Showing posts from November, 2008

Lycoris Radiata - Sparkling Red Surprise Spider Lilies

Lycoris Radiata is the most wonderful of surprises when it blooms in the fall. This is the time to plant some in your garden to have their red sparkle light up your 2009 fall.
Easy To Grow BulbsThey bloom in September when you have forgotten all about them. Then, all of a sudden on 2-foot tall, leafless, stems there they are.

Spider Lilies come in other colors. Lycoris albiflora is white, Lycoris x houdyshelii is light yellow/cream, Golden is practically orange, Tie Dye is pink and blue, etc.

Like most flowers, they need some sun to bloom so avoid deeply shady spots. Also, like most bulbs they have to be in a place that drains well so a raised bed, a slight slope, near shrub or tree roots works best. If I'm worried about drainage I put a little gravel at the bottom of the planting hole.

They may not bloom the first year but when they do, you can cut them for vases in the house.

Sources with links
Easy to Grow Bulbs
Touch of Nature
Plant Delights Nursery

FERTILIZING BULBS Bulbs can be burne…

Thanksgiving 2008

Thanksgiving 2008 was a beautiful day here - 75-degrees, sunny and not windy. What more could you ask from the weather? Little gardening happened, just a few plants watered. Otherwise just food and time to read.

I hope your day was rewarding, whether that means a big gathering or a book read or a walk taken.

Here's what's happening at our place. Out of frustration that the Aconitum, Wolf's Bane or Monk's Hood refuses to spread into a good size colony, the seed heads have been bagged so the seeds can be planted in pots when they ripen.
Doug Green has some growing tips, including the seeds' need for cold stratification. Backyard Gardenersays the seeds take 20 days to germinate. Chiltern Seeds offers 14 varietiesif these fail to germinate, so no problem.

The latest construction project is to update a back entry by removing a concrete step and replacing it with a little deck. Today, the concrete was hammered out. Tomorrow the area will be re-measured to decide where to put…

Become A Friend of Honor Heights Park

Honor Heights Park is one of Muskogee's primary attractions for area residents and tourists. The bird sanctuary, arboretum, cookout pavilions, picnic areas, lighted tennis courts, playground, splash pad, lake and paddleboats bring thousands to the park every year.

In the spring, the Azalea Festival starts the season. Then, Symphony in the Park highlights the summer and the Garden of Lights ends the park’s busy season.

A new project on the drawing board for the park will be an update and provide an additional attraction. The back wall of the former bathhouse has already been remodeled to accommodate a Teaching Garden, Nature Education Center and Butterfly House.

For the last two years, a small group of citizens has been visiting similar attractions in surrounding cities from St. Louis to Dallas. Muskogee's version will be smaller, less expensive to build and will require less funding to operate.

At the same time, Mark Wilkerson, Director of Parks and Recreation has pointed out that…

Sissy What?

The great clean out of 2008 continues. Books are being listed on PaperbackSwap and donated to the local library for their book sales. Today boxes of books are going to a college in Tulsa for their graduate students' benefit.

There are also short stacks of those magazines you get when you join plant societies. Each year I join a different one or two to see what's going on.

In the October issue of the Iris Society Bulletin, there are 10 or 15 photos of Sisyrinchiums, otherwise known by names such as Blue Eyed Grass.

One featured plant in the article, Olsynium junceum, has a pale pale lavender flower with deeper lavender stripes. Other names are: Sisyrinchium Quaint and Queer, E K Balls, Devon Skies, Rocky Point, and then several Latin names like S. striatum. Gotta love those.

All of the Sisyrinchiums in these photos are available for purchase from Plant Delights Nursery online. The photos are theirs as well. Click to enlarge or go to their site.
Characteristically, Sisyrinchiums hav…

Bury Greenhouse Gas

A creative approach to reducing the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is being explored. How about capturing the gas and burying it in the ground?

