Showing posts from September, 2011

Ease stress with gardening

Recent research around the world shows that a little garden work or a walk in a park are better for reducing stress and improving mental sharpness than coffee, candy or other quick remedies we reach for when we are tired.

The effectiveness of being surrounded by nature extends to simply having nature pictures in the work environment. Memory improves and attention to detail increases just by stopping work to fully enjoy a walk through an arboretum.

Researchers found that the same 10-minute walk, taken in town, does not boost the sharpness of our thinking or our mood. In another study, the participants took a 10-minute break in a room full of nature photos. Even the photos helped somewhat, though not as much as being among trees and plants.

One of the researchers, Dr. Marc Berman at the University of Michigan, said: “You don’t necessarily have to enjoy the walk to get the benefit. What you like is not necessarily going to be good for you.”

The difference between a walk in town and time …

Plant bulbs now for spring bloom

The last of the sunflowers are in bloom signally that it's time to get fall bulbs and beds cleaned and for them.
Look at the sale items from Touch of Nature at this link.
If you plan to put in 50 or more bulbs, be sure to get a bulb auger attachment for your battery operated drill. You'll be amazed how easy it can be to put in a couple hundred bulbs with a power tool!

Figs for our zone 7 gardens

This is our third attempt to be successful at growing figs in zone 7. The first two plants lived long enough to produce an abundant crop - once. Then, they each died.
Because our winters are cold, figs are actually multi-branching shrubs that die to the ground, instead of becoming trees as they do in warmer climates.
The fruit is so perishable that it's a good idea to grow a couple of plants if you want to eat them fresh.
Figs pollinate themselves so one of each variety that you want to eat will work.
Luckily this year even though the fruit was half the size they usually are, there were enough to can a few small jars for a friend.
The plants need full sun (minimum of 6 hours) and water to keep the leaves from yellowing.

Our shrub/trees are Brown Turkey and Black Jack.

Like all fruit trees, shrubs, plants, they are best pruned when dormant.

Art in the Garden Tour - a dozen artists and four gardens in Tulsa this weekend

Garden Tour - Living with Art in the Garden
Saturday, Sept 24, 10 to 5 and Sunday, Sept 25, 1 to 5

5707 S. Birmingham AV
3927 E. 60 ST
6150 S. Louisville AV
6110 W. Canyon RD

Information: Christy Fell, 918-607-1937

Living Arts of Tulsa ( is holding its tenth annual garden tour this weekend. The proceeds help the Myers Gallery, as well as contribute to art classes for adults and children. Their summer camps for children teach video, sculpture and performance arts.

At each of the four gardens there will be an artist on site displaying decorative pieces for your garden or outdoor entertaining space, and a Master Gardener to answer questions.

The garden I toured is at 5705 South Birmingham in a subdivision near 61 and Harvard, close to Southern Hills Country Club. Homeowner and gardener Beth Teel retired from a career as a special education teacher and took up the family hobby of gardening.

“My parents and grandparents were big gardeners,” Teel said.…

Drum Circle at Moonshadow Herb Farm in Muskogee OK

A drum circle is based less on the expertise of the players, and more on the quality of their relationship with each other to express themselves and create a rhythmical experience.
Come experience an entry level drum circle where many people who use drums (or percussion instruments) for different purposes all come together to share their rhythmical spirit to create a drum song.

Outside event in the pecan grove around fire pit. All ages welcome – family friendly.  WEATHER PERMITTING

Saturday 9-24-11 at 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
MoonShadow Herb Farm
3500 South Country Club Road

To participate call ahead:  918-687-6765
Leave your name and phone number for call-back
Minimum of 5 participants to make drum circle

Bring your own instrument – if you do not have an instrument we have a limited amount of extra drums and percussion instruments you may use.

Blessings – Sharon Owen

Ecology Blogs by the hundreds

Here are a few of the hundreds of ecology and conservation  blogs on the Internet. I can get lost for hours just clicking on their lists of favorite blogs.

Enjoy browsing - these are just the ones I liked the best.

If you have an ecology blog or a favorite one you browse or subscribe to, please let me/us know its web address. We can never read enough!

- The Prairie Ecologist - Located between Grand Island and Kearney, Nebraska, The Nature Conservancy’s Platte River Prairies are a chain of grasslands and wetlands that are managed for biological diversity with a combination of prescribed fire and grazing. These prairies are also working laboratories for the development of innovative techniques for grassland management that restore and/or maintain the diversity of life found in high quality grasslands. Most importantly, they are full of life, including birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians, invertebrates, and plants. Enjoy the following slide show of photos …

Thrifty - is everyone feeling "Pinched"?

On Book TV the weekend is dedicated to interviews with authors. It's smart TV for the most part.

