28 September 2016

Choosing Colors for Your Garden

The Flower, Garden & Nature Society of Northwest Arkansas will meet Saturday, October 15, to hear "Pink Hates Chartreuse: Thoughts on Color in the Garden".  Speaker will be Tom Dillard, an avid gardener, retired head of Special Collections at the University of Arkansas Libraries in Fayetteville, and a historian and specialist on Arkansas history, about which he writes a weekly column for Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

The meeting will be held in the Student Center of Northwest Technical Institute at 709 S. Old Missouri Road in Springdale, AR.  It is free and open to the public.  The meeting will begin at10:00 a.m.  Info: 479-361-2198 and onfacebook.com/fgnsofnwa

An article (link) about Dillard when he retired says that "Dillard is best known as a creator of the Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture, which he still serves as founding editor-in-chief, and as creator of the Richard C. Butler Center for Arkansas Studies, more commonly known as the Butler Center, in Little Rock. He’s literally a “know-it-all,” when it comes to facts, tidbits and lore about the Natural State."

His history columns can be found on the website for the Arkansas Democrat Gazette.

24 September 2016

Fall Planted Bulbs for Spring Flowers

The time to plant spring blooming bulbs has arrived along with an abundance of bulb company catalogs. 

Becky Heath of Brent and Becky's Bulbs has an article in this month's American Horticultural Society newsletter. You can read the entire article at this link.

Heath says, "There are several approaches to combining bulbs with herbaceous perennials, shrubs, and trees. Choosing combinations that will bloom at the same time creates the biggest impact, like the finale of a fire - works display. Combining plants so that they bloom sequentially with a slight over -plant tulips or lilies eight to 10 inches deep, then above them place daffodils, hyacinths, or alliums at about six inches. Smaller early-blooming bulbs—such as crocuses, anemones, and dwarf irises—can even be planted in the top three inches."

Heath's bulb-planting tips

The best time to plant spring-flowering bulbs is after the first hard frost. Before then, the soil normally remains warm from the summer heat, and early autumn rains may cause newly planted, non-established bulbs to rot.

The basic rule of thumb for planting depth is three times the height of the bulb. So if the bulb is two inches tall, then the bottom of the hole should be about six inches deep. Tulips and lilies, which prefer really cool soil, benefit from being planted even deeper—I often suggest placing them eight to 10 inches deep.

The roots of spring-flowering bulbs start growing in autumn, so after planting, water the area and add a topdressing of compost or a slow-release fertilizer that is low in nitrogen and high in potash (5–10–20).

20 September 2016

Native Plants and Their Relatives

If you watch garden center trends you have noticed that hundreds of hybrids have been developed from native plants.

The claim is that they are just as good for the environment as true native plants but have much nicer features such as form, flower color, size at maturity, disease resistance, etc.

National Wildlife magazine begs to differ from that marketing assertion, pointing out that the clones are really not as good for the environment as we may think.

Click on this link to read the entire article. Excerpts are below.

"Native plants have formed symbiotic relationships with native wildlife over thousands of years, and therefore offer the most sustainable habitat. A plant is considered native if it has occurred naturally in a particular region, ecosystem, or habitat without human introduction.

Exotic plants that evolved in other parts of the world or were 
cultivated by humans into forms that don’t exist in nature do not 
support wildlife as well as native plants. Occasionally, they can 
even escape into the wild and become invasive exotics that destroy natural habitat.
Native plants help the environment the most when planted in places that match their growing requirements. They will thrive in the soils, moisture and weather of your region. That means less supplemental watering, which can be wasteful, and pest problems that require toxic chemicals. Native plants also assist in managing rain water runoff and maintain healthy soil as their root systems are deep and keep soil from being compacted."

After conducting research on the topic, Doug Tallamay commented, "Changes in plant size or “habit,” such as nativars that grow more 
compactly or more upright than straight species, “didn’t seem to 
make any difference to wildlife,” says Tallamy. Neither did nativars
 that are bred for disease resistance such as the Princeton elm. 
That’s good news for the American elm  which has been devastated
 by Dutch elm disease throughout its native range in the United 
States and Canada, and also for the growing number of other 
native trees suffering from blights introduced from abroad.
While disease-resistant nativars can be a boon for a plant decimated
 by blight, others can have a less salubrious effect on the genetic 
health of a species. By definition an atypical plant, a nativar 
represents just a sliver of a species’ genetic diversity. What’s more, 
to maintain their atypical traits, most nativars are propagated 
through cloning, such as by rooting cuttings, which produces 
genetically identical plants. When mass produced and overused in
 the landscape industry, they result in less genetic diversity than 
straight species propagated from seed, and therefore provide native
 plants with less capacity to adapt to stresses ranging from disease 
to climate change."
“It is a bad idea to load the landscape with plants that have no genetic variability, says Tallamy. “I’m not a hardliner on this issue, but gardeners ought to have access to straight species. We 
have to convince the nursery industry that native plants are about 
more than just looks.”

