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They might not be a good choice for street containers like this one.

Black is the new petunia

I saw the black and green ones everywhere last summer, but now Black Velvet is the big buzz. Black plants are tough. You want to like them, but a plant is not like a dress (sorry, Hort Couture). I don’t need my garden to look thinner, and a color that recedes as much as black is only going to be so useful.  There is a reason Ball calls it combo-friendly. The universal green found in all gardens has always been enough of a quiet foil for me. (But who am I kidding; I’ll probably buy some of those damn black petunias just for fun. I won’t be able to resist.)

Gardening is legal in Utah

Was it in danger of becoming otherwise? Apparently so, because the Utah legislature just passed a Basic Right to Garden law (HB249), which prevents any federal takeover of family gardens. According to this article, it ensures that “Utahns who want to share their garden bounty with family, friends and other state residents should be free to do so.” The law reacts to the recent Food Safety Act—which does exempt home gardens, famers’ markets, and roadside stands—but the Utah legislature just wants to be on the safe side.

And that’s not all Utahns are worried about. During the same legislative session they passed a law that will encourage children to play outside.

Strange bedfellows

Monsanto and the Obama administration. The feds have just fully approved Roundup Ready GMO alfalfa and Roundup Ready GMO sugar beets (joining RUR soy, cotton, and corn), despite the efforts of such groups as The Center for Food Safety, Food Democracy Now, the Organic Seed Alliance, the Sierra Club, and many other organizations who feel that the release of more glysophate into the environment, the resulting evolution of glysophate-resistent weeds, and  the contamination and cross-pollination with other crops were all unacceptable results of this approval. These deregulations have been in play for a couple years. I don’t know as much about this issue as many others who have written about it; all I can say is that altering more and more of our food supply so we can spray lots more weed killer sounds like a bad idea to me.

Posted by

Elizabeth Licata
on February 22, 2011 at 5:00 am, in the category Ministry of Controversy.


  1. The Monsanto issue is one of the reasons I have doubled my growing area and have bought strictly organic heirloom seeds so I can save my own seeds to feed my family. It may seem like overkill but who knows how much longer our food supply will be poison free…

  2. The dangers of GMO’s are several orders of magnitude greater than the threats posed by mere pesticides. The threat is inside the plants, the threat is replicated, the threat has very complex biological effects that are hard to trace, the threat is being very carefully covered up by profit making interests, and the threat spreads uncontrollably in the environment.

  3. My sister is a private school teacher in Seattle. She recently got a new kid in her class (he’s coming from a public school). He doesn’t know what to do at recess. He has no idea how to PLAY.

  4. Great Blog, I started gardening a few months ago and now its all I want to do, I have been in a related business ( Patio Furniture ) for several years but until now I found that is great hoby 2, thanks for all the info, I have a lot to learn I think, jejeje

  5. I have to point out that in Utah family gardens are extremely common. Not that any government agency is going to swoop in and take them away any time soon, but it’s good politics to protect something so popular!

  6. Even though black plants tend to disappear in the garden – I still want NEED want thpse Black Velvet petunias. I think in a good container combo they’ll be real sweet.

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