20 March 2017

The Foodscape Revolution: Finding a Better Way to Make Space for Food and Beauty in Your Garden

Most of us experienced gardeners grow herbs and vegetables and and some fruits in our flower and perennial beds and now it's become a movement.

I've tucked cucumbers on the fence behind the perennials, grown cantaloupe vines and grapes on chain link fences among shrubs and flowering trees, grown pawpaws in the daylily bed, etc.

A new book "The Foodscape Revolution: Finding a Better Way to Make Space for Food and Beauty in Your Garden" by Brie Arthur tells us more about how to succeed and introduces new gardeners to the idea of mixing things up.

If you enjoy videos, here's a link to her 25 minute podcast https://briegrows.com/2016/10/
"Getting Dirty in Your Garden", brought to you by North Carolina State Extension Master Gardener Volunteers.

Arthur's How-to:  •Use the existing landscape • Utilize a an ornamental base • Work with HOA Guidelines • Think Outside of the Box • Select plants to create an engaging space • Full sun • High traffic area • Grow on YOUR terms… gardening is a wonderful hobby

Why Foodscape: • Organic and sustainable land management • Increases bio-diversity • Improves soil health • Abundance of beneficial insects • Create a living ecosystem in every landscape • Reduces disease issues • Conversation Starter • Easily irrigated and managed

The book is broken into parts Part One is the anatomy and framework, what to plant, care and maintenance. Part Two is foodscape project ideas including a property screen meadow, an edible neighborhood entry, patio pots and alternative ideas. Part Three is harvest, preserve the harvest and recipes.

Appendices include plant listings, resources and end pieces.

The ideas in this book are ingenious and the photography is mouth watering. Arthur breaks your yard into zones with zone one being closest to the house and water source. (We grow our thornless blackberries on a back fence which is definitely zone 3 for us but they rarely need water.)

Zone one is your house foundation or containers close in where care is easiest. Here's where you'd grow cucumbers, lettuce and water thirsty veggies.

Arthur discusses ornamentals for your foodscape both for color and to attract pollinators. Plus she talks about woody perennials such as trees and shrubs.

For beautiful edibles, Arthur suggests corn, oats, rice, sorghum, wheat, basil, chard, beans, peppers, eggplant, broccoli, etc.

There are chapters on problems and potential problems though as gardeners know those vary by region.

If you need any encouragement at all to grow fruit and vegetables and herbs all over your garden and yard, you'll love this book! Great for class rooms, children and community gardens, families and community front yard revolutions.

The book is a 192 page hard cover, 8 by 7-inches. Published by St. Lynn's Press.
Prices range from $15 to $22.

16 March 2017

Honor Heights Park Trails

Walking, running or riding bikes on the trails at Honor Heights Park is a great way to get outside this weekend. 

Here's the scoop on all the options - Bresser is my favorite!

With three paved plus two primitive walking and bicycle trails, there is something for everyone at Honor Heights Park. Amenities include restrooms and water fountains.
The Walk, Run or Ride the Trails Week from March 27 to April 2 will have free, organized group events at Honor Heights Park. 
You can visit the trails on your own, too. Maps are online to print or use on your phone at www.Muskogeeparks.org/trails.
Woodland Garden Trail is a concrete .28-mile (round trip) stroll through what was called the White Garden, with several benches along the way. Park on the 48th Street side of the park.
Stem Beach Trail also is paved. The two access points are across the street from the Woodland Garden Trail and at the Papilion butterfly garden. The .66-mile trail circles around the pond with benches along the way.
Arboretum Trail is a shady, paved .63-mile stroll through 400 trees, many of which are in bloom. Park across the street from the butterfly house and use either entrance into the arboretum.
Audubon Nature Trail is a shaded, unpaved, primitive, half-mile mile walk or bike ride. It is accessible from Buffalo Drive, the Arboretum Trail, and the Henry Bresser Trail.
Both of the primitive trails are somewhat challenging, single file paths, with changes in elevation, tree roots, rocks and poison ivy along the way.
Henry Bresser Nature Trail has several access points. Depending on your start and end location, you can walk a third of a mile from the former rose garden to the Five Civilized Tribes Museum parking lot, or you can go over a mile if you continue to walk past the museum parking lot.
One easy-to-locate trailhead onto the Henry Bresser Nature Trail is across the road from the former rose garden parking lot. Walk up the native stone staircase and you will see a Works Progress Administration-era picnic bench on the right. The trail is on the left.
Soon after starting the trail, there is a rock staircase on the right that goes up the hill to a picnic bench then continues up to Honor Heights Drive. The staircase is steep and somewhat overgrown.
If you stay on Bresser Trail, you can take a left, go downhill, turn right and connect with the Audubon Trail, walking to the Buffalo Drive hairpin. Stay on Bresser Trail and you will pass several stone picnic tables and end at Honor Heights Drive. Look for flowering periwinkle vines, forsythia and old oak trees along the way.
Continue your walk through the museum parking lot and turn right onto the trail. Take the stone staircase down to the pavilion at the top of the waterfall. From there you can walk down the waterfall steps or take one of the primitive paths that lead away from the pavilion to your left and right.
All three paths terminate at Honor Heights Drive. Cross the road and turn right to reconnect with Bresser Trail back to the parking lot. The complete loop takes less than an hour at a leisurely pace.
Reach Molly Day at mollyday1@gmail.com.
This story is the second of a three-part series about Walk, Run or Ride the Trails Week.
Learn more
For information about the Walk, Run or Ride the Trails Week activities: Doug Walton, (918) 683-0321; or Brooke Hall, (918) 684-6302, ext. 1477.

