Showing posts from November, 2013

Daylily Kindly Light

Daylilies or Hemerocallis come in so many heights, colors, and flower forms that only a public garden could have a significant number of them in a collection.

Even though yellow is not a flower color I aspire to have more of in our garden, this Kindly Light Daylily is one that is so lovely, it is hard to resist.

Old House Gardens catalog describes it as "decidedly different" and the first spider Daylily.

The roots are $7.50 each at

Daylily Diary has a gorgeous photo at

The American Hemerocallis Society's website says it blooms mid-season and grows to 2.5 feet tall.

Click over to their site at to learn more about these wonderful plants.  If you click on search all, you arrive at a link with 76,000 daylilies to browse.

You will find that Daylilies can become the backbone of a flower garden because they are so easy to grow,  bloom for weeks,…

Apple Trees are the All-American Fruit

Apples have a reputation for representing harmony. Just consider how common the sayings “in apple-pie order” and “don’t upset the apple cart” have become since they were popularized in 1796. And, the expression “As American as apple pie” means that something is approved of or normal. Most of us think of freshly picked apples eaten out of hand, made into pies, cakes and tarts, juice, apple butter and sauce. Some varieties are better for each of those uses.  Seventh generation orchardist and apple grower, Tom Burford, has spent his life among apples and apple trees in VA, where apples have been cultivated since the 1700s. In his new book, “Apples of North America” Burford says, “For 50 years I painfully watched the disappearance of the apple culture and the emergence of so-called beautiful apples, a source of malnourishment that even posed a consumption risk from chemical contamination.” In response to the reduction of apple varieties available, the North American Fruit Explorers started…

Buying and preserving your Christmas tree

Thanksgiving weekend is a popular time to buy and put up a Christmas tree while the family is together. Scotch Pine and Virginia Pine are two of the most popular varieties for our area.

The Oklahoma Christmas Tree Association has a handy map of Christmas tree farms in the state. 

Here are links for surrounding states that have associations

Tips from the experts Selection of a Fresh Tree
The basic rule of thumb when purchasing a Christmas tree is to buy a fresh tree and keep it fresh. There are two simple tests for freshness. First, check the condition of the needles. If bent gently, the needle from a fresh tree should bend rather than break. This test is not necessary…

Soil quality is more important than you think

Here's a link to a must read from The Dirt -

Here are a few quotes to entice you to click over -

“Growing plants is the goal,” said James Urban, FASLA, Urban Trees + Soils, at the 2013 ASLA Annual Meeting in Boston. To grow healthy plants, one needs healthy soils, and landscape architects who understand soils and know how to call a soil scientist. In a wide-ranging talk, Urban and his co-presenter, soil scientist Norm Hummel, discussed the qualities and properties of healthy soils and how landscape architects can specify new dirt the right way, particularly in challenging damaged urban landscapes.

"Urban said there are eight critical properties of soils, which soil biologists can test to determine if soils meet specifications. They include structure, texture, density, nutrients, PH, organic matter, and density, which are all “inter-connected.”

More often than not, Urban said trees and plants don’t do well because o…

Dog Tooth Violet is Erythronium

If you have shade, you'll love Dogtooth violets.
Erythroniums have several vivid names including Fawn Lily, Trout Lily, Tooth Violet and Adder’s Tongue. There are 20 species of these sweet, spring-flowering bulbs.They form clumps that grow to a maximum height of 4-8 inches.

The bulbs look like a 2-inch long tooth (dogtooth) and the stems that shoot up in the spring hold pendants of flowers. Flower colors include lavender, pink, yellow and cream.
Native to forests, separate species are identified as growing east and west of the Rocky Mountains. East of the Rockies, we can grow White Fawn Lily (White Trout Lily); Yellow Dogtooth Violet (Yellow Adder’s Tongue); Gray Dwarf Trout Lily; Yellow Trout Lily; and Dimpled Trout Lily.
The Trout Lily name comes from the brown spots on the leaves, said to resemble brook trout spots.  

