June 30, 2014

English Garden on the Prairie

If I had a title for my landscape here in Oklahoma City, it would be 


a touch self-important, yes...but still quite appropriate. A garden befitting an English Tudor house on the heartland's prairie soil...

 an English garden with an Oklahoma accent as it were. And nothing in my garden sings with that Oklahoma prairie drawl quite like 

Echinacea purpurea, the lovely hued purple coneflower.

It always tops my list of extremely difficult, if not impossible to kill 
perennials to plant in troublesome soil; in my case heavy clay.

It self-seeds a little too readily sometimes, but never so much as to be truly irritating. Particularly because each summer it appears in new places in new combinations, in new subtly different purple hues, and with new companions...Mother Nature sees to that.

 This year, with our unusually wet and damp weather, it is keeping company with large swaths of a lavender veronica...

the combination looking especially soft and ruggedly feminine (truly, not a contradiction in terms) on cool, foggy mornings.

 Today, the sphinx moths are as smitten with their blossoms as I.

All in all, not a bad way to start another summer morning.

June 28, 2014

Topiary How-to on KFOR's Four Your Garden

From ho hum and kind of Charley-Brownish crooked to sleek, clipped and sophisticated...take this $6.00 dwarf Alberta Spruce and a dollar's worth of cushion moss...and turn it into something special. Here's the how-to from yesterday's FOUR YOUR GARDEN (heresegment. 

June 27, 2014


I love container gardening in all its forms, but I adore topiary as a chic, sophisticated version of this planting in pots. And I'm not quite sure which

came first...manicured, clipped plants in the ground, or manicured clipped plants in pots...both inside

anywhere and everywhere... 

and outside

(Double ball Standard Myrtle, above)

also, anywhere and everywhere.

(Standard Blue Star Juniper, left)

I am an equal opportunity

and will use virtually ANY plant as my muse. Boxwood, of course, rosemary, arborvitae, euonymous, Rose of Sharon, coleus, eugenia, cypress, scented geranium...and on and on...

anything that can be easily clipped and shaped, and that heals quickly and bushes out from frequent clipping.

Shape can, of course be determined or guided by a metal frame...or not.

                                      (Wire Vine below)

(Boxwood and yew, left)
(Rose of Sharon and arborvitae, above)

I've had some specimens for years; some I started and nurtured myself...others bought ready-made for my pleasure and then cared for and clipped to be even more beautiful.

I've learned over the years, however, not to get TOO attached to any one topiary, however much loved or prized. Despite responsible, often fastidious, attention and care...

they are prone to sudden death syndrome...

from neglect, spider mite, too much or too little shade or water. In my own experience, usually by way of my going on a vacation or putting them in a special spot and then forgetting where I placed them...

Sometimes I underplant the larger ones. Most often, they are mulched with gravel, fine pine, or moist and succulent moss.

(wire vine and lady's mantle left)

Whatever the finishing touch, the finishing touch is very important to the
overall effect of style and simple elegance and sophistication. 

If you want to see how to take a:

* somewhat developed plant,
* chosen for its initial shape, size, form and height
* to achieve an envisioned desired end result 

then join me and Linda Cavanaugh today on Four Your Garden on NewsChannel 4 at 4:30, and

let's talk topiary.

June 24, 2014

Red Chicory Radicchio and Pocahontas

"How high can a sycamore grow...if you cut it down, then you'll ne-e-e-ver know..."  From the Disney movie Pocahontas
And that, my dears, in a nutshell...is why I never actually ATE any of the Red Chicory radicchio I planted this spring. 

Before I even considered eating it, I wanted to make sure it played its part in my edible landscape. Beauty and nourishment, you see. And so it did.
Cavorting with the tulips and pansies in the spring garden display up front (though in hindsight, its coloration would have been so much more appropriate for a fall-scape...), and of course being

simply lovely and DIVINE in one of the quadrants of the 
p o t a g e r.  Perhaps even a little too lovely...as I couldn't bear the thought of harvesting and consuming

something of such beauty and perfection. So I just let it stay put for my visual and sensory delight. 

It did, after all, start out like this:

and the very miracle of that transformation just couldn't be taken lightly. 

Then the florist in me reared its head, and I began to think just how simply stunning 

it could be as a component of a like-colored spring arrangement. A trip in the meantime, discouraged harvest of the succulent heads...for salads or grilling or

a dalliance with a vinaigrette coquette. By the time I returned, those purple-veined spheres had morphed into something resembling an alien...shooting out a (forgive me) rather phallic looking elongation with fertile intentions, no doubt.

It was indeed, so odd-looking that I just had to wait it out...and that was, of course, where my inner Pocahontas took over and I simply had to let it be.

And thankfully, I did....for my patience and refrain was rewarded with the most delicate of lavender-blue flowers on thin, wiry stems. An utter delight and unexpected surprise. And there you have it....

Pocahontas and her Red Chicory Radicchio.