Showing posts from July, 2018

Divide Iris Now Here's How

Iris flowers were named for the goddess Iris who is usually represented as a rainbow or as a maiden with a many-colored coat that she uses to create rainbows. And, Iris flowers come in over 250 species, colors and heights. 
Most garden Iris are the bearded Iris grown from rhizomes that sit near the top of the soil and multiply into webs of mother and daughter bulbs. These old fashioned favorites tolerate almost any soil and conditions.
All Iris have either rhizomes or bulbs where they store food for the next year. Their colonies have to be dug and divided every few years.  
This hot and dry weather is the ideal time to dig and divide rhizomes and bulbs. Start by making a container of 10% bleachwater. Lift a clump of Iris and shake off the dirt. Use clean pruners or a knife to separate them. Trim the leaves to a third of their height. Put old rhizomes on the compost and young ones into the bleach water for 30 minutes to kill insects and diseases. Then put them in the sun to dry for a day.…

Stokes Asters Drought Tolerant Summer Flowers

Stokes’ Aster, Stokesia laevis, is native to the Southern US, from North Carolina to Louisiana, where they grow in wetlands, bottomlands, and ditches. The Stokesia Blue Frills in the photo is in its third year in our garden, without winter protection.  
Stokesia laevis plants are cold hardy in zones 5 to 9 and a light winter mulch will ensure their return the following spring.
The blue flower varieties are the most commonly grown by gardens and gardeners although there are pink, purple and white varieties available. Stokes’ Asters bloom in June and July in full sun. Since they spread only to one or one-and-a-half feet wide, they are ideal for the front of a shrub bed. 
Stokes’ Asters are easy to grow in average soil with medium moisture. They will tolerate part sun but have more flowers and stronger stems when grown in full sun (6 hours a day). 
Drought tolerance is one of the advantages of Stokes’ Asters. They prefer the good drainage of a container, a hillside bed or sandy soil. An area…

Reducing Water Use

It is only mid-summer and the gardening season will continue well into October. Pruning, watering, deadheading, weeding, and planting for the fall, will keep gardeners busy. 
We are also in the season of outsized water bills so it’s time to consider how to minimizing use in the garden. 
Try to apply moisture at soil level rather than overhead which evaporates it by half.  Drip irrigation systems are available in a wide range of prices. Soaker hoses work well too, and usually last two years. We  also use metal irrigation bubblers for areas that need to be soaked or deep watered. 
A summer-fall garden should be planted now. Tomato, pepper and herb plants are available but use seeds to plant zinnias, basil, cosmos, cucumbers, sunflowers and marigolds. Water new seed beds with the mist setting on a hose attachment. 
Oklahoma State University fact sheet HLA-6009 at has tips on what to plant now.
Any tree that is less than a year in the ground  should have supplementa…

Flower Garden and Nature Society Costa Rica Program

The Flower, Garden & Nature Society of Northwest Arkansas will meet 
Saturday, July 21, at 10:00 a.m. for a 
program about the beautiful flora and fauna of Costa Rica.

Joyce Mendenhall, master gardener and active member of FGNS of NWA and Botanical Garden of the Ozarks, will share photos and facts of her trip to Costa Rica.  
The meeting will be held in the Student Center of Northwest Technical Institute at 709 S. Old Missouri Road in Springdale.  Doors open at 9:30 a.m. for refreshments.  Membership is not required for first-time visitors.  Info:  479-466-7265 or

Artemisia is Dusty Miller and Tarragon and More

Some gardeners call Artemisia a weed but this European native has made itself at home in America, Artemisia, also called wormwood, Sweet Annie or Mugwort, has scented leaves so it is rabbit and deer resistant. 
In ancient times Mugwort was an herb of protection to ward off evil spirits. Its Latin name, Artemisia, comes from it being dedicated to Artemis and Diana. 
Roman soldiers put Mugwort leaves in their sandals to help them walk longer and faster. Medicinally it has been used for pain, a stimulant, a sedative, an ingredient in beverages (Absinthe) and smoked as Sailor’s Tobacco.
Some of the varieties available as plants and seeds include -
Artemisia stelleriana, Dusty Miller, the familiar silver, plant that gardeners tuck into flower beds. There are several hybrids available that mature at  between 4 and 12 inches tall, with 1-inch wide, soft leaves and yellow flowers. Very adaptable.
Artemisia frigida, or Fringed Sage, grows well in xeriscape settings such as rock gardens and un-atten…

July 16 The Garden Lady C. L. Fornari

Tulsa Herb Society Presents “Garden Lady” C. L. Fornari for 30th Anniversary Celebration July 16th Educational Speaker Tulsa Garden Center
What:  The Cocktail Hour Garden: For most of us, life is jam-packed. In the 21st century it becomes even more important to take a break at the end of the work day, put aside our digital devices and reconnect with other people and the natural world. This talk explores how we can all benefit from a garden created for the senses. Whether you sit in such a space with a cup of coffee in the morning, an iced tea in the afternoon, or a cocktail at the end of the day, The Cocktail Hour Garden will be a refuge where you can relax, recharge, and reconnect with other people and the natural world. 
Who: C.L. Fornari is a writer, speaker, radio host and garden consultant. She is the author of several books including Coffee for Roses and The Cocktail Hour Garden. She gardens at Poison Ivy Acres on Cape Cod, and her initials may or may not stand for “Compost Lover”.…