Showing posts from June, 2010

What's This Bug?

An early morning walk around the yard after a night of rain yielded some interesting sights, not the least of which is this bug.

The grandgirls and I spent an hour searching bug sites on the Internet and haven't exactly identified it yet.

Do you know what it is? Post a comment or email me at Thanks.

Tulsa Herb Society July 12 - free speaker

The Tulsa Herb Society welcomes Crescent Dragonwagon to Tulsa
Tulsa Garden Center, 2435 S. Peoria Ave., Tulsa, OK
July 12th from 7:00 to 8:30 pm.
Crescent Dragonwagon, Ellen Zolotow is a writer, teacher, and performer who works in the literary, culinary and dramatic arts and the author of more than fifty books.

Presentation "Food, Shelter, Story: The World comes to us by Plate and Word"

Crescent Dragonwagon

Food, Shelter, Story:
The World comes to us by Plate and Word: The last two decades have seen a deepening and genre-blending of culinary writing, which reflects our growing understanding that food always, has something to say.
Its languages are not just personal but historical, ecological, political, national, regional, economic, cultural, spiritual. What, how, where, why, and when do we eat?

How does our food come to us? Though eating may appear to be a matter of satiating hunger while giving us sensual pleasure and nourishment, it's complex, tying us to the world and inte…

Make Your Own Potting Soil

Many wonderful plants can and should be grown in containers.

Frankly, I resist planting containers because of the cost of bag after bag of potting mix. For the budget minded there is an alternative. It isn't free, but is a a vast improvement over the commercially available products.

Here's one recipe for a suitable mixture -

1 Part bagged Topsoil, 1 Part compost, and, •1 Part builder's sand

To improve the mix add to each 8 quarts
2 Tablespoons cottonseed meal, 2 Tablespoons soft rock phosphate, and 2 Tablespoons greensand

It's worth chasing down the ingredients. Give it a try and let me know your results.

Top Ten Gardening Mistakes

Everyone who has a hobby made mistakes while learning the skills needed to succeed. Usually over time, we make new mistakes as we try new methods. New gardeners make different mistakes than those with experience, but we all kill plants.

Dr. Doug Welsh, was the coordinator of the Texas state Master Gardeners program for 21 years. He is the co-author of Xeriscape Gardening: Water Conservation for the American Landscape and the author of Doug Welsh's Texas Garden Almanac and produces two weekly Texas gardening programs.

As the keynote speaker at the Texas Master Gardeners' Conference, Welsh detailed gardeners' top ten mistakes. Are these your top ten mistakes?

1. Overwatering - Twenty-five percent of water used by people in towns and cities is used for landscapes and gardens. Overwatering encourages shallow roots and stresses plants. His tip is to watch crape myrtle and hardy hibiscus shrubs for signs of needing water. When they wilt it is time to water. Water so the soil is w…

Corporate Gardeners

Large and small organizations around the country are adding gardens for employees. I do hope this is not a phase but a real change.

The American Society of Landscape Architects reports that Yahoo, Google, PepsiCo, Kohl's, Toyota, Aveda, and others have paid for the gardens to be established.
Pat Guinn's Triplets
The problem is that employees like the idea but don't make time to work on the gardens. Perhaps they aren't GIVEN the time to work in the garden. But, on the other hand, that's an everlasting problem with home gardens, too. We buy the plants, amend the soil, put the plants in and are defeated by heat and weeds.

Hopefully, executives won't see the weedy, dry plots as a failure of the effort. Hopefully, they will try again next year. Just like the rest of us.

Busy In the Garden

This is a busy season in the garden and most of us are wishing for rain or recovering from rain.
Remember spring when it was cool outside and the garden possibilities seemed endless?
Summer's heat dashesd some of those spring fed dreams because watering and mulching take up a lot of time and there are so many fun things to do.

A new e newsletter from Fine Gardening's Janet Macunovich provides watering ideas worth considering - Excerpts and the link

Water makes up 90 to 98 percent of every plant we grow. It holds leaves and stems aloft, just as air in an inner tube keeps a tire round. All the nutrients plants need to grow, color, flower, multiply, and defend their tissues against pests are produced by the solar-powered chemical reactions that take place in the watery soup within the cells.

Twenty years of gardening has taught me to ignore generalities .. .

The first step when determining a watering regimen is to test your soil's water-holding capacity.

First, soak a 12-inch-diamet…

Cleveland County Master Gardeners Demonstration Garden

The Cleveland County Master Gardeners in Norman OK were the hosts for this year's MG Conference.
I have never been to a conference where the hosts were more hospitable. Even though we were strangers to them, we were welcomed with open arms, conversation, food, and wine tasting (Dancing Rabbit Creek wine from Paul's Valley is wonderful).

The Native American Garden is the baby of Dr. Fred Schneider, retired professor from North Dakota. Schneider has been collecting native seeds for the past 35 to 37 years and the garden is sporting his finds.

