Growing on the High Plains

Airs Thursdays at 10:30 am CT and Saturdays at 8:35 am CT

Years ago Skip Mancini left the rocky coast of Northern California to return to her roots in the heartland. Her San Francisco friends, concerned over her decision to live in a desolate flatland best known for a Hollywood tornado, were afraid she would wither and die on the vine. With pioneer spirit Skip planted a garden, and began to learn about growing not only flowers and vegetables, but hearts and minds. If you agree that the prairie is a special place, we think you'll enjoy her weekly sojourns into Growing on the High Plains. 

Contact Skip Mancini about the program. 

Pages

Growing on the High Plains Episode
12:48 pm
Thu April 4, 2013

Lavender

This week we'll look at one of the oldest and most loved plants in the herb garden.  The numerous types of lavender are often named for their country of origin, with Spanish, French, and English lavenders among the top competitors in any popularity contest.  Originally used for medicinal purposes, it is now listed as the top aromatic herb around the globe.

Growing on the High Plains Episode
8:01 pm
Wed March 27, 2013

Spanish Moss a.k.a Gray Beard

A trip from the High Plains to the Coastal Plains of South Carolina brought Skip lots of new gardening images and ideas.  One of the most interesting botanical finds was Spanish moss, a wispy airplant  with an unusual history.  This week Growing on the High Plains will take a look at an area of the country that is as botanically different from the flatlands of Kansas as day is different from night.

Read more
Growing on the High Plains Episode
8:01 pm
Wed March 20, 2013

Well Read Garden

The newscasts seem full of stories about the death of newsprint, and newsprint's replacement by technology.  There seems to be fewer and fewer of us who carry the genes of string-savers of the Great Depression- those who love the way the paper feels between our fingers, and the way the pages sound as we turn them.  There's a steady flow of the electronic version of the town crier- folks on little screens who type, text, or shout, gossip, advertising, facts, figures, and advertisements, even when we don't want them.

Read more
Growing on the High Plains Episode
8:01 pm
Wed March 6, 2013

Lord's Candles

The desert yucca plan was designated as the state flower of New Mexico in 1927.  It was chosen by the school children of the state,  then recommended by the New Mexico Federation of Women's Clubs.

Read more
Growing on the High Plains Episode
8:01 pm
Wed February 27, 2013

Oklahoma's Creative Compromise

Controversy over the icons of the state of Oklahoma were not limited to the state tree.  In 1893, fourteen years before statehood, Mistletoe was adopted as the territory's flower.  Although, tiny and short-lived, the evergreen leaves and glossy white berries made it a favorite of settlers.  The issue some folks couldn't seem to get around was that mistletoe is a parasite.

Read more
Growing on the High Plains Episode
8:01 pm
Wed February 20, 2013

Setting the Record Straight for Goldenrod

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. 

Read more
Growing on the High Plains Episode
8:01 pm
Wed February 13, 2013

I'll Miss Fields of Gold

Sometime back I talked about our return to dryland farming.  One of the things I will miss with this change is being surrounded by fields of gold.  Some days, I would journey into the fields to be surrounded by eye-level orbs of sunlight.  I would stand quietly waiting for the sound of munchkins following the yellow brick road.  At the end of the growing season, I have been known to emerge with an arm full of heavy heads to hang in the evergreens to provide a feast for winter residents. 

Read more
Growing on the High Plains Episode
8:01 pm
Wed February 6, 2013

Blue is the Sky, White the Snow, and Yellow the Gold

The Rocky Mountain Columbine was discovered by mountain climber, Edwin James,  ascending Pike's Peak in 1820.  It was officially names the state flower of Colorado in 1899.  Rocky Mountain columbine (Columbine Aquilegia Caerulea) is a beautiful flower with a rich aroma that attracts bees, hummingbirds and butterflies to it's nectar.

Read more
Growing on the High Plains Episode
8:01 pm
Wed January 30, 2013

The 70 Year Bluebonnet War

The history of  the state of Texas is expansive and colorful.  It's boundaries have fluctuated.  It's flown six different flags.  It's background is steeped in tales of battles and wars, including the war with Mexico, the Civil War,  and many Indian battles that include the Red River War, but until recently, I was unaware of a battle that was waged for 70 years. 

