31 October 2009

Happy Halloween Dallas Arboretum Style

We took a quick trip to the Dallas Arboretum to see their fantastic fall displays. The weather was sunny and perfect for a stroll and lunch outside at the onsite DeGolyer Garden Café.

Have a goblin friendly celebration!

29 October 2009

Pawpaw and Witch Hazel Trees

Fall and winter are the ideal time to plant new trees and shrubs. Local garden centers and hardware stores have plenty in stock and some are even on sale.

Fruit trees have the romantic aura of picking your own apples, peaches and cherries, which, in reality, is quite nice. They require a spraying schedule, pruning, fruit thinning, a deer fence and water during droughts.

Homeowners can be disappointed by the reality of a garden-center recommended tree. The garden center staff tells you either how the tree performed in someone else’s growing conditions or what the grower said about the plant. Neither of these is necessarily a prediction of how the tree will grow in your soil.

Pine trees and their relatives can succeed in our area. They take a beating during ice storms and tend to hold snow after the surrounding trees have bounced back. Austrian pines and other non- native varieties will live beautiful, albeit short, lives in our summer heat.

Two trouble-free, native, shrubby trees to consider are Witch Hazel and Paw Paw.

Witch Hazel or Hamamelis vernalis and Hamamelis Virginia are hardy from zone 4 to 8.

Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana and Oklahoma native, Vernalis or Vernal witch hazel can grow in part shade. Its fragrant, yellow and red-orange flowers are just what we need in February.

Common witch Hazel or Hamamelis virginiana is an Illinois and Arkansas native that grows 10-feet tall with late fall fragrant, yellow flowers. The witch hazel we use on our skin for rashes is distilled from the roots and bark of young stems.

Virginiana will form colonies in the understory of trees. The leaves turn a brilliant yellow in autumn, the leaves fall, and then the flowers appear.

After its discovery in Virginia in the 1700s, Hamamelis virginiana was immediately taken to the gardens of England where its winter flowers earned it the nickname Epiphany Tree. (Epiphany is the Christmas season in the church year.)

Witch Hazels can be allowed to grow as shrubs or be pruned to a single trunk to grow as trees.

The seeds that form after the flowers fall ripen the next summer. When the pods open, the seeds are ejected with a pop, leading the tree to gain another nickname, the Snapping Hazelnut.

Both are available from Pine Ridge Nursery in Arkansas (www.pineridgegardens.com and 479.293.4359) for under $20 each.

Pawpaw trees (Asimina triloba) grow to 10-feet tall in part-shade. They are valued for their edible fruit and fall color, as well as their appeal for wildlife gardeners. Zebra Striped Swallowtail butterflies raise their caterpillars on the leaves.

You need two varieties to grow fruit. Detailed growing information can be found at www.pawpaw.kysu.edu.

Raintree Nursery (www.raintreenursery.com) has several recommended varieties to ship now, including: NC-1, Sunflower, Taytwo, and Mitchell.

Neal Peterson (www.petersonpawpaws.com) developed new varieties including Shenandoah and Susquehanna. Blossom Nursery in Eureka Springs AR (www.blossomnursery.com) sells seeds and trees.

Kentucky Division of Forestry sells bundles of Pawpaw seedlings (800.866.0876 and www.forestry.ky.gov/seedling) $24 per bundle of ten. Order now for Feb 2010 delivery.

Other recommended varieties include: Overleese, Mary (Foos) Johnson, Jack’s Jumbo, Sweet Alice and Convis.

To plant trees identify the location of underground utility wires (call OKIE 1-800-522-6543). Look up to see if a 20-foot tree will become a problem for utility lines.

Dig a hole 18-inches wider than the diameter of the root ball and no deeper than the root ball.

Place the tree in the hole so the lowest branch points southwest. Straighten and backfill with soil. Build a watering moat around the outside of the planting hole. Fill the hole with water, using a slow flow. Fill the moat with 3 inches of mulch.

27 October 2009

Moonflower Vines In Late October are Still Growing and Blooming

Despite the cooler nights and wet cloudy days, the Moonflower Vines are gorgeous. Mostly a gardener's treat because they are planted where no one else goes, they make me gasp every time I walk over there.

