Thinking of the holiday season takes me back to my childhood, the smell of black gold in the oil patch, well-worn ornaments, and a gunny sack for collecting mistletoe once the grown-ups knocked it out of the tree with buckshot.
Well, it's taken a long time (I'm not talking about weeks or months, but years) but I think I'm making progress in the department of landscaping with trees. To being with, I've finally adopted the 'less is more' concept, especially on our treeless high plains. There are trees that will grow here, and do pretty well if they have a bit of moisture now and then. But those examples are few and far between.
When Kathleen and Robert Fields moved into their home, the neighborhood was well-established. The backyard was surrounded with ready made shade. Kathleen quickly learned that leaves were great start for compost.
"Great gardens begin with soil building," she says, "You can get a sick plant and bring it back to health if you have good soil."
Kathleen also believes in perennials. She subscribes to this saying, "The first year they sleep. They second they creep. The third they leap."
Today we travel to the sandhills south of Garden City, Kansas to the home of Larry and Carole Geier. The couple has created an oasis in the midst of sagebrush and sand. The location has perks like night skies filled with stars, and some burly neighbors who used to roam the prairie.
Skip travels to Timbercreek Canyon, Texas to talk with Darla Wood.
The Great Garden series continues with a visit to Darla Wood's garden in Timbercreek Canyon, Texas. Darla has tried the traditional lawn route unsuccessfully, and now integrates art and listening what the land wants to be.
Some consider this wildflower a weed, but to Monarch butterflies and those who love them, this perennial is precious and should be a part of every garden. It is also perfectly suited to the high plains climate.
In this look back at Great Gardens across the High Plains, Skip travels to Amarillo, Texas. There she meets Bob Hatton, who took a yard composed primarily of lawn, and created a landscape featuring plants that trigger memories of his childhood like this beautiful redbud tree.
The Great Garden series continues with a trip back in time to the Shirley Opera House in Atwood, Kansas. Skip talks with Alice Hill who is setting the tables at the Opera House with good things from the garden.
You'll remember Alice Hill, whose latest adventure is Full Circle Aquaponics. She's busy growing everything they eat at Beaver Creek Ranch.
As we continue looking back at the Great Gardens of the past, today we'll head to Amarillo, Texas to meet Angie Hanna. Angie has coined the term "extreme" gardening, referring to growing things in a transitional climate that is between growing zones, faced with constant shifts. The challenge of the climate brought Angie to a goal of working with the climate, not against it.
Skip Mancini asked gardeners from throughout our broadcast area to participate in a special 'show and tell' series on Growing on the High Plains. A 'June in January' look at eight great gardens begins with an overview of the people and places that Skip visited during the summer of 2008.
Today begins a look back at a series called Great Gardens, which originally aired in 2008. Visits to eight High Plains gardeners located throughout the HPPR broadcast area resulted in interviews on a variety of topics. From wildflowers to grapevines to landscaped lawns and cottage gardens, we'll begin a repeat of this series, and a call for eight more gardeners to join in a new interview series for the future.
During Skip's latest trip to The Big Apple she visited the 9/11 Memorial site and learned about a special tree that's growing in the center of the Plaza. It's called The Survivor Tree, because it survived the 2001 destruction of the World Trade Center and surrounding area. Nursed back to health by many volunteers, it was replanted in 2010 and was a big part of the opening of the Memorial Park in 2011. Today the Callery pear tree stands tall among a forest of oaks, and it serves as a reminder of our human strength and spirit throughout the seasons of each year.
Skip explores a part of the plant world that offered something sweet in ancient times. Today it's most prevalent in boggy areas or landscaped water gardens, which makes it quite popular in lots of back yards on the High Plains.
Today we'll learn about an ominous sounding chore that is a necessity for maintaining a perennial flower bed. To some of our more mature listeners the title of today's show might recall Volkswagen vans packed with Greatful Dead fans touring the summer rock concert season. But for the true garden buff, the term denotes a frequent summer chore of clipping spent blossoms in order to tidy up and control re-seeding. It's a task that's never-ending but necessary.
Today we'll look at one of the most popular flowers in the garden, and one that is definitely easy to grow in the High Plains areas. Once looked upon as a too tall and sometimes top heavy plant that sported pale colored blooms, phlox have been developed into various heights and some hot colors that will put some punch in your mid-summer perennial doldrums.
A visit to Santa Barbara, California brought Skip to Lotusland and a look at an amazing series of gardens that was developed by a famous opera singer. Over the years a collection of over 3,000 plants from throughout the world have been assembled in a beautiful setting of 25 separate gardens. Many of the garden residents are rare and unusual, and some are even protected by international treaties, making this southern California stop a real treat in itself.
One of the hottest trends in houseplants or patio pots is a widely mixed variety of succulents. From tiny miniatures to super shrub sizes, these plants are fun to look at and to grow. Akin to camels in that they can carry enough water to survive hot, dry locales, succulents can be a thorny cactus, a smooth and silky aloe or just about anything in between.
Thank goodness for gadgets because how else would we ever get things done? Things like cherry pitting for example must have driven Simple Simon's Pie Man to distraction. But then he probably was never lucky enough to find a dandy little gadget called the
Kernomat der “schnelle” Doppelentkerner. Ah, the joys of modern living live on in today's Growing on the High Plains.
On a recent trip to Philadelphia Skip explored a treasure trove of local food, fresh produce, and other special items just made for those who love farms and gardens and what they grow. A historical setting that once served the Eastern U.S. as a huge train station has now become a huge market for all things tasty and tasteful.
Skip talks with Matt Lutz and Don Lonnberg about lawns.
On this final visit about xeriscaping, we'll look at lawns (or the lack of them) in many dry-weather landscape designs. Believe it or not, there are grasses that can give you a lawn for less water, and that fit in with the look of a xeriscape garden.
Techniques that make every drop of water count in your xeriscape beds include how much, how often, and how to apply that gardener's liquid gold. The importance of soil preparation is also discussed this week.
This week begins a series about xeriscaping. Sometimes our growing conditions leave us feeling as if we’re living in the desert. Today, Skip will teach us what kind of landscaping thrives in heat without much water.