Showing posts from June, 2008

Help is Here

Garden Rant, one of the most popular gardening blogs on the Internet, provided a link to some great starter videos.
If you are new to vegetable gardening, especially organic methods, Ed Bruske put a dozen how-to videos on the Monkey See website.
The video topics include: Tools, Soil Testing, Seed Starting, Mulch, Transplants, Watering, Garden Pests and Weeds. Click here to view.

If you are ready and willing to start vermicomposting, here is a link to an entry on TangledFleece that shows exactly what to do through a series of photographs.

Phlox! What a great perennial - scented, dramatic, reliable, insect and disease free. What would my flower beds be without Phlox? GardensOyVey has a nice set of photos and descriptions of 8-cultivars at this link.

In our garden today, all the garlic was pulled and cleaned and hung to dry. More peppers and tomato plants went in.
The thrill for the day was that the black swallowtail butterflies found the fennel we planted for them and the caterpillars are bi…

Train Ride in the Boston Mountains

The Arkansas and Missouri Railroad runs restored trains through the Boston Mountains and we took one of the rides today.

schedules and info

some of the photos we took-

the caboose and engine change directions at the end of the line

lots of wildflowers grow along the tracks

the train crosses several creeks and rivers

the brass fixtures are restored and remain

Water Logged Gardens and What to Do About Yours

Too Much Rain Causes Gardeners Pain

Weeds, insects and diseases are enough to make a gardener sigh. This year, rain is causing our problems.

Fortunately, gardeners are optimists.

We will do what needs to be done to save what we can and replant some of the rest. What cannot be salvaged or replanted we will try again next year.

Plant roots smother if they are in standing water long enough so move plants away from standing water, or create a line of drainage along the root line.

Plant leaf or foliage diseases are caused by fungi that reproduce and thrive in wet conditions. Beth Phelps, University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension services said the most important activity for a gardener when we have cool wet spring weather is to go look at your plants every day.

"Some disease problems favor hot dry weather and others thrive in cool wet weather," Phelps said. "By the time a plant is covered with powdery mildew or blight it is too late."
According to Phelps, powdery mildew on c…

Orchids and Hydrangeas Oh My

The garden you will see today belongs to Madeline Holbert who is lucky enough to live very close to the Memphis Botanic Garden and the Dixon Gallery and Garden.

Holbert is the gardener at her home: She grows the plants and tends them.
Look at the view that greets visitors as they walk through the gate - this panorama of hydrangeas. No photo can illustrate how beautiful it is with the expanse of lawn between the flowers and the house.

Behind the first view this vine-laden fence separated parts of the garden. I can't figure out what the plant is and it was not in bloom so

I took a closeup of the leaves for future research.

Madeline inherited her mother-in-law's orchid collection and the orchid house was built to keep them as beautiful as they were when she received them.

The temperature is kept at 60-degrees in the winter and 85-degrees in the summer.

Look at these blooms!

And, here is Madeline herself. She was a wonderful hostess to all of us as we walked through her gardens pointing,…

Cloud Pruning at Dogwood Acres

A shaded walk of hydrangeas, hydrangeas growing on walls and vinca growing on statues - all of these greeted us at Dogwood Acres on our garden tour in Memphis.

Fay Sanford is the artist behind these beautiful views in every direction. She and her husband have owned the house with 3-acres since 1976.

Sanford does the planning, helps with the cloud pruning of the American
Boxwoods and mows much of the lawn.

Cloud pruning was new to me and I don't know where you could see a finer example of the art.
Sanford said she and her gardener Charlie Lee prune in the spring and in the fall to keep the boxwoods in their heavenly shapes.

Welcome to Hector Salazar's Garden

The home of Hector Salazar was on the Memphis tour I've written about in the last few posts.

Salazar is a hardscape designer who has projects all around his home that reflect his artistic skills.

Tour guests crossed the driftwood bridge to walk through three garden rooms with lawn in the center and dozens of plantings around the perimeter.

The pedestal behind Hector in the photo was painted by
Architect John Tackett.

Hector did all the plantings and work himself so the gardens are delightfully personal rather than stiffly designed and executed by a third party.

With a home next to Memphis Botanic Garden , Hector has made his property a worthy neighbor.

A small building was designed by Tackett for the backyard. It is one of several charming gathering places on the property.
His collection of plants includes several types of hydrangea (including Red Cardinal), a collection of bamboo, wild begonia, Chinese parasol trees, variegated dogwood, salvias, etc.

