Showing posts from September, 2008

Grow Food Not Lawns

Ft. Collins Colorado has a new promoter of the national effort to convert lawns into vegetable and herb gardens. Grow Food Not Lawns is a nonprofit that was formed by Bob Jones to teach members of the community to grow their own food in their own yards.

Steve Solomon wrote Gardening When It Counts Growing Food In Hard Times a couple of years ago in anticipation of just such a time as the country seems to be facing in the year ahead. Solomon's online resource of free information is called Soil and Health. Here's a link.

Bob Jones and his cohorts are actually teaching citizens in local communities - how to compost, how to grow organically.

The Loveland CO paper, Reporter Herald, reported the story. Click to read. Jones has a Google group - Click here for more information.
Tip of the trowel to Jones.

Gardener Writes About Her Oklahoma Gardening

The flower is a scented gladiolus, ABYSSINIAN GLAD
from Old House Gardens. If you don't have any yet. Click on over there and check them out. - 10 for $6.25 - I wish I had ordered the 50 for $27. They really light up the September border!

Dee Nash from the Oklahoma City area is getting started in the garden writing biz. She is an experienced gardener (over 25 years) and writer but new to combining them at the Examiner.

Please click on this link
and take a look at what Nash is up to on her western Oklahoma 7.5 acres.

Balloon Flowers or Chinese Bellflower

This lovely Balloon Flower, or Platycodon grandiflorus, is reputed to be easy to grow from seed. Have you tried it yet?

The seeds can be planted on the ground, uncovered, in the spring for a summer full of flowers. They don't like to be transplanted so plant the seeds in a partly shady place where you want the plants. If they like the spot, they will become a perennial and greet you next spring and will grow up to 2-feet tall.

Mine stopped blooming during the 100-degree days and is perking up again as fall temperatures return.

Removing the faded flowers will make them bloom more.

Leave the dead looking plant in place over the winter so you don't forget where it is in the spring. Cultivating around it can damage the crown roots.

Swallowtail Garden Seeds offers a pack with 100 seeds of pink, white and blue.

MOBOT says " 'Komachi' can be purchased as seed and may self-seed in the garden in optimum growing conditions."

What's your experience been with Platycodon g…

Mums the Word

Diana Hartman is the president of the Oklahoma City Chrysanthemum Society. We had a good visit this Saturday and she explained how mums are grown for show blooms.

Hartman takes cuttings from March to June, roots the cuttings in her greenhouse, then trains each of them onto a bamboo stake.

She removes all of the leaves and buds (called disbudding) below the one show bloom so the plant can reserve its energy to produce one, large, perfect flower.

The National Chrysanthemum Society at is a resource for all things mum.

Clicking on the map shows that there are very few chapters - none in MO, KS, AR, NM, etc.

Hartman and her chrysanthemum buddies are the only chapter in our area. They started their chapter 5-years ago.

In an email conversation, the largest U.S. mum specialty grower, King's Mums told me that they are going out of business. Hartman said that when they close, it will be the end of an era since members usually bought their plants from the California supplie…

Fall Flowers - Caryopteris Sunshine Blue

The Autumn Equinox began September 22, at 10:44 in the morning. In poetry, this time of year is called the crowning time for our gardens. Only the daffodil season is better according to the poets.

Fall Equinox is noted for having exactly 12-hours of daylight and 12-of night at the equator. Therefore, in many myths, it is a time of balance.

It is a time for rituals of protection and reflection. The Greek goddess Persephone even returned to live with her husband Hades.

Everywhere you look in the fall flower garden, there are brightly colored blooms.

Summer annuals are tall and crowned with flowers. Zinnias, castor beans, 4-O-Clocks, coleus, petunia, alyssum, cosmos and marigolds are at their peak bloom time.

Perennials such as Canna lilies, phlox, and Sedum Autumn Joy are covered with butterfly nectar flowers. Dahlias have huge buds about to burst open, asters and salvias are sprinkling bright spots of lavender, pink, red and purple in all the flowerbeds.

Goldenrod, Joe Pye Weed, Eupatorium,…

Fall is the Right Time to Divide Perennials

Fine Gardening Magazine's Janet Macunovich has a terrific column on dividing perennials today.
(Read about Macunovich here and here. Don't miss that second link - It's how to access her articles online for $25 at practical gardening institute dot com. )

At the Fine Gardening link, Macunovich provides plant division tips with photos of the process plus videos.

