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Showing posts from August, 2016

Monarch Celebration in Tulsa

Tulsa’s RiverParks Authority is putting on a free Monarchs on the Mountain festival celebrating the vital role Eastern Oklahoma plays in the Monarch Butterfly migration.
September 24th, on Turkey Mountain from 10:00 am, until 2:00 pm at the pavilion area of Turkey Mountain Urban Wilderness Area near the main trailhead, 6850 S. Elwood Ave.
The day will be filled with fun and educational activities highlighting the life cycle of the Monarch Butterfly, the Great Monarch Migration and the habitat of Turkey Mountain which supports a myriad of wildlife. 
This event is hosted by: RiverParks Authority in partnership with the Tulsa Urban Wilderness Coalition, the Tulsa Audubon Society and The M.E.T. and supporters; Sustainable Tulsa, Blue Thumb, The Tulsa Zoo, City of Tulsa, Monarch Initiative of Tulsa, Westside Y and the USFWS.
For more information contact Marci Hawkins, steering committee chair at:marci.hawkins@tulsaurbanwildernesscoalition.org.

Native Plant Society Events

The Oklahoma Native Plant Society upcoming events -

August 27 - SW Chapter joint meeting  with OK Archeological Society
Bob Blasing will give a talk. The title is: "How Early Great Plains Tribes Used Seasonal Travel to Obtain Resources". The meeting is booked at the Museum of the Great Plains for Saturday August 27th, at 2:00 P.M. Refreshments will be provided.

September 1st - Central Chapter meeting at the OSU-OKC horticulture building at 7pm. Marilyn Stewart will give a talk on Weird and Wonderful Natives of Oklahoma. The owner of Wildthings Nursery, her full time + job and interest is in Oklahoma native plants. She is an expert in the field; her talk should be both informative and fun. Bring a friend and come join us.

September 11th - There will be a native grass outing/ field trip at the Martin Nature Park, 5000 W. Memorial, OKC on Sunday, September 11th at 2:30. Bill Bennett, a volunteer at Martin Park, has done these walks over the years. Fall is a great time to see the na…

Rose of Sharon is Hibiscus syriacus

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The native, cold-hardy Hibiscus shrubs are blooming now and are one of the highlights of late-summer gardens. The large, colorful, cup-shaped flowers shine in pinks, purples and white against the rest of the garden.

Full-sun is usually recommended though ours bloom reasonably well with a bit of afternoon shade. The ones in full-sun produce more flowers.

Cultivated Hibiscus shrubs bloom earlier in the summer and are worth pursuing for their varied flower colors and forms. They also produce very few seedlings when compared to the native plants.

 Shrubs in the Chiffon series of Hibiscus have a ruffled center set of petals. The Blue Chiffon in our garden makes me stop and stare every time it blooms. Others in the series include: Lavender, Pink, and White Chiffon.

Satin Hibiscus cultivars have flowers with dark red centers.  They come in Blue, Orchid, Violet and Ruffled varieties.

Another Hibiscus we love in our perennial bed is Sugar Tip which is a completely seedless shrub. The diminutiv…

Garden Tips for OK

Oklahoma State University's website has gardening tips month-by-month. Here's the link so you can click over to see them.

August tips include starting a fall vegetable garden, spraying fruit and nut trees, divide and replant spring-blooming perennial flowers, stop deadheading roses, etc.

Enjoy and check back to the site each month!

Pollinator Plants for Late-Summer

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It's August and our gardens are struggling to keep up with the heat. There are still several plants that we can add to the garden to benefit pollinators in late-summer and fall.

Flowering now for pollinators: milkweed, purple prairie clover, rattlesnake master, zinnias, coneflowers, sedum, goldenrod, Joe-Pye weed, compass plant, mints and others. Asters will be blooming soon, bringing dozens of pollinators at a time!

The Kerr Center's chart of wildflower blooming times helps identify plants we can add to the beds and hedge rows to keep food available for pollinators. Here's a link to the chart.

They include Maximillion sunflower in their list but it's a less likely garden plant than one for an open field or hedge row.

Keep your plants thriving by watering them in the early morning hours. Don't fertilize at this time of year since most plants are slowing down for dormancy and fertilizing pushes them to grow.








Using Prairie to Restore Farm Land

The attitudes toward prairie plants has been changing gradually over the past decade.

When settlers arrived in the midwest a century ago, they removed wild plants and grasses in order to put in crops, thereby eliminating prairie.

Now there is recognition that it is a mistake to shun prairie plants and many farmers are putting patches of prairie back into their farming plans.

Research at Iowa State University points to the prairie plants' deep-roots that soak up polluting waste water, filter it and enrich the soil.

In an interview with the Washington Post, prairie guru, Lisa Schulte Moore, said, "“The reason why we have the best soil, making it possible to have the world’s best food production, is prairie."

The article says, "Now Schulte Moore and a team of 50 researchers are pushing for a resurrection and spreading a message: Wild prairie could help the state’s agriculture industry. It could slow soil erosion that costs farmers more than a billion dollars per year in…

Little Bluestem is Schizachyrium scoparium

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Little Bluestem grass is one native plant that still looks good in the August garden. 

Hardy in zone 2 to 9. Prefers full sun but will tolerate afternoon shade. 

Stems are copper colors in the fall. Skippers raise their young on the plants and birds eat the seeds in the winter. 

Prune in the spring

Benjamin Vogt says about Little Bluestem, "Grasses flower too, and mixing grasses with perennial flowers provides good habitat for wildlife and creates healthier gardens that require less maintenance. Little bluestem starts sporting its glittery seeds in August, which can last through most of the winter. It’s drought-tolerant and reaches 3 to 4 feet tall and 2 feet wide."

Heather Holm points out, "It thrives in poor soil and provides food and shelter for wildlife." ... "This charming grass does not lack admirable attributes; beyond the fantastic foliage color and compact, upright form, it also provides food and shelter for wildlife. The foliage of little bluestem is cons…

Trees Share Information in the Forest

Treehugger.com has an interesting article about how trees talk to each other, recognize their own offspring and communicate their own distress. Here's the link to the entire piece with an 18-minute TED talk on the topic by forest ecologist Suzanne Simard.

In fact, they form their own ancient internet. "While it's not news that a variety of communication happens between non-human elements of the natural world, the idea of mycelia (the main body of fungi, as opposed to the more well-known fruiting bodies - mushrooms) acting as a sort of old-school planetary internet is still a fairly recent one, and may serve as a spore of a new breed of forestry, ecology, land management"

"A recent talk at TEDSummit 2016 by forest ecologist Suzanne Simard seems to put the lie to the idea that a forest is merely a collection of trees that can be thought of as fully independent entities, standing alone even while surrounded by other trees and vegetation. As Simard, who has put in abo…

Compost Makes the Difference!

In California, where agriculture is still a key industry, restoring pollinator habitat along the highways is a large project that is underway.

From the ASLA website, "In California, officials are now pioneering new methods to boost the health of the honeybees and butterflies, according to a recent Congressional hearing in Washington, D.C. To reiterate the importance of these efforts, Congressman Jeff Denham, who is also an almond farmer, said at the briefing: “making sure we have healthy pollinators is critical to a state like California.”

Here's how they are doing getting their innovative project going with compost and native grass sod -

Keith Robinson, ASLA, principal of the landscape architecture program at the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans). The purview of Robinson and the 240 landscape architects he leads is roadsides. Their primary job is to control erosion. But Robinson and his team have seized on that mandate to boost the health of pollinators along C…