Showing posts from February, 2009

What's In a Plant's Name?

Some of the plant names we see at the nursery, such as Peace Rose, are easy to remember. Others like Cytisus scoparius Burkwoodii make us wonder how to pronounce them.

Many plants were named for the countries where they were originally found. Examples include African violet, Austrian Pine, Kentucky Coffee Tree, New Zealand Spinach and Mexican Marigold.

But how are the rest of plants named?

On Feb 21 at the Tulsa Garden Center, the owner of the Antique Rose Emporium, G. Michael Shoup, told the audience how many of his roses were named.

Over the years, as Shoup, his staff and the Rose Rustlers of Texas went to old homesteads and graveyards taking cuttings to preserve historic plants. They rejuvenate old plants, meet gardeners, and try to grow the old varieties in their greenhouses. Since the roses have been out of production for many decades, they named them as they went.

"Old Gay Hill China" was named after the town where they found it and "Highway 290 Pink Buttons" was …

Going Green

Go green and reduce your footprint on the planet.

The Quincy Illinois Library has added a link on their website called "Going Green" and I am so impressed by their consciousness. Check it out here and let me know if your library is as forward thinking as this one.

And, speaking of green solutions, my friend Sharon Owen let me know she was ordering Lady Beetles (Hippodamia convergens) to release in her organic greenhouse at Moonshadow Herb Farm. And, I ordered with her to split the shipping costs.

There were 1,500 in the bag. At least that's what it says.

As soon as I cut open the bag they started coming out to eat all those pesky aphids.

The stuff in the bag was shredded and the little buggers were all through it.

It's been 75 and 80 here but it's still cold up north. Sharon tried to order the Lady Bugs from Gardens Alive but they can't ship while it's still so cold.

So, she contacted a place in California, Tip Top Bio Control, and they sent them.
While the bugs …

Stone Farming Under Trees to Have Spring Daffodils

Yesterday was a treat for gardeners who had the time to be outside working and playing.

It was one of those late-February spring teasers: 80 degrees, no wind and lots of sun. Two nights of 26-degrees are coming this weekend according to the weather people. Back to late February reality.

In our neighborhood, two other families were outside enjoying the weather and making new gardens.

Several years ago a friend gave me a 3-ring binder 1950s Better Homes and Gardens gardening book. It had a picture of a back yard daffodil bed that resembled this photo.

I liked the look but wondered where they got the stones.

We lived in Northern California at the time and basically we could stick a plant in the ground and it would grow.

Of course, in northeast Oklahoma, every time we dig a hole to put a plant in place, we are actually stone farming.

We remove and stack the stones on the side of the slope so we can plant under the trees.

Gardening here solved two previous mysteries:
1) Why line beds with stacks o…

Order Vegetables In Advance - Muskogee Area

If you live in the Muskogee OK area and want to pre-order your vegetable starts, you have one week left to order from Blossoms Garden Center.
Send no money, just your order. Pay when you pick up your plants.

You can print off your order from this list and mail it to Blossom’s Garden Center, P.O. Box 2462, Muskogee, OK 74402
You can fax your order to 1-877-296-2685

Or, since you are reading this online, click here and order online.

Does this not beat driving to Tulsa, Ardmore, Ft. Smith and everywhere else to get the varieties you want? I can't believe no one else thought of it!

Orders must be in multiples of 10. For example 10, 20, 30, 40, 50. 50 is the maximum order.

