30 May 2010

My Salvia moorcroftiana or Sclera or Turkestanica or or eigii or Vatican Clary Sage or pachyphylla

This biennial Salvia has more names than an often married member of a royal family. It's taken considerable research to identify this beauty because it has so many names.

First and best reference, of course is The New Book of Salvias by Betsy Clebsch. Clebsch's exacting description and photo helped identify the leaves.
However, Clebsch's original Salvia book, A Book of Salvias: Sages for Every Garden, identifies a plant that looks just like it as Salvia eigii.

But an Internet trip to Robins Salvias Gallery clarified that - it's not eigii.
And then, look at the photos at Dave's Garden where it is called pachyphylla.

Salvia moorcroftiana Wallich ex Bentham, according to Clebsch, is a robust perennial found throughout Pakistan and is especially common in the Kashmir valley.

But then the leaves of vitifolia are identical, too.

My hope is that it becomes a perennial that spreads by rhizome, seed, whatever. It's too glorious to have only one summer...whatever its name is.

29 May 2010

One of My Favorite Flowers

What do you call them? Dianthus Barbatus, Hardy Pinks, Sweet William, Maiden Pink, Grass Pink, Pheasant's Eye, Chinese Pink, Picotee, Carnation, Clove Pink or some other pet name?

One of the oldest known cultivated plants, pinks were first brought to English gardens in the 1500s.

The ones in these photos came from a Blossoms Garden Center, a local nursery. Three years ago I planted a few 4-inch pots and they have grown into a substantial contribution to the garden.

Other varieties have grey stems and single flowers in red, pink, white.


Of course, they are a close relative of carnations. Many varieties are easy to grow from seed and each year I add another color or type to the garden. Most of the time, they come back in an ever larger stand that can be divided and moved.

They bloom best in full sun, but do OK with some afternoon shade.

If you can use a scented, reliable, old-fashioned flower, grab some of these at your local garden center or at the Bluestone Perennials sale here.

27 May 2010

Achillea or Yarrow for Your Summer Garden

Achillea (pronounced ah-KILL-ee-ah) has a dozen nicknames including yarrow, old man's pepper, milfoil, thousand-leaf, woundwort, devil's nettle and others. The species name, millefolium means thousand-leaf. That name comes from yarrow’s many-toothed leaves.

Yarrow is the most commonly used name for all the varieties that are available. It is an easy to grow herbaceous (dies to the ground in the winter) perennial that will come back year after year.

The wild, white flowering, variety that grows in fields has been tamed over and over again, making garden yarrow into a reliable and beautiful perennial that likes heat, humidity and lean soil.

All yarrows have flat flower-heads that contain dozens of small, clustered flowers that are ignored by deer and damaging insects. The green or grey-green leaves are feathery and scented or aromatic.


Gardeners who want cut flowers for the house cannot resist long-lasting yarrow blooms. The flower heads are 2 to 6 inches across on 18 to 24 inch stems that will fill several vases. After cutting or deadheading, the plants will re-bloom. Flower colors include white, ivory, yellow, gold, coral, pink, red, lilac, purple, etc. The newest varieties have stronger stems and larger flower heads than the heirlooms.

Yarrow prefers 8 hours of sun a day and lean, unfertilized soil that stays on the dry side. Shady locations can cause lanky stems that fall over. Humidity and heat are no problem for any Yarrow but it will tend to sprawl. The common variety, Achillea millifolium, spreads vigorously.

Yarrow blooms for a month or two, attracting ladybugs, butterflies and syrphid flies. Syrphid flies, also called hover flies, are harmless to us but their caterpillars eat dozens of harmful insects such as aphids.

After the summer flowers fade, cut back the plant stems to keep them compact as well as encourage new growth and re-blooming in the fall.

During the growing season, the plant's roots can be divided into several pieces and replanted. Just snip off the faded flowers first. Or, if you prefer, take soft (not woody), tip cuttings and grow them in pots to make a supply of identical plants.
Crafters often use the flower heads for dried arrangements. To dry them, cut before they fully mature and hang them head down, in a breezy place, away from sunlight.