The water features include ponds an…

Add More Hydrangeas to Your Garden

Grow Hydrangeas

There are four basic types of Hydrangeas and you can see all of them blooming in Muskogee area gardens.

Paniculata Hydrangeas have cone shaped flower heads and grow to 8-feet tall and wide. They need a few hours of daily sun and are winter hardy practically everywhere. They can be pruned at any time of the year without concern for next year's flowers.

Paniculata Grandiflora acquired the nickname of PG and now most Paniculata nursery stock is called PeeGee whether or not it is Grandiflora.

The typical white flowers of PeeGee turn pink as they mature, making the shrub look like a completely different plant by the end of the season.

Other sun tolerant Paniculata names to look for: Big Ben, Limelight, Starlight, Webb, Florabunda, Pink Diamond, Silver Dollar, Tardiva, Chantilly Lace, True Unique, White Lady, The Swan,

Hydrangea Quercifolia includes the popular Oakleaf Hydrangea. This American native can take the heat. Afternoon shade encourages the leaves to turn vivid color…

Hydrangea Society Tour in Memphis Tennessee

A few of us traveled to Memphis to the annual hydrangea tour. This year's tour included Memphis Botanical Garden, the gardens at the Dixon Gallery, and three private gardens.

At the sale, the volunteers had everything set up beautifully. There was a table full of hydrangea flowers labeled with the variety, so attendees would be able to identify the flower they were looking for under the plant tent.

In addition, we visited two nurseries, one of which was GardensOyVey. As you walk through GardensOyVey, you stroll through paths of plants, pass the pond in this photo, and generally enjoy a beautiful place created by people who love plants. This is the one I bought at OyVey. It is the climbing hydrangea that grows in practically full shade.

If you have a chance to attend a plant society tour, take advantage of it. Being around people who love plants makes for a nice vacation.

Enabling Garden Planted

It is amazing what a small group of committed individuals can do to create beauty.

A little pocket park was created years ago when Okmulgee St. was extended into Chandler Road in Muskogee OK.

The park was planted with tulips by Lela Robison and her son's Boy Scout troop. Robison's family worked with Muskogee Parks and Recreation Dept. on the funding so raised beds with irrigation would be put in place.

Muskogee Garden Club voted to invest $1,000 in new plants and ten volunteers came out this Saturday to put them into the beds. In addition to the purchased plants and mulch, Blossom's Garden Center donated flats of annuals to brighten the park until the perennials get established.

The Enabling Garden is meant to be enjoyed by everyone but especially by the elderly, children and anyone in a wheelchair.

Robison's family, Muskogee Parks and Recreation Department and Muskogee Garden Club hope to bring more features to the garden in the years ahead but this is a great start.

If y…

Build Yourself an Earth Tainer for Tomatoes with Plans Compliments of Ray Newstead

Imagine a tomato planter that holds 10-gallons of water, keeping your plants happily moist while conserving water.
Californian Ray Newstead was inspired by a product he saw and thought he could improve upon. Newstead made his planters out of easy to find plastic containers for a cost of under $25.

Photo: Valencia tomatoes from Johnnys Selected Seeds The plans are free at the Tomato Festsite though you are requested to make a donation to Feed the Children in exchange for downloading the plans. The 16-page plan documentformat is Adobe PDF.
Newstead'sEarth Tainer site looks new; the plans are not available on it yet.

Flowering on Father's Day

Feverfew from Moonshadow Herb Farm is gracing one of the hot beds. In our yard, a hot bed is one that is not protected by trees, buildings or shrubs.
It has two Latin names
Tanacetumparthenium, Chrysanthemum parthenium

Feverfew is of course used for for fever and headache as well as other ailments. The leaves are eaten fresh or dried and made into capsules.

I love it's flower's sunny side up egg look.

Also blooming today is this beauty of a hydrangea. It was a gift and the tag is nowhere to be found but I'd love to know its name. Any idea?

One of the vegetable gardens got a much needed weeding today since it was cool-ish and breezy until noon.
A little turtle that was living among the weeds was displaced and a few desirable plants came out with the weeds but that's all part of the deal when the weeds have become over 6-inches tall before the gardener gets around to pulling them.

More lilies are blooming today and I'll get photos of them tomorrow morning.

In the meantime, I…

Lovely Lilies

This is an exceptional time of year for those of us who love lilies. They are blooming, showing their stuff after lying dormant under the ground all winter.

What's so amazing about lilies, is that each flower lasts for several weeks before it falls. Compare that to tulips that basically last one day.
The North American Lily Society has photos to temp you to get some of these beauties into your garden beds. Click on the Image Gallery link and look at the photos - you will find something irresistible.

