About Me

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I am a 40 something, married, mother of two boys who loves gardening, life, and living in Oklahoma. I write two different blogs, one on ministry work and life Redemption's Heart and one on gardening in Oklahoma Busted Stick Gardens Thank you for visiting my page.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

I am Back!!

okay, it's official. I am too technically inept for wordpress, plugins or otherwise and feedblitz? forget about it. In a single click I lost it all. I'm admitting my own ineptitude and returning to blogger, where at least I know how to appear to know what I am doing. So. Did you miss me? Joke. Now to figure out how to get my domain pointed back in the right direction. Happy to be back ya'll

Monday, July 6, 2009

Where has the time gone?

Greetings from a very hot and very dry Oklahoma. I had great ambitions for my blog this summer, and while my garden is showing the fruit of my work, my blog is not. Between working up new beds and chasing teenagers I have not been online at all these days. I've made a promise to myself that I would be more consistant with updating this. I have fallen in love with gardening, right up until our latest heat wave. We had a heat spell last month where it was over 100 degrees for over a week straight. My normally curly hair went from frizzed out (which it does in the 80's) to plastered down limp. I did not know that was possible.

The heat wave came too early and my blueberries and Joseph's coat were not well enough established and I lost them. I watered every day, but the poor little roots couldn't handle the heat - even with covering.

Other things, however are doing spectacularly. I do want to show off one new bed.
This is my before shot after the icestorm.

This space on the South side of my house is my most recent conversion. It is still in progress, but for a first year garden, it's filling in rather nicely I think.

Hidden is my new Scarlet O'Hara plant in the back. Added to that are Gladiolias, Azalea's, blueberries and purple plumb grasses which I'm told are indigineous to Oklahoma. I had cut down a wild redbud when creating this new bed, however, it is showing signs of re-emerging. I have not decided whether or not I'll let it stay.

It was in this garden that I learned how to "make dirt", which is a nasty proposition all the way around. Oklahoma has sandy loam and clay. Bushes like azelea's and blueberries need dirt beds. They need rock, compost and topsoil mixed with the loam for drainage. Flowering bushes do not like wet roots, which explains why all of my other azaleas died previously. I was planting them in straight loam and clay.

Another lesson learned this year is how prolific my daisies are. I planted SIX plants last year in my front garden - and now I have this:

I had no idea they would do that. Daisies are lovely, no doubt, but these bad boys are covering up my spirea and my coral bells. They need to be somewhere else, and so I will be digging them up this week.

Jeff and I traveled to the Cumberland mountains a few weeks ago for rest and relaxation. While were there, I had the chance to take an awesome photo in our friend's garden. Enjoy.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

It is Graduation Day

The month of May has wings. It must. How else can I explain why it is already the 21st and my son is graduating highschool. My absence on the blogosphere is directly tied to our getting ready for today. I'm not ready.

I did take some garden pictures this week so that I could check in and touch base with everyone. I missed bloom day and when I slowed down enough to look around, I noticed that my roses, Lupines, Ceriopsis and shasta daisies were blooming. They look great.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

My Yard is a Swamp, but that's okay.

I know that the weather is fickle in Oklahoma, but rain for a week solid is enough for me. My yard is presently a swamp and while other parts of the start are flooded and I should be grateful we are not, I'm not. I'm worried.

Worry won't change a thing, so I thought I'd show you a few recent photos of my gardens to date. My Iris and dwarf lillies are blooming and once the rain stops, I'll show you more pictures.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Bloom Day in Broken Arrow

Photo courtesy of the Tulsa Garden Center.

I'm In love! Isn't this beautiful? And it grows in Oklahoma. Yes! Purple fountain grass for my garden - coming soon. I can't wait! well, after last week's freezing temps and today's flower funerals, I'll be patient.

I was really worried that I would have to pass on bloom day this month, what with the snow and freezing temps in April of all things. If it was blooming before last week, it isn't now. My northern friends who still cannot plant have no sympathy for me right now, I know.

Sadly, I lost:

* Two Rose of Sharon
* My Yellow Chain tree that was shipped too early - calling for a refund.
* All of my Forget-me-nots
* And a few other plants that were shipped too early for zone 6b. - This is the last year I buy anything from Spring Hill. Lesson learned.

I did not lose my new grasses, my wisteria, or my new roses, and that is a good thing. I am also happy to discover these little beauties blooming today. I planted these last year.

