Showing posts from June, 2009

Good Stuff from Other Garden Blogs

I don't know how many gardening blogs a person can read in a day or a week but not as many as we want to, that's for sure. The photo is another lily blooming in our garden today. Gotta love lilies. GOOD STUFF ON THE BLOGS
Transatlantic Plantsman has a blog entry on the Top Ten Plants in the UK. The list includes geranium, agapanthus, penstemon, and one of my favorites - salvia.

Garden Design Online featured a new way to warm up the environment on chilly nights. It's a must see and I want one.

Pruned posted photographs that predict the future of the environment the next generation will inherit. Sad but dramatic art.

UC Botany Photo of the Day post is kalanchoe photographs. Fabulous.

Gardens OyVey has a series on hydrangeas - selecting, growing, identifying, loving.

The Cultural Landscape Foundation has a post about Carl Rust Parker, a landscape architect who lived from 1882 to 1966. Parker worked for the Olmsted Brothers.

Happy reading. Let me know if you have a favorite blog or po…

The Birth of a Monarch Butterfly This Morning

At 6:30 this morning I had the privilege of watching a Monarch butterfly emerging from the chrysalis. It sat there for a couple of hours while I watered and weeded the flower bed.

The papery object on the fence just below and to the right of the butterfly is the empty chrysalis.
When it was ready to move, it walked up the fence and then began fanning its wings to dry them before taking flight.

While the Monarch caterpillars only hang out on milkweeds the adults like the nectar of the perennial sweet pea in that flower bed.

Milkweeds - Asclepias for All Gardens and Gardeners

Whether you call them Asclepias or Milkweeds, this family has everything from tall weeds that grow in drainage ditches to garden quality plants.

Some of them are shrubs, some grow in wet soil, and others thrive in dry scrub. They grow in South Africa and there is at least one milkweed in every state of the U.S.

Their flowers vary but all have seedpods filled with a fluffy, silky substance that carries the seeds on the air.

Asclepias flowers attract several types of butterflies and their leaves provide food for Monarch butterfly caterpillars.
There are three potential problems with growing Asclepias: The milky sap can cause a rash on sensitive skin, they attract aphids and cows can become sick if they eat it.

Many Asclepias are native to Oklahoma but you can also grow other varieties with special care.

The USDA Plants Database lists them at If you have a milkweed to identify, go to to see 226 photos and drawings of Asclepias varieties.

Choose on…

Rudbeckia Maxima - Giant Coneflower

This is the third year I've purchased and planted an Oklahoma native Giant Coneflower, Rudbeckia Maxima. I love them. They grow to 6 feet tall and have huge flowers.
The leaves are a bluish grey which is also a favorite of mine.

The University of Oklahoma has a database of Oklahoma native plants and it says that this beauty if native to Choctaw county.

The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin calls it a Giant Brown Eyed Susan. Their horticulturist says it is found in moist open spaces from East Texas to the East Cross Timbers.

I'm going to try watering it more and see if this one takes hold and returns next year.

Start Planning for Fall

Now that summer is officially here with 92 degree tomato ripening weather, we can take a look at the garden with an eye to fall. Whether you want a few extra perennials to make a new bed look full or need some seeds to grow fall veggies, the online stores are ready to accommodate.

Renee's Garden Seeds is reminding all gardeners to think of fall planting. I just bought some broccoli seeds to plant in pots in July for the fall garden.

What to Plant in June/July is here and the Second Season article is at this link.

Brent and Becky's is having their summer sale on bulbs. To get the discount, order by July 1st for fall planting. Here's a link to the bulb selection.
The perennials on sale at Easy to Grow Bulbs include a lime astilbe, Roxy Dahlia, and Starfire Phlox.

Sooner Plant Farm has several trees and shrubs on sale at the Clearance Zone link. One that I would love to grow is Red Buckeye (Aesculus pavia), They also have Black Barlow Columbine, Harvest Moon coneflower, and Sapphi…

Happy Father's Day

Since 1909 Father's Day has been a celebration of gratitude to the men in our lives who nurture, care for and love their families and friends.

In 1966 president Lyndon Johnson formalized the date as the third Sunday in June.

Whether you honor the men in your life by planting a plant or a kiss, have a wonderful day.

Great Beauty Greets Visitors at Overland Park Arboretum south of Kansas City KS

If you are in the Kansas City area this summer, make time for a detour to the Overland Park Arboretum and Botanical Garden. It is a relatively new addition to the area and is not very well known.

The gardens open at 8 a.m. every day of the year except Christmas or when the weather causes closure. There is no admission charge for either the gardens or the Environmental Education Center.

Throughout the year there are special events to attend. For example, on June 27, an annual fundraiser called Stems: A Garden Soiree, is being held. The $75 tickets sell out when they reach 1,000 attendees. Restaurants, musicians, wineries and artists contribute their specialties for the night. ( Erickson Water Garden was the first feature built in the Arboretum. As you enter the gardens and walk down the path, plants surround waterfalls and ponds.

When we visited the Arboretum last week, it was obvious that their summer weather is a few weeks ahead of …

Mystery Solved by a Reader

A blog reader, SuzOH, sent an email identifying my mystery plant as Lotus maculatus commonly known as Golden Parrot's Beak.

We saw it on a trip to Kansas City and had no idea what it was so I put a photo of it in my June 10 blog entry. Happily a reader recognized it. (click here) has the scoop on how to grow it. Warning - the site has constant popups that you have to click closed in order to read anything. They say it tolerates heat and humidity and is cold hardy in zone 9.

I searched online and it looks like the vendors are mostly in England.