Yarrows can be started from a packet of seed but most gardeners purchase plants to get the varieties that are propagated from cuttings. They spread slowly by seed and by underground rhizomes and will form colonies over several years. In particular, the variety called Paprika is known to create a thick mat of plants with red flowers.

The new colors, introduced by Blooms of Bressingham, include Pineapple Mango, Peachy Seduction, Pink Grapefruit, Pomegranate, etc. (See photos at http://bit.ly/916Ker)

Achillea was named after Achilles. You may recall from high school that Achilles was the Greek hero of the Trojan War in Homer’s Iliad. The plant's names of Soldier's Staunchweed and Woundwort come from its early medicinal use of blood clotting. Achilles was said to carry a supply of the plant into battles.

One name, Old Man’s Pepper, came from the days men used the dried leaves as snuff.
Yarrow also has somewhat spiritual properties. It was believed that if a single man or woman put an ounce of yarrow under their pillow at night they would have a vision of their spouse-to-be while sleeping.

Today, yarrow tea is used to treat colds and flu and is a component of herbal cosmetics.

Yarrow is a member of the Asteracaea plant family which includes aster, daisy, mums and sunflower.

The University of Maryland has an informative fact sheet online at http://bit.ly/cYJXY1 with cultivar and propagation information.

24 May 2010

Snakes In the Garden

The Snakes of North America website from the University of Pittsburgh has photos of dozens of our snakes to help identify the ones you may see in the garden.

This one is most likely a garter snake. They are harmless - they eat frogs, toads, salamanders, earthworms, fish and mice.

Tulsa Master Gardeners website has a discussion of Oklahoma Poisonous Snakes by extension educator, Bruce Peverley.

Every year, when we clean out the flower beds, we see snakes like these. Most likely, they are traveling through our property on their way to a decent hunting ground where rodents are plentiful. This one, I think is a Great Plains Ratsnake. They eat rodents, bats, and birds.

The best site I found is OK Snakes, with photos of all our snakes in categories such as patterned, striped, etc. The one snake I wish we'd attract is one that would eat moles and voles. And, maybe the skunk, raccoon, squirrel, possom or armadillo back there that's making all those holes in the yard for us to trip on.

23 May 2010

Fayetteville Arkansas Garden Tour June 5

On June 5th, the Flower, Garden and Nature Society of Northwest Arkansas is holding their Through the Garden Gate tour. Contact Lynn Rogers at lbr845 at cox.net for more information.

Here is the lineup -
1. THE GARDEN MUCH TRAVELED
164 N. Skyview Lane, in Fayetteville
2. GARDEN RETREAT ON A SLOPE
7 E. Lover’s Lane, in Fayetteville
3. LYNNWOOD : A COLLECTOR’S GARDEN
2468 N. Crossover Rd. in Fayetteville
4. THE PAVILION AND SCULPTURE GARDENS AT BLAIR COMPOUND
1011/1079 Tanglebriar Lane in Fayetteville
5. HARMONY GARDENS
8779 W. Forest Hills Dr. in Fayetteville
6. NAMASTE
30 Windsor Dr. in Rogers
7. DIXIELAND GARDENS
2200 S, Dixieland Rd. in Rogers

ALSO - here's the lineup of the organization's upcoming meetings

July 17 Joyce Mendenhall, Washington County Master Gardener, FGNS member
SCENES OF MONET’S GARDEN IN GIVERNY

August 21 Renee Reed, garden writer and owner of Reed's Designs Landscaping
HERBS - THEIR FOLKLORE AND WHAT TO DO WITH THEM

September 18 Fred Spiegel, UA Professor of Mycology
WHAT IS THAT FUNGUS

October 16 Lynn Rogers, FGNS member
TREE IDENTIFICATION WORKSHOP

November 20 Steve Marak, FGNS member
BOTANICAL LATIN

Social at 9:30. Programs around 10 a.m. Contact Lynn Rogers, 479-841-8759.
Student Center of NWAR Technical Institute, Ford Av. and Old Missouri Rd., Springdale, AR.

