April 28, 2015

Akebono Tulips

The spring show was  lovely this year...it really was. But still, I can't resist fussing a bit with the blend of tulips I have come to love and anticipate each spring.  My friend, DZ, from down the street, planted for Spring 2015 what may be the most beautiful tulip I've ever seen

AKEBONO (find it here at COLORBLENDS).

A soft buttery yellow bloom, dipped and tipped in a a rosy blush color....double in form, though not as full as an Angelique, with a sweet delicate fragrance...unusual and unexpected in a tulip. I simply MUST have some - a hundred or so - to add to my tulip mix for next year.

Its feminine qualities are hard to resist, and it will harmonize beautifully with my seasonal pink and pastel sorbet of colors.

DZ also had it mixed in with some red tulips...a beautiful combo for those who prefer their tulips more vibrant and primary. This lovely is quite ambidextrous, you see; also a bit more expensive, but well worth the contribution it makes to a garden. 

 What do you think? Shall I add it to the river of tulips I plant each spring?

 If you are in the Tulsa area, I will be speaking on small garden design tonight, April 28 at 7:00 pm, at the:

  Tulsa chapter of the American Hosta Society, the Hosta Connection,  at the Tulsa Garden Center, 2435 S. Peoria Avenue downstairs in the ballroom. 

Hope you can join us.

April 22, 2015

Tulip Time 2015

...and without actually sitting down in front of the computer and writing...a POTAGER blog post doesn't get in the blogosphere for you to read. Blogging consistency (no duh) not being a strong suit of mine. Nine times out of ten, when the weather is fine and the outdoors glorious...

...the high touch of my gardening will win over the high tech of my gardening every time. So let's play catch up. The tulips are gone now....the 2015 tulip season now relegated to memory and digital images...thought you would enjoy a few, along with...

some tweaks and touches and changes I plan to make next year to gently shift the show in a direction that nears the ever elusive perfect vignette I see in my head during tulip time. If you were among

the many-many-many who drove by to see the show unfold or passed by due to the timely detour down 40th street because of the work on Western Avenue,

then you quite probably saw me wandering through the maze of color, savoring the moment, analyzing the composition, looking for signs of emerging horticultural delights,

and, yes, thinking about those subtle tweaks I want to make for next year.  But first, some changes made for 2015.  I had shaken it up quite a bit from last season...tearing out more lawn and extending the curvy bed down the west side.  

In select areas I added some pots of topiary...I liked the structure and verticality they gave to the tableau... though when they sometimes refused to stand straight or were prey to those shiftless squirrels it flared my OC tendencies big time.

I added some more texture with more spring blooming, non-tulip attractions...dianthus, an un-named yellow-blooming perennial gift from a friend...

more violas, golden feverfew, and fern and coral bells.

A heady place to enjoy spring, sit and visit, live in the ever so brief moment.

700 tulips in all this year. The entire floral symphony putting on its peak performance for our early Easter and a GARDEN GATE magazine shoot the next day.

I especially enjoyed the borrowed landscape of my neighbors whose tulips bloomed in tandem, making the long view even more beautiful and a drive down my street incredibly pleasant.

Oh, a couple more additions that sent it over the top.  Don't you agree?

Tomorrow, adjustments I plan to make for Tulip Time 2016.

March 20, 2015

Window Box Planting and Being Gracious

I remember those days when my identity...as well as my name...was Johnny and Jamie Vater's Mom. Particularly in the elementary school years, one didn't have a name, as much as a moniker of parental association. Of course, I didn't mind...proud to be known as such. 

Last week,  I was out in the front garden piddling and puttering. A lovely woman stopped and we chatted a moment. "Would you mind if I got out and    took a look?" she asked. As I was not knee
deep in garden reverie nor mud, I said of course and so she did. She told me that 

she had recognized my front yard before she recognized me, yet another identity separate from myself...and a recognition that has recently happened more than once. With a detour down my street as a result of construction on Western Avenue, I have had far more passers-by than normal; this woman had not previously been down my block to identify it as mine. While strolling through the garden, she told me that she watches me and LC on 4 YOUR GARDEN on Fridays, that she reads my blog and admires my horticultural handiwork. 

She kindly thanked me for being gracious and what she felt I had done to promote gardening in Oklahoma City. I was, of course, extremely flattered and pleased, and invited her back sometime. We affectionately parted, new friends via a gardening tether. 

When not in a rush to complete a task, or in the zone, oblivious to what is happening around me; or, of course, in my pajamas..... I do try to be welcoming, and yes, gracious. Such garden graciousness has often been extended to me in the past, by lovely gardeners the world over who were anxious to share their gardens, and exchange a word or two. I try to pay it forward.

My back window box which has been rather neglected of late...I resolve to give it more attention this season.

As generous as MOST gardeners are, such graciousness is not always the case. Garden flattery and admiration, much less questions, are sometimes met with annoyance and an I couldn't be botheredrather superior, attitude. This too, I have experienced on a few occasions...as have you, no doubt. Consequently,  I do try, (and greatly enjoy doing so) to share my garden and exchange garden wisdom with those who stop by. I do try to be gracious and welcoming. 

And truly, what is more gracious and welcoming than a brimming window box? Please join me and Linda Cavanaugh today at 4:30 to talk about planting free-standing window boxes with spring blossoms and foliage... a gracious gesture from your home to those who pass by.

