Showing posts from May, 2015

Garden Tour June 13 - NW Arkansas

The Flower Garden Nature Society of Northwest Arkansas is holding its annual tour on June 13.
Here's their Facebook page for more details about the club -

Open 9 am to 4 pm, Fee $12 advance, $15 day of the tour (can be bought at any of the gardens
the day of the event) or in advance at any of the Westwood Gardens locations.

Willow Park
16582 Willow Dr
 Rogers, AR

Together We
4702 Rocky Ridge Trail
Rogers, AR

1244 Stratton Road
Rogers, AR

Unexpected Garden
905 N 34th St.
Rogers, AR

Oden Oasis
2383 Cardinal Dr.
Springdale, AR

Birdhouse Gardens
2301 Woodland Ave.
Springdale, AR

Friendship Garden
101 Shoreline
Springdale, AR

Botanical Gardens of the Ozarks
4703 N Crossover
Fayetteville, AR

10 Inches of Rain this Month

The drought is officially over in Oklahoma, Texas and surrounding states that have suffered for the past few years with heat and dry soil. All of us lost plants, trees and hope for a while but this month's problem is different: So much rain that the ground and plants can't handle it.

We are losing a couple of young fruit trees because their roots cannot get enough oxygen - the water cannot flow away fast enough.

Also with the rain, we are having cool temperatures so the kale, peas, parsley, fennel and green beans are enjoying themselves. The tomatoes, basil, sunflowers and other heat loving plants, not so much.

The Clematis vines are not getting enough sun to produce a full set of blossoms. This is about one-fourth their usual early summer show.

Many of the perennial seedlings I put out over the month have  just sat there; others have died. No sun, cool temperatures, sopping wet soil all have combined to slow them down to a crawl.

In the shade garden, the Arum flower is full-…

How to Plant Shrubs

This cool graphic was sent out to subscribers to the Encore Azalea newsletters and would be a great one to print and keep around as a reference because these instructions are accurate for shrubs and trees of almost any type.

What to Plant Under Trees

One of the most commonly asked questions about gardening is what to do about the areas under trees. 
It seems like those shady, dry places around trees bother gardeners who would like to have their gardens pretty to look at from every angle. 

Not only is the soil dry under trees since trees quickly drink surface water, the roots are dense and do not allow room for digging. On top of all that, digging around tree roots can damage the health of the tree in the long term.
Sometimes we see flower beds planted around trees and that solution can work quite well as long as it is a bed full of perennials and the plants are in the ground rather than in a raised bed. Raised beds planted on top of tree roots can smother the tree’s roots, stunting the growth and shortening the life of the tree.
The first rule for healthy plants under trees is to completely avoid annual plants such as begonias and petunias that absorb water and nutrients needed by the tree. Each spring or fall when annuals are planted…

Ruth Stout the original Naked Gardener

Here's that video interview with Ruth Stout in which she admits to gardening naked because she just loved the feeling of air on her body. You'll recall that Stout invented no-dig gardening a long time ago. Her potato planting method is legendary!

potato planting method

Her most famous book was Gardening Without Work, "The No-Work Garden Book" in which she tells everything you need to know. Her other titles are
"How to Have a Green Thumb Without an Aching Back: A New Method of Mulch Gardening", "Company Coming: Six Decades of Hospitality", and "Gardening Without Work: For the Aging, the Busy & the Indolent".
If you haven't read Stout yet you won't know that her methods have now passed scientific tests and today are being recommended worldwide - about 100 years after she discover them.

Plant Sale May 20-22 Muskogee Conservation District

Muskogee County Conservation District 
MAY 20-22, 2015
(corner Shawnee Bypass and Hwy 69)



GRAPES (we bought some plants today!)




Tulsa Audubon Plant Sale & Habitat Tour May 30-31

Wildlife Habitat Garden Tour & Plant SaleSat. May 30 9-5 and Sun. May 31 Noon-5
Rain or Shine. Begin the tour at any garden   
Admission donation $6 Children under 13 Free

Garden Address                                        

Home - 614 N. Fir St. Jenks
      Vendor Grogg's Green Barn

Jenks Public School - Flycatcher Trail
Garden 404 E. F St. Jenks

       Vendors Bird Houses by Mark
       Jenks FFA Plant Sale
       Tulsa Audubon Society

Home 8736 S. Evanston Ave. Tulsa
     Vendors  Pine Ridge Gardens
      WING-IT Wildlife in Need Group in Tulsa

Garden 7515 S. Braden Ave. Tulsa
      Vendor Wild Things Nursery

6733 S. Birmingham Ave. Tulsa   
      Utopia Gardens
      Duck Creek Farm

Garden 4115 E. 45th St. Tulsa 
     Vendors  Missouri Wildflowers Nursery
      Oxley Nature Center

Find a Garden Tour Map & Info at or call 918 521-8894.

Volunteer during the tour & get a free ticket! 918.289.6281

Enter a drawing to win a free prize by taking your Garden Tour Program to…

Martagon Lilies - Plant in Fall for Spring Flowers

Last fall when the lily bulbs were carefully placed into established beds, we could only hope that they would grow into the beautiful specimens they are this spring.