Ipomoea alba noctiflora syn. Calonyction aculeatum is a Morning Glory relative and may be blooming its heart out because of the cloudy days rather than in spite of them.
Morning Glories open during the day and Moon Flowers open in the evening and early morning, as well as on cloudy days.
Cold hardy only to zone 9, it won't survive the winter here in zone 7, but maybe some seeds will fall and keep this beauty coming back to climb all over everything in its path.

Look at the bud before it opens and those purple stems in this photo taken yesterday.
Have you tried Google for Gardeners yet?
Here's the link. Try it and let me know if you find what you are looking for. I have not.
I still find Dogpile.com to be the most efficient search engine, though I try every new one that comes along. And, Dogpile searches benefit our furry friends.

25 October 2009

Wed, Oct 28 Michael Pollan "Botany of Desire" on Public TV

"We don't give nearly enough credit to plants. They've been working on us, they've been using us for their own purposes." Those words are first thing out of Micael Pollan's mouth on the Public TV special this week.

That's a good start isn't it? Tune in!

And, in an article in the November/December/January 2009-2010 Organic Gardening, Pollan talks about organic food, Michelle Obama and the local food movement. The issue is on newsstands now.

Pollan sat down with Organic Gardening Managing Editor Therese Ciesinski.
A few quotes from the interview in Organic Gardening:
"organic is in danger of being co-opted" and that he's been on organic factory farms and "…if most organic consumers went to those places, they would feel they were getting ripped off."

First Lady Michelle Obama "She talks about organic, but she also talks about fresh. Basically, getting away from processed food is key. And if you're eating produce, and it's not organic, it's a big step up from eating processed food. All these partial steps are very important."

"Organic is in danger of being co-opted."

"I think we're going to see a lot of growth in alternative food chains, all of them, local and organic. I think pastured meat production is going to get a lot bigger. The importance of grass as a way to both provide healthy meat that people want and to sequester carbon in the soil will become better recognized. I can image in 5 years that there will be grass-fed beef in every supermarket."

Pollan on what's missing from our food syst...
"…What's missing from our food system is resiliency. We have efficiency, but resiliency is a different value, and you get resiliency through redundancy. So we need organic, we need local, we need pasture-based, and we probably need industrial as well."

Pollan on if he prefers local foods to organic food...
"No, I don't. I support local, because in my experience here in California, local is organ . . . But if I were a supermarket shopper I would, because you can't meet farmers face to face and you don't really know what they're doing, so to the extent people depend on the supermarket and are not interested in the farmers' market, we need organic. If people are willing to put in more time and like the farmers' market experience-because it is more than food that's on offer there— then local, definitely."

The transcript for the entire tv program is here at a PBS link.

22 October 2009

Solanum Integrifolium or Solanum aethiopicum L. - How to Grow and Use Pumpkin on a Stick or Ornamental Eggplant

Fall decorations are popping up on porches and in front yards. Stacks of square hay bales, pumpkins, squash, corn and sugar cane stalks become fall symbols of the end of the harvest season.

Most of these grow too large for the average home garden. Pumpkins and squash can take up an entire city lot as they sprawl and make fruit.

One of the unique plants gardeners can grow for seasonal table arrangements is Pumpkin on a Stick, which grows upright and has 2-inch fruits. Introduced as “Scarlet Chinese an ornamental curiosity” by Vanderbilt University in 1879, they are still grown to amuse guests and decorating homes.

The Latin name is Solanum Integrifolium or Solanum aethiopicum L. Other names include: Pumpkin Tree, Pumpkin Bush, Hmong Eggplant, and Mock Tomato.

All Eggplants are in Solanaceae or nightshade family. Found in India, China and Africa, 2500 years ago, eggplant fruit was pea sized, orange and bitter. By the 1500s, German plantsmen had developed yellow and purple cultivars.

Today’s gardeners grow the round, purple-skin variety and the slender Asian varieties for eating. In hot climates the plants are perennial but here they suffer when temperatures drop to 50-degrees and die at first freeze.

