Showing posts from 2014

Holiday Wreaths Add a Welcoming Touch

This is the time of year when homes, stores and entire city blocks are decorated with snowflakes, stars, bells, garlands, poinsettia plants, evergreen trees, wreaths, and blooming Christmas cactus.
Holiday wreaths, garlands and decorative boughs can be made of ordinary materials such as felt cutouts, ribbon and tree branches or precious items such as the diamond and ruby studded Christmas wreath that sold for over $4 million last Christmas.

The circular shape of the Christmas wreath has the same significance as wedding bands, with the circle representing eternity or the unending circle of life. Evergreen tree branches, most often used to make wreaths symbolize growth and everlasting life.
Jerry Clouse, owner of Twin Pines evergreen farm in Muskogee said, “We grow the French Scotch Pine and the Belgian Scotch Pine trees. They are called Legend Trees because the central stem signifies God and the second stalk is Jesus. Then the branches coming up are the five branches of heaven.”
Clouse wh…

Columbine - Aquilegia - Perennial Seeds Winter Planting - You Can Grow That!

December is a great time to finish planting the seeds, perennials and bulbs that will make spring glorious in our gardens! 
You know that it's time to plant biennials, poppies, larkspur and other early spring flowers for the first bee and butterfly nectar in the neighborhood. But don't forget about the other shade garden favorites such as Columbine, also known as Granny's Bonnet.
Columbine has a reputation for thriving in shade. In the early spring they enjoy the direct sun that falls on them under trees but they will not thrive in full-sun, hot, dry conditions. Plant them where you normally water or where you have added plenty of organic material such as leaves and mulch.
A local gardening friend send me a baggie of seeds from her Columbine plants and it's time to get them going so the plants will be ready to plant  in early spring.
Cold hardy in zones 4 to 8, perennial Aquilegias have a reputation for being easy to start from seed. 
Seeds are planted on top of moist plant…

Late December garden

It was sunny and 64 today so the veggies garden yielded up it's salads for this week.

It all afternoon but the beds are now weeded, watered, and seeded with a few beets and more greens.

The greens seeds came from Seeds of Italy last spring so they should still be viable.

If it's this beautiful again tomorrow, I'll do a few of the tasks that I went out to do today before I was beguiled by the vegetables.

posted from Bloggeroid

Sowing hollyhock seeds - biennials

Since hollyhock are biennial sow the seeds in the winter . . . now . . . in order to have flowers next summer.

This time I'm planting some in milk cartons with sterile soil.

After watering, the containers will go outside for a couple of months.

When they are thoroughly chilled...maybe late Feb. ..we will bring them into the shed to grow a few sets of leaves.

After that, they get individuals pots until time to plant out.

Last year at the Daffodil Day plant sale we sold every single one that we grew! Hopefully, the seed starting will be successful enough to offer them again next March at Daffodil Day.

posted from Bloggeroid

Rock Gardening - great winter project

Steve Marak’s opening comment in his talk about rock gardens was, “Rock gardening is not a pot full of rocks, even though that would live no matter what.” 
Marak recently spoke about rock gardening at the Flower, Garden and Nature Society of NW Arkansas, a club he helped found. 

Alpine gardening, which is a garden filled with plants that grow in Alpine mountain regions, includes a) crevice or deep excavation, and b)rock face or dry-stacked gardens.
A rock garden is usually filled with small and low-to-the-ground plants that bloom all at once with flowers that are large relative to the size of the plant clump.
In order to grow rock garden plants in our high-rainfall area we must try to replicate their native environment by bringing in a large quantity of mixed-sized rocks. The most efficient way to create a rock garden is with a load of scree piled on a slope.
Marak said, “Scree’s mixture of rock sizes provides sharp drainage to oxygenate the water, shelter rock garden plants’ deep…

2014 Master List of Plant Resources - Friends of the Garden - Barbara Clark

Barbara Clark has updated her thoroughly researched list of Internet sites of interest to plant lovers.

Here's the link -

Click and scroll through the list and bookmark it for one of these upcoming cold days. What a gift Barbara Clark and Friends of the Garden gives us each year.

Great day in the garden

It's that sunny warm day before a hard freeze and we are using every minute.

Watering the cold hardy plants like these gardenias. I had to remind myself that it is best to mulch after the ground is frozen not when it is still warm like it is now.

While weeding around the emerging larkspur and and pulling weeds it seemed like a good idea to plant hollyhock seeds. They are biennial so if we plant the seeds now and they emerge during warm spells, they will bloom summer 2015.

Also, I'm harvesting zinnia seeds and planting them around for next summer.

In a bed toward the back of our property where native plants thrive and multiply I worked removing hundreds of tiny plant seedlings and suckers that would choke out the rest of my shrubs, trees and flowers up there.

Jon is working on pruning the dead and low hanging branches of the Loblolly pine trees - with intermittent chain saw adjustments - and removing a row of native privet shrubs that seemed like a good idea at the time but h…

Late Nov salad in zone 7

We just arrived home from our thanksgiving trip and it was 75 degrees and sunny.

The salad greens were ready to be watered and picked so I did both.

