31 July 2007
softens the look of the hardscape and can survive our hot August.
THE BLOGGING NURSERYMAN
One of the many horticulture newsletters I subscribe to is the Blogging Nurseryman. It's California based but today's issue is relevant to all of us.
By way of introduction, I'll quote Trey Pitsenberger's blog "A northern California nurseryman talks about the business of running a small garden center, competing in a hyper-competitive market, and anything else that crosses his mind."
It's interesting because it provides an insight into the small, personal, garden center. One recent post was about the frustration of people coming to him for advice and then going to a big box store to make purchases. Then, bringing the plant in later to diagnose it's failure to thrive.
Today's post was about a small family moving into a home and putting in a lawn. They had to water the new lawn, of course to get it going and keep it green. Unfortunately they did not take the time to become familiar with the existing trees. Pitsenberger predicts that the trees will die from being over watered since they are natives that prefer dry soil.
Who among us has not killed a plant with too much water? I have a few succulents out back that are gasping for breath from too much kindness. I treated them like the zinnias, butterfly bushes and everything else on the back porch.
This is another case of less is more. If you have a minute or two, click over to the Blogging Nurseryman. His topics are interesting. On the right side, there are links to his other two websites and links to a whole bunch of other gardening blogs for your amusement.
28 July 2007
Here are excerpts from the current newsletter, delivered today, with a summary of the site's new features.
The dropdown tabs include: Cultivation, Propagation, Identification, Distribution, APS, and the Library. The Message boards were created on the cultivation and distribution pages. The message boards are interactive and user’s may log questions.
They are developing a sizable photo gallery. This site has a good start with a Java enabled (runs on any platform) gallery. "We hope as time passes, that the quality of the pictures will help site users identify and cultivate penstemons of interest to them."
The American Pensetmon Society 2008 conference will be in Great Basin National Park (eastern Nevada) second or third weekend in June.
I tried to log into the message board but was blocked - the new software may not be ready for prime time yet.
I joined the APS because I'm dying to learn if/how to grow them here. Go to the pictures and snapshots part of their new website to see if it is a plant that appeals to you.
Other penstemon links of interest:
27 July 2007
Food - "Sustainable and local; chemical free; humanely raised; family farmed; clearly labeled--that's what we want. Factory farms for animals and fish; dangerous practices that lead to diseases like mad cow; and risky technologies like irradiation—that's what we are fighting to prevent."
Water -The right to water for people and nature; safe, affordable and publicly controlled; citizen participation; investment in infrastructure - that's what we want."
26 July 2007
25 July 2007
Organic gardeners around the world use products like bat guano, seaweed and fish emulsion to perk up their plants and feed the good organisms in the soil.
Underwood Gardens "Home of Grandma's Garden Catalog" has been selling Fermented Salmon, all-purpose Liquid Organic Fertilizer, manufactured by Coast of Maine, Inc., in Portland, Maine.
Testimonials on the Web site recommend it as a fertilizer for indoor house plants. In addition, it is 85 percent effective in repelling deer, rabbits, woodchucks and squirrels; and, it does an effective job against aphids and white flies. Then it was found to deter Japanese beetles when it is used as a foliar feeding spray.
The manufacturer, Envirem, has been sending the Canadian product to the U.S. for eleven years and when the recent snag occurred, they submitted every piece of documentation that the U.S. Department of Agriculture requested.
Underwood called her state representative. She was told that it could take 90-days to clear up. So she called Dick Durbin and Barak Obama. Nothing.
One clever blogger at http://www.mchenrycountyblog.com/2007/07/fish-heads-threat-to-homeland-security.html replied that maybe since Underwood calls the product a weapon in organic gardeners' arsenal, perhaps Homeland Security perceived a threat.
24 July 2007
One publication said that arthritic 50-year-olds are throwing down their trowels and that the younger Generation X and Y will never garden.
Well, maybe that's true of some but not of me nor my plant enthusiastic friends. We seem to buying at our usual rate, if not more.
Anyway the industry wonders what they can do to encourage us to buy more.
Any thoughts? Comment here or send me an email at email@example.com.
Photos: Two iris blooms from my yard
Papa Geno's, located in rural Lancaster County, Nebraska is having an iris sale until the end of July.
Breck's is having a sale on bulbs for all seasons of bloom - from iris to stargazer lilies. You could get together with a friend or three and order enough to get free shipping.