Right now, I am getting my containers ready, cleaning out two last beds, and working on cultivating some new ornamental grasses and fencing. With the exception of just a few more items, I'm through with perennials for this year, and will be plugging annuals into my bare spots.

I'm thinking there is probably some gardening hack code that I am breaking by plugging in annuals. I know that purists don't do that. But for me, my gardens are still too new. Three of the beds were done last Spring, One was done in the fall and I've added six new beds this year. It takes three full years to really fill out a bed and to do that with all perennials would be drastically expensive.

I'll be playing at some new nurseries around town, and I'll report my finds here.

Until later.


Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Dreaming of Spring amid frosty temps.

SpringFest Garden Market and Festival

Some people mark the beginning of Spring with Robins or sunshine. Not me. I know it's Spring when the Tulsa Garden Center has their annual SpringFest. I'm so excited, I can't stand it.

We had Spring, or so I thought. Then I planted flowers and it snowed. It never snows in April in Oklahoma. It did this year. Why? Because I am ahead of the curve this year. Our open house for my son's graduation is only a month a way and by golly my yard is going to be beautiful.

My yard is going to be whatever this crazy weather and my skills allows it to be by then. And that's just the way it is. So where does a gal like me (who kills things and can never figure out why) go for answers, knowledge, and ideas? The Tulsa Garden Society, that's where.

What is so great about SpringFest? Everything. Everyone is going to be there. All the local nurseries with their best stuff. Do you have gardening questions? Linnaeus Gardens will even be open. Tulsa Master Gardeners are the best people to ask about anything. They taught me how to make dirt. I know that sounds stupid to people who live in what I call "real dirt" country. But I live in red clay and sandy loam country. I spent years, digging holes and killing bushes because I carelessly planted them in unprepared beds. I had no idea I was doing anything wrong. The Tulsa Garden Society is teaching me how to create beauty. I knew how back in Michigan, and I'm learning how again in Tulsa.

Check out their web page and see for yourself. If you live in the Tulsa Area, you do not want to miss this.

I can't wait!

Monday, March 30, 2009

My Southwest Gate

This is the section I've been spending most of my time on before the snow. The city has right-of-way in the far back corner. There are cable and gas lines running through there and I'm not allowed to dig. So, I'm building up. I have three new beds here and will have Morning Glories over the trellis. The beds closest to the trellis contain hostas, a Beauty of Moscow, forget-me-nots, Monardas, Coral Bells, and a green envy cone flower. I can't wait to see that they do.

My magnolia bloomed this Spring. She looks funny with just one branch and one clump of flowers. I'm hoping she'll really grow up this year.

This is how she looked when I got her last year. I think there is hope.

Till next time.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Mother Nature's Last Hurrah

Thunderstorms and lightening kept me awake most of last night. They've subsided and now we have.... snow... big white fluffy flakes of madness. It's snowing sideways here in Broken Arrow. My pictures aren't really doing the beauty of it all justice. We have snow here, but not like this.

If I look out my living room window, I can see the Northern wind blowing the snow sideways across my yard. It's the kind of snow fall I would expect to see in Denver or Syracuse, but rarely Tulsa.

This is a picture I just took of my SE garden. My beds are created, and planted, buried underneath this white blanket are hostas, ostrich plumb ferns, lung wort, Canterbury bells, and forget me nots. There is a red twig dogwood towards the front of it. I'm hoping it provides a nice screen, hiding the utility boxes in the back. I'm almost ready to replace the temporary fencing you see here, with a more permanent structure.

There will be Morning Glories climbing the trellis, as well as a path underneath. This will be a quiet resting place. A room for peace and shade. But for today, it's blanketed by mother nature as winter makes one last hurrah in Broken Arrow.

Friday, March 27, 2009

A Spring Update

I had great visions of building out all of my new beds over the winter - getting them ready for my Spring plants. What was I thinking? Tulsa usually has enough warmish weather during our winters to allow for such planning. Not this year. Either my thermostat has severely changed or it really was too cold to be working outside.

None the less, I thought I'd offer ya'll a peak at what I've been doing over the past two weeks. This is just part of it. I'll post more on Monday.

My plants arrived from Spring Hill two weeks early. Being on the northern cusp of my zone, I know my weather. Even though it felt like Spring, mother nature had one last hurrah up her sleeve.

Undaunted - and desperate to put my new babies in the ground, lest they die on my front porch, I set out to build the four garden beds that I was supposed to build out over the winter.

