31 March 2008
Broccoli Raab Keeps On Giving, What Causes Hayfever?, Do You Mark and Identify Plants in Your Garden?
from last year is blooming and re-seeding again. It is definitely a seed packet that keeps on giving. I think the first seeds I planted were put in 3-years ago and it replants itself around the yard every year now.
PERENNIAL REFERENCE GUIDE
Livingston Daily has a Buddy Moorehouse column about a new book on perennials that tells the reader what plant to put in which environment.
The authors Karleen Shafer and Nicole Lloyd wrote their "Perennial Reference Guide" in response to a perceived need.
Perennial Resource dot com says, " An exceptionally thorough book of lists of every category of perennial including: dry shade, erosion control, aromatherapy, native, winter interest, and much more."
Has anyone read this one? Is it as great as it sounds?
HAY FEVER THOUGHTS FROM SUE HOLLIS
Sue Hollis of Kansas City pointed out on the Trillium conversation that as a general rule, pollen from showy flowers will not cause hay fever. Pollen from non-showy flowers of ragweed, grass, trees causes hay fever.
Hollis said, "The reason is budgetary. Showy flowers put all their energy into producing a flower to attract pollinators. The pollen is comparatively heavy and slightly sticky so it will stick on whatever creature is doing the pollinating and get carried to another flower. The inconspicuous flowers produce very large amounts of light weight pollen that will blow in the wind to another flower.
Of course, the nearest showy flower (such as goldenrod) gets blamed for the hay fever because it is readily visible. That is not to say that ingesting the heavier pollen would not cause problems - it is possible although I never heard of such."
Paw Paw Everlast is an odd name for a company but it is one of the recognized names in plant labels.
I bought the ones they say are for roses. Do you mark your plants so you can remember what you put where? Which kind of labels do you use?
30 March 2008
Today, I planted two types of basil seeds - lettuce leaf and Italian pesto. The plants need heat to do their best and this is a good time to get the seeds started inside.
With this week's 70-degree days, many of the trays of seedlings get to spend the day outside.
The perennials have been moved out but they can always come back in if there is a frost predicted.
The Brussels Sprouts and broccoli, snow peas and English peas are doing well in the ground and it is time to move the Arugula seedlings into the ground
I'm having a little trouble with the lettuce this year. The seedlings are about 1.5 inches tall and their color is good but their stems are flimsy.
Does anyone have an idea how to make them stronger? I'm afraid they wouldn't last long in the ground though we put them onto outside tables every day to try to harden them.
Views from the back yard today -
The first year we were here we planted native plums for the birds. Those first trees are colonizing around a shallow pond toward the back of the property.
Two years ago a dear friend, Helen, helped me dig Oklahoma native peach saplings out of a ditch across from her house near Lake Eufaula OK. They are blooming and may produce fruit this year.
So far, the fruit yield from the nectarine tree has been pretty low. But last year's mid-April freeze was part of the reason. The flowers have a heavenly scent.
For old-fashioned back yard beauty, it is hard to beat Bridal Veil. This one came as a house warming gift from my sister Barbara.
This is a small flowering almond that my friend Jan gave me last year. It was a piece of her shrub and it is just getting started. What sweet pink flowers it has.
29 March 2008
Junior Master Gardeners learn, squirm with worms
By Cathy Spaulding Phoenix Staff Writer
27 March 2008
The daffodils, crocus, flowering almond and forsythia are bursting with their spring song so it must be time for opening weekend at Moonshadow Herb Farm in southeast Muskogee.
Even though it is still a little early to plant some things, no one wants to miss out on seeing what Sharon Owen has grown over the winter for their medicinal and culinary garden beds.
25 March 2008
Even when the slim green leaves of the bulbs emerge most of our time is still being spent indoors, braced against the wind and cold.
Then, in March, all this color emerges. Not so much the reds and purples that the heat of summer demands to capture our attention, but soft yellows, whites, and pinks are the colors of spring. Even the red of tulips is tempered by the delicacy of their translucent petals.