It's a 3 hour drive for me, so I probably can't make it but I'll be jealous of everyone who gets to go.

22 May 2010

In Our Garden Today

Calendula officinalis, or pot marigold, is a wonderful beneficial for the vegetable garden even though Wikipedia says not to plant it there. It's used medicinally by some and to color custard, vinegar, etc. Easy to grow from seed in full sun, it prefers the temperatures of spring.

Here's a biennial Salvia, started from seed last year. The size of the fuzzy grey-green leaves set it apart from others. Once we see the flowers we'll be able to identify it. Of course, since I order new salvia seeds every year, the exact identity of this one is to be determined.

Broccoli heads are almost ready to harvest in the vegetable bed. These seeds came from HPS.

Chocolate Orange Rudbeckia - huge flowers on every plant. The seeds came from Ivy Garth.



Most of the seeds started successfully, though I started them WAY too early last winter and many of the plants checked out...not enjoying the conditions I could provide in a record cold Oklahoma winter in a slightly heated shed.

This is Rudbeckia Cherry Brandy, also started from Ivy Garth seeds last winter in the shed.

20 May 2010

Peonies - Queen of the Garden Flowers


Peonies are called the Queen of Garden Flowers for their month-long, annual display of huge, scented, single and double blossoms. Ideal for low maintenance gardens, peonies have large, attractive leaves that stay pretty all season, on a 3-foot tall plant. Flower colors include white, cream, pink, coral, red and purple.

The plants need a cold winter and plenty of sun in the summer, though they appreciate some afternoon shade in August. A northern exposure suits them best because a south facing location tends to freeze and thaw several times a winter.
Since peonies prefer to grow underground throughout the winter and emerge early in the spring, they are bought and planted in the fall. Spring planted or transplanted peonies will take an extra year to bloom.

Each plant or division should have 3 or 4 eyes. If the division has less, the plant will need extra years to grow more eyes before blooming. The most common cause of peonies not blooming is that their eyes were planted more than an inch or two deep.

When deciding what to plant with peonies, remember that they are attractive most of the summer. In his book, "Perennial Combinations", Cole Burrell calls peonies a hardy, durable, long-lived backbone of the early summer garden.

Burrell says he prefers single peonies over the doubles because the flowers are more graceful and they are self-supporting. The doubles can become so heavy that gardeners feel obliged to stake the stems.

In Burrell's planting combination, peonies are grown with Baptisia, Goat’s beard, Iris, Allium, Nepeta (catnip), cranesbill (geranium), Lamb's Ears, and Honeybells hosta.

Europeans brought Paeonia officinalis to America for its herbal and medicinal value. The roots were used to treat female cramps, gout, asthma and nerves. In fact, Paenia is named for Paeon, physician of the Olympian gods.

Dried peony roots were carved into jewelry that was thought to provide protection from curses, illness and insanity.

Pliny the Elder called peonies the oldest plant because they have been grown in Asia for thousands of years. Chinese peony varieties, grown in Asia since the year 1007, came to American in the 1800’s.

To succeed with peonies, plant them high. They do not grow from bulbs but the roots are so fleshy that they can be destroyed if they stay too wet. If the planting area is heavy clay soil, use lots of compost to loosen the soil and give the roots the drainage they need.

In the fall, cut the plants to the ground and dispose of the trimmings in the trash rather than the compost pile. The forms of blight that damage peonies can be prevented by getting rid of all the stems and leaves in the fall. If the plant looks spotty or distressed during the growing season, spray with fungicide.

Ants on the flowers are not a problem unless there are so many that they prevent blooming.

If the winter is extremely cold, use straw to mulch around the plant crown. Late in the fall or early in the spring, give them a little 5-10-10 or 10-10-10 fertilizer, about 6-inches away from the root and crown area, avoiding the stems.