It's an idea that has not been actually tested yet but MIT engineers have worked out the software to determine how much CO2 can be sequestered safely in geological formations.

The Future of Coal, says that capturing CO2 at coal-burning power plants and storing it in deep geological basins will reduce its effects on the atmosphere. They are not sure yet just how much can be stored without underground faults becoming tunnels that send the CO2 back up.

The scientists think that one river basin would hold 5 gigatons of CO2 which is more than half of CO2 emitted by the United States each year. (Half? 10 gigatons is what the US emits EVERY year? Yikes.)

MIT reported the new idea in managing greenhouse gas. Science Daily has the story on their email newsletter this weekend. Click on the Science Daily link to read more.

I am grateful that …

Wooly, Needle Mouthed Bugs That Leave a Sticky Mess

Jerry Gustafson, Tulsa Master Gardener extraordinaire provided timely information about a recent infestation of Wooly Aphids. They represent another sound reason to encourage beneficial insects in our environment. A tip of the Fiskars to Jerry for his MG work, reflected in the information below.
Wooly Aphids will twist leaves and turn them yellow. They will eat the twigs on trees and shrubs. They are pear shaped and have needle like mouths. They are covered with white fuzzy stuff and leave sticky sap wherever they eat. Ick.
When enough of them get together on the same plants, they leave a shiny appearance on the plants and anything around the plants. Weak and young trees and shrubs will die or be stunted.
If the Lady Beetles, lacewings and parasitic flies don't move in to dine on the aphids, infested branches can be pruned out, removed from the area and burned or quarantined.
Beneficial insects will come to the rescue. All we have to do is stop spraying chemicals that harm them and p…

It's Time for Holiday Poinsettias

Sarah Jane Carson, 12-week old daughter of Holly and Pete Carson. Sarah may be growing poinsettias for dad some day.

Next Monday, November 24, Pete Carson will open Carson Borovetz Nursery for his annual Poinsettia sales event. Native to Southern Mexico, Poinsettias, Euphorbia pulchenima, dominate holiday home and office décor to the tune of 80-million sold each year.

This year we are offering four sizes and most of the colors available, said Carson.

Shoppers will find over 2,000 plants in various sizes and colors at the nursery. Here is a rundown of the poinsettias choices this year at Carson Bororvetz.

Casual observers never notice the Poinsettia flowers because they are so tiny. The colorful leaves or bracts that bring seasonal cheerfulness into our winter environment are not actually flowers.

Carson pointed out that even before the bracts turn colors you could see what color they will be by looking at the petiole or leaf stem. All the plants have green leaves when they are growing…

Felder Rushing at Botanical Garden of the Ozarks in Fayetteville Arkansas

Have you met Felder Rushing yet? Here's a link to his website.
Rushing spoke on Saturday at the Botanical Garden of the Ozarks. He entertained us with his presented topic, Slow Gardening: Less Input and More Rewards.

Before the event and during the break everyone took advantage of the home cooked treats.

The Flower, Garden and Nature Society of Northwest Arkansas organized the event and put on a very impressive brunch for the 100 plant lovers who attended.
Lynn Rogers, garden writer for several NW Arkansas publications, and a friend of Rushing, introduced him.
Gail Pianalto, the co-chair of BGOzark's programs committee, spoke about the many great events at BGOZARK. Pianalto was awarded the 2008 Garden Crusader Award for Education. Gardener's Supply Company created the award to recognize individuals like Gail, who make a difference in their community through their passion for gardening. Any child or adult who has been in Gail's presence understands why she deserves that a…

Huntleyas and Related Orchids - New Book by Patricia A. Harding

If you have ever wondered what leads to the writing of informative, beautiful, enviable books such as Huntleyas and Related Orchids by Patricia Harding, her preface is an ideal place to begin.
Harding writes that when she and Carl Withner completed their work on The Debatable Epidendrums, she had time on her hands and wanted to work on a similar project.

