I love Oklahoma wildflowers. These are my two favorites. Please share pix of your favorites.
No. 1=Echinacea "Pallida"
No. 2=Clammyweed (cousin to annual Cleome)
......and would that be Echinacea pallida????????? Heehee!
I love Clammyweed (Polanisia dodecandra) and am finally growing some this year.
Great photos BTW!
Good to hear from you, again! Did you dig or seed your Clammyweed? I scattered seed from one of my son's plants. We found it on a country road several years ago, growing roadside in concrete soil and no water anywhere. We dug it and transplanted it to one of his beds. Surprisingly, it survived, and the rest is history. As you know it re-seeds prolifically. I don't have a lot of luck transplanting wildflowers, so have come to the conclusion that they hate being moved and seed gathering is much better.
Am beginning to see more butterflies now, which surprises me because my Liatris, Echinacea and Gaillardia is already going to seed. Everything bloomed early this year and is going to seed early. Strange, strange gardening year!
My Asclepias in the pot is acting strange. It tries to bloom, but the buds fall off before they open. It is in excellent soil and watered regularly. The funny thing is that some of the seed which I planted in one of my mostly clay beds looks great, not blooming yet, as I planted it later, but really looks healthy. Any answers?
Hope all is going well with you. Great suggestions for Pat. She is a CA transplant and is having to adapt to our spastic environment.
Jeanie (Pallida, yep)
Here are some wildflowers I have pictures of. Not necessarily my favorites, but that's what I had.
Thank you for the pix. The flowers are very pretty, and I love your " critters"! Does the cat ALWAYS lay in your flower pots? HA. So cute.
these are very beautiful. Thanks for posting the pics!
I don't have a photo, or can't find the ones I have, but my favorite is Indian paintbrush. A couple of years ago it was spectacular; well over knee-high. This year I don't think there was any of it in bloom in the pasture at all.
Jeanie, was it you who mentioned having success with poppies? Did you mean the fancy Oriental ones, the little CA variety, or what? I would love to have poppies!
I love Colorado Blue Columbine. I think it's probably a little too hot to grow it here in AZ, although I've heard it might work.
Maybe because I grew up in Boulder and its the state flower?
I also love bluebells.
Agree on toughness of Mahonia, although think it might appreciate a little shade.
Astilbe, Columbine, Bleeding Heart, Hellebore would need shade.
No. I did not recommend Oriental Poppies. Too hot. My experience with them was a total failure. California Poppies are annuals here.
I, too, love Indian Paintbrush, but you cannot transplant it, as it has a very deep taproot. I had a few on my property this year, but did not last long. I think they would need to be started from seed.
Two SW natives that would look great together are Berlandiera (chocolate flower) and Callirhoe (wine cups).
I am the one who suggested Brugmansia, although kind of borderline, depending on variety.
Just thought of another shrub you might enjoy, the Pomegranate
Everything I grow is wild stuff from Texas, Oklahoma or New Mexico. Its often stickery too. I think they are all my favorites. Most have naturalized and are very drought hardy, cold hardy and require no additional water outside of rainfall.
White Winecups, Antelope butterfly weed.
Wild Pink Snapdragon, Pineleaf Penstemon
Calylophus, Wild Pink Snapdragon, Desert Marigold.
Paper Flower, Shrubby Skullcap, Pink Prairie Clover, Desert Marigold
Mountain Pinks, Purple Winecups
Prince's Plume, Missouri Primrose, Desert Marigold
Desert Marigolds, Flameflower, Thelosperma (will grow in sidewalk cracks)
Bitterweed or Parellenna (sp?) Cute tiny plants that smell like turpentine about 4" tight little bouquets all summer. Will grow in sidewalk cracks.
Standing Cypress Tall stalk with bright red flowers, biennial.
Flameflower growing in cracks in pavement. Extremely drought hardy perennial succulent.
Thanks for the great pix, gals.
Tigerdawn, is that the old wild Prickly Pear cactus bloom? Wow. The different cacti blooms see SO pretty, almost as if they are apologizing for their thorns.
Cactusgarden, love your xeric landscape. Beautiful! Did you order a lot of your plants from places like Highcountry Gardens? Great, great variety!
Pallida- that cactus was at the Little River Zoo in Norman several years ago when I worked there. I have a larger paddled variety at home and the flowers are solid yellow. Still pretty, but I'd like some of the wild variety too.
Cactusgarden- wow! Just gorgeous! How many of these grow well from seed? I'd pay for some seed!
Cactus, your garden is simply gorgeous! I agree with Dawn. WOW!! What a treat to see the photos. Thanks for posting them.
I have a big patch of primrose also and have let it run to fill in some areas. I'm sure I'll need to control it before long, but it's doing a great job where it is. I tried moving some of the plants to a sunny and pretty dry patch this spring, hoping they would work, but they curled up and died.