Read more
Growing on the High Plains Episode
8:01 pm
Wed January 23, 2013

Pioneer Tree of Life

Can you imagine walking across an endless sea of grass?  Maybe your journey started along the Santa Fe Trail from a tree-lined river bank of the Ohio Valley, the forests of the Appalachian mountains, or the sugar maple groves of New England, and now you face a gale of hot, dry wind.  You think you must be on the edge of hell.. until... up ahead you see a shimmer of hope... a cottonwood tree.  

Read more
Growing on the High Plains Episode
8:01 pm
Wed January 16, 2013

The Redbud Adds Color and Beauty

One of the earliest trees to bloom in the spring is the redbud.  This favorite ornamental rarely reaches heights of greater than 20 feet.  The redbud comes in three color varieties: white, red, and purple.  They are self-pollinating and a fast grower, but that also means they have a shorter lifespan.  The redbud is a member of the legumes- their seed pods and flowers are edible.  They are forgiving of soil types, growing best in moist, well-drained sites.

Read more
Growing on the High Plains Episode
12:40 pm
Thu January 3, 2013

Pecan Memories

Perhaps no plant is more a part of my early childhood than a pecan tree.  It brings to mind several family photos in my memory book.  The first image is playing under a huge shade tree on a quilt pallet, while the older folks in my family shook the tree and picked up the nuts that fell.   They were rewarded with a share of the harvest and a small wage.  The second picture is of the whole family gathered around the kitchen table, the room lit by an oil lantern, and we all would work together to separate the meat from the shell.  For me, it wasn't really work because we were entertained by stories and songs.  The third picture is of an annual Christmas gift- a bag of shelled pecans sent by my cousin who still owns a native grove.

Read more
Growing on the High Plains Episode
8:01 pm
Wed December 26, 2012

Christmas Tree Redux

Why not end the holiday season with the three R's?  Today, we'll look at ways to renew, reuse, or recycle that Christmas tree you thought was trash, but just might turn out to be a treasure.

Growing on the High Plains Episode
8:01 pm
Wed December 19, 2012

Topping Out

During the holiday season a look toward the sky could catch a glimpse of a snowflake or two, or even a miniature sleigh and eight tiny reindeers.  At construction sites it could also yield the sight of a Christmas tree high atop a roof beam.  Today we'll look back in history and spend some time in the great north woods part of the world to find our Growing On The High Plains topic.

Growing on the High Plains Episode
8:01 pm
Wed December 12, 2012

High Plains Holiday

As she reflects over Christmas past, Skip Mancini recalls how "Christmas" and "white" rarely happen at the same time. 

Read more
Growing on the High Plains Episode
11:44 am
Fri December 7, 2012

Oh By Gosh By Golly

It's time for mistletoe and holly, but here on the High Plains, the only place you are likely to see this traditional holiday plant is on cards and wrapping paper.

Read more
Growing on the High Plains Episode
8:00 pm
Wed November 28, 2012

Fall Color

In an area of the country that is often thought to be lacking in autumn color, we can provide splashes of bright contrasts if we put some thought into landscaping plans.

Read more
Growing on the High Plains Episode
8:01 pm
Wed November 21, 2012

Thanksgiving Thankful List

Our annual look back at the past gardening year brings some disappointments directly linked to a hard weather year. 

Read more
Growing on the High Plains Episode
8:01 pm
Wed November 14, 2012

Who'll Save the Rain?

No doubt about it -- wise water use is a critical issue for the planet, and especially for those of us who live in the plains states of the U.S. 

Read more
Growing on the High Plains Episode
8:01 pm
Wed November 7, 2012

High Plains Food Bank Practices Water Conservation

Justin hard at work. See the green rain collectors against the building?

Today we'll make our final visit to Amarillo and the High Plains Food Bank, where we'll be investigating the task of watering the large plot that provides food for so many in the Texas Panhandle. 

