Showing posts from August, 2010

Allan Armitage via Greenhouse Grower

Greenhouse Grower dot com has a page of Allan Armitage video clips online.
In each clip, Armitage talks about and shows a great new plant he is enthusiastic about.

Here's the link

Why Did My Plant Die? by Charlesworth

Why Did My Plant Die?
By Geoffrey B. Charlesworth
from his book
The Opinionated Gardener- Random Offshoots from an Alpine Garden

You walked too close. You trod on it.
You dropped a piece of sod on it.
You hoed it down. You weeded it.
You planted it the wrong way up.
You grew it in a yogurt cup
But you forgot to make a hole;
The soggy compost took its toll.
September storm. November drought.
It heaved in March, the roots popped out.
You watered it with herbicide.
You scattered bone meal far and wide.
Attracting local omnivores,
Who ate your plant and stayed for more.
You left it baking in the sun
While you departed at a run
To find a spade, perhaps a trowel,
Meanwhile the plant threw in the towel.
You planted it with crown too high;
The soil washed off, that explains why.
Too high pH. It hated lime.
Alas it needs a gentler clime.
You left the root ball wrapped in plastic.
You broke the roots. They're not elastic.
You walked too close. You trod on it.
You dropped a piece of sod on it.
You splashed the plant w…

Anne Pinc's Garden

This beautiful evergreen fern in Anne Pinc's garden is just one of the wonderful treats she shared with us.

Like many plant-smart people, Anne walks her garden spouting common and Latin names at the same rate of speed and no matter how many times I say "What?" I can't write them all down fast enough.

Two white kittens roam the gardens and even allow visitors to pet them.

This large foliage plant stands taller than a person behind the shade structure in the photo below. Chinese Rice Paper Plant seems to thrive here. I saw it all over Tulsa, too.

Look at this elegantly simple structure. It provides a haven for shade loving perennials and breaks up the path to the pool and greenhouses.

I saw bowtie vines at three Tulsa gardens last week. All 3 of them were from Bustani Plant Farm. Steve and Ruth Owens are getting the hot, new plants distributed to the best gardens.

And, Anne. What a wonderful, generous person.

Plant people are some of the best people we meet in this life.

The Field Guide to Fields by Bill Laws

National Geographic Books released "The Field Guide to Fields: Hidden Treasures of Meadows, Prairies and Pastures"

Fields is a fascinating read that provides a guide to the progression of fields over the course of human history.

Flowers, grains, crops, flowers and creatures great and small are included. There are several full-page crop descriptions with an identification guide, uses, cultivation history and primary growing area.

The illustrations are paintings that beautifully illustrate animals, crops and scenes from nature.

I've enjoyed reading and learning how they interacted and changed each other over time.

Fields is a 220 page paperback. $17.50 at the National Geographic link above.

Reduce Summertime Watering = Xeriscape

Mid-August is the month of watering every plant we want to keep alive for next year or even for the cooler fall days that are coming.

August is also a time to consider which pots, flower beds and areas would be ideal to convert to low water plantings.

Good candidates for low water usage plants include: beds just past the reach of the garden hose, the hot dry area along a street, driveway, sidewalk curb, around the pool or at the base of a rural mailbox, gigantic ornamental pots, and on the edge of a hill in full sun.

Xeriscape (pronounced zeer-eh-skape) does not mean zero landscape. The homeowners who adopt that definition, install a front yard composed of stones, rocks, driftwood, and plastic skulls.

Keep Oklahoma Beautiful (, states that, Plants are selected for a xeriscape based on their ability to grow and thrive with minimal watering and maintenance. Normal levels of watering during the first year establishment period are required since new plantings don’t …

Fall Broccoli Seed Starting Redux

My method for seed starting is to fill the bottom half of the container with new potting soil and the top half with peat moss based seed starting soil.

Redux - because the first planting of broccoli seeds because burned up during our 2 week relocation to the surface of the sun. Broccoli grows in 75 degree days and 50 degree nights. If temperatures sustain much hotter or colder, you can say bye bye.

Make a hole in the center of each cell. Broccoli seeds are planted one-fourth to one-half inch deep.

Drop a couple of seeds into each hole and cover with soil. Fill the tray under the seed starting container with water. A drop of seaweed fertilizer can be added to a gallon of water to get the soil ready to receive the roots.

