October 30, 2014

Ordering and Planting Tulips


I repeat

D O   N O T   P A N I C  !!!

...if you have not yet ordered your tulips for fall planting. There is still time, though your selection may be limited. COLORBLENDS here still has many blends available (their website will tell you what is still in inventory; look for the 'current inventory' section of the left sidebar.

If you prefer individual varieties, go to VAN ENGELEN or JOHN SCHEEPERS (here). If they are sold out of a particular color or variety, ask them to recommend alternatives that are in stock.

If you would like recommendations from moi as to what colors and varieties are my favorites and that perform well here in Oklahoma...

then tune in tomorrow at 4:30 and watch FOUR YOUR GARDEN on Newschannel 4. LC and I will talk non-stop tulips.

As for planting, we have plenty of time. Weather and ground temps have been way to warm for planting. Two solid weeks of sweater weather is a good rule of thumb. Right around Thanksgiving. A heck of a way to work off some of that turkey and stuffing.

October 28, 2014

Olive Trees in the P O T A G E R

The color gray in the garden + potted olive trees = something with which I am delightfully smitten right now. 

One of the questions I was most frequently asked on the recent OHS garden tour was...

"Do you bring in all of these pots over the winter?"

 To which I respond that I do not. All of them, that is. Select tender plants and succulents must, of course, be protected from the cold, and I bring them in accordingly. Others are right on the cusp of needing cover...they may need protection (depending on the depth of cold, their individual micro climate in the garden, and what variety they are), but they are simply too large, or too unwieldy to move, and so must take their chances with Jack Frost and Mother Nature.

I accept that there may be winter casualties, but I factor in their potential loss...and can accept their possible demise come spring. 

There is NO question, however, that I will provide winter cover to my two-year old olive trees. (I buy them from Schubert Nurseries (here)).

No doubt I am feeling particularly motherly right now, as these little Mediterranean, gray leaved beauties are bearing their first offspring...

The most alluring little plum-hued olives you've ever seen. 

 I bought the plants originally for their lance-shaped gray foliage...and the sheer romantic notion of growing an olive tree...without great, if any, expectation that they would produce. One I potted in classic terracotta, 'mulched' if you will with purple clover that grows at the base. (I remember seeing this pairing in Rome...probably just weedy happenstance, but thought it might be an auspicious sign that my little tree would thrive; consequently I did not remove it when it decided to move in with the little tree.)

 As my intentions were not symmetrical, the second tree was planted in a traditional footed concrete urn and mulched in gravel. I particularly like
the gray foliage contrasted against the maroon 'Black Cherry' wave petunias and
the striking yucca.

 They have proved to be remarkably easy to care for. Demanding little, even during the winter, when brought in and placed in an area of only relatively  bright light...in front of a large north facing window.

 And it was out of said north facing kitchen window that I was looking...when I decided that I MUST tell you about my dear little olive trees.

I have become enchanted by these trees. If you'd like to see more, follow my  'OLIVO' board, or any of my boards (here) on Pinterest, or click on the 'P' icon in the 'Follow Me' section of my home page.

October 26, 2014

Salmon Geraniums and Kodak Moments

This summer, in the course of our Southern Living garden shoot, my friend Bubba (garden editor for the magazine) asked me why I was growing a large pot of salmon colored geraniums under one of my redbud trees. Now Bubba and I have known each other...

for quite a while. He knows my garden...my garden style...and my garden philosophy
extremely well, so I thought it a curious question. (But he IS a garden editor, after all...a deep thinker about such things.)

I asked him why he wanted to know, and while I don't remember his motivation for asking, I DO remember my response. "For sentimental reasons mostly", I told him.

My mother grew them every summer. She would pot them up with the requisite spiky dracaena and asparagus fern. The feel of the fuzzy leaves, the scent of the crushed foliage and flowers...ah, happy childhood memories of summertime in Indiana, Tennessee, and eventually Oklahoma. A constant of summer, no matter the garden geography.

Without conscious planning, they became a constant in my garden as well, cultivated each year in my evolution from no-nothing gardener to obsessed one.

