Showing posts from December, 2007

250 Million Trees Planted in Mexico During 2007 Under UN

Mexico's president Felipe Calderon announced the news that 250-million trees were planted in his country during 2007. The UN Environment Program set a goal of four-times that number to be planted around the world to combat climate change.

The story was reported at Yahoo News (click link to read) and came to me through an Internet based Urban Forest newsletter.

Calderon reported using local labor and investing $540 million in the project.

Environmentalists Complain
Greenpeace complained that the planting was done without enough thought. Trees were not planted in appropriate locations and no arrangements were made for their care after the initial shovel-in-the-ground effort was completed.

The Greenpeace spokesperson also said that the rate of deforestation in Mexico is an astounding 1.48 million acres a year.

The United Nations claimed success, however. A total of 1.4 billion trees were planted. The top ten countries were: Ethiopia, Mexico, Turkey, Kenya, Cuba, Rwanda, South Korea, Tunisi…

Come Garden With Me, Planning for a Scented Garden

As holiday favorites prove, sometimes the old family recipes are the best at satisfying a hunger.

Gardening books are like that, too.

Lately, I've been reading some out-of-print gardening books written by gardeners rather than plant people. (The online book swaps, such as Paperbackswap, are great sources for these treasures. Paper and hard backs are available.)

The beautifully photographed, encyclopedic tomes are nourishing, too, but no one can grow or even have a passing first hand knowledge of the thousands of plants described in them.

I thoroughly enjoy Perenyi and Mitchell's books, too, but they gardened in a different zone with a planting schedule that is unlike our zone 7 heat, humidity, short winter and ice storms to consider.
"Come Garden With Me" is a compilation of garden columns written by Elizabeth Pickett Mills. You can tell by reading her columns that she actually is a gardener who messes with plants, dirt, houseplants, bugs, sprays and all the other tim…

Great Soil is Teaming With Microbes, Pre-Season Sales

Seed starting requires sterile surroundings to prevent the range of problems collected together under the name "damping off" disease.

But, soil itself has to be loaded with beneficial microbes in order to support plant life.

A book I would like to get ahold of, "Teaming With Microbes; A Gardener's Guide to the Soil Food Web", published by Timber Press tells the whole story.

Joe Lamp'l reviewed the book in the Dallas Morning News.

Here's one quote. "Only since the invention of the electron microscope have soil scientists been able to fully study and understand the symbiotic relationships within the soil. Since then, we've learned that a single teaspoon of garden soil can contain more than a billion bacteria. We discovered that plants attract bacteria and fungi to their roots so that protozoa and nematodes will eat these single-celled organisms and then excrete the excess nitrogen in a form that feeds plants."
Click on the link to read his entir…

Award for All the Dirt from Red Dirt Ramblings

Another Oklahoma garden blog, Red Dirt Ramblings, has graciously awarded All the Dirt on Gardening an award. Author, Dee Nash wrote about her three favorite blogs.

Here is the entry
(The Red Dirt author) received this award from Grace at Rose Cottage Lane. Thanks so much, Grace.

The way this award works is that I must now nominate three blogs which are favorites of mine. Gee, I only get to pick three? Think, think, think . . . .

Okay, here are three favorites, but it was very difficult to choose. First, Confessions of a Pioneer Woman because she writes one jammin’ blog. She’s becoming quite famous, having been on CNN and in The Daily Oklahoman. She takes wonderful pictures, and her self-deprecating wit is hilarious.

Second, I love Tongue in Cheek. Corey is an ex-pat living in the south of France. Her writing is heart felt; she is living an authentic life; and she also takes great pictures, some of which are featured in Victoria’s January/February issue. Yes, Victoria is back!! I’ve sent in…

Eliot Coleman at Horticulture Industries Show in Tulsa, January 2008

Chelsea Green Publishing
was a new name to me until I became interested in growing greens here at home. Food safety, convenience, freshness and the joy of growing were my motivations. "Four-Season Harvest" is one of the top resources for anyone considering growing their own food for home use or to sell at markets and restaurants.

Today's column in the Muskogee Phoenix summarized the book and an upcoming horticulture show where the author, Eliot Coleman will be speaking. Enjoy!

Published December 26, 2007 06:05 pm - Garden column: Gardeners and those who are interested in selling at farmers' markets will find a treasure trove of information at the Horticulture Industries Show in Tulsa on Jan. 4 and 5.

The Kerr Center, Oklahoma State University, the Arkansas State Horticulture Society and other organizations sponsor the show so costs are kept well below a usual two-day conference.

