Showing posts from November, 2015

Native Plants for Cottage Gardens

Love for cottage gardens has grown as we move away from manicured British garden design and make our own American style gardens.

North Carolina is zones 6 and 7, much like our area so their native plant advice is always good to check. NC has a much more active Extension service for home gardeners and as a result they post many more advice and plant-specific articles of interest.

You'll find their 4-step Go Native planning site here, complete with how to think about the process and plant guides.

Another resource we can use is the Missouri Botanical Garden's link called Selected Perennials for Oklahoma Gardens.

Oklahoma Garden Clubs posted an assortment of native plants for home gardens on their website, too. Their selections are primarily ornamental grasses.

The OK panhandle, Oklahoma City, Southeast, south central and northeast OK all have different soil, annual rainfall and temperatures so do some more research for your specific climate when deciding what to plant.

Internet r…

Caterpillar Rescue

The day before the freeze, I harvested all the figs, snow peas, lettuce and kale that was ready. Then, I started collecting some fennel and dill in case it didn't survive.

Hanging out on the dill I found a Black Swallowtail caterpillar. It is first instar, too tiny to survive 24 degree night. That's what I assumed, anyway.

So, out came our handy butterfly box to the rescue. It was made by someone in OK but I can't recall who it was. He said it was the last one he had and that he wouldn't be making them anymore. And, that was 5 years ago.

It's really well constructed and has held numerous caterpillars over the years.

The tiny black dot in the middle-right is the caterpillar on a jar full of dill. The garden shed is heated and its in the sun so everything should go well until night time temperatures rise enough to put it back outside in the dill patch.

As of this morning the lettuce, kale, fennel and dill all look like they survived the freeze quite nicely.

Yellow Iron Weed is erbesina alternifolia

Yellow Iron Weed is one of the tall, native beauties we have planted our gMuskogee garden to feed flying wildlife and to shelter crawling wildlife. We picked up ours from a plant sale someplace - it spreads with delight so many gardeners are happy to divide theirs for your garden, too.

If you enjoy learning about wildflowers, subscribe to the Arkansas newsletter, "Know Your Natives" at website where you will find the subscription form on the right side.

Here's their article about Yellow Iron Weed. Click here's a link to the article itself. Sid Vogelpohl's informative article and spectacular photos are worth congratulations. Tip of the Trowel to Sid!

Yellow wingstem or yellow ironweed (Verbesina alternifolia) of the aster (Asteraceae ) family is found in the U.S. from Texas to Nebraska to Wisconsin and thence east and south.   In Arkansas, the species is found throughout much of the state, though is less frequent in the Mississippi Alluvial and West…

Loropetalum - Chinese Fringe Flower Shrubs

Loropetalums (Loropetalum chinense), known as Chinese fringe-flower, come in a wide variety of flowering shrubs to be grown as specimen plants, in hedge rows and for winter interest in a flower bed. Their Fringe Flower name comes from the spider-like, frilly flowers that the shrubs produce in spring, summer or fall, depending on the variety.
These members of the Witch-hazel plant family can take full sun but prefer some shade to protect them from our intense summer heat. They are native to the woodlands of the Himalayas, Japan and China but have been hybridized by US plant breeders to be well-behaved.
The earliest Loropetalum introduction in American gardens (1880) had green leaves and white flowers. The shrubs’ current popularity came in the 1990’s when the new varieties with purple leaves and pink flowers came into garden centers.
There is one native Fringtree, Chionanthus virginicus White Knight. It is cold hardy to zone 4 and matures at 5 ft. tall and wide, with fragrant white flower…

Winter Care of Houseplants

Frosty weather has already arrived on one or two nights and more is on its way. We've been dragging plants into the shed but have all the plants on front and back porches yet to bring in. In case you are preparing your plants to spend the winter in the house, here's a good article -

The Iowa Department of Entomology - Horticulture and Home Pest News published this in their newsletter this morning  Environmental conditions indoors during the winter months are difficult for many houseplants.  Good care during the winter months can help houseplants deal with the stressful conditions during this time period.


