23 April 2017

Trees for Smaller Spaces

Bottlebrush Buckeye
Even though we have 2.5 acres, we have created smaller garden spaces close to the house where we have planted PawPaw, Japanese Maple and Witch Hazel elder that have been successful in our soil. 
We've also planted small, short-living, trees such as Crabapple, Walkingstick, and Redbud that are small enough but tend to last 10 years or so. 
Many shrubs can also be pruned into small trees to make a hedgerow more interesting. These include Smoketree, Burning Bush, Flowering Almond, Tea Rose Trees, and all the weeping trees (peach, willow, honeylocust), 
I can recommend PineRidge Gardens in Arkansas for perusing a catalog of native woody plants. Go to one of MaryAnn's open nursery days and get advice. She knows everything.
Hawthorn berries
Maple trees:
Acer negundo 
‘Flamingo’  25 ftAcer palmatum (Japanese maple) 4-25 ft 

Acer tataricum ginnala (Amur maple) 20 ft 
Buckeye (we have these 2 varieties that are thriving - part-shade)Aesculus parviflora 'Bottlebrush buckeye' 5-10 ftAesculus pavia (red buckeye) 10-20 ft 
Serviceberry
Amelanchier arborea
 (downy serviceberry) 22 ft 

Chokecherry
Hornbeam
Carpinus caroliniana
 (American hornbean) 25 ft 

Redbud (many flower colors to choose from)
Cercis canadensis (eastern redbud) 5-20 ft 
Smoketree (there are several varieties so look around)
Cotinus obovatus (American smoketree) 5-25 ft 
Hawthorn (we have 2 for the pollinators and the songbirds)
Crataegus spp. (hawthorn) 15-30 ft  
Witch Hazel (January flowers in one of our flower beds)
Hamamelis virginiana (common witch hazel) 15-22 ft
Native Plum
Crabapple (many sizes and colors)
Malus spp. (crabapple), 10-25 ft 
Plum & Cherry (we planted natives for fence row habitat under power lines)Prunus cerasifera ‘Newport’ (Newport purple leaf plum) 15 ft Prunus maackii (Manchurian cherry)  22 ftPrunus serrulata ‘Kwanzan’ (flowering cherry) 22 ft Prunus virginiana (chokecherry) 15 ft 
Pussy Willow 
Salix discolor (American pussywillow) 15 ft  


14 April 2017

Native Coral Honeysuckle Vine

For a reliable, beautiful. native, garden friendly vine, it's hard to beat Coral Honeysuckle.

Honeysuckle is one of those plants that gardeners either love or consider a weed to be fought against at all costs. Most of the time, the fight is against the Japanese or Asian species because it has made such a pest of itself throughout all the temperate gardening zones. 
Japanese, Korean or Chinese honeysuckle, Lonicera japonica, is spread when birds eat the black seeds that form in the fall. Once it takes hold, it can spread widely (and wildly), choking out all the native plants and tripping hikers.

But there are over 200 species of honeysuckle and some of them are  useful on fences, in wooded areas, on stream banks and slopes.
Coral honeysuckle, Lonicera sempervirens, has many common names, including: Evergreen Honeysuckle, Trumpet Honeysuckle, Woodbine, Scarlet Trumpet, Red Honeysuckle, and Red Woodbine.

This one is an American native, twining, vine that grows well in its native range, reaching from Ontario Canada, across the eastern U. S. and into Oklahoma and Texas. In shade, Trumpet honeysuckle thrives in woods and along stream banks, but it becomes a garden plant in full sun. The blue-green leaves and red-orange flowers contribute dramatic beauty from late spring through fall.

Flowering vines add height and background to small gardens. Honeysuckle is favored by gardeners who want to provide nectar for insects, food for wildlife and shelter for nesting birds. In our yard, a Coral Honeysuckle vine is home to a nest of Thrashers every year.
American native plants are not as aggressive as the Asian imports, but require semi-annual pruning to keep them contained. Coral Honeysuckle prefers moist, well-drained soil and can be used to cover a shed, a rock pile or a trellis. Its flowers attract butterflies and hummingbirds.

