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Showing posts from 2017

Columbine Love

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Columbine is a lovely flower to see in sun or part-shade garden spots. The bell-shaped flowers are a gorgeous red-hot-pink with yellow center and anthers. 

Mary Ann King at Pine Ridge Gardens said in Plant of the Week - 
"Eastern columbine is native to Arkansas and all states from the Midwest to the eastern shores with the exception of Louisiana.  Zones 3-9.  

There are several misconceptions surrounding this lovely native.  Most folks think it is delicate – and I agree that it looks fragile.  But let me tell you it is one TOUGH plant.  

It will grow in the full sun, out between two rocks, or it will grow in the shade or anywhere in between.  I’ve seen it growing out of boulders where it has almost no soil.  It is certainly drought tolerant.  

I think it probably wouldn’t like soils that are too wet.  Hummingbirds adore it.  Bumblebees as well.  

Grows from 1 to 3’ tall.  After flowering, seed follicles form and fill with shiny black seeds.  The follicles splits along the top and you c…

Poinsettia Care

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Pete Carson opened Carson Borovetz Nursery for his annual Poinsettia sales event. Native to Southern Mexico, Poinsettias, Euphorbia pulchenima, dominate holiday home and office décor to the tune of 80-million sold each year.

This year we are offering four sizes and most of the colors available, said Carson.

Shoppers will find over 2,000 plants in various sizes and colors at the nursery. Here is a rundown of the poinsettias choices this year at Carson Bororvetz.

Casual observers never notice the Poinsettia flowers because they are so tiny. The colorful leaves or bracts that bring seasonal cheerfulness into our winter environment are not actually flowers.

Carson pointed out that even before the bracts turn colors you could see what color they will be by looking at the petiole or leaf stem. All the plants have green leaves when they are growing in October. But the stem that connects the leaf to the main stems carries the eventual bract color. Look for red stems on red poinsettias.

Carson wil…

Sustainable Gift Giving

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Tulsa Sustainable held a meeting this week with a speaker from Root Tulsa, a project of the Kaiser Foundation. (Root Tulsa is a great app for things to do in Tulsa, sadly available only for Apple customers.)

With the holiday gift giving season here, these two organizations came up with dozens of ideas for our conservationist selves to consider.

In order to share the presentation with you, here are pictures of several slides.

One of the ideas, Keep it Local OK, is not available in Muskogee, but is across the rest of Oklahoma.
Purchase or give a $15 gift card for card holders to receive discounts at over 300 Oklahoma restaurants, stores, personal service businesses, clothing outlets, movie theaters, etc.
Here's a list of the businesses that sell and honor the card.


"A thriving society, responsible economic growth, and environmental stewardship are the mutually reinforcing pillars of sustainability, and are the driving principles behind Sustainable Tulsa."

Oklahoma Sustai…

Gloriosa Lily Flame Lily Glory Lily

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No matter what you call it, this lily is a spectacular summer flower to grow on a fence or trellis!

These summer blooming vines are cold hardy to zone 7 so we are weather compatible. A word of caution: many garden sites say they are hardy only in zone 9. Of course, they need a sunny location for the best flowering.

A plant guru recommended Terra Ceia Farms so I ordered mine through them. The bulbs are 3 for $10 and ship in March.
There are color choices, of course but I wanted the one I saw growing at the Mobile Botanical Garden, which is Gloriosa rothschildiana, one of the red and yellow varieties.

Leafari planting guide suggests planting them with open structure perennials, "With their vining habit and need to something to climb on; flame lilies partner well with open-form shrubs, roses and sturdy mid-size perennials.

They want dry feet and average soil, "Average, moderately fertile soil with medium amounts of moisture will be fine for glory lilies. Soil that drains po…

November Gardening in Muskogee

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Because the weather has been so wonderful, I'm spending 3 or 4 hours 'out there' every day. There are lots of tasks to accomplish inside the shed and the perennial beds had grown out of control since I didn't do much out there last year.
The tender tropical plants that are in the shade outside in the summer were desperate for pruning, pup removal, fresh soil and larger pots.

