Showing posts from 2015

New Annuals for 2016 Gardens

Whether you are looking for new annuals for the sun or shade, containers or beds, there is something unique for next spring.
Proven Winners has come out with ten new pink flowering annuals that you can mix or match to renew an existing bed and make a container garden.
Garden Bells mini-petunias have been popular container plants for several years. They never have to be deadheaded and can take the heat.  Their Latin name is Calibrachoa and the new colors include Garden Rose and Holy Moly (yellow and pink stripes).

Magentamen is a new, deep rose, Gerbera Daisy bedding plant that matures at 12-20 inches tall.
They are also introducing a new Rocapulco Wisteria Impatiens with double flowers for shade or part shade. The flowers are white and purple – ideal to brighten an area under perennials.  Also for the shade the new sweet potato vine, Sweet Caroline Sweetheart Lime, is bright green but grows only 14-inches.
Have you heard of Pansiolas? They are sweet violas for part sun and come in An…

Sansevieria is Mother-in-Law's Tongue and Snake Plant

The Sansevieria Cylindrica pup we were given in 2009 has been happily growing into an adult.
For the past few weeks it has been on a trek to full bloom. The bud appeared around Thanksgiving and we've been watching its progress as it formed a flower bud, bloomed and then grew a few feet tall.

Sansevieria Cylindrica is the typical shades-of-green but instead of the thin sharp edged leaves, it has round leaves, making some call it an inelegant oddball.

But, no matter. We love Sansevieria because it is so easy to get along with. Low water needs. Low light preferences. What could be a better interior decoration for dull winter rooms?

I'll admit that it isn't all peaches and cream like an African Violet with soft, fuzzy leaves and pretty flowers but for us minimalists, the structural form suits us just fine.

We've agreed that it is time to give it a larger pot now. And, in this photo from France I see how to help it stand upright with a layer of gravel on top of the soil.

Use Honey Fence to Prevent Intruders

Honey fences have been used to keep elephants out of small, home gardens in Kenya. Maybe they would work in residences to keep out intruders?

We've heard of pollinator pathways and many of us have tried to contribute toward creating a path of pollen and nectar for butterflies and bees.

The honey fences were invented by Lucy King, a zoologist. Elephants are terrified by the sound of bees and so are most humans who do not garden.

King's honey fence is a line of hives that are suspended from a wire. When an elephant touches the wire, attempting to enter an area, the bees are disturbed and swarm.

Now, an entire town is surrounded by honey fences and they sell the resulting honey, called Elephant Friendly Honey.

Click over to the Elephants and Bees site to find out more.

This story, written by Nicola Twilley, came to me via Edible Geography, a fascinating blog.

Double Flowering Gardenia Cold Hardy to Zone 7

When I wrote about our cold hardy Gardenias in 2013, I was pretty excited. The fact that they are now in their third winter makes me even more excited! We cover the shrubs completely with pine need straw for the winter and they emerge bright green in the spring.

I bought the shrubs from a local grower and didn't write down the specific information you might need in order to find them.

The website New Plants and Flowers sent out the information we need for any future purchases. Here's a link to the nursery, J. Berry.

Gardenia jasminoides ‘Celestial Star’ is a 2016 introduction of J. Berry Nursery in Grand Saline, Texas (US). It is bred by Jim Berry who founded the company in 2006 together with Jonathan Berry. The scent of ‘Celestial Star’ is ‘remarkable’. The two describe the new Gardenia as a shrub that has striking double flowers. Heavy bloom set in spring with a follow-up show in the fall. No pruning should be required in the production period. Is has a fast growth rate and i…

Apply Winter Mulch Now

There are a few factors to consider when setting up your favorite plants to survive the coming winter weather. 
One important factor is whether the plants can handle the winter weather in your area’s USDA cold hardiness zone. In Oklahoma, for example, there are three cold hardiness zones. The southeast part of the state is zone 7b, the panhandle and Miami are zone 6a, but, Tulsa is 7a and Bartlesville is 6b.
There are also microclimates on your property. For example, the south side of the house is warm enough to protect a wider range of perennials than the north side. Containers on a west-facing porch are more sheltered than containers out in the middle of a bed.
For the most part, plants that are native to your USDA growing zone ( will do better no matter how harsh the winter is. But, as we have seen, drought with record cold temperatures can change everything.
Applying winter mulch will help hedge your bets, preventing wind damage, soil heaving from freeze and thaw,…

Create Nesting Areas for Birds and Wildlife

From the website, Choose Natives, this lovely and instructive article helped remind me to continue to increase the amount of habitat and nesting that we provide in our garden.