I was especially fond of the deep salmon, large-blossomed varieties...and when one morning my precious little boy ran outside sporting a too-large baseball cap of the exact same hue...

 I couldn't refuse the gift of a perfect Kodak moment with two of my greatest loves. Now, years later I still grow them for sentimental reasons.

The sentiment now richer and more intense, with layers of memory...

evoked each time I get whiff of, or a glance at, my pot of salmon geraniums.

*** (You might want to give this technique a try. Some of my favorite photos are images of garden blooms matched to a like-colored object also captured in the picture.  Especially sweet with children, I think.)

October 25, 2014

Pearly White Pumpkin Vase

I don't often say "I'm really excited to show you this..." but in this case, I will.
Because the result is so spectacular relative to the amount of labor and expense involved that you simply must try it.

I started out with a white pumpkin ($4.99 at SPROUTS, thank you very much.) that had a flat, somewhat concave top surface to work with.  (More on the pumpkin selection and its aesthetic in another post.)

 I assembled my materials: spray adhesive, moss, floral foam oasis (I am re-using some I already had), an empty cellophane container (any small plastic container, depending on the size of your arrangement would do), some floral tape (scotch tape would probably suffice), floral adhesive (you could also use a glue gun), and clippings and prunings from the garden.

Here goes:  1. Hydrate the floral foam after cutting it to form.

2. Place in plastic container. If necessary secure it to the container with floral tape. 

3. Use floral adhesive or glue gun to attach container to the top of the pumpkin.

4. Spray the edges of the container and a portion of the pumpkin's surface where the 'vase' is attached with spray adhesive. When the adhesive is tacky,
press loose moss into place. This obscures the mechanics of your arrangement and elevates the final look.

NOW THE FUN BEGINS! Simply 'layer' your cuttings into the oasis according to your tastes. I used privet berries, oak and maple leaves, garlic chive seed heads, arborvitae, bare branches, small and immature vegetables from my garden (more on this later), hibiscus and crepe myrtle pods, nandina leaves,

In other words, anything and everything that caught my interest in the garden was fair game. 

 My primary focus was on texture, color, shape, form and yes, a touch of whimsy.

Truly, this was one of the most pleasurable, satisfying, easy projects I have undertaken in a long time....speaking of the time investment in this project...

You can take as little or as much time to create a beautiful arrangement as you so choose.
A simple, quick take on this pumpkin vase would be equally as lovely as this more layered version I put together.

So DO give it a go if you are in need of a little creative play. For more tips go to here 4 YOUR GARDEN KFOR.COM,

or watch the video of our segment below. So easy, there is no excuse not to. Enjoy the process!

October 23, 2014

Round Book Table

No matter where I live...how large or how small the dwelling...there will always be one special constant in my home decor,

A round table, circular library if you will, of cherished garden books that rotate with the seasons, or my current interest, or a new horticultural obsession or fancy.

There are two or three requisites to its composition. Garden books of course...some for reference, some as botanical eye candy, some for sentimental reasons... 

but all readily accessible for the turn of a page, a quick browse,
a momentary pick me up.

 My second component is something crystal: a vase, carafe, bowl...to catch the light coming through
the windows in the morning, or reflect the lamp or candle light at night. Not crucial, or even functional...just a sparkling touch to make me smile when I walk through the room or reach for a book's image or phrase.

And the third? A huge, inviting seasonal bouquet or plant of course. Sometimes fresh cut, sometimes planted, 

sometimes...like my small Christmas trees, a hybrid of the two.

 Autumn, of course, calls for dried and temporal, earthy and umber vase prunings...leaves and branches...at once, both fiery and fading. 

From the outside looking in, the table beckons...

with its promise of mental and physical comfort and sustenance.

Replicating a spot like this need not be expensive or difficult. My table...42" of cheap wood veneer (atop wobbly legs in dire need of stability) was bought at a firehouse garage sale for under ten dollars. Floor skimming round cloths and thick bevelled glass elevate the table's appearance to suit the room...

 rendering this modest table ensemble perfect for me 

and my home

 and my

indispensable books and flowers.