Showing posts from March, 2008

Broccoli Raab Keeps On Giving, What Causes Hayfever?, Do You Mark and Identify Plants in Your Garden?

Photo: The asparagus broccoli/broccoli raab/rappini

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.

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?

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. Poll…

Problems and Beauty at the End of March in the Backyard

It's the only the end of March but gardens, gardening and planting have taken over most of our thoughts and waking hours!

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 …

Vermicompost With Junior Master Gardeners

Normally, I only put my writing on my blog but here is a column about the Junior Master Gardeners at Whittier Elementary School learning about compost worms. The students made homes for their worms and then were excited to select a worm for their very own.

Junior Master Gardeners learn, squirm with worms Program 'gives kids exposure to nature,' teacher says

By Cathy Spaulding Phoenix Staff Writer

The worms crawl in, the worms crawl out. Their duty is helping the vegetables sprout.

That's what the Junior Master Gardeners at Whittier Elementary School will learn in a joint program with Muskogee's Farmers' Market.

Students in Whittier's Junior Master Gardener program spent Friday afternoon filling jugs with dirt, coffee grounds, shredded paper, vegetable scraps, leaves and wet spaghetti and putting a worm in each jug. There, the worms will make compost for vegetable gardens.

How?"The worm eats everything and poops," said Martha Stoodley, a volunteer with Musko…

Moonshadow Herb Farm

Home-grown plants make herb farm unique

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.

"Each year I propagate new plants from cuttings of my stock plants," Owen said. Seedlings are grown from organic seeds. I do not buy from wholesalers and re-sell. I grow my own earth-friendly, chemical free stock."

Owen's new, larger greenhouse has made it possible for her to grow an even wider variety of plants this year. Plus, the herb garden in the back was re-worked and new beds planted to adjust to changing weather patterns.

"Moonshadow is a small, retail nursery specializing in medicinal, crafting, ceremonial, culinary and obscure herbs," Owen said. "Exampl…

The Perfection of Spring

The beauty we find in the blooms of spring bulbs is partially because the winter look of the landscape is open, clear and softly colored in tans and greys.

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.

It's no wonder that so many poems and songs have been written about spring. It has its own divinity, don't you think?

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 plantsthey 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…

New Home and Garden Television Channel 22 in Muskogee OK

Muskogee Garden Club met tonight at Blossom's
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.

Pine Ridge Gardens in London Arkansas

Here's my Thursday columnfor this week -

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…

March 18th Flooding

How does your garden grow? Not much of a gardening day today in Northeast Oklahoma with 4-inches of spring rain! But there are seeds to sort and a potting area to straighten up after a marathon 2-days of planting and transplanting.

It is illogical to imagine that it will never stop raining but look at this creek - the water is almost up to the bottom of the bridge.
The flooded and impassable street is (looking north on) Gulick between Smith Ferry Road and 53rd Street.
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.
Yesterday it was overcast all day but I took a few backyard snaps of the spring flowers anyway. The storms have beaten them down but they will bounce back when the rain stops.
The grow lights are on the plants in the shed (I estimate there are 1,00…

Pocket Guide to Palms by Robert Lee Riffle

How about adding something completely different to your landscape? When C. Colston Burrell spoke in Tulsa he showed us slides of his gardens, including a palm - zone 7.

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.

It's All Growing Now

Every bed has something growing through the surface of the soil as I move back the mulch and leaves. Frankly, I'm afraid to bare everything because of last year's awful mid-April surprise. The weeds are happy, too. The warm days and nights make them grow well. Do you enjoy weeding or dread it? Each morning the flats of seedlings come out of the garden shed and every night they go back in to be protected under lights. The arugula and chard are ready to move out of their tiny vermiculite cells and into larger containers. The spinach seedlings are putting roots out the bottom of their tiny seed cells. Here's a question. How many more kinds of seeds do you buy than you have time and room to plant? The photos, the catalogs, the seedracks - do they tempt you beyond the size of your garden? A great gardener I know plants her seeds in a flower pot, never in the ground. I've also had limited success with planting directly in the ground so this year most ar…

Blossoms Garden Center

TODAY'S GARDEN COLUMN Each year that Blossoms Garden Center is open, owners Lora and Matthew Weatherbee grow their business to accommodate more customer requests. This year a new growing house was added. "We are really proud of what we grow," Matthew said. "This year we are growing several Proven Winners that gardeners may not find other places." Proven Winners are patented plant varieties that cannot be commercially propagated without a license. The company selects new varieties that are tested for two or three years before they are offered. Superbells calibroachoa, Diamond Frost Euphorbia and Soprano Osteospermum are a few of the many familiar Proven Winners varieties. City Line Hydrangeas are new dwarf hybrids from Germany that grow from 1 to 3 feet tall in sun or part shade. "The City Line hydrangeas are compact and perfect for containers if gardeners do not have a lot of ground space. Blossom's carries City Line dwarf Berlin, Paris, Vienna and Venice,…

Sunny Days Perfect to Garden

It was a great day to be in the garden - sunny and 70 with just a little breeze. All the seeds that are up got to go outside to sunbathe. The lettuce looks like it went from one-fourth inch to a half inch tall in the past two days.

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.

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 …

Seed Starting Containers

Starting seeds is as much science as art and I'm still learning how to use science to perfect the art of the perfect seedling.
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 disappo…

What's Growing?

Over the past week, I have been interviewing garden center owners for upcoming columns - their excitement is palpable and contagious. Every time I leave one of them I come home and plant more seeds or transplant something.

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…

Snow in March

How does your garden grow? Perrenials are popping up all over the gardens. This is a very exciting time and there is so much to do every day to get the beds ready.

We put up the bunny fence already. Something was eating the tops off the Brussels Sprout transplants. Then, today I noticed that another top had been eaten. So, after the snow melted I reluctantly put Sevin dust on the plants. It could be early cutworms eating off the tops. I don't know if there are enough leaves left for the plants to survive.
The blooming daffodils got a good coating of snow. They all recovered and were standing tall by the end of today's sunny afternoon.

Fun Gardening Stuff

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 Libraryof Pittsburgh PA.

The 2008 Mid States Cactus an…

Grape Pruning

Whispering Vines is on West 51st Street in Tulsa
Dean Riesen will demonstrate grape pruning on Mar 15 and 16
Get vineyard experience All the grape clippings you can prune on March 15
Dean Riesen brought wines from of Whispering Vines Vineyards and Winery to Muskogee last weekend to participate in the Shriner's Flying Fez wine tasting fundraiser.
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.…

OK Horticulture Society Spring Lecture 2008 - Cole Burrell's Winter Landscape Talk

Russell Studebaker introduced Cole Burrell at the Tulsa Garden Center on Saturday. Studebaker is program chair for OK Horticulture Society. His nickname is World Famous Horticulturist and he applies his extensive experience and knowledge to garden writing for the Tulsa World and other publications as well as speaking in several states at conferences.
Cole Burrell made a dozen suggestions to perk up winter landscapes. Burrell lives in zone 7 Virginia so many of his ideas would work here as well. Photo: Burrell at the book signing
Deciduous Shrub possibilities included: Callicarpaamericana Ilexverticillata CornussericeaFlaviramea
Cornus Miscanthus Viburnum x bodnantense Cornussanguinea 'Midwinter Fire' Daphne bholua Hamamelis, Galanthus, Eranthis and Helleborus Corylus and Leucojumvernum Lagerstroemia Juglansregia Helleborus
If you ever have an opportunity to hear Burrell speak, try to go. His presentation is informative and entertaining.