Eggplant flowers are perfect, meaning they self-pollinate. Insects can cross-pollinate varieties though so if you want to save seeds, plant different varieties well apart from each other.

Whether you contain their size by planting them in pots or in the ground and let them grow 2 feet tall and wide, give Ornamental Eggplants sun and plenty of water. Bella Online calls them a spectacular fall floral because they embody the essence of fall and are exquisite in color and form.

The small blue-ish white flowers grow in clusters and attract butterflies and bees. Early in the season the fruit is green, then it turns red orange in the fall. The stems are dark purple and the leaves are serrated blue-green with purple veins and sharp spines.

Ornamental Eggplant is not an appropriate selection for a children’s garden. Other inedible flowers and leaves in the same plant (belladonna) family include: Potato, tomato, pepper, petunia, Angel’s Trumpet, and Datura.

Botanical Interests (www.botanicalinterests.com) recommends starting the seeds indoors 6 weeks before last frost (March 1 in zone 7). The seeds want 75 to 85 degree heat to sprout. Put the starter cells on a heat mat or on top of the water heater or refrigerator. Check them daily and remove them from the heat the minute they come up. Give them 12 hours of light from florescent bulbs to prevent weak stems

Our plants came from Moonshadow Herb Farm in Muskogee. Owner Sharon Owen bought the seeds online at www.onalee.com where they are called Ruffled Red (Red Ruffles).

In our garden the main problem was brown striped Colorado Potato Beetles. Once they were removed the plant resumed its leaf, flower and fruit production.

Watch for flea beetles, aphids and red spider mites. A little insecticidal soap spray will keep them under control. Or put a row cover on the plants until they flower.

To harvest the seeds, allow one of the fruits to become overripe on the plant.

Dry the fruit for decoration. Remove the leaves and hang the stems upside down. Use the fruit on the stem in a vase or cut them off for a fall wreath or centerpiece.

Many Internet sites say ornamental eggplant is used in Asian cuisine but I found nothing in Asian cooking sites to support that. However, when the roofers were here this week, one of them took a bite of a fruit and said it was sour enough to draw his mouth and had a hot aftertaste.

21 October 2009

Two Saturdays Left To Walk the Trails at the OK Botanical Garden - Tulsa

The Oklahoma Centennial Botanical Garden will be open Saturday October 24 and 31 from 10 to 1 for anyone who would like to stroll the paths and enjoy the fall scenery.

Here's a link to the map and driving directions.

It is free and open to the public. The park will close for the winter after these two dates.

20 October 2009

Hot Lips Salvia Microphylla

Loggee's Greenhouse is offering Hot Lips Salvia plants and if you have never grown it, take a look. The photo is from their site.

The first time we saw Hot Lips, it was blooming its head off last fall at the Tulsa Zoo. We had to have it. Blossom's Garden Center in Muskogee had the plants and we put in two.

This year's weather was somewhat un-summer-like. Other than July, we had rain, rain, and more rain.

So, our Hot Lips is just now doing its blooming best. But, it was about this time of year we saw them blooming beautifully at the zoo, too. So maybe fall is their time to shine.

Plant Delights says Hot Lips was discovered in Mexico and that they are hardy to our zone 7. "This wild selection of the Mexican Salvia microphylla was introduced by Richard Turner of California after the plant was shared with him by his maid, who brought it from her home in Mexico. The fast-growing, 30" tall x 6' wide clump is adorned with stunning bicolor flowers with red tips and white lips. When the nights warm in summer, the new flowers are all red with an occasional solid white one. As fall approaches, the flowers again will be bicolor red and white."

I agree that it is a must have.

My experience propagating Salvia is decent - 70% (but not consistent) success. So when I took cuttings of Hot Lips today, I took a bunch and put them into a rooting mix of sand, vermiculite, perlite and peat-based potting mix after dipping ends and leaf nodes in rooting hormone.