Harding is an orchid collector and grower with degrees in botany and medicine. She wanted a reference for the identification of orchid species, so she wrote one.

A fellow orchid enthusiast, Manfred Speckmaier offered his collection of difficult-to-come-by photographs. Then, modern plant DNA testing allowed Mark Whitten to publish the science needed for Harding to clarify the divisions.

Retiring provided the time and energy for Harding to continue to pursue her 30-year orchid hobby into writing books.

This is an example of how, given enough time and the right circumstances, creative individuals allow their life's work to flow through …

Russell Studebaker To Speak in Muskogee OK

Next Thursday, November 20, Russell Studebaker will be the speaker at Muskogee Garden Club’s monthly meeting. The public is invited to attend.

Studebaker retired as senior horticulturist from Tulsa Parks and Recreation Department several years ago. A well-known garden writer and speaker, In Our Gardens is the Tulsa World garden column Studebaker has written for 28-years.

(Bluebell seeds and plants are available from Prairiemoon Nursery online and 866-417-8156. Photo used with their permission.)

The topic of his slide presentation and talk for the garden club will be, Beyond Hostas: Other Socially Acceptable Perennials for Shade Gardens.
I have a small garden at home with more shade than sun, Studebaker said. I grow lots of native perennials. Spring flowers in my garden begin with ephemerals such as, Blood Root, Trilliums, Virginia Bluebells and Gold Heart Bleeding Heart.

Studebaker knows plants. During his tenure at Tulsa Parks and Recreation, over 75,000 bedding plants were grown and plan…

Achillea - Yarrow from Blooms of Bressingham - New Tutti Frutti

I went outside today with the camera to see what has survived nights in the 20s, an inch of cold rain and the fact that it is November and the days are darn short.

The purple
Alyssum Royal Carpet and pink Sweet Williams are holding their own, considering the conditions - under a maple tree. The Alyssum we grew from seed, the Sweet William plants were from Blossoms.

The Arugula has some (It's as cold-as-a-freezer-out-here!) burned edges but there is still plenty to make a salad. A few nights ago we had oven fried green tomatoes on a bed of chopped Arugula with a basil sauce.
All these plants were volunteers.

In the spring, I received some Achillea plants from Blooms of Bressingham.
Tutti Frutti Achillea varieties are new for B of B in 2008. They say they were chosen for vivid, lasting colors, compact, full habit and durability even in extreme heat and humidity. So I put them in the ground and treated them the way I treat plants: With the best care I possibly can - given the fact that …

Colder and Raining = Seed Planting Time and Tacky Gaudy Plant Lovers - Time To Be Counted

This is a wonderful day. Too cold and rainy to be outside much and just right for lining up the seeds that need cold stratification to bloom next year.

Seeds to plant starting this month include most tree seeds, Annual Phlox, Poppy, Virginia Bluebells, Hellebore, Roses, Monkshood, etc.

You can buy a generous amount of seed, mix it with vermiculite-sand and scatter it. Or, to reduce the amount of seed lost to birds and flood, you can plant the seeds in pots and flats and transplant them in the early spring.

Seeds that need the constant cold and wet of winter will do better outside. Alchemy-Works has a thorough column on the topic.

In addition to perennial shrubs, trees and flowers, many native plants need 60-days of moist cold.

Prairie Moon Nursery has these plants listed separately in their online store.
Click here to see their list.

Then, of course there is the master list at Tom Clothier's site. Not to be missed for serious seed starters. And, for the same crowd, the Thompson Morgan se…

Garden Blogging and Bloggers

Till and Tell is the title of a column in the Baltimore Sun today.

