31 October 2016

Texas Master Gardeners' Nov Newsletter

The Texas Master Gardeners Association website is loaded with useful information for gardeners in this part of the U.S.

Their Nov 2016 newsletter is available at this link.

This month's topics include: a letter from their president and announcements of upcoming events. Their Facebook page is kept up to date with regular postings and you can see it at https://www.facebook.com/TexasMasterGardenersAssociation/?fref=ts

The International Master Gardeners Conference will be in Portland and registration is open
July 10-14, 2017International Master Gardener Conference 2017IMGC jpg
The Oregon State University Extension Master Gardener Program is excited to host Master Gardener faculty, staff and volunteers from across the United States, Canada and South Korea.

There are 44 concurrent session classes and 16 tours; you can register.

Sign up to explore Williamette Valley, Columbia Gorge, Pacific Northwest nurseries, iconic Portland gardens and the stunning Oregon Coast, plus a plethora of other offerings.

Two of the TX upcoming events include a 2017 conference in Galveston and a Cozumel cruise.
 MAY 1, 2017

Galveston County Master Gardeners and the conference committee are finalizing the details for the events following disembarkation from the cruise ship.  Even if you're not sailing with us, plan to be in Galveston on Monday, May 1st for our Annual Awards Banquet at Moody Gardens and subsequent tours on this unique island.  We have secured special pricing for our attendees at the Moody Gardens Hotel which will also include free parking to cruisers.  Stay tuned!

logo for 2017 circleALL ABOARD!  We have held onto a very small number of staterooms for latecomers, but once they're gone, they're gone and this ship will sail!

REGISTER NOW for one of the few remaining staterooms.  Join us April 27-May 1, 2017 as we sail to Cozumel, Mexico!

27 October 2016

Divide Spring Blooming Perennials Now

All of your favorite spring-blooming perennials can be dug and divided now, giving them plenty of time to settle their roots over the winter to bloom next year.

The list of plants to divide now includes: daylilies, iris, sweet violets, oxalis, thrift, candytuft, Shasta daisies, coneflowers and St. Joseph’s lilies (hardy amaryllis), among others. 

In March when the soil warms perennials will be peeking out of the soil, putting out new growth buds and showing signs of life. By then, their roots will have become established in cool, wet weather and be ready to spring forth.

You can use a spading fork or shovel to dig up the existing clump, just be sure to start digging far enough out from the central crown to get as much root as possible and to avoid damaging the crown.

Separate the clump of the original plant into sections with roots and cover them or put them in the shade while you prepare the soil they came out of. Dig organic amendments into the soil. This could include compost, peat moss, ground pine bark, etc.

When you have enough prepared planting holes for the divisions, put the healthiest cuttings in and surround the roots. Water the plant in and re-level it so the crown is right at soil level. Continue to back fill the hole and water the soil down.

Mulch the new plantings, keeping the mulch well away from the plant's crown. Don't fertilize in the fall or winter; wait until Feb. or March for fertilizing. 

22 October 2016

Gardening for Life

Bringing Nature Home recently posted an excellent reminder for us as we face fall clean up in the garden and plan for next year's garden. 
Amelanchier canadensis

Click on the link above to read the full article. Here are excerpts to whet your appetite:

Chances are, you have never thought of your garden — indeed, of all of the space on your property — as a wildlife preserve that represents the last chance we have for sustaining plants and animals that were once common throughout the U.S. But that is exactly the role our suburban landscapes are now playing and will play even more in the near future.

we have forced the plants and animals that evolved in North America (our nation’s biodiversity) to depend more and more on human-dominated landscapes for their continued existence. 

Viburnum dentatum
those little woodlots and “open spaces” we have not paved over or manicured are pristine. Nearly all are second-growth forests that have been thoroughly invaded by alien plants like autumn olive, multiflora rose, Oriental bittersweet, and Japanese honeysuckle.  

we humans have taken 95% of nature and made in unnatural.

