Showing posts from September, 2015

Rose Replant Disease Impacts Apples

Science has been applied to the long-observed phenomenon of rose replant issues.

There is a report by Dr. David Zlesak at -  "The mysterious ‘rose replant disease’ or ‘rose sickness’ has puzzled rose growers for years. Nothing specific has been identified as the cause of this phenomenon. When new roses are planted where old roses used to be, they may not grow as well as they would if they were planted in soil never planted with roses. Many suspect that key nutrients may be depleted in soils where roses have been grown for a long time, and as a result, the new roses do not get all the nutrition they need. Additionally, where roses have been grown for years without attention to good soil health, the soil’s structure and general physical properties may have declined — due to compaction and reduced organic matter. The soil may not effectively deliver oxygen, nutrition and water to the roots to support the vigorous growth of new roses." .... "It sounds very…

Giant Swallowtail Butterflies - how to attract and grow them

Giant Swallowtail butterflies are amazingly large and beautiful but have sort of ugly children. They are intentionally ugly of course, disguising themselves as bird droppings in order to keep from being eaten by said birds.
If you plant it they will come. In order to have these gorgeous animals in your flower beds you have to provide either citrus trees or Rue plants.

Rue is cold hardy here and in our gardens the shrubs live 3 to 5 years before they die to be replaced by the seedlings that surround the mature plants.
At Johnny's Seeds, 200 seed pack is under $4 and if you plant a bunch of them you'll have plenty of shrubs that survive winter to feed next summer's migration of Giant Swallowtail Butterflies.
Dianne's Seeds offers 100 seeds for $2.25

In previous years, I've noticed Black Swallowtail caterpillars eating Rue leaves when their #1 favorite food was not available for them.

I'll grant you that if you have a formal garden, Rue will look a mess but find a…

Springfiled MO Botanical Gardens

Springfield MO Botanical Gardens at Nathanael Greene/Close Memorial Park ( is a unique combination of classic garden design, teaching gardens and plenty of features for families with children. 
The land on which Nathanael Greene/Close Memorial Park was built came from a 1975 federal government surplus land donation to the city. The name Close Memorial Park came in 1998 when the Close family contributed funds to add the park to the County Park system.
The 20-year plan that was developed for the garden includes 45 gardens and features. So far there are 24 for visitors to enjoy.
One of the first features that the volunteers added was Gray/Campbell Farmstead where historic buildings were collected to provide families with a farm experience. Exploration includes an 1865 farmhouse, log kitchen, granary and barn. The Heritage Garden features flowers and vegetables grown in the 1860s.
Ten years later the lovely 7 acre Mizumoto Japanese Stroll Gardens were developed. Thi…

Crapemyrtle Scale and Fall Webworms

There's a new disease/insect in town and its name is Crapemyrtle Scale.

Here's a link to the OSU alert document

Excerpts -
A new scale pest has been found infesting crapemyrtles in ornamental landscapes throughout Oklahoma. Crapemyrtle scale (aka crapemyrtle bark scale, CMS), Eriococcus lagerstroemiae, was first observed in the U.S. in 2004 by a landscape company in Richardson, Texas. This exotic scale pest likely originated from Asia, where it feeds on crapemyrtles and pomegranate. It has been spreading throughout Texas and other southern states, eventually reaching Ardmore, OK by 2012. Crapemyrtle scale is now found in eight counties in Oklahoma: Bryan, Canadian, Carter, Comanche, Marshall, Oklahoma, Payne, and Tulsa

Identification, Host Preference, and Life Cycle Crapemyrtle scale is closely related to azalea bark scale, which does not feed on crapemyrtles. Adult females are white to gray and felt like. They can be foun…

Wine Cup is Callirhoe involucrata (Malvaceae)

Wine Cup is native to TX, OK and KS but grows in many other states surrounding us.

The photo on the right is one we took this summer at Missouri Wildflower Nursery. I wrote an article about the nursery and bought a pack of seeds to plant in our gardens. I've had mixed success but do not have a dedicated bed for them like they do.

Winecup is a low growing, sprawling, groundcover that has gorgeous flowers that close each evening.