NYT - Vegetable Gardening Popular

We are not alone in our quest for great fresh produce from our own garden.

Getting exercise and saving money while growing healthy food has hit a new high.

Click on the link to read the article.

Banking on Gardening in the New York Times

Photo: SWEATING FOR DINNER Doreen Howard, of Roscoe, Ill., has quadrupled the size of her vegetable plot because of the economy.

Published: June 11, 2008


Seed companies and garden shops say that not since the rampant inflation of the 1970s has there been such an uptick in interest in growing food at home. Space in community gardens across the country has been sold out for several months. In Austin, Tex., some of the gardens have a three-year waiting list.

George C. Ball Jr., owner of the W. Atlee Burpee Company, said sales of vegetable and herb seeds and plants are up by 40 percent over last year, double the annual growth for the last five years.

“You don’t see this kind of thing but once in a career,” he said. Mr. Ball offers half a…

Botanical Garden of the Ozarks in Fayetteville

Borrow some ideas for your garden
Sometimes the best idea for your garden is borrowed from someone else's garden and then adapted to your space and growing conditions.

Since you can't go wandering into other people's yards, the next best idea is to visit public botanical gardens.

The Botanical Garden of the Ozarks ( in Fayetteville is a relatively new addition to the area's botanical attractions. The Gardens are easy to walk among, plants are well identified and the new space makes a pleasant outing.

It took several years for the botanical garden to move from idea to reality and now the first nine gardens are open to the public from 9 am to 8 pm every day except Monday.

“Northwest Arkansas gardeners are the ones behind this entire project,” said Sarah King,
Director of Community Programs.

It's instructive to note that The Botanical Garden of the Ozarks is the result of a volunteer-led, grassroots effort. Incorporated in 1994, the Director, Donna Porter re…

The Joys of June

THORNLESS BLACKBERRY bushes with names like Navajo, Arapaho Cherokee, Choctaw and others were developed at the University of Arkansas. The canes are erect, heavy bearing, free of thorns and relatively disease free.

Our original plants from Stark Brothers were planted in January 2000. The first year they laid on the weed cloth and did little but since then they have stood tall and pumped out the fruit.

8-years later, the suckers are producing as you can see in the photo.

GARLIC is an irresistible plant: It never lets you down, every head and every clove is valued at the stove and table as it seasons pizza,soup, salad, jars and jars of pickles, eggplant caviar, canned tomatoes etc. Have you ever had baked garlic as a bread spread? Oh, my.

The cloves we put in last October are almost ready to harvest and dry.

The photo is of the scapes that form on the top of the garlic greens. The scapes are usually removed to aid in bulb development and can be eaten in salads or made into a pesto.Waste no…

McGardening, Salads for All Seasons and Preserving What the Garden Produces

Remember when the expression McMansion came into our vocabulary? It was when people started tearing down small-ish houses and building big homes on the lot, crowding the neighbors. Also, the term is used when someone buys a hillside and puts up a ginormous house that isn't quite a 50,000 square foot Steve Jobs size place but an eyesore nonetheless.

Today on the radio, a panel was discussing McThinking. They say Americans McThink now that we are drowning in McFacts. We do not take the time to actually think and we are dumber than our parents were.

An Internet search on the word McThink yields the usual two-million results with hits for McWriting (blogging), McReading (scanning everything available on the Internet and magazines as well as skimming books), etc. No real reading or thinking.

Annie of Annie's Annuals calls McGardening, the practice of shopping only for common plants in full bloom.

I was doing what I considered McThinking today while McGardening. I was actually pulling w…

Botanical Gardens are Rich Resources

There are many public gardens around the country. Some of them provide more than just a beautiful place to walk and observe garden design.

This photo is from a recent visit to the Botanical Garden of the Ozarks
- it is a plant surrounded byglass stones in a planter that is at eye level.

The website for the New York Botanical Garden has a What's In Bloom link that shows which flowers bloom when - a useful tool for planning your garden.

Bowman's Hill Wildlife Preserve in PA provides wildflower bloom by month.

Although it's not a botanical garden per se, the University of Arkansas site is not to be missed for its informative articles on botanical topics by Janet Carson, Gerald Klingaman and Stephan Vann.

The Birmingham Alabama garden also provides a list of flowers blooming month by month.

At the Kemper Center for Plant Information in MO gardeners can explore and discover plants of distinction, pesticide information, nurseries and their plant inventories, and Plant Finder with 4,000…