Showing posts from March, 2013

Muscari - Grape Hyacinths bloom Mar-Apr

Muscari or Grape Hyacinths are blooming with abandon in our garden this spring. We added them to a planting of this cold-hardy succulent that surrounds a few trees in the front yard.

Native to Eurasia, their blue flowers resemble bunches of grapes - hence their name. Actually, they are not Hyacinths but Lilies!

Be sure to order and plant some this fall if your garden doesn't have any yet.

I have planted other colors and other color combination varieties from mail-order catalogs over the years,  but these are the ones that persist and multiply into the lawn.

Grape Hyacinths are hardy in zones 3 to 9.

Here they are under trees where the shade is very dense in the summer.
Still they do their wonderful spring-thing!
Plant them and just wait for them to naturalize and spread
all over the garden, greeting spring year after year.

Bundleflower is Desmanthus illinoensis, Wood Rose, Prickleweed, False Sensitive Plant, etc.

Wildflowers are important to add a light touch to a cottage garden or for building a wildscape area that can help birds thrive. Native trees, flowers and grasses are more adaptive; harsh winter or summer weather cannot keep them down. They provide nectar for insects, attracting pollinators to our vegetable gardens and home grown fruit.
Most wildflowers take lots of sun but are not very particular about soil quality. Planting native grasses in your garden or shrub row will attract songbirds as well as quail, doves, cardinals, sparrows, and other seed-eaters.
Native grasses to consider include: Bluegrass, Bluestem, Bristlegrass, Buffalograss, Bundleflower, Dropseed, Gamagrass, Grama, Lovegrass, and Wintergrass.
Illinois Bundleflower or Desmanthus illinoensis is native in USDA zones 5 through 8, most of the central and southern U.S. mainland states. Its range skips the east and west coasts as well as Montana and Nevada.
The butterfly attracting, one-half-inch wide spring flowers resemble th…

Poodle Moth is too cute not to share

Venezuelan Poodle Moth was discovered by zoologist Dr Arthur Anker from Bishkek in Kyrgyzstan and most likely belongs to the lepidopteran family Artace.

Read more on ScienceBlogs dog org at

Ankar's other lepidopteran photos are on his Flikr site at

Periodical Cicada are expected this year

The seven year itch is nothing compared to the emergence of Periodical Cicada (Magicicada septendecim) and 2013 is expected to be their year.

From Smithsonian Magazine's blog (

"A mass of winged creatures, red eyes glowing, the cicadas “are expected to emerge and overwhelm a large swath of land from Virginia to Connecticut — climbing up trees, flying in swarms and blanketing grassy areas so they crunch underfoot,” says
ONE TO FIVE MILLION cicadas PER ACRE is what's expected according to Magicada at (Those shouting capital letters are my editorial comment. I could have said euu or yuk or duck! . . . ). 

They live in the ground and eat tree roots, emerge when the soil 8-inches below the surface is 64 degrees. Then they molt, mate a…

Daffodil Day in Muskogee OK March 23, 2013

The Muskogee PhoenixThu Mar 21, 2013, 10:11 PM CDTBright yellow and white daffodils are popping up all around the historic Thomas-Foreman Home in Muskogee. They line the front and sides of the home with miniature daffodils blooming in the space between the sidewalk and the fence.

The flowers are accents to the other pink, yellow and white flowering bushes and other plants in the yard. Guests can see them all and have a spot of tea with sandwiches and cookies at Daffodil Day, courtesy of Muskogee Garden Club.

Members planted 1,000 bulbs in November preparing for Daffodil Day from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. Guests arrive at Three Rivers Museum, 220 Elgin St., for a tour and then take a trolley ride to the Thomas-Foreman Home, 1419 W. Okmulgee Ave., where there will be a home and garden tour, and tea. Cost is $10. You also may go directly to the home for the tour for $5.

The house was built in 1898 as a farmhouse by John R. Thomas Sr., a federal judge over Indian Territory, according t…

Pachysandra for Shade Under Trees - new and old varieties

Wherever there are trees or a shrub row in your garden you can plant pachysandra to hold the soil in place and to prevent weeds from sprouting.

Pachysandra has gone in and out of fashion over the years because so many gardeners jumped on the Japanese pachysandra bandwagon and overplanted it to the point that garden designers said, “No more.”

But, pachysandra is back in the news with varieties that do not take over by spreading everywhere and a 2013 introduction that has more sweetly scented flowers.

All pachysandras are related to boxwoods and offer the same durability throughout the seasons. They are all rabbit and deer resistant because the leaves are thick and tough. Unlike boxwoods, pachysandras want shade. In fact, the leaves bleach and turn yellow in sun.

Another feature they have in common with boxwood is that they are relatively inexpensive. For example, at Classy Groundcovers (www.classyground bare root Japanese spurge, Pachysandra terminalis, plants are under…

Bees - Don't Know Much About

Learning about bees on

The question was "How do bees choose their queen?" 

The answers came from knowledgeable bee people and you'll learn something!