Erythroniums that grow west of the Rockies include: Avalanche, Glacier, Klamath, Sierra and Tuolumne.
Like their cousins the tulips and hyacinths, Erythroniums bloom …

Horticulture Careers Website - for careers in England, Wales, Scotland

Although the jobs themselves are identified as being in England, Wales and Scotland, the
Grow Careers website has plenty of information about hort careers for those who are interested in the field.

The career dropdown menu starts with arborist and ... keep scrolling ... ends with soil scientist.

Click on Plant Science as an area of interest and you'll be completely informed about that career.

Such as:
Make a difference in developing new food crops and technologies which will help feed an ever-growing global population and aid their well-being. Help find urgently needed solutions to the environmental challenges we face. New pests and diseases are appearing all the time and we need scientists to help us fight them.
.. . . . .
There are many science careers either within horticulture or interacting with horticulture and the topics below attempt to give a general flavour.  However there are many more; for example engineers designing machinery or greenhouses and mathematicians studying …

Taiwan Encyclopedia of Life

Focus Taiwan has announced an online reference of life in their world.
 Here's the article
"All it takes is a click to learn about Taiwan's smallest owl or to listen to the sound of endemic green tree frogs, thanks to a new encyclopedic database that profiles almost 13,000 species of animals, plants and other life forms in Taiwan.

The Chinese-language-only "Taiwan Encyclopedia of Life," officially unveiled Tuesday, is part of a global project that seeks to provide one-page profiles of all of the 1.9 million known living species on Earth, including fungi, protists and bacteria.
Work on creating the database started in 2011, when Academia Sinica, Taiwan's top research institute, and the Forestry Bureau under the Council of Agriculture began collaborating.

The following year, Academia Sinica signed an agreement with the global Encyclopedia of Life (EOL) Secretariat to become its 16th partner. The Chinese-language encyclopedia was set up in October this year.

Over 1…

Dahlberg Daisy, thymophylla tenuiloba, is Golden Fleece, Tiny Tim, etc.

This little member of the Asteraceae family is in the Genus Thymophylla and the species is named tenuiloba. It is also called Bristle leaf, Pricklyleaf, Dogweed, Fe, Dyssodia tenuiloba, Dyssodia tenuiloba var. tenuiloba and Thymophylla tenuiloba var. tenuiloba.  

A friend in Phoenix harvested seeds from his plants and sent some so of course I planted them in the shed in a celltray under lights, and they are popping up. 

The leaves release a  lemony scent when crushed.
Hardy in zones 4 to 11, the stems only reach 6 to 11 inches and a foot at maximum height. But they are covered with 1-inch, scented, yellow flowers in July and August. Usually Dahlberg Daisies are grown as a groundcover, planted between pavers and in rock gardens. The leaves are fern-like.
 Dahlberg Daisy's North and Central American relatives include a few annuals, perennials and biennials that want lots of sun and average, well-drained ground, needing very little water. Too much water will cause root rot.


Raise Bees Eat Honey!

Beekeeping is a popular hobby and, if you enjoy using honey on your toast and in your tea, you might want to have a few hives in the back yard. 

In 2012 U.S. Apiculture, or beekeeping, produced 147 million pounds of honey but that was less than in previous years and more beekeepers are needed. Honey has been a dietary staple for a long time. In Spain, cave drawings dating to 6,000 B.C. show people climbing cliffs to reach honey hives.   Local beekeepers Ruth and Lonnie O’Dell started their beekeeping hobby in 1971 and this year their 10 hives produced around 120-pounds per hive.

“I was teaching carpentry at Indian Capital Technology Center when I brought a swarm of bees home in a box,” said Lonnie. “Anyone with a garden should have a hive to pollinate their vegetables and fruit.” The sweet rewards of beekeeping require an investment of time and money but there are several reasons the O’Dells have enjoyed it for so many years. Ruth said, “Everyone who gets into it is taken by watching th…

Yellow Fever - free book about daffodils by David Willis

David Willis has written a seminal book about daffodils and has made it available free online.
Thanks to Daffnet for letting us know.

Free pdf download of the book is at this link

And, it has over 400 pages of information about our favorite bulbs.

Willis is amazing!

Waxed Amaryllis bulb - a no-water selection

Last year at FloraHolland Trade Fair 2012 in Aalsmeer (Netherlands) grower Vreugdenhil Bulbs and Plants from ’s-Gravenzande already showed a new series of waxed amaryllis bulbs.