The Demonstration Garden also has a Serendipity Garden, vegetable garden, butterfly garden, etc.

Among the Master Gardeners who were at the event were the ladies at the wine tasting table, Juliana Michael in blue and Tracey Payton (in the orange shirt), Horticulturist for Cleveland County.

This is one of my favorite snaps from the event because it made me laugh.

The volunteers grow enough produce to donate over 1200 pounds to charity.

It was hot…

Tulsa Master Gardeners' Showcase Tour June 26 & 27

Tulsa Master Gardeners Showcase Garden Tour
Self-guided tours:
Saturday June 26 from 9 to 5 and Sunday June 27 from 11 to 5
Contact: Sheryl Chadd, Garden Tour Chair, 918.742.7662 or and,
Tickets $7.50 includes tour and garden talks at the OSU Extension Center

Saturday talks: 11:00 Safe Sex in the Garden by Sandie Bailey, 12 noon The Buzz About Bees by Helen Hickey, 1:00 Dealing With Tomato Problems by Lew Melone, 2:00 Gardening for Butterflies by Jim Thayer

Sunday talks: 12 noon Safe Sex, 1:00 Butterflies, 2 Tomato Problems, 3:00 Bees

Next weekend the Tulsa Master Gardeners Showcase Garden Tour will attract hundreds of plant lovers. Sheryl Chadd, tour chairwoman, said that 140-volunteers have been involved in putting on the tour this year.

There will be Master Gardeners at each home answering gardening questions, Chadd said. And, we will have cold water at all of the homes.

According to Chadd, the variety of gardens range from sunn…

Will You Have a Fall Vegetable Garden?

It is time to consider seeds for a fall vegetable garden.

Even though my broccoli is still making secondary edibles mid-June, I must consider starting seeds for that better that ever fall crop. How about you? Is a fall garden in your plan?

According to OSU Fact Sheet 6009 the schedule for fall gardening is -

Tender Vegetables - harvest before frost
Beans, Bush Aug 10-20 Days from planting seeds to harvest 50-60
Beans, Cowpea July 15-Aug 1 Days to harvest 75
Beans, Pole July 15-30 Seed 60-70
Beans, Lima Aug 10-20 Seed 70-80
Cilantro July 15-Aug 1 Seed
Corn, Sweet3 July 15 80-100
Cucumber Aug 10-20 Seed 60-70
Eggplant July 15 80-90
Pepper July 15 90-110
Pumpkin July 15-30 Seed 100-120
Summer Squash July 15-Sept 1 Seed 40-50
Winter Squash July 15-30

Semi-hardy may continue to grow and be harvested after several frosts
Beans, Bush Aug 10-20 Seed 50-60
Beans, Cowpea July 15-Aug 1 75
Beans, Pole July 15-30 Seed 60-70
Beans, Lima Aug 10-20 Seed 70-80
Cilantro July 15-Aug 1 Seed
Corn, Sweet3 July 15 Seed 80-100

Potatoes Grown in Cages

The potatoes grown in wire cages did pretty well. We lined each cage with wheat straw, then alternated straw and potting soil.
Then we put 3 seeds into each cage, topped with soil and straw.

Each cage was made from 5 feet of chicken wire, secured with duct tape and stood on top of wire to keep out moles.
Each container yielded about 2.5 pounds of fingerlings. That was an experiment.

The rest of the seeds we planted in the raised bed with the garlic and those plants still have green, albeit flea beetle chewed, leaves and aren't ready to harvest.

Bring Flying Flowers Into Your Garden

The most beautiful and watchable life in our gardens include butterflies, moths and skippers. Called the Lepidopteran order of insects, they pollinate plants as well as feed songbirds, reptiles and amphibians. Their pollination helps create fruit, vegetables and flowers.

These insects go through metamorphosis in four stages
A fertilized egg that hatches in about a week.

The larval or caterpillar stage. During this period of life they eat leaves, shedding their skin several times as they grow larger.

A pupa or chrysalis that the caterpillar attaches to a plant with silk. Inside the case, the caterpillar turns to liquid and forms into a butterfly, moth or skipper.

The adult emerges with wet folded wings in about 2 weeks.

Butterflies, moths and skippers need flower nectar, water, sunshine, a mud puddle and caterpillar food to raise the next generation.

They also need a chemical free environment without pesticides, herbicides and other poisons.

To attract adult butterflies and moths, provide…

Evening Primrose or Sundrops are Oenothera

The wildflower Evening Primrose, Oenothera macrocarpa is also called Ozark Sundrops. The Great Plains Nature Center site says that pollination is provided by large hawkmoths and possibly hummingbirds.

The flowers have a distinctive, large X-shaped pistil which projects beyond the stamens.

GPNC site also says
Evening Primrose is a complex of four similar subspecies which occur in the southern half of the Great Plains.