Honeysuckles can become infected with aphids or bacteria that harm their appearance but do not kill the plant. Putting them in a place where they receive adequate sun and air circulation will reduce the number of problems.

There are hybrids of Coral Honeysuckle. Tellmann honeysuckle, Lonicera x tellmanniana, also called Redgold honeysuckle, grows 12 to 16-feet in zones 6 to 8, and prefers part shade. The flowers are glowing yellow-orange.

Hall’s Honeysuckle, Lonicera japonica Halliana, is a Japanese honeysuckle hybrid that grows into a 30-foot tall twining vine with white-yellow flowers and black berries.

The shrub variety, Lonicera xylosteum, European fly honeysuckle, has long arching branches, grey-green leaves and white-yellow flowers. The berries are dark red. European fly honeysuckle shrub will grow 10-feet tall and wide but there are more compact hybrids available. All tolerate road salt, drought, and other urban insults. Emerald Mound or Nana grows 3-feet tall and gets the best recommendations for parking areas, sidewalk strips and other tough planting spots.

Tatarian honeysuckle, Lonicera tatarica, is a shrub variety with 2-inch long, blue-green leaves.  The flowers are white to pink and the berries are red.  The species is considered invasive but there are less aggressive, aphid-resistant varieties. The variety Arnold Red has red flowers, Freedom has white-tinged pink flowers and Honey Rose has rose-red flowers.

A hybrid of European fly honeysuckle and Tatarian honeysuckle, Clavey’s Dwarf, is a carefree, mid-size hedge plant that becomes 6-feet tall and wide.

Monrovia offers Berries Jubilee Woodbine Honeysuckle, Lonicera periclymenum Monul, that has European parents. It is also a vigorous grower. The new leaf growth is purple-red and the flowers are yellow-white with a pink tinge (www.monrovia.com). Look for Belgica, Graham Thomas, Honey Baby and Serotina.

All honeysuckles are in the plant species periclymenum. The name came from the Greek herbalist's term for surround, to describe its twining habit. The berries can be used for decorating and the vines are used in wreath making.

06 April 2017

Field of Flowers for Pollinators

The large area in this photo is left to fill with wildflowers for pollinators every year.
 When you walk through it your feet disturb solitary bees, bumble bees, butterflies, moths, wasps and other little flying flowers that are grateful for the pollen on sunny mornings and afternoons.
 We are fortunate to live in a neighborhood where the neighbors pay little attention to our yard. No complaints about our un-mown side yard.
 No one sprays broadleaf weeds or insects out here, allowing us to have this sweet pleasure.
 Last year when there were few pollinators for some reason, and the yard didn't seem alive to us.
When we sit outside in the afternoon we see dozens of butterflies flitting around. Makes life worth living and gardening worth the effort. I hope your yard and garden are full of flying flowers.

31 March 2017

Perennial Plants for Shade

We have a grove of trees on our back acre and have planted dozens of plant varieties back there. Based on our soil type, rainfall amount, and lack of attention (zone 7 NE OK) I can recommend some real winners. We've gardened on these 2 acres for 20 years now and these are the plants that have thrived with minimal attention.
All of these are blooming now - photos taken yesterday.

Viburnum shrub


Daffodils planted under shade trees return every year

Flowering quince in half shade 

Native Phlox blooms, spreads

Shasta daisies do quite well around shrubs

Iris of course bloom before trees leaf out

Rue Anemone spreads very slowly and blooms every spring

Spicebush shrub blooms every spring and feeds Spicebush Swallowtail caterpillars


Virginia bluebells - native - incredible!

Spanish bluebells - thrive here

Native violets feed bees, butterflies

24 March 2017

Walk, Run, Ride and Roll the Trails Mar 27 - Apr 2

Here's the Walk Run Ride the Trails schedule for Mar 27 - Apr 2. 
The up-to-date activities list can be found at www.muskogeeparks.org/trails at the Walk, Run or Ride the Trails 2017 link. Check back for updates.  Contact: Brooke Hall (918-684-6302 X 1477) or Doug Walton (918-683-0321).

