Showing posts from May, 2014

Muskogee Garden Tour - Leslie and Randy Scott's garden

One of the joysof attending garden tours is seeing how other gardeners’ creativity can make their yard into a personal expression. So, grab a camera and attend the Muskogee Garden Tour on June 7 and get some new ideas for sun, shade and poolside.
Homeowners Leslie and Randy Scott have spent a few years transforming their front, back and side yards into a relaxing spot for friends and family. 

“We started in the fall of 2010 with a plan by Steven Williams Landscape in Tulsa,” Leslie Scott said. “What I like about the plants he selected is that once they are established, they take little water and care.”
When you first arrive at the Scott’s, you are treated to their pleasingly landscaped front yard on a corner lot. Look for Azaleas, Oak Leaf Hydrangea, Crape Myrtle, Boxwood, Leatherleaf Viburnums, Mugo Pines and Otto Luyken Laurels.
The Otto Luyken Laurel is a dwarf variety of English Laurel that is hardy in zones 6 to 9.
“The bees like the white flower spikes and the birds enjoy the black b…

Baby Chicks available - Tulsa

Russell Studebaker in Tulsa has some baby chicks to sell at $5.50 each. 
The chicks are 5 and 6 weeks.
Available now.

Breeds available

Dutch, light brown
White Silkie
Light Brahma
Buff Brahma
Columbian Wyandotte
Buff Orphington
White Crested Black Polish

 Contact Russell  at

Jewels of Opar is Limon talinum

Jewels of Opar have been a favorite in our garden for many years. Recently I read a gardening blog on Facebook where the contributors were complaining about its invasiveness. It does re-seed but never too much for us so either we love it that much or it doesn't spread as much in our crowded, wild space as it does in more fertile gardens.
Either way, it is welcome here wherever it pops up. Those lime-green leaves topped with threadlike flower stems (panicles) with flowers the size of the head of a straight pin, followed by red seed capsules.
I took the photo from above, trying to capture how it looks in person but it's impossible. You just have to see it for yourself.
Mississippi State says that botanically it is Talinum paniculatum, native to the West Indies and Central America, hardy in zones 8 to 11. Here in zone 7 it returns from seed left on the ground the previous fall.. Its other common name is Fameflower, though I have not seen it in garden centers around here for many y…

Garden-Worthy Penstemmons

New Plants and Flowers highlighted five strong garden-worthy Penstemons to add to our gardens.  Two have been around since 1999, one since 2007 and two more are being released to the market this year.

Why grow Penstemons?
Susan Geer's online reference "Native Penstemons in Our Gardens" says,
"In the book The Gardener's Guide to Growing Penstemons, David Way and Peter James correctly point to abundance, color, and charm.. In most species, there is a profusion of blooms which can in some cases last all season. They exhibit a wide variety of colors, especially in shading and contrasting throat colors and markings. There is also a tremendous variety in floral shape and in the stature of the plants, and a charm in their carefree attitude. While other flowers in the garden languish in the heat or struggle in difficult soils, Penstemons thrive."

These are the five varieties that Plant Select pointed to

‘Red Rocks’ (rosy-red flowers with white throat) and ‘Pike’s Peak P…

Bletilla - Hardy Orchids you can grow in your garden

Of the 200,000 orchid species, 200 are hardy enough to grow in home gardens. Of those, many are easy to grow and add beauty and interest to the usual mix of plants.

One key to growing hardy orchids is to avoid killing them with kindness.  In general, they prefer the low fertility provided by good compost, filtered sunlight and average to low water.
The orchids that enjoy the weather found in the southern states, zones 6 to 9, are Calanthe, Chinese Hardy Orchids – the Blettilla species, Grass Pink Calopogon, White Egret Flower – Pecteilis radiate, Fragrant Nodding Ladies Tresses and Lady’s Slippers – the Cypripediums.
For beginners in outdoor orchid growing, Chinese Ground Orchids or Bletilla varieties are the best place to start.  They are reliable for spring color, attractive leaf form and when established they multiply to create colonies. Pollinators love them and despite the fact that they grow in shade, snails and slugs ignore them.
Kay Backues, president of the Tulsa Orchid Society s…

Azaleas - You Can Grow Them

Azaleas grow best in mild, humid climates and for decades they have thrived in the gardens and parks of northeast OK. They have been a constant mainstay of gardens because of their exuberant spring flower show and the beautiful green leaves that persist until hard freezes arrive.

The flowers are shaped in funnel, bell or tubular forms and are often fragrant. For best flowering, they need regular, early morning moisture, particularly during hot and dry weather.

Changes in weather patterns, specifically periods of drought, will stress Azaleas. If branches look
like they are wilting, the shrub may need more morning water.

Their shallow root system demands damp but never water-logged soil. A 3-inch deep mulch, added annually will protect the roots from drying out. Azaleas are one of the few plants that can thrive close to lawn sprinklers.