And, the bulb flowers for up to 6-weeks. Here's a link to the company on-site catalog section where they are featured At the this week held 2013 fall edition of FloraHolland Trade Fair the company also showed Velvet Touchz and Wrapz amaryllis’, trade names that speak for themselves. The original pay-off ‘no water needed’ is now upgraded. The umbrella brand for Waxz, Velvet Touchz and Wrapz will be in the future No Water Flowers. Consciously the original plant name is set aside, as amaryllis is associated with the fall and winter seasons. No Water Flowers will be sold for a much longer period.
The Waxz and Velvet Touchz No Water Flowers could also be seen at the official New Varieties and Concepts showcase of the 2013 fall edition of FloraH…

Sunchokes, Jerusalem Artichokes are Helianthus tuberosus

Sunchokes, also called Jerusalem artichoke, sunroot, and earth apple, are sunflowers with an edible tuber. There are about 80 species of Helianthus that include annuals, perennials, plants for dry woodlands and prairies, as well as plants for swamps.

Helianthus tuberosus is native to North America.
Vegetarians in Paradise says, "The Jerusalem artichoke is a tuber that grows underground like the potato but is harder to harvest because the tubers cling to the roots and become entwined. Cultivated varieties of sunchokes grow in clumps close to the main root or rhizome while wild ones grow at the end of root.
Like their family members of sunflowers, they can grow from 3 to 12 feet high with large leaves and flowers that are 1 1/2 to 3 inches in diameter.
They grow well in almost all soil with the exception of very heavy clay soil, but do best in alkaline soil.
 And, they can become invasive.

Sunchokes are easy to grow from tubers that weigh about 2 oz. and have 2 or 3 sprouts emerging.…

Herb Spiral - How-to build one for your home and what to plant

Raised beds can be all sizes and shapes, including circles, rectangles, squares and half-moons. While visiting Germany last month we saw our first Herb Spiral, a semi-circular raised bed where a wide variety of herbs can be grown in a small space.

Our cousin Inge Bonfert said she built the one at her new apartment six months before moving to Morlenbach Germany. Hers holds over a dozen herbs in a 6-foot raised and sloping bed.
“After I located the apartment where I wanted to move, I told the landlady what I wanted to do and she not only agreed that I could build it, her family helped with the construction,” said Bonfert.

Herb spirals are built to resemble a snail shell, with each spiral moving downward, supporting plants that require more and more moisture. At the bottom a small pond is placed where water-loving herbs can thrive.  

The growing environment at the top is constructed to have drainage for plants such as rosemary, thyme and lavender. In and around the pond, watercress and Wa…

Field Guide to Texas Insects - online reference

Texas A & M AgriLife Extension has a handy online insect reference for your browsing, research and what-is-that disputes.

Check it out at

Then, at, you can click on a photo and get information.
 "High resolution color photographs of insects common to the vegetable garden have been grouped into clusters to aid in identification. Click on the insect group to go to a higher magnification view of the photo. When you find the insect you wish to identify, click on its photo and you will receive a page of detailed information that describes the insect and how it damages plants. At the bottom of the detail page, you may search the vegIPM database for cultural, biological and chemical controls for the pest."

And, what the insects eat, their identity and what they look like in life stages is at

Very handy if you grow fruit and vegetables.

Growing vegetables in zone 7

November in our vegetable garden has plantings that are the result of much earlier activity.

If the weather is lovely like it is this year, we continue to have snacks from our little growing space.

This week we are eating beans, peppers, arugula, radishes and broccoli raab. The snow peas are over a foot tall but do not have flowers yet.
Unlike those enviable, energetic souls who enjoy extending the gardening season into a 12-month cycle, we do not  put up plastic row covers or try to grow in greenhouses. By the time the hard freezes arrive, we are content to eat what we have preserved, shop in stores, and give ourselves a break.

The calendula planted around and inside the vegetable garden to attract pollinators is working double time as most of our flying friends are finding shelter under leaf piles every night now that it's in the 30s after dark.
 The beets are about 3-inches tall, the Red Russian kale is only 2-inches high so far. The other many seed types I've put in th…