They need your contact information to let you know when the plants arrive.
Required Information:
Full Name ___________________________
Street Address ________________________
City, State, Zip ________________________
Email Address ________________________
Phone # ______________________________
(We will email you a confirmation …

Garden With Children, Families, Neighbors and Friends

Sixty people came out on Saturday for the Community Gardening Education Event at Muskogee Public Library.
Participants represented churches, neighborhoods, communities, schools and civic groups. All are interested in knowing how they can pitch in. Whether growing food strictly for consumption or to involve children in the wonders of knowing where their food comes from, each is passionate about getting started. Everyone indicated an interest in sharing part of what they grow. Photo: Bruce Edwards Keynote speaker, Bruce Edwards from Urban Harvest, Food Bank of Oklahoma City, has been instrumental in helping start as well as work with dozens of community gardens. His enthusiasm for growing gardens with groups is contagious. The panel included: Rodney King - OSU Extension, Kim Walton - Walton Farms, Julie Gahn - Tahlequah community gardens, George Driever - OSU Extension
Gardeners had an opportunity to hear from each of these experienced gardeners and ask gardening questions. Their topics were…

Propagation and Seed Starting from Friends of Honor Heights Park

Photo: A forest of seedlings grown from one handful of whole black lentils picked up at an ethnic grocery store.
Idea: Don't Throw It Grow It by Deborah Peterson Storey Publishing

Friends of Honor Heights Park meeting 1:00 Saturday Feb 28
"Making More Plants" workshop 2 to 4 following the meeting
Location: New nature education classroom in the old bath house at Honor Heights Park
All materials provided. Free to members; $10 non-members
More information: Martha Stoodley 918.683.2373
The Friends of Honor Heights Park will hold a meeting 1:00 on Saturday, February 28 at the new nature education classrooms at the park.

From 2 to 4 following the business meeting, two gardeners will teach a workshop, Making More Plants. The public is invited to attend both the meeting and the workshop.

Learning how to grow your own plants is a fun and budget-wise activity worth learning. And, February is a great month to…

Don't Throw It Grow It by Deborah Peterson

An old fashioned-new method of budget-wise growing is found in Don't Throw It, Grow It: 68 Windowsill Plants from Kitchen Scraps, by Deborah Peterson and Millicent Selsam.

In their entertaining book, Peterson and Selsam present the ultimate recycling approach to making more plants – using kitchen waste. A basic introduction covers what plants need (water, heat, light, air), and how to combat bugs. Then the fun begins.

The plants you learn about growing from seeds and scraps include common vegetables and exotic fruits from ethnic markets.

Easy to find possibilities include: Almonds, lentils, kiwi, garlic, lemongrass, ginger, celery and mustard seed. Many of the exotics are available in Tulsa at Nam Hai (1924 S Garnett) and Whole Foods (1401 E. 41st).

The U.S. government irradiates all foreign produce, killing their ability to reproduce. That explains why my recent effort to sprout avocado pits and ginger did not work but planting the roots of used salad onions did.

Don't Throw It, …

Oh, Hellebores

Want an excuse to travel to Virginia? Is a Hellebore Festival temptation enough? Here is the announcement I received by email this morning.

Hellebore Festival 2009
This year we will offer a larger number of companion plants for hellebores than ever before. We will have Cyclamen and other surprises from John Lonsdale's Edgewood Gardens, this year John will be here to help answer questions.

Asiatica in Virginia?
Yes! This year Barry Yinger from Asiatica Nursery will bring down a tempting selection of Arisaemas and other special plants to tempt our customers.

Once again there will be a few special Hepaticas from the Japanese nursery of our friend Takayuki Miura

For the last few years the popular mail order nursery Plant Delights near Raleigh NC has been opening in conjunction with our festival weekends. They offer a most tempting list of plants.

Two other superb mail-order nu…

First True Leaves

These are our sugar snap peas coming up. They go outside in the sun and wind on most days. It's still below freezing this morning so I think I'll wait till after breakfast when I won't risk losing their heads.
Also the rainbow chard babies have to go out today so they are strong enough to pass on to adoptive parents at the community gardening event on the 21st. Some of them have their first true leaves.

Is this not the most exciting part of growing seeds?

Sunset Magazine is a "must read" on the west coast, much as Southern Living is required reading in the south, mid-south, upper south, etc.

Fresh Dirt, a Sunset blog, recommends bright yellow flowers for cheering up the country in this time of bad news. Read all about Renee's baby powder scented wallflowers, Erysimum perovskianum, here at Fresh Dirt's entry.