They flower generously in the late spring and then disappear during the heat of the summer months. 

Most advice says they prefer full sun but you can see from their planting, part shade can also work.

They like soil that drains well and can even enjoy sandy or gravelly soil for that reason. Try in rock gardens, at the edge borders, as the spiller in wooden barrels, hanging baskets, and for meadow plantings.

Pruning the trailers when summer hits will help encourage fall flowering.

Fine Gardening adds that they are cold hardy in zones 4,5,6.  

The flowers provide nec…

Kong Coleus in the shade garden

In January, I started coleus seeds in the heated garden shed and the row of plants that resulted are in the photo below.  This particular plant was a new introduction from Ball Seed for 2015.

The seed germination rate was good and there were a few dozen plants to put out April 15th. About a fourth of the plants didn't survive the big world of record rain, wind storms, insect infestations and my failure to water as frequently as I should have.
However! I'm happy with the remaining rows of plants and will start soon taking cuttings of them to grown out in the shed over the winter got next summer. They should be larger and have better roots next year.
Here's a link to my January seed starting information. I had read that growing coleus from seed was easy and I now agree with that writer.
Give it a try. You'll be glad you did.
Update 11.03.15 All those Kong Coleus plants have been potted into containers so they can spend the winter inside our heated, full-spectrum lighted…

September is a Busy Month for Gardeners!

September is a busy month for gardeners. Here is a checklist of things to do.
Walk around the garden with pruners and insecticidal soap in hand. Check for insects and diseases, taking care of things as you see them.
Watch for butterfly caterpillars and avoid spraying insecticide on plants where they are feeding.
Collect seeds of butterfly weed, zinnias, vining black-eyed Susan, marigold, morning glory, 4-O’Clocks, peppers, tomatoes, coriander, basil, coreopsis, Rudbeckias, sunflowers, rue, etc.
Harvest herbs to dry, freeze and make into products.
Pick fall fruit in the evening to avoid insects such as wasps.
Identify perennials to divide when the weather cools, including: Daylilies, Asiatic lilies, peony, tall garden phlox, iris, lily of the valley, dahlias, ornamental grass, etc.
Take stem cuttings of tender plants that you want to put out again next year. This list includes coleus, lavender, rhododendron, azalea, sedum, verbena, grapes, etc.
You can take root cuttings now, plant in contain…

Sedum - Cold Hardy Beauty for Your Garden

A few years ago I read a book about gardening as we age. The author said that she had converted a formerly high maintenance flower bed to 100% Sedum Autumn Joy. 
Because it is beautiful three seasons of the year, attracts butterflies and skippers to the garden and in our climate it tolerates part shade. 
What's not to like?

Sedum frosty morn is also beautiful when it deigns to appreciate where I've planted it. Last year it tried to monopolize one bed so I divided it and put it around in other locations that seemed compatible. No, not actually, as it turned out. Now I'm very happy that I left this one piece where it originally was and will promise never to move it again.
Sedum tetractinum is a wonder plant under our oak and Osage orange trees. I know if I were a better plant mother it would look and spread even better but without water and fertilizer it does a beautiful job of holding the soil and covering up bare ground.

Sedum Lemon Coral is a relatively new introducti…

Monarch Butterflies and Milkweed

By now everyone who reads about gardens, gardening, nature and the environment is planting milkweed and that's a good thing.

Milkweed brings lots of new friends to our gardens. Here are the ones on our milkweed. First, there is no milkweed without aphids.

I leave them on the plants for their predators to eat and parasitize. Wasps and Lady Beetles and their larvae are ones we most
commonly think of as their predators.
Pirate bugs and Syrphid Fly larvae also eat aphids

Then there's the Milkweed Tussock Moth caterpillar, Euchaetes egle, that eats milkweed leaves. Cute as they are, they are eating Monarch caterpillars' food and I wish they wouldn't.

This year we have swamp milkweed, tropical milkweed and balloon milkweed in the garden for Monarch caterpillars. The balloon milkweed is the number one favorite with swamp milkweed coming in second. The tropical milkweed is being largely ignored.

That outcome is fine with me since the other two are infinitely easier to grow i…