The scent of spring is the soft scent of daffodils and the sweet scent of hyacinths. Bright colors contrasting with ground that is mostly shades of brown.
22 March 2008
Tulsa Master Gardeners Plant Sale Orders, April 5 - Sooner Plant Pickup, Sustainable Green Country Conference, Do You Propagate?
The annual plant sale has lots of bargains and plenty of choices. The deadline for pre-ordering is March 28. Here is a link to the list of plants they are offering this year. Pre-orders are prepaid and will be available for pickup April 17.
Another choice you have is to just go to the sale on April 17 and buy what looks good to you.
At their site, plants are listed and described. Flats of 36 plants are $14 and 4-inch pots are $2.50 - Such a bargain. And the proceeds go to a good cause.
The order form is available where it says click here for order form.
Saturday April 5 will be the first customer pick up day at Sooner Plant Farm just south of Tahlequah. It's the best way for locals to pick up their Internet orders without paying shipping PLUS we can wander through the plants. Sooner is open to the public only one day a month.
Some of the Best Plants for Oklahoma according to Brian Chonacki,
owner of Sooner Plant Farm are listed here, but go to the website and see all the wonderful possibilities.
1. Asclepias incarnata, tuberosa 2. Baptisia australis 3. Echinacea
4. Euphorbia griffithii, myrsinites, polychroma 5. Azalea ‘Encore
6. Callicarpa 7. Vitex agnus - castus 8. Amelanchier 9. Chilopsis
10. Chitalpa tanchkentensis 11. Acer truncatum 12. Acer buergerianum
13. Taxodium distichum 14. Sedum 15. Wisteria frutescens
Toward the bottom of the Sooner home page there are links to click for trees, flowering shrubs, grasses etc. Within each link there are choices to click on to find the photo and description for each plant.
Photo: This beauty is coming up in the back yard.
Sustainable Green Country is having their Sustainability Conference March 28 and 29 in Norman OK. "Red Dirt, Green Culture: Growing Healthy Communities" is the title.
-30 speakers and workshops on subjects including transportation, biofuels, community building and conflict resolution, alternative energy, religion and environmental ethics.
- Events will be located throughout downtown Norman, at venues such as the Norman Public Library, Mainsite Art Gallery, Norman Chamber of Commerce, Dreamer Concepts Studio and Foundation, Andrews Park and Republic Bank. Transportation between sites will be assisted by bike taxis and walking guides.
For more information and to register for the conference, go to http://www.normansustainability.org/ or contact Gene Perry at (405) 640-9119 or email@example.com.
DO YOU PROPAGATE
your plants to make more? When do you take the cuttings? What rooting hormone do you use? Are you rooting them in sand, vermiculite, perlite, potting soil?
I've been researching information for propagating some of my backyard plants and thought I would share a few of my finds.
University of California at Davis
Grow It database
Pacific Northwest Cooperative Extension
These and more links are available at the Open Systems Project. Here is the link to the search results.
Last fall I put 8 lavender cuttings into sand and kept the pot warm and around grow lights. Today I dumped it out and found that every cutting had roots. So now I want to do more.
What's your experience with propagating plants with vegetative cuttings?
More cold nights coming. Plan to protect your young plants.
20 March 2008
Garden Center in Muskogee. In this photo attendees are enjoying sandwiches before the meeting. Left/center is Sharon Owen, owner of Moonshadow Herb Farm.
Another photo from the meeting. In the turquoise top is Bernadette Feickert (Bernie) of Miss Addies' Restaurant fame and on the right is Marci Diaz, Station Manager of the new cable Channel 22, INTV.
The new television channel will be launched in Muskogee on March 26.
Feickert is the host of their new home and garden program called "Creating Comfort with Bernie Feickert".
If you have a story idea to tell Diaz about you can call her at 918.360.3705.