Territorial Seed sold out this year but I love what they said about Hot Lips.
"Salvia microphylla Pucker up! You'll fall all over yourself when this beauty smiles at you. In a head turning bicolor of snow white with a crimson kisser, and stretching 36 inches tall and wide, Hot Lips can't help but be noticed. It sneers at heat, drought, and even deer while blooming from mid summer through fall. Mingled with Black and Blue salvia the effect is dignified and patriotic. Hardy in zones 7 and up."

Now that I recall that they are deer resistant, I'll put them along the fence where the deer like to snoop for next summer's garden.

18 October 2009

Brother and Sister Seeds Play Nice but Compete With Non-Siblings

While horticulturists and farmers may have known for decades that seed saving is a great idea, scientists have added new research to confirm their experience. Plants grown from seed of the same parent plant, grow more cooperatively with each other.The story came out this week from The University of Delaware where scientists made a discovery about plants being able to read the chemicals in each others' roots.

Here's the October 18 UDaily article in full.

In 2007, Susan Dudley a McMaster University evolutionary plant ecologist said Sea Rocket plants could recognize their siblings. Those siblings did not send out roots into each others' territory to take water and nutrients. The National Science Foundation funded the research.

When positioned next to non-sibling plant seeds, the they send out roots to compete with neighbors.

Noting that "Plants have no visible sensory markers, and they can't run away from where they are planted" Harsh Bais, assistant professor of plant and soil sciences at the University of Delaware, worked to uncover why some compete and others do not. Bais and doctoral student Meredith Bierdrzycki worked together on the problem at the Delaware Biotechnology Institute. (Photo from U Del)

Biedrzycki rotated more than 3,000 plants every day for seven consecutive days and documented the root patterns.

She said, "The research was very painstaking because Arabidopsis roots are nearly translucent when they are young and were also tangled when I removed them from plates, so measuring the roots took a great amount of patience."

So, no whining this winter about how many tomato seedling we are taking care of in the shed.

Their findings include:
Strangers planted next to each other are often shorter since energy is directed at root growth.
Noncompeting siblings have shallower roots.
Sibling plants allow their leaves to touch and intertwine compared to strangers that grow rigidly upright and avoid touching.

Bais said, "Often we'll put plants in the ground next to each other and when they don't do well, we blame the local garden center where we bought them or we attribute their failure to a pathogen. But maybe there's more to it than that."

15 October 2009

Go Green and Learn Worm Composting at a Workshop in Muskogee Saturday morning

Go Green Oklahoma reports that paper manufacturing is one of the most energy and resource intensive processes in our economy. Their website urges us to reduce our paper consumption.

The site has other go-green suggestions at their Make Every Day Earth Day link.

1. Plug printers and chargers into power strips and turn off the strips when not in use.

2. Waste less water. It is cycled through a chemical bath before it comes out your faucet.

3. Read product contents and choose the ones with less packaging and fewer chemicals.

4. Slow down on the highway. Avoid long drive-through lines where your car engine runs while you wait.

5. Choose locally grown food and compost what you don’t use.

6. Take re-usable bags to the store instead of getting oil-produced new ones on every trip. Keep them in your car.

7. Reduce paper use and recycle the rest.

8. Compost and worm compost. Each of us wastes 1.3 pounds of food scraps daily. Yard trimmings and food waste combined make up 25 to 30 percent of our nation’s waste.

In states from Minnesota to New Mexico and Oregon it is illegal to send easy-to-compost items to the dump with the trash. At http://tiny.cc/Y9xiX, All Business reports school, restaurant and grocery store green-waste success stories.

Start small.

The easy one is to never send plastic bags full of leaves and garden waste to the dump. Another easy one is to stop sending green food waste to the dump in plastic bags.

Make a leaf pile in a corner of the yard or pile them onto vegetable and flower beds where winter weather will decompose them into mulch and leaf mold. This will turn into a gold mine of microbes for your garden.

Leaf mold does not have many nutrients but when it is added to the soil, it makes the soil composition spongy so it will hold the moisture and air that are necessary for plant roots.

Leaf mulch on top of the soil prevents soil temperature fluctuations from damaging plant roots and stimulates microbial activity that reduces pests.

Try a worm compost bin.