Gardener's Supply, the purveyor of all things for the yard, usually has stuff on sale and right now they have a 'the season is ending soon' set of products like pots, plant markers and pond maintenance.
The 2007 Farm Bill - full text online
. . . makes investments in conservation, nutrition and renewable energy. Highlights of the bill (H.R. 2419) include: more than $1.6 billion to support the fruit and vegetable industry; a new section for horticulture and organic agriculture that includes nutrition, research, pest management and trade promotion programs; strengthening payment limits to ensure that people making more than $1 million a year can't collect conservation and farm program payments and closing loopholes that allow people to avoid payment limits by receiving money through multiple business units; cutting federal payment rates to crop insurance companies that are making record profits due to higher crop prices; and new investments in conservation programs such as Conservation Reserve Program, Wetlands Reserve Program, Environmental Quality Incentive Program and Farm and Ranchland Protection Program.
(This summary appeared in "Weekly Nursery and Management" email newsletter.)
IN OUR GARDEN
We are picking blackberries twice a week now. They are thinning out but it's been a great harvest. We made jam today to remind us of summer next winter.
Keep growing and stay in touch.
23 July 2007
The cucumbers are still producing and the peppers are loving the hot, dry days. The spaghetti squash is making fruit and vining like mad. The potimarron squash (Baker Creek Seeds) is lagging but looks promising.
We are eating edamame (Botanical Interests) most days with lunch or as an afternoon protein snack. It's the third year I've tried to grow them and the first time we have had a decent harvest due to hungry bunnies. This year a web of fencing has forced them to move to other plants. And, eat they have - the corkscrew vine, the asters, the lower leaves of the eggplant, on and on.
The weeds are relentless and now it's time to start watering again. After you water, lay down a few sheets of newspaper and cover it with mulch to keep the moisture close to the roots.
Take advantage of the cool-ish mornings and enjoy the wonderful things you have participated in creating.
20 July 2007
"How to be a Gardener - the Complete Online Guide" is quite good and worth the time if you want to learn, re-learn or feel smart as in "Hey I knew that."
Photo: Powell Botanic Gardens Kansas City, MO
On the introductory page the author and host says, "Let’s face it, gardening can be pretty daunting. All those Latin names, the bugs and blights that can attack your plants just when they are looking their prettiest. How does anyone manage to grow anything?"
No kidding! Now that the rain is gone and the heat has arrived, it's time to assess the damage and congratulate the survivors. And, definitely time to go back to dragging hoses and spraying the bugs.
WHAT'S BUGGING YOU?
Caterpillars attacked the blue baptesia and I spent half and hour on What's That Bug looking for a photo of that particular caterpillar so I would know if I could destroy them. Turned out to be a true pest so let us spray!
PLANT A ROW FOR THE HUNGRY
We took 4-bags of cucumbers to a food pantry today. We had made pickles and relish and had given them away to everyone we know. Still there were another 30 pounds of them that had accumulated. Too delicious to waste. And then there is a joy of sharing the bounty that can't be beat.
WHAT TO PLANT NOW
I asked John Leonard from Organic Gardens what he is planting now for his sales at the OKC-OSU Farmer's Market (on 4th & Portland) and Edmond (1st & Broadway) Wednesdays and Saturdays.
Here's what he is planting now for fall harvest:
Chioggia, Red Ace, and Golden beets, Purplette early onions, mache, mesclun mix, Encore lettuce mix, Packman broccoli, Gonzales Cabbage, Cheddar cauliflower, Black Summer pac choi, Nantes & Purple Haze carrots, and Cinderella, Jarrahdale, & Musque de Provence pumpkins. We'll also be growing three types of Violas, an antique shade of Matrix Pansies, and Osaka ornamental cabbage.
This week he and his mother will be selling many things, including Crenshaw Mellons and Edamame.
Their organic farm will be on tour Sept. 9th.
Contact John at MLeo112@aol.com, 243-7638 - cell422-2890 - farm/home to get on his mailing list or ask about the farm tour.
19 July 2007
The gardening website, Green Beam, featured Hydrangea anomala ssp. petiolaris today, calling it "a gentleman among vines".
A native of Japan and China, it blooms in summer with 6 to 10-inch flowers.
Traditionally grown on trees, it can also be trained on a strong trellis - growth is 50-feet over several years - expect slow growth.
Hardy in zones 4 to 7 (zone 8 may be too hot and humid)
Prefers medium wet but well drained soil in shade. Likes a mulch of compost or peat moss to keep it cool and moist.
