Showing posts from March, 2015

How We Do It - Seedlings - growing and hardening off before planting

Here is  a pictorial essay about how we grow from seed. Most of the time seeds are planted in the clear plastic shells that contain berries. They let light in plus have drainage and air holes

Some containers are put outside in plant trays inside the fenced area of the little vegetable garden to reduce squirrel damage. Others are grown inside the garden shed which has lights and very low heat.

Seeds put outside are ones that need cold stratification (alternating freeze and thaw) in order to soak off or break through the outer seed coat.

The columbine seedlings were too thick to prick out individually for transplanting into separate containers so we planted tiny clumps of them into 1-inch cells where they will mature enough for us to make selections. The weakest will be tossed and the strongest will be transplanted.

Perennial seeds such as the Penstemon Carillo Rose and Carillo Red were planted one seed per cell of a 72-cell tray so they have been left to grow under lights.
As each of t…

Monarch Butterflies and their Look-Alikes

For those of us who are confused by butterfly identification, this is a great link with a quiz to reinforce learning.
The National Wildlife Federation published these helpful photos and descriptions. Click here to see the entire entry.

And, if you have time, click through to the other educational links they provide within the text.

When out in the garden we see all of these but by the time we look up from our task the butterflies have sensed our presence and moved on to the next set of pollen providing flowers!

The butterflies that spent the winter under leaf cover are showing themselves on these warm March days but the migrating varieties have yet to show themselves.

Solanum dulcamara is Bittersweet Nightshade vine

Bittersweet Nightshade vine has purple flowers with yellow centers, just as other nightshade plants have. Without planting it myself, a vine has sent up a single leaf in the shade garden. No doubt a gift from a bird, squirrel or other creature out there. 
In Germany as in the US the stems and leaves are used to make a topical treatment for eczema so it could be useful to keep it. 
The website Herbs 2000, says
"The homeopathic remedy dulcamara is prepared using the fresh green leaves and stems of the bittersweet plant, which is also known as the bitter nightshade, and used to treat a host of ailments, especially joint problems,skin conditions and complaints that have an influence on the mucus membranes."
On the other hand it has a reputation for creating woody vines that smother out nearby plants - most of which I value and pamper.
Its native ranges include Europe, Africa and Asia, so it is well established around the world. It is also on invasive lists for some states in the …

Saturday is Daffodil Day in Muskogee

By CATHY SPAULDING/Phoenix Staff Writer Go beyond their “candlestick telephone” shape, and you might see that not all daffodils look alike.  “Some are four inches tall with tiny blooms. Some are 20 inches tall,” said Martha Stoodley of the Muskogee Garden Club. “The blooms come in white, yellow, orange, even pink.” Visitors can see such variety when at the annual Daffodil Day and Tea, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at the Thomas-Foreman Historic Home, 1419 W. Okmulgee Ave. More than 3,000 daffodils surround the home, built in 1898 for Indian Territory judge John R. Thomas.  “We have at least 15 varieties,” Stoodley said. “Two thousand bulbs were planted by the Garden Club three years ago. Last year, we added another 1,000, and in the winter we planted 600.” Daffodil Day began several years ago, when the Garden Club discovered Oklahoma was the only state in the region without a daffodil festival, Stoodley said. For $5, visitors to Saturday’s celebration can view the daffodils, while enjoying tea…

Spring Flowers for Zone 7

Come celebrate spring in Muskogee Third Annual Daffodil Day, Saturday, 10 to 2
Three Rivers Museum and Thomas-Foreman Home 220 Elgin
Daffodils in bloom, Daffodil-Themed art contest
$10 both  museums, plant sale, art show and tea
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- The flowers of spring announce warmer temperatures and encourage us to get outside. The first show of daffodils, pansies, crocus and forsythia happening now will be followed by tulips, trilliums and azaleas.
It is time to focus on spring gardening, visiting public displays and garden centers where we can enjoy the early blooms. Here are some flowers to look for:
Pansies, Viola x wittrockiana – Whether you planted them last winter or early spring, warmer temperatures confirm pansies as one of the most cheerful flowers for containers and beds. They can be planted in part shade or sun as long as the soil is well-drained.
Grape Hyacinths, Muscare armeniacum, are already blooming…

False Rue Anemone and Windlflower

These darling little flowers are slowly spreading in the shade bed. The first time I noticed them there were only three or four roots and one flower. Today, there are several dozen tiny plants of False Rue Anemone, Enemion biternatum.

Every year when they come up I search for their name again since no matter what marker I put into that slope is washed away every winter by rain and melting snow.

It is easy to research though. Google Images responds cooperatively every year to my search for "tiny, woodland flowers with red stems".

False Rue Anemone is easily confused with Windflower, Thalictrum thalictroides. Well, it is for my eyes and lack of experience trekking the woods. Here is the clincher - the depth of the leaf lobes.

Notice that they are deeply lobed. Then, click over to Native and Naturalized Plants of the Carolinas and Georgia.

You will see the difference immediately. Windflower leaves are similar but just different enough. If you consider the leaf shape, it is eas…

Save the Bees Campaign

Surely everyone knows by now that bees are in danger of disappointing people who eat by not being available to pollinate the plants that provide their food.