Drill holes into a solid plastic storage container. Fill it with damp shredded paper and some non-meat food scraps. Add red wriggler worms and feed them. Every few months dump out the contents onto the garden. Separate out the worms and re-start the bin with fresh bedding and food. The remaining worm castings are gardener’s gold.

Friends of Honor Heights Park is sponsoring two speakers at a worm composting workshop, 9:00 Saturday morning in the Garden Education Room near the splash pad at the park. For more information contact Martha Stoodley 918.683.2373 and honorheightsfriends@gmail.com. Or go online to Oklahoma State University Fact Sheet Vermicomposting BAE-1742 at http://tiny.cc/45rPt

Start a compost bin or pile.

Compost is a cornerstone of soil fertility for gardeners who try to avoid chemicals.

A compost project can be as simple as making a pile that starts with twigs and fall garden cleanup leaves and plant stems. A structure can be built from panel wire or cinder blocks. Or, you can buy a compost bin from a garden supply or big box store.

Choose a spot in the shade and start the bottom of the pile with twigs you have cut with a pruner or lopper. Continue with layers of non-meat kitchen waste and yard waste. Adding water, alfalfa pellets and turning it will help, too. But if you have plenty of space and time to wait, you can skip those steps and just start another pile next year.

Oklahoma State University Fact Sheet BAE-1744 Backyard Composting in Oklahoma is available online at http://tiny.cc/yBsLE and from any local extension office.

14 October 2009

Cure Common Plant Diseases Without Chemicals

Plants that are accustomed to cooler temperatures and breezes blowing, often grow a little mold on the top of the soil when we bring them indoors

Remove the moldy soil down to a half-inch, replace it with fresh soil and sprinkle the top with an easily available fungicide - ground cinnamon from the kitchen spice rack.

Here is a link to the Texas Aggie - Horticulture site with many indoor plants' light and water needs.

Also, you'll want to bookmark the Golden Harvest site here for more easy, inexpensive, chemical free plant fixes.
Here's a sample of what you'll find there.

Click on This Remedy To Treat This Problem
Apple Cider Vinegar Fungicide Leafspot, mildew & scab
Baking Soda Spray Anthracnose, early tomato blight, leaf blight and spots, powdery mildew & as a general fungicide
Chive Spray Prevention of apple scab and downy mildew on cucumber, pumpkin and zucchini.
Compost and Manure Teas Blights & general disease
Corn and Garlic Spray General fungus preventative
Couch Grass Rhizome Tea Mildew & fungus preventative
Elder Leaf Spray Blackspot & mildew
Garlic Fungicide Spray 1: Mildews & leaf spot
Garlic Fungicide Spray 2: Fungicide and Insect repellent
Horseradish Spray Brown rot in apples & general disease prevention
Hydrogen Peroxide Treatment General disease preventative and direct treatment
Milk Spray Different common mildews on cucumber, asters, tomato, squash and zinnia foliage. Also for mosaic disease control on cucumber, lettuce & tomato.

What are your home remedies? Do you use crushed bay leaves and hot pepper seeds on the soil? Do you make sprays out of commonly available items? Let us know.

13 October 2009

The longer nights are a signal to plants to move toward dormancy and a reminder to gardeners to prepare their tender plants to be brought inside.

Although there is no frost or freeze warning in our immediate future, if you have as many plants tucked under trees and in beds as I do, it will take a few days to get them all cleaned, sprayed and washed out.

Before bringing in plants that will join protected houseplants, be sure to spray them off with water to remove dust and bugs. Then, water them enough that water flows freely out of the pot. This flooding will remove salts from the soil.

Remove dead leaves, prune off spindly side branches and deadhead leggy branches to fit into the confines of your home space.

Clean the leaves and stems. Use insecticidal soap or put a few drops of dish soap into a gallon of room temperature water and drench the plant, letting it drip outside, in the bathtub or kitchen sink.

Hose off the pot and put it into a tub of water to rinse off the bottom.

Inside the house, plants need about one-fourth as much water as they needed outside in the heat, sun and wind. Let the top one-half inch of soil dry out before watering.

