Showing posts from June, 2016

Pollinators and the Native Plants You Should Grow for Them

The Kerr Center for Sustainable Agriculture in Poteau OK, has provided an online library for us to learn about which native plants are best for providing nectar and caterpillar food for our native pollinators.

Here's a link that will take you directly to their resources and other helpful information.

If that interests you and you want more, go to their main site and look at the hundreds of free resources they offer to the public.

We have taken a couple of their workshops and found them to be worthwhile for our gardening needs.

Zika Virus, Mosquitoes and Oklahoma Gardeners

Since we are all worried about the Zika Virus and avoiding contact with the mosquitoes that carry it, here's some advice about preventing the larvae from thriving in your garden.

"Listed below are some recommendations from the American Mosquito Control Association ( 1. Irrigate lawns and gardens carefully to prevent water from standing for several days. 2. Clean debris from rain gutters and remove any standing water under or around structures, or on flat roofs. Check around faucets and air conditioner units and repair leaks or eliminate puddles that remain for several days. 3. Destroy or dispose of tin cans, old tires, buckets, unused plastic swimming pools or other containers that collect and hold water. Do not allow water to accumulate in the saucers of flowerpots, cemetery urns or in pet dishes for more than 2 days."

Here's the complete article on the mosquitoes from Oklahoma State University -

Queen Anne's Lace is Daucus Carota

Our garden was over run with Queen Anne's Lace, Daucus Carota, this spring and was just summarily removed.

In the past we've intentionally grown Black Knight Ammi and this year the huge mess of Daucus Carota included some of that variety but mostly was the white 8-foot tall stuff you see growing in ditches and open fields.

When the flower begins to go to seed, the heads curl up, forming a
bird's nest shape so that's where that nickname came from.

As its name implies the root is the shape of the carrot we eat though it is inedible.

No one is precisely sure which Queen Anne the other name comes from or exactly how she came to be associated with the plant.

Queen Anne's Lace flowers make beautiful cut flowers and a local flower vendor cut ours for a couple of weeks for her bouquets before we took it out. If you enjoy crafts, you can put the stems in food coloring water and make the flowers into a variety of bouquet colors.

It is a beautiful weed but can take over a flo…

Hydrangea Annabelle is an American Native

The Hydrangea arborescens Annabelle, with the big, gorgeous mophead flowers is an American native plant. Who knew? Annabelle is probably the oldest and best-known Hydrangea grown in our gardens.

It was discovered in 1910 by Harriet Kirkpatrick while she was out horseback riding near her home town of Anna Illinois. She and her sister Amy collected a piece of the shrub and began growing it in their garden.

At the time, it became a passalong plant, with pieces of the green wood given to fellow gardeners to propagate for their home gardens.

The plantsman Joseph McDaniel decided to get Annabelle the recognition it deserved and in 1960 he registered the name and succeeded in getting it into the plant trade.

Hydrangea arborescens is native to the U.S. from New York to FL and LA and west to Iowa and Illinois. Now we know why they grow so well here! Because they are American natives.

Hydrangea Shrubs Flower all Summer

Hydrangea shrubs began blooming a month ago and, depending on the variety, will be in bloom through the fall. It is possible to have a collection of Hydrangeas and have some in bloom from May to September. 

n addition to flowers, some Hydrangeas are known for the beauty of their bark when the leaves fall in the winter.
Hydrangeas are popular for planting around the foundation of a home since they thrive with a little protection from out hot summer sun. 
Traditionally, they are located on the north side of a structure but can also be planted as a shrub row or as a specimen plant.
The flower colors are dependent on the color they were bred to show plus the amount of aluminum ions in the soil. Acidic soils with a pH greater than 6.0 cause pink flowers. White flowering shrubs are not impacted by the type of soil.
Generally speaking, Hydrangeas are carefree. They benefit from being watered during periods of drought but rarely have disease or insect problems.  Powdery mildew, rust, leaf sp…

Gardening in Summer

We are spending a few hours every day in the garden, working to catch up with what the rains brought us!

Weeds, seedlings of plants that we love in small doses, spring bulb foliage, and general cleanup are the order of the day.

Each morning when the sun comes up around 6:00 we head out, well sprayed against insects, armed with gloves and waterproof shoes. Clippers, shovels,  loppers and large refuse cans accompany us each place we work.

The two of us slog for a few hours before the heat gets to us and every day we make progress.

As we go, we are streamlining our garden beds. We've found that we overplanted some places and tha Mother Nature overplanted for us in other places.

For example, the native, coral honeysuckle vine ... every place the vine touched on the soil a new plant formed. It took half the morning just to prune back that one mini-monster.

We've also found that some things we put in have become too large for their space and will have to be pruned back hard and then…

Crocosmia is Blooming Now

Very few people grow this beautiful little bulb and I can't imagine why not. It's mid-June and the heat it on and here they come to grace the garden with the sweetest flowers. 

They are related to gladiolas and resemble their structure. I use them in bouquets in the house and they last a week.

Their only downside is that they spread like crazy so you have to keep them thinned out in order to get flowers. I have several places in the garden where they have been allowed to do their thing and the more crowded the bulbs become the fewer flowers

I've found that the ideal blooming clump is no more than a dozen or so bulbs.

If you are ready for something delicate and cheerful, add a few bulbs to a mostly sunny spot.
Diseases and insects leave them alone completely in our garden.

New book with upcycling ideas for your garden

"Gardening on a Shoestring: 100 Fun Upcycled Garden Projects" by Alex Mitchell is a new book of fun ideas for inexpensive projects for the handy.

Alex Mitchell has collected lots of ways to engage the whole family in beautifying both yard and garden at your house.

Cool Springs Press just released this new volume.  It is 160 pages in a paperback format. 184 color photos with detailed instructions for each project.

The list price is $20 and online it sells for $17.