Showing posts from March, 2016

Solomon's Seal is Polygonatum

Variegated Solomon's Seal is emerging in our back woodland garden this week. A few leaves have unfurled but mostly they look like the photo on the right.

Cold hardy in zones 3 through 8, gardeners in most of the US can grow them successfully.

Our first little clump came from a plant sale at the Tulsa Perennial Society's annual event. 

This year's mild weather has caused the size of the clump to double! I'm over the moon thrilled, of course.

Fine Gardening Magazine comments that they are "well suited to woodlands, naturalized areas, shady borders, and rock gardens". Ours are thriving under large deciduous trees where the hammocks hang in the summertime.

We grow it for its beauty but foragers and herbalists grow it for it's health benefits.

Cortesia Herbal Products has a couple of interesting photos along with plant lore.
"Solomon's Seal (polygonatum biflorummultiflorum, odoratum, etc.) is a medicinal herb that has diverse health restorative properties…

Soil and Health Library Online for YOU

Free, downloadable, e-books about radical agriculture,
natural hygiene/natural curse and self-sufficiency. 

The library’s topic areas connect agricultural methods to the health and
lifespan of animals and humans. 

The four areas in the The Free Digitalized Library are

*Radical Agriculture. * The nutritional quality of food determines the
health of animals and humans. Food quality is primarily determined by soil
fertility. This section includes key books that began the organic farming and gardening movement. 

*The Restoration and Maintenance of Health.*Ccollections on healing  disease and building/maintains health. 
 Several parallel approaches include natural hygiene/nature cure, iridiagnosis and naturopathy.

*Achieving Personal Sovereignty.* Physical, mental, and spiritual health
are linked to lifestyle. 

Yarrow for Every Garden!

Yarrow (Achillea or Achillia) comes in many colors and heights so there is something for everyone and every garden style. Cottage gardens are usually planted with the bright yellow and citrus colors; and, tidy and tightly planned gardens usually feature swaths of red and pink Yarrow.

Some recent colors that will stimulate your imagination include: Pineapple Mango, Peachy Seduction, Pink Grapefruit, Pomegranate, Queen Elizabeth, Cerise Queen, Wexer River Sandstone, Fire King, Lilac Beauty, Altgold and Summer Gold. Seeds can be purchased in mixed packets of summer pastels, bright colors, all yellows, creams, etc.
All Yarrows love heat and will bloom for several months. Another one of their endearing qualities is that they prefer to be on the dry side so you can leave for summer vacation without worry. And, they are perennial, returning year after year, with minimal care.
Soil and fertilizer preferences are minimal. Lean soil and no fertilizer are best. Yarrows are also deer, rabbit, droug…

Beautiful Brassica

I've never met a Brassica I didn't like and that includes kale, chard, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Chinese cabbage, broccolini, kohlrabi, turnip, rutabaga, etc.

If you look up Brassica food plots you may be surprised to know that people plant plots of it to attract deer they can shoot. Being mostly vegetarians, we are appalled.

In fact, I think that Brassica is pretty enough to put into flower beds among perennial shrubs and other wonderful additions to the garden.

One of our favorites, Dino Kale has been grown in Italy since the 1700s and was a favorite in Thomas Jefferson's garden. Since it is a heirloom plant, you never have to worry about GMOs, hybridization and seeds not coming true when you harvest your own seeds.

Our winter was so mild that several kale plants remained productive. With this warm spell, I expect them to do some rapid spring growth and then I'll harvest the seeds and replant our tiny veg garden with summertime stuff like pep…

Cocktails in Your Garden - C. L. Fornai


Whether you enjoy a cocktail, a cup of tea, or a meditation time viewing a green space,  C. L. Fornai's newest book, "The Cocktail Hour Garden: Creating Evening Landscapes for Relaxation and Entertaining" will support your goals.

To make your "green hour" special for you and your guests, Fornai suggests attracting night life such as night blooming plants, sensory-pleasing textures, pollinator attracting flowers and scented plants to please the humans.