The Martagon Lily, Lilium martagon, from Old House Gardens is even prettier than it was in their photo! It is loaded with flowers and seems to like its location under a deciduous red maple tree. 

Even as far north as Minnessota, the North Star Lily Society comments that they are the darlings of the shade garden.

While I love my bulb source, another one that is highly recommended is B & D Lilies though I haven't ordered from them yet. If you have, let us know what you think.

These lilies need a cold winter so they are recommended for zones 3 through 8 with protection but no hotter. That's why I put ours in part shade.

These are a Turk's Cap variety with dozens of little flowers that dance in the wind. Other colors include white, dark red, yellow with red spots, gold, and a few more shades of pink. There are…


This is the time of year and the ideal weather for our garden to be loaded with turtles. They travel across our property eating wild strawberries and other delectable treats that we grow for them, visit the pond, mate, have their babies and hang out.

Oklahoma has 17 turtle species that are found in various places. Two species are land living box turtles and 15 of them are aquatic ones.

In our yard we mostly see the three-toed box, ornate box and painted turtles. They will eat anything small enough for them to get ahold of, including berries, flowers, mushrooms, fruit, beetles, slugs earthworms, larvae, grubs, etc.

The Chelydridae family is two species of large, carnivorous turtles including the snapping and the alligator snapping turtles. Do not try to pick these up - they will bite you.

Other water turtles include yellow mud, Mississippi mud, razor-back musk, and common musk/stinkpot.

The Emydidae group includes map, box, basking turtles that are found in streams and rivers in eastern…

Make an Edible Hanging Basket

This lovely idea is fresh from the site of Portland Nursery and what a nice idea it is. There are so many edibles that are beautiful to look at.

I always use sterile potting soil in hanging baskets and put in a few tablespoons full of water-retention beads. Be careful with those beads though. I've put in too many and the plants floated away. Soak them first and follow the directions for how much to use with which size container.

Also, hanging baskets will have to be watered every couple of days when there is no rain falling. A mulch on the top will help the top stay moist.

Basil is a great centerpiece for a hanging basket since it grows fairly tall. There are plenty of purple and red-tinged basils that would be pretty. A little garlic or green onions would be pretty there, too.

And, what about a basket completely filled with assorted basil? Wow would that smell good and love sun all summer? Varieties abound.

For fillers around the outside, parsley (flat or curly) would work. Calen…

Grow a New Veggie This Year!

Tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, spinach and onions are some of the most popular vegetables to grow in zone 7. Many gardeners grow okra, radishes, corn and beans, too. But there are several interesting and unique vegetable possibilities that are tasty additions to the summertime table. 

Besides lettuce and cabbage we can grow chard, kale, amaranth, corn salad, broccoli raab (broccolini), mizuna, pak choi, radicchio, rocket, ramps, sorrel, bloody dock, cutting celery and French dandelions.
Mache and rocket can be relied on for winter salads if this spring’s harvest is allowed to go to seed and re-plant itself in the vegetable beds. Kale also survives winters here and will usually provide salad greens until February.
At one time root vegetables were popular among gardeners. In addition to beets and turnips, kohlrabi, parsnips and rutabagas were commonly planted. Carrots come in a wide array of colors now, from orange to purple, and add a festive touch to salads and picnics. Also short carr…

Globe Basil is Ocimum basilicum

Globe Basils are taking the place of traditional basil plants in our garden this year. We have a dozen Genovese type plants in the ground but the globe varieties will take center stage.

The small globe basil varieties are just as easy to grow, pack a wallop of flavor and require considerably less effort to clean for large scale processing such as pesto making and drying. Why? because the leaves and stems can all go into the dryer, oven and food processor.

The basils with woody stems require that each leaf be removed either before cleaning the entire stem or in a colander. With the little globe basil varieties, I cut off the top of the plant, rinse in the colander, dry it and use it.

That difference will seem insignificant to most cooks, but I make several batches of basil pesto every year to can and freeze for gifts and use over the winter.

Because of their size, they are wonderful container plants and as a mini-front-of-the-border hedge for a sunny spot.

Ramona Werst, author of the …

Our Zone 7 garden in Early May

Here's a photo essay of our garden this week -

Strawberry Begonias Blooming Late April zone 7

As shade perennials go, Strawberry Begonias are hard to beat in our area. Just plant a few and within a couple of years you'll have a lovely, easy-care ground cover for under a tree.

The photo is in our back garden under an oak tree where six plants became a ground-cover 3 feet deep and 6 feet wide in two years.

Saxifraga stolonifera, whose native range includes China, Japan and South Korea, is not a strawberry, nor is it a begonia. Sometimes it's called Strawberry Geranium, too.

It's cold hardy only in zones 6 to 9 and thrives in full to part-shade. And, it is not bothered by insects or disease.

The name Saxifrage comes from saxum (rock) and frangere (break) to illustrate the plant's ability to scramble over rocks. Stolonifera refers to the fact that the plant spreads by stolons, creating plantlets everywhere they trail.

In colder zones than ours, they are grown as houseplants in hanging planters where the plantlets are allowed to hang over the edge of the pot.

Plant …