Author of "Pinched: How the Great Recession Has Narrowed Our Futures and What We Can Do About It", Don Peck, says our culture is forever changed by this recession.This is the author who coined words like Mansession and Funemployment.

Thrift, it seems, it fashionable again. Coupon clipping, vegetable growing, home ec returning to schools, staycations, hand made gifts, etc., are all indications of the trend to pay down, pay off, save and pinch.

Add the recession to the outrageous drought, heat and floods around the U.S., greenhouses and growers are reporting a down trend and seed companies are reporting a surge in sales.

On a personal note, I spent less on my garden this year than ever, other than the water bills, of course.  When I talk with local gardeners, they say are cutting back, cutting down, giving up on some things. Their formerly large gardens will be a few raised beds…

Rhonda Steiner creates weather proof art for your garden

Tulsa artist, Rhonda Steiner has been designing and creating outdoor art for 15-years. Steiner's art, ranging in price from $100 to $1,000 will be on display at Southwood Landscape and Nursery, 91st and Lewis in Tulsa on Sept 24 from 10 to 5 and Sept 25 from 1 to 5.
Heart on Fire mosaic by Rhonda Steiner
 In addition to special shows, Steiner's art is available through her Etsy store at this link

Living Arts of Tulsa, Art in the Garden Tour is next weekend, Sep 24 and 25.
Tickets are $10 at any home.

5707 S. Birmingham AV

3927 E. 60 ST

6150 S. Louisville AV

6110 W. Canyon RD

Bring a camera!

Roses of Tulsa Inc. owner speaking in Muskogee

Roses are thought to be the most popular of all the garden flowers, and with good reason.Whether you want a tree, climbing, shrub or trailing rose, there is a selection that will fit the space available. With hundreds of hybrids, the color choices are almost unlimited and disease resistance is practically assured. The natural distribution of wild roses covers the world. Cultivated roses, originally from China (Rosa chinesis) and from Europe by way of China (Rosa chinesis odorata), were cultivated by the year 2736 B.C. Mark Stelljes, owner of Roses of Tulsa ( will be talking about how to succeed with growing roses, at the Muskogee Garden Club monthly meeting today. He has been growing roses from cuttings and roots for 30-years. “During planting season we have 500 rose varieties in stock,” Stelljes said. “Right now we are down to two-thousand plants and only 300 varieties.” The roses they sell include hybrid tea, grandiflora, floribunda, mini, miniflora, old garden va…

Grower’s Secret Grow Big 521

Fertilizing in the fall is such an important task for gardeners in most growing zones. Made in the U.S. Grower’s Secret is an ideal fall soil and plant helper.

The Hawaii-based company produces organics and microbial soil improvement products.

At this time of year, our garden
is host to a dozens of butterflies, skippers and other garden friends, so we don't use any chemical based products.

This Carolina Mantis would not hang around to control garden pests if the place smelled like chemicals!

I experimented with the Grower's Secret Grow Big 521. The bed that I'm foliar spraying doesn't look like much to us but to the critters it is heaven - rue, asclepias, basil, purple hyacinth vine, goldenrod, salvias and other plants that provide food and shelter for our flying friends.
The record-breaking heat and drought took a toll on our butterfly population this summer but they are almost always laying eggs or otherwise inhabiting one of our herb or flower beds. After watering a…

American Takii - new plants for next season

American Takii breeds and selects new plant varieties for the Central and North American markets. Knowing what they have coming out next year will help you select just the right plant for next spring and summer's garden.

I'm already planning for next summer - what to take out, what to replant and what to add. We consumers cannot purchase directly from wholesale companies but we can ask our local nursery to get things in.

Here are a few of the new selections coming from American Takii. The links I've provided will give you the most up to date information available on them!

Chloris truncate 'Flying Stars'

Flowering kale 'Glamour Red'
Burpee has these plants available now.

Gerbera 'Royal Red'
This link will take you to Express Seed where you can see all the 'Royal' Gerbera series colors!

Gomphrena 'Audray White'
Harris Seed has this variety available.

Linaria 'Fantasy Apricot'
All the in depth growing tips are here.

