Showing posts from June, 2007

Gardening and Vacation

Preparing the garden to leave for vacation is a little easier this year since everything outside is already watered and beds are unlikely need more.

If someone is coming over to check on the potted plants for you - they dry out in a couple of days even if the ground is a sponge - gather them together under a tree or on a hard surface and definitely near a water source. Move all hanging baskets to one location so none will be missed by the good Samaritan who is caring for them.

To the extent possible, put houseplants in the bathtub or on a kitchen counter where they will be noticed. For some reason one plant is always missed if visitors are left to their own devices.

Add to your planning list a thorough bug and disease check. Look under the leaves of plants that tend to be vulnerable, like new trees and shrubs or pot bound houseplants.

Since you won't be home to watch them for damage, use a gentle spray for insect and fungus protection. Safer Soap is great for many plant problems and r…

Today's Garden Lilies

Today's Garden

There is little we can do in the garden until the water goes down. Yesterday's experience of being up to my ankles in mud was enough for me. The Muck Boots stayed in the bed - it was the only way to extricate my feet. Then there was the exciting adventure of reaching back into the cucumber bed to pull out the shoes. The various fertilizers have washed away and the water preserving crystals so carefully put into the potted plants two months ago have floated to the top and are dripping over the sides of the pots. Enjoy the photos. Plant sources: The double tiger came from the Old House Gardens catalog, that dark red day lily is from Nelson Myers in Muskogee, the others came with me from California ten years ago and were grown by a hybridizer there.

Garden Writers Assn, Plant A Row

Rain Rain Go Away; Come Again Some Other Day

This rain is a ridiculous abundance. Many of the squash plants are yellowing from the lack of sun. They all got a snack-size portion of Earth Smart composted chicken manure to help them out.
The blackberries bushes are loaded but can't ripen. The six ripe ones yesterday had little flavor.
I was out for an hour this morning pulling weeds but had to come in when I was drenched and dripping wet.

Duke Blueberry, at KSU

The Region V Garden Writers Assn meeting in Kansas City was a feast for plant lovers. Many of the attendees seemed to be long-time friends. For us, it was a new experience, new friends, wonderful public gardens, two garden centers and Kansas State University All American Selection Trial Grounds.

Ouchita Blackberry at KSU

The national GWA started Plant a Row for the Hungry in 1995 to help meet the needs of the homeless and other citizens who don't have access to fresh food. In Muskogee, Doug Walton at the Farmer's Market and…

Local Produce, Muskogee's Farmer's Market Wed and Sat

A few photos from our yard.
There are several good reasons to buy produce locally grown - not in sealed plastic cocoons in the big box store nor produce wrapped in plastic from foreign countries.
Consider these reasons: Locally grown products support your friends and neighbors in making a living, local sellers are more likely to concern themselves with selling high quality products so you'll return, the less fuel used to transport food makes it an environmentally sound habit, foreign countries do not have the same regulations as the U.S. regarding chemicals and fertilizers and sanitation.
Author Michael Pollan recently found that foods produced in China and labeled organic were loaded with pesticides and chemicals.
We are lucky here to have Arnold's on Shawnee Bypass and the Muskogee Farmer's Market - both are great resources for local food.
There are other local favorites, too. One is a small home based produce shed on Highway 10 between Ft. Gibson and Camp Gruber. It's …

Summer Produce, PAN Pesticide Database, Contest for Garden Lovers

Cucumbers by the bagful every day, cucumber salad twice a day, bags of cucumbers given away. Ah, wonderful summer. The first two tomatoes joined us for lunch even though they could have benefited from another two days on the vine. I couldn't wait. The scallopini summer squash has made its way into casseroles.
Pulling weeds today was a breeze if you don't mind standing in 2-inches of water. The fun part was pulling small trees out by the roots simply by tugging on them and sliding them out of the mud.PESTICIDE INFORMATION RESOURCEThe PAN Pesticides Database is a one-stop location for current toxicity and regulatory information for pesticides. This resource is a project of Pesticide Action Network North America.

