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Showing posts from January, 2015

Indian Pink, Pink Root, Worm Grass, Spigelia marilandica

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Said to be the most beautiful woodland native plant in the US, Woodland Pinkroot is a plant worth seeking out. And, adding this hummingbird native to our shade gardens will take effort.
The seeds are not available from any supplier. Woodland Pinkroot plant divisions are for sale in various sizes from tiny plugs to 4-inch pots. Purchasing and planting a few starter pots will turn into a colony over time since they spread by underground rhizomes.
There are 50 species of Spigelia, which is spelled Spigela in some catalogs and references. They are annual and perennial plants that grow in moist woods and thickets in North and South America. All of them have hummingbird-attracting trumpet shaped flowers in colors from red to purple with yellow accents.
Spigelia marilandica is native to the US from the east coast through OK and TX. The common names include Woodland Pinkroot, Native Indian Pink, Pink Root and Worm Grass.  The marilandica in its name refers to its being first discovered in Mary…

First Crocus bloom Jan 27

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In the  cold fall months faithful gardeners plant spring blooming bulbs, coming inside to warm their cold-numbed hands between the bags of bulbs and corms that have to go into the ground.
When the Crocus bulbs begin to bloom in January and February no matter how cold and snowy the weather, we get our reward.
If you did not get any Crocus bulbs in last fall, put them on your calendar for Oct-Nov 2015 planting. Their tiny flowers are guaranteed to bring a smile in late winter-2016.
posted from Bloggeroid

Garden-pedia tells all

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Garden-pedia is a new little book of gardening terms from St. Lynn's Press this month.

The preface of 6 full pages of heartfelt recommendations by over two-dozen garden writers compels you to want to find out what lies in the rest of the book. And, what you'll find is sort of a Wikipedia for new gardeners - in short, an ideal gift for anyone who has been gardening for just a few years or is just starting out. 

If you are reading along in a book or on the web and come across the word angiosperm, this little gem will tell you that it is, "A flowering plant whose seeds are housed within an ovary." And, that heading is followed by a couple of paragraphs that clearly describe angiosperm as the opposite of gymnosperm, plants "whose seeds are not protected in an ovary".

Moving through the alphabet, you'll find bramble, compost, fragrant, ground cover, inflorescence, metamorphosis ... well, you get the idea.

This one is an easy to hold paperback size at 8 by 8 …

Black Ammi - plant from seed

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Carrots have many relatives in the Ammi plant family, with Queen Anne's Lace probably being the best known. My favorite is the Black Knight Ammi which has actually deep purple flowers. They grow to 5-feet tall in our perennial bed and usually have to be staked. It's a hardy annual that sometimes re-seeds a little in our zone 7.

It's amazing that I got a photo of it without a pollinator - bees, skippers and butterflies love the flowers.

Florists use a lot of Ammi as bouquet filler but mostly use the white and green varieties. This beauty, also called Black Knight Daucus carota var. sativus makes a wonderful cut flower.


At the end of the season I collect seed heads and put them into a container without a top. Over the winter, I remove more and more dead material so I'm left with seeds, small stems and some chaff. Eventually I end up with what you see in the CD container here.
Since they prefer 55-degrees for germination, the seeds can be sown outside in the fall and prote…

Seed Sources - the 2015 list

If you have a warm, well-lighted place for seedlings, Jan-Feb is perennial seed starting time and Feb-Mar is annual seed starting time. In our area, there are only a few stores with seeds in Jan. so catalogs and internet sites are our best bet for planning, dreaming and ordering.
Whether you need chickens, coops, deer fencing, seeds, tubers, plants, containers or fertilizer, there are plenty of companies to choose from.  It seems that new vendors pop up on Amazon and EBAY every week.
Here are some tips before you shop: Look for open pollinated varieties if you want to avoid GMOs. Disease and insect resistant hybrid varieties are widely available from larger companies. If you see something at a new site, search for other sites that may sell the same item but have been in business longer.
Always click through to see shipping and handling fees because they vary widely from one vendor to another. Most seed sellers offer an online newsletter, publish a blog, or email information about sales …

Begonias - International Database

The International Database of the Begoniaceae is online, free and open to the public. It is a work in progress but promises to be a reference resource for all of us who love and grow begonias.

Click on the "Links" tab and check out the begonia societies around the world, plant sources, and seed sources. Then there is the Begonia Links page to peruse with its links to vendors, associations and all things begonia.

One feature of the database's website is the complete reproduction of the book, "Down to Earth with Begonias " by Peter Sharp. It's incredible! I scrolled through some of the pages and can't wait to have time to read it word for word.