17 September 2016

Invasive Plant Alterntives

Have you been gardening long enough to plant something wonderful that became invasive? I have!

Many plants have been introduced over the years that turned out to spread too quickly for the garden space, taking over and choking out other plants in the bed.

American Bittersweet
Cornell University published a guide to commonly planted invasives and plants that would fill the horticultural purpose that are not invasive.

One example is Porcelain Berry Vine, Ampelopsis brevipedunculata. The alternatives they suggest are: Dutchman's Pipe, Trumpet Honeysuckle, American Bittersweet, Trumpetcreeper and Fox Grape.

Black Chokeberry
Privet, Ligustrum obtusifolium, is another widely sold and planted shrub that becomes invasive fairly quickly. The suggestions for planting instead of Privet include: Boxwood, Holly, Yew, American arborvitae, and Black Chokeberry.

Click over to this Cornell link to read about more invasives and their alternatives.

13 September 2016

Butterfly Garden Tour in OKC

A free garden tour featuring butterfly-friendly plants will take place in Oklahoma City on Sunday, September 25 from 10 to 3. Eight locations can be toured at your own pace and there will be native plant vendors at all 8 sites. The gardens are listed below.
More information https://urbanagokc.org/

Explore eight diverse gardens and landscapes during
this free, self-guided tour around central-northwest Oklahoma City. From the modern Pipevine Swallow tail DSCF1952formal to the xeric perennial border to the rustic urban homestead, there will be something for everyone to enjoy.

Get inspired to attract these beautiful creatures to your own garden, plus ask plant questions of local experts and purchase native and prairie garden perennials from local growers!
What:    Free self-guided Butterfly Garden Tour
Where:  Eight sites in central-northwest Oklahoma City
When:   Sunday September 25, 10 am – 3 pm (Rain date of Sunday October 2)
  1. Perennial ClassicPatti Kate * Address to be published Sept. 24IMG_3229
An inspired take on the traditional, this landscape showcases water-thrifty design: a buffalograss lawn, butterfly-friendly xeriscaped border, and local stained-glass artwork. Co-designed by the homeowner and Randy Marks of Groundwork.
On-site: Wild Things Nursery 
  1. Modern TwistThe McGills * Address to be published Sept. 24IMG_3190
Love pollinators and a modern aesthetic? Check out this formal landscape with front-yard patio and driftwood art designed by JamieCsizmadia.
On-site: Jamie Csizmadia of Olthia Urban Prairie Gardens
  1. Must Love DogsRose-Shanker family * Address to be published Sept. 24IMG_3195
Rambunctious dogs and butterflies co-exist in this back-yard retreat! Features loads of art and massive oil pipelines repurposed as planters. Designed by JamieCsizmadia of Olthia Urban Prairie Gardens.
On-site: Skyridge Farm 
  1. Urban HomesteadPatton family * Address to be published Sept. 24IMG_0948

Like a more carefree vibe? Explore this slightly untamed vegetable garden, urban orchard, avian sanctuary and prairie landscape. Includes peach, apple, pecan, plum and persimmon trees. Co-designed by the homeowner and Randy Marks of Groundwork.
On-site: Oklahoma Native Plant Society
  1. Pride of the NeighborhoodSkyline Neighborhood Pollinator Garden * NW 27th & LyonsPhaeon CrescentFind inspiration at this pollinator park designed specifically to welcome butterflies and bees. Neighborhood kids delight in caring for this special community space, which was just planted this spring!