Here are Meaghan McCawley, Producer, and Greg Mashburn, Director for the new Channel 22.
Here's a photo of Bernie Feickert with Matthew Weatherbee, co-owner of Blossom's Garden Center, filming the program that will run some time after the station's March 26th launch.
19 March 2008
Gardening: Nursery business grew out of love
Mary Ann King, owner of Pine Ridge Gardens in London Ark., always loved to grow things. And she has always wanted to try everything.
For example, when she decided to grow vegetables for her family she grew 12 kinds of tomatoes and ten kinds of beans.
That love of gardening grew into a nursery business that is now well known across the country for its wide selection of native plants that King grows mostly from seed.
“I was a founding member of the Russellville Farmer’s Market,” King said. “When the family grew up and I did not need so much from the vegetable garden, I turned to growing every kind of jonquil and the other minor bulbs. Then, I started growing all the kinds of iris. And after that I started growing perennials from seed.”
In 1992 King ordered her first greenhouse and took horticulture classes at the local college.
“My focus is on plants for birds and butterflies now,” King said. “I grow what you can't find other places.”
More than half of the customers who buy from Pine Ridge Gardens come in from Mississippi, Texas, Louisiana, Missouri and Oklahoma to make the drive down gravel and dirt roads to King’s 65-acre site.
Many opt to order from the online or print catalog and have plants shipped to their homes.
“More people are interested in native plants now,” King said. “With the proper selection, you can have a garden that takes less care and is more drought tolerant.”
The next open house will be March 29 and 30. You have to call or check the Web site for additional dates.
“I’m open on Saturday and Sunday almost every other weekend until mid-June and then I re-open for September and October,” King said. “People come every week by appointment, too. They schedule a visit here along with other driving destinations.”
In addition to a dozen areas of trees and plants, Pine Ridge Garden has an arboretum that King put in place when she gave up raising cattle. Most of the trees and shrubs are natives that are thriving on a natural setting and only the rain they receive from nature.
You can take a self-guided tour to walk among unique specimens such as Zanthoxylum (toothache tree), Gooseberry bush, American Yellow-wood (Cladrastis kentukea), Mexican Buckeye, Sloe Plum shrub, Carolina Silverbell (Halesia tetraptera), etc. Most of these plants are native to the Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas area.
Around the pond, visitors can walk along dozens of plants growing in their natural setting which provides an opportunity to observe their growing habits and what they will look like at their mature size.
King shares her knowledge as she walks.
“Paw Paw trees want protection from the afternoon sun,” King said. “They are vulnerable in especially in their first few years until they get established.”
King buys seeds for the over 350 plants she grows from many sources. Over the years, she has made friends with other plant lovers who send her seed from their travels around the country. And, she has the talent to grow them into mature plants.
“I also like to grow all kinds of grasses, rushes and sedges,” King said. “I think they are underused in most people’s gardens. These are the plants that birds use for nesting cover and some butterfly caterpillars use for food.”
Elymus Churchii or Church’s Wild Rye grass has recently been identified in Arkansas and King is starting it from seed. She grows other Wild Rye Grass varieties that are available for sale.
King also goes out onto her land and collects seeds.
“Baptesia, thistle, wild azalea, sumac, hydrangea, goat’s rue and milkweed are all seeds that I collected to grow into mature plants for customers,” King said. “Customer requests have led to my growing a lot of the plants I sell.”
King has a personal collection of plants, too, including pineapples she grew by cutting the tops off from grocery store pineapples and planting them.
“We do not collect native plants from the wild and sell them,” King said. “Native plants should be left where they are growing unless they need to be rescued from upcoming construction.”
When King started in 1992, she grew wonderful perennials, loaded them into her truck and tried to sell them to garden centers. At that time garden center owners did not recognize the unique plants in her stock. She joined plant associations and gave talks wherever she could to get the word out.
“By 1997, people started hearing about me, my perennials and native flowers," King said. "People started asking for wax myrtle, other bird habitat and the things I grow. My focus changed to birds and butterflies.”