The basics she covers include: Divide healthy plants in cool weather, starting at the drip line; keep the diggings cool and moist while you amend the soil; use the healthiest parts as transplants, and, spread them widely enough to establish their own root system
Scroll down the page for other helpful videos including how to divide plants with taproots, running roots, woody roots, etc. Keep scrolling to find a list of what to divide when and how.
It's everything you need to know in order to rejuvenate older plants. When making divisions for your gardens put a few into pots to give as holiday gifts

Click here to read al…

Fall Equinox in the Garden

It's here - the Fall Equinox ushers in day and night in equal measure.
The breezy, 85-degree day today was the ideal setting for dividing perennials, planting bulbs and cleaning up beds.
I thought we would be buying a bunch of plants to make the back bed look better next summer.

After reading Roy Diblick's book, I had a plan of attack. Many of the plants we already have were crying out to be moved and, or. divided, so now the bed is filling up with perennials we know will thrive there. I'm using Diblick's design ideas to hopefully have a prettier display next year.
PRE-AND-POST-GARDENING CARE Vaseline came out with a new set of products called Vaseline® Clinical Therapy™ that work well for after-the-garden hands, legs and arms. They seem to know that we gardeners actually work like farmers and need extra strength skin care.
(Most mornings, I put the lavender scented regular Vaseline in the plastic box on my feet before my socks and then my waterproof garden…

Eye-Popping New Daffodils from New Zealand's John Hunter

I subscribe to the daffodil conversation from the American Daffodil Society. John Hunter, a daffodil breeder with almost 60 years of experience, recently bred and grew these two beauties.
These are two of the photos he sent to the list and they are posted here with his permission.
John Hunter's contact via email is and by mail is
John Hunter Daffodils Patons RoadRD 1, Richmond Nelson New Zealand In a Suite 101 column Hunter recommended these daffodils:
Bandit 2W-YYO
Florence Joy 2W-W
Centrefold 3W-YYR
Dream Maker 3W-WWO Raised by Spud Brogden
Freya 2W-YY
Sunchild 2W-WY
Gold Imp 2Y-O Intermediate
Pearl Drift 11aW-W Raised by Colin Crotty
Kiwi Magic 4W-W
Baldock 4Y-P Raised by Max Hamilton
Sea Dream 3W-W
Little Jewel 3W-P
Jamore 2Y-R
Helen O'More Raised by the late J.A. O'More
Polar Sky 2W-WWP
Sulphur Monarch 1Y-Y
Polar Glow 2W-PPW
White Sapphire 2W-W
Polar Venture 2W-W
Polar Flame 3W-OO
Pink Topaz 1W-P
Polar Morn 3W-YWW
Polar Convention 3W-W
Absolute 2W-YYP
Elfin Moon 2W-W Interme…
Muskogee Garden Club 2008-09 Year started today.

The purpose of the club is to provide an opportunity to meet new friends who are interested in plants and gardening. Speakers come to each meeting to teach, inspire and inform us about some aspect of making our natural environment more beautiful.

This year’s topics include America In Bloom, public horticulture at the Tulsa Zoo, shade gardening, seed starting, new trends in landscapes, curing plant diseases and Muskogee beautification projects.

The schedule of meetings below is an invitation for anyone interested in coming. Most of the meetings are held at the Kiwanis Senior Center at 119 Spaulding Blvd. in Muskogee.

Members serve as hostesses for each meeting so coffee and cake can be served at 9:30 a.m. This year, the business meeting will begin at 9:45 a.m. in order to give speakers time for their presentations. Meetings end by 11.

Muskogee Garden Club uses money wisely. All the money earned through annual membership dues, garden tour prof…

Any Ladybugs In Your Garden?

The Lost Ladybug Project is trying to find ladybugs.

Do you have any?

Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists and cooperators are seeking the public's help in surveying for once-common ladybug species that are now hard to find.

Researchers with ARS, Cornell University at Ithaca, N.Y., and South Dakota State University (SDSU) in Brookings want people to photograph every ladybug possible, and to send the photos to Cornell so researchers can inventory the insects. In particular, the scientists are looking for rare species, such as the nine-spotted, two-spotted and transverse lady beetles.

These beetles were common 20 years ago, but have become harder to find in the past few decades. There are more than 400 ladybug species native to North America, but some have become extremely rare, displaced perhaps by development, pesticides, non-native species and other factors.