    On-site: Sierra Club, OK Cimarron Group
 6. Pollinator Playground        Six-Twelve * 612 NW 29thImageForGardenTour2
This one has everything—community garden, miniature orchard, rainwater garden, even an on-site pre-school where kids can grow (and eat) their own vegetables.
On-site: Prairie Wind Nursery
  1. Butterfly BonanzaEdith & Bill Siemens * Address to be published Sept. 24DSCF7094
These homeowners specialize in attracting the swallowtail butterfly along with a host of other buzzing friends. The site features twenty-one years of historic Oklahoma City Zoo memorabilia.
On-site: The Nature Conservancy
 8. Pollinators in ParadiseCommonWealth Urban Farms * 3310 N. Oliesage and butterfly 2
Butterflies and bees come for the flowers – but they have plenty of work pollinating the tomatoes, peppers and other veggies growing at this much-loved community vegetable and flower farm.
On-site: CommonWealth Urban Farms

10 September 2016

Northern Bayberry Shrub is Myrica Pensylvanica

Northern Bayberry Shrub is an American native that is cold hardy in zones 3 to 7. The native variety matures at 10 - 12 feet tall and wide. There are cultivated varieties/hybrids that remain smaller. 

This is a shrub that provides shelter, feeds wildlife, is tolerant of many soil types, is deer-resistant and will tolerate full-sun to part-shade.

Northern Bayberry can be great for a larger landscaped area as it will produce suckers from the root and create its own large colony over time.

They will drop their leaves in the fall and the blue-gray-toned berries that persist over the winter add interest to the winter landscape.

Ideal for woodland gardens, privacy screen, shrub borders and roadside planting, Sometimes labeled Waxmyrtle, Bayberry shrubs are easy to find in nurseries.

The leaves and berries are scented with the scent being familiar to anyone who has been around Bayberry candles.

Ohio State University mentions these compact hybrids: "‘Myda’ a heavy fruiting female and her counterpart, ‘Myriman’.  ‘Wildwood’ is a United States National Arboretum selection offering excellent cold hardiness and slightly smaller plant growing to 6 feet.  ‘Bobzam’, Bobbee™ is a Lake County Nursery introduction that we grow at Secrest Arboretum.  It is another more compact, (6 ft.) cultivar offering foliage that is much larger, glossier, and wavy."

More information: Missouri Botanical Garden and 
Ohio State Extension

07 September 2016

Plant Natives this Fall!

Fall is the ideal time to plant perennials and MaryAnn King at Pine Ridge Gardens in northwest Arkansas has lots of native plants ready for fall gardens.

Below are two of her postings: a list of the milkweed varieties a she has for your garden and a list of her nursery open days and hours for the fall

Below are some milkweeds available now.  Also attached is new plants for fall. 
Asclepias amplexicaulis
Clasping milkweed
Asclepias tuberosa                           
Orange butterfly weed
Asclepias tuberosa ‘Hello Yellow’    
Yellow butterfly weed
Asclepias incarnata ‘Ice Ballet’         
White swamp milkweed
Asclepias incarnata  
Rose milkweed or swamp milkweed
Asclepias perennis                              
Aquatic milkweed
Asclepias viridis                                 
Green milkweed or Spider milkweed
Asclepias speciosa                              
Showy milkweed
Asclepias syriaca                                 
Common milkweed
Asclepias variegata                              

Red ring milkweed or white woods milkweed
Asclepias verticillata                            
Horsetail milkweed or whorled milkweed
Asclepias amplexicaulis                       
Clasping milkweed or curly milkweed

And, we have a few trays of 50 milkweed seedlings for folks that wish to do a large planting. 

Gardeners (and non gardeners who like to plant for birds, butterflies & bees)!  The weather is cooling off & it’s time for fall planting.  Our open house days are listed below.  Just remember, if none are convenient for you, just give us a call or drop an email for another time.

Open House Days for Fall 2016
Saturday, September 10th  9 AM to 4 PM
Sunday, September 11th   12 Noon to 4 PM
Saturday, September 17th  9 AM to 4 PM
Sunday, September 18th  12 Noon to 4 PM
Saturday, October 1st   9 AM to 4 PM
Sunday, October 2nd   12 Noon to 4 PM
Saturday, October 15th  9 AM to 4 PM
Sunday, October 16th   12 Noon to 4 PM
Saturday, November 12th   9 AM to 4 PM
Saturday, November 26th    9 AM to 4 PM
If you'd like to come  some other 
time, please call us at 479-293-4359
or email us office@pineridgegardens.com

MaryAnn   King
Pine Ridge Gardens

03 September 2016

Succulent and Cactus Sale

The Succulent and Cactus Society is having a fall sale Sept 17 and 18 at Tulsa Garden Center. 9 to 3 on Sat and 10 to 3 on Sunday. 

The sale will be in the Helmerich building next to the Linnaeus Garden. 

For more information contact J W Keeth by email at jwkeeth@gmail.com