06 July 2015

Monday Tulsa - Sue Goetz -- author of: “The Herb Lover’s Spa Book”

Event is free and open to the public
Monday -- July 13, 2015  -- 7pm  to 8:30pm
Tulsa Garden Center
 2435 S. Peoria, Tulsa, Oklahoma.
For More information, check THS Facebook page
Contact:   918-894-8131
The phrase:  “Inspiring Gardeners to Create”  has guided Sue’s life as a
garden designer, writer and speaker.

Based in Washington State, Sue is a
certified professional horticulturist (CPH)  She shares  “…a creative
gardener…celebrates the garden for all of its uses.” Her personal passion
is all about what the garden gives back.  She encourages people to make
discoveries in their own gardens.  And that passion has awarded her gold
medals at numerous flower and garden shows.  Her home garden has
been featured in Northwest Home and Garden magazine as well as
Country Gardens magazine.  And she has been highlighted in both Sunset
and Fine Gardening magazines.

Tulsa Herb Society is hosting Sue Goetz on Monday, July 13th at 7pm as
their annual educational speaker.  Sue will speak about her latest book:
“The Herb Lover’s Spa Book” (published in February 2015).  She will be
sharing her passion for gardening and particularly her love of herbs:  “I am
an herb lover, but I am also a spa lover.  When you put the two together,
you have the start of a journey of delight.”   Her book proposes:  “It Is all
about relaxation in your own surroundings and using herbs from your
garden to create a pleasurable deeply beneficial experience.”  One of the
most beloved herbs -- lavender --  has shown in research studies that
inhaling its essence actually forces a physical response which lowers blood
pressure, heart rate and skin temperature.

Sue will share her favorite herbs to plant in your garden and their healing
properties.  And her book shares 40 plus recipes which will allow any
gardener to create a custom spa experience in the comfort of their own
home. It outlines wonderful, easy to follow recipes for such items as:
peppermint foot soak, lavender spa salt glow, chamomile eye soothers,
scalp tingle mint shampoo, dusty rose body powder, etc.  The book will be
available for sale at the event.

05 July 2015

Hydrangea shrubs in our garden

There are six main types of Hydrangeas: Bigleaf, Mountain, Panicle, Smooth, Climbing, Oakleaf.
Click over to this page to read more from Proven Winners.

These are the photos from our garden this week -
Limelight Hydrangea paniculata
More details and availability - click here

Cityline Bigleaf  Hydrangea macroyphylla
Bigleaf Hydrangea is called the florist's hydrangea - click here for more information
Silverback Native Hydrangea radiata
For more information about this native click here and here 

02 July 2015

Mark Linholm Pottery for Orchids and Succulents

Mark Linholm
Tulsa potter, Mark Linholm makes pottery specifically designed for orchids and succulents. His 30-years of experience with plants have helped him understand what plants need so his pottery helps gardeners grow them successfully.

“I’ve been a horticulturist for the City of Tulsa for 26-years,” said Linholm.  “I started throwing pots at the 3rd Street Clayworks when my daughter started taking classes ten years ago.”

When we toured Linholm’s gardens at his home and then saw more of his pottery at Clayworks, his success with both was obvious.  Wherever he had plants in his pots they were thriving.

“I’m a gardener by instinct and I only wanted to make functional art,” said Linholm. “By adding the right number of drainage holes in the right places, I can make succulent and orchid planters that work to support the plants’ needs.”

3rd Street Clayworks
Linholm said he also collects a lot of second hand stuff but only things he can visualize a use for. His home gardens fill the front and back yards as well as both side yards. Plus, Linholm dug a small basement to use as a greenhouse where he over-winters plants and coaxes cuttings into new plants for all the flower beds.

At 3rd Street Clayworks (www.clayworkstulsa.com), Linholm uses an electric kick wheel to throw his pots.

“Once the pot is created, it is set aside to become leather-hard, then I trim and put in the necessary drainage holes,” said Linholm. “We use special tools to shape the bottom and a cordless drill to make the holes. We go through a lot of drill bits getting it right.”

Linholm's porch provides a relaxing spot
and ideal light for succulents.
For orchid pots, the key is exceptional drainage so each time they are watered there is adequate air exchange for the roots. The water should run through and drain away, forcing air through the roots and soil.

The owner of Clayworks, Jeff Wells, mixes all the glazes that the pots are dipped into after all the shaping and prep work is completed. Then the pots are fired, a process that removes the chemical residues.

To grow succulents, Linholm recommends filling the planter with a combination of half good potting soil and half gravel. Plant the succulents and then mulch the top of the soil completely with a layer of gravel.
Linholm's ideal succulent container

Linholm said, “The gravel has to be small with rough edges; never use limestone. I buy the gravel I use at Hardscape Materials (http://hardscapematerials.com) in Bixby. The mix of soil and gravel with gravel mulch drains and dries quickly, plus it’s more attractive.”

