Showing posts from April, 2007

Seeds, Transplants and Planting

For us gardeners the past few days have been a flurry of ground work. We are outside as soon as the coffee wakes us up and back indoors only for water, lunch or a quick break. Sleep at night is disturbed by being over-tired, if anything.

Today alone, we put 40-transplants in the ground, planted some vegetable and flower seeds and added a few trees to the back border.

The shade garden has several things blooming and also now has Japanese toad lilies from Bluestone Perennials in addition to the Virginia Bluebells planted last month.

A friend shared some toad lilies from her garden and I have no idea what they will look like when they bloom. That same friend gave me a peony today to replace the ones that were lost to a fungal disease a few years ago.

Because of an obsession with iris that lasted a few years, we planted more than we can actually care for. Right now we are in the season of having 100 in bloom on most days in spite of the number of buds that were frozen off over Easter.


American Daffodil Society National Convention and Show

The ADS just completed its annual convention and show in Tacoma Washington. Collections of new hybrid daffodils win specific awards. The photos were taken by Tom Stettner, Jr. More of Stettner's daffodil photos can be seen at his website

A 5-stem collection of all American Bred Flowers exhibited by Richard Ezell, won the Red White & Blue Ribbon. The flower names: Tuscarora, River Queen, Mt. Nittany, Hanky Panky and Bender Seedling.

The winner of the Dutch Award was Kathy Anderson for a collection of Vulcan, Cyros, Cameo Flare, Clouded Yellow, & Cryptic.

Winner of the English Award, Kathy Welsh for this collection of Hartlebury, Colley Gate, Royal Marine, Glen Alladale & Shining Light. You might want to add some of these beauties to your spring garden. One source for a unique collection of daffodils is Mitsch Daffodils in Hubbard Oregon. Mitsch's 30-page catalog is 8.5 by 11-inches with pages of color photos and costs $3.00. In a…

Green Trends in Europe and the U.S.

Ah, rain. Hard on the flowers that are blooming but wonderful anyway. Last year's record drought makes late April rain all the more welcome this year.

Take a little break from working outside. Walking or driving on the soil will compact it and eliminate the air pockets needed for healthy plant roots.

Photo: Ipheon (Spring Starflowers) blooming.

A German relative explained to me that when new residents move into her town, they are invited to join in one of the many community gardens. It's a welcoming gesture to express the community's openness to new families.

In Britain, the popularity of growing in community gardens has left the country without any more garden allotments to share. During World War II, 330,000 allotments were used by patriotic citizens to grow vegetables. The trend moved away from grow-your-own for decades, leaving the land to weeds. but now all are taken again.
The Royal Horticultural Society reported that vegetable seed sales have increased b…

Spring Planting After the Freeze

The tomatoes are planted, radishes are at their best, iris buds that were not frozen on Easter are blooming, blackberry flowers are bursting out, Salvia May Night is blooming with deep purple spikes of flowers, all the Larkspur volunteers have flower buds and many of the perennials that were black with frozen leaves are putting out bright green growth.

Maybe spring will be saved after all.

There is still time to plant loose-leaf lettuce and replant the flower beds. Garden centers will bring in different flowers soon - the ones that can take heat. Plant a couple of pots, too. That way if a part of the flower bed looks empty next month, the pot can be popped into the bare spot.

If zinnias and other hot weather flower seeds are part of your summer garden plan, there is plenty of time. Last year I planted flower seeds in June that bloomed until the first hard freeze.

If you apply any fertilizer make sure it goes into the ground where plants grow roots. For transplanted seedlings, put the fert…

Earth Day in Muskogee

Today Muskogee Farmer's Market celebrated Earth Day. Not only were there the wonderful flowers and vegetables and bakery goodies, several organizations gave away Earth Day related items including free trees.
At our booth Jan Farris, Cindi Cope and I gave away butterfly caterpillars in plastic cups for people to take home to raise into butterflies. As many adults as children took home the little kits. Jon Stoodley's photos tell the story of how nature inspires awe in us all.

Wall-O-Water, Geography and Lettuce

The Wall-O-Waters have been in place for almost two weeks waiting for the weather to improve enough to actually put tomatoes in them. In the meantime, the water in the sides has been warming and will warm the soil.
By the way, on one of my Internet browsing trips, I read the results of some research department that said Wall-O-Water works well for tomatoes but not so well for other vegetables you might think to start early in them. The researchers tried cucumbers and nixed the results.
Behind the Wall-O-Waters -125 heads of garlic that are forming - planted last October using methods of the Tulsa Tomato Man who has been relentlessly generous with garlic-growing advice over the past two years.