Other unusual habitat plants available at the nursery include: Umbrella Magnolia, Corkwood, Black Chokeberry, Texas Hibiscus, Saltbush, Swamp dogwood, Buckeye, Hickory, Hornbeam, Wood Vamp, Tree Huckleberry, Devil’s Walking Stick and Wahoo.
“If I have any regrets about the business, it’s that I didn’t start it sooner,” King said. “I hope I never have to retire.”
The Pine Ridge Gardens catalog is online at http://www.pineridgegardens.com and print catalogs are available by subscription three years for $5. The online catalog has a link called, “Selections,” where customers can search for suggested plants by category - butterflies, nectar sources, attracting birds, wetlands and xeriscape.
If you have a chance to walk through King’s extensive garden center, you will realize that the catalog represents only a fraction of the possibilities for your yard.
If you go Pine Ridge Gardens in rural London, Ark., it’s a two and one-half-hour drive from Muskogee. To make an appointment: (479) 293-4359, firstname.lastname@example.org or send a fax to 479 293 4659. A map with driving directions is on the Web site.
18 March 2008
If you live in an outskirts area like ours you know that each time a wooded area is cleared for another housing development, the thousands of trees that held the rain in check are no longer there to do their job so flooding is the result. Ah, progress, your stings are everywhere.
16 March 2008
So, which palms should you grow in your atrium and which ones outdoors?
Timber Press has added a new book about palms to their Pocket Guide line. Click on the link to see their description.
Many palms can take cold temperatures as low as 5-degrees F, but not for many nights in a row.
Here in northeast Oklahoma many people grow hardy banana palms in their yards with a thick mulch in the winter. I dug mine up and put it indoors for the winter to see if it would grow bigger this year.
But I digress, back to the book.
On two of the early pages Riffle identified drought tolerant, water-loving, fast growing, ground cover and other categories of palms for easy reference.
Then, the next 200-pages are a ready reference for 200-palms with photos, descriptions, native habitat, and growing needs.
14 March 2008
13 March 2008
11 March 2008
Today's accomplishments: The Devil's Walking Stick from Pine Ridge Gardens went into its new home, two Cherry Laurel trees are now in the ground, Renee's Breadseed Poppy seeds were planted in the ground, the blackberry pruning was completed, the edible pea pods are just popping up in the seed tray, weeds were pulled.
What's happening in your garden this week?
Photo: King's Crown that overwintered in the garden shed and now is blooming in there.
COMPOSTING REDUCES LANDFILL
Southern Living Magazine is very popular in this part of the world. When we lived in California, Sunset Magazine was the one to have. I still use my Sunset garden book even though it is geared for the west. Their plant descriptions cannot be beat.
In today's post, Sunset online has a piece about vermicomposting, called "Fresh Dirt" and it focuses on how much better it is to feed your kitchen scraps to worms than to send it to a landfill in plastic bags.
Photo: Sharon Owen shared a photo of terrapin love in her yard.
Science Daily reports that butterflies and moths actually remember what they learned when they were caterpillars. What a remarkable finding.
An associate professor of Biology at Georgetown University, Martha Weiss, remarked that it is intriguing to consider that a caterpillar can remember what it learned even though it turns to soup in the metamorphosis stage before it re-forms as a butterfly or moth.Miraculous, actually.
Susie Lawrence sent along this announcement and it may be just what you are looking for.
HERBAL SOLUTIONS CLASS AT Northeastern State University, Tahlequah OK
This class will include a short history of herbs and how to identify common herbal plants. You will learn how to store herbs, prepare herbal teas, hot compresses, fomentations and the advantages of tinctured herbs. There will be an overview and discussion of Goldenseal, Echinacea, Ginger, Wormwood etc. Supplies can be purchased from the instructor for approximately $35.
Date: 6 Tues., Apr. 1 – May 6, Time: 6:30 - 8 p.m.