Matan Shelomi

Just made requesting me to answer Quora questions free (because expertise should be free), so keep them coming!
Matan Shelomi, EntomologistEntomologist

Pratyush Kumar

Engineer, Video and Image codecs.

Margaret Weiss

They don't: the queen chooses the bees.

Here's how it works: a bee hive / ant colony starts with a winged queen, who digs a nest, sheds her wings (if she's an ant), and begins to lay eggs. They start as workers (all female), whom are kept from becoming reproductive by chemicals the queen produces that stunt the development of other workers. At her will and once the colony is large enough, she will produce eggs destined to become reproductives: princesses and princes. These are often fed different…

Crinum Lilies for Oklahoma, Kansas and points north

Crinum lilies are not lilies at all. Just as rain lilies, crinums are amaryllis. Called graveyard lilies, country lilies, criniums, and by their variety name Milk and Wine. These gigantic Crinum bulbs from the southern hemisphere have migrated to the U.S. over many generations making their way into southerners' hearts and gardens. Wilfred Wiering of Dutch Touch said, "The ones we sold at the Tulsa Home and Garden Show are Crinum powelii. They grow in the field in Kansas City where I live. I do not fertilize them but you'd have a better plant if you did." Crinum bulbispermum is said to be the most cold-hardy and the parents of C. Powelii are C. bulbispermum and C. mooreii according to so I'm optimistic.   Their legend is large: Roundup won't kill them, they bloom under fallen-down houses, survive burn piles, and the bulbs grow to the size of basketballs and have to be removed with front-end loaders. They will take full sun and part…

March and April - Events outoors, wildflowers, nature and for gardeners

March and April promise to be busy months for everyone who enjoys gardening or being outside. There are how-to workshops; the Muskogee trails clean-up, tea at the Thomas-Foreman Home Daffodil Day, an Audubon Club meeting, Azalea Festival activities, art shows, a wildflower weekend and a rattlesnake roundup to keep you going.

MARCH 16 8 am to 5
Tulsa Rose Society workshop $20

Tulsa Community College, 3727 E Apache
Information Don or Brenda Johnson 918-277-1954

MARCH 16 8 to 12
Muskogee Trail clean-up

Information:, 918-683-0321

MARCH 16 10:30 am
Tulsa Community Garden Association

Welcome Table Garden Park and Orchard, 6005 N. Johnstown Ave. Turley
information and Bonnie Ashing 918-346-3475

MARCH 20 4:30 to 7 pm
Spring Celebration

Lake McMurtry, Stillwater, OK
Bicycle maintenance class, Easter egg hunt & Audubon Society bird walk
information: RSVP or 405.747.8085

Indian Nations Audubon Club

Muskogee Public …

March Seedlings Grown Indoors

Starting seeds to grow your own transplants is fun. Sterile, well-drained planting mix, the correct temperature and light will help you be successful, but things come up, our attention gets diverted, and our efforts have mixed results. 

For example, I found these Raab seeds left over from a previous year and thought the germination rate would be so low that I could put a lot of them in the container. 

Then, it was too cold to go outside much and we were super busy and then the seeds popped roots and leaves and well, the photo tells you everything.

Many experienced gardeners say to pitch them out and start again but I put them under lights to see if they would like to keep growing.  After all, at this time of year, we're mostly puttering while waiting for better weather.

Begonia houseplant from a single leaf

A couple of years ago I was visiting an office where I was asked to wait ... and wait ... and wait. There was a begonia on a stand that was bursting with flowers and about to break out of its pot.

 I took a single leaf and tucked it into my purse. When I came home I put that leaf on moist vermiculite in a strawberry container and kept it out of direct light.

That leaf took root and sent up another tiny leaf so I put it into a tiny clay pot filled with dampened, sterile potting soil.

As it grew, I re-potted it a couple of times and this week it is showing off its sweet pink flowers.

Do you know what kind of begonia it is? More searching for this plant's name (Dec.2013) and still nothing. Plenty of hints from similar looking ones but nothing exactly like it.

Dec. 2013 It's time to propagate this beauty, as her stems have become so long she can barely support leaves. We pruned it back to the crown and will keep the cuttings in damp paper for a few days, then move them to damp soi…

Cold Hardy Camellias

Camellias have historically been a warm-climate flowering shrub.However, many new varieties are cold-hardy to USDA zone 7 and a few are cold-hardy to zone 6.
Camellias are in the Tea (Theaceae) plant family. Camellia sinesis leaves and buds are used to make the green and black teas we drink. Linnaeus named Camellias after a Jesuit missionary, George Kamel. Tea camellias are native to Southeast Asia where they have grown for centuries.
U.S. gardeners began making improvements on the Camellia japonicas in the 1700s and by 1960 cold-hardy camellias became available. Two American breeders, Dr. William Ackerman and Dr. Clifford Parks developed the best hybrids. Fall-blooming Ackerman hybrids succeed in our region and include: Winter Star, Winter Rose, Winter Snow, Winter Interlude, Pink Icicle, Snow Man, winter’s Charm, Snow Flurry, Ashton’s Snow, etc.(See for an Ackerman article on growing camellias in cold climates.)

Inexpensive camellia plants can be purchased but i…