18 October 2016

Seed Exchange - American Horticultural Society

November 1 is the deadline for sending in seeds you've collected from your garden for the American Horticultural Society Seed Exchange. 

Only AHS members can donate seeds. AHS members can order from the Seed Exchange in January 2017. Another good reason to join!

Memberships begin at $35.00.

11 October 2016

Late Bloomer - How to Garden with Comfort, Ease and Simplicity in the Second Half of Life

"Late Bloomer - How to Garden with Comfort, Ease and Simplicity in the Second Half of Life" by Jan Bills,  is just out this month from St. Lynn's Press.

The author is a second half of life gardener, herself, She says in the introduction that this stage of life gardening is about simplicity, beauty and harmony, comfort and ease, celebrating life with food from your soil, relaxation and letting go, She is now a professional gardener!

“It is not about keeping up with others,” Bills said. “It excludes memorizing botanical names and identifying every garden insect or noxious weed (that’s what Google is for). Rather, it is an ongoing relationship, with deep and lasting experiences. For me, it is an opportunity to bring what I love to the garden; it makes me feel alive, rejuvenated and well. Gardens are my blank canvas, the one place to be fully expressed without limitation or prejudice. A garden is where hope is restored and relaxation is practiced.”

Three of Bills' sustainable practises: Reduce weeds by creating heavily planted garden beds; make the most of your water; and replicate a natural forest ecosystem in your garden space.

As advised by so many garden gurus, Bills says, "leave the leaves" to provide food and shelter for bugs and wildlife, to nourish the soil suppress weeds and protect plant roots over the winter months.

She provides basic design tips such as using plants in odd numbers, planting year-round interest, adding garden ornaments, creating a garden entrance, adding seating, color, texture and contrast.

The book is loaded with practical tips, photos, illustrations and humor. 140-pages in a 7 by 7 inch hardback book. What a great gift it would make!

$18.95 list price from St. Lynn's Press and $14 at Amazon.

06 October 2016

Help Bumblebees Survive and Thrive

Horticulture Magazine has a new article with ideas for how gardeners can help bumblebees survive and thrive.

This is an important topic as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service added 7 species of bees to the Endangered Species list, providing protection for the bees.

Here are some things the Xerces Society recommends that we all do to help bumblebees in our neighborhoods:
  • Provide them with pollen and nectar from late winter through early fall. Plan your garden to start blooming early and finish late.

  • Choose flowers that welcome the bumblebees. Plants native to your area are a good choice because the bees have evolved alongside them. Exotic (but not invasive) species can work, too. Just be sure to use the straight species, or pick cultivars that retain the general look of the species’s flower. That is, avoid cultivars bred for double petals or other fancy forms that make it hard for the bumblebee to access the pollen.
  • Bumblebees best like purple, blue and yellow flowers. They cannot see the color red.

  • Avoid using pesticides.

  • Help bumblebees, which typically nest underground, overwinter by leaving some ground undisturbed—that is, not planted or mowed. Bumblebees may also take up in compost piles, woodpiles, stone walls or empty bird houses.

  • For more pointers on how to help bumblebees, plus an identification guide and recommended plants by region, see Conserving Bumble Bees by the Xerces Society.

02 October 2016

OSU Botanic Garden Events

October will be a busy month at the Oklahoma Botanic Garden!

Thursday, October 6
7:00 pm
TBG Educational Center
Cory Suddarth from Suddarth Optical Repair will join us to discuss binoculars, scopes, and everything in between. Cory is an expert in the repair of old optics, so be sure to have them with you when he fields your questions. For more information visit:paynecountyaudubonsociety.com

Presented by Payne County Audubon Society

Saturdays: October 1, 8, and 29
9:00 am – 3:00 pm
The Botanic Garden at OSU
The garden is a captivating place to stroll with family and friends before heading to your favorite tailgate party. Make a visit to The Botanic Garden part of your game day activities in Stillwater. You can purchase mums and pumpkins for your tailgating décor while supporting The Botanic Garden! Ambassadors will be in the garden to welcome you and answer your gardening questions. The West Virginia Avenue entrance will be open for additional parking and handicap access.  Map

Presented by TBG Ambassadors

Yoga in the Garden

Thursdays: October 6, 13, 20 and 27
5:45 – 6:30 pm
TBG Lawn near the vegetable garden

Yoga is back at the garden! Bring your mat and join Carol Bender, yoga therapist, as we shed the worries of the day and welcome nature’s energy into our body, mind, and spirit. In the event of rain the class will be held in the Educational Center.

