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Connecticut: Bedding Plants Burst into Bloom

By CT Department of Agriculture (5/19/10)

  MAY 22, 2010 --

As frosty nights come to an end, Connecticut residents eagerly turn their attention to their gardens. While trees and shrubs unfold their buds, the state's bedding plants explode into bloom.

Bedding plants fall into three general categories: (1) annual plants that complete their life cycles in a single growing season; (2) tender perennials treated as annuals in regions beyond their hardiness; (3) bulbs, herbs, ground covers, vegetables, small fruits, or woody plants.

In Connecticut, these plants are grown in the state's estimated 300 commercial greenhouse businesses. Their combined production space is approximately 9,000,000 SF, with wholesale sales near $200 million annually, according to Robert Heffernan, Executive Director of the Connecticut Green Industries (http://www.flowersplantsinct.com). Because CT Grown bedding plants are already acclimated to the local climate and have not been subjected to the stress of long-distance shipping, they are ideally suited for the Connecticut garden.

Local experts recommend waiting to put bedding plants into the home garden until at least mid-May, because a late frost can damage or kill bedding plants. By late May, such a frost is unlikely to impact most areas of Connecticut.

As many as 2,000 customers seeking CT Grown bedding plants and shrubs turn out each weekend of the spring season to shop from up to 60 vendors at the farmers' market held on the grounds of the Hartford Regional Market (http://www.ct.gov/doag/cwp/view.asp?a=1370&q=420026). Market officials recommend shoppers bring a flashlight and arrive early for best selection (gates open at 5:00 AM; few vendors remain after 8:00 AM).

Consumers who prefer to sleep in can find retailers of CT Grown bedding plants through the CT Garden and Landscape Trail (http://www.ctgardentrail.com). This informative guide features over 60 facilities of Connecticut's Green Industry, including nurseries, garden centers, greenhouses, and landscapers, along with information about more than three dozen beautiful public garden sites.

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