For orchids, he makes larger, heavier pots so they are stable as the roots fill the containers and the tops thrive.

“With the right mix in these pots, the root systems can outweigh normal containers, causing the whole thing to fall and break apart,” Linholm said. “To reduce the need to break the pottery to repot the plants, I usually put a plastic liner pot inside my pottery.”

The plastic liners, orchid planting medium/soil and other supplies that Linholm uses are available from the online resource rePotme (www.rePotme.com).

“Orchids do well with the ground cork planting soil from rePotme,” Linholm said. “Why not invest in good soil after you invest in orchid plant starts.”

During the summer, Linholm keeps orchids outside in filtered light and waters them at least once a day.

You can contact Mark Linholm through email at malinholm@sbcglobal.net . He sells pottery at garden events such as the annual Tulsa Orchid Show, Garden Fest and sometimes at Gypsy Coffee House in the Brady Arts District. His pottery company is called Orchid and Garden Pottery.

Resources: Oklahoma Orchid Society: http://oosorchids.org or Marcy Robinowitz 918-289-1425. Cacti and Succulent Society of Tulsa: www.cactus-mall.com/clubs/tulsa.html or Lynn Wilson 918-357-2401.

01 July 2015

Encore Azaleas for Butterfly Gardening - my latest article

I write a monthly column for Encore Azaleas. Here's my most recent one about how valuable  Encore Azaleas are for butterfly gardening.

Attract Butterflies fall, spring and summer with Encore Azaleas

Autumn Twist Encore Azalea
Tulsa Garden Center's fall blooming newsletter

30 June 2015

Hydrangea Happiness from Proven Winners

Proven Winners is introducing their new

Invincibelle Spirit II Smooth  Hydrangea arborescens and I would love to have that hedge in the photo, wouldn't you?

PW calls this one an overachiever because it blooms and re-blooms - just what we need our Hydrangeas to do!

I confess to a deep love affair with Annabelle the original Hydrangea discovered in 1910 in Anna Illinois. Her huge white snowball blossom clusters are durable for drying and the plant itself is trouble tree.

Invincibelle Spirit is a hybrid of  native Annabelle, durable and reliable but with pink flowers. It's cold hardy to zone 3 and happy up to zone 9. It is said to enjoy full sun but I think in our zone 7 heat, a bit of afternoon shade would no doubt work well, too.

The pink flowers start out dark buds that open to hot pink clusters, fading to soft pink as the flowers age. Then, wonder of beauties, they become green.

No deadheading, heat tolerant, care-free, Invincible Spirit matures between 3 and 4 feet tall and wide. If you decide to go with a hedge of them, plant the centers 4 to 6 feet apart, leaving plenty of room for expansion and air circulation.

As for pruning, the flowers bloom on new wood, so prune after bloom applies to this Hydrangea, like most others. This is a deciduous shrub that you would prune in late-winter. Invincible is easy for most gardeners since it adapts to a wide range of soil types, though it prefers moist and well-draining spots.

This is a pink hybrid and the pH of your soil will not influence the color of the flowers.
On another note -
Since its introduction in 2010, $1 from each plant sold is donated to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation®(BCRF). Sales of the plant and corresponding Pink Day fundraises hosted at garden centers across North America have raised over $730,000 – 73% of the way to our million dollar goal! Based on BCRF’s system of quantifying dollars in action, this represents approximately 14,600 hours of research. That’s one powerful hydrangea!

28 June 2015

Butterfly Nursery Plants

Not everyone can stomach watching caterpillars eat their garden plants. For many of us it is one of the thrills of summertime garden walks. Nectar plants provide food for adult butterflies and we have plenty of those. Host plants are where the butterflies raise their babies. The eggs must hatch on plants that the caterpillars can eat and adults only lay eggs on those plants.

Here are some of the plants we grow just so they can be eaten by caterpillars - can you identify the butterflies that use them for host plants?
Dutchman's Pipevine

Passionflower vines




Balloon milkweed

Swamp milkweed



24 June 2015

Rooftop Food Farming in St. Louis MO

Rooftop garden Children's Hospital
St. Louis MO
Urban Harvest in St. Louis MO is building a demonstration garden for city dwellers who want to grow some of their own food. And, it's a food roof farm. 

The idea is to connect citizens of the city with organic food at their fingertips. Rally Saint Louis is funding the initial project along with crowdsourcing.

The first project will be on the 10,000 square-foot roof of a two story building at 14th and Convention Plaza a block from the City Museum. There will also be event and education spaces on the roof.

Another community gardening group in St. Louis grows their food on the deck of an underused parking garage.

What do you think? Could this work in your town?

  • Increase access to healthy food
  • Engage urban schools and families 
  • Inspire citizens to grown their own food
  • Provide food shares to people in need
  • Create a productive green space
  • Reduce building energy costs
  • Increase life span of the roof
  • Create jobs
Thanks to Jerry Gustafson for telling me about the project and providing the links.