All animals get their energy directly from plants, or by eating something that has already eaten a plant. The group of animals most responsible for passing energy from plants to the animals that can’t eat plants is insects. This is what makes insects such vital components of healthy ecosystems. So many animals depend on insects for food (e.g., spiders, reptiles and amphibians, rodents, 96% of all terrestrial birds) that removing insects from an ecosystem spells its doom.
But that is exactly what we have tried to do in our suburban landscapes. 
Acer rubrum
n the past we didn’t designed gardens that play a critical ecological role in the landscape, but we must do so in the future if we hope to avoid a mass extinction from which humans are not likely to recover either. As quickly as possible we need to replace unnecessary lawn with densely planted woodlots that can serve as habitat for our local biodiversity. 
Homeowners can do this by planting the borders of their properties with native trees plants such as white oaks (Quercus alba), black willows (Salix nigra), red maples (Acer rubrum), green ashes (Fraxinus pennsylvanica),black walnuts (Juglans nigra), river birches (Betula nigra) and shagbark hickories (Carya ovata), under-planted with woodies like serviceberry (Amelanchier canadensis), arrowwood (Viburnum dentatum), hazelnut (Corylus americnus), blueberries (Vaccinium spp) . Our studies have shown that even modest increases in the native plant cover on suburban properties significantly increases the number and species of breeding birds, including birds of conservation concern. 
As gardeners and stewards of our land, we have never been so empowered to help save biodiversity from extinction, and the need to do so has never been so great. All we need to do is plant native plants!

18 October 2016

Seed Exchange - American Horticultural Society

November 1 is the deadline for sending in seeds you've collected from your garden for the American Horticultural Society Seed Exchange. 

Only AHS members can donate seeds. AHS members can order from the Seed Exchange in January 2017. Another good reason to join!

Memberships begin at $35.00.

11 October 2016

Late Bloomer - How to Garden with Comfort, Ease and Simplicity in the Second Half of Life

"Late Bloomer - How to Garden with Comfort, Ease and Simplicity in the Second Half of Life" by Jan Bills,  is just out this month from St. Lynn's Press.

The author is a second half of life gardener, herself, She says in the introduction that this stage of life gardening is about simplicity, beauty and harmony, comfort and ease, celebrating life with food from your soil, relaxation and letting go, She is now a professional gardener!

“It is not about keeping up with others,” Bills said. “It excludes memorizing botanical names and identifying every garden insect or noxious weed (that’s what Google is for). Rather, it is an ongoing relationship, with deep and lasting experiences. For me, it is an opportunity to bring what I love to the garden; it makes me feel alive, rejuvenated and well. Gardens are my blank canvas, the one place to be fully expressed without limitation or prejudice. A garden is where hope is restored and relaxation is practiced.”

Three of Bills' sustainable practises: Reduce weeds by creating heavily planted garden beds; make the most of your water; and replicate a natural forest ecosystem in your garden space.

As advised by so many garden gurus, Bills says, "leave the leaves" to provide food and shelter for bugs and wildlife, to nourish the soil suppress weeds and protect plant roots over the winter months.

She provides basic design tips such as using plants in odd numbers, planting year-round interest, adding garden ornaments, creating a garden entrance, adding seating, color, texture and contrast.

The book is loaded with practical tips, photos, illustrations and humor. 140-pages in a 7 by 7 inch hardback book. What a great gift it would make!

$18.95 list price from St. Lynn's Press and $14 at Amazon.

06 October 2016

Help Bumblebees Survive and Thrive

Horticulture Magazine has a new article with ideas for how gardeners can help bumblebees survive and thrive.

This is an important topic as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service added 7 species of bees to the Endangered Species list, providing protection for the bees.

Here are some things the Xerces Society recommends that we all do to help bumblebees in our neighborhoods:
  • Provide them with pollen and nectar from late winter through early fall. Plan your garden to start blooming early and finish late.

  • Choose flowers that welcome the bumblebees. Plants native to your area are a good choice because the bees have evolved alongside them. Exotic (but not invasive) species can work, too. Just be sure to use the straight species, or pick cultivars that retain the general look of the species’s flower. That is, avoid cultivars bred for double petals or other fancy forms that make it hard for the bumblebee to access the pollen.
  • Bumblebees best like purple, blue and yellow flowers. They cannot see the color red.