Peony plants can live over 100 years in the same location without being divided. With minimal care, they will provide cut flowers and beautiful leaves for decades.
All the peony photos were taken at Dumbarton Oaks in Georgetown

The American Peony Society has more information at www.americanpeonysociety.org.
The Linda Hall Library arboretum in Kansas City, Missouri, has a tree peony collection - see http://bit.ly/c7OWci for more information. The Boise, Idaho Botanical Garden also has a collection – see http://bit.ly/borMyq.
Mail order vendors include Old House Gardens - oldhousegardens.com, Klehm’s Song Sparrow -songsparrow.com, Hollingsworth Peony Nursery - hollingsworthpeonies.com, and Bannister Garden Center - www.peonies.net.

19 May 2010

Oklahoma's 2010 Master Gardener Conference is in Norman June 17-18

Norman Oklahoma will be the site of the 2010 Master Gardener Conference June 17-18.



Here's a link to the registration form. If my schedule allows it, I'll be there!

Oklahoma Master Gardener Conference registration

I'ts $40 if you sign up before June 1st. Here's the line-up -

Master Gardener Conference Social Event
Thursday Evening, June 17, 2010

To get the Norman flavor and meet your fellow gardeners, please plan to attend the Wine and Cheese Social from 6 to 9 p.m. (come and go) at the Cleveland County Master Gardener Association Demonstration and Teaching Garden at the Cleveland County Extension Office and Fairgrounds at 601 E. Robinson. The garden was established in 2000 to help residents see for themselves how beautiful their own gardens can grow. Various themed gardens include herbs,vegetables, Oklahoma Proven selections, butterfly gardens, Xeriscape plants, square foot and handicapped beds, Native American vegetables, plus much more. Gardens will also be featured as a tour option during the conference on Friday. In the event of inclement weather the social will
be held at the N. Classroom at the Fairgrounds.

The Conference - Friday, June 18
J.D. McCarty Trident Center
2002 E. Robinson St.
Norman, OK 73071

Speakers and Topics

1. Identifying Grasses is Not a Glumey Affair – Dr. Ron Tyrl
Exhibiting numerous adaptations for wind pollination, the Poaceae or grass family is one of the most highly evolved plant families in addition to being economically the most important and ecologically the most widespread. As you dissect several Oklahoma grasses, become familiar with the terminology used to describe and identify them, the adaptations that they possess, and most importantly the hidden beauty that they exhibit. A primer on grass terminology will be distributed. See the keynote section for biographical information about Dr. Tyrl.

2. The Beginning of Wisdom is Calling Things by Their Right Names - Dr. Ron Tyrl
A plant’s scientific name is the key to all that we know about it. Using common Oklahoma species as examples, become familiar with the nature and origins of scientific names, the
hierarchy of plant classification, the citation of authors, the proper use of cultivar names, and the problems associated with vernacular names. A primer on botanical nomenclature will be distributed. See the keynote section for biographical information about Dr. Tyrl.

3. New Ornamental Plant Introductions for 2010! – Dr. Bruce Dunn, Assistant Professor, Herbaceous Ornamentals at OSU-Stillwater

New perennial plant introductions from Proven Winners® and new woody and tree
introductions from Garden Debut® will be highlighted.
Dr. Dunn is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Horticulture and Landscape
Architecture at Oklahoma State University specializing in Herbaceous Ornamentals.

4. Heirlooms and Heritage in the Market Place – Mr. Matt Runkle, Native Roots Market, Norman, OK
This presentation will look at diversity found in our heritage and the use of heirloom plants and how they can be used to market the small farmer.
Matt Runkle and his wife are the owners of Native Roots Market.

5. The Fungi: An Overview of the Forgotten Kingdom – Dr. MariĆ«lle Hoefnagels,
Departments of Botany-Microbiology and Zoology, OU
A brief introduction to the fungi, with an emphasis on the types of fungal species and their roles in food production, medicine, agriculture, and ecology.
Dr. Hoefnagels has degrees in Environmental Science, Soil Science, and Botany and Plant Pathology with specialty in fungi. She has worked at the University of Oklahoma since 1997 and has authored or co-authored several college-level biology textbooks.

