31 October 2007

November watering, Johnny's spring blooming bulb sale

Keep watering!

Late fall things to think about doing:
Check your hanging pots outside and beds for water needs. It is still warm enough every day that many plants still need water.
Other than the lawn, you do not have to fertilize.
Transplant, divide and replants day lilies, perennial shrubs, corms and bulbs. Plant trees and shrubs.
Move perennials so they can grow roots over the winter when they do not have to be bothered with leaves and flowers.
Hang out in this gorgeous weather and enjoy your garden as you walk around thinking about how you want to change the garden for next year.

I rarely post these kinds of commercial emails but Johnny's Selected Seeds is having a 40% off sale on spring blooming bulbs. Here are a couple of their listings.

Dutch Master Daffodils
10 Bulbs - $6.30 25 Bulbs - $11.91 50 Bulbs $20.22

Red Impression Tulips - Midseason bloom
10 Bulbs -$3.90 25 Bulbs - $8.25 50 Bulbs - $14.28

To get the discount before November 9th.
Enter code# 08-1046 (and click "apply") when you check out, or mention it on the phone when you call. Please Note: The discounted prices (in red) will not appear in your cart. The system will deduct 40% from your bulb order after you enter the special offer code. You should see your savings on the "Special Offer" line of your order summary after you click "apply".

30 October 2007

Plant World Seeds, Garlic Planting, Spring Blooming Bulbs

FALL PLANTING

The garden is growing! We planted about 150 garlic seeds, 60 flower bulbs and two of the shrubs we bought last spring.


There are still over 100 spring blooming flower bulbs to go in the various beds around the homestead but we have a couple of months to get it done. We are indeed lucky this year to have 70-degree weather the first of November.

I just found out about another British catalog. If you enjoy the Thompson and Morgan selections, Plant World Seeds will wow your imagination. They have seeds of plants they bred in their nursery. Check it out online and dream.

24 October 2007

Workshop Envy

"Editing what Mother Nature has written and trying not to get in her way."

That's how the introduction to a workshop in Michigan begins.

It's a two-day class on how to optimize a wooded lot on your property by using native trees and shrubs. Woodland wildflowers are the focus of Janet Marcunovich's presentation. She is a Practical Gardening Trainer at Practical Gardening.

The column she wrote for the Detroit News for 12-years is online at Practical Gardening. You can take out a free trial membership to read the articles. Click on the link that says "Growing Concerns Archive."

It's all in Michigan and out of our range but I sure would like to turn our back yard into the one in the photograph.

23 October 2007

Five Star Trees - Your Tax Dollars At Work

The United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Center has identified tough, disease and insect resistant trees for urban environments. The scientists spent four years studying what they refer to as "urban worthy" trees. The goal was to identify Power Trees.

"And the group’s findings couldn't have come at a better time. Urban tree plantings—valued as shade-makers, air filters, and sponges for soaking up global-warming gases—are increasingly coming under the chainsaw as a result of pests, diseases, and conflicts with power lines. Poorly chosen specimens often outgrow the confines of streets, highways, and parks, leaving utility companies no choice but to severely prune or remove entire plants. One Washington, D.C.-area utility spends about $20 million annually on tree trimming, removal, and replacements."

Click here to read the report at the USDA site.

Scientists at the U. S. Arboretum have been working to identify what they call urban tough trees with curb appeal.

The Power Trees Project identified these trees as winners.

Powertree Zone A cultivars for planting within 30 feet of power lines
Acer rubrum 'Brandywine'
Acer rubrum 'Somerset'
Acer rubrum 'Sun Valley'
Lagerstroemia 'Natchez'
Malus 'Adirondack'
Prunus 'Dream Catcher'

Powertree Zone B cultivars for planting 30 feet away from power lines
Ulmus 'Frontier'

Planting trees under and close to power lines is an ongoing problem for the trees. They are unable to grow into their natural form because of space limitations.

