, as well as hybrids of those species.
Pictured: White Chiffon Hibiscus from Proven Winners ColorChoice Shrubs. Photo Credit: Proven Winners.

NGB offers a plethora of free downloadable images for each plant class, but please remember to credit and link to the National Garden Bureau and use the proper variety name when using the photos. NGB also offers fun fact sheets, images that have “Did You Know” trivia facts that can be used on social media (for example, did you know hyacinth is in the same family as asparagus?), watercolor logos, a PowerPoint presentation, printable flyers, 8x10 signs, posters and more.

Publicity to consumers by NGB began in January, so head to www.ngb.org to check out everything that’s available. GP

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