On another note, The Association of American Geographers is meeting in San Francisco for an annual convention. "Geography, the science of place, is an integrating discipline and is a pivotal study element in all the natural sciences."
The 80-session titles include some tantalizing topics …

Earth Day 2007

If you can't think of something significant or small you can do to acknowledge Earth Day, go to any of the sites below. Each one of them has ideas - from changing light bulbs to planting trees.

Almost every country in the world is bringing attention to the need to celebrate Mother Earth. Select a project, small or large, individual or on your block and join the party.

Divine Caroline - 50 Green Tips for Earth Day -
Earth Day In Your Neighborhood - Guide for Kids From 2 to 122 -
Earthday Network - Ecological Footprint Quiz -
EnviroLink - online environmental community -
Environmental Protection Agency Celebrates Earth Day -
International Earth Day (Christian site) -
Kaboose Earth Day Celebration (for kids) -
Live Earth 7.7.07 Concert for a Climate in Crisis -
Nature Conservancy Earth Day Events - support.nat…

Soil Health Cornell University

If you are fascinated by nature, soil and plant health, a new publication available online from Cornell University, Soil Health Manual, has up-to date information.

"Some soil scientists say that there are more species of organisms in a shovel full of garden soil than can be found above ground in the entire Amazon Rain Forest."

"Nematodes are generally the most abundant multicellular organisms in soil."

"All the life in the soil interacts together into what is termed the soil food web."

Frankly, some of the science and math is over my hairspray but it is worth a read through.

Highlights for the non-farmer, non-scientific gardener include:
Page 19 has a chart of soil quality indicators. Page 25 has soil sampling protocols. The Graph of Nitrogen Cycle on page 37 is interesting. There is a graph on page 41 that shows the benefits of adding organic matter. Page 48 discusses the 4 methods of improving soil health: tillage, cover crops, organic amendments and…

Giant Silk Moth

A pair of Giant Silk Moths resided on our front porch by the
light for a week or so and then moved on to wherever Giant Silk Moths go. They are so pretty.

Their scientific name is Polyphemus. Bill Welch (the Bulb Baron at identified it for me.

Wikpedia describes the moth as having a 6-inch wingspan and purple eyespots on hindwings. The caterpillar eats 86,000 times it's weight in less than two months.

Bridal Wreath Spirea

Bridal Wreath Spirea is one of the most durable, old-fashioned shrubs for the back of a bed, a hedge row or on a property line.

In the spring, it is covered with tiny rose-like flowers along every branch. During the summer it is covered with oval leaves. This Spirea will grow to 6 or 10 feet tall, depending on how it is trimmed.

Give it full sun and average soil. In the summer mulch will keep it healthy and regular watering will keep it beautiful. Prune and shape the shrub in the winter or before it leafs out in the spring. Spirea prunifolia 'plena' is sometimes spelled spiraea.

The one remembered in farm gardens can become too large for smaller spaces. Hybrids have the same flower rush in the spring but come in smaller sizes. They include:
Double Reeves spirea (S. cantoniensis ‘Lanceata’) grow into 3- to 6-foot-tall plants.
Snowmound spirea (S. nipponica ‘Snowmound’) grows 3–5 feet tall.
Baby’s-breath spirea (S. thunbergii) - lacy white flowers on 3- to 5-foot leafless stems.
‘Mt. F…

10 Most Magnificent Trees In the World

The Ten Most Magnificent Trees In the World - at least by one person's measure - are listed with photographs on and if you have a few minutes to take a look you will be rewarded.

The first entry, the Lone Cypress in Monterrey CA was to be expected. The Basket Tree is a surprising feat of patience by bean farmer Axel Erlandson. Erlandson's hobby was to prune and graft trees into fantastic forms.

The Giant Sequoias and Drive Through trees are there along with Chapel Oak and the Tule Tree.

Did you know that a monkey bread tree can store over 30,000 gallons of water in their trunk? That's just one of the tree-facts you'll learn at this site.

Fun Stuff While We Wait for Good Weather

OK it's freezing in April. We just returned from a lecture in Bartlesville and it snowed the entire time we were there. At least here in Muskogee it is only raining and freezing. Silver lining anyone?

Photos of Mystery Plant - in full bloom below and in bud above so you can see the leaves.

Two fun topics while we wait for better weather.
One is a gardening blog called Garden Rant. The blog itself is always great fun and is especially entertaining today. A visiting writer rants about gardening experts that cause harm to gardens. Check it out at And second, for your cold spell entertainment, I'm giving away a gardening book to the first person who can identify the plant that is blooming in the dry bed. Enter by clicking on the "comment" link in the blog and letting me know what it is.