6. OSU Insect Adventure – Entomology Up Close and Personal! – Dr. Andrine Shufran, Associate Extension Specialist, Director of Insect Adventure, Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology, OSU-Stillwater

Come discover more about this unique educational outreach facility in Stillwater. Investigate the science and fascination surrounding the largest and most diverse group of animals on the planet and learn what programs are offered to the public. This hands-on presentation with live insects and their relatives will be an experience you remember and discuss for a long time.
Dr. Andrine Shufran has been running arthropod zoos for over a decade now. She received her Ph.D. from OSU and her M.S. from New Mexico State--both in Entomology. Her B.S. was Horticulture and Entomology from Texas A&M University, her home town. Andrine says she has the best job in the world because she gets to be a kid who plays with bugs all day, but outside of work she enjoys life with her wonderful husband, skeet shooting, gardening, and piano.

7. Earth-Friendly Gardening – Mr. Doug Walton, Community Foods Coordinator, Kerr Center for Sustainable Agriculture, Poteau, OK

Participants will learn how to build healthy garden soils for raising healthy plants, and how this relates to sustainable agriculture. Other topics will include natural weed and pest management, as well as tips for saving water and energy in the garden.
Doug Walton is the Community Foods Coordinator at the Kerr Center for Sustainable
Agriculture, where he works with the Buy Fresh Buy Local program and other statewide
initiatives for improving access to locally-produced foods. Over the last fifteen years, he has advocated on behalf of family farms and local food systems in Utah, Kansas and Oklahoma, while always raising an organic garden. For the past 4 years, he has also volunteered as manager for the Muskogee Farmers’ Market. Doug lives with his wife and two teenagers on their small farm outside Muskogee, where he helps them raise cut-flowers, produce and herbs for sale at the market.

8. A Garden for All Seasons - and All Reasons – Mr. Robert Westbrook, Westbrook
Landscaping, Norman, OK
Explore the landscape possibilities for creating a unique garden for all seasons by selecting the right plants for the right places. We will incorporate proven horticultural “greenscape” techniques based on many years of practical experience to design, install and maintain xeriscape, water,
butterfly and hummingbird, perennial, and herb and vegetable gardens that are such a popular respite in today’s fast paced culture. Elements of each of these topics will be integrated to create inviting gardens for all seasons and all reasons.
Robert Westbrook has deep roots in horticulture as he grew up in the family business learning his love for plants alongside his grandfather and uncle, Otis and Preston Warren, who discovered and introduced the Oklahoma redbud. He has over forty years experience in all phases of horticulture including wholesale, retail and greenhouse management, plant tissue culture production, farmers markets, and residential and commercial landscape design, installation, and maintenance.

9. Bringing Slow Food Home – Dr. Barbara Brown, Assistant Professor, Extension Food Specialist, Family & Consumer Sciences – Cooperative Extension Nutritional Sciences, OSU-Stillwater
Dr. Brown will describe the slow food movement and its status in Oklahoma. It will include adiscussion of fruit and vegetable purchase options available to Oklahomans in contrast to those in Italy, birthplace of the slow food movement.
Barbara Brown became the Food Specialist for the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service in 1981. She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Kansas State University in food and nutrition, a Ph.D. from Oklahoma State University in home economics and is a registered and licensed dietitian. Barb’s goal is to help Oklahoman’s live healthier by teaching that good-for-you food, like fruits, vegetables and whole grains, can be easy to fix, good tasting food - even
Brussels sprouts and lima beans.

All speakers and topics are subject to change.

18 May 2010

Spring Brings Many New Things

Every couple of days plants emerge from dormancy surprising us as we weed around the stubs of their root crown. The Lantana sent out half a dozen leaves this week, the Black and Blue Salvia has three leaves at the base of the roots, the Black Lace Elderberry, in its third year, is coming into its own with pink flowers on top of 4-foot tall stems.

