Showing posts from April, 2013

Pawpaw, Asimina triloba, loved by Zebra Swallowtail Butterflies

The flowers of Pawpaw, Asimina triloba, are downward facing so you have to keep an eye out for them or you will miss their sweet beauty in the spring. Ours is blooming now and has been for the past 2 weeks. In order to get fruit, you have to have 2 cultivars. We don't care about fruit since we planted the tree solely for the zebra swallowtail butterfly's visits. For our purpose a seed started tree was just fine. For fruit, look for grafted cultivars. Some protection from the worst of summer's sun and excellent drainage are critical to their success. Since it is a small tree, ours is in the herb bed with a bird bath and a few native plants. KY State University Pawpaw Planting Guide is at this link Excerpts- "The pawpawis a tree of temperate humid growing zones, requiring warm to hot summers, mild to cold winters, and a minimum of 32 inches (81 cm) of rainfall spread rather evenly throughout the year, with the majority falling in spring and summer. It can be grown s…

Erica Glasener at Flower Garden Nature Society of Northwest Arkansas

Atlanta GA is the home of HGTV personality and author Erica Glasener ( who gave two talks at the Flower Garden and Nature Society last Saturday. Program chair for FGNS, Gail Pianalto, introduced Glasener as “a rock star of the gardening world”.
In her recent past Glasener hosted “A Gardener’s Diary” on HGTV for 14-years, interviewing gardeners across the U.S. Her list of writing credentials include a garden column in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Southern Lady Magazine, Fine Gardening, and many others.
Her books include “Proven Plants: Southern Gardens” and her planting tips are part of the Southern Living Plant Collection website at
Glasener opened her first talk by saying that she thinks the soul of any garden is the gardener who works there. She is also a plant-lover who thinks native plants are perfect but that imported plants and hybrids are also quite important in a garden.
The morning talk included dozens of photos from t…

Perky-Pet birdfeeder

Perky-Pet birdfeeder is hanging in our back yard now on the squirrelliest tree we have. This oak produces hundreds of acorns, making it the biggest challenge for any bird feeder that claims to prevent squirrels from eating everything in it.
The birds have visited but I have not seen one single squirrel on it and it's been hanging for several days. This item I can enthusiastically recommend. The plastic food holder is thick enough to not fall apart in one season. The perches please the birds, the seed that came packed with it attracts plenty of visitors and the scoop is built to fit the opening.

Oh, and the assembly instructions enclosed in the box are easy to understand. In English rather than English translated from Chinese, Japanese or Mandarin. Illustrations complete the instructions ease.

It looks like the same company has hummingbird feeders and wind-art. Check them out at - 40% off hummingbird feeders right now.

Landscape Paintings by Prince Charles

Called "Life in Pictures" the link on Prince Charles website showing 130 of his landscape paintings is at http://www.princeofwales dot gov dot uk/life-in-pictures
Many famous people paint for recreation and some try to sell them - not just for charity like Prince Charles has done but for profit. The Daily Mail has a collection of them at

Southern native Maidenhair Fern is adiantum capillus veneris

Would you like to add a fern to your shade garden that will survive? How about a native Maidenhair Fern, also called Five-Fingered Fern?

Part-shade to full-shade will keep it happy and coming back and it will tolerate but not thrive in deep, dense shade. Leaves scorch in direct sun.

Maximum height is about one-foot and unlike many ferns, it's water needs are rated as medium - needs consistently moist soil. Not drought tolerant.

Native in most of the southern half of the U.S., Missouri Botanical Garden says it is cold hardy from zones 5 through 8.

There are 200 Adiantum, Adiantaceae family, ferns in the genus. They all have the same fronds, usually with black, glossy petioles (leaf stems) and fan-shaped leaflets. Their Rhizomes (their crawling underground stem that holds the roots and lives from season to season) are scaly.

Check out the Hardy Fern Foundation for more selections at

Under favorable conditions, both of these ferns will naturalize. See t…

Glasshouses - history, residences and growing houses

Glass-houses have been used for growing plants in a controlled environment since ancient Roman times but, the most famous glass house was designed by architect Philip Johnson in 1949 to use as his residence. Today it is a national landmark, open to the public.

Another glass residence, the Farnsworth house in Chicago, was built by architect Lugwig Mies van der Rohe in the 1940s for Dr. Edith Farnsworth. It is also a national landmark and open for tours.
 Steven Holl’s addition to the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art ( in Kansas City, MO, consists of five interconnected frosted glass boxes in the sculpture park. At night the Block Building resembles paper lanterns in the grass.
The glasshouses used to grow plants rather than to house people and art, date back to ancient Egypt where they were used to grow grapes as early as 4,000 B.C.
By 300 B.C. glasshouses were heated by manure pits and by 92 B.C. in Italy, Sergius Orata invented a heating system, with heat passing throug…

Going Wild in the kitchen with foraged greens

When we were kids growing up in rural Ohio, our grandmother sent us out for wild salad greens in the spring and summer. That was (ahem) years ago and foraging is back in style in a big way.

The Oregonian reports that Portland urban forager Becky Lerner's 'Dandelion Hunter' explores city's edible weeds, teaches classes and writes a blog about it. Oh, and did I mention a book?

Lerner loves plants, but her relationship with the botanical world is far different from that of the avid gardener or arborist. The Portland-based urban forager's interest is in the wild plants that choke out neglected lawns and creep up chain link fences in vacant lots.
Where most people see signs of neglect and decay, Lerner sees a meal.