21 June 2015

Coconut Lime Echinacea purpurea Coneflower

This time of year white flowers are the bright lights of the garden. We love the reds, yellows and purples but the white ones add the cheerful contrast we need.

Coneflowers come in a wide array of colors now. And, while I love my purple coneflowers and the yellow ones, too, these Coconut Lime Echinacea steal my heart every year when they come back. I think this is our plants' fourth year popping up and flowering. It is reliable to say the least.

They are supposed to want full sun but in our area some protection from the afternoon sun is gratefully accepted by most plants.

Also the usual instructions suggest dry soil but we live on a rock shelf so we usually have to water our flower beds. This year we have not since the record rainfall is keeping things going quite well so far.

Like other Echinaceas, these are deer resistant. They are now part of the Southern Living Plant Collection so look for them there if you decide to find them for your garden.

18 June 2015

Eudora Welty Garden Restored and worth a visit

The Welty garden in Jackson MS has been restored to its original design and is open to the public. 
We stopped there to walk through the famous garden rooms and down the Woodland Garden path to the rebuilt summer retreat.

The Tudor Revival house built in 1925 became the home of 16-year-old Eudora, her parents, Christian and Chestina, and her two brothers, Edward and Walter.  Eudora lived in the home off and on throughout her lifetime, gardening with her mother while she was alive, taking over the management of the three-fourths-acre and then being unable to maintain it.

The Eudora Wely Foundation (http://eudorawelty.org) operates the house though it is owned by the Mississippi Department of Archives and History.

The gardens at the house, “my mother’s garden,” were designed and created in 1925 by Chestina. 

Susan Halsom, author of “One Writer’s Garden: Eudora Welty’s Homeplace”, restored the landscape. Halsom guides a group 15 gardening volunteers “The Cereus Weeders”, who arrive every Wed. morning to work together for a few hours.

The Welty’s considered gardening an art form equal to writing and photography.

Eudora said, “I think that people have lost the working garden. We used to get down on our hands and knees. The absolute contact between hand and the earth, the intimacy of it, that is the instinct of a gardener. People like to classify, categorize, and that takes away from creativity. I think the artist – in every sense of the word – learns from what’s individual; that’s where the wonder expresses itself.”

Chestina’s design was ahead of gardens of the time. Once you walk past the 20-foot tall flowering gardenia shrub and the side porch, there is a garden room made up of a central lawn surrounded by Camellias and perennials on all sides.

Each garden room has an entrance, an arbor, or a narrow path to guide visitors’ eyes and feet, with one area flowing to and from another.

The rose garden on the other side of an arbor and garden seat was Chestina’s favorite. Here the women grew roses but also propagated plants for the next year’s garden, had cold frames for overwintering seedlings and made compost.

The gardens were designed so that there would be something in flower every season (Jackson MS is USDA zone 8). Camellias and pansies bloom in winter, hollyhocks and snapdragons in spring, zinnias and salvia in summer and mums and asters in fall. Roses are planted everywhere.

Each of the gardens is old-fashioned and comfortable. There are no hard to find hybrids, tropical plants, trendy colors or other plants an experienced gardener would not recognize. Plant tags help jog your memory as you walk through from front to back.

When we visited in May the Camellia Room of 30 varieties, was not flowering. In flower were: German Iris, Columbine, daylilies, Sweet Williams, pink Mrs. R. M. Finch roses, jasmine, Four-O’clocks, Asiatic lilies and larkspur.

The Woodland Garden has a dirt and rock path lined with bamboo Argentea, ferns, sweetshrub (Calycanthus floridus), and other perennials.

In the 75-years she lived at the house, Eudora made notes about the plants, birds, trees and light for her writing and photographs.

A few famous quotes –

“Gardening is akin to writing stories. No experience could have taught me more about grief or flowers, about achieving survival by going, your fingers in the ground, and the limit of physical exhaustion.” 

 “All serious daring starts from within.” 

“Gardening is not intellectual, you must get out and do it.”

“People are mostly layers of violence and tenderness wrapped like bulbs, and it is difficult to say what makes them onions or hyacinths.”

17 June 2015

Plums and fruit woes

Between the rains and before hurricane Bill arrives tonight we went out to pick up the plums. Two-thirds of them went into the compost this year. It has been so wet that the fruit is molding ON the tree.

So far we've canned 8 pints and put a few quarts of pieces into the freezer. So many of them are damaged - rotted from the stem before they ripen, etc.

I used a 40% sugar syrup for the canning liquid (5 water to 3 sugar) so they will be a real treat - a dessert substitute this winter.

After making the syrup, I added the fork-pricked plums to the syrup and let them sit for 30-minutes off the burner. Then, reheated them to put into sterilized jars, wipe, cap and water bath for 20 minutes.

I expect hurricane Bill to knock more out of the top of the tree so when the ground can be walked on I'll do another batch with the leftover syrup.

It's too wet to get vegetables but fruit? We have some.