That's life

New coneflower is orange

In a major breakthrough in plant breeding, Chicagoland Grows Inc. has introduced Orange Meadowbrite, the first orange-blooming coneflower ever produced in cultivation.

With its perfectly formed orange blooms, deep-green glossy foliage, and sweet orange-tea fragrance, Orange Meadowbrite is the long-awaited "child" of Jim Ault, director of plant research at the Chicago Botanic Garden.

Orange Meadowbrite is at home in formal borders, as well as in naturalistic meadow and prairie gardens. It quickly grows 24 to 36 inches high with a 24-inch spread, and rewards the gardener with flowers for six to eight weeks.

This orange beauty performs best in full sun and well-draining soil. It is prized for its resistance to disease, insects, and cultural problems. Orange Meadowbrite is cold hardy in USDA Zones 5 through 9, and has incredible drought resistance.

For information, visit www.chicagolandgrows.org.

Benefits of trees

Trees not only provide shade, they actually cool the air by means of the moisture released from their leaves. Studies have shown that neighborhoods with many trees can have temperatures as much as 12 degrees lower than treeless areas.

Here are some of the other benefits of planting trees, courtesy of the National Arbor Day Foundation:

• A tree windbreak can lower home heating bills up to 20 percent.

• Shade trees planted east and west of a home can cut cooling costs by 15 to 35 percent.

• Trees remove air pollution from the air.

• Trees can increase the property value of your home by more than 15 percent.

• Trees support many generations of birds and other wildlife.

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