Another Salvia I started from seed 2 years ago is 3-feet tall and has buds. Out of 50-seedlings, there are 5 plants that are successful. The hydrangeas and lilies have lots of buds, and I've already had to take the clippers to the hops vine.

In the photo (below) you'll see part of the side yard. There is a Martin birdhouse stand on the far left. (Of course, Grackles live in it.)

Just to the right of the Grackle house, you'll see a couple of small oak trees. When we moved into this property 10 years ago, we planted a tree in that spot. It died.

Then, the next year another tree, etc. The trees in the photo have been in place for three years and now will probably make it to become large shade trees.
A view of part of the side yard.

Many people we know shoot Grackles and other birds considered undesirable. But, we are not among them. One neighbor said he would like to shoot them for us. We declined his generous offer.
One bird in the house.

As we search the beds for plants that returned from last year's efforts, the birds stay busy raising the next generation of feathered friends that make a green spot into a garden.
Two babies calling for dinner.

17 May 2010

My Friends the Flowers

In a not-to-be-missed sale, Brent and Becky's Bulbs is having a 50% off sale.
No kidding. Click here to see what they have left for summer blooms.

A cool new book, "My Friends the Flowers" is now available. Written by William Lach, this adorable book is illustrated by Doug Kennedy.


It's geared for children from Kindergarten to grade 2, ages 4 to 8.
Each page describes the flower illustrated. For example "Four-O'Clocks are bright and bold, though not before that hour." The illustration of Four-O'Clocks is clever.

In the back there is a Glossary of Flowers that is useful and can be used to help children identify flowers in your flower beds and in public gardens.

Grow a Flower Friend Garden is half a dozen pages of how to grow a garden - tips for children who want to grow those garden friends from the front of the book.

If you have little ones coming for the summer, you would probably enjoy reading it to them and talking them through your similar plants as you walk around the garden.

12 May 2010

USDA's U.S. National Arboretum in Washington D.C. Is a Research Facility, Public Park and Several Gardens

The U. S. National Arboretum in Washington, DC is not far from the Capital Mall. Visitors have an opportunity to get away from the crowds, see distinctive plant collections, walk the paths and learn about plants in a 446 acre park. There is also a tram tour.

Close to the Visitor's Center and within easy walking distance are the Aquatic Garden and Koi Pond, Friendship Garden, the National Herb Garden, and the National Bonsai and Penjing Museum. (see a map of the grounds at http://tinyurl.com/2r2gc8)

The Asian Collection includes a Japanese Woodland, Korean Hillside, Asian Valley and China Valley gardens.

The Bonsai and Penjing Museum is a series of gardens and bonsai displays. The garden was started with a gift from the Japanese people in 1976. The oldest plant in the collection is a Japanese White Pine, which was started in 1625.

Each garden is a collection of miniature garden scenes, shade loving plants and water features accented with Asian art, gateways and arbors.
The Knot Garden in the National Herb Garden
The Azalea Collections are a site to see in the spring, with thousands of plants blooming on Mt. Hamilton. Former Arboretum director, B. Y. Morrison hybridized and popularized Azaleas from 1929 to 1954 and it was his display of 10,000 Azaleas that led to the Arboretum being opened to the public in 1954.

The Dogwood Collection is also spectacular in the spring and dogwoods are blooming everywhere in the Arboretum.

The Fern Valley Native Plant Collection is made up of plants that lived here before European colonization. Meadow, prairie and wetland plants are represented in the woodland. Nearby are the Youth Garden (butterfly and cutting gardens) and the National Grove of State Trees (specimens representing 50 states).

A visit to the Herb Garden (also called Plants for People) has the added advantage of a view of the Corinthian pillars that once stood at the east portico of the U. S. Capitol. Built in 1980 as a joint venture between the Herb Society of America and Congress, the garden features culinary, millinery and medicinal herbs.

A white pine bonsai that was begun in 1625

In 1828 the sandstone columns now at the Arboretum, were moved to Washington by barge from a quarry in Virginia. When the Capitol dome was added in 1864, the columns could no longer give enough support. They were removed during a renovation in 1958 it took until 1990 to get them placed on their current 20 acre site.