Presented by the OSU Department of Wellness

Concert in the Garden – Tyler Siems with special guests, Tanner Bryan and John Homer

Friday, October 7
5:45 – 7:30 pm
TBG Event Lawn

Load the picnic basket with a nice dinner, grab your blanket or lawn chair and nestle yourself under the beautiful sycamoreallée to enjoy an evening of old country and traditional/folk songs with singer/songwriter Tyler Siems and special guests. This event is free and open to the public.

Sponsored by OSU Office of the President, Hideaway Pizza, Kicker, Arts and Humanities Council of Stillwater, Daddy O’s Music Company, and Flourishes Flowers Décor and More

Seed Exchange and Potluck

Tuesday, October 11
6:00 – 7:30 pm
TBG Educational Center

Bring seeds of your favorite flowers and vegetables to swap with fellow gardeners, and a dish to share for a fall potluck dinner. For those gardeners who like to experiment, bring those seeds of a superior cultivar from your garden to see how they might do in another garden next year.

Tuesday Gardening Series

Presented by Payne County Master Gardeners

Pumpkin Crafting

Saturday, October 15
10:00 am – 12:00 pm
The Botanic Garden at OSU

Grab the kids and come out to the garden for a pumpkin carving demonstration with Sally McCorkle, MFA Professor, Sculpture/ 3D Design; live music with the Misspent Ukes; and pumpkin painting. Cost: $10 per family, includes painting supplies and pumpkins. Supplies are limited so please RSVP to Laura, laura.payne@okstate.edu to reserve your spot.

Presented by TBG Ambassadors

Families and Flashlights

Thursday, October 20 – Friday, October 21
6:00 pm – 9:00 am
The Botanic Garden at OSU

Fall is a great time to camp out so bring the family to the garden for an overnight stay, watch a movie under the stars, make smores and decorate pumpkins. This event is open to OSU employees and their families. Cost: $30 per family. Contact tabi.deal@okstate.edu to register.

TBG co-sponsorship with the OSU Wellness Center.

Mum and Pumpkin Sale

Monday - Friday
8:00 am – 5:00 pm.
And on Open House Saturdays
9:00 am – 3:00 pm
The Botanic Garden at OSU

Help support The Botanic Garden with the purchase of mums and pumpkins at the Plant Sale Area located at the entry to the gardens from the North parking lot. Plants are available for sale weekdays during business hours and during Open House Saturdays until they are sold out.

28 September 2016

Choosing Colors for Your Garden

The Flower, Garden & Nature Society of Northwest Arkansas will meet Saturday, October 15, to hear "Pink Hates Chartreuse: Thoughts on Color in the Garden".  Speaker will be Tom Dillard, an avid gardener, retired head of Special Collections at the University of Arkansas Libraries in Fayetteville, and a historian and specialist on Arkansas history, about which he writes a weekly column for Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

The meeting will be held in the Student Center of Northwest Technical Institute at 709 S. Old Missouri Road in Springdale, AR.  It is free and open to the public.  The meeting will begin at10:00 a.m.  Info: 479-361-2198 and onfacebook.com/fgnsofnwa

An article (link) about Dillard when he retired says that "Dillard is best known as a creator of the Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture, which he still serves as founding editor-in-chief, and as creator of the Richard C. Butler Center for Arkansas Studies, more commonly known as the Butler Center, in Little Rock. He’s literally a “know-it-all,” when it comes to facts, tidbits and lore about the Natural State."

His history columns can be found on the website for the Arkansas Democrat Gazette.

24 September 2016

Fall Planted Bulbs for Spring Flowers

The time to plant spring blooming bulbs has arrived along with an abundance of bulb company catalogs. 

Becky Heath of Brent and Becky's Bulbs has an article in this month's American Horticultural Society newsletter. You can read the entire article at this link.

Heath says, "There are several approaches to combining bulbs with herbaceous perennials, shrubs, and trees. Choosing combinations that will bloom at the same time creates the biggest impact, like the finale of a fire - works display. Combining plants so that they bloom sequentially with a slight over -plant tulips or lilies eight to 10 inches deep, then above them place daffodils, hyacinths, or alliums at about six inches. Smaller early-blooming bulbs—such as crocuses, anemones, and dwarf irises—can even be planted in the top three inches."