Green Beam provided these cultivar tips: 'Skylands Giant,' from Spring Meadow, is large-flowered.
'Firefly,' also available at Spring Meadow, is a yellow-variegated climbing hydrangea. In spring this plant really shines. As summer progresses its gold margin turns to chartreuse.
Moonlight Magic ('Kuga Variegated') from Hines Horticulture has bright-pink new growth that turns to a golden color before turning to dark green, providing three layers of color. Large, white flowers in summer. Golden, variegated foliage continues well into fall.
Spring Meadow Nursery 800.633.8859 www.springmeadownursery.com.
Hines Horticulture 866.701.3330 www.hineshort.com.
17 July 2007
The Cleveland Metroparks Zoo in Cleveland Ohio has a rare treat coming - an exotic plant that has taken 13-years to bloom will show its stuff in the next few days. It resides in the Rain Forest at the zoo where visitors can watch its astounding growth. On July 10th it was 28-inches tall and today it is 51-inches.
The plant is a titan arum (Amorphophallus titanum), also known as a Corpse Flower. It is botanically related to Jack In The Pulpit and Cala Lily.
Click on the Metroparks Zoo link above to watch the progress toward full bloom.
If you would like to grow something similar, check into growing an arum, available from Breck's and Plant Delights Nursery.
And, Heronswood has a beautiful 6-inch tall Arisarum proboscideum in their online catalog ($9.95 web special price).
15 July 2007
The Professional Landcare Network is donating equipment, time, manpower and organizational skills to prune, plant and install irrigation at Arlington National Cemetery and the Congressional Cemetery on July 16.
The dollar value placed on their combined services is a quarter of a million dollars. Fifteen to twenty corporate sponsors are making the event called Renewal and Remembrance possible.
It is the 200th anniversary of Historic Congressional Cemetery. Green industry leaders will meet with Congressional leaders in the new 110th Congress during the three day event.
What can we, any of us, do to contribute to our community? It's a topic that warrants more than a minute's thought.
14 July 2007
If you love the sight of daffodils in the spring, this fall will be the right time to add to your collection. I have a dozen varieties and add at least one more every year.
Mary Lou Gripshover, firstname.lastname@example.org, has been a daffodil fan for more years than I have been gardening.
At one time, she wrote an online column about daffs.
Still available online, the ten articles' topics include her favorite daffs, the best suppliers of bulbs, getting blooms in January.
The bulb suppliers listed - Mitsch Daffodils, Oakwood Daffodils, Daffodils and More, Cheery Creek Daffodils, McClure and Zimmerman, Brent and Becky's Bulbs and Old House Gardens.
Read them all at
From Gripshover's online bio, "I now grow between 700 and 1000 cultivars of daffodils. I do a bit of hybridizing, and have registered several daffodils.
In the intervening years, I served in many positions for The American Daffodil Society, including editing The Daffodil Journal for eight years. I was awarded the ADS Silver Medal for service to the ADS in 1984. Later I served eight years as that Society's Executive Director. The Royal Horticultural Society was kind enough to award their Peter Barr Memorial Cup, for work with daffodils, to me in 1993. In 1999, the ADS awarded their Gold Medal to me for work with daffodils, and in 2004 I was elected president of the ADS. I've gardened in Columbus, Ohio; Franklin, Tennessee; and Santa Clara, CA; before coming to Milford (Zone 5-6), and the daffodils made the move each time. Does that qualify for a "passion for daffodils" or what!"
13 July 2007
CALLING ALL SALSA MAKERS
The Muskogee Farmers’ Market will host the 9th Annual Salsa Tasting Contest on July 28 at the Market Square. Tasting is from 9:30 am to 11:30. A $2 tasting kit will enable tasters to sample all the entries and vote on the best. Proceeds will benefit the Children’s Summer Reading program at the library.
Two salsa categories “Tomato Salsa” and “Other Salsa” will be voted on. “Other salsas” include fruit or vegetables other than tomatoes as major ingredients. The top three salsas in both categories will be determined by a count of tasters’ votes and guest judges will decide the first, second and third place winners.
Guest judges this year are Dave Davis, Port of Muskogee; Frank Medearis, City of Muskogee Attorney; Cheryl Whalen, ONG. Winners will be announced at noon, and prizes will be awarded for first place in each category.
Entry forms may be picked up and returned at the Muskogee Public Library during business hours and at the farmers’ market booth on Wednesdays and Saturdays, 8 til noon. All entry forms must be turned-in no later than Wednesday, July 25.