Fornai's Recipe for Success includes these elements: Identify places in your yard that you enjoy; Set up seating areas for one, two and more; Add a floor of hard surface for feet and furnishings; Be sure the entertaining space is close enough to the house for carrying trays; Eliminate undesirable plants; Add garden elements that would make the space special.

It's still early spring and there is plenty of time to do all those things before summer nights practically …

Flowering Quince is Chaenomeles

Back in 2010 when I planted some Proven Winners Flowering Quince the plants were in 4-inch pots so I had to use the company's photos.

Here's a link to that postso you can see how many colors are available.

Now our shrubs have matured into eye-popping spring beauty in our garden. Add these shrubs to your garden!

They bloom around daffodil and iris blooming time so get contrasting colors to make the outside brighter on otherwise overcast and rainy, spring days.

Here's a link to the PW site for these shrubs.

Our summer heat is dreadful and these plants will be protected by the shade of nearby trees once they leaf out.

Outstanding American Gardens is an outstanding book

Outstanding American Gardens a Celebration 25 Years of the Garden Conservancy was edited by Page Dickey with photography by
Marion Brenner, published by ABRAMS 2015. $50 in the US and $30 at online booksellers.

This book is a divine combination of coffee table book and travel planner. Each garden that is featured will entice armchair travelers to get up and out of their chairs and onto the internet to plan a visit to one or more of these destination gardens.

The Garden Conservancy began in 1988 as a way to preserve important American gardens so they would not return to nature due to lack of care.

The Conservancy has restored and saved more than 80 gardens since that time. The book showcases eight of the gardens their volunteers worked on, plus 43 more private gardens that the Conservancy opened to the public as part of their Open Days Program.

A book of six tickets to Open Days is $21 for members and $35 for non-members. Tickets and/or a copy of the Directory of Open Days gardens ($26)…


One of the many delights of spring is seeing Jack-In-the-Pulpit plants popping up and showing off their strange beauty. They are perennial plants that bloom in undisturbed woodland areas so you might see them if you go walking in April. 

Their Jack-in-the-Pulpit name comes from a time when a preacher in a pulpit was called a Jack. The pulpit is the shape of the spathe that resembles an old fashioned elevated pulpit with a hood over it.
This plant has a flower but it is not the obvious pulpit-shaped leaf. The tiny flowers are down at the bottom of that tube.
The Latin family name for Jack and his close relatives is Arisaema and one of them is native to our region. They thrive in moist, acidic soil where hard wood trees grow. When the flowers mature, woodland animals usually eat them before they can fall onto the ground and create more plants.
Arisaema triphyllum has a bright green and purple striped pulpit. One of the common names for it is Indian Turnip. The part of the plant referred to …

Daffodils in Many Shapes and Colors

We have collected and planted thousands of daffodils on our place over the years. They are sequenced with early, mid-season, late and last.

Here's a bit of what's blooming now

The American Daffodil Society  2016 World Convention will be in

St. Louis
April 7-9 Free admission

Here's a link to the Convention details.

Spring Cleaning - Tree Removal

While I hesitate to clean out beds at this time of year because so much wildlife depends on leaf litter for food and protection, we did have half a dozen junk trees removed.

Many things we planted when we knew little about OK gardening have either died or had to be removed. The four poplar (cotton-less cottonwood) trees were too close to the neighbor's fence and had grown into the power lines.

Plus, the poplar trees we planted on the opposite side of the yard toppled over in a strong wind. The neighbor's large workshop is just on the other side of that fence and we were afraid that the wrong wind would crush his building.

This elm tree was here when we moved in almost 20 years ago. It is shaded by nearby large trees so was failing, dropping large chunks of wood and the branches were peeling off. We have lopped off lower branches but then this winter the entire top of the thing broke off.

We were lucky that our son, Jason, had plenty of experience with tree trimming and removal …