Azaleas need to be protected from full sun so they are usually planted under trees. Harsh south and west winds also dry out azaleas so it is recommended …

Edibles gardening Mid-May in zone 7

The goals and the hours of work in the garden are endless at this time of year. There are so many tiny seedlings to get into the ground, weeds to pull, winter messes to clean up, pruning to get done.
Every spring I have more compassion for people who have even more land than we do since I cannot imagine caring for more than 2.5 acres of flowers, herbs, fruit and vegetables.
We don't bother to grow lettuce and tomatoes since our farmers' market is so good. We grow things we want to preserve and a few items that are expensive or difficult to obtain such as the chard varieties we prefer, herbs, blackberries, figs, and other fruits. We buy local blueberries once a year and freeze them to use all winter.
Snow peas are a must and after experimenting with freezing them in the past we learned that our preference is for chopping them fresh into salads and steaming them into stir-fry. Lots of them are eaten directly off the vines as gardener snacks.

Audubon Habitat Tour Tulsa May 17-18

Tulsa Audubon Society's
21st Annual Habitat Garden Tour & Plant Sale

Sat. May 17, 2014 9-5  & Sun. May 18, 2014  Noon -5
Admission donation $5 Children under 13 Free
Begin the tour at any garden       

Garden Addresses  Vendor at each location  
12441 E. 35th St     Missouri Wildflowers Nursery
4508 E. 55th St      Utopia Gardens & WING-IT
3931 S. Evanston Av  Wild Things Nursery&Oxley Nature
3022 E. 38th Pl      Bird Houses by Mark
2423 E. 37th St      Pine Ridge Gardens

Map & info or call 918 521-8894.

I'm volunteering on Sunday at the Evanston AV garden. Stop by and say hi.

Peony Garden Open and loaded with flowers!

Chotkowski Gardens Open
Annual Mother’s Day Party May 11 from 1 to 5
16142 Pin Oak Rd, Fayetteville AR
Information (479) 587-8920 and

Henry Chotkowski, the Peony Man, is holding his annual Mother’s Day party, Sunday  from 1 to 5. He and his wife Karen open their acre of blooming peonies to the public for the day, providing refreshments to the hundreds of visitors who come to enjoy peak peony season. Their garden is in the rolling hills 10-miles west of Fayetteville AR. 

Before shopping for peonies, it is a good idea to know a little bit about what you want for your garden.
There are two types of Peonies or Paeonia: The herbaceous type that dies to the ground every year and the woody type that has shrub-like branches and stems.
Three-feet tall is typical for peonies but there are some that are under 2-feet and others that grow 4 or 5 feet tall.
Peony flower colors range from white to deep red with many pinks and corals in between.
Peony flower forms include sauce…

Container Gardening workshop in Muskogee on May 8

As part of OHCE week, the local Oklahoma Home and Community Education group is sponsoring a free gardening session on Thursday, May 8thin the OSU extension building at the Muskogee fairgrounds.  

The public is invited to hear OSU Consumer Horticulturist David Hillock give tips about raising plants in containers.  

Spring to summer - a garden in transition

It has been in the 90s here in zone 7 this week, reminding us that spring is ending and summer is about to cook the garden.  The show put on by the redbud and native plum trees, viburnum, flowering quince, flowering almond and daffodils has ended. The flowers of irises, snowball bush, dianthus, rue, mock orange and baptesia have taken center stage
These are the days we spend every minute possible outside. We weed, water, plant and anticipate the next season of the garden.

In the vegetable bed, the snowpeas are flowering, the beets have true leaves and the kale has enough mid-size leaves to use in salads.

The blackberries are blooming, the grape vines are covered with clusters of tiny fruit, there are a dozen apples on the new trees and the figs are sprouting from the ground. The harsh winter killed the figs to to the ground this year.

Perennials are returning, sending up shoots to remind us of where they are. Hydrangeas, verbena, the umbrella trees, weigelias, peonies, lavender, are eme…

Blue-eyed Grass is Native Prairie Iris or Sisyrinchium

Blue-eyed grass is blooming everywhere right now and what a pretty blue show!

At the center of each flower a seed capsule forms and is dropped onto the ground for next year's flowers.

They are cold hardy in zones 3 to 8, need well-drained soil and thrive on thin, infertile soils. Their native range is FL, TX, and OK to New Foundland and Quebec in Canada.

If you would like to grow them in your sunny garden, direct sow the seeds in October. The seeds will cold stratify over the winter. The seeds germinate in the spring.

If the weather is hot and dry in the spring, the planting will have to be watered.

If preferred, the seeds can be started indoors in flats after they spend 6 weeks in the refrigerator for their needed cold stratification. They will germinate best at 50-degrees so most houses will be too warm.

Interestingly, though all of our flowers are blue, there are also white ones.

Varieties: Prairie Blue-eyed Grass is Sisyrinchium campestre, Sword-leaf Blue-eyed Grass is Sisyrinc…

Making Better Plant Choices

Spring is here and our gardens are ready to be spruced up for enjoying the summer outside. 
Most of us will be wandering the garden centers over the next few weeks, shopping for colorful annuals to put in container and borders. Then we need a few vining plant or two for the trellis and maybe to cover a fence. If old shrubs look bad or a new tree is needed for shade and shelter, those decisions have to be made.
Gardeners who have a few years of experience know now what works and what was a disappointment some plants can be because they did not last through a season, never did fill out or bloom like the ones in the photos, or spread so fast that it became a nuisance.
Some of the problem trees include: Bradford pear or Callery pear tree because it makes hundreds of babies all over the garden and break in storms. If a fast growing tree is needed, try Autumn Blaze Red Maple. It has two native maple tree parents so it will not seed profusely. Autumn Brilliance Serviceberry is another choice.