1. Fremont's Evening Primrose (subsp. fremontii) - found in chalk badlands and rocky hillsides in northwest and north central Kansas and four counties in Nebraska. Formerly considered a separate species, it has smaller flowers and shorter wings on its seed pods than the other three.

2. Hoary Evening Primrose (subsp. incana) - found from southwestern Kansas to the Oklahoma and Texas panhandles. Hoary Evening Primrose is densely covered with short hairs.

3. Oklahoma Evening Primrose (subsp. oklahomensis) - found from the Gyp Hills of south central Kansas south into Texas. T…

Incredible Edibles: 43 Fun Things to Grow in the City by Sonia Day

Master Gardener Sonia Day has released a new book that encourages city dwellers to do a little home gardening.
Day writes a garden column for the Toronto Star, so you know that her advice is geared toward gardeners in the north. By the way, Toronto is zone 6 by their formula and zone 5 by the U.S. system - here's that scoop.

With that said, the book focuses on 43 plants to grow - a great summary for anyone who would like to grow some of their own edibles but doesn't know where to start.

So, what are the recommended edibles? They include: Asparagus Peas, runner and pole beans, chard, cucumbers, fava beans, melons, mesclun, herbs, strawberries, etc.

The approach is to re-think grow-your-own. Don't think of it as old fashioned farm house veggie and fruit growing for survival, but think of it as growing delicious, fresh, nutritious and beautiful additions to the table.

Use a small bed or pots to keep things under control - you don't have to plow up the back and front yards as …

Joy in Your Garden by Joy Bossi & Karen Bastow

Joy Bossi earned a degree in Botany and went on to teach at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. She followed that career with work in a nursery, television and radio gardening programs, garden consulting and now a book. Here's a link to her website,Joy in the Garden.

Collaborating with Karen Bastow, Bossi summarized her experiences, thoughts and ideas about gardening into a paperback that runs 144-pages.

According to this Utah article, Bastow is a humanitarian gardener who has worked in Kenya. Both are Master Gardeners.

Anyone who wants to garden in the Southwest and Rocky Mountain regions would do well to grab a copy of this easy to read volume.

Even if you aren't in her planting zone, Bossi give really good tips.

"When you cover your soil with 2+ inches of good compost, every time it rains or you irrigate, a mild compost tea is produced. From the plant roots to the microbes, that tea will make every soil body happy!"

"A tree on the north gives your neighbor a…

Blue Flowers in the Wall Street Journal

Ian Scroggy took these photos of blue poppies in a private garden in Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland, UK. Ian posted them on the Daffodil Network (daffnet) and gave me permission to post them here.

ANNE MARIE CHAKER had a piece in the WSJ about blue flowers - which I LOVE. I won't copy/paste the entire piece but will encourage you to go read it.

Here are a couple of excerpts and the link

"Blue is the most elusive, most coveted color in gardening, where some of the most skilled practitioners take pleasure in attempting to grow the near- impossible. Much of what passes for blue in the plant world—lavender, lilac, larkspur - is actually a shade of purple.

Plant colors are the products of chemical "pathways" in a plant, the molecular reactions responsible for everything from attracting pollinators to converting light to food. Pigments known as anthocyanins produce a range of colors including red and violet. Others known as carotenoids produce shades of orange. But no single pi…

Things You Need

Most of us have favorite tools we use in the garden. We reach for the old familiar friends when heading out to weed, dig and prune. But there are new tools in the marketplace and some items you might not have thought of as garden tools.

A new set of tools came out from Radius this year . The digging fork, shovel, spade, long handle weeder, bulb auger, transplanter, etc. all have a top handle that is round and cushioned, providing 4-times the gripping space.

Radius also makes a Pond Shark for cleaning out the koi pond and a Gator Grabber that is wonderfully easy to use for picking up leaves and other garden debris without stooping over.

To make the watering easier this summer, consider adding a new hose and an Excel Wobbler. Space the Wobblers every 24-feet, attached to a stand, and turn on the water. A hose bib extender could reduce the hose dragging hassle and make life a little easier, too.

And, when shopping for a new garden hose, you will find rubber, vinyl and combination materials…

Take Cuttings as You Prune

Early summer pruning is one of the tasks we are working on right now in order to keep plants shaped, remove branches that are askew or damaged, allow sun to flow through to the ground and remove spent flowers.

For example, the Euonymus in the photo weaves through a chainlink fence and looks nice until its stems poke up above the fence like wild hair blowing in a convertible.
Today, I took cuttings of an heritage azalea at a friend's house before it is pruned for the season. So with the dipping hormones prepared, I took cuttings of a gorgeous tree Euphorbia, some trailing purple petunias and a Salvia that I replant from stem cuttings every year.

Softwood stem cuttings, recently grown stem tips, are tender and have to be handled carefully.They are snipped from plants about this time of year - late spring on the calendar but early summer in the yard.

A tip cutting is the tip bud of the stem and enough stem to hold 3 leaf nodes.

Semi-hardwood cuttings are taken between late summer and ear…