This year's show, "Celebrating Horticulture Four Seasons of Success," will off…

History of Iris

In 1958 Buckner Hollingsworth's, "Flower Chronicles" was published by Rutgers University Press. Each chapter summarizes the history of an individual flower. IRIS "Namesake of a goddess; symbol of a Bronze Age religion; heraldic device of the kings of France; "soveraigne" remedy for a vast number of ailments from weak eyes to insanity; flavor for various beverages hard and soft; basis for countless perfumes and powders; ornament of our gardens. The Who's Who item of the iris is a long and distinguished one." Hollingsworth gardened on acreage for 25-years and when she and her husband moved to a small house lot in the town where they managed a museum, she used her extra time to research favorite plants. Folklore, herbology, medicine and poetry are included, along with historical references. Did you know that Iris is the flower of the fleurs-de-lis? Or that it is pictured in frescoes from 3 or 4 thousand years ago? Early medical practitioners used iris ro…

Labyrinths Around the Globe, Calendar Site and Anne of Green Gables

Here are a couple of fun links for your entertainment from

Everything you need to plan your 2008 calendar is at the calendar website. Chinese, Christian, Jewish plus calendars no longer in use, such as the Mayan calendar are on the site with history and interesting information.

Anne of Green Gables is turning 100 and there is an entire website dedicated to the events surrounding the celebrations.

TODAY'S COLUMN Published December 19, 2007 07:03 pm -
Find yourself in a maze
By Molly Day Submitted Story Arizona, India, Scandinavia and other locations around the world had spiral rock carvings as early as 3,000 years before the birth of Christ.

In American, the Hopi people used square labyrinths to represent their Sun Father and Sun Mother. A labyrinth is similar to a maze but the labyrinth has a single path that leads to the center or goal location.

A maze on the other hand, has loops, forks and cul-de-sacs that circle the walker out and back…

New Nutritional Melons from the USDA , MIT Offers You 1500 FREE Courses Online and Cats in the Garlic

A new, more nutritious melon has been invented, the Avant Gardener reports. The cultivar is available to growers from ARS Crop Quality Unit . The link takes you to the site with the original report.

The new melon was bred to have fewer pathogens in the skin and more vitamin A, C, folic acid, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, anti-oxidants and sugar. Watch for 'Orange Dew' in a farmer's market near you.


MIT is offering the course materials for 1500 classes free online for everyone. Click here for the index of classes.

Topics of interest include soil behavior, architecture, design for sustainability, kitchen chemistry, how to make almost anything, industrial landscapes, environment and society. Then there is also magic, witchcraft and the spirit world.

At the top of the page you can register for monthly email updates.


Three-hours out in the sun today!
The rest of the last bulb shipment was pla…

MOBOT Shows How To Use Environmental Consciousness by Recycling Plastics from Garden Centers and Botanical Gardens

GMPRO Garden Center Magazine ran a story today about the need for garden centers and botanical gardens with environmental consciousness to find a way of recycling plastic garden pots.

" Steve Cline at Missouri Botanical Garden has created perhaps the most successful horticultural pot recycling program in U.S. This past year, the program collected more than 100,000 pounds of horticultural plastics."

According to the story, 80-million tons of plastic end up needing to be recycled every year.

"In the horticultural industry alone, about 350 million pounds of plastic is produced each year.

The Missouri Botanical Garden's Plastic Pot Recycling Program is the largest program of its kind, recycling both plastic pots and polystyrene cell packs and trays. Since 1998, this groundbreaking program has saved over 300 tons of plastic from reaching the landfill. The program has become hugely popular with gardeners in the St. Louis metropolitan area with many participants anxiously aw…

2008 All-America Selections Include: New White Daisy with Blue Center and a New Viola in Purple and Gold

All-America Selections are new plants that are chosen every year as winners for gardeners.
The selections have been made for 75-years and the plants are still reliable garden favorites. All the winners from 1933 to 2008 are listed on the organization's website.
This year's three winners are: Osteospermum F1 'Asti White' a new daisy - blue centers on white flowers, Viola F1 'Skippy SX Plum-Gold' and Eggplant F1 'Hansel'.
Of the three, the new daisy looks the best to me. The Johnny-Jump-Up or Viola has a strange color combination that looks like someone was trying too hard to come up with something new for the trade. But, maybe it is just what you need for your spring beds. Flower color is very personal.
In general, I can recommend checking the All-America Selections site lists if you want to try something new. For example if you have never grown petunias or pinks from seed, use the AA site to select the type of seed to buy so you will have something reliabl…

The Love of Gardening - Pass It On

The love of gardening is passed on from one generation to the next. Just as genetic markers and predispositions for career choice skip a generation, it is often our grandparents who led us toward the love of flowers, fresh vegetables and fruit or just the processes of making beautiful surroundings for ourselves and our communities.