Wikipedia's photo shows the plant trailing out of a hanging basket. Those hot flowers don't show at all from this vantage point.

At Overland Park Arboretum they were at eye level so you could enjoy the flowers.

Have you seen it at your local nurseries? Do you grow it?

Grapes on the Vine

The grapes were planted on an arbor with big hopes several years ago. They are petted, watered, sprayed for fungus and talked to. This year they are farther ahead than ever but we realize that we will never have a crop of grapes the way we have crops of blackberries. So many flowers are blooming that it's hard to choose some to show. The red Asclepias on the left is always a favorite because it brings Monarch butterflies to the gardens.

Lobularia Snow Princess - a New Alyssum Hybrid from Proven Winners

The old fashioned Lobularia or Sweet Alyssum we planted 40 years ago was such a reliable and sweetly scented plant. Almost every seed from the packet would germinate at the front edge of the border. Later in the summer when the first plants were tired looking we would prune them back and find a dozen new seedlings coming up.

According to David Beaulieu, Alyssum's name comes from the Greek prefix a-and lyssa, rage. Alyssums were used in folk medicine where they were regarded as antidotes to rabies.

The photo you see here is a new hybrid from Proven Winners, called Snow Princess Lobularia Hybrid. The ones in my garden were sent to me as trial plants to see how they would do in our zone 7 heat and humidity. So far they are everything the publicity brags about.

The plant is sterile (grown from cuttings not from seed) so instead of making a dozen new plants from seed in the second half of the summer, it produces more and more flowers. Million Bells or Callbrachoa is the same - no pruning,…

Master Gardener Conference 2009

The 2009 Oklahoma State Master Gardener Conference was held in Bartlesville last week. Conference topics included: Vegetable gardening, life in the soil, understanding chemicals, native plants, tree care, integrated pest management, and lawn care. The keynote speaker was Dr. Alan Stevens from Kansas State Horticulture Research Center.

Here are some of the things we learned in the sessions

Stevens said that the latest flowerbed and flowerpot design is a combination of colorful foliage plus flowers with foliage in the center of the design.

The Prairie Star program at Kansas State University has a website of plants that performed well over a 2-year period prairie conditions. The annual plants are listed at Perennials are at the Prairie Bloom link.

Brian Jervis from the Tulsa Master Gardening program pointed gardeners to Kelly Solutions ( for information on all things bugging your yard and garden.

At Kelly Solutions, gardeners can search for …

Lovely New-to-Me Plants

These new-to-me plants were at the Overland Park Kansas Arboretum and Botanical Garden. We visited the park a few days ago. Gallairdia Fanfare Blanket Flower
Pink Mulla Mulla

Unknown beauty - know what it is?
Lovely combination at the entrance to the botanical garden

Seed Starting Success Stories

With all the advice and books provided about seed starting at home, some seeds are reluctant to follow the steps provided.

We buy seed that we assume is fresh from reliable vendors, use sterile seed starting medium, warm their little bottoms in late winter, early spring, then give them bright light and a little fertilizer when they emerge.

And, still some seeds act as though they had not read the same books as we did. Pesky, time consuming and disappointing.

But, there's no time to dwell on those at this time of year. Here are a few seed starting success stories from our garden. I hope you'll share yours. Send an email to and let me know what worked and didn't work for you and what you have learned.The Cardinal Climber vine seeds were pretty good at germinating and growing up the fence to delight the hummingbirds. These were from Renee's Seeds as part of a hummingbird package.
The broccoli seeds from Johnny's Seeds also did well. I had enough litt…

Muskogee Garden Club Garden Tour Will Be June 13 from 10 to 5 pm

Seven gardens in the Muskogee Country Club area will be open to visitors on Saturday, June 13 from 10 to 5.

Muskogee Garden Club’s Garden Tour will begin at Harris Jobe Elementary School, 2809 North Country Club Road.

Tickets cost $5 and are available that day at the homes and in advance at About Hair, 603 South York ST.

The tour is the Garden Club's primary fund raising activity. The proceeds fund scholarships, and civic projects such as the Chandler RD Enabling Garden and the Broadway ST planters and hanging baskets. Garden Club membership is $20 per year; membership forms will be available at the tour.

Homes on the tour

Vernon and Sally Burkett, 3103 Chelsea LN

Bud and Marilyn Hinshaw, 3506 University ST

Duane and Nola Mason, 3401 River Bend PL

Mary Nevitt, 3412 River Bend RD

Darrell and Priscilla Parks, 3510 Porter AV

Harvey and Kay Price, 2501 Country Club RD

Gary and Mary Wildman, 3400 River Bend PL

Garden Club president, Oyana Wilson said, We hope lots of people come and enjoy seeing i…

Bonita Shea Begonia and Gaillardia Georgia Sunset are Two New Improved Plants You Will Want

Bonita Shea Begonia Look at the color and leaf shape of Bonita Shea Begonia. I am entranced. I've had it over a month and maybe you can see in the photo that it has been sitting in an impatiens bed under an oak tree, looking prettier every week.

It grows 6-10” and blooms spring until fall. Full sun to part shade. It's basically a houseplant in the winter since it is cold hardy to 30-degrees, that is considered Zone 10-11. It will be well worth bringing in for the winter.

Gaillardia Georgia Sunset from Athens Select is a wonderful Blanket Flower. It took a few days to adjust to being in the ground but since then it has bloomed and bloomed.
The bright colors and it's sun loving nature make it a good addition to one of our sunny beds. Look at all the new buds. It will make quite an impression by the end of the summer.

These two new plant introductions were sent to me to grow in our area. I'll give the companies feedback in August. So far, I'd say they have a couple of …