There is no entry fee, but entrants must bring 2 quarts of homemade salsa to the market by 8:30 am on tasting day, July 28. The market takes care of the rest. A true contest, the entries will be numbered and voted on by number only.
For more information, contact Doug Walton at 686-6939.
11 July 2007
Mark your calendars
Tulsa Iris Society Sale, Tulsa Garden Center
Walks, Paths and Patios $20
Tulsa Garden Center
Barry Fugatt and representatives of the hardscaping industry discuss steps and surfaces.
July 27 - 29
Oklahoma Iris Society's Iris Rhizome Sale
Large amounts of iris left from hosting this year's American Iris Society's National Convention. Some of the latest and greatest will be available. 8 AM to 4 PM or sold out. OKC. Will Rogers Garden Center,.3400 NW 36th. Call 405.843.7130 for more info.
August 16 7:00 p.m.
Tulsa Perennial Club presents horticulturist and garden writer Carol Reese $10
“Sex and the Single Stamen”
ifo: Haroldine Hinds 918.743.5276 email@example.com
"Oklahoma Grazing Lands"
Agenda and registration at the link above.
August 16 and 17 in Oklahoma City $100
Central Oklahoma Hemerocallis Society's Fall Daylily Sale
8:00 AM until sold out. Will Rogers Garden Center
Contact Laurie Barger, 341-6369 for more information
08 July 2007
Weeding and picking are the primary chores now. We started half a dozen kinds of cucumbers from seed and harvest 20 or so good size ones every day. The white one on the top of the pile is an Armenian cucumber - no peeling. All the others are "burpless" types from different seed companies. They vary in size but the flavor and lack of bitterness is wonderful with the abundance of rain and good soil temperatures prevailing.
Another new addition to this year's garden is a 2007 introduction from Johnny's Selected Seeds. They sent out mini-packs of seeds to garden writers so I thought what the heck. Tomatoberry is a heart-shaped or strawberry shaped one-inch by one-inch tomato. The walls are firmer than most other cherry tomatoes we have grown. They hold together for slicing into little discs and the flavor is terrific. At the bottom there is a tiny point - cute.
06 July 2007
Photos: Pink Lupine and a Mixed Bed of Flowers in Colorado
All of the plants we acquired on our excursions to Kansas and Colorado over the past few weeks will be planted in pots at least until the ground drains. And, believe me there are plenty out there to be planted.
HGTV's writer said that by the time it is in this stage, the hornworm has already eaten enough tomato leaves to survive and pupate. Five spotted hawk moth is the name of the insect that will emerge to lay eggs on your pepper and tomato plants. Those eggs become little green caterpillars that feed on the leaves of the veggies - and the cycle continues. If they are in the neighborhood, parasitic wasps will lay their eggs on the hornworms and kill them.
04 July 2007
Yesterday we visited LaPorte Avenue Nursery in Ft. Collins Colorado which is known around the country as a source for rock garden plants.
Their online catalog is a resource for information on their 350-plants, listed by botanical names. Keep your plant guide or favorite search engine handy if you have only the common names.
Owners Karen Lehrer and Kirk Fieseler are available for questions via email at mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org%20andand by telephone at 970.472.0017 - check out their site for that rock garden you wanted to put in or expand.
Family Tree Nursery in Overland Park and Liberty Kansas (Kansas City area) has a good selection of plants your neighbor is growing along with quite a few you may not have seed anywhere before.
It really is a family operated business originally opened 40-years ago by the current generation's parents. They do a Sunday morning two-hour garden advice program on News Radio 980 KMBZ in Kansas City.
Their website has their locations, hours, coupon of the week and their weekly sale items.
Separate indoor and outdoor rooms are set up for trees, Crape myrtle, succulents, bedding plants, etc. Inside, there is an entire store full of garden art and gardening accessories.
Of course, the sections I found most interesting at the center were "New and Unique Plants" and the "Dented and Scratched" Sale tables.
Here's another one worth the drive, Heartland Nursery in Kansas City Missouri.
Owned by Pete & Sherry Mistretta. the center is 80,000 square feet including a Belgian glass greenhouse.
They advertise that they have "plants from every corner of the globe" that make it a gardener's paradise.
Succulents, orchids, vines, shrubs, bedding plants, house plants, pots - with surprises in every department when we were there.
The phone number is 816.763-7371 if you need more information than they have on their website about driving directions and open hours.