I tried some winecups but didn't have any success with them. Possibly the fact that my daughter yanked them up from a construction site and brought them home to me had something to do with that. The roots looked pretty good, but the plants died. Can they be started from seed?
The prickly pear that we rescued a few years ago seems to be happy wherever we put it, and it has produced some really large and lovely blossoms, and the hen-and-chicks has gotten really big with no care at all.
I tried seeding poppies, but nothing sprouted. Has anyone tried them and had any luck? I'd love to have some of the CA natives as well as the big Orientals.
I grew most of that stuff from seed I got from Plants of the Southwest. The desert marigolds and flameflowers come up like dandelions all over my property now. I also have some large SW shrubs I grew from seeds that I also ordered from there. They used to be $2.50/per pack. Now they are $3.00. Free Shipping. These two are very easy from seed and can be direct sown. The flameflowers are perennials with a kind of bulb (same family as rosemoss and they reseed like rosemoss). They are so drought hardy you can pull them out of the ground and they will bloom for days sitting in a bucket like they don't even know they've been pulled. They both bloom from spring on and the desert marigolds come up in winter and bloom until November so they bloom even longer still. Only thing is they hate water. You need good drainage.
I grew all these from seed I got there and they are now mature shrubs which have done very good here in Oklahoma:
Chamisa (Rubber Rabbit Brush)
I wintersow a lot too. I did the purple winecups, penstemon, hairy golden aster, Damianitia, Spanish Broom, Fringed Sage, native grasses and others. Thats how I get through winter.
The cactus and hardy agaves were trades made on Gardenweb and some I ordered from Kelly Grummons online at Cold Hardy Cactus in Colorado and I got some at the Annual Cactus sale here in OKC at Will Rogers Park they have each June.
The only thing I've ordered from High Country Gardens is 4 of those giant sacaton grasses and 4 muhly grass plants last fall. They are nice but a bit pricey for my budget. Seeds are cheaper and I like doing seeds.
Cactus, that's great. It's one I had not heard of yet, so I'll definitely look them up. Like you, I like to start things from seed whenever possible, but I sure didn't have any luck with direct seeding this year.
I'm sure you can answer a question I have, and from your photos, it looks like you already did. We transplanted a bunch of this stuff that was growing wild, in a construction zone where it was going to be destroyed. Since a lot of the plant materials here are new to me, I thought it was oenothera (primrose). However, I see that you are calling it Wine Cups, so I'm clearly mistaken.
Pardon the photo of my scruffy spring garden before any weeding was done.
We found another wild plant with a different growth habit, larger and more substance, that also had a darker wine-colored blossom of similar shape. It had a heavy, thick taproot structure but did not seem to transplant well. I don't have any photos. Does it bring anything specific to mind?
Redding, No you were right in the first place. Thats Mexican Evening Primrose and they are light pink and they open at night. The Purple winecups are Callirhoe involucrata and are those ones you always see growing in waste spots along highways and such. There's white and purple ones. Both of these bloom heavily early in the year and then the Winecups get rather dry and ratty looking later on. I just trim them back. If its a wet year, they can bloom all summer.
The Primrose just dies back in winter. Its recommended for hot slopes and my catalog says "even in parking strips". I had to get rid of it because of limited space and it was too rampant. A good quality for your purposes however, I would think. It took me a time to finally eradicate it because every piece of root (that breaks easily by the way) will make a new plant.
There is a plant called Bush Morning Glory. It grows in sand so I don't know if that would be the plant you are describing? It has a very large taproot (large like it will get gargantuan) and has willow type leaves. Large purple flowers that are trumpet shaped. Very pretty, dies completely back in winter. If you have some deep sand, it would be a good one.
Another, which I think you would have real good luck with is Mirabilis multiflora, Desert Four O'Clock. Look this one up!! I think you will like it since you said you are partial to long blooming plants. Plants of the Southwest carries seed for both. Check out on line and google some photos of some plantings using it. Thinking about it, I know you will like this one. Very xeriscape plant. 2ft tall by 4ft wide. I think you need a dozen or more.
None of that long taproot stuff will transplant. I haven't ever had luck doing that except with a liatris. The taproot is your best friend however in this drough situation. Its how they cope and they are prepared for such exigencies. Don't you love that snooty word? I heard that once in regular conversation and nearly swallowed and choked on my gum.
The Mexican Feather Grass is not something you need to avoid necessarily. It doesn't take over my yard or anything close to that like the craPgrass you are dealing with. I just sends up a lot of grasses in the area it is occupying. Just bag that fluff in mid summer and stuff a couple pillows with it. It sort of just clumps up in globs around the plants, looks like cotton candy, and then the seeds drill into the soil (the ones not wrapped in the big clumps that is) It would be a stunning element in that strip you are describing. Nothing else comes close to capturing the light.