Wasps visit pollinator gardens

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Pollinator gardens are all the fashion as we have become alarmed at the demise of pollinators world-wide. Gardeners are cautioned to not plant pollinator-attracting plants near doors, where children play and where pets rest. 

Insect Identification's site has a page of photos to help clarify what's buzzing. National Geographic says there are 30,000 identified wasps, "Wasps make up an enormously diverse array of insects, with some 30,000 identified species."

The coolest photos I found of wasps is at this link to Nottinghamshire Social Wasps. Not to be missed!

Karl Foord, Extension Educator at the University of  MN posted many photos in his article about wasps visiting his pollinator garden plants at this link.  Click over to read his delightful blog post and photos about various wasp visitors.

Excerpt: "The garden has been continually patrolled by a great black wasp (Sphex pensylvanicus). This wasp is perceived as a black streak that weaves its way around the differen…

Coleus seed starting

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Coleus Kong Lime Sprite is a new introduction from Ball Seed for 2015 and we're going to give them a try from seed. The seeds are expensive at about $2 apiece so we will be especially careful with them.

Introduced at the California Spring Trials the Kong Coleus are in a class all their own. You can click on this link to see the other new coleus introductions for 2015.

Many coleus varieties are advertised as being sun tolerant but in our area that means morning or half day unless you can baby them.

Karl Blume gets the credit for discovering Coleus in Java in 1853 and there have been many coleus fads over the years. I recall that in the 1970s in CA no home was without its obligatory container of coleus.

Ray Rogers' 2007 book, "Coleus: Rainbow Foliage for Containers and Gardens", is my go-to reference. If you've ever grown coleus and noticed that it has square stems, you automatically know that it is some member of the mint family.

Rogers points out that any coleus …

Bachelor Button Flowers are Cyanus segetum syn. Centaurea cyanus

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Bachelor Buttons are a much loved summer-flowering plant. But when you say Bachelor Button which one do you mean?

These are all called Bachelor Buttons: Gomphrena globosa, Centaurea cyanus and montana, Ranunculus aconitifolius and Tanacetum parthenium.

Seed and plant cataloges are inexact and mish-mash all of these together but in case it's useful: Centaurea cyanus is a blue lavender flowering plant that matures at 1-2 feet tall. Centaurea americana has pink flowers and matures at 3-4 feet tall. Centurea moschata has several flower colors and matures at 2-3 feet tall.

Centaurea americana is an unusual Arkansas-Texas native that was discovered by Nutall. It grows 2-feet tall with 5-inch feathery purple-pink flowers in Aug. Expect them to need 4 months from seed to maturity when they can be harvested for dried flowers. Available from Select Seeds.

The ones I love are Corn Flowers, Centaurea cyanus or C. moschata. The flowers can be blue, pink, lavender or white and the varieties include…

Daffodil Day 3.28.15 - Daffodil Theme Judged Art Show - Muskogee OK

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JUDGED ART SHOW As part of Muskogee Garden Club Daffodil Day on Mar 28, 2015, this art contest will accept daffodil-themed art entries in any media. All ages welcome. No email submissions.
In order to qualify, submissions must be delivered to Three Rivers Museum by March 21 with the artist's contact information.
Daffodil Day at the Thomas-Foreman Home will include a tea provided by Muskogee Garden Club, a plant sale provided by Muskogee County Master Gardeners and a museum tour.
Prize money is being provided by the Muskogee Area Arts Council. 
Information:  Art Contest: Liz Wells, Muskogee Art Guild 918-682-4259 Three Rivers Museum and Thomas-Foreman Home, Sue Tolbert 918-686-6624 Daffodil Day, Martha Stoodley 918.683.2373

Plan and Plant a Summer Event

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Butterflies, dragonflies, herbs and flowers are the big themes for 2015 weddings, parties and outdoor entertaining. Fashion runways this year have been full of floral prints and brides want outdoor themes such as cherry blossom stems, birds and lots of greenery.
January is the ideal time to think about your garden and plan ahead to set the mood. You may want to plant more flowers, tropicals, vining plants, an herb garden, or vegetables in the front yard.
Since the 1990s Ball Horticultural Co. has worked with Pantone Paints to design plant color plans that coordinate with the trendy colors for the year ahead.  The 2015 Pantone color of the year is Marsala which they describe as:  “A naturally robust and earthy wine red, Marsala enriches our minds, bodies and souls.”
They agree with fashion designers that this year’s colors will be soft, cool and nature’s neutrals.  For many, gardens and garden party themes will be part of that fashion trend.
Wedding day color palettes pair plants with…