Heath's bulb-planting tips

The best time to plant spring-flowering bulbs is after the first hard frost. Before then, the soil normally remains warm from the summer heat, and early autumn rains may cause newly planted, non-established bulbs to rot.

The basic rule of thumb for planting depth is three times the height of the bulb. So if the bulb is two inches tall, then the bottom of the hole should be about six inches deep. Tulips and lilies, which prefer really cool soil, benefit from being planted even deeper—I often suggest placing them eight to 10 inches deep.

The roots of spring-flowering bulbs start growing in autumn, so after planting, water the area and add a topdressing of compost or a slow-release fertilizer that is low in nitrogen and high in potash (5–10–20).

20 September 2016

Native Plants and Their Relatives

If you watch garden center trends you have noticed that hundreds of hybrids have been developed from native plants.

The claim is that they are just as good for the environment as true native plants but have much nicer features such as form, flower color, size at maturity, disease resistance, etc.

National Wildlife magazine begs to differ from that marketing assertion, pointing out that the clones are really not as good for the environment as we may think.

Click on this link to read the entire article. Excerpts are below.

"Native plants have formed symbiotic relationships with native wildlife over thousands of years, and therefore offer the most sustainable habitat. A plant is considered native if it has occurred naturally in a particular region, ecosystem, or habitat without human introduction.

Exotic plants that evolved in other parts of the world or were 
cultivated by humans into forms that don’t exist in nature do not 
support wildlife as well as native plants. Occasionally, they can 
even escape into the wild and become invasive exotics that destroy natural habitat.
Native plants help the environment the most when planted in places that match their growing requirements. They will thrive in the soils, moisture and weather of your region. That means less supplemental watering, which can be wasteful, and pest problems that require toxic chemicals. Native plants also assist in managing rain water runoff and maintain healthy soil as their root systems are deep and keep soil from being compacted."

After conducting research on the topic, Doug Tallamay commented, "Changes in plant size or “habit,” such as nativars that grow more 
compactly or more upright than straight species, “didn’t seem to 
make any difference to wildlife,” says Tallamy. Neither did nativars
 that are bred for disease resistance such as the Princeton elm. 
That’s good news for the American elm  which has been devastated
 by Dutch elm disease throughout its native range in the United 
States and Canada, and also for the growing number of other 
native trees suffering from blights introduced from abroad.
While disease-resistant nativars can be a boon for a plant decimated
 by blight, others can have a less salubrious effect on the genetic 
health of a species. By definition an atypical plant, a nativar 
represents just a sliver of a species’ genetic diversity. What’s more, 
to maintain their atypical traits, most nativars are propagated 
through cloning, such as by rooting cuttings, which produces 
genetically identical plants. When mass produced and overused in
 the landscape industry, they result in less genetic diversity than 
straight species propagated from seed, and therefore provide native
 plants with less capacity to adapt to stresses ranging from disease 
to climate change."
“It is a bad idea to load the landscape with plants that have no genetic variability, says Tallamy. “I’m not a hardliner on this issue, but gardeners ought to have access to straight species. We 
have to convince the nursery industry that native plants are about 
more than just looks.”

17 September 2016

Invasive Plant Alterntives

Have you been gardening long enough to plant something wonderful that became invasive? I have!

Many plants have been introduced over the years that turned out to spread too quickly for the garden space, taking over and choking out other plants in the bed.

American Bittersweet
Cornell University published a guide to commonly planted invasives and plants that would fill the horticultural purpose that are not invasive.

One example is Porcelain Berry Vine, Ampelopsis brevipedunculata. The alternatives they suggest are: Dutchman's Pipe, Trumpet Honeysuckle, American Bittersweet, Trumpetcreeper and Fox Grape.

Black Chokeberry
Privet, Ligustrum obtusifolium, is another widely sold and planted shrub that becomes invasive fairly quickly. The suggestions for planting instead of Privet include: Boxwood, Holly, Yew, American arborvitae, and Black Chokeberry.

Click over to this Cornell link to read about more invasives and their alternatives.

13 September 2016

Butterfly Garden Tour in OKC

A free garden tour featuring butterfly-friendly plants will take place in Oklahoma City on Sunday, September 25 from 10 to 3. Eight locations can be toured at your own pace and there will be native plant vendors at all 8 sites. The gardens are listed below.
More information https://urbanagokc.org/

Explore eight diverse gardens and landscapes during
this free, self-guided tour around central-northwest Oklahoma City. From the modern Pipevine Swallow tail DSCF1952formal to the xeric perennial border to the rustic urban homestead, there will be something for everyone to enjoy.