I would highly recommend Hesperaloe. Now there is one that has a tall deep reddish pink bloom on a red spike that lasts all season long! Good contrast with the Mexican Feather Grass. I saw a hot median and all that was in it were these two FABULOUS AND I RATED IT A TEN on a scale of one to ten. The concrete will serve as a barrier to keep your grass seeds from escaping because they will glob up along the edges, getting caught there. I never notice them flying in the air.
Thanks, Janet. I've noticed that the primroses are always closed up by the middle of the day. Now you've given me a couple of really interesting things to research. That's exciting! With this terrific garden forum, I can at least feel that I may be accomplishing something and learning the ropes of gardening in OK when it's way too hot to be outside during the day. Between your suggestions and the book that should be in at the library any day, it's giving me some incentive to begin revamping and planning for next year.
I didn't know that about the plants with the big taproot. It's something to keep in mind, and we won't try to go out and dig any more of them up. These little guys have a fairly fine, shallow root system that's even trying to inch out onto the driveway along the dusty edges.
Maybe I can order the seeds for the big wine cups from that great web site you recommended.
Has anyone tried growing CA poppies here? I tried seeding Orientals and had no luck at all. Also in dry areas of the west I've seen big stands of bachelor buttons growing wild. I don't think I'd put them in my flower border, but they might be fun for an ungroomed area. They seem to live with no care at all.
I noticed that, somewhere along the line, someone commented about the big lilies that grow wild in the ditches along the road. Can anyone elaborate about those? They remind me very much of the Columbia lily that grows in the Pacific Coast mountains. Are they protected? Is there any point in trying to dig some up and transplant them? Is it illegal? Do they spread? Help?
I just went out to tend the feeders in the big willow that's my bird tree. I have 5 different feeders hanging from it, along with the water dish, and usually it provides summer shelter for the birds. Not this year. It's almost entirely defoliated, in spite of the fact that it gets all the water from the washing machine drain. (Life in the country, don't you know?)
I hope it manages to stay alive, but it has very few leaves left. It isn't looking very promising. The corkscrew willow is in much better shape. It's years younger, and maybe it's sending its roots over to catch what it can from the veggie garden water.
Redding, I looked up that question about digging in the wild before a trip to NM a few years back. The sides of the road are considered public domain and its not illegal as long as its not a restricted area or Gov. reserve or something like that. That includes rocks, plants etc. Anything past the right of way is probably private land or property.
If anyone else has conflicting information, its welcome because thats just what I read and I'd hate giving bad advice on a thing like that.
A plant that has a long tap root can be dug up easily when its a baby, like in spring.
Sometimes you just need enough root on some plants you try to collect from the wild.
If its a yucca, cactus cutting, agave or something of that nature, you have to let it heal over and form a skin for a few days in the shade, a fresh cut or broken root will rot in the ground.
There are many coping mechanism plants use. One of them is dropping leaves. It takes the stress off the plant and doesn't mean its dying or doing something abnormal. Don't worry if you are seeing a lot of leaf drop, thats normal.
Another mechanism is very small leaves. Tiny leaves are usually what you will see on plants native to a dryer, desert area as a way of conserving moisture. Many desert plants have developed this over time. Fuzzy leaves and grey plants are usually drought tolerant and the fuzz protects from evaporation and heat. These are the ones I love and try to concentrate on because I like the looks of them. They are usually successful in hot summers.
Smooth edges on leaves of trees is always a Southern, warm climate characteristic and ragged edged leaves is a northern, cold climate characteristic. You can usually tell where a tree originates by this, up north or down south. I read that recently and found it interesting.
Shallow watering and over watering, trying to get a lot of fast, lush growth is a bad thing for many plants, especially in a dry area or season. What you want is for the plant to avoid this excess lush growth and seek water deeper down staying lean on top. That is usually a healthier plant, less prone to disease with more compact growth that can take on the heat and dry much better because the roots have gone down further searching deeper for water and it doesn't have to support all that excess stuff above ground. If you do over water in spring or have a wet spring, you usually get rewarded with wilting plants in summer. The extra growth you enjoy in the cooler days gets very costly as the season progresses and the roots are up there close to the top where they have been getting all that free water. I always think of it as "spoiling them rotten" and then they just wilt when summer sets in and you get on the daily watering treadmill and have this frantic need to water from seeing wilted plants every time you look out the window no matter how much you watered them.
Some of the native grasses (before the Dust bowl and all that plowing we did) had roots that went down as far as 25 feet. I read that in "The Worst Hard Time". Very sad what we did to the soil here.
California poppies do fine here but it just a spring event. They are early annuals but they do naturalize. All the poppies I have tried have done very well here.
