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National Gardening Bureau reveals 2011 picks

Zinnia Giant Double Mix in pink, just one

Zinnia Giant Double Mix in pink, just one of countless varieties of zinnias you can grow in your own garden next spring. Photo Credit: National Gardening Bureau

You can officially count yourself among the very first to know, as the National Garden Bureau announced its 2011 honorees just minutes ago.

NGB's  "Year of the ___" program, started in 1982, is in its 29th year. Here's how it works: Crops are evaluated for their ease of growth, popularity, adaptability, genetic diversity and versatility, then the NGB and its members select one flower and one vegetable plant to receive the annual  honor.

I wasn't expecting to see this year's announcement today; it came earlier than usual to give distributors, growers and retailers more time to meet the inevitable ramped-up demand for the honorees. What that means is that come Jan. 1, you can expect to see a lot more ads than usual for these 2 plants. They'll also likely be given a more prominent presence in mail order catalogs and on retail shelves.

Are you ready? Next year is officially the Year of the Tomato! If you've been around these parts before, I don't have to tell you how happy that makes me, being quite the tomato girl myself. The upcoming year also has been dubbed Year of the Zinnia.

Are you planning to grow either plant next year? Do tell . . .



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