15 March 2017

Tontitown Arkansas History talk Saturday

The Flower Garden and Nature Society of NorthWest Arkansas welcomes Susan Young 

Topic “Fields Red with Strawberries in Northwest Arkansas” 
Day Saturday, March 18, 2017 
Time 9:30 am Social Time - 10:00 am Program
Location Northwest Technical Institute - Springdale Arkansas

Susan Young is the outreach coordinator at the Shiloh Museum of Ozark History in Springdale, a position she has held since 1994. 
Susan is a lifelong resident of Fayetteville and a fifth-generation Ozarker. 

She is the author of "So Big, This Little Place," a history of the founding of Tontitown, Arkansas, and the editor of “Memories I Can't Let Go Of”, a collection of life stories from Tontitown, Arkansas. 

In 2014, Susan received the Washington County Historical Society's Distinguished Citizen Award. 

Susan serves on the boards of the Arkansas Historical Association and the Ozark Folk Cultural Center Commission. Her Ozark history interests include traditional folkways, religion, and cemeteries. In her spare time, Susan enjoys reading, traveling, gardening, genealogy, and birdwatching.

Information Keith Blowers (blowerk@prodigy.net)

14 March 2017

Spider Myths Debunked

Most spiders are harmless but some people still fear the very sight of them.

This is a 10:42 minute YouTube video that will help dispel any myths you may still hold about spiders. It's by Thomas Shahan, micro photographer.


If you want to learn more about these creatures, here are a couple of Facebook pages of interest -


And, here are 10 spiders you should be very cautious around. 

13 March 2017

J L Hudson Seeds - new arrivals

This is one of the catalogs I love to browse - they have many unusual and unique seed varieties.
Their email today -
A number of interesting new items are now listed at:


These include: 

Chocolate vine - Akebia quinata
Variegated fishtail palm - Caryota mitis variegata
Triangle palm - Dypsis Decaryi
Indian peach
Egyptian top onion
Yugoslavian giant garlic

09 March 2017

Fuchsias for Hanging Baskets

Although they are not cold hardy in our zone 7 gardens, Fuchsias are widely sold here for hanging baskets and planters. It's easy to forget about Fuchsias unless you've been to CA lately, but they are as lovely as the other tender plants we select to grow as annuals here. And, the overwinter indoors just as easily.

Bella Fuchsia Sophia
And, check out this new introduction - Fuchsia Bella Nikita. Talk about adding a bright spot of color to your patio! 
Bella Fuchsia Nikita

If you prefer pastels, Sophia
will be your preference. 

02 March 2017

Coody Creek Trail Muskogee

If you go
Coody Creek Trail - Bicycle and walking/running trail
lighted parking lot at the Bark Park, 2nd St. at Madison
One block southwest of South Main/Hwy 64 & Kalamazoo

Families and groups who enjoy walking, running and bicycle riding have several options in Muskogee.  The trail system is well-developed with paved surfaces, parking lots and water fountains.

The choices include several paved trails. Some are wide open and sunny and others are wooded and shady. There are also a few primitive, unpaved, trails that give you a feeling of a walk in the woods.
Muskogee Parks and Recreation Department has posted the trail maps online.  (http://www.muskogeeonline.org/departments/parks_and_recreation/trails/index.php). The first page illustrates the paved trail system and the second page is a guide to the three unpaved trails.

The newest paved trail, Coody Creek Trail, begins at Second and Madison Streets. There is plenty of lighted parking at the trailhead. Other features include a dog park, water fountain and porta-potty. 
Walkers and runners share the trail with bicyclists.

Coody Creek Trail is a little over a mile walk, ride or run from the trailhead to the spot where it dead-ends into Centennial Trail. There are a few places where the trail slopes, but it is mostly flat and wide enough to walk with another person.

You will enjoy wandering alongside Coody Creek and under the 6th Street overpass. At 6th St. just beyond the overpass, there is a bench where you can rest and enjoy the beauty. There is a walking path to 6th Street but no parking available there. 

The trail opens wide when it crosses Coody Creek and then it meanders into an area of native trees. 

As the trail winds to the right there are clusters of early daffodils blooming now. They are no doubt a remnant of an early home site.

At seven-tenths of a mile from the parking lot the trail crosses West Kalamazoo St. and continues up a slope to Centennial Trail.

If you turn right onto Centennial Trail South you will cross South 7th Street and walk through hardwood forest and end your walk in the parking lot of the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame.