Now, there's a campaign where those of us who are not in a position to actually raise bees can help out the situation. It's a fund raising site at where you can contribute $10 or $10,000 to support the project.

Or, you can hold an event in support of bees and bee-keepers in your community to raise awareness. Here's a simple factoid of interest: Honey bees make honey. Native bees make food.

Click on over to The Xerces Society's page and learn more facts such as, "There is an astonishing diversity of native bees across the USA. About 4,000 species have been identified and catalogued, ranging in length from less than one eighth of an inch to more than one inch. They vary in color from dark brown or black to metallic green or blue, and may have stripes of …

Dee Nash speaking in Tulsa at the Botanic Garden Apr 4 10am

ENCHANTING APRIL WITH AUTHOR DEE NASHSaturday, April 4, 2015 - 10:00am to 11:00am Join native Oklahoman and author, Dee Nash, for a lively talk about all things growing.  Dee will inspire you as she shares tips for blending edibles with perennials in any garden, as well has how to prep, plant and grow specimen shrubs, perennials and tropicals that thrive in Oklahoma’s challenging conditions. To keep up with Dee online, check out her award-winning blog, Red Dirt Ramblings.  Southern Living Magazine recently named Dee a “Blogger to Follow in 2015.” Better Homes and Gardens put Red Dirt Ramblings in their Top Ten in 2014, and she won the Garden Writers Association Gold Award for best writing in 2014 Dee is the author of The 20-30 Something Garden Guide: a No-Fuss, Down and Dirty, Gardening 101 for Anyone Who Wants to Grow Stuff. She will have books available for sale after her talk.
For directions and details go to See you there!

Buffalo Grass Plugs, Sod and Seeds

Gardens change a lot with our helpful direction or without it. It seems that every fall we change our minds about how we want to re-shape our 2.5 acre piece of solitude and source of inspiration and exercise "next year".

Last year the patch of Joe Pye Weed and other tall native butterfly feeder plants grew beyond the bounds of beauty and well past my ability to manage its spread.

So, I moved a dozen of the plants to new locations where they can thrive farther away from the house, Jon mowed it in the fall and now its ready for this season's change to Buffalo Grass.

Why Buffalo Grass? It is cold and drought tolerant, can be walked on, resists diseases, needs less mowing, etc. This Nebraska site points out that the roots go to 3-feet deep, finding moisture and bringing up nutrients. And, I love this quote, "Buffalograss adapts to a wide range of soil types but is
best suited for naturally fertile, clay, and loam upland soils, where maintenance requirements will be lowes…

Bleeding Heart Vine is Clerodendrum thomsoniae or Glory Bower

The first time we saw this gorgeous plant was in Memphis at a little garden across the road from the Memphis Botanic Garden. Dixon Gallery and Gardens are a must-go destination for us each time we go to Memphis.

Bleeding Heart Vine or Glory Bower, Clerodendrum thomsoniae, is a tropical plant from Africa that only survives in zones 10 and above but is frequently grown indoors and in tropical houses other places.

At the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis, they have a record of all their Clerodendrum thomsoniae vines, living and dead at the plant record here.

Here's what MOBOT says about growing bleeding heart vine in their climate -
Heavy feeder, needs hanging planter, trellis or other support for its 12-15 feet long vine.
Part-shade, evergreen, needs a winter rest at 55-65 degrees with minimal water
Prune in early spring, needs several gallons of water every week during growing and flowering periods.

Plant of the Week suggests using a sandy soil in a large tub to make your vine…

Events for Gardeners

Gardens and spring combine make unbeatable attractions for plant lovers and travelers.
As your spring and summer travel plans come up, consult this list and other internet resources and add one or more gardens, zoos and festivals to your itinerary.
Most events are more than walks through beautiful gardens – though that alone would be worth the stop for many of us. Regional, school, city and community events include plant sales, fun-runs, car shows, food vendors, family activities, parades and concerts.
Clip and save the list so you can call ahead or click through to the websites to find out more. Have an event we should know about? Email
Feb 28-Apr12
Dallas TX
Dallas Blooms

Dallas Arboretum 214.515.6615
March 13-14
Semmes AL

Annual Mary G. Montgomery High School Azalea Festival

Mar 16 – 20
Muskogee OK
Jr. Master Gardener Day at Papilion, Honor Heights Park 918-684-6303


Weed Identification and Natural Enemies from University of CA

Weeds are similar though not identical  across the US . Most years I pull up seedlings of plants I seeded in the fall, mistaking them for some new weed I've never seen before. And, plants listed as invasive in USDA zones 10 - 12 barely survive as garden specimens in our zone 7 beds.

The U.C. Davis IPM/agriculture site has a page that will help sort our weeds from seedlings - at

Here's what the front top looks like, followed by similar information for grasses, sedges and aquatic.
Click over to learn more!
Weed photo gallery Choose a category below or skip to a LIST OF ALL WEEDS. Broadleaf identification Leaves are wide, veins branch out in different directions. Tutorial | Broadleaf list | ---------------------------------------------------------------
Natural Enemies Gallery Also! at the UC site there are photos and information about garden pests' natural enemies at

Click through and lo…