Hold off on re-potting until late winter unless the plant shows signs of stress, like dropping its leaves or turning yellow.

Re-potting into fresh soil will stimulate the plant's growth and you want it to rest over the winter and not take up too much space.

10 October 2009

The newest 5 inch rainfall brought a snake into the kitchen. I guess its outdoor home was unpleasantly wet, so it came in to dry off.

When I tried to steer it into a container it slithered under the refrigerator. The warmth from the motor probably dried it off, and there might have been a few small snacks available under there, too.

We left the door open between the kitchen and the garage and assume it went back outside when the rain stopped. We have no pets other than our compost worms, the birds and butterflies we feed and encourage, rabbits, snakes, lizards and similar country cousins.

We have a neighbor who isn't home much and as they continue to collect cats, we inherit them in our yard and on our cozy chairs. You don't have to actually go out of your way to adopt strays, they adopt you.
On another topic, if you find yourself confronting nonsense sometimes, science would like to reassure you that you are doing a good deed for your mental development.

The New York Times reports that uncanny, disorienting and even creepy experiences, lead to learning.

"Researchers have long known that people cling to their personal biases more tightly when feeling threatened. After thinking about their own inevitable death, they become more patriotic, more religious and less tolerant of outsiders, studies find. When insulted, they profess more loyalty to friends..."

It sort of reminds me of when cats fall off a table, they groom themselves as though they meant to fall.

"For another, studies have found that people in the grip of the uncanny tend to see patterns where none exist — becoming more prone to conspiracy theories, for example. The urge for order satisfies itself, it seems, regardless of the quality of the evidence.
Still, the new research supports what many experimental artists, habitual travelers and other novel seekers have always insisted: at least some of the time, disorientation begets creative thinking."

When you have the urge to tear out existing stuff - landscaping, sidewalks, fences - it's just your brain trying to grow so go with it and create something new.

08 October 2009

The change from summer to fall is taken more gracefully by gardens than gardeners because plants have no regrets about what they did not accomplish over the summer. They are ready for fall even if they did not bloom their best or produce buckets of fruit.

Gardeners can take cuttings of tender perennials now to prolong their gardening activities well into the fall. Those cuttings will grow on a sunny windowsill or under lights and provide plants for next spring’s garden.

Tender perennials include: Begonia, Coleus, Fuscia, Hoya (Wax Plant), Impatiens, Joseph’s Coat, Lantana, Mandevilla, Passion Flower, Pelargonium (scented geranium), Plectranthus, Plumbago, Rosemary, Sage and Salvia, Sweet-potato vine, Torenia (Wishbone Flower), Verbena, etc.

True annuals, started from seed, will not overwinter well from cuttings.

Take a look at how much windowsill space you have for plants after they root. If you have a fluorescent-light bench to grow several plants, consider the size they will become and what other plants you may be starting. That will help you decide whether or not you can grow ten of everything.

Prepare containers and fill them to a an half inch below the top of the pot. In order to help prevent rotting, add sand, vermiculite, peat moss or perlite to sterile potting soil. For succulents, pure sand can be used. For Begonias, pure vermiculite will work.

Each cutting can use only a small amount of moisture. A large pot full of wet soil stays wet. Use small pots or yogurt containers with drainage holes.

Which ever rooting medium you use (soil, sand, etc.), moisten it and let it drain so it is damp not wet.
Select and cut about 6 inches from stem ends. Sterilize a sharp knife or pruner with alcohol. Take a cut just below a leaf node. (A node is where the leaf stems attach to the stem.)

Remove flowers, buds and all the leaves except the top two. If the top leaves are large, they can be cut in half to preserve the plant’s energy.

Check the depth of the rooting container against the length of your cutting. The cutting is inserted into the soil deep enough so that the only part of the stem above the soil is holding the leaves. Cut the stem so it fits the container but be sure there are at least two leaf nodes in the soil.

Rooting products cannot be re-used so put a little of it into a separate container. Moisten the stem and dip it into dry or liquid rooting hormone. You can also put hormone where the leaves were removed. Tap the stem to remove any extra.