One of my new beds. This new bed is located directly over the spot where our Bradford Pear resided prior to the ice storm of 2007. I let that part of my yard rest for a full season before building out anything new.

Going through my gardening journal, I noticed that I have nothing yellow. This bed fixes that. My Golden Chain Tree arrived while I was in Nashville two weeks ago, and she really needed a place to belong. The bed was not ready when she arrived. Oklahoma does not have black dirt. I'm learning as well that I can not simply dig a hole and plant a bush. I have to "build" my beds. This bed is built up with cotton burr compost, top soil, and sandy loam for drainage.

A thoughtful note here: While black dirt smells wonderful back home in NY, clean and crisp. Created black dirt made with compost - does not.

These two shots are part of my new "wall." Built out on either side of our old swingset, I have three hedge roses - promised to grow five feet tall.

At the far of of this shot you can see the boxes that I am trying to hide her. Also planted at the end of these roses is a Freedom Rose - that grows about 10 feet tall. I thought that would make a good focal point for the end of the row.

The picture below is my Blue Wisteria vine. I am planning on training her up the swing set. Next year we will turn the set into a pegoda - by extending it either forward or backwards depending on where the city will let us dig. For now, I'll leave it alone and see what the wisteria does.

I was right about Mother Nature - today's low is in the low 30's and they are predicting ice rain mixed with snow. I mulched my beds and I'm hoping for the best.

More to come...

Sunday, March 22, 2009

haven't posted in a while

I'm sorry that I haven't posted in a while. I've actually been busy in the garden, building new beds and getting things arranged.

I will be back on line in a week - so look for new updates, flowers and excitement soon.


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Heading Out Doors

It is 76 degrees out today. I am heading out doors and playing in the dirt. I can wait to see what is blooming.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Planning for Winter in March

Spring doesn't officially start for another two weeks, but it is 79 degrees here today. I'm climbing out of my skin trying to resist the impulse to plant stuff that I know cannot handle the frost that will come next week. My sunny spot in my house is almost ready and next year I will be able to start things from seed, just not this year. This year, I have to wait and purchase whole plants.

I'm still trying to figure out my "zone." Some maps show me in 6, others show me in 7. I'm apparently on the cusp of both.

My gardens look great in the Spring and Summer with some nice fall interest as well, but in the winter? Even here, I have nadda. Everything is dormant, there is no color, not contrast. B-O-R-I-N-G. I used to have pine trees and they stayed green, but boy did I miss that this year. So, in looking for color for my gardens I came across two beauties I could not resist.

This wonderfully looking specimen is called - Beni Kaze Japanese Forest Grass
(Photo Credit: Spring Hill Nursery)

Botanical Name: Hakonechloa macra 'Beni-kaze'
Form: Herbaceous perennial
Sun Exposure: Partial Shade/Full Sun
Height/Habit: 2 - 3'
Spread: 2 - 3'
Spacing: 2 - 4'
Hardiness Zone: Zones 5 - 9
Foliage Type: Mounds of arching linear green leaves which turn to rich red tones in fall.
Flower Form: Pale green spikelets. Not significant.
Flower Color: Green
Flowering Date: Late summer.
Planting Requirements: Tolerates a light shade without compromising the brilliant fall color.
Soil Requirements: Well drained, fertile, humus rich soil.
Growth Rate: Moderate.

Unique Characteristics: Flowing mound of green grass blades that turn a brilliant red for the fall season. Great for cascading over a bank or retaining wall. Tolerates a light shade area without compromising on the great fall color. Compliments most broad leaf plants nicely in the landscape setting.
Pruning: Cut to base in late winter or early spring.
Additional Information: Beni-kaze translates to "red wind". Describes its flowing nature and beautiful fall color.

I'll admit, there is nothing wrong with owning these - I'm just bored with it being my only "grass" planting. This one is mature enough to divide and place in other spots in my garden. Places where I have Spring and Summer color and need some green.

My other colorful beauty is the Red Twig Dogwood

(Photo Credit: Spring Hill Nursery)

Like I said, my yard has zero color in the winter. I need something pretty.