Get inspired to attract these beautiful creatures to your own garden, plus ask plant questions of local experts and purchase native and prairie garden perennials from local growers!
What:    Free self-guided Butterfly Garden Tour
Where:  Eight sites in central-northwest Oklahoma City
When:   Sunday September 25, 10 am – 3 pm (Rain date of Sunday October 2)
  1. Perennial ClassicPatti Kate * Address to be published Sept. 24IMG_3229
An inspired take on the traditional, this landscape showcases water-thrifty design: a buffalograss lawn, butterfly-friendly xeriscaped border, and local stained-glass artwork. Co-designed by the homeowner and Randy Marks of Groundwork.
On-site: Wild Things Nursery 
  1. Modern TwistThe McGills * Address to be published Sept. 24IMG_3190
Love pollinators and a modern aesthetic? Check out this formal landscape with front-yard patio and driftwood art designed by JamieCsizmadia.
On-site: Jamie Csizmadia of Olthia Urban Prairie Gardens
  1. Must Love DogsRose-Shanker family * Address to be published Sept. 24IMG_3195
Rambunctious dogs and butterflies co-exist in this back-yard retreat! Features loads of art and massive oil pipelines repurposed as planters. Designed by JamieCsizmadia of Olthia Urban Prairie Gardens.
On-site: Skyridge Farm 
  1. Urban HomesteadPatton family * Address to be published Sept. 24IMG_0948

Like a more carefree vibe? Explore this slightly untamed vegetable garden, urban orchard, avian sanctuary and prairie landscape. Includes peach, apple, pecan, plum and persimmon trees. Co-designed by the homeowner and Randy Marks of Groundwork.
On-site: Oklahoma Native Plant Society
  1. Pride of the NeighborhoodSkyline Neighborhood Pollinator Garden * NW 27th & LyonsPhaeon CrescentFind inspiration at this pollinator park designed specifically to welcome butterflies and bees. Neighborhood kids delight in caring for this special community space, which was just planted this spring!

    On-site: Sierra Club, OK Cimarron Group
 6. Pollinator Playground        Six-Twelve * 612 NW 29thImageForGardenTour2
This one has everything—community garden, miniature orchard, rainwater garden, even an on-site pre-school where kids can grow (and eat) their own vegetables.
On-site: Prairie Wind Nursery
  1. Butterfly BonanzaEdith & Bill Siemens * Address to be published Sept. 24DSCF7094
These homeowners specialize in attracting the swallowtail butterfly along with a host of other buzzing friends. The site features twenty-one years of historic Oklahoma City Zoo memorabilia.
On-site: The Nature Conservancy
 8. Pollinators in ParadiseCommonWealth Urban Farms * 3310 N. Oliesage and butterfly 2
Butterflies and bees come for the flowers – but they have plenty of work pollinating the tomatoes, peppers and other veggies growing at this much-loved community vegetable and flower farm.
On-site: CommonWealth Urban Farms

10 September 2016

Northern Bayberry Shrub is Myrica Pensylvanica

Northern Bayberry Shrub is an American native that is cold hardy in zones 3 to 7. The native variety matures at 10 - 12 feet tall and wide. There are cultivated varieties/hybrids that remain smaller. 

This is a shrub that provides shelter, feeds wildlife, is tolerant of many soil types, is deer-resistant and will tolerate full-sun to part-shade.

Northern Bayberry can be great for a larger landscaped area as it will produce suckers from the root and create its own large colony over time.

They will drop their leaves in the fall and the blue-gray-toned berries that persist over the winter add interest to the winter landscape.

Ideal for woodland gardens, privacy screen, shrub borders and roadside planting, Sometimes labeled Waxmyrtle, Bayberry shrubs are easy to find in nurseries.

The leaves and berries are scented with the scent being familiar to anyone who has been around Bayberry candles.

Ohio State University mentions these compact hybrids: "‘Myda’ a heavy fruiting female and her counterpart, ‘Myriman’.  ‘Wildwood’ is a United States National Arboretum selection offering excellent cold hardiness and slightly smaller plant growing to 6 feet.  ‘Bobzam’, Bobbee™ is a Lake County Nursery introduction that we grow at Secrest Arboretum.  It is another more compact, (6 ft.) cultivar offering foliage that is much larger, glossier, and wavy."

More information: Missouri Botanical Garden and 
Ohio State Extension