22 October 2007

Fall, Houseplant Website and Seeds

END OF SUMMER
This is the first day! Yesterday is was 85-degrees while I was out painting and today it is 55 and raining and windy.
Unofficially it's our first day of fall. The leaves turned gold, yellow, red and that other tired green they become when the season begins to change.
POPPY SEEDS PLANTED SOON
I love poppies so I ordered a bunch of seeds from J. L. Hudson Seedsman to plant next month. The double black one will make a dramatic effect in our yard next spring. It takes a lot of color to cheer up 2-acres at the end of winter so I bought the large economy size seed pack

. All this is to remind you that the season of houseplants is upon us. We will be dragging outdoor plants into the garage, taking cuttings of some of the cold tender ones we love, buying bulbs to plant next month and stuffing the house with plants to take care of over the winter.

You must check out a house plants site I found, Healthy Houseplants.com written by Julie Bawden Davis.

There is a "Plants" link on the site that is a Encyclopedia. Each plant is identified, many are pictured, and cultivation information is provided to help guarantee success.

Information on potting soils, transplanting, watering, propagating and staking is all there. Browse around and have healthier houseplants this year.

18 October 2007

The Healing Value of Gardening and Nature

If you love gardening you already appreciate its value in your life and miss that experience when you have been short of time or when circumstances prevent you from being in the garden.

Photo:
Late October garden - - a few last dahlias, zinnias and lady in red salvia.

Research continues to come in that scientifically supports what you already know: Gardening is healing.
Nature Is the Best Medicine, an article at e magazine, tells another story about the research.

17 October 2007

Organic Treatment for Powdery Mildew

ORGANIC TREATMENTS
Powdery mildew is a constant problem this time of year on everything from asters to zinnias and cucumbers in between.
In Brazil and New Zealand, growers are spraying skim milk on plants to control the problem.
The recipe is 1-cup of milk, 9- cups of water, and spray plant leaves top and bottom.
I read about it on a website called My Organic Garden. The scientists research originally appeared in a professional journal called "Crop Science" and reported that the milk serves as a germicidal, killing fungus spores and stimulates the plant to become more resistant to disease.

Photo: Wandering Jew fell from a hanging pot and planted itself in the soil below the tree. The green leaves are a self-planted purple hyacinth vine that is climbing the tree.

15 October 2007

Cucs and Beans in the October Garden

FALL VEGETABLE GARDENING
It has cooled down enough that the heat dormant spinach seeds are starting to sprout. The wind and rain last week broke the snow pea vines but they are taking off again.
Raab is almost a foot tall and radishes are ready to pick. The lettuce is slowly growing but isn't big enough to use. The Asian mustard has large enough leaves to add to a salad tonight.

If you have not ever planted a September vegetable garden, give it a try next year. The rewards are slower than in the spring, but give you an excuse to be out there and the cooler days without mosquitoes are wonderful.
Photo: cucumbers forming October 15th if you can believe it.
Photo: flowering cucumbers - we can only hope it stays warm enough for them to make it to maturity. The yellowing on the leaves is from insect damage, I think.
Photo: Tiny green beans forming on the plants.

Castor Bean,

CASTOR BEANS , Ricinus communis, conveniently grow their own male and female flowers on the same plant.

A native of tropical Africa, the plant is grown for the production of Castor oil. Cornell University outlines the poisonous nature of all its parts.

This spring, I planted them everywhere there was a mole tunnel. It was too late for some of my plants - the moles had eaten off their roots before I could do anything about it.

Every Castor bean plant is now a minimum of 4-feet tall. Others in the garden are at least 8 and 10-feet tall.

Photo: The red flowers toward the top

of the Castor bean plant, are the females.


Photo: The brown flowers toward the bottom
of the Castor bean plant are the male flowers.


Today, we spent several hours taking fall leaves out of flower beds and whacking the slugs that were under them. Luckily, most of our house guests love to work outside and always pitch in asking, "What can I do outside?"
Last night when that windy storm blew through, it gave us three-fourths of an inch of rain. The Italian beans grew 6-inches overnight; the cucumbers are making tiny fruit and blooming their hearts out in spite of the fall insect infestations and cooler temperatures.