Entomologist Louis Hesler at the ARS North Central Agricultural Research Laboratory in Brookings is particularly inte…

Galveston Gardeners and Hurricane Ike

We are hosting a Galveston evacuee from Hurricane Ike so we have been compulsively watching for updated photos on the Internet.

Here is a link to the best collection of photos we have found so far. They were all taken and submitted by Houston Chronicle readers.

Farming and Country Life - Lonely Farmers Hook-up

The cool weather has virtually stopped the tomato production in its tracks. I'm leaving the plants in place in case an Indian Summer arrives in a few weeks with a return to 90-degrees.

The basil flowers have been covered with honey bees and butterflies for months. Now the small migrating birds are taking the seeds. If you live far from Muskogee Oklahoma and find basil seedlings in your flower beds, you will know whom to blame - the birds.

Know any lonely farmers who want to meet a new sweetheart? Want to vacation on a farm? Looking for farm fresh products?

The website, Farming and Country Life has help for all that. And more.

The Farm Art click takes you to a list of facilities in England with art classes, restaurants and studios.

Europe's link invites you to vacation on a European farm. Want something that costs a bit less than a week near Paris? Click on farm jobs worldwide. You could sign up on line through an email and eventually arrange to take the family…

Proven Beauty - A New On-Line Magazine from Proven Winners

Very new, fresh, and clever - check out Proven Beauty, an online magazine from Proven Winners.

Proven Winners introduces and promotes new plant varieties - mostly flowers and shrubs as far as I can tell. You probably have seen the Proven Winner tag on plants in good nurseries.

P. Allen Smith has an article, of course. The features include butterfly gardening, watering, drought tolerant plants, the difference between annuals/perennials, plant features, fertilizing, and more.

Click on the link if you would like to see the future of gardening magazines.

I have a tip for you.
On the left side of the main page there is a drop down menu. Click on it and then
click on Effects, the last item on the menu.
Set the zoom setting at 60 percent so you can read the pages without so much scrolling. You'll see what I mean when you get there.

There is a reader survey to complete if you want to share your point of view about this new publishing medium.

Thanks to Acres Online from Ball Publishing for the tip …

Earthworms are the Culprits in the Spread of Ragweed Says the Weed Science Society of America

Here's an interesting tidbit you may have missed.
The Weed Science Society of America released this report.

Weed scientists discovered that “underground gardening” by earthworms is contributing to the spread of giant ragweed, a plant that causes sneezes and sniffles and is one of the nation’s most irritating weeds.

Earthworms help ragweed thrive by systematically collecting and burying its seeds in their burrows, said weed ecologist Dr. Emilie Regnier of Ohio State University.

In fact, we’ve found that more than two-thirds of all giant ragweed seedlings emerge from earthworm burrows.

The study focused on Lumbricus terrestris worms – commonly known as nightcrawlers.

Until now, nightcrawlers have had a stellar reputation among growers since their burrows promote water filtration and their eating habits help make nutrients more available to crops. The worms feed on plant litter they collect from the soil surface and store inside their narrow, underground homes. As the litter softens and de…

Wildflower Workshops in Idabel

Friday September 26th and 27th the Oklahoma Native Plant Society Wildflower Workshop will be held in Idabel Oklahoma

Native plants are part of Oklahoma’s heritage and many organizations, such as the Oklahoma Native Plant Society, work to preserve them for future generations.

Learning about Oklahoma’s native environment and planting natives in our gardens are two ways individuals can participate in preservation. Using native woodland gardens, wetland areas, native trees, grasses and flowers, reduce the amount of work you have to do to keep your surroundings beautiful.

Native plants are easier to grow and maintain than the imports from Europe and Asia because they adapt more easily to our weather extremes and soils. After they are established they require fewer chemicals and water.

These plants support the wildlife native to our area since they are already evolved to live in their shelter. In every area, as more development occurs, natural habitat decreases. The preservation and new planti…

Gardening in Cooler Weather Today

Small invasive native trees got the chop today: Bradford pears, mulberry and their kin. If we don't get them while their trunks are only a couple of inches in diameter, it becomes a significant task to get them out.

Here is a useful information source:
The Gardening Launch Pad is a site that is loaded with links of interest to surfers around the country.

Their link for native plants is here. At the link, you'll find native plant societies, wildlife gardening, and plant information of all stripes.

