We just returned from New York City. Visiting the Big Apple during the Christmas season was on our bucket list, and this year we made it happen. Bill and I went to Manhattan in February 2008 with Bill’s youngest sister, Maria, and her husband, Curt. I also went as a high schooler when I was seventeen.
Last week, we went back to New York with our traveling companions and what fun we had! Part of our visit had to be a trip to High Line Park, located thirty feet above the busy streets near Chelsea Market and the Meatpacking District. Although it was early winter, our visit was still extraordinary. Last summer, I did a lot of research on the High Line for a project, and it was magical to see the abandoned railway and gardens come alive beneath my feet. Continue reading “A trip to High Line Park”
Most of Oklahoma got rain night before last. The rain-soaked garden woke up yesterday morning to singing birds, crawling caterpillars and me stalking it with my camera. There is nothing more pleasurable than spring in an Oklahoma garden, except, maybe fall, but spring is being extra good to us this year.
Rain in Oklahoma is cause for celebration, and it looks like we’re in a stormy pattern for the next week or so. We need those spring rains to ready the garden for our hot and dry summer. So far, so good.
[Click on photos in the galleries to make them larger.]
Rain drenched ‘Carefree Beauty’ rose. This Dr. Griffith Buck rose is the first one of his I ever grew. It is still one of his best. It is also sold as ‘Katy Road Pink’ because it was found on Katy Road in Texas.
‘Grace’ smokebush in the back garden. I’m standing in the middle of the back garden and taking the photo from there.
Swizzle Cherry and Ivory zinnias are blooming their little heads off. I just love zinnias of all types.
Pink and yellow columbine I planted last year? Don’t remember the name.
‘Carefree Beauty’ rose blooming so well so early.
‘Fireworks’ clematis growing against the split-rail fence.
Come with me through my back garden gate.
Let’s chat about garden chores and what to do now. I’m also linking this post to Garden Bloggers Bloom Day hosted by Carol Michel at May Dreams Gardens.
So, what to do now? You can plant almost anything you want. I’m going to do another post on Monday after I get back from Bustani Plant Farm–if I get the chance–and give you a plant list of reliable garden performers. There’s really no worry of freezes unless something weird happens.
I’ve been watching the weather closely. I think we’re out of danger even though we’ve had a freeze as late as May 1 once. However, that was a really cool spring, and we’re not having one of those this year. In fact, the weather has been nearly perfect.
So, plant with abandon! I have.
Mulch with something biodegradable like shredded bark, shredded leaves or compost, although compost will degrade into the soil faster than the other two options.
Burn off weeds in gravel paths, or if you’re not organic you can spray with one of the weed killers. You can also use natural sprays, but my experience is they only do top kill and don’t get the roots. However, you will damage them enough that when the sun gets fierce, many weeds still dry up and blow away.
Plant shrubs, including roses, and trees, but make sure they have consistent water to get established.
Plant tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant along with other hot weather plants. Plant all of your herbs now too, including basil, parsley, and others. It’s probably too late for cilantro which bolts at the first opportunity. For salsa, I just buy cilantro at the store. You can buy great transplants at many of our nurseries and even the box stores. I’m growing several new tomatoes and peppers this year that I started from seed. I’ll detail my selections in another post.
Bill, my son, Brennan, and I are building raised beds this weekend. This time we decided to buy corners to make our lives easier. With corners, you can place the boards into the corners and voila! You have raised beds. We’re putting the raised beds where my tilled garden was the last couple of years. I’ll grow more vegetables and cutting garden flowers in this spot. We may add more beds in the future, but are only doing three for now. I’ll post about the raised beds next week and get pictures for you this weekend.
Boards for the raised beds all ready to be placed in the corners.
Where the raised beds will go.
Potager planted and cedar mulch for the gardens.
I have our regional daylily garden tour in June so I’m buying plant tags and such to identify everyone. It’s a must for daylily enthusiasts. I hope I figure out the i.d. on all of my plants before visitors arrive. I may need some “Unknown” tags for oldie goldies I love, but no longer remember their names. My garden is really about what looks good with daylilies. Although I have many daylily plants, I’m not a true collector anymore. I like so many plants.
A closeup of ‘Major Wheeler’ honeysuckle. It makes a good substitute for the ‘New Dawn’ roses that were the first casualty of Rose Rosette Disease. Plus, I don’t have to prune it much.