Salvia coccinea…

Wobblers on tripods

We use these sprinklers, called wobblers.
Before the day becomes hot or at sundown, they can be just the thing to wet an area where the ground is moist enough but the heat of the day caused plants to fade and have a difficult time taking water up through the stems.
The wobbler itself is useless without a stand so if you decide to get one, be sure to get a stand at the same time.
The stands vary in quality. The one we bought has 5 legs and can be unstable on our rocky hillside. Also, the legs had to be glued in to keep them from falling out. But, all in all, it's OK for our use, folds up easily and is light for moving around.
I saw other wobbler stands online that have 3 sturdy legs and a brace between 2 of the legs - which looks more stable.
Suppliers include Gemplers at

Contest - Photos of butterflies, moths and skippers

Benefit Photo Contest - Photos of local butterflies, skippers or moths taken within 60-miles of Muskogee.
- Submit by September 20, 2011
- $5.00 per entry. No limit on number of entries.
- Proceeds benefit Friends of Honor Heights Park
- Mail photo on CD to 4211 High Oaks, Muskogee 74401 or email entry to with the subject line “2011 Butterflies of Muskogee Photo Contest”.

- Information

There are many more moth species than butterflies, but butterflies capture the attention of more camera buffs. Butterflies and skippers are about 10% of the Lepidoptera species, and moths make up the other 90%.
Many moths are just as beautiful as butterflies, so why are butterflies more commonly seen in nature photos? One reason is that moths are active mostly at night and butterflies tend to fly during the day so they are easier to photograph.
In the last few years, butterflies, skippers and moths have come to the attention of conservation efforts, includi…

Kudzu Bugs Asian Stink Bugs - multiplying and moving inside for the winter UGH

University of GA College of Ag Science says that Kudzu Bugs, Megacopta cribraria, are spreading throughout the south, multiplying season by season AND that they want to set up winter residences in our homes.

If you travel to, from, around and out of GA, for heaven 's sake check your shoes and gear and get a hot water car wash as you leave the state.

here's a link to the whole story by Sharon Dowdyclick

here are some of the highlights

Almost two years ago, a tiny immigrant pest arrived in Georgia, and there’s nothing the state’s immigration office can do to make it leave. The bean plataspid, or kudzu bug, munches on kudzu and soybeans and has now set up residence in four Southern states.

Homeowners consider the bug a nuisance. Soybean producers shudder at the damage it causes. And many are hoping it will prove to be a kudzu killer.

By studying the pest for the past year, Gardner has determined wisteria, green beans and other legumes are the bug’s true hosts in the landscapes an…

"Yes, You Can! and Freeze and Dry It, Too" by Daniel Gasteiger

A thorough, new (and cool) book is out on the topic of preserving food. And, it's written by a guy. Here's a link to his blog
In our area, the home economists at the Extension Service tell me that every canning and preserving class they offer is filled weeks before it is held. And, there is a national trend (fad?) to grow and preserve our own foods.

This is the new book, "Yes You Can!" etc. We can a hundred jars of jam, fruit, pie filling, pickles and tomatoes every summer. Do you can or freeze produce in the summer to use in the winter months? We give lots of it as gifts for birthdays, hostess gifts, holiday gifts, etc. But we use our canned food in meal planning, too.
But on to Gastieiger's book - He covers cold storage,canning, freezing, drying, and pickling plus jelly, syrup and candy. Cold storage is not for our zone or warmer ones but the other subjects are relevant.
Here's something to remember - you don't have to g…

Early spring flower and perennial seeds to plant in the fall

In our zone 7 gardens, we plant many flower seeds in the fall.

Look around your garden in the spring and summer, and you will notice that basil, larkspur, amaranth, dill, fennel, zinnias, euphorbia snow on the mountain, cucumbers and many other plants come up where you did not plant them. They came up from seeds of last year's plants.

Any and all of these can be planted in your zone in the fall, giving them a jump on seeds planted next March/April/May when there is so much to do outside. It's also a good way to have succession plantings without doing it all next spring.

If you want a fully flowering wildflower bed, it's definitely time to get the ground ready by killing the existing grasses and weeds so you can get the seeds down in time for the winter freeze and thaw. Easy Wildflowers has the information you need HERE.

We plant annual poppies and Johnny Jump Ups in September, Larkspur seeds by Thanksgiving and garlic by New Year's Day.

Plant perennial seeds in the fal…

Denver Botanic Gardens - well worth the trip

At the Denver Botanic Gardens (, there is something going on every day.

During the year, visitors might find a display of textile art, a pumpkin festival, ask-a-gardener day, plant and bulb sales, a guest-chef food festival, conservation classes, garden club meetings, a light show, a chicken coop tour throughout the Denver area, composting workshop for children, or one of dozens of other activities.

The York Street location is a 23-acre collection of 45 themed gardens with plants from around the world.

When visitors exit the gift shop and ticket building, the first exhibit is the O’Fallon Perennial Walk which is a broad sidewalk lined on both sides with gorgeous perennials in bloom. There are plenty of traditional English garden plants intermixed with drought-tolerant perennials.

The Native Roots Modern Form garden features 700 plants native to North America and Colorado specifically. One collection, Yuccarama, has a diverse collection of yuccas. The Modern Form…