Showing posts from May, 2011

Lilies blooming today - Where to buy more

Some of our lilies, such as the martagons with their multiple little blooms, have flowered and faded already and others are just now forming buds. There are several types that are opening now though and they are scattered among the flower beds, making "yard work" sheer pleasure.

You have to love lilies for their reliability. Whether they are crowded into pots, planted among tree roots or mixed into beds of perennials and annuals, they never fail to delight. And easy!
If you enjoy learning, click over to the American Lily Society's image gallery where you can let your imagination begin to tiptoe through the lilies.

There are many places to buy lily bulbs, including local nurseries and big box stores.

Where do you usually buy bulbs?

I've had the best success with bulbs from a few mailorder vendors -
Old House Gardens
Brent and Beck's
Touch of Nature http://www.…

The Resilient Gardener

Author Carole Deppe added an extensive subtitle to her new book. The full title is "The Resilient Gardener: Food Production and Self-Reliance in Uncertain Times" Including the Five Crops You Need To Survive and Thrive - Potatoes, Corn, Beans, Squash and Eggs.
Gardening in USDA hardiness zone 8, since 1979, Deppe has considerable experience with growing vegetables. This book is a 300 page paperback packed full of useful information. Published by Chelsea Green. $20 at online book vendors.

Deppe is also vegetable breeder and wrote a previous book on the topic, "Breed Your Own Vegetable Varieties"

"Resilient" focuses on five crops with calorie, nutrient, and storage values: potatoes, corn, beans, squash, and, raising ducks for eggs.

Deppe describes her personal life and experiences with a variety of crops in coastal Oregon, tips for success, and gluten free recipes. Now in her mid-60s, Deppe is concerned with being able to garden no matter what one's life…

Spireas brighten any garden

Spirea shrubs are adaptable and easy to care for. Their basic form is a natural mound so most varieties need little pruning. The two types are 1) the old fashioned Bridal Veils that grow to 6 feet tall and wide with arching white flowers in the spring and 2) the generally smaller, woody flowering shrubs. The smaller Spireas have white, pink or red flowers on upright branches.

Since they are members of the rose plant family, they can be susceptible to similar problems such as powdery mildew, fireblight, aphids and scale. Some Spirea varieties bloom on this year’s growth and others bloom on last year’s stems.

The compact Spireas can be used as shrubs in a tidy row in rock gardens, as hedges, or placed into flower beds individually or in drifts of 3 or 5.

Since they can take some shade, they make a good selection in foundation plantings. After the first year, when their roots are established, they don’t need much fertilizer or water. In fact, wet soil is the one condition they cannot t…

Angelica Gigas

In the winter of 2007/2008 I bought seeds from Chocolate Flower Farm so I could grow Angelica Gigas. One plant from that seed-starting adventure has survived to grow up.

The leaves are gorgeous. It's a biennial so I'm hoping for a flower this year and fresh seeds for next year. 
This flower looks like purple broccoli but to the bees it looks like a honeypot!
Plants for a Future's website has this spectacular shot of the bud opening which they borrowed from Wikipedia. Gorgeous, eh?

PFAF provides these growing tips
Perennial growing to 1.8 m (6ft).
It is not frost tender. It is in flower from Jul to August, and the seeds ripen from Aug to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.The plant is self-fertile.
The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils.The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils..It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade.It requires moist soil.


Blooms of Bressingham

Blooms of Bressingham sent garden writers some of their new selections this week.  Before I put them into the garden beds, I thought I'd show you what they are so you can look for any that interest you for your summertime beds.Verbena bonariensis 'Lollipop', Vervain
Dwarf Verbena bonariensis from Greenleaf Plants
Garden Care: Provide moist, well-drained soil in full sun.
Bloom Time: Spring, Summer, Fall
Flower Color: Purple
Foliage Color: Green
Height: 24"/61cm
Spread: 24"/61cm
Habit: Mounded
USDA Hardiness Zones: 7,8,9,10,11 / -17°C
Uses: Front border
Attributes: Attracts humming birds

 Lavandula angustifolia 'Oxford Gem' , Lavender from David Kerley, UK.

Dark purple flowers late June through August. Healthy, vigorous silvery-green foliage forms dense mounds. Carefree and drought-tolerant. 
Garden Care: Tolerates various soil types, but requires good drainage for best performance.
Bloom Time: Summer
Flower Color: Purple
Foliage Color: Silver, Green

Gardening helps develop skills

When Pat Pack, director of the Kelly B. Todd Center, heard that a raised garden bed was available she and her administrative assistant Nana Snow, jumped on the offer.
The donor is the Fayetteville, Arkansas company, Greenland Gardener ( Greenland Gardener is a manufacturer of raised bed garden kits, composite decking and Smart Stone stepping stones. All of their products are made from recycled materials such as wood chips and plastic.

The owner of Greenland Gardener, Burt Hanna, has donated several double bed kits to non-profit organizations in order to get feedback on their ease of use.

Nana Snow said that she assembled the raised bed herself and that everything went together easily without tools. She said her only advice is to be sure to set up the bed where you want it since it would not be easy to move.