Botanical Name: Cornus alba 'Argenteo-Marginata'
Form: Deciduous woody shrub
Sun Exposure: Partial Shade/Full Sun
Height/Habit: 5 - 8'
Spread: 5 - 8'
Spacing: 6 - 10'
Hardiness Zone: Zones 3 - 8
Foliage Type: Variegated green and cream ovate to elliptic leaves.
Flower Form: Small starry flowers form 1 1/2 - 2" flat topped cymes, insignificant.
Flower Color: Yellowish white
Flowering Date: Spring
Planting Requirements: Best coloration in full sun.
Soil Requirements: Well drained, but adaptable to a wide range of soils.
Growth Rate: Moderate to fast.
Unique Characteristics: An old fashioned favorite that is still one of the best shrubs for year round appeal. Attractive variegated cream and green foliage all growing season followed by brilliant red stems that last all winter. Provides great color against a snowy backdrop or used indoors as an accent in cut-flower arrangements.
Pruning: Best coloration on new wood. Prune out 1/3 to 1/2 of old wood each year.
Time of Pruning: Late winter.

PLANT DESCRIPTIONS ARE COURTESY OF SPRINGHILLNURSERY.COM I'm using these until I learn what means what and how to properly log things in my gardening scrapbook.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

What is this thing that I let grow last summer?

I pretty much ignored the back strip of my yard last year, allowing the ground to settle from grinding out the Bradford Pear and Pin Oak trees that I lost. While I was resting it, this wondrous weedy looking thing appeared. At first I thought it was a bush planted by errant birdseed. When it reached over 5 feet tall, I decided it needed cutting. The stems were very strong, yet pulpy and fibrous instead of woody. Does anyone know what this is? I have no clue.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Somebody stop me, I'm being a perfectionist again.

THIS is why I never get anywhere. I find pictures like this in magazines I should not be reading, and I give up hope. I found this photograph from Better Homes and Gardens that has given me, at the very least, inspiration and major doses of fear. I love beauty, and I kill things - bad combination if you ask me.

Looking at my yard today, it's hard for me to believe that it used to have trees and was actually very pretty when we bought this house eight years ago. The previous owners had lilacs, azealas, redbuds and rose of sharon - all I which died when I moved in.

Before any of you think I really do stink at this, let me add there was new construction in the church next door. They built up their sidewalks along the fenceline, making our strip of homes the new "low zone" sending water to our yards and saturating our lawns. My shrubs all died from root rot or so I'm told.

I need french drains, but can't afford them. I have right of way "issues" along the line and cannot dig to replace what died - and so, I'm being creative and building up in those places. - which will probably force water into my house, now that I think of it. I need french drains.

My front yard is almost completely planned, and planted. My side yard will be next. I'm looking through my garden scrapbook of hopes and ideas that I created last year,(consisting of photographs cut out from catalogus and magazines) and discovered that I own nothing yellow. Nor do I own trees anymore expect one. (The ice storm took care of those puppies) so, in a moment of spontaneous creativity I bought this:

The Spring Hill Catalog calls it a Golden Chain Tree. I have the spot picked, and the bed ready. I know once my husband sees it, he'll think I've lost my mind and maybe I have.

I'm learning to keep a file of all plants and their facts for easier reference later on. These are the basic facts according to my catalog.

Botanical Name: Laburnum alpinum
Form: Deciduous tree
Sun Exposure: Partial Shade/Full Sun
Height/Habit: 20 - 30'
Spread: 18 - 25'
Spacing: 20 - 25'
Hardiness Zone: 4 - 8 (-20 degrees F) I live in zone 7
Foliage Type: 3-leaflet compound obovate leaves to 3" long.
Flower Form: Pea-like, in pendant clusters, resembling wisteria blooms.
Flower Color: Yellow
Flowering Date: Late spring
Planting Requirements: Nothing special in maritime regions; inland, plant in a sheltered site, north or east slope, in sun but with protection from the wind.
Soil Requirements: Well drained but moisture retentive garden soils.
Growth Rate: Moderate
Unique Characteristics: One of the very few yellow-flowering trees for the spring garden, in blossom, small tree is completely covered with flowers.
Pruning: As little as possible, only to repair damage or provide head clearance - heals poorly.
Time of Pruning: Late summer.
Additional Information: All parts of plant poisonous. Very important note - must keep this away from the animals.

I only paid $19.00 for it, which I know sounds like a waste of money considering the fact that I don't know if it will live or die. But then all my plant purchases are like that. With my skills? There is no telling.