Wherever you came to benefit from the love of all things earthy, pass it on to someone in the next generation. Encourage those younger than yourself in their horticultural hobby. We put in another 150-daffodils today. What is the count so far for spring blooming? I have no idea anymore. The battery powered auger really helps with large plantings. If all the bulbs put in this year bloom next spring we will either be out there among them or be standing in front of a window enjoying them. (Please, Mother Nature, no Easter weekend freeze next year that destroys all the buds like it did this year.) Look for the good and praise it extends to gardening - nurture the…

Global Climate Change in Oklahoma

Today's Garden Column is about the impact of global climate change on gardening in Oklahoma Plan ahead for possibly earlier spring next year

Scientists around the world have looked at the evidence and have decided that climate change is real. Carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses are trapping more heat from the sun and are contributing to rising global temperatures.For Oklahoma, climate change is likely to lead to earlier springs, later falls, shorter winters, more damaging late spring freezes, and longer dry, drought spells. Local impacts will vary and there will still be the natural cycle of drier and wetter years. These are the Oklahoma impacts summed up in the Oklahoma Climatological Survey's statement on Climate Change and its Implications for Oklahoma.

Climate change will bring new challenges to Oklahoma gardeners and farmers, but there are ways to meet these challenges. And new approaches can turn these climate challenges into new opportunities. Using water more ef…

Tulsa OK Horticulture Industries Show Jan 4 & 5 2008

It is time to register for the Horticulture Industries Show in Tulsa Jan 4 & 5 2008. Early registration must be postmarked no later than December 14.

This year's topic is "Celebrating Horticulture: Four Seasons of Success" and you can click here to go directly to the Oklahoma State University Horticulture site's info on the conference.

The keynote speaker is author Eliot Coleman who now designs organic gardening tools for Johnny's Selected Seeds. His unique tools include Pinpoint seeder, Get-A-Grip handle-broadfork, three-tine cultivator, grading rake (metal toothed) and European style scythe.

In his 40-years of working in the field (literally - he raised cattle sheep, poultry, veggies, etc.) he has written three books and many articles.

His partner is also a horticulturist with a column in the Washington Post. Their website is called Four Season Farm.

Barbara Damrosch's column this week is about the importance of growing what you eat or at least buying local …

Your Houseplants Need You

Check in with your houseplants now that dry, furnace air is all they get to breathe. Even though most houseplants need less fertilizer and water during winter months, the dry air inside homes and offices can make them need a winter tonic.
If the leaves are yellowing, try a little houseplant food in tepid water. (Houseplants want water that is within 10-degrees of air temperature so do not shock them with cold water from the faucet.) If the leaves are browning on the tips, they may be over-fertilized.

Plants with drooping leaves need to be put into a sink full of tepid water until the top of the soil is wet. Drain the pot and then put it back where it was.

How is the light level during the winter rain? Can you move the plants to a location where they can receive brighter light? Even near a reading light can help when it is dark out for a couple of days.

Softened water is great for your hair and laundry but the salt is very hard on plants so use something else …

Trillium Symposium April 2008 in Delaware

News from the online Trillium and Woodland Plants conversation is that the 2008 Trillium Symposium will be April 17 to 19 and enrollment is limited to the first 200 who register. The workshops and seminars will feature the conservation and propagation of trilliums on the east coast of the US.

If you do not grow Trilliums yet, click on this link to see beautiful photographs of them.

The Minnesota nursery, Specialty Perennials sells seed and has dozens of links to more wonderful photos at this link. Once you see Trillium photos, you will realize how often you have enjoyed them in shade gardens.

Companion plants that want similar growing conditions include spiderwort, bleeding heart, green dragon arum, Jack-in-the-Pulpit, woodland phlox, columbine and Virginia Bluebells.

The Symposium is $195 if registration is received by Jan 31, 2008.

A member of the same plant family, Toad Lilies grow well in my shade garden. The ones I purchased as plants from Bluestone Perennials bloomed the first year.

Join Seed Savers Exchange

Membership in the Seed Savers Exchange costs $35 per year and this is the right time of year to join. Members pay for membership and they pay for seeds but membership gives you access to a wider selection. Photo: Blue Poppy - one of the new 2008 seeds available from Seed Savers.