Seeds need soil contact points so press the soil down onto the seeds.

This step is not necessary but I do it. Sprinkle the top with vermiculite.

Spray the top of the soil with mister. I'm putting on diluted fungicide to reduce the possibility of damping off disease.


Reliable Summertime Flowers

Summertime flowers that can take the sun and heat tend to have dusty colors and silvery leaves. Not all, but many.

Wormwood is a good example of summertime beauty with cool, silvery, water-surface coloring. The drier the better. Here, the groundcover is gravel. Artimisia has been widely used as a medicinal herb, too. Sweet Annie can be started from seed in the spring.

Agastache has come into its own with more colors than the familiar blues.
Sunset Hyssop is sown from seed in the spring and blooms heavily in August's heat.
Shades of Orange Agastache is available from High Country Gardens.

Seseli elatum grown by Tom Clothier and gummiferum at Annie's Annuals are both August winners. Clothier's seed germination database says to sow seeds at 68-degrees and if they don't germinate in a month, chill them and try again.

With all varieties of Oregano available, a gardener would be hard pressed to say there isn't a flower color to go with their scheme. This thorough article by

Can You Say Xeriscape?

Xeriscape (pronounced zeeriskape)is gardening with a minimum of water use. With water considered to be the the gold of the future, all of us would be wise to consider how we can reduce water use in the landscape.

70% of water used in urban areas is used for non-consumption purposes, including irrigating golf courses, filling swimming pools, residential, park and commercial landscaping.

On the homefront, removing all grass is gathering steam as a major movement.

Some people take out all the plants and put in rocks.

Others prefer a low water-usage selection of plants with mulch.

I have a preference. What's yours?

Volunteer at Linnaeus Teaching Garden in Tulsa - Upcoming Training

Barry Fugatt

A teaching garden is a public space where everyone from the community can come learn about plants. Most teaching gardens are staffed with volunteers who give tours, teach classes and answer gardening questions. It’s an outdoor classroom, with vegetables, herbs, ornamental plants, and a water feature.

The Linnaeus Teaching Garden is tucked away at the back of Tulsa’s Woodward Park and behind the Tulsa Garden Center main building. The 1.5 acre teaching garden is part of the Garden Center (

Barry Fugatt, horticulturist for Tulsa Garden Center is the director of the Teaching Garden where 230 volunteers provide tours, give classes, answer phones and greet visitors.

Beginning in 2005, Fugatt was instrumental in the original concept , design, and fundraising for the garden. The initial money to start construction came from 3,000 individual donations, and then, companies came forward to donate materials.
Fugatt and the volunteer coordinator, Rebecca Fernandez a…

Renee Reed Talks Herbs on Saturday

This coming Saturday, Aug 21
Garden Writer and owner of Reed's Designs will speak at the Flower Garden and Nature Society of Northwest Arkansas in Springdale.

Herbs - Their Folklore and What to do with Them

Northwest Technical Institute
Student Center
709 S. Old Missouri Rd.
Springdale AR
Coffee 9:30
Program 10:00 a.m.
Free and open to the public
Info 479-521-9090

Lynn Rogers,program chair 479-841-8759 and 479521-9090

Golden Tortoise Beetle on Morning Glory Leaf = Holes all over

We have an insect tolerant garden. When I see tiny holes in soft green leafy plants, I assume beetle, but rarely figure out what kind because beetles move so fast.

More than half of the Morning Glory leaves have these distinctive beetle-holes in them.

Well, this morning, one of the culprits was visible so I could research it and learn about it.

What's that bug says it is Charidotella sexpunctata, sometimes called a Gold Bug. Both the larvae and adults eat the leaves of Morning Glories.

Scarabogram gives more information online - a 1994 article by Louise Kulzer.

The golden tortoise beetle is a stunning, vibrant metallic gold color. It has a magical quality, not only because of the brilliance of its color, but also because the brilliance isn't permanent. Metriona can alter color within a short time period, turning from brilliant gold to a dull, spotty reddish color. The gold color also fades when the insect dies. What controls the color while the insect is alive is an intriguing ques…

And, Still They Bloom

It's a miracle that so many flowers continue to bloom in a week of 105-degree days. But, bloom, they do.

The Joe Pye Weed (Eupatorium purpureum) is just about finished but the butterflies seem to find one last drop of nectar.