Location: Business & Technology Bldg., Room 102
Fee: $35, Limit: 20, Instructor: Linda “Pickle” Reynolds
10 March 2008
If you have any tricks, I'd like to hear them.
Continuing to plow ahead, here is what I'm doing now
The seed starting containers are
blueberry boxes that were well washed. The bottom of the container is filled with sterile potting soil for annuals. Seed starting mix is put on the top and then seeds are planted in rows. Then, more sterile seed starting mix is put on the top according to the needs of the specific seeds.
Once the seedlings emerge, the top has to be lifted. The same identification tag of a plastic knife written with paint in a pen stays with the container.
Another method that's good for some seeds is to use a thoroughly cleaned Styrofoam egg carton. Several holes are punched in the bottom of each cup for drainage. The top of the egg carton was cut off to use as the saucer to catch the drips.
Some seeds come up well and others disappoint. Arugula and chard are going gangbusters and are about to set their first true leaves. The spinach I planted in a 72-hole container did not germinate very well. Less than half of the seeds germinated.
What works for you?
Oh, and yippee, Blogger is functional again. Thanks Google.
Are you working in your garden yet? What cuttings are you taking? What seeds are you starting? Clearing out flower beds?
This week's weather forecast is much better than all those below normal ones we have had for the past month. Back to normal 50s during the day and above freezing at night.
I feel for the Ohio gardeners - almost 2-feet of snow on their spring bulbs has to melt before they get to enjoy spring.
Our new neighbors moved into a home where gardening and landscaping was spare. I was so grateful that they took some of our excess canna lilies to their house in the back of their truck on Sunday. Plants as valuable as cannas have to go to new homes instead of the compost pile and now the corms have gone to a happy home.
And, besides, I volunteered at the Tulsa Home and Garden Show and Oklahoma's own
Horn Canna Farms (www.cannas.net) was there. A bag of those bright pink cannas with burgundy leaves came home with me and I had to make room for them.
Also, Steve and Ruth Owens had booth at the show where their booth won first prize for its gorgeous display of plants. Their garden center, Bustani Plant Farm is near Stillwater OK and they have their first print catalog out this spring. Click on the link to see what they are up to.
We are still working on spring cleanup: picking up twigs and branches that fall every week, weed pulling, blackberry cane pruning, etc. I'm going to keep an eye on the daylilies and try to catch them just as they emerge because a few of them need to be divided this year to keep them healthy.
Sorry, no photos: The Blogger software is having a bad week and will not accept photographs - Trust me I have invested several hours over the past 2-days trying to change its mind and now surrender. Every gardener has experience in learning that skill.
08 March 2008
The blooming daffodils got a good coating of snow. They all recovered and were standing tall by the end of today's sunny afternoon.
06 March 2008
The photo is a praying mantis egg case that Mary Ann King at Pine Ridge Gardens took into her greenhouse. When the nymphs hatch they will eat the insects in the greenhouse, providing organic insect control.
There is so much fun stuff out there related to gardening.
The Oklahoma City Council of Garden Clubs made the news on NewsOK. Marilyn Lahr, president said she loves gardening she said, "And you meet the best people in the world.”
No kidding! Gardening attracts wonderful people and garden clubs and classes give us a chance to meet each other.
Here's a great quote from a blog called The Eleventh Stack "With spring on the way, another idea is offered by ORson Scott Card who says, “Unemployment is capitalism’s way of getting you to plant a garden.” It certainly isn’t necessary to quit your job to dig in the dirt, but why not take a day off and grab some seeds and a shovel?"
The Eleventh Stack is a blog for the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh PA.
The 2008 Mid States Cactus an Succulent Conference will be held in Grand Junction Colorado. The dates are June 12 to 15 and it is reasonably priced at $85 for the entire conference. Click on the link above - it will take you to the informative website.
Take a minute and look at this
Smell Like Dirt blog. On the entry "Global Worming" the author, Carol Buie-Jackson, has a video of herself setting up a worm composting system. Great tips and she shows how easy it can be to get started.