WALKS Wear comfortable shoes and bring water
* 3/27 5:30-6 pm Elliott Park/Sadler Arts Academy  – History walk and talk led by Jonita Mullins
*3/27 6-6:30 pm Sadler Arts Academy – Casual walk of the recently restored primitive trail led by Doug Walton
*3/28 noon -12:30 Centennial Trail/Hatbox/Arline at 34th St.- Casual trail walk for all ages led by Martha Stoodley*
*3/28 5 – 6 pm Civitan Park Playground, 3301 Gibson St.  – Group walk of the Civitan trail led by Denise Hickman
*3/29 12:30 – 1 pm Muskogee City Hall, 229 W Okmulgee – Mayor Bob Coburn will lead a walk to the trailhead and back
* 3/31 9 -10 am Henry Bresser Nature Trail/Honor Heights Park led by Tom Roberts. Meet at Conard Garden parking lot (former Rose Garden)
*3/31 noon to 12:45 Spaulding Park trail/Muskogee Parks and Recreation office, 837 E Okmulgee.  Kent Kamp will lead a walk for all ages and abilities
*4/2 2 – 2:30 Stem Beach Trail, meet at Honor Heights Park gift shop – Led by Martha Stoodley*
DOG WALK Dogs must be on a leash
* 4/1 10 – 11 am – Coody Creek Bark Park, South 2nd St. and Madison - Join a group of pet-walkers led by Brooke Hall.
GROUP ROLL SKATE
*3/30 6:30 – 7:30 pm – Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame, 401 S 3rd St., Family roller blade and roller skate outing on the trail led by Julie Ledbetter and Brooke Hall
BICYCLE – Wear a helmet and bring water
*3/27 6-7 pm - Centennial Trail/Hatbox/Arline at 34th St. across from water park. Vicki Herringshaw will lead a casual ride of the paved trail
*3/28 6-7:15 pm – Centennial Trailhead/Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame/401 South 3rd St. – Intermediate ride of Centennial Trail loop with some street riding led by Ronald Milligan
*3/29 6 – 7:15 pm – Centennial Trailhead/Hatbox/Arline at 34th St. Intermediate ride with some street riding led by Ronelle Baker and Sharon McKee
*3/30 6 – 7:15 pm – Buffalo Wild Wings, 1130 W Shawnee Bypass – Intermediate, casual ride of Centennial Trail loop with some street riding. Led by Stacey Alexander, Gloria Farmer and Vicki Herringshaw.
*3/31 6 – 7:15 pm Centennial Trail/Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame, 401 S 3rd St. Intermediate ride around Centennial Trail with some street riding. Led by Charles Lienhart.
*4/1  9 – 10 am VA Medical Center 1011 Honor Heights Dr. Intermediate ride on streets and Centennial Trail led by Ronald Milligan.
*4/1 10 – 11 am Centennial Trail Hatbox/Arline and 34th St. Family and kid-friendly ride on the Hatbox loop led by Vicki Herringshaw.
*4/2  2 – 3:15 pm OK Music Hall of Fame Centennial Trail, 401 S 3rd St. Casual, family-friendly ride on the trail led by Vicki Herringshaw. Some street riding.

RUN – Bring water
*3/30 5:30 – 6:30 pm Robison Park, Augusta and Gulick St. Fun Run for all ages and abilities led by Martin Updike

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!
http://www.muskogeephoenix.com/news/walk-run-or-ride-the-trails-week-begins-march/article_43e3a355-f9f7-5530-af92-2425327b3c41.html

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.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZAYblesQA3w

If you want to learn more about these creatures, here are a couple of Facebook pages of interest -
https://www.facebook.com/groups/TheEntomologyGroup/

and
https://www.facebook.com/RelaxImAnEntomologist/

And, here are 10 spiders you should be very cautious around. 
http://travel.aol.co.uk/2015/06/26/poisonous-spiders-around-the-world/



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:

http://www.jlhudsonseeds.net/New%20Arrivals.htm

These include: 

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