The Pesticide Chemical Search page allows you search for individual chemical active ingredients. Formulated pesticide products typically contain mixtures of active ingredients and other ingredients. Active ingredients are listed on the labels of all U.S. pesticide products…

Orchids, 2007 Tulsa MG Homes Tour

The new book, Orchids, was recently released by DK Books. The book is an over size 124-page coffeetable book of fascinating information about orchids. The photographs are the stars of the book - unusual, unique and wild looking.

The text was written by Pascal DescourviĆØres, a botanist and biology instructor who specializes in orchids. The photos were taken by Manuel Aubron.

Tucked into the back cover there is a practical and useful 60-page 9 by 6-inch paperback that has Descourvieres' growing and care tips. One of the tips is to use bottled mineral water or collected rain water for orchids. Another is to use one gram of powdered fertilizer in one-ounce of rainwater or one ounce of fertilizer for one gallon of mineral water. Light feeders, those orchids.
At the fairgrounds in Tulsa, the Master Gardeners staff the phones to answer questions and they have planted the area around the building. The photos below are f…

Father's Day, Living Kitchen in Bristow OK

All these photos were taken at the Living Kitchen, someplace near Bristow Oklahoma where 20 people had a wonderfully prepared dinner of roasted garlic on crostini, creamy soup, lovely salad and an entree of roast served with potatoes. Dessert? Of course.Fresh raspberries on a butter cookie tart crust topped with rich, creamy tapioca.
Lisa Merrill and Bibi Becklund work the farm and gardens and serve meals once a month for about 6 months a year. Becklund is a trained chef whose internship was at Chez Panisse.

Many of us met Lisa through her father, Darrell Merrill who most people know as Tulsa's Tomato Man. Merrill is retired now but after a successful career as a banker he moved to his family's land and grew heritage tomatoes and garlic galore - for decades, it seems. People flocked to Merrill's little place with the old farm house to buy tomato plants and garlic out of bushel baskets that he set out and sold on the honor system.
When Lisa moved here a few years ago she took …
In Today's Garden

On the left - In a backyard bed - daisies and black eyed Susans.

Heliotrope returned from last year's planting and covers a sunny flower bed.

This is one of my favorite daylilies blooming now.

New Organic Method
On the day of harvesting, Granny Smith apples were sealed with a flush of low-grade nitrogen in an experiment to discover reliable and low-cost methods of keeping them fresh. The study was reported in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture.

The treatment worked by reducing ethylene during storage. Ethylene is produced when apples react to oxygen in the environment and advances ripening. After six months in cold storage, 90 percent of the fruit treated this way showed no sign of scald. All the untreated control apples were lost after the same amount of time. The advance is being welcomed by organic apple farmers and could result in lower costs for organic produce.

Love Color?
Check out this British blog and website for Colour Lovers
The blog descri…

Monarda Bee Balm Bergamot, Aphids and Thrips

This is a single plant of Monarda or Bee Balm or Bergamot - whatever name you prefer, she is a beauty every year. I started it from a pack of seeds 6-years ago. The name on the pack that attracted me was Bergamot because that's the flavoring in Early Gray Tea. The leaves make thirst quenching iced tea. The plant has been divided over and over again to give roots to friends and to plant around the yard. It needs to be divided again this year.

Here's a closer photo of the petals. Not visible is the constant covering of honey bees, butterflies and moths.

Gnarled, distorted, arthritic looking leaves can be caused by aphids, according to plant pathologist Margery Daughtrey at Cornell University. Link here to full article.
Check the underside of curled plant leaves and stems for signs of insects. I start treatment by drenching the leaves and stems with a few drops of dish soap in a gallon of water. Use a paper towel or other disposable cloth to gently wipe off the dead insects.…