Some of the succulents I've been starting with a leaf were ready for pots of their own plus pruning.
 The tiny seedlings needed to be transplanted to six packs, separated in the 72 cell trays and checked for true leaves and root length.









 Outside, I've been working on two large perennial beds that had become overgrown with phlox and other well-intentioned plants that need to be thinned regularly.

I can't put photos of everything here because of space issues, but you get the jist.

Daffodil and Iris bulbs have become thick and in some cases three layers deep, so I've been digg…

Progress on Tree and Shrub Cuttings

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Cuttings taken from cold hardy perennials strike roots in weeks or months after being planted in potting soil, perlite or vermiculite and kept moist. Their containers need drain holes and the plants need a protective top until they strike roots and begin to grow.

Here are some examples from my garden shed which is minimally heated and lighted. The Plums are considered practically impossible to grow from cuttings but I had to try.
Forsythia, of course, is easily rooted to extend a green row with yellow spring flowers.
Fig cuttings are a 50/50 deal for me so I plant more than I need/want.
Lavender is also fairly easy to grow from cuttings. These will be replacement plants.






Sand Plum is Chickasaw Plum, Sand Hill Plum, Mountain Cherry, Prunus angustifolia

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Prunus angustifolia has many names but is delicious both for wildlife and human consumption.

We drove over to Arkansas a few days ago to visit Pine Ridge Gardens and buy a few shrubs for our back acre where we have fruit and food for wildlife.
 Sand Plums are a great source of jelly making fruit if you can get any before wildlife takes them all.

Chickasaw plum plants grow 15 feet tall and wide in a twiggy form.
The bark is black and the stems are reddish.

 Feb through May, small white flowers and little red plums appear. The flowers have five white petals with reddish or orange anthers. The plums are cherry-like and tend to be quite tart until they fully ripen later in the summer.

Chickasaw Plums thrive in low water, loose, sandy soil with sun to part-shade. The ones I planted two years ago have died without forming clumps because the area became too shady.
In 1874 they were cultivated by Native Americans and early settlers to be used as a food source, cover for livestock, win…

Leeks - order seeds or starts now

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Lancelot Leeks are those beautiful, mild-onion-like vegetables that are easy to grow in our zone 7. And, they don't require the deep, fertile soil that beets and other root vegetables need. We live on a rocky hill and have had zero success with beets, turnips and other roots but leeks work just fine.

In years passed I've allowed one or two to go to seed and kept the same crop going for four or five years before the seed failed to return.

This year I've ordered one bunch of starts (30 seedlings $14) from Dixondale Farms. They won't be delivered until mid-February 2018 - at planting time. I ordered now because by then they will be hard to find.

Like all vegetables, Leeks need lots of organic matter in the soil. Since I'm emptying one of the compost bins right now, I'm putting buckets of compost into the bed where they'll be planted.

At planting time, an 8-inch deep trench is made and the leeks are planted at the bottom of the trench, 6-inches apart.  Rows can…

A Few Winter Tips

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When taking cuttings of cold hardy perennials for rooting over the winter, you can use your bare bed space to keep them outside.

 Instead of putting the containers on top of the soil where you have to keep them watered, plant the containers in the ground. The soil will keep them warmer, rain and snow will keep them moist and they can easily be covered late winter for getting jump start on growth.
  I also use this method for planting seeds (in clear plastic clamshells) that need cold stratification to germinate.

  In these two are Agastache and Chinese Parasol tree. Over the next couple of weeks  they will have lots of company.

  If winter sowing seeds is new to you, here are a few sites
 - http://wintersown.org/
 - https://getbusygardening.com/winter-sowing-seeds/
 - https://www.facebook.com/groups/wintersown/
 - http://www.agardenforthehouse.com/2012/11/winter-sowing-101-6/
 - https://www.thespruce.com/what-is-winter-sowing-1403095

  The basic idea is that perennials need and …

Pine Cones - How-to Treat for Crafting and Gardening

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If you have pine cones on your property it is tempting to use them for 1) seasonal crafts and 2) to top newly planted fall crop beds (keep out neighborhood cats and dogs).