Globe Amaranth (Gomphrena globosa) puts on a show whether or not we water that bed on the other side of the veggie garden. If we water, they stand taller but talk about heat and drought tolerant! And, they are all volunteers.

Sweet Williams (Dianthus Barbatus) is one of my favorite plants. These I started using Ivy Garth seed and the ones that made it into the ground have been a big success. They stand up to the heat. If they aren't watered soon enough they stop blooming but bloom the day after water from the hose hits them.

A tip of the trowel to Botanical Interests for publishing a fall herb and vegetable planting guide. Check it out here.

Hume Seeds vegetable fall planting guide is here.

Fall Wildflower planting info from American Meadows is here.

As soon …

Butterfly Festivals

This weekend there are butterfly festivals in Kansas City MO and Dallas TX. And there is a possibility that in the years ahead, there will be a butterfly festival in Muskogee at Honor Heights Park.

Friends of Honor Heights Park has set a goal of creating a teaching garden and butterfly house in the park. The designer provided an animated tour of the proposed garden that you can watch at

Friends received a foundation challenge grant and now needs the support of the community. In order to receive the grant funds, Friends of HHP has to raise $200,000 through memberships, grants and donations.

You can help by joining or by making a contribution by credit card at, or, by mailing a contribution to Friends of Honor Heights Park, 4211 High Oaks, Muskogee OK 74401.

The educational and recreational benefits of such an addition to Honor Heights Park will be limited only by the imagination of teachers, families, plant enthusiast…

Knee High Weeds full of Mosquitoes

We are having an excessive heat warning all week.

And yet, the 4-foot high weeds needed to be taken out of the fence-line shrub row.

That area is bug heaven and I always get a dozen bites when caring for it. That's why the weeds grow so tall before I have the courage to fight them back.

Despite the 100-degrees and the cell-cleansing perspiration pouring out of my pale skin, the Eco Smart Organic Insect Repellent worked.

It's an organic, Deet free, Insect Repellent and not one bite.

Also no skin irritation, no red spots, no burning from chemicals.

Here's a link to the Eco Smart bargain bundles

Powell Gardens - 30 miles from KC MO

We visited Powell Gardens, this past weekend. The reason for the trip was their Butterfly Festival but we love going there. It's a beautiful space.
The volunteer coordinator told me they have over 200 volunteers they can count on for events.
Half price membership? Hold me back. We joined.
The normal entry was blocked in favor of having everyone pass through the butterfly breezeway.
All the butterflies in the breezeway are locals, mostly swallowtails. But everyone was in awe nonetheless. Butterflies are irresistible.
There were lots of displays, activities for children, book signing and plant sale for the grown ups. Outside, the Big Bug art was worth seeing. The artist, David Rogers lives in NY where he also does large branch art.

Organic Gardening How to videos

Although the quality can be uneven, eHow is launching a new series of organic gardening videos that should be better than average.

Called "Grow Cook Eat", Willi Galloway promises to teach viewers how to grow backyard food and cook it for their own tables.

Here's the link. What do you think?

It's Sunflower Season

The sunflowers are bursting out. They are covered with bees
most of the day.

These fabulous blooms came from Renee's Seeds, though
I'm not sure which packets I planted.

But at this point it seems unimportant what their names are.
I go out and admire them a couple of times a day.

Vesper Iris, Pardanthopsis dichotoma Plus Blackberry Lily, Belamcanda = Candy Lilies, X Pardancanda norrisii

Many of the flowers we enjoy growing are the result of a gardener's curiosity and efforts. One example is the Candy Lily, also called Orchid Lily or Paintbox Lily. It is a hybrid between a Blackberry Lily and the night blooming Vesper Iris.

Its scientific name is X Pardancanda norrisii. Its parent's scientific names are Pardanthopsis dichotoma and Belamcanda Chinesis, making Pardan + canda the name. The X means hybrid and norrisii is for Samuel Norris, the original back yard breeder.

One parent, the Vesper Iris, a Siberian native, has light green sword leaves and mauve or purple-blue flowers with white and yellow markings.

Vesper Iris, also called Star of the Evening, opens in the late afternoon during the summer. When the flowers fade they twist into spirals and fall.

Bustani Plant Farm is one source of Vesper Iris plants, and 405-372-3379. Ruth Owens at Bustani provided the photos you see here.

Ed Rasmussen of Fragrant Path,, s…