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.
This week GHP looks at the best way to insure success with shade trees, starting at the very beginning with good ideas on planting. We've turned to Master Gardener and long-time tree grower Shirley Buller to line up some simple tips and techniques to get your trees started down the right road to a long, healthy, and shady life.
If you're looking for ways to cut energy costs in your home or business, don't just look inside. Turn your gaze outside and consider planting some shade trees to help cool your abode in summer and keep it protected and filled with the warmth of natural sunlight in winter.
Last week Skip told you about the efforts to attract great horned owls to her home, and the enjoyment watching these wonderful birds gives her. This week, she shares owl facts, separating fact from fallacy.
If you'd like to learn how to build a nesting platform for these magnificent birds, or if you'd like to see the family residence at Skip's, simply drop her an email using this link.
Years ago the resident architect joined up with the family environmental engineer to create a very special abode. They spent the weekend fashioning a nesting platform for great horned owls, in hopes of providing the perfect honeymoon cottage for the pair that spent the previous year in the shelterbelt. Ollie and Big Owlberta moved in and set up house. Their struggle to survive in this sometimes brutal land has taken the architect and the engineer on a rollercoaster ride of joy, grief, and worry.
Our final visit to Beaver Creek Ranch and Full Circle Aquaponics takes us on a tour of the site, with a look at the animal residents and a discussion with Alice Hill about future hopes, plans, and goals.
Skip continues the conversation with Alice Hill about gardening for all seasons.
This week we'll look at another aspect of the full circle farming concept utilized at Beaver Creek Farms and Full Circle Aquaponics, as host Alice Hill takes me through her year-round greenhouse structures. The high tunnel and the hoop house both provide protected areas that, with proper planting and mulching methods help provide fresh vegetables throughout much of the winter.
Skip talks with Alice Hill about Full Circle Aquaponics.
This week we begin a four-part series about the importance of expanding local food production and teaching people to learn to feed themselves whenever possible. We'll start by visiting Beaver Creek Ranch in Rawlins County, Kansas. This agritourism business operated by Jeff and Alice Hill includes a hunting lodge, a full-service family farm complete with fruit and vegetable gardens, poultry, beef and pork production, organic hard red winter wheat production, and a demonstration site for a system called Full Circle Aquaponics. The day I arrived the place was really humming, thanks to the bee hives that provide pollination and honey. Join us as we visit a fascinating place.
A trip to the county extension office for a botanical diagnosis of a sickly tree branch paid off with reassurance that all was well. While I was there I was also served up a refresher course in wise watering practices for our consistently dry and thirsty area. We reviewed some things I knew about, but am sometimes lax in following. And I learned a thing or two about making every precious drop of moisture count, even when rainfall is skimpy.
After a month of love in the form of hearts and roses, we'll take a final look at a plant that is actually a noxious weed. But it's long been a part of my botanical background, having been introduced to me by my hill-country grandmother, a woman who planted by the signs and believed there was power in both the light and the dark of the moon. Today we'll look at loveweed, an ages old method of finding true love long before internet dating sites.
What better way to celebrate the month of love than to turn our attention to a rose that never needs watering, weeding or feeding. We'll look at the scientific makeup of a geological rose from Oklahoma, and then visit the heart-breaking Cherokee legend that gave the botanical name to these unusual rose rock formations.
When planting season arrives this year, give yourself a belated valentine by adding dicentra spectabilis to your perennial bed. The common name of 'bleeding heart' makes it a perfect love note, with the tiny pink or white hearts hanging from the stems, like a heart-shaped necklace. Today our GHP story starts with an answer to the Shakespearean question, 'What's in a name?' as we look at the history of this valentine plant, and then we'll turn our attention to growing these beauties in a shady nook, something not easily found on our sunny High Plains.
We'll start out our valentine month with a look at an annual flower with an old-fashioned look and the great common name of Love-In-A-Mist. I think the name fits nicely, as from a distance a mass planting of these blue, white, pink or purple flowers can look like they're floating above the ground. The fern-like foliage adds to its buoyancy, and the whole image goes well in containers or hanging baskets.
Our final look at plants that are a part of aromatherapy involves a discussion of several scented herbs and a deciduous shrub that grows successfully in the HPPR broadcast area. All of these plants provide the aroma of citrus fruits and are being used in treatments for several ailments, especially those involving depression, anxiety or the mental confusion of Alzheimer's disease. Lemon balm, lemon verbena or lemon scented thyme and basil can be grown in an herb garden. The white blossoms of mock orange shrubs can provide the scent of oranges and can serve as an accent plant or a privacy screen in landscaping plans.
Rosemary is one of the most versatile herbs as it plays roles in the kitchen, bath, or medicine chest. The tangy scent and fresh green needles give the smell and appearance of evergreens. It has proven itself to have antibacterial properties and has been used to fight diseases from medieval times to the present day. It has a colorful history, being a part of both ancient Greek mythology and the background of Christianity. This tender perennial can grow on the High Plains, but it needs protection from winter weather.
Lavender is perhaps the most popular aromatic herb, and has a long history of being used as a part of soaps and bathwater, even as far back as the ancient Greek and Roman civilizations. Amid the numerous types of this sweet-smelling herb, some of the most popular have taken geographic names. English lavender is the most common, followed by Spanish and French lavenders. Though a tender perennial, this fragrant herb can be very successful in High Plains gardens if some care is given to protect it from winter freezes.
Today we'll look at the therapeutic properties of scent and the results of recent studies in the treatment of some major diseases. Practiced since ancient times, aromatherapy is currently being used with patients suffering from stress, headaches, inflammation, sleep disorders, indigestion, heart conditions and Alzheimer's disease! Our Good Scents series will look at some specific plants that can work to help create a 'healing garden' , a windowbox, or patio pot.
We'll kick off the new year with a look at a tradition that grew from the traffic of slave ships to the farmlands of the American South. Whatever you call them -- black-eyes, crowders, cream peas or purple hulls, these legumes have long been a basic element of survival. Thought to be a symbol of good luck in the future, they could definitely bring you the wealth of good health, as they are nutritious and delicious dished up on a New Year's Day.