Power Plants is a special exhibit of plants that scientists think could become fuels. The garden displays castor beans, alfalfa, switchgrass, corn, canola, sugar beet, oil palms, mustard and other potential fuel producing plants.

The Gotelli Dwarf and Slow-growing Conifer Collection is the most comprehensive conifer collection in the world. - 1400 specimens on 7-acres. Conifers are plants that produce cones instead of flowers, and include bald cypress, juniper, pine, hemlock, cedar, yew, larch, etc.

You can drive through the collection, but you would miss the opportunity to see the unique forms, shapes and features of all the different varieties.

There are 150 different boxwoods in the National Boxwood Collection, including dwarf, variegated, columnar, and new hybrids such as Vardar Valley. The boxwoods are a frame for the Arboretum's Perennial Collection.

Over a thousand daylilies make up a large part of the Perennial Collection. The Arboretum’s website has a photo gallery of their 150 award winning varieties at http://tinyurl.com/2al8rue.

The primary purpose of the Arboretum is U.S.D.A research. Its scientists discover new methods of plant disease and insect control and introduce new plant varieties. The Arboretum's website at usna.usda.gov contains a wealth of information for gardeners.

The Arboretum grounds are open every day of the year except December 25 from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Admission is free.

The National Gallery Walkway, Waterfall and Atriums

The west building of the National Gallery contains art produced up to the 19th Century. the east building is modern. The walkway between the east and west buildings is a work of art itself.
We shared a gelato while we watched the waterfall (and the people) in the Concourse between the buildings.
In the west building, at each end, there are benches, comfortable chairs and atriums so you can absorb what you've seen.
The high glass ceiling is covered with white shade cloth and one would guess that the tropicals and ferns are happy but that the roses have to be replaced.
It's a lovely and refreshing setting.

10 May 2010

U.S. National Arboretum Washington D.C.

It is remarkable to consider that there is a 450 acre open space Arboretum in the center of Washington D.C. with gardens ranging from dogwood and boxwood collections to Asian plant collections.
The National Herb Garden is filled with edibles and domestic arts plants, including roses, sage, lemon balm, and lettuce beds.
The site is best known as a plant research center with dozens of greenhouses.
There's plenty to see in a half day, including the former Capitol columns that now sit perched on a 20 acre site inside the Arboretum.
The connifer garden is remarkable and not to be missed.

09 May 2010

Roanoake VA Farmer's Market Scenes

On the weekend in Roanoake the streets are closed for a market loaded with flowers, plants, fresh produce, jewelry, soaps and art of all stripes.
The location is a street full of shops - Paper Chocolate, an artisan bakery, Oh La La clothing store - well, you get the drift -
Check out these classy half-urn planters. Big enough to add a spot of greenery and slim enough to keep the sidewalk open.
It's still chilly weather so not many people were buying ornamental plants. What I saw was large purchases of vegetable seedlings - boxes and boxes of them being carried to cars.

08 May 2010

Rhododendrons in Wytheville VA

When you drive into downtown Wytheville VA one of the remarkable touches is the logo of an office supply store - a gigantic pencil.
In the historic district, each home has a distinctive address marker.

And, look at those rhododendrons.

We thought these homeowners had set their house apart with beds of hostas. The whole effect is lovely.

Even though northease Oklahoma is in zone 7 - same as here - our summers are too hot to have much success with rhododendrons. We have to travel to one of the coasts to see them in the spring. San Francisco also has gorgeous rhododendrons.

06 May 2010

Memphis Botanic Garden

Today at the Memphis Botanic Garden


The Japanese Garden of Tranquility is a beautiful place to walk on a late spring day. Benches in the shade provide a place to watch the koi splashing and jumping.

The iris garden is in its full glory with art as dramatic as the flowers.



If you haven't visited yet, it's definitely worth adding to your travel itinerary. Each time we come, it looks different. The website has a link for what blooms when so you can see your favorites.