July 28, 2011

KFOR Garden Segment and Tulip Ordering Time

Take a break from the heat for just a bit to think about spring.  Cuz it's tulip ordering time!  I'll be talking in upcoming posts about what I'll be ordering for fall planting.

Now back to reality and the heat.  :(  Join me tomorrow on News Channel 4 at 4:30 to discuss plants that can take our torrid temps.

July 25, 2011

Wishing Your Life Away

It's not a good question to ask, I know.  It sparks discontent,

recriminations from those who tell us to live in the moment,  

be present,

don't wish your life away...


I can't help it.

I'm sick of watering.  Sick of stagnant brown plants.  Sick of the swelter.

And I expect to be understood,

if not forgiven,

for asking,

"Is it fall yet?"

(No, if you are wondering....these pictures were not taken this year....truth in the telling.)

July 24, 2011

Tiny Leaves, Transpiration, and Thyme

Not much is looking perky in the garden right now.  The hosta have heat stroke, the flowers and vegetables refuse to put out, and the hydrangea, well, let's just say they are not exactly native to Oklahoma.

So, my friends, consider if you will, the world of tiny-leaved plants. Diminutive little darlings like thyme, sedum, creeping veronica and mazus reptans.  Or the shrubbier versions such as barberry, boxwood, or euonymous.  They might not prefer the heat and drought, but they don't cower from it either.

And if you, like me, are a pruner and a snipper and a shearer (is that a word?) 

then this type of gardening is right up your alley.

They will happily (providing you give them good drainage,  soil preparation, and time to get established)

cheerily creep in between your pavers

cascade over the edge of a planter,

fill a crevice in a stone wall,  and most importantly right now,

just survive (well, 
maybe not happily...)

Keep a pair of scissors handy...I hang mine just outside the back door...

and snip to your heart's content.

Shearing little and often (and NEVER into the woody stems)

will reward you with thick, tight, closely woven mats of

living texture and color.

Let different varieties weave and insinuate themselves into each other (a favorite combination of mine is ajuga with creeping speedwell)

Then stand back and enjoy the lovely complexity and rug-like effect you've created.

Click here for a lovely explanation about leaf size, transpiration and why they can tolerate our torrid times.

They may be tiny, but they can sure pack a wallop (in a good way, of course.)

(That little island of ground cover in this image is purslane...I am seriously considering cultivating it as ground cover as it loves this heat so....really, I am.)

July 21, 2011

Betty Davis, Mother Nature and KFOR Link

The voice of Mother Nature this summer will be played by Betty Davis in her best All About Eve voice.

" Fasten your seat belt, it's going to be a bumpy night...err, season."

And that's all I'll say about that.  

(BTW, I've heard from a number of you who live out of state and don't get to see our gardening segments on our locate NBC affiliate.  Click here to watch today's show, and please tell that garden lady to get the bangs out of her eyes.  Thank you for your consideration.)

July 20, 2011

Garden Ornament and News Channel 4

You know it.  I know it.  It's just too hot to do any real gardening right now.

So let's engage in some fake gardening, shall we?  By which I mean playing with things of interest and beauty in your landscape that do not rely on water, good drainage, or the sweat of your brow.

Consider, if you will, the various forms of garden ornament that can give your landscape a certain WOW factor, or if that's not your style, maybe a subtle, quiet sophistication.  Or both.  Why not?

A strategically placed pot in the border, a beautifully selected and carefully placed finial

can make all the difference in elevating the interest of your landscape.

The ever-so-perfect placement of a garden bench...maybe nestled in a hedge of hydrangeas?

or the perfectly curved line of a garden gate that elegantly mimics the same curve in that bench...

 A stone pillar here, a wrought iron tuteur there

a garden gnome if you must (though I am not of that persuasion myself...)

Anyway, you get my gist.  It's too hot to do anything but water, observe, and dream

and try to demonstrate a little optimism, as hard as that may be.

(Or just stay inside and watch me on News Channel 4 with Linda Cavanaugh at 4:30 tomorrow.  We'll be talking about ways to help your plants survive the heat.)

July 19, 2011

Sisyphus, Record Heat and Botox for the Garden

Some people check the obituaries every morning, a practice I have always thought  rather moribund.  I, on the other hand, routinely check the weather section of the newspaper to see if, once again, Oklahoma City is the hottest city in the USA.  A practice that is masochistic if not moribund. 

Mike Morgan, the weatherman at KFOR where I do my gardening segment says "29 days over 100 in Oklahoma City.  110 being the hottest so far.  We have broken or tied several daily high temperature records.......and that 110 tied the hottest July temperature on record.  How is that!!!"   Oh, and he added "Yuk".   Now if even the weatherman is not trying to sugarcoat this horrific heat, who am I to try and gloss it over?  

So if you, my fellow Oklahoma gardeners, are, like I, sick to death of this sweltering heat and one catastrophic gardening season after another, you will be forgiven if you feel a little bit like the mythical Sisyphus, who was doomed to push a boulder up a mountain, only to have the boulder roll down again....and the process repeat itself over and over again for eternity. Or at least one Oklahoma gardening season after another.  (If you are in another area of the country now sweltering along with us,  please feel free to feel Sisyphean as well.  Who am I to deny you?)

And, no these are not in bloom now, I just inserted them here to cheer you up.

As we all know, however, our poor suffering plants still need tending.  Copious (and probably irresponsible in some cases) amounts of water are required to keep our poor babies alive, if not thriving.  Some, now hanging on by a thread and gasping in the heat, will eventually succumb and not see another fall.  

We gardeners valiantly (or stupidly)  continue to fight it.  Mowing higher and earlier than ever.  Mulching much more and deeper than ever.  Then running back into the blessed air conditioning to revive ourselves physically and mentally.  

(And do be careful, my dears.  My neighbor ended up in the emergency room a couple of weeks ago after working too hard in this heat with too little water...)

So I was thinking earlier this week, after mowing up all of the dead leaves from the drought and heat-stressed trees, clipping out dead foliage here and there and then watering in the cooler morning hours...

and as I stepped back examining things from this angle

and that (in the softer light as well), that

considering the blistering heat and all

things didn't look all that bad.  Of course, it was morning still.  Pre-swelter.  Pre-hi temp for the day.  If I could just capture the moment (and not in a Kodak way) and make it last just a little while, maybe a day or two.  Freeze-frame, you know?  Knowing it won't last, but enjoying the effect for a bit.

Why can't someone invent some kind of Botox for the garden, hmmmmmm?

July 12, 2011

Black Swallowtail Caterpillars and Good Form

If only I could affect such insouciance about the heat.  Not a drop of sweat on their brow, I tell you.

I can say, however, that I have better form than to leave my poopy droppings on the kitchen table.