Photo: Our backyard cheerful yellow daff.

Treading Lighter on the Beaten Path has a link to a carbon footprint calculator. Even I could figure out how to u…

A Cold Wind from the North

Our lurch toward spring was interrupted today. Yesterday it was 68 and today it's 40, windy and rainy.
Some of the plants outside don't care about the weather. As you can see the raised bed full of garlic is making enough healthy sprouts to top a salad or a bowl of soup.
The wildlife is active emptying all the bird feeders every day.

The garden shed is stuffed with little seedlings popping up and plants growing into planting size.
Sugar snap or sugar pea seeds were planted in trays with individual cells. They will be ready to put out with rabbit proof fencing, the next warm day.

My sister also reminds me that it's time to plant beet, turnip and pea seeds, too.
The next warm day......

Yesterday, in addition to pulling leaves off the daffodils and tulips, I weeded one bed. This is a great time of year to dig and divide perennials so I removed a daylily, divided it and put the pieces in two other beds. Usually the scraps of root left behind make a nice new plant - you don't have…

Community Gardens Raise Spirits

Photo: Ruby Chard, Violas, parsley and ivy combined in a planter at Ft. Worth Botanical Garden

Bruce Edwards, keynote speaker for Muskogee's Feb 21 community gardening event, is an experienced and enthusiastic community gardening coordinator. For the past five years, Edwards has been the Urban Harvest director for the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma.

The ten year old program got started to support and sustain Oklahoma City community gardens in churches, schools and neighborhoods. Edwards said.

At Urban Harvest Edwards works with volunteers to develop new gardens and sustain established ones. There is a list of their garden locations at

Just like gardening, community gardens start with the seed of ideas, hopes, and dreams, Edwards said. Plant those in fertile minds so they can blossom and fruit.

One of the topics Edwards will cover in his talk on the 21st is how to organize a group of people and establish goals, roles and desires…

Newsy Tidbits

At Honor Heights Park, the home of Muskogee's annual Azalea Festival, the azaleas are looking pretty good despite an ice storm last week and tornado-carrying storms last night.

I walked the park and it looks much like our yard with limbs and branches down on the paths. It will take a crew a few days to clean it up.
Think they would come to our yard next? Me, either.

The newsletter of the Tulsa Cactus and Succulent Society says their next meeting is March 5 at the Tulsa Garden Center. The newsletter includes recipes for cactus scrambled eggs and chicken cactus chili. More information contact J. W. Keeth, email

Renee's has new seeds for 2009. New bonus packaging, too. Here are some highlights for you fellow seed starters.
- Bonus packs for butterfly gardens and hummingbird gardens
- 15 new varieties: Summer Peaches Alyssum, Scented Gold Fragrant Wallflower, Ruby and Emerald Duet Container Lettuce ..... Here is a lin…

Grocery Store Wars on You Tube

The Garden Lady, C.L. Fornari posted this link to the Garden Writers online conversation tonight.

You have to see this video. Enjoy the Grocery Store Wars on You Tube.
This afternoon I took a stroll in the back yard to see how many daffodils were showing. Along the back fence everywhere I removed the heavy oak leaf mulch there were clusters of yellow-green daffodil stems. Some were just barely peeking out and others were two inches tall.

In the newer beds that weren't heavily mulched, the stems are at least two inches tall and dark green. Yellow and white crocus are blooming here and there and dozens more will bloom as the weather cooperates.

Photo: White Garden, Honor Heights Park, Muskogee, March 2008

The garden shed is a glorious mess of planted seed trays, seedlings, plants that overwintered and now are producing fresh spring leaves.

Our friends, Lora and Matthew Weatherbee, owners of Blossom's Garden Center, got me a large heat mat so this year we have pepper seedlings up and making me optimistic about a summer full of grilled vegetable sandwiches.