Read more
HPPR
8:01 pm
Wed October 31, 2012

Volunteers at High Plains Food Bank Come in All Shapes and Sizes

Cara and Justin Young, Skip Mancini, stand with one of the weed control workers in the garden.
Credit Vincent Mancini

We'll continue our visit at the High Plains Food Bank in Amarillo by doing a walk-through of the garden with Cara Young. 

Read more
Growing on the High Plains Episode
8:01 pm
Wed October 24, 2012

Skip Visits High Plains Food Bank in Amarillo

Volunteer Day at the Food Bank

This week Growing on the High Plains will begin a series about a great garden place in Amarillo that produces food for those who need it.  We'll meet Cara and Justin Young, two energetic young people who are helping to bring community efforts, nutrition know-how, and garden harvests to hundreds of adults and children in the Texas Panhandle.

Growing on the High Plains Episode
8:01 pm
Wed October 17, 2012

Money Plant

Money Plant

During the continuation of our fall fund drive, we'll talk about an old fashioned plant from the cutting garden that produces coins of the gardening realm. Lunaria flowers with thin, silvery circles that look like shiny nickel.

Growing on the High Plains Episode
8:01 pm
Wed October 10, 2012

Little Blue Flower Seed Remembrance

Last June Skip presented a special Growing on the High Plains visit about her father and his gift of larkspur seed that has become a reliable reminder of him and his love of gardening.  During our fall fund drive week we'll repeat that show, and Skip will offer her own special gift to HPPR listeners.  Call 1-800-678-7444 for more details.

Growing on the High Plains Episode
9:48 am
Fri October 5, 2012

Perennial Division is a Gardening Budget Bonus

If your gardening budget is drooping, you can give it a transfusion by digging into your perennial bed.  This week's Growing on the High Plains gives all the basics for dividing many spring blooming plants that may have overgrown their space or become old and tired.  If you don't have an excess of perennials, perhaps you can offer to clear out and replant a neighbor's garden in exchange for some 'take home' cartons.  Fall is a great time to reorganize garden spaces and find that 'everything old is new again'.

Growing on the High Plains Episode
8:01 pm
Wed September 26, 2012

Sandhill Plums are a Jelly Favorite

This wonderful native shrub has a deeply history, as it provided a rare and welcome fruit for North American Indian tribes as well as early day settlers.  The roots of this manna of the plains literally run deep, searching out subsoil moisture and giving the little shrubs an ability to survive our infamous prairie winds.  Today the scarlet fruits are still a favorite for jelly, and are the basis for providing a product for many small-scale  local businesses on the High Plains.

Growing on the High Plains Episode
6:30 am
Thu September 20, 2012

Gooseberries. You hate 'em or you love 'em

These little green orbs are kissin' cousins to the currant, and like their relatives they can be welcomed or reviled in the U.S.  They make great pies, jellies, jams, and sauces for the table, but they can also transport a destructive fungus called 'white pine blister rust'.  If your locale doesn't feature white pines then gooseberry bushes might make a good berry bramble for you, especially if you like your sweets a little on the tart side. 

Growing on the High Plains Episode
6:30 am
Thu September 13, 2012

Jenny Lind Melon Celebrates Long History

A heritage melon with a history of over one hundred and fifty years is our GHP subject for this week.  Named for a famous Swedish musical celebrity that toured the U.S. in 1850 via P.T. Barnum's Greatest Show on Earth, the Jenny Lind melon became wildly popular.  This melon displays many of the qualities of its namesake, including sweetness and a small dainty size, and thus was perfect for growing in a backyard garden.  Today this heritage fruit is still popular, and easy to grow and serve.

Growing on the High Plains Episode
8:00 pm
Wed September 5, 2012

Peaches on the High Plains?

These sweet treats can be grown throughout the HPPR broadcast area, although the further north they bloom the more likely they will encounter some late freezes that will nip the year's crop in the bud.  But the smell and taste of home grown peaches makes it worth the gamble, and the trees will actually live a longer and more 'fruitful' life if they have occasional barren years for resting and restoring.  The trail of the peach begins in China thousands of years ago.  The flavorful fruit was introduced to our shores by the Spanish explorers.

Read more
Growing on the High Plains episode
6:30 am
Thu August 30, 2012

B-List Bees

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.

Pages