A left onto Centennial Trail will take you over highway 69 across an overpass and into Love-Hatbox Complex. From there you can take a fork in the trail to the right and go to the parking lot on Arline Ave across from the water park, or, continue to walk west onto Border Trail along Border Avenue.

From March 27th to April 2nd there will be a full week of free Walk, Run or Ride the Trails activities. You can go with family and friends or join a group every day at various trails. The list of organized events will include group bicycle rides, jogging, running and walking.

Information: Doug Walton 918-683-0321 and Brooke Hall 918-684-6302 X 1477

24 February 2017

Events for Gardeners

Here are a few reasons to mark your calendar, fellow gardeners, garden trekkers, bird lovers.

Sat March 4 at 2:00
Monarchs and Pollinators: The Need for Habitat Restoration
Chip Taylor, speaker, is founder and director of Monarch Watch
FREE and open to the public
Broken Arrow High School Media Center
1901 East Albany St. Broken Arrow

April 15
Jenks Herb and Plant Festival/Sale
Downtown Main Street
918.299.2311 and 918.446.2488

April 22 from 9-4
Sand Springs Herbal Affair
100 vendors

Sat. & Sun. May 20-21
Wildlife Habitat Tour
Audubon At Home: Gardening for Wildlife
Tour home gardens and shop native plant vendors at each home
johnkennington@gmail.com and 918.809.6325

Sat, June 10
Muskogee Garden Club Garden Tour
Cheryl Thygesen sthygesen1@att.net

18 February 2017

Landscaping with Stones, Gravel, Pavers

In our area, stones are a natural part of the landscape. In fact, it's impossible to plant anything here without removing rocks and stones of various shapes and sizes.

On our slice of property in NE Oklahoma, we have made stacked walls, walkways and flower bed borders with the natural rocks we have unearthed and moved.

There is a new, extremely worthwhile little book out called "The Spirit of Stone: 101 Practical and Creative Stonescaping Ideas for Your Garden" by Jan Johnsen.

It's loaded with beautiful photographs will inspire your creative process. There are simple project designs that home owners can accomplish on their own or with friends and family pitching in

In addition, Johnsen has plenty of more complex projects that you may want to hire a professional to do for your landscape.

The photos include ideas you may want to use for a rock garden, steps, viewing spots, dry stream bed, walk, foundation, stacked rock art, edging, or art.

There are charts of types of stone, rock garden plants (Johnsen is on the east coast of the US), mortar colors, etc. There are easily understood drawings of construction methods/plans for the ambitious.

On the other hand, if you are in the mood to admire rather than construct, there is also a list of public gardens around the US where you can see beautiful rock installations. 

Jan Johnsen is an award-winning instructor at the NY Botanical Garden, author of Heaven is a Garden (St. Lynn's Press, 2014) and a celebrated landscape designer. Her  design/build firm, Johnsen Landscapes & Pools, was awarded a 2014 Merit Award by the Association of Professional Landscape Designers (APLD). 

Johnsen was adjunct professor at Columbia University and has worked in Japan, East Africa, Hawaii, Vermont, New Orleans and New York. 

Her other books include: Heaven is a Garden,  Ortho's All About Trees and Gardening without Soil. She blogs at Serenity in the Garden. 

For inspiration, meditation on natural materials and an interesting read, pick up the book. It's The Spirit of Stone, hard cover, 8 by 7 inches, 192-pages, published by St. Lynn's Press, $22 list price, $17 at online vendors.

12 February 2017

Seed Swap Feb 25 Tulsa

Seedy Saturday Seed Swap   Saturday February 25, 2017

 Oklahoma Sustainable Gardening and Butterfly & Pollinator Conservation Association
Saturday February 25, 2017
Tulsa OSU Extension office, 4116 E 15th St
10am till noon (or later).. 

Some FAQ I get are:

1.       (Q)  How do I bring seeds to seed swap:  (A) you can package in small envelopes or zip lock bags and write the name of the plant on the outside.  If you don’t have envelopes, not to worry.  I will bring a whole box of coin envelopes that you can use.  You can just bring your extra seed in bulk and put a pinch in an envelope and write the name on the outside.

2.       (Q) How do I trade or pass them out? (A) We will have tables set up and you can put them out for people to see and barter.

3.        (Q) I don’t have any seeds to swap, but can I still come? (A)  Absolutely.  There are plenty of seeds to share that won’t need a swap.  Everyone is welcome and I guarantee you will have a great time.

4.       (Q) What kinds of seeds can I bring?  (A) If a plant makes a seed and you have some and it’s legal to grow, you can bring them. Just use your good judgment. Our groups’ mission is to focus on butterfly and pollinator plants, but we also conserve heirloom plants and vegetables.  Diversity is more interesting.  AND you can bring plants and cuttings to trade or share as well.  We have had everything from Winter Hardy Palm Tree seeds to winter Onion offsets and all kinds of heirloom tomato seeds, herbs and flowers.

Last year we had a large group and I expect even more this year.  Hopefully the weather will be nice, and right now it looks to be fabulous. One year we even had a snow, but people still showed up. 

Seed Saving Network Green Country,
Gary Schaum