Plants and poetry are frequent partners, and perhaps no combination of the literary and the horticultural is better known that Wordsworth and daffodils. His love of the great outdoors prompted him to walk across England and then all of Europe, during which time he penned his famous descriptive poem that begins,
"I wandered lonely as a cloud/That floats on high o'er vales and hills, When all at once I saw a crowd/A host, of golden daffodils."
This week we're exploring my fondness for daffodils, and the reasons they're perfect for growing on the High Plains.
This week we’ll complete our state flower series with a tribute to a plant that can take the heat and thrive on very little water, making it a good choice for many of the gardens in our High Plains Public Radio broadcast area.
Over the years controversy and debate have run rampant concerning the original choice for Oklahoma’s state flower. To cover all the bases and please various strong willed groups from the Sooner State, officials wound up with three floral choices and three honorary titles.
Goldenrod is a wallflower, standing in the background, while other flowers in the garden take center stage. It has been blamed for watery eyes and runny noses, when in fact, the true cause of those allergy symptoms is probably ragweed which blooms at the same time. Goldenrod has taken the heat for years for, but its blame without substantiation. It is a rare gardener to take up the cause of the Goldenrod, but I like this plant. It has a place in my garden.
This week’s sojourn into our series honoring state flowers takes us along the highways, byways, and flatlands of the Sunflower State. And we’ll renew our quest for an answer to one of botany’s intriguing mysteries. Sunflowers in Kansas can be regarded as a cash crop, a highlight of the flower garden, or one of the most colorful weeds along the roadways. In any case, they’re a welcome sight.
Bluebonnets don’t bloom very long, but when they do they are the highlight of a trip to Texas. We’ll look at ways to try and ‘grow your own’, giving them lots of sun and not much water. But the best way to experience bluebonnets is to travel down to Central Texas in March and April and take in the native wildflowers as they carpet the roadways.
Just when the winter doldrums are about to win the boredom trophy, here comes a breath of fresh air and springtime! Colorful pansies are just the thing to get you going in the garden, as they survive frosty weather. And if it’s still too arctic outside, you can start them indoors by nesting them in a bowl of potting soil.
This week we’ll revisit a series on state flowers that belong to the areas that High Plains Public Radio serves. We’ll start by traveling to colorful Colorado and a look at their glorious mountain columbines.
A look at what’s being served up on the tables of New York exposes lots of crawlies that some people proclaim to be creepy and others think are delicious. And a bit of investigation exposes a world wide market for bugs that might help stave off starvation for some, while helping to save the planet for all of us.
An unusual horticultural bargain brought about an investigation of one of Mexico’s most playful exports. These beans aren’t for the dinner table, but they can sometimes be found on the gaming tables of a casino!
Recycle those glorious holiday plants and use them again next year! It’s fairly easy to babysit these favorite flowering bulbs, first in house during the rest of the cold weather, then outside in the spring and summer. Give them time to adjust to a new bloom schedule in the fall and they’ll serve you well next Christmas.
The staff of the Carleen Bright Arboretum in Central Texas introduced me to the Growing Wild Butterfly Gardening Program, and gave me an opportunity to observe some of their beautiful butterfly habitats. This week we’ll take a look at some butterfly gardening basics provided by the Texas parks and Wildlife Department and the Urban Fish and Wildlife Program.
Here's a list of recommended plants: black-eyed Susan, butterfly weed, curly parsley, Indian blanket, mealy blue sage, purple cone flower, dill, lemon mint and scarlet sage.
A trip to central Texas included an opportunity to explore the Carleen Bright Arboretum near Waco. Established in the summer of 1999, this multi-purpose public space invites residents and tourists alike to explore the various gardens, classrooms, and community buildings. HPPR listeners are invited to come along for a quick tour!
A look back to the past year brought grateful thoughts and many thanks for the abundant rainfall that helped make autumn 2015 a blaze of foliage and color. And a review of some old-fashioned weather forecasting observations brings some humor and perhaps a bit of truth to the outlook for the months ahead.
Skip's quest to continue the tradition of a live Christmas tree takes her back to Brandt Nursery in Boise City, Oklahoma. A Douglas Fir catches her eye, and she takes it home with Gunther Brandt's words echoing in her head, "Now that Doug Fir is kind of a foreigner, so keep his feet moist and give him a shower bath as often as possible. And, put him some place where he's protected from this dry wind."
Today Skip shares how her potted Christmas tree tradition beautifies her home during the holiday season, then goes on to function in her shelterbelt. The living trees give protection from High Plains winds, add splendor to the landscape, and serve as a reminder of Christmases past.
This holiday season that is generally dedicated to cooking and eating has brought on the need for a bit of research into the art of canning, serving, and naming fanciful fruit spreads. So before setting down to a series of Thanksgiving feasting, we'll look for answers to questions about the differences among jams, jellies, preserves, compotes, conserves, marmalades, and fruit butters. Though they do have their differences, take it from me that they can all be delicious.
Just when I should probably be cutting back on the size of my horticultural investments, and planning a smaller and more manageable homefront, I've decided to plant some more fruit trees! After a summer of no fruit, due to late hard freezes last spring, and after taking a hard and realistic look at the fading health of the old trees, I couldn't face a future with no peaches or nectarines. So now I'm filling in the gaps, extending the drip system, and getting ready to face some fabulous fruit in the future!
A trip to Italy brought me to the beautiful Val d'Orcia in the hills of Tuscany, and more specifically to the gardens of Villa La Foce. My tour focused on the house and grounds replete with terraces, fountains, and native landscapes, and also took in the surrounding farmland. But one of the things that stayed with me most was the area's survival of the terrible battles fought during World War II. The will to survive and maintain some semblance of order while providing care for others is surely mirrored in the solitude and majesty of the La Foce gardens.
A search for fall foliage color doesn't always have to be high in the trees. This week we'll lower our sights and investigate a succulent plant that brings many of the colors of the rainbow during its three growing seasons of the year. Sedum seems to have so many positives for growing in sometimes difficult zone 5 gardens, and it definitely thrives in a zone 6 habitat. Low water demands and a preference for slightly alkaline soils make it a winner, even without the striking rusty red color that comes around in autumn.
This week we'll look at some historical herbs that have reportedly been a part of witchcraft for centuries. But many of the plants have both a good and bad side in history, Modern medicine has adopted and adapted some of the plants from the dark side into treatments for various diseases, and today's gourmet table can feature food from plants once thought inedible.
A review of some of the things the home gardener can do to be a part of the solutions to looming ecological dilemmas. Some of the things we'll look at concern soil additives, use of aerial sprays, and the growing amount of plastic that has become a part of a gardener's world.
This week we'll visit about companion planting, and more specifically about what's probably the most famous coupling of a threesome of vegetables. Based on an ancient Native American technique called the Three Sisters, we'll explore the support system provided when you plant beans, corn, and squash together. And we'll throw in a couple of extra 'sisters' for good measure.
The hum, whine and buzz of flying insects is something most gardeners learn to identify as a good thing in the garden. With a couple of exceptions, most of those sounds signify a pollinator who will help provide more bounty from your garden. Today we'll talk about the b-list bees that don't produce honey, but do help produce your squash, tomatoes, strawberries,and good things to eat. We'll also look into ways to keep these essential assistants happy and healthy as they work for you.
One thing that keeps me in the annual gardening go-round is the idea of growing and creating good food for a good cause. This week we'll visit about the incredible amount of work that goes into dealing with the harvests of August, and the friendship and camaraderie of canning that all that work creates.