One of the many blogs I peruse is The Slow Cook. Ed Br…

What a Great Day

Today the Oklahoma Native Plant Society had an event at the Tulsa Garden Center. We bought one of these bird feeders made from a recycled tire. Here's the resource: Clear Creek Farm and Gardens: no website. Loretta and Kirk Bowers, P.O. Box 89, Peggs, OK 74452. (918) 598-3782. Native plant nursery featuring eastern Oklahoma trees, shrubs and perennials; butterfly gardens; prairie fields; undisturbed woodlands; springs. More than 125 species of trees, shrubs, vines and perennials are planted in wildlife gardens, butterfly nectar gardens, butterfly host plant gardens, herb and rose gardens, and vegetable gardens.

On their display table, there was this very nice planter full of vegetables, herbs and flowers.
Wild Things Nursery was at the event with a table full of plants. Over the past few years, I have bought several plants for the shade, for the sun, for the butterflies. They have all thrived and continued to come back year after year so today I bought a few…

Flowers are Sexy

Iowa State University horticulture newsletter has a great explanation of just how sexual reproduction impacts fruits, vegetables and berries.

Horticulture and Home Pest News is a product of the Extension Service. Here's an excerpt from the article by By Cindy Haynes, Department of Horticulture:

Monoecious and Dioecious These botanical terms are terms used to describe the reproductive behavior of some plants. Perfect in a botanical sense means that each flower has both male and female parts in the same structure. Lilies, roses, and apple flowers are perfect. Monoecious plants have male flowers and female flowers in separate structures on the same plant. Mono means one – and monoecious is literally one house. The same plant houses different flowers – some being male the others being female. Squash is monoecious. If you take a close look at squash flowers you can soon tell which are female because they have a tiny fruit at the base. For obvious reasons, the male flowers don't. Knowi…

What Is Gardening On A Budget?

OK, the dilemma is that there will be fewer vacations taken away from home this year. So, we all have to fix up our front and back yards for those stay at home vacations.
And, we want to put in a few vegetables for the table, herbs for the salad bowl and flowers to cheer up the home space. Then there are pots of lush greenery we need to decorate front and back porch, patio, deck. So, what are you going to do to accomplish all that and stay within your budget?
IT'S SUMMER IN AUSTRALIA In Sydney, Australia at the Botanic Garden they are celebrating the Chinese New Year by featuring some of the plants from China. Kung Hei Fat Choy – Happy New Year. At their site, you will find nine plant databases at this link - the main one is PlantNET. Scroll down that page to the 4 link icons and research your heart out! The photo below was posted onto the Trillium list tonight. You can view Trillium and Woodland Plant section of the FloraPix Gallery at Enjoy!

February 2009 Warming UP

Well, I don't know about you, but I've been out in the sun the past two days. Only for a couple of hours, mind you, but wearing a jacket pulling weeds, planting seeds and getting some sun.
Even the trays of baby plants in the shed got to come out for a sunbath both days. Ahhhh. It will be spring.

If you don't subscribe to the UCB daily plant email ,Botany Photo of the Day, you are missing out on an email that will cheer you on a cold day. Today's photo is here. I tried to post the picture of the Buddha's Hand but Blogger wouldn't upload it.
Mackey Books has a book called Plant Notes that is for the collectors in your life. Or, for you if you are a plant collector.

Each page from page 11 through 138 is for a description of a plant in your collection. You just jot down the common name, genus, species, description of your beloved beauties and end up with a journal that would be the envy of anyone who wants to know more about your garden. Plus you will have a reference…

Indoor Green Stream at the Modern

We visited The Modern while we were in Fort Worth. The outer walls of this museum are floor to ceiling glass overlooking water. Window seating in the restaurant is an experience we can recommend. So is the cuisine!

One of the art installations was an indoor green stream. I'm showing you this to encourage those who think you can never succeed with an indoor green water feature. What do you think?
Hubby - the art major - on the left.

The artist is Felix Gonzales-Torres a Cuban born American.
And, here is a closeup of "Untitled"