The list of seeds is inspiring - almost 13,000 varieties. Request a print catalog at their site.
Formed in 1975, the members of the nonprofit organization save and share seeds of heirloom varieties.
A quote from their site: "Heritage Farm, Seed Savers Exchange’s scenic 890-acre headquarters near Decorah, Iowa, is a living museum of historic varieties. Amish carpenters have constructed an inspirational meeting area in the barn’s cathedral-like loft, and also a complex of offices and seed storage facilities that feature a magnificent oak post-and-beam frame."
Seeds can be purchased from their website without becoming a member. Links include Eating Beans, Seed Collections, Prairie Plants, etc.
If you are look…

Gifts for Gardeners 2007

This is the month of shopping for people who love plants. Fortunately, there are so many choices that no two gifts have to be alike: a pot of bulbs, a new tool, planters, live plants, grow lights, heaters and heat mats, shelving for indoors and out.

The amount spent can be from zero with a gift certificate for hours of digging and weeding to a fountain outside on the deck.

Gifts for gardeners includes items for every pocketbook and gifts from the humble to the sublime.
Washable garden gloves $5 — Ora Mae Piester, 918-683-4433, sells them for Muskogee Garden Club.

Or, become charter members of the new Oklahoma Botanical Garden, north of Tulsa. Send $35 for an individual or $50 for a family to Oklahoma Centennial Botanical Garden, 5323 W. 31st Street North, Tulsa 74127 and 728-2707.

On the higher end, a broad fork to loosen soil without using a rototiller, $160, or Johnny’s Selected Seeds, and (877) 564-6697.

Seed collections: children’s garden, hummingbird and butterfly,…

Winter Beauty

One of the wonders of the Internet is that you can see nature even when you don't feel like being outside. A site featuring the beauty of the Ozark Mountains in Arkansas, Ozark Light has the photos of Randy Wilson. A must see.

After you enjoy the photos, click on the Links link to browse more.

Horticulture students at Connors State College in Warner, OK, grew poinsettias as a fund raiser. The plants are selling for only $8. Call to be sure they have what you want before you go - 463-6265.

"The Horticulture students and student workers have grown a beautiful crop of poinsettias this year. We have red, burgundy, white/pink, and white. They are $8.00 each. Cash or checks." And, you get to help a student in the process: win-win.

December 18 Christmas Centerpiece Class $15

Call to reserve your space in a Christmas Centerpiece Class
being held on Tuesday Dec. 18
through the Horticulture Department of Connors State College.
There are 3 sessions available: 2-4; 4-6; and 6-8. Cost is $15.00 a person.

The class will be making a one sided, asymmetrical arrangement in red carnations, white mums, etc. Call to reserve your space (and allow us to have materials) by Thursday, December 13.

918. 463.6265 Debby Golden, Agriculture Division Chair/Director of Horticulture
Connors State College Rt. 1 Box 1000Warner, OK 74469
office -

Exciting Days in Winter Gardening

Diamond Frost Euphorbia, Kings Crown Dicliptera and Wandering Jew all took root this week in water and were transplanted into little pots of well draining soil.

Highlights of propagation
It's actually better to start cuttings in a well-draining, moist, combination of sand, moss, potting soil but I was in a hurry when I started the process.
Neither dark nor bright light helps cuttings root. Diffused light makes the healthiest plants at this stage.
Temperature recommendations vary but 70-degrees F is usually the goal. When the air is cold, the soil can be 10-degrees cooler than the air in the room.
Sometimes I use Rootone and sometimes I don't. A few of things I've learned about it: 1) Using too much can cause as many problems as not using it; 2) Nurseries use a type of rooting hormone we home gardeners cannot buy; 3) Don't stick the cutting into the bottle because any dampness transferred into the bottle can ruin…
On the green living blog, ECOBLE there is a fascinating story about a man in Mexico who built his idea of paradise on 250,000 recycled plastic bottles.
Richie Sowa built it first in 1998, but Spiral Island was destroyed by a hurricane.
The island is classified as a ship, so it is allowed to float in Mexico's waters. On September 7, 2007 the new Spiral Islander social network utility was opened to the public.
Click here to see the blog entry and the video that accompanies the story.

Master Gardener, Nancy Szerlag, writes a garden column for the Detroit News. Since my column this week is about gifts for gardeners, I was curious about her recommendations.

Her suggestions are magazines and completely different from mine, so I will list them for you. The link above is to the entire column so you can get more details about the magazines.
- Chicagoland Gardening (866) 806-1498,