Afterall - my houseplants are silk - if that tells you anything.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

More Ice Photos

Our neighborhood web page offers more photos of the ice storm that destroyed my yard a year ago. These are far better than the ones I was able to take and show the extent of the damage.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Rookie Gardens and Lesson's learned

I attacked my garden plans last years with visions of beauty, fullness, and completion. I purchased whole garden packages fully expecting them to fill in the first year. Classic rookie mistake. It actually takes about three years for perennial gardens to fill in. Lesson learned. This year, I will invest in a few more perennials and fill the rest of the spots in with annuals.

I still had some nice flowers though. My newest side garden was filled with carnations, black eyed susans, lilly of the valley, sedem, and coral bells. I was pleasantly surprised by the results.

This is my Beauty of Moscow Lilac. I knew she wouldn't bloom last year, but she held up quite good. I'm looking forward to watching her mature.

My hard drive crashed over the winter and I lost a lot of my garden photos. So, I won't be blogging much about last year after all. I do however still have some of my closeups. The garden did fill in pretty well by fall and should do really well this coming year.

We also added a Japanese Maple to the mix, but he really hated this sunny spot and we had to move it to a more shaded area in front of our porch.

This fall I added my tulips, Rose of Sharon Bushes, Lillies, and more daisies. I'm looking forward to seeing those results come Spring and Summer as well.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Starting again

It turns out that losing three of my four rosebushes wasn't the end of the world. I still have a beautiful climber in the back yard, and I got to go shopping. There is a local nursery in town that supports people with developmental disabilities. They run the nursery and the money earned there, goes back to support job training, housing, and whatnot.

My roses died close to the end of planting season in Tulsa, so the nurseries were pretty picked over. I was however able to find lavender, a fir tree, and a beautiful yellow forsynthia bush as well as a barberry bush. I then moved some of my Iris's from my back yard and added several annual pieces, like sweet potato vine, for color.

I found this beautiful plant at Westlake Ace Hardware on Memorial Day weekend. They had a close out on thier potted arrangements. It turned out to do really well in the heat and looked great with the rest of my plants, but it didn't come with a lable and I have no idea what it is. I'll take my garden scrapbook with me this Spring while I shop around so that I can lable it and know what to buy.

With all of the sandy loam and sawdust left behind from my pine trees - ants moved into the new territory. I don't like ants and after we sprayed the tar out of the garden,I started putting in plugs to keep them away. The plugs worked.

I let my new bed grow for the season while I focused in on building up my other new garden spots. The results ended up a little "over done" by the end of summer, but for a first year garden, it really wasn't that bad. Not a bad second start. I spent my fall pulling out the annuals, trimming back the lavender and pitching the barberry bush (it died under the vine - my bad). I've added several new perenial pieces from SpringHill Nursery and I'm looking forward to seeing what blooms this Spring.

Sitting to the side, in the white pot is a magnolia "bush" I also purchased in the Spring - I really need to stay from on line catalogs. I didn't read the small print and the "bush" arrived as a bare root plant that will require several years to mature.

This was another one of my "oopsies" last year. I thought I was buying THIS.

Spring Hill showed it as part of a "sunny garden spot foundation garden set" that can be purchased as a group and I thought it would be perfect in front of our living room window.

I'm fortunate to have a husband who likes to read the small print and dig in the yard from time to time. While we were planting the new garden set, he read the little box this root came in. It turns out my cute little bush grows to a height of ten feet.

THAT - will not fit in front of our living room window. See what I mean?

I added building out a new bed to my fall clean up and plantings. I wasn't planning on doing that yet - I was going to build those over the winter and plant in the Spring, but she needed a home and my South fence needed some covering, so that is where we put her.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

A Rose is a Rose

Losing all three of my pine trees out front left my yard looking more than a little sad. The sun is strong in Oklahoma and my house faces East. I thought the gaping hole left by my trees would be the perfect spot for a rose garden.

Building this garden took work, but wasn't quite as difficult as I had thought. Friends of ours had just purchased a home in the hills of Keystone Lake and had rocks they were digging out of their yard - two wrongs don't make a right. They learned that those rocks are what kept the dirt in place, and I learned moving roses wasn't very bright.

Being the homicidal horticulturist in denial, I made a lot of rookie mistakes. I built the edging just fine. Found the right mixture of black dirt, compost and fertilizer, but do you notice that my roses are in bloom? I moved them without pruning them. I also moved them without checking for disease. Turns out, my roses had fireblight. I'm not sure how it started, but one went down and took the rest with them.

This is the last rose I saw before I had to dig out my new bed and start again.

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