Delightful 2020 Annuals
I’ve written several times about Proven Winners© perennials, shrubs and now annuals. In their own words, these plants are worth the extra money because “our plants have been proven in trials conducted at numerous sites worldwide to be easy to grow and care for, covered with blooms, bright and colorful, long blooming and healthy and vigorous.” My experiences affirm this 100% so this month I’d like to share several Proven Winners© annuals.
Petunias have been grown in my gardens since I was seven or eight because they were hardy and easy to grow. I accepted that in hot weather they may fizzle, and I accepted they could become leggy and I accepted spent flowers needed to be picked off. I accepted all of this because then I thought the bright colors made growing them worthwhile. Proven Winners© Supertunia® are the best petunias I’ve ever, ever, ever encountered. They are “self-cleaning, floriferous, and have flowers that range in color from purest white to rich, royal purple. Supertunia® are light years ahead of any other petunia on the market today.” These plants will bloom all summer and many will mound up and spill over your baskets and containers.
A nice accent annual from Proven Accents© is a variety of Licorice Plant named White Licorice. This plant is a vigorous grower that will flow over the sides of a container planting. This licorice accent plant is also heat-tolerant so the foliage will hold its silver-white color through July and August. Optimum sun is 4-6 hours, so partial shade works well. Plants grow 12” high by 20” long so they fill in nicely wherever grown. Two other notable Licorice accents are Licorice Splash with its dark-green variegated foliage and Petite Licorice, a more compact growing plant with smaller silver-green leaves.
Annuals with a grape fragrance? Yes, in the Angelface® Super Blue Snapdragon. Summer snapdragons grow best when it gets hot. Amazingly, these Angelface® Snapdragons seem to never stop blooming throughout the summer as they stand tall in the flower bed. Available in nearly a dozen colors from whites to pinks to blues, they make wonderful cut flowers sharing their unique fragrance throughout the house. These snapdragons tolerate summer drought, need no deadheading, bloom and rebloom all summer and are fool proof to grow.
I’ll end this month by presenting the 2020 Annual of the Year from Proven Winners©. This year the honor belongs to the Euphorbia (you-FOR-bee-uh). This annual is related to the poinsettia but looks more like Baby’s Breath in form and color. Often used as a filler in containers, Proven Winners® Diamond Snow™ does not stop there. Though on first glance Diamond Snow™ does look delicate like Baby’s Breath, this annual is durable and able to grow well in sun or shade. The flowers are double which both heightens the brilliance of their whiteness and more densely fills out containers. The growth habit is rounded making it an excellent stand-alone container plant or as an edging plant in a garden bed where it has room to shine.
Plants from Proven Winners© will be available this spring wherever plants are sold.
Why Do Americans Indulge Their Pets?
DEAR PAW’S CORNER: Why do Americans spend so much money on their pets? Couldn’t they save more money if they didn’t indulge their dog or cat with designer sweaters, booties, premium dog food and trendy grooming? — Caryn B., via email
DEAR CARYN: It’s true that Americans spend more on their pets than anyone else in the world. According to the American Pet Products Association, spending in 2019 reached $95.7 billion.
Owners spend most of their money on pet food and treats, totaling $36.9 billion last year. Another expensive item is veterinary care and related product sales (like medications), with $29.3 billion spent.
Why do we spend so much money? Ask any owner, and they’ll give you roughly the same answer. Our pets are a part of our family. We are dedicated to them, just as they are dedicated to us. We don’t want to see them suffer, and like any beloved family member, we are willing to spend far more money on their health and comfort than we would on ourselves.
Designer doggie sweaters aren’t just stylish, they protect our dogs from the elements, and the higher-priced sweaters tend to be more comfortable and better fitting. Booties prevent cuts to the pads on their paws when walking in the city or on icy pavement, minimizing pain and possible infections. High-quality dog food costs more, but the payoff is in better overall health and a longer life. And grooming, for the most part, plays a key part in keeping pets healthier and more comfortable. (With the exception of scrotum glitter. I’m not quite sure about that one.)
So sure, we’re spending a lot of money. But Americans look for a balance of value for what we spend, and clearly, pet owners are finding great value in spending a bit more to keep their beloved pets healthy and happy.
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© 2020 King Features Synd., Inc.
Paddy and the Pig
Paddy and the Pig is a caricature found in political cartoons during Victorian times. A toy based on the caricature sold recently for $1,320.
Famous mascots, logos and characters from books and songs are being tossed aside in this modern, more politically correct world. The Aunt Jemima of today doesn’t resemble the original. Chief Wahoo of the Cleveland Indians baseball team made his last appearance at the end of the 2018 season. But has it gone too far? It has been suggested that the Fighting Irish Leprechaun, mascot of the University of Notre Dame sports teams, be dropped as not politically correct. Though derived from Irish folklore, some think he is a negative stereotype that is insulting to those of Irish background. As always, there are two sides to the argument, and so far, those who like their leprechaun are winning.
This leprechaun probably was inspired by “Paddy and the Pig,” a caricature used by British political cartoonists since the 1840s to represent Ireland and the Irish people. Paddy was the ignorant peasant; the pig was the backward agricultural nation. Paddy wore breeches, a patched coat and a strange hat. Most of the political arguments were about Irish Home Rule, a hot topic in Victorian England politics. The comic Paddy was re-created as a toy.
A version made by Lehmann, a German toy manufacturer, depicts Paddy trying to ride an uncooperative pig that moves back and forth while Paddy holds on for dear life. It sold at a Bertoia auction in New Jersey for $1,320.
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Is there an easy way to date an unused postcard? I know the amount of the postage stamp has often changed and there are lists of the prices and dates. But when were photographs rather than color pictures used? When was it called a “postal card”?
Postcard collectors know and have listed the table of postage and postcard changes online, and they are in our book “Kovels’ Know Your Collectibles.” A postal card is an early card called “pioneer” with no picture used from 1893 to 1898. A government printed card had printed postage, a privately-printed card required a stamp and a divided-back card was used from 1907 to 1914. Photochrome cards were used after 1939. Collectors call them photographs, although many are lithographs with a shiny finish. Real photo cards were used since 1900. If you want to sound like an expert, refer to them as RPPC. Used cards can be dated by the amount of the postage stamp; the postmark; a two-digit postal code, used after 1943; and a five-digit ZIP code, used after 1963.
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“Peanuts” Lucy cookie jar, yellow dress, 12 x 8 1/2
Irish lace collar, ivory shawl, flower blossom pattern, trailing leaf border, c. 1910, 11 x 46 inches, $50.
Pitcher, silver, lid, hinged, inset Irish coin, armorial, hammered, 1800s, Ireland, 6 inches, $90.
Wedgwood chalice, fairyland luster, orange interior, cobalt exterior, gilt, birds, chased base, 7 1/4 x 5 1/4 in. $180.
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TIP: To get candle wax off your antique table, use a hair dryer set on low heat. Melt the wax, then wipe it off.
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tips and resources, visit
© 2020 King Features Synd., Inc.
Cremer’s Baked Ham with Maple Glaze
5-6# Roses Spiral Cut Ham
1/4 cup Big Timber pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon dry mustard
1. Remove ham from refrigerator 45 minutes to 1 hour before roasting. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Place ham in a roasting pan.
2. Roast for 30 minutes in the preheated oven. In a small bowl, mix together the maple syrup, red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard and mustard powder.
3. When the 30 minutes are up, brush 1/3 of the glaze over the ham. Bake 20 minutes, remove ham, brush with remaining glaze. Let ham stand for 10 to 15 minutes before carving.
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