In her new book, "Dandelion Hunter: Foraging the Urban Wilderness," Lerner aims to extend her enthusiasm for untamed nature to a broader audience.
"It was really important for me to get some of those ideas out there," she says. "I re…

Carolina Jasmine is Gelsemium sempervirens

Gelsemium sempervirens, Carolina Jasmine is a plant of many names including Carolina jessamine, evening trumpetflower and woodbine.

We have never used it medicinally but its history includes to treat measles, tonsilitis, rheumatism, headaches, etc.

It is the state flower of North Carolina and is a popular garden plant even though it contains strychnine alkaloids and should not be consumed. Sensitive individuals can get a rash from the sap though I have not.

South Carolina says, "Here we refer to it as jessamine since that is how it is spelled in Joint Resolution No. 534, which established the flower as an emblem of South Carolina nearly a century ago.)"

The nectar is toxic to honey bees and can cause brood death.

Prune after bloom is the usual advice for keeping its size under control. You can see that it thrives in the half day shade provided by the carport. We rarely water or fertilize it and it keeps on going and growing.

If you have a vine and want to share it or want a vine …

Hanging planters - 30 ideas from Design Sponge

Design Sponge did a post today about hanging planters - lots of new, fresh, modern possibilities

Plant Sale by horticulture students at CSC Warner OK

Great prices for local gardeners -
CSC SPRING PLANT SALE Connors State College Greenhouse, Warner Campus Thursday, April 18, 8:00 am to 6:00 pm Friday, April 19, 8:00 am to 6:00 pm Saturday, 9:00 am to 2:00 pm Great prices for local gardeners - 2013 CSC Annual Plant Sale April 18th, 8-6; April 19 8-6
Annual Full Sun (AF) Price
Allysum $2.25 per 6 pk/ $13.5 tray
Antigua Marigold $3.00 6PK OR .$50 plant
 Celosia (cockscomb) $2.25 per 6 pk/ $13.5 tray
Coleus $2.25 per 6 pk/ $13.5 tray
Dianthus $2.25 per 6 pk/ $13.5 tray
 Dusty Miller $2.25 per 6 pk/ $13.5 tray
 Gazania $2.00 4pk or $24.00 flat
Gerbera Daisy $2.50 per 3'' pot
Lantana $2.75 per 3.5'' pot
Little Hero Marigold $1.20 4pk or 14.40 flat
 New Guinea SunPatiens $2.75 per 3'' pot
Pansy $2.25 per 6 pk/ $13.5 tray
Petunia $2.25 per 6 pk/ $13.5 tray
 Portulaca (Rose Moss)  $2.00 4pk or $24.00 flat
Portulaca (Rose Moss)  $2.25 per 6 pk/ $13.5 tray
Salvia $2.25 per 6 pk/ $13.5 tray
Snapdragons $2.25 per 6 pk/ $13.5 tray
Sweet Pot…

Azaleas - growing, planting, pruning, fertilizing, propagating

Rhododendronsand azaleas belong to the plant genus Rhododendron which is part of the heath family (Ericaceae). All members of this family including heaths, heathers, blueberries, mountain laurels and several others require acid soil, consistent moisture, and good drainage.

Most Rhododendrons and Azaleas were originally from the Himalayan Mountains, western China and northern India. Only few are native to Japan, Europe and the U.S.

Each year during the month of April, Ray Wright of Green Country Landscaping sells Muskogee-grown Azaleas at Honor Heights Park.

“My primary business is commercial and residential landscaping and irrigation but we grow thousands of Azaleas every year,” said Wright. “We grow shrubs and bedding plants for our jobs and then we sell some at Honor Heights Park and at the spring festivals.”

Green Country’s Azaleas are all grown from cuttings at their Muskogee greenhouses. Wright said he sells 50-varieties but most of them are hardy Karume, Girard and Poukhanense.


New Geranium Azure Rush from Blooms of Bressingham

As terrific as Rozanne, Azure Rush is said to be heat-loving and long-flowering perennial for half shade.

Blooms of Bressingham says, "The blooms are a lighter blue and habit is more mounding than 'Rozanne's'. Grows to 24 inches tall by 28 inches wide in sun to part shade. USDA Hardiness Zones 5-8."

You may recall that Geranium ‘Rozanne,’ was the 2008 Perennial Plant Association ( Plant of the Year. The Missouri Botanical Garden grows Geranium Gerwat Rozanne, or Cranesbill, in several of their gardens. it blooms for them in St. Louis from May through July.

 ‘Azure Rush’ is lighter blue than ‘Rozanne,’ and it ambles meaning it is more compact with shorter internodes, so you'll have low-growing, mounded plants - 18-inches tall and 24-inches wide per plant.

Best with average, medium-moist, well-drained organic soil with afternoon shade. Best grown in full sun with some afternoon protection. Organic soil just means add compost to whatev…

Cold-hardy Gardenias for zone 7

Gardenias, also called Cape Jasmine, are best known for their sweetly scented waxy flowers and thick, shiny leaves. Most of us associate them with warm climates because out of the 200-species only a few are cold hardy enough to grow in our area. The flowers vary but tend to be 2-to-4 inches across with six or seven wedge-shaped petals. The fruit that follows is an inch long and matures into a deep orange color in late fall or early winter. If the seeds are harvested they can be planted to grow more shrubs.
Their native growing areas are the open woodlands and savannahs of Africa and tropical Asia where they retain their leaves all year and grow into 6-foot tall woody plants. The first American imports from Asia arrived in 1761. They were cultivated by John Ellis on his South Carolina plantation where he named them for his friend Dr. Alexander Garden.
New varieties are cold hardy in our zone 7 and gardeners as far north as Canada have been successful with garden planted specimens. If yo…