  • Avoid using pesticides.

  • Help bumblebees, which typically nest underground, overwinter by leaving some ground undisturbed—that is, not planted or mowed. Bumblebees may also take up in compost piles, woodpiles, stone walls or empty bird houses.

  • For more pointers on how to help bumblebees, plus an identification guide and recommended plants by region, see Conserving Bumble Bees by the Xerces Society.

02 October 2016

OSU Botanic Garden Events

October will be a busy month at the Oklahoma Botanic Garden!

Thursday, October 6
7:00 pm
TBG Educational Center
Cory Suddarth from Suddarth Optical Repair will join us to discuss binoculars, scopes, and everything in between. Cory is an expert in the repair of old optics, so be sure to have them with you when he fields your questions. For more information visit:paynecountyaudubonsociety.com

Presented by Payne County Audubon Society

Saturdays: October 1, 8, and 29
9:00 am – 3:00 pm
The Botanic Garden at OSU
The garden is a captivating place to stroll with family and friends before heading to your favorite tailgate party. Make a visit to The Botanic Garden part of your game day activities in Stillwater. You can purchase mums and pumpkins for your tailgating décor while supporting The Botanic Garden! Ambassadors will be in the garden to welcome you and answer your gardening questions. The West Virginia Avenue entrance will be open for additional parking and handicap access.  Map

Presented by TBG Ambassadors

Yoga in the Garden

Thursdays: October 6, 13, 20 and 27
5:45 – 6:30 pm
TBG Lawn near the vegetable garden

Yoga is back at the garden! Bring your mat and join Carol Bender, yoga therapist, as we shed the worries of the day and welcome nature’s energy into our body, mind, and spirit. In the event of rain the class will be held in the Educational Center.

Presented by the OSU Department of Wellness

Concert in the Garden – Tyler Siems with special guests, Tanner Bryan and John Homer

Friday, October 7
5:45 – 7:30 pm
TBG Event Lawn

Load the picnic basket with a nice dinner, grab your blanket or lawn chair and nestle yourself under the beautiful sycamoreallée to enjoy an evening of old country and traditional/folk songs with singer/songwriter Tyler Siems and special guests. This event is free and open to the public.

Sponsored by OSU Office of the President, Hideaway Pizza, Kicker, Arts and Humanities Council of Stillwater, Daddy O’s Music Company, and Flourishes Flowers Décor and More

Seed Exchange and Potluck

Tuesday, October 11
6:00 – 7:30 pm
TBG Educational Center

Bring seeds of your favorite flowers and vegetables to swap with fellow gardeners, and a dish to share for a fall potluck dinner. For those gardeners who like to experiment, bring those seeds of a superior cultivar from your garden to see how they might do in another garden next year.

Tuesday Gardening Series

Presented by Payne County Master Gardeners

Pumpkin Crafting

Saturday, October 15
10:00 am – 12:00 pm
The Botanic Garden at OSU

Grab the kids and come out to the garden for a pumpkin carving demonstration with Sally McCorkle, MFA Professor, Sculpture/ 3D Design; live music with the Misspent Ukes; and pumpkin painting. Cost: $10 per family, includes painting supplies and pumpkins. Supplies are limited so please RSVP to Laura, laura.payne@okstate.edu to reserve your spot.

Presented by TBG Ambassadors

Families and Flashlights

Thursday, October 20 – Friday, October 21
6:00 pm – 9:00 am
The Botanic Garden at OSU

Fall is a great time to camp out so bring the family to the garden for an overnight stay, watch a movie under the stars, make smores and decorate pumpkins. This event is open to OSU employees and their families. Cost: $30 per family. Contact tabi.deal@okstate.edu to register.

TBG co-sponsorship with the OSU Wellness Center.

Mum and Pumpkin Sale

Monday - Friday
8:00 am – 5:00 pm.
And on Open House Saturdays
9:00 am – 3:00 pm
The Botanic Garden at OSU

Help support The Botanic Garden with the purchase of mums and pumpkins at the Plant Sale Area located at the entry to the gardens from the North parking lot. Plants are available for sale weekdays during business hours and during Open House Saturdays until they are sold out.