March 6, 2015

OHS Meeting featuring Dr. William Welch

Climbing 'Old Blush'  growing on my office roof.  Find it, along with other rose delectables here

Last summer, on the tail end of a SOUTHERN LIVING garden shoot, I had the great pleasure, honor really, of meeting the esteemed Dr. William Welch... garden writer and educator, Southern Garden historian, heirloom bulb advocate, antique rose rustler and rosarian extraordinaire, and one of the founders of the Antique Rose Emporium,  from whence  this spectacular rose came. Dr. Welch and his lovely wife, Lucille, along with two Oklahoma friends...


came by for a quick tour of my garden following the shoot. 

I was quite humbled to have Dr. Welch, and our mutual friend Bubba, then garden editor at SL, both rock-star caliber gardeners, as my garden guests.

Find HEIRLOOM GARDENING IN THE SOUTH here. (I have been reading it
while snow bound these last few days...)

And now it can be your good fortune to meet and visit with Dr. Welch as well! As a guest of the Oklahoma Horticultural Society, he will be speaking this weekend in both Oklahoma City and Tulsa. Details from the OHS program are below.

Saturday, March 7th at 6:30 p.m. at the Tulsa Garden Center 

Sunday, March 8th at 2:00 p.m. at the Will Rogers Park Garden Exposition Center in Oklahoma City

OHS is happy to present speaker Dr. Bill Welch. Dr. Welch is presently Professor and Landscape Horticulturist for Texas A&M University. He is a native of Houston, Texas, has an undergraduate degree in Landscape Architecture from LSU and did doctoral work in Horticulture and Extension Education there as well. Dr. Welch writes about gardening in Texas and the South and has several books that have been popular references including Perennial Garden Color, Antique Roses for the South, The Bountiful Flower Garden (with Neil Odenwald), Heirloom Gardening in the South (with Greg Grant) and The Bulb Hunter (with Chris Wiesinger). Welch writes a monthly garden column for Southern Living Magazine and Neil Sperry's Gardens and has had his gardens in Louisiana and Texas featured. Welch has been instrumental in the movement to collect and reintroduce old southern garden favorites into the modern plant palette. Roses have been a special interest, and he help found The Antique Rose Emporium near Brenham, Texas.

Find out more information about joining the OKLAHOMA HORTICULTURAL SOCIETY HERE
DO join us this weekend -- a wonderful way to kick off the 2015 Spring gardening season!

February 19, 2015

February Garden Chores, Parts I and II

It's just about time to plant your onion sets, along with other February garden chores we will discuss tomorrow on FOUR YOUR GARDEN on NewsChannel 4 at 4:30.

If you missed Part One of February Garden Chores last week on FOUR YOUR GARDEN, watch the segment below. Then plan to join us tomorrow for FGC, Part Two tomorrow. Spring is on its way! 

(Don't see the video below? Go to KFOR.com (here)

February 18, 2015

Mount Vernon: Lessons in Garden Design


When I go anywhere, I shop....for ideas, inspiration, novel solutions to problems. You do this as well, no doubt. No need for another trinket, but a fix for a vexing garden issue, or an aha! why didn't I think of that design idea?  Priceless. In my mind a faaaarrrrr  more enduring and valuable take-away from a visit. In this month of presidential birthdays, I thought you might enjoy some observations and design tips from visits to some of the most famous of the founding gardeners' homes and landscapes.

The handsomeness of the colonnade and the architectural detailing on the arches is obvious, but what is equally as beautiful? The climbing honeysuckle vine, neatly and elegantly attached to the uprights. No usual entangled honeysuckle mess and madness; just a solitary branch climbing each column. Tidied and pruned and no doubt labor-intensive, but still.....simple elegant expression and brilliant use of a common climbing bloomer. And doesn't the orange look divine against the forest green backdrop? Oh, and this single cane climbing technique would work for other climbers as well.

On Washington's famous river view veranda.....a perfect example of the design principle rhythm and repetition of a design element across a space.  In this case, good looking AND functional Windsor back wooden chairs.....in that same distinctive green......marching across the porch expanse. Pleasing to look at with or without guests.

And look at the stately columns (replicating the same molding details of the colonnade supports) framing the view across that same porch expanse...from wherever one sits. Framing, not blocking that magnificent Potomac view (the view being a feature not so easy to replicate).

The magnificent trees are stately, beautifully pruned and maintained to ensure strength, provide protection, create drama. All qualities shared with our first president and founding fathers.

Paths...how they meander and progress, the materials from which they are made, the type of patterns used and manner in which indigenous material is woven into the design...

in often unique (and easily copied back home) ways.

Equally as interesting: the use and placement of garden and home ornament.  This corner's composition of texture, color and material pleases my eye no end.

I could have spent HOURS just looking at the variety, shapes, and arrangement of wood fencingDid you know Washington was obsessed with developing the perfect material in the colonies for living fences?

Even modern additions, like this charming guard station near Washington's tomb is delightful. The paint colors and roofing material would translate into an equally charming garden shed in the right setting.

Rustic branch trellises for climbing vegetables....hmmm, good use for long and leafless nandina canes.

Be still my heart. The earthy brown structures against achingly verdant green. And that split-rail fence!  We had one around our suburban home in Knoxville, Tennessee when I was growing up. Out of context perhaps, but my mother was into primitive antiques at the time and I remember climbing over it (along with her sweet peas) many times.

I forgot how fresh and sweet chives can look and planted more as soon as I got home.

Yet more wooden weaving.

What can I say?  It just makes me happy. And give me some great ideas for our place in Colorado one day. Some ideas transplanted at home.

Others in one's daydreams.

All worth packing up and taking with you...

and weaving into your world.

P. S.

How many ideas do you think I stole from the winsome Mount Vernon nursery and gift shop facade?   Bet you'll spot a few yourself.  :)