Friendly Worm Guy gives encouraging information and advice and also tells how to use the worm castings on your plants. And ZWire has a story about a grandmother who started vermicomposting to help her grandchildren learn to be green.
We are feeding our worm hotel and spraying the bedding to keep it moist for them - we should have a bin of organic plant food in a few months. We will not be attending, but if you are ready to learn to make money through worm farming, there is an entire conference dedicated to the topic. May 19 and 20, click on the Composting Council's link for more information.
The Jig Zone has an online jigsaw puzzle of daffodils in a scene. Fun diversion for this cold week.
The seed planting continues in the garden shed with at least one vegetable, annual or perennial seed planted every day. The veggie garden progress report: In the ground - broccoli and Brussels sprout starts, English and edible pod peas, radish seeds.
Dean Riesen will demonstrate grape pruning on Mar 15 and 16
On March 15 and 16. Volunteers are invited to come help prune two-acres of their vineyards in Tulsa.
"We can use every person who wants to come help," Dean said. "In the morning we will have coffee and donuts at 7 for the first class. We start the training indoors and then go outside to demonstrate correct pruning methods. I will also teach them how to root their cuttings at home."
Last year 15 family members and friends came to the pruning event.Doreen Riesen said this the first year they are opening it up to the public.
"We have all the equipment, will provide the training, lunch and winetasting," Doreen said. "Everyone who helps with the pruning can select a bottle of wine free to take home and they can buy other bottles if they want."
The grapes they started growing at their Keystone Lake home in 2003,produce about a thousand gallons of wine a year. The grapes are madeinto 13 varieties of wine.
"We bought these five acres in Tulsa County from the herb farm next door so the soil was already really good," Dean said. "On this property we grow zinfandel, cabernet franc, cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah,Chardonnay, Riesling, Muscat Canelli and Sauvignon Blanc grapes. Those are the types the volunteers will be learning to prune and taking home cuttings from."
Dean said that there is a lot of variance on actual plants so he willtrain volunteers for each grape variety.
The grape pruning basics volunteers will learn include:
• Remove all the branches that grow toward the ground.
• Six branches are left on each side of the main plant.
• Cut after counting two buds from the stem.
• Remove old wood (grape clusters grow on this year's growth).
• How to root cuttings at home.
"If the leaves are allowed to shade the roots of the plants, they become vulnerable to black rot disease," Dean said. "You have to learn how to be kind of cruel to have healthy productive plants with high sugar content fruit."
In August there will a harvest party with food and wine taste, similar to the pruning event.
"One of the reasons micro wineries like ours can make some really great wines is that we hand select the grapes that are used," Dean said. "Large wineries put everything into their vats that the machines harvest. That can include stems and leaves. Each cluster that we harvest is selected and any that don't look good are left on the ground."
Dean explained that Cabernet and Riesling vines produce fewer clusters and therefore grow more slowly than zinfandel so cabernet wine is more expensive. Zinfandel produces larger clusters with more grapes so it costs less per bottle.
The dining room is used for dinner events and is rented out for rehearsal dinners, showers and other private parties. A full kitchen is provided.
"We hosted a Valentine's Day Ultimate Murder Mystery for about 80people," Doreen said. "The next dinner event we have planned is at Halloween, but there may be something before that. The dinners are salad to dessert, white table cloth and waiter events."
Dean works full time at T. D. Williamson (TDW) in Tulsa. TDW works with United Way in many fund-raising events. The Riesens are hosting the second annual Poker Run. This year's event on May 3 begins at the winery at 10 a.m. and ends at the winery with wine tasting and food.
The Whispering Vines' T-shirt motto sum up the Riesens' approach to running their business, "Blending Wine and Friends."
To find out more, go to
03 March 2008
If you ever have an opportunity to hear Burrell speak, try to go. His presentation is informative and entertaining.