The photo is what I found when I cleared out the frozen pumpkin, cucumber and gourd vines.Susan Reimer wrote about the explosion in the number of garden blogs on the Internet. And, I must say that I have noticed it, too. Here are a few of her comments and you can click on the link above to read the whole column.Great quote from the column: You imagine a blogger wearing pajamas, typing furiously on the computer in a home office overflowing with old newspapers. Someone with a lot to say and no one to listen to him, firing streams of words off into the ether of the Internet.Reimer interviewed Susan Harris, a blogger on Garden Rant, one of the best-known garden blogs. Harris said she was lonely gardening so she started writing about it. Jon Traunfeld of the University of Maryland's Home and Garden Information Center is also launching a blog to give the public information from the point of view of an ag extension office…

Organic Gardening Down South

This is a terrific new book by Nellie Neal.

I love it and here's why.

The size of the book - It is paperback, 135/144 pages with everything, and the font is large enough to read comfortably.

The presentation - The author has evidently been in the garden writing world long enough to have several books, a website (GardenMama dot com), a garden column and quarterly newsletter. Neal's style is grounded in stories about her grandparents and forward looking to include the latest theories about organic gardening methods.

The content - Chapter and their contents include building good soil, compost, rooting and propagating, plants (herbs, tomatoes, crape myrtles, trees, fruits, flowers, etc.), controlling pests organically, garden planning (why diversity is so important to a healthy garden), what to do month by month, which plants re-seed, etc.

Confession - The book just arrived and I have read only half of it - gardening took most of my time today - but it is a pleasure and I look forward…

Autumn Leaves Become Compost Thanks to Microbes

Leaves in autumn colors of red, yellow, orange and brown are falling. There was a time that piles were made in yards and on the street for children to play in. Nothing could compare with jumping in them and it was a sad day when they were burned for the season.

Today, leaf piles are still fun for kids to play in but for the most part they are no longer burned. Now we know that burning leaves creates fire danger, smoke and environmental hazards. Also, we have learned that composted leaves are one of the best nutritional tonics for our gardens.

Fall leaves, composted and dug into your garden will improve the soil and keep it productive longer each year. Digging in the compost makes gardening less expensive because less water and fertilizer are needed.

A simple compost bin can be set up in an area that is only 3-feet by 3-feet.

Leaves are high in carbon and low in nitrogen, so add nitrogen. Use fertilizer or organic matter such as grass clippings, manure, garden debris such as weeds, or gree…

Make Mine Green

Photo is a planter made out of a recycled something or other.
I saw it outside Memphis Tennessee at Gardens Oy Vey.

Joel Makower's blog, Two Steps Forward, is about the greening of business.
Today's blog entry is about Waste Management, the big trash company, refocusing itself into a materials management company by recycling more trash than it dumps into landfills.

Makower points out that we used to hear a lot about reduce, reuse, recycle but that the whole recycling effort has gone so mainstream that it is talked about less now.

Even our town of 45,000 has a recycling center that takes plastic, paper, glass, metal, cooking oil, auto oil etc. And it has free woodchips available for pickup.

Makower said, "I attended an event last week that reminded me of the growing sophistication of today's waste world. It was a private meeting convened by Waste Management and the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth (and facilitated by my colleagues at GreenOrder). The event, consisting o…

Seed Sale at Renee's Online Store

As my seed shipments arrive, I notice that some are 2008 seeds and some are 2009. None of them were on end-of-season sale so in the future I'll have to make sure I'm getting fresh seeds before I order.

Shouldn't 2008 seeds be on sale? Well, yes they should.

More ethical than some, Renee's Garden Seeds is selling all of their remaining 2008 seeds at half price. Many greens can be planted over the next couple of months and lots of flower seeds can still go onto the ground to get that winter cold stratification they need to pop open in the spring.

The sale ends November 20 and of course it is first come, first served.

Click here to go to the seed catalog on Renee's site.

Regular seed price is $2.69 per pack plus $4.50 per order shipping in the U.S. With a per order shipping price, it would be a good idea to get a few friends to order at the same time.

I have had good luck with 90% of Renee's seeds germinating at high rates.
Be sure to enter the sale code.
Enter END08 …