There is more than one method to kill the insects and mold living in pinecones but I have always used the oven rather than the chlorine bleach or vinegar methods.

Heating them in the oven for 30 minutes at 250-degrees F not only makes them better (debugged) household decorations, it causes them to dry out and expand to be a bit larger as the sap melts and the moisture evaporates. The melted sap adds a little sheen, too.
Collect the number of pinecones you need for beds and/or crafts.
We filled a wheelbarrow in 10 - 15 minutes in our back yard, picking up the in-tact ones and leaving the broken and moldy ones.

We're collecting for newly planted beds at a local school plus tiny ones for holiday table decorations.

We constantly pull pine tree seedlings from our flower beds but if you want to grow trees from the …

Water Primrose is Ludwigia peploides glabrescens

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During a visit to Spaniard Creek Park  yesterday we saw an aquatic plant that was attracting hundreds of fall pollinators including bees, wasps, butterflies, and skippers. The patches of flowers were covered and abuzz to the point that we all squatted down to watch.
It turns out that this source of insect pollen is none other than Creeping Water Primrose. The South American variety is Ludwigia hexapelata and the US native variety is Lusdwigia peploidesglabrescens.

South American Water Primrose is so invasive in fact that in many states there are programs to eradicate it to prevent its clogging irrigation channels, rivers and lakes. In addition it is well known as mosquito breeding heaven. The native variety, L peploides is called aggressive rather than invasive.

Illinois Wildflowers says "This perennial plant is ¾–2½' long. It either floats on water or sprawls across the ground. The stems are light green to red (often the latter), glabrous to sparsely pubescent, and terete. …

Layer Perennials to Make More Plants

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Lots of perennials can be layered to make more plants. While some recommend doing it in the spring, I've had good luck starting the process in late summer and early fall, too.

Basically, what you'll do is select a lower branch of a healthy plant and put it on the soil. Once you know where on the branch the soil will intersect, you remove all the leaves from that area and scar it by scraping the outer bark near a leaf node.

That leaf node/scarred area is placed on the soil and gently pressed in. To keep the rooting site in contact with the soil put soil or newspaper on top then anchor it with a rock.

 You can also pin the branch's leaf node area to the soil after removing the leaves and slightly scarring it. Called simple layering.

Some recommend air layering by wrapping the stem but that method has never worked for me.

Plants to consider layering method include roses, Beautyberry, Blackberry, Snowball shrub, Pyracantha, Hibiscus, Holly, Laurel, Lavender, Creepers, Forsyt…

Get Ready for Next Year This Fall

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I'm collecting seeds almost daily now. This week Jon grabbed the seed pods of the Chinese Parasol Tree. The Five Star Hibiscus has to be checked a couple of times a week so the seeds don't just drop to the ground.

Fall is such an exciting time of year. The migrating birds are returning, garlic is planted, daffodils are peeking out of the soil for a sunshine snack and I'm planning next year's gardens.

 In addition to collecting seeds and visualizing where I'll plant the seedlings next year, I'm deciding what to take clippings of to overwinter in the shed. I'm already digging lilies, dividing the bulbs and replanting them around the various beds.

Soon it will be time to divide the Hemerocalis - Day Lilies.

What will you be collecting to make next year's garden gorgeous?


Oct 1 - 7 Monarch Watch at Hackberry Flat Center

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Join the Wildlife Department Oct. 1-7 to tag monarchs and watch them roost.  More information at http://www.wildlifedepartment.com/calendar/monarch-watch-day-night-hackberry-flat-wildlife-management-area?utm_medium=email&utm_source=govdelivery Having trouble viewing this email? View it as a Web page. Sept. 22, 2017
Monarch butterflies will be tagged at Hackberry Flat WMA during their fall migration. (Jena Donnell/ODWC) Annual Monarch Watch at Hackberry Flat CenterThe Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation will host a Monarch Butterfly Watch the first week in October at the Hackberry Flat Center near Frederick.