Most houseplants prefer daytime temperatures of 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit and night temperatures of 60 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit.  Temperatures below 50 degrees Fahrenheit or rapid temperature fluctuations may harm some plants.  Keep houseplants away from cold drafts, radiators, and hot air vents.  Also make sure houseplant foliage doesn't touch cold windows.


Silver Bells Bulb Planting - ornithogalum umbellatum

Silver Bells have a bad reputation because there are two or more, very similar, flowering bulbs. Some that can become invasive in our zone 7, sort of temperate gardens; others are better-behaved.

Star of Bethlehem is a member of the lily plant family, Asparagaceae. It has received plant of merit awards and screams of invasive, depending on the writer.
As usual, part of the problem is the lack of in-depth research. Ornithogalum nutans is from Asia and can become invasive. Ornithogalum umbellatum, from Europe, does not. Both are called Star of Bethlehem, Dove's Dung and Silver Bells so check to be sure you plant the one that suits your needs.

I ordered O. umbellatum from Old House Gardens Bulbs and planted them in a little spot that has not been cultivated before. The bed is opposite the vegetable garden though so we are over there quite a bit from early spring cultivating through January when we are harvesting Russian kale for the table.

Native to Europe, from the Mediterranean to Bri…

Teucrium, Germander, Cat Thyme

Teucriums have several names but whatever they are called, we love the ones in our garden. The most common names include Germander and Cat Thyme.

Teucriums are host plants for certain moths but in the 5 years we've grown the plants, we've haven't seen any chewing on the leaves.

The list of Teucriums is impressive and we've only grown the ones we have so far from seed, though we probably should try a few more.

Mountain Valley Growers has the Creeping Germander that you may want for a rock wall or xeriscape garden in zones 5 through 11.

The plants are perennial here in zone 7 but they are not evergreen as they are advertised in warmer zones.

 When the flowers faded and seeds set, I collected the seeds by wrapping my hand around the stem and lifting, stripping the entire stem.

 After collecting the seeds, I sprinkled them onto moist, sterile potting soil and pressed them in. The containers were put into filtered light in the garden shed.

These three photos are of the seedl…

Frost on the Pumpkin - Muskogee

Frost on the Pumpkin Festival in Muskogee
Nov 13 from 9 to 5 and Nov 14 from 9 to 3 Frost on the Pumpkin Festival: Arts, Crafts and Vintage Show will be held at First United Methodist Church, 600 East Okmulgee, Muskogee. Lunch is a fundraiser for youth groups. Information, and 918.682.3368 or 918-869-6210
The organizer of Frost on the Pumpkin, Francie Wright said, “We try to include vintage vendors.”
Campers that have been dolled up after gutting and remodeling will be set up outside. Those vendors will sell clothing and repurposed crafts, crocheted items, and jewelry.
Wright said, “Their stuff is so creative that it’s hard to know what to call it. They create upcycled gifts using recycled bits and pieces that are made into something new.”
Visitors will find home décor, jewelry, clothing, hand crafted items, candles, belts, art by Louise Bishop, handmade cards, inspirational signs, folk painted brooms and papier Mache bowls by Pat Ghormly, etc.

Food will be avail…

Blue Purple and Gray Our Early November Garden

Just a picture show of what's going on in a few places in our back yard. Enjoy the photos and if you use them please credit my blog or me. Thanks.

Carols and Crumpets - Tulsa

December 5 from 8 to 3, Carols and Crumpets: An Herbal Craft Fair will be held at the Tulsa Garden Center, 2435 S Peoria Ave. Lunch at the holiday-decorated Snowflake Cafe will be served 11 – 2. Information, 918-746-5125, 
Tulsa Herb Society sponsors Carols and Crumpets each year and I visited them last week during a crafting session to see what they are working on for the sale.
Herb Society member Lou Ann Gray constructed a felt tree that will be decorated with homemade gingerbread cookies and a Christmas skirt.  Her tree will be a raffle prize.
“I usually make the trees out of old Army blankets,” Gray said. “First the wool is boiled to felt it. Then, I cut it into strips and cut the strips again. Using a dowel, floral tape and wire, I wind the wool and let it dry. Holes are drilled a large dowel and the branches are individually attached.” 

Pat Ernst and Betty Muratet showed me how the Christmas tree bulbs are transformed from clear to bea…