Tonight's welcome-home salad is 4 lettuce varieties, bloody dock, parsley, basil, mache, kale, arugula, and garlic, with a simple, home made vinegar and oil dressing.
posted from Bloggeroid

Seeds to plant now

You can provide cold stratification for seeds of annual flowers by putting them in the freezer or the refrigerator but I prefer to plant them Thanksgiving week so Mother Nature does the work for me.

This is the time to plant Poppy seeds, Larkspur, wildflowers, swamp milkweed and many others. They seem to thrive with cold, moist, freeze and thaw stratification.

The photo is our bag of the poppy seeds we collected and cleaned. This afternoon we are going to fill that gallon bag with soil-less potting soil that has been mixed with additional peat moss.

Then, we are going to disturb the ground in various places on our 2 acres, sprinkle the mix on the disturbed soil and pat it down to discourage birds and squirrels. The peat, perlite and pressing the seeds in seems to really help reduce the eating.

For more see

Many many perennial seeds need cold stratification to germinate their thick, hard seedcoat.
Check out this site for more ti…

Cherokee Ethnobotany - Pat Gwin speaking in Muskogee

Pat Gwin speaking“Cherokee Ethnobiology: Cherokee Native Agricultural Practices and Plants”
November 20, 9:30 am to 11 Muskogee Garden Club
Kiwanis Senior Center 119 Spaulding AV Muskogee
Information: Susan Asquith 918.682.3688
Cherokee plants and their role in the life of native Cherokee sustainable agricultural practices is a topic that Pat Gwin has spoken on for a decade at various conferences, native plant walks and events. Nove 20 he will share that wisdom at Muskogee Garden Club’s monthly meeting.
“Ethnobotany is strictly about the native plants and Ethnobiology includes animals,” said Gwin. “My talk will be 95% about plants. Part One of the talk is gardening with heirlooms and Part Two is about ethnoforestry which is usually the more popular part of the talk.”
Gwin is the director of the Cherokee Nation Seed Bank and Native Plant Center at Cherokee Nation Natural Resources in Tahlequah where he helps coordinate the heirloom seed exchange program. He also helps plant and oversee th…

Cold Frames made of re-purposed home windows

When we had to have our house's windows replaced with new ones last year, I asked that all the old windows be left with us so they could be re-purposed into mini cold frames.

We put them up the day before these 20-degree temperatures arrived and I wanted to give them a few days/nights trial run to see how well they did. Success!

Jon drilled little holes in the frames and ran wire through the holes to make a secure tie that even these recent, awful winds have not messed with.

The little windows at the ends blew down one night but the plants didn't suffer any damage.

We've watered once just by slipping the hose in with a water flow diffuser/bubbler attached so it would flow down into the soil.

The other greens in the garden? Mixed results. The Kale has freezer burn, the Mache and Arugula are doing fine.

Begonia rhizomes make more plants You Can Grow That!

Begonias are mostly tender perennials in zone 7 with only a few exceptions. They are one example of plants that we keep from year to year, dividing in the fall, growing in the shed over the winter and putting back outside in the spring.

There are different types of begonias according to Gary Turner, including cane, shrub, thick stem semperflorens, rhizomatous, tuberous, trailing/scandent. Cane-types can be rooted in water.

Most have shallow roots and prefer shallow containers where they can trail out. We use bagged soil-less potting soil, remixed with extra perlite for ours.

A few of ours are so crowded that their rhizomes are crawling over the sides of their containers. We keep ours outside in flower beds, under trees, all summer in pots and our summers are 100 and above with pretty high humidity.

At the link above, Turner says: "The planting medium mix should be slightly acid, containing loose, well-drained ingredients such as Perlite, Vermiculite and leaf mold (oak leaf, Orch…

November things to do in the garden

November is not always a gardening month but this year it is. However, when night temperatures drop below 50-degrees F, tropical perennials, succulents and houseplants should be prepared for bringing indoors.
Start by checking the containers and soil for insects. Soak the planted pots in a tub of lukewarm water for 15 minutes to force the insects to leave. If there are burrowed insects in the pot such as snails or earthworms, repot the plant to remove them before bringing them inside.
If the plant became large and leggy over the summer, prune back the roots and the top before repotting in fresh soil.
Gradually help the plants get used to the low light in a home by putting them in shade for more and more hours a day before bringing them in. The best windowsill light is about half the light plants get outdoors.
Many plants you enjoyed this summer can have a second life if you take cuttings that you can replant next spring. We have had success with all succulents, begonias, petunias, Purple…

Wildflower Seeds - new source this year Pine Ridge Gardens

Mary Ann King, owner of Pine Ridge Gardens in northwest Arkansas has always been a reliable source for native plants grown at her nursery.

Yesterday King announced that they have collected seeds from their plants and the surrounding area and are making them available to native plant lovers. Click over to see the entire listing at

Other useful links -
Arkansas Native Plant Society
Ozark Chapter Arkansas Native Plant Society
Native Plants for Birds in NW Arkansas

Seeds we have to Spare

Our seed mostly comes from the nursery or the farm so most of our seed is only available in small quantities.  Sometimes seed may hybridize naturally so  it may not turn out exactly like its parent plant.  And since these are seeds, please keep in mind that there can be color variations.   TO ORDER:  Print page, check or circle …