By Gary WadeUniversity of GeorgiaPlanting Cuphea in your landscape is like watching nonstopfireworks at a Disney theme park. Three species readily availableand most commonly known as firecracker plant, tiny mice and tallcigar plant all deserve their 2006 Georgia Gold Medal for annualplants. Volume XXXINumber 1Page 17 These dependable, low-maintenance annuals not only tolerate theheat and humidity of the South but have extended bloom periods.They attract butterflies and hummingbirds like magnets. Andthey’re versatile enough for container plantings or in-groundbeds.Firecracker plant (Cupheaignea), ignites in abundant tubular, scarlet-red flowersedged in black at the leaf axils along the stem. About a foottall, it’s a perfect companion plant for containers or windowboxes or for planting in front of taller plants in a perennialborder.A light trimming in midsummer will encourage basal branching,more compact plants and more fireworks until frost. Like theother Cuphea species, firecracker plant does best in full sun andmoist, well-drained soils.Tiny mice (Cuphea llavea)is also known as Mickey Mouse plant and Georgia Scarlet.It was first released as Georgia Scarlet from the University ofGeorgia’s breeding program. The nursery trade gave it the othernames because its flowers resemble the face of a mouse, with twored petals tinged in purple.Children marvel at the hundreds of tiny mouse faces on shortspikes along the stems. Hummingbirds and butterflies visit theplant in abundance, too, to collect nectar from the flowers.Cuphea llavea grows up to 2 feet tall. It branches freely to forma bushy, compact plant for containers or ground beds. Summercuttings root readily for sharing with neighbors and friends.Tall cigar plant (Cupheamicropetala) is a great background plant for perennialborders, reaching 3 to 5 feet tall. Its 2-inch-long, cigar-shapedblooms are reddish at the base, yellow in the middle and green atthe top.The flowers emerge in the upper axils by mid to late summer,tubular and keep coming until frost. By fall, the plant appearsto have caught fire.If you cut tall cigar plants back and mulch them, they cansurvive mild winters down to 20 degrees.Watching these three terrific Cuphea plants perform in thelandscape will make it clear why they’re 2006 Georgia Gold Medalwinners.(Gary Wade is a Cooperative Extension horticulturist with theUniversity of Georgia College of Agricultural and EnvironmentalSciences.)
The Vermont State Treasurer’s Office has received more than $9 million in new unclaimed property since the fiscal year began July 1. The annual deadline for holders of unclaimed property to turn over funds to the State was May 1 and thousands of dollars continue to be received by the Unclaimed Property Division. http://www.vermonttreasurer.gov/unclaimed-property(link is external) ‘Typical holders of unclaimed property include financial institutions, employers, utility companies, insurance companies, retailers, corporations and governmental agencies throughout the United States,’ said State Treasurer Beth Pearce. ‘My office continually works to make Vermont’s firms aware of the law and assist businesses in turning financial property over in a timely way.’ There is now more than $52 million in Vermont’s unclaimed property fund. The word ‘property’ refers to financial assets, not real estate. Financial property becomes ‘unclaimed’ after a business or non-profit entity loses contact with a customer for a period of years. The property is sent to the State Treasurer’s Office to protect the funds and centralize efforts to locate the property owner. ‘During the first ten months of fiscal year 2011, my office has paid more than 9,835 claims, worth $3.5 million. Since we are constantly receiving new financial property, Vermonters should check every year for unclaimed property,’ explained Pearce. An online system makes it quick and easy to check for unclaimed property. Vermonters may go to MissingMoney.Vermont.gov and can search by last name or town. There are currently more than 275,000 individual listings in the Vermont unclaimed property database. There is no charge to search for property or claim funds. There is no time limit for filing a claim. Funds are held in trust for the benefit of state residents until rightful owners or heirs are found. The Treasurer’s Office also provides a link on the missing money web page to a free national searchable database of unclaimed property. Vermonters are cautioned to be wary of companies claiming to locate and recover property for a fee. People may contact Vermont’s Unclaimed Property Division by calling (802) 828-2407 or toll-free in Vermont at 1-800-642-3191.