For their use at Kelly B. Todd, Snow put the raised bed on top of two layers of cinder blocks, making the bed easier to reach.

Pat Pack, physical therapi…

Poppy love

For years, I've planted poppy seeds. A few years ago I actually put out 10 different varieties, striving to find one that would thrive in our climate and soil. So, here she is - the poppy that loves our garden. The photos are from early this morning. Know that for each of the past several years I have harvested the seedheads and put them out and around, looking for the perfect place for them.

Now I'll tell you. All of the poppies are in the vegetable garden, taking up valuable space that a dedicated veggie gardener would not allow them to use. But! I have fallen in poppy love and have lost all reason.

Gardening with Conifers by Adrian Bloom

Adraian Bloom's seminal book on gardening with conifers has been reprinted by Firefly Books  in a beautiful soft-cover volume.

192 pages, 9 1/4" x 10 1/2" x 3/4"

250 full color photos, index, appendices, bibliography
This is a guide to coniferous trees and shrubs that available to North American gardeners. Color photographs show conifers in environments, from small gardens to estates.

"Gardening with Conifers" illustrates that conifers can bring backbone or highlight to every garden, as well year-round visual interest and color.
Conifer information covered includes: Size and growth rates, Site and soil preferences, Planting, maintenance and propagationm Pruning, pests and diseases, Dwarf conifers and ground covers, and Conifers in containers.

I don't think I've seen such wonderful ideas and gardens using conifers except in botanical gardens. But these photos are from residential and collectors' gardens. The $20 price is justified for the in…

Can you help a reader with info about imidacloprid in greenhouse plants?

Here's the email from Amy Campbell asking for help with her research into greenhouse plants that have been treated with imidacloprid.

 Dear Molly,

Somehow I found this post in my searchings for information about imidacloprid in greenhouse plants. Our beekeeping club is working with local nurseries to highlight bee-friendly plants and I voiced concern about plants that could have been treated with neonicotinoid compounds. It is very difficult getting this kind of information. Where did you see this posted originally? I have emailed Dr. Krischik but so far no answer. Other scientists are unwilling to go out of their field of expertise - ie if they are entomologists they don't want to comment on systemic pesticides.

If you have other articles especially that have references I would be very interested to read them! I do thank you for posting this because I think it's very important. Back yards have the possibility of not just attracting native bees but helping them to survive.…

Mail order plants arrived - take care of them

Santa Rosa Gardens ( sent plants to garden writers last week. They will go into our garden after they have been out of the box and in the shade for a few days.

The new plants in the shipment were:

Blue Fescue, Festuca glauca Elijah Blue, is a summer-blooming, clumping, ornamental grass that grows to a foot tall. Blue Fescue likes full sun and somewhat dry ground. The Missouri Botanical Garden site ( says it tolerates drought, poor soil and some shade, but will not survive in wet soil. Elijah Blue is short-lived and has to be replaced in 3 years even though it is cold tolerant to zone 5. Other names include: Festuca ovina 'Elijah Blue' and Festuca ovina var. glauca 'Elijah Blue'.

North Wind Switch Grass, Panicum virgatum Northwind,
has wide, 5-foot tall, olive-blue-green leaves, and in September, it has plumes of flowers. This native of North America, is from the tall-grass prairies and tolerates a wide range of soils and condi…

Better gardening advice right at the store

The New York Times reported that big box stores are making plant information available to shoppers with cell phones. Here's a excerpt.

"For now, garden plants sold at Home Depot and Lowe’s have bar codes on each plant tag that enable customers with smartphone scanners to check out whether the plant, for example, grows in low light or needs frequent watering.

This is the season when stores sell millions of garden plants, which are an important segment of the business. At Lowe’s, for example, nursery sales, which also include trees and flowers, were 4 percent of the chain’s total $48.8 billion sales in the fiscal year ended Jan. 28.

Whether it’s a piece of pipe or new kitchen cabinets, many Americans search for the right product in the aisles of home improvement stores like Home Depot or Lowe’s, trying to quickly identify what they need.

In a Home Depot commercial, a customer scanned a bar code with her smartphone to get information about a plant's preferred growing cond…

Blooming today - snapshots May 8 2011


Devil's Den State Park

We went to Devil's Den and hiked the 1.5 mile loop yesterday.
The park is 2,500-acres with an eight acre fishing lake, bridle, nature and mountain bike trails, caves, and a 15-mile backpacking trail. Facilities include cabins, restaurants, pool, picnic sites, pavilion, restrooms, showers, laundry, grocery, pedal boat and canoe rentals, backpacking equipment rentals, visitor center with gift shop and exhibits, and playground.

The trails are mostly solidly constructed of rocks.

The trail is a lot of climbing up and down and there are beautiful scenes are every turn.

At the waterfall there is a large bench to sit on and rest.
The caves are closed to the public but I wouldn't want to climb down into them anyway.

This is the newer bridge that we saw from the trail.

The wild blackberries are in flower.

The native phlox fills the ditches on the north side of the park.
Little native daisies have popped up all along the sunny spots on the trail.
Devil's Den is a wonderful escape with trails…