10 October 2007

White Flies, Skippers, Grasshoppers and Spiders

BUGS
Insects were the topic of gardening today. The top photo is a skipper that became positively drowned in the nectar of a Texas Petunia.

Most of the afternoon was spent spraying Neem oil on the vegetable garden in an effort to reduce the white fly population. They are on everything - wax beans, cucumbers, summer squash, eggplant, marigolds - everything. Each leaf of each plant was turned over and sprayed individually so the flowers on the veggies were not sprayed.

I have to confess the cloud of them on the marigolds surprised me since I thought their pungent smell would keep the white flies away.


Grasshoppers are eating whatever they can get their mouths on. We have been chasing them away from devouring our 10-feet tall castor bean leaves but there is no hope of reducing their population. We just deal with them one by one.

The spiders have strings, webs and nests everywhere, too. I wonder if the cooler weather or the 3-inches of rain we had this week is behind the increase in their numbers. When you walk around the yard you can't help but walk into them.

Integrated Pest Management is killing a few insects as possible in order to poison the earth as little as possible. But sometimes, the bugs seem to be winning.

05 October 2007

Green Thougts

The Rage Diaries has list after list of possibilities for anyone who wants to be more green in their daily life. The link above is to the entry called, "Is the color of your burnout green?"

Another site to check out is Green as a Thistle. The author is a writer in Toronto. The blog is about " living as green a lifestyle as it gets. I hope, in the end, this proves that being an environmentalist doesn't necessarily have to require massive change, compromise or Greenpeace levels of dedication — it can be simple, and inspiring."

You can get plenty of inspiration from both of these blogs to make a difference.

In a post called Wiggly Wigglers, Amy Stewart writes in SF Gate that going to iTunes and doing a search for the word gardening in the podcast section yields some amusement for this holiday weekend.

04 October 2007

Youth Gardening Complete With a Scarecrow!

UNL Extension in Lancaster County, Nebraska, has a great nutrition newsletter that I've subscribed to for several years.

Now they have a link for Youth Gardening with several fun activities to do outside and inside with children to help them learn and love nature.

My favorites are the directions for making a scarecrow and a link to the Yuckiest Site on the Internet. Activity instructions are printable.

A site in Australia has unique scarecrow-making ideas. Click here to go to Go For Your Life.


Photo: Cockscomb volunteers came up in the rock walkway. The small while flowers are blooming garlic chives.

01 October 2007

Rose Seminar, Plant That Network and Arborsculpting by Richard Reames

FREE ROSE SEMINAR – "Year in the Life of a Rose" presented by Mark Stelljes (consulting American Rose Society Rosarian and Board Member of Tulsa Rose Society) on Sunday, October 21, from 1 pm to 5 pm. Mark's specialty is taking the mystery and difficulty out of growing roses.There will be food and door prizes. RSVP to (918) 455-7673. The seminar is being held at Roses Inc. Tulsa , 12323 E. 132nd St. S. in Broken Arrow –For a map and more scoop go to http://www.rosesinctulsa.com.

PLANTS THAT NETWORK
Science Daily has a terrific story about plants having their own chat systems that they use to warn other plants connected by underground runners.

"Many plants form internal communications networks and are able to exchange information efficiently," the scientists say.

And, "Many herbal plants such as strawberry, clover, reed and ground elder naturally form networks. Individual plants remain connected with each other for a certain period of time by means of runners. These connections enable the plants to share information with each other via internal channels. They are therefore very similar to computer networks."

Clover, strawberries and other plants tell each other if caterpillars are munching, the plants strengthen their resistance and stay one step ahead of the crawlers, significantly limiting damage.

CHECK THIS OUT, TOO
Extreme trees planted and shaped by Arborsculptor Richard Reames at
Arborsmith Studios. Reames has dozens of photos of arborsculpted trees that are worth a click.

AND, Reames has an arborsculpture blog - click the link on the left side of his site. There are more fascinating photos at the blog - living chair, green roof, tree windows, living architecture, espalier - really, it is a must see.