Showing posts from October, 2018

Panolas are Hardier Pansies

The gardening tradition of planting Pansies in the fall got a fresh start with new and improved hybrids. Panolas are just one of the new Pansy hybrids that are now available.  Garden gurus crossed Violas with its tiny spring flowers and our beloved Pansy with its large, colorful blooms.

Nurseries are selling them as Panola, Matrix, Dynamite and Universal Plus. The new plants require no removing of the old flowers (dead heading) in order to keep them blooming. Plus, they have greater heat tolerance, sticking around to bloom when the temperatures get too warm for traditional Pansies.

Ours, in the photo, came from Riddle Plant Farm in Broken Arrow. They are also available through mail order nurseries such as Burpee (

Egemont Seed Company (www.Egmont, describes Panolas as having flowers larger than a Viola and smaller than a Pansy but with hundreds of flowers that will not be smashed by rain, hail or wind.

Compact Panolas are cold hardy in zones 6 to 8 and wil…

Tithonia Torch Flower Mexican Sunflower

Husky and coarse with spectacularly gaudy flowers is how one garden reference describes Tithonia. Well, they are tall and open branched with stems as thick as a small tree, but oh, how the butterflies love those gaudy flowers. Every sunny hour of the day this month, assorted butterflies will be sitting on the flowers while swaying in the wind on Tithonia’s sturdy branches. 
Tithonia rotundifolia has a few common names: Torch Flower , Golden Flower of the Incas and Mexican Sunflower but the seed packets say Tithonia.  
Many of the nectar-providing flowers that are  blooming now are members of the Aster or Asteraceae plant family.  Tithonia is in the Sunflower tribe of the Aster family. Their native range goes from Central America, through Mexico and into the Southwestern US.
There are several varieties but T. rotundifolia or Torch is the only one that shows up in the flower seed racks in the spring.  It grows 6-feet tall and 3 feet wide by the end of the summer. The orange flowers are 2-i…

Clematis You Need - You Need Clematis

We have two Clematis vines in our garden that bloom reliably in May. A third one blooms every few years when it feels up to the task. 
The 3,000 Clematis cultivars have varying flowering times, shapes, sizes, colors and growing habits. Colors range from white to red and purple. Vine lengths vary from 3 to 15 feet.
Most of us are familiar with spring blooming Clematis and look forward to hundreds of buds forming on our long-lived vines every year.  Most varieties need 6-hours of sun but want shaded roots in our area. Regular, deep, watering in soil that drains well will keep the roots healthy.
Single, double, bell, saucer, tulip and star shaped flowers are available. The vines needs support from a fence, trellis or nearby shrubs. Look for fungus and disease resistant varieties. 
Group 1, spring-blooming Clematis grow on last year‘s shoots in sheltered sun. Examples: Rebecca (large red), Josephine (mauve pink with  plum stripes), Blushing Bridesmaid (double pink), Corrine (white with pink s…

Fall Cuttings Make More Plants

Every year around this time I take cuttings of plants that I want to have more of next year, including Coleus, Brown Turkey Fig, Pineapple Sage, Nepeta Walkers Low and Forsythia.

Plus, I take cuttings of plants that have done well over the last few mild winters but may not thrive in a colder year. That list includes Lavender, culinary Sage, Rosemary and Flowering Quince. This year I want to try Viburnum because the variety we have is loaded with flowers and pollinators in the spring.

Growing plants from stem cuttings is the most common propagation method and the steps are not complicated. You will need sharp cutting tools, such as pruners, that have been cleaned with 10 percent bleach solution or rubbing alcohol.

Fill clean planting containers with planting medium such as sand, vermiculite, perlite and/or potting soil. Water and allow it to drain.

 To make a flower pot greenhouse, insert chopsticks into the soil and cover with clear plastic that you have put air holes in.  I use frui…