Use a pencil to make a hole in the moist planting medium and insert the cutting. Firm the soil around the cutting. Put the pot onto newspaper or an old towel to continue to remove excess moisture.

Cover the containers with plastic wrap or a clear plastic bag to prevent the cuttings from drying out. Clear plastic produce containers (berries, salad, etc.) with lids attached are useful for short pieces and leaf propagation. Keep the leaves away from the plastic.

The roots of your new plants will emerge from the former leaf nodes on the bottom and sides of your cuttings. Since they do not have roots yet to take up water, they have to be checked daily for moisture. Lift the plastic of your mini-greenhouse and mist them if necessary.

Keep unrooted cuttings in a warm place, away from direct light. When new growth emerges, roots have formed.

Transplant your tiny starts into small pots and water from the bottom. Move them into bright light. Keep them compact over the winter by pinching back new growth.

Questions or comments? email me at mollyday1@gmail.com

07 October 2009

Deborah Silver's Sheetcake Garden

I've linked to Deborah Silver's blog, Dirt Simple, before and must again. Silver is a landscape designer with an online portfolio here.

A recent blog entry called "A Sheetcake Garden" has photos and descriptions of a truly clean approach to landscaping - planting shrubs in masses.
Silver then introduced her readers to Spanish landscape architect, Fernando Caruncho. The website is in Spanish, of course, but the photos make it worth a visit. Clean elegance.

A Google search on Caruncho yields pages and pages of images.

The website, Vulgare says that most of Caruncho's designs are in Spain.
"Caruncho has carefully studied the history of oriental and occidental garden architecture and translates a number of archetypical elements of Moorish and Arabic gardens into contemporary designs." Hence the clean lines.
Take a look at these spectacular designers' ideas as you consider your landscape over the months ahead.

06 October 2009

Cold Hardy Tropical Plants

By December we will wish we were in South America - or at least Florida.

But, alas, we can't all go. We'll have to console ourselves with fall photos of cold hardy plants that are usually considered to be grown only in tropical climates.

Cold hardy Banana trees, Musa Basjoo, have thrived in our zone 7 garden for a couple of years and grow larger each year.

Another one is the cold hardy Begonia grandis pictured here with it's pink petioles and flowers as it looked at the beginning of October. And, you can add a gorgeous ginger to that list, too.

There are 1,000 varieties of ginger and at least one of them, White Butterfly Ginger, is cold hardy in zones 5b to 11.

So when you are catalog shopping this winter or making a list of must have plants for next spring's shopping spree, add one or all of these to create a tropical look and feel to your surroundings well into next fall.

05 October 2009

What's This Baby Snake?

We live on a hill and every time a hole is dug for a plant, the rocks have to be removed. So the rocks become borders for the beds as well as being used as walkways.

When I pull weeds around the beds, I move and restack the rocks. Look what I found under the rocks under one of the trees.

Do you know what it is?

04 October 2009

Tulsa Perennial Club Tour October 2009

Over thirty plant lovers gathered on Saturday, October 3 to attend the Tulsa Perennial Club's member tour.
The weather couldn't have been better for walking through 5 or 6 gardens to be surrounded by fall blooms and talk about plants.
These gardeners are artists, in addition to being great with encouraging the best from their soil.
At a garden designer's home, there were so many eye catching compositions we just kept smiling.
The last official stop on the tour included a lunch provided by the homeowner. This welcoming fall scene was in the front to guide us all into a wonderful back yard.
Everyone who brought a camera was busy snapping photos of friends, plant combinations, art, and arrangements to remember.
Thanks to each host and hostess who invited us to share your home. We all know that it takes a lot of work to prepare for visitors. You made it a remarkable day

03 October 2009

02 October 2009

Take a Minute - Vote for Your Favorite Poster at the First Annual Save the Frogs Contest

Save the Frogs is an organization with an obvious purpose. They held a poster contest and need your vote to select the winners from the 18 finalists.
Click here, scroll down and look at the entries. To vote you just have to give your first name and an email address.
Support children in learning to preserve the earth and all her inhabitants.