Showing posts from April, 2018

Shade Plants for Zone 7 Gardens

Many gardeners consider the space under trees, next to solid fences, and close to buildings difficult to use because they lack of full sun. There are, however, many beautiful perennial plants and shrubs that can succeed in part-shade..
To increase the amount of sunlight available under trees, remove the lowest limbs and prune out some branches, allowing light to shine through to the ground.
Tree roots and building foundations absorb a lot of available moisture and can also stress plants. Improve the soil moisture retention by adding organic materials and top dressing the area with mulch to reduce evaporation. A drip irrigation system can also be a big help.
Shade-loving plants usually have roots, rhizomes, tubers or stems that store water plus they tend to lose less moisture through their leaves than other plants.
The leaves of low-light varieties usually emerge early in the season before the trees leaf out above them.
Garden centers plants have tags indicating whether they can thrive in …

Sage Salvia Ornamentals for Your Garden

Salvias are one of the best plants for my big back yard because they are reliable perennials that bloom in blues and reds that make me stare.

There are at least a dozen Salvias that will make you stare at their little flowers this summer. And the butterflies love them so butterfly watching is part of the joy.

I've posted photos of my best ones - the ones that are reliable in our Muskogee yard with minimal care. I'm sure other gardeners grow more and you are invited to share which Salvias work well in your gardens.

Pineapple sage is one I received as a plant so I take cuttings at the end of every summer to ensure its continuation in the flower beds.

My other really successful Salvia is another tall blue one with large leaves. I started them from seed several years ago and they return both from the roots and from seed.

Hot Lips Salvia does really well here also. So well in fact that one of my plants came from a plant share at Muskogee Garden Club when a member divided hers.


Tomatoes and Peppers Oh My

Tomato and pepper plants are everywhere right now even though we have another below freezing night tonight. And, I bit the bait at Tomato Man's Daughter on West 91st Street in Tulsa yesterday. The trek was worth the trip because I found what I was looking for and more.

This link will take you to their Plant List for 2018.
Specifically I wanted
This tomato: San Marzano: "Superb flavor preferred by chefs and home gardeners all over the world. Slightly rectangular shape (3” x 1½”) holds up well on the vine and in storage. Solid meat is great for canning. This is the most famous plum tomato for making sauce." 

And, I wanted one cherry type. Lisa recommended BLACK CHERRY "We fell in love with this one the first time we tasted it!!! I think you will too. The complex rich, sweet flavor is just absolutely luscious. Plants are loaded with perfectly round cherry tomatoes with the color and taste of the Cherokee Purple. Customer Penelope Carr shared “Oh my, the Black Cherry, th…

Success With Hydrangeas by Lorraine Ballato

Success With Hydrangeas: a gardener's guide by garden writer and speaker  Lorraine Ballato was recently released by B and B Publications.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading my review copy over the past two weeks. And, after becoming blah about Hydrangeas over the years, I'm fired up again because of Ballato's enthusiasm for these garden mainstays.

Here in zone 7 we are in an ideal situation to grow hydrangeas successfully. Our soil is good and our rainfall is bountiful. I have commented that since Hydrangeas have hydra (water) in their name we automatically understand part of their requirements for happiness.

"Success with Hydrangeas" is a 190 page, 7 by 10-inch, paperback that is loaded with useful, practical information. There are plenty of illustrations but it's a lot more than a picture book.

Ballato provides the botanical and common names for the ones you'll find on the market. Macrophylla is the most common variety. Within that variety you'll find lac…

Burning Bushes

Garden blogger, professor, and small animal veterinarian, Dr. James K. Roush, gardens in Manhattan Kansas. His blog, Garden Musings, won an excellence award, 'Best Midwest Garden Blog'.

His recent post about burning down a juniper shrub because it housed rats is well-worth a click. Check it out at this link for your garden smile of the day.
Burning it Down

If you are in the market for more blogs to follow Roush has a list of the ones he follows at this link
Roush's Blogs I Follow and they are not the same old blogs you see promoted everywhere.

Plant Care for Gift Plants

I can't improve on this thorough piece by The Garden Helper on how to care for houseplants you received for Easter. They give general advice, illustrations and links to more information.
Flowering plants are one of those great gifts that are just as fun to give and they are to receive.
They will bring smiles to the recipient and to all who see it for a long time to come.
Most of the flowering plants given as Springtime or Easter gifts can be planted outdoors once the weather warms a bit, but you will have to provide special care for these plants to ensure that they are kept happy and healthy until then.

There are a few steps you should take to keep your gift plants healthy during their time in the house.
If the pot is wrapped in foil, cut the foil off the bottom of the pot to prevent over watering.
Set the pot or planter on a shallow, pebble (or marble) filled tray of water to provide humidity.
Do not place your plant close to heat sources, or in between a closed curtain and the window.