Many, though not all, are native or considered to be native in Oklahoma. So, I did a little research on each recommended plant and provided a link to more information. You'll see the plant name in italics - those are my links for your edification.

Here's the post
Derek Stoner, Project Coordinator for the Delaware Nature Society, helped restore the 860-acre Middle Run Natural Area by “intensive habitat management”, including planting 12,000 trees and shrubs.  His lecture, ‘Native Plants for Nesting Birds: Connecting Flora and Fauna’, given to a group of enthusiasts at theMillersville Native Plant Conferencein Pennsylvania, focused on his observations.
Here are Derek’s landscaping recommendations for attracting birds:Plant shrubs in clusters (“habitat circles”) that will create the dense cover that birds desi…

RHS Plant Ratings and Plant Preservation Efforts

The Royal Horticultural Society revised its plant ratings a few years ago to add hundreds of new plants and to reflect the changes in climate. Here's the entry from their May 1, 2014 release of the new book, "RHS Plant Finder 2014, the 28th edition of the gardener’s guide to UK cultivated plants, is now available. 

Compiled and published annually by the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), the world’s foremost gardening charity, RHS Plant Finder 2014 lists more than 70,000 plants, together with details for more than 570 suppliers, making it the most comprehensive directory of plants available to buy from UK and Irish nurseries.

RHS Plant Finder 2014 contains over 3,800 new plant entries, including Clematis ‘Prince George’ named to celebrate the birth of the royal baby."

At the 5th Annual Botanic Gardens Conference in 2012, The Queen's Botanist, Professor Stephen Blackmore, addressed the group. This YouTube of his talk is well worth 30-minutes to hear. Red Lists were new t…

Horticulture Conference Jan 8 and 9 Tulsa

The agenda and registration information is at this link -

The Horticulture Industries Show and Conference is right around the corner! It’s packed with educational sessions, networking with professionals and the opportunity to participate in round table discussions.  You will find growers, educators and researchers who will share the latest information on vegetables, fruit, Christmas trees, farmers’ market crops, public gardening issues and learn a few secrets of success from masters in your field. This is a vital time for the horticulture industry and those interest in horticulture to come together for a brighter and more profitable future!

Conference pre-registration is December 22, and the hotel reservation deadline is December 29.
Please feel free to contact me via email or by phone for any questions you may have regarding the conferenc…

Caterpillar Rescue Update

In the Nov 24 All the Dirt on Gardening entry I showed the butterfly box where we put a tiny swallowtail caterpillar rescued before the first hard freeze.

These photos show its progress toward butterfly adulthood -
It grew to about 8 times the size it was on Nov 24 
An grew fatter, too.
Yesterday I watched as the caterpillar wriggled toward the next stage  and this morning when I checked it had completed the process to chrysalis.

Argentina, Soy Beans and You

SiloBags - ever heard of them? Me, either. Until this past Saturday morning that is. 

On the Oklahoma State University Ag Department tv program, SunUp, one discussion topic was the taxing political trouble in Argentina.

From AgWeb on the topic of a soy price rally, ""You hear the old clich√©, 'Buy the rumor, sell the fact,' and in this case in Argentina it was, 'Sell the rumor in anticipation of the market going down,' and it did,” says Jerry Gulke, president of the Gulke Group."

This link will take you to the SunUp YouTube channel.

The reason taxes in Argentina matter is because when the government imposed 25% export taxes on their soy beans, the farmers bought SiloBags and stockpiled them in protest instead of selling them.

From the photos on the company's website, I can only assume that they are selling worldwide. The product list: Dry grain baggers in 6 foot, 9 foot, 10 foot and 12 foot diameters, Capacity in excess of 400ton/hour, Direct loading model…

Native Beautyberry Shrubs are Callicarpa americana

American Beautyberry shrub is a native, American shrub in the Verbena plant family. Their native range is primarily in USDA growing zones 7 to 9. Since they do best in such a narrow range, they have not become a widely promoted or planted shrub.
Beautyberries are naturalized in moist woodlands from southern Maryland to NC and from OK to Mexico.  When they are planted in colder areas, such as St. Louis, they die to the ground in the winter.
There are over a thousand other plants in the Verbenaceae family including all the verbenas, vervains, and lantanas.
American Beautyberry takes its time growing into the mature size of 3 to 6 feet tall and wide, or more.  The summertime flowers are small, pink-white, clusters that pollinators are drawn to. After the flowers fade the loose-stemmed shrub has arching stems of mid-green leaves that provide a backdrop for summer flowers. 
In the fall, all of those clusters of pollinated flowers become clusters of glossy, rose-purple berries (fruit).  Since …