In the garden today:
This is a milkweed tiger moth caterpillar
that was on a sweet smelling flowering vine. The Monarch butterfly caterpillars were also on the vine and subsequently made chrysalis on the fence near the vine. The vine might be Sand Vinewhich is growing and blooming all over our area right now.
If you drive with the windows open, the sweet, honeysuckle-like scent floats into the car.

The moth itself in rather ordinary looking. But the caterpillar - what a sight!

Is Gardening a Zen Experience?

According to Zen Buddhist author Geri Larkin it is. excerpt from Larkin's book, Plant Seed, Pull Weed
Seeds and seedlings grow into forests step by step.
In this growing they have the capacity to support societies where every single person is honored. All you and I need to do is start planting the seeds.
This is a small doing.
One simple act followed by the next simple act, resting when we need to rest, admiring what we need to admire.
Seeds to gardens, gardens to forests, forests to seeds to gardens, in an exquisite dance.

Is any part of gardening Zen-like? I asked myself this question as I went outside this morning. Just asking the question made the experience more ethereal and helped me focus on the present moment.

Attending to the task in front of me instead of doing it while thinking about something else, made the time much more pleasant. So, about 50-daffodil bulbs, 5 asters, 10 Azure Sage were planted, zinnia seeds were collected, ocimum basilicum Purpurascens (purple bas…

The Joys of Gardening and Nature

Generally speaking, I am a beginning gardener. 35 years ago I planted a packet of flowers, 30 years ago I planted vegetables and a few six packs of flowers. 20 years ago I planted tomatoes and flowers in my back yard to make it pretty for a visit from my mother.

Then, when I took the Master Gardener classes five years ago, I began a gardener's education. I wish I had known decades ago how wonderful gardening could be.

Yesterday, reading the blogs and gardening columns, I found one written by an experienced gardener who said he had no luck growing eggplant. Even though I have to do battle with black beetles, I actually can grow too much eggplant.

Maybe I've learned something.
Or, maybe our soil and weather is better for eggplant than the gardener who wrote that article.

I have been complaining about raising dozens of Monarch butterfly caterpillars that don't seem to make chrysalis. This week, we have found 5 of them on the chain link fencing.

Monarch butterflies' life cycle f…

Missouri Botanical Garden - A Plant Lover's Dream

A vacation destination for families and plant lovers.
For anyone who enjoys public gardens, the Missouri Botanical Garden is one of the ultimate experiences available close to home. It is considered one of the top three botanical gardens in the world.

Botanic gardens focus on teaching about the pleasure of plants, nature, landscape and horticulture as an art form.

Henry Shaw built the original Shaw’s Garden in 1859 after years of studying European architecture and landscape design.

Shaw immigrated to St. Louis in 1819 to further his business interests. Retired and wealthy by the age of 40, he turned his energies toward building public gardens on his 760-acre estate he called Tower Grove.

Today’s visitors to Shaw’s Garden, now called MOBOT, can see the original botanical library and museum and walk through the Linnaean House. Before Shaw died he arranged for the gardens to go into a public trust and his mausoleum to be built on the grounds.

The garden rooms visitors walk through each have a…

Gustav's Gift of Rain

Inches and inches of rain will keep you out of the garden, thanks to Gustav. I'm going to make eggplant caviar. If you have a little time to surf the Internet, here are some sites I like.

The Dutchess Dirt newsletter from Cornell University is loaded with information you can use. Read this month's and sign up for future issues if you like it.

Have you stopped by Dee's Oklahoma blog, Red Dirt Ramblings? Great writing, full of heart, from a garden writer near Oklahoma City.

The EPA's Hurricane Gustav website is here.
NASA's Gustav site is here.

Lari Ann Garner's article on what goes on under your plant's visible parts is here.

Mrs. Greenhands garden blog is here. Check it out, you'll be entertained and charmed.

Peek-a-Boo at the St. Louis Zoo

While visiting the St. Louis Zoo to see the Monsanto Insectarium we walked through the zoo to see some of the large animals. Have you visited a zoo lately? Where? How was the experience?

Mountain Valley Growers is having their annual fall sale. I had good luck with most of the plants I bought from their sale last year.

Southern Bulb has Oxblood Lilies on sale for $7 each. Is this a good price?

Thinking of fall gardening? Tulsa Master Gardeners email newsletter today came out today with a link to the OSU Fall Gardening fact sheet.

I tried to start seeds for a fall garden about a month ago, then we had that hot spell so nothing germinated. What will you be planting for your fall garden?