Lilies and Indian Blanket

IN THE GARDEN - This is one of the daylilies blooming this morning. It probably came from Nelson Myers' garden on 12th Street in Muskogee. The entire back yard is dedicated to his day lily collection and breeding. Right now it is a beautiful sight with daylilies, purple cone flowers and roses blooming.
A Red Velvet Lily in the front bed from Old House Gardens Bulbs.
AROUND TOWN - The second day of the Muskogee Garden Club's garden tour was less successful in terms of the number of people on the home tour but was a great day at the plant sale - lots and lots of plants went home with plant lovers who had just the right spot for them. The Shutterbug Club sold prints, the Genealogy Society sold note cards, the little girls from the neighborhood sold the cakes they baked last night, the Audubon Society sold bluebird houses they built and Kelly B. Todd Cerebral Palsy Center sold their cookbooks. ON THE INTERNET Cal's Plant of the Week is an email subscription service that sends out …

Daylily Season, Routine Watering

Gardens around Muskogee are blooming with daylilies and Asiatics - one more beautiful than the next. It's too late to put them into this year's garden but do take advantage of the many sales to buy some for next year.

Muskogee Garden Club's tour attracted hundreds of people today and tomorrow will be as busy. The plant sale allowed attendees to take home flowers, vegetables and herbs from club member's gardens for a small price.
I was too busy with the sale to visit any gardens today but I met lots and lots of plant lovers. Tomorrow I want to go to all the tour homes and take a look inside some of the historic homes that are open.
This is the time to check on fruit trees, grapes, kiwi and plants such as hydrangeas that might need watering - they won't show any signs of water deprivation but we haven't had any rain for a while so if the soil is dry two inches down, give them an inch of water.At the district Master Gardener Conference in Claremore, Mesonet gave a …

Discover Life and Athens Select Websites

Today's photos are all weeds. I know. But, I love these weeds. The tiny blue flowers that appear in the back yard in the spring, the huge Dock that grows under a tree back by the compost bin and the Zebrina or Friendship Mallow - all are considered weeds by horticulturists. Good thing the rest of us are just gardeners.
In our garden - The cucumbers are having a wonderful time in the heat - we are bringing in 6 a day now. No red tomatoes or ripe blackberries yet but still lots of spring veggies.
And, the flowers. No end to the daily joy from them.
On the Net - There are two interesting websites I discovered today. One is called Discover Life. Sounds religious but it isn't. The sponsors include: Missouri Botanical Garden, Sun Microsystems, Topozone, Maps a la Carte, University of Georgia, Smithsonian Tropical Research, USGS, etc.
On the home page there are links to All Living Things, Tree of Life, etc. All Living Things is a complete show and tell about all living things - endless …

Old House Garden Bulbs, Parks Seed, Spicebush Caterpillar Update

The red lily on the left is one of the new additions to our garden from Old House Gardens. There were several additions and each one has seemed remarkable in bloom. The wonder of these bulbs is that they seem to take care of themselves after they are planted. The stems are strong and the flowers are breathtaking.

The Spicebush Butterfly Chrysalis was on the side of the container last night but gone this morning. A search of the immediate area yielded nothing so there are two possible outcomes. Either the butterfly emerged and flew away or another insect used the Chrysalis as a late night snack. The photo of the leaves folded over is where the next generation of tiny caterpillars hangs out during the daytime heat and the photo on the right is one of the youngsters.

It's easy to get into looking for new plants in new places. It may come as a surprise that the wonderful whirl of a succulent in the planter came from good, old, reliable Park Seeds and not one of the many new companies. T…

Flowers, Onions, Edamame, Greens and Berries

Flowers keep erupting from the little packs of seeds I planted in the front bed. They were all seeds from those free packs that come in the mail. Other than the bright orange California poppy, they remain without identification. I hope they re-seed. Maybe by next year I'll have found out what they are.
This was a big weekend in our yard - the piles of limbs from the ice storm are all burned now - it took 6 days of burning to dispose of them. All manner of wildlife had taken up housekeeping in those piles - box turtles, rabbits, snakes - all were displaced by the cleanup.

The red onions, pakchoi and some mystery green were pulled yesterday and today. The greens were fabulous as part of our meals and the red onions are cleaned and spread out to dry.

The cool weather garden had to go in order to make room for edamame. The plants grew to 6 or 8 inches tall. I amended the soil with a variety of things and completed the transition from spring to summer. If the bunnies don't eat the hea…