The lower part of the back garden has four long beds that were once vegetable beds. This OSO Easy Paprika rose, which was a trial plant, sits in the second bed from the left. It is a rock-solid beautiful rose that blooms all summer with some deadheading. I use shears.
In the same bed, ‘Purple Smoke’ baptisia sits next to ‘Orange Rocket’ barberry. I love purple and orange together.
Above, we’re down in the bottom of the back garden again. The back garden is, by far, my favorite part. I love the back garden because it’s mature and mostly takes care of itself once I get everything cut back in early spring. I weed it, plant a few annuals/tropical for more color, and then let it do its thing. I don’t even need to do much pruning because I no longer have many roses back here. I do have one ‘Belinda’s Dream’ rose, but that’s about all. Most succumbed to Rose Rosette Disease, but that gave me new opportunities especially on the arbors. I tried several plants to replace my climbing roses, but found I love orange ‘Major Wheeler’ coral honeysuckle on the back arbor. [See the photos above.]
In the middle portion of the back garden is another arbor. It was my first arbor, and this is one of the original parts of the garden planted over twenty-five years ago. Once upon a time, I had ‘Cl. Old Blush’ on this arbor, but it also died so I planted ‘Tangerine Beauty’ crossvine and ‘Dropmore Scarlet’ coral honeysuckle. Please don’t confuse crossvine with trumpet vine. They are different plants. Crossvine is native, and trumpet vine is invasive. I caused quite a stir on Instagram and Facebook last week when I posted an afternoon photo of crossvine. People asked me where to buy it. Well, last week, I saw five plants of ‘Tangerine Beauty’ at TLC Nursery. I wonder if they had a run on the plants yet. Maybe they still have some. It is beautiful and beneficial to hummingbirds and an early pollinator nectar source.
‘Tangerine Beauty’ crossvine with ‘Dropmore Scarlet’ coral honeysuckle are on another arbor in the middle of the garden. Next to them I planted ‘Blonde Ambition’ grama grass.
Bignonia capreolata ‘Tangerine Beauty’ crossvine. This vine is native to Oklahoma, Texas and much of the South, and shouldn’t be confused with trumpet vine which is invasive. This photo wasn’t enhanced, but the morning sun was shining on the blooms so they are very bright.
Another view of ‘Tangerine Beauty’ crossvine with ‘Dropmore Scarlet’ honeysuckle.
‘Dropmore Scarlet’ is a well-behaved honeysuckle that would make a great vine for any garden. I find American honeysuckles very easy to grow. The only thing they lack is fragrance, and you can plant other fragrant plants. Whatever you do, don’t plant Japanese honeysuckle. I have been trying to eradicate the start Bill brought over from his mother’s garden for nearly thirty years. I still have it in two corners of the garden, and yes, I used brush killer on it even though I hate using chemicals.
Because we’ve had rain and nearly perfect temperatures this spring, the shade gardens are showing off. I believe the single-flowering Japanese kerria is one of my best easy-care plants. I’ve given tons of it away over the years, and my first plant was from Wanda Faller. Wanda also gave me my maidenhair fern and ‘Annabelle.’ These are the backbones of my shade gardens.
However, this year, my old hostas look splendid. I couldn’t ask for better foliage. I place pecan hulls around my hostas to discourage slugs. In Oklahoma, we don’t have as many slug problems as some other gardeners, but in spring, when it’s wet, we do see the little slimy boogers. I hate them. They hate pecan hulls and eggshells. I enjoy the thought that they are in pain as they slide across these sharp objects.
Yeah, I’m mean like that.
As for hostas, I don’t often recommend them for central Oklahoma. Tulsa gardeners grow beautiful hostas, but they often get more rain and have more shelter than we do because of their rolling hills. However, if you find hostas with substantial leaves, they will often perform well even in central Oklahoma in the shade, especially the blue-green ones. Even the less substantial ones are happy this spring and last, and for the first time, ‘Empress Wu’ is looking really good. She’s substantial, but slow growing in my garden.
Shade garden on the other side of the back garden is looking good this year.
Single-blooming Japanese kerria in the shade garden on one side of the back garden.
Old hostas in one of the shade gardens.
We are replacing the split-rail fence around the back garden soon because it is wearing out again. We removed the chicken wire and will replace it with flat fence panels. It will be much easier to maintain.
Ok, with that, I’m going to leave you. I want to go outside and do a little mulching while the weather is cool and rainy. Blue skies this afternoon make this red-dirt girl happy. What’s blooming in your garden this fine spring day?