I have no idea about that lily. There not too many rules on protected plants here in Oklahoma. Unless its a Jimsomweed or Datura? Those have giant white flowers and are like lily flowers sort of. The leaves and stems smell terrible and they are big plants and dark green. They get really nasty looking seed pods (nasty like when little girls say "ooh thats nasty") on them that have spikes and these then explode and shoot seeds out everywhere. Bees go berzerk every evening trying to get into the flowers and its kind of creepy to me + the sweet smell is too strong and sickening. Some people love them. I don't.
Hi Cactus, and thanks.
The lily I'm talking about is a deep yellow-orange and looks similar to a wild tiger lily. It's neither jimsonweed or Datura. Maybe I can photograph some of them that are in bloom now. There are actually some of the big commercial lilies that also have a terrible stink to them. A friend of mine warned me NOT to plant them in a woodland garden. Beautiful to look at, but only if you're upwind from them. For right now, you've given me some good ideas of things I should be able to get started. The hesperaloe is a winner for sure! I've seen it growing in a commercial landscape in Tecumseh and always wanted to find out what it is. Now I know. I'm thrilled that it tends to stay green year round. I just need to find someone who sells them. Have you ever dealt with a company named Natives of Texas? I see that they list it, but no size, price, or other info on it.
Oh, I see that High Country Gardens also carries it.
I also really like the mirabilis multiflora. I'll definitely include it in a seed order. I have a perfect spot for it in some sandy soil that doesn't get any water. I need to move the iris out of there anyway. Do you happen to know how fast it grows or spreads out to full width?
I was very interested to learn about letting a heavy broken yucca root heal over before planting it. I'd never heard that before, but it certainly makes sense that they'd rot if they don't have a chance to begin a callus over the break. I also didn't know the thing about the leaf edges. Interesting.
I'm glad to hear that you don't think my willow is dying. I know that some of the other big plants have leaves that are much smaller than usual this year, and more sparse, but the tree is shocking with no leaves at all. The birds are enjoying the water dish just the same. I'll just have to be sure it doesn't get too hot, being in the sun like it is, and keep it filled.
Pat and Cactusgarden:
Callirhoe can get quite a hefty root on it, also, as I discovered this Spring when cleaning up one of my beds. My Hemerocallis-eating deer also loves the Callirhoe and keeps it nibbled back.
Thank goodness my wild Willow is all right, if losing leaves is a defense mechanism.
The "ditch lily" is the old original orange daylily which is, probably, the
grandmother of all the hybrid daylilies of today. I don't know that for a fact,
but it has been around for many years. Every now and then, you will see them growing alongside an old country road or around old abandoned farmhouses that, I would assume, some little pioneer lady set out. They root very easily and spread by their root system. They are June bloomers, in a normal year.
Periwinkle, Celosia, Cleome. Larkspur, Cosmos, Gomphrena, Nicotiana, Pelargonium, Petunias, Portulaca, Zinnias are all sun-loving annuals that
should do well in a normal year.
As I keep repeating, in a NORMAL year!
Lots of us have plenty of extra orange daylilies.
Here's a picture of my datura. This is the day following the biggest show so far this year. The leaves do smell funny but I like the flower fragrance.
The pictures are great. I have so much to do to transform my native plantings into a garden.
Tiger, that datura looks good. I think the drought helps on this one.
I had them in a wet year and they got so top heavy they kept splitting open and looked like Triffids after a while. Thats what started my love affair. Making the effect even nicer, every evening there was this bee buzzing thing which I could only describe as nerve wracking hysterical greed as they kept bombarding the flowers in buzzing anger because they hadn't opened yet. I had it right in a spot where the damp air in evening wafted that heavy perfume, that got worse by the day, like someone had spilled an Estee Lauder bottle, all the while bees buzzing drunkenly and angrily the entire time. After seeing the disgusting seed pods and that other rank smell of the broken branches I finally decided the plant and I were no longer friends.
The next year, I had a hundred or more of them sprout.
I see them on the side of the road and they look nice there and so does yours.
I think the trick is: Don't ever plant one in rich moist soil and you might want to pull off the seedpods before they explode.
Thanks, Jeanie, for the info on the lilies. I see them blooming in the ditches around here. As long as they don't belong to anyone, can I assume no-one would mind if I dug up a couple of them? I figured they must have escaped from an old farm planting at one time. It's amazing how things can continue on like that, isn't it. I once discovered an ancient apple tree that was growing out of a crack in a nearly solid slab of enormous rock in a deserted canyon in Colorado. Someone at some time must have lived around there, in that really rugged country. Or maybe someone dropped an apple core down in there 50 years ago. The poor tree only had one limb that was still alive, but that limb was in full bloom. Incredible.
On to more wildflowers. Has anyone tried to grow Zauchneria (hummingbird trumpet) here? I tried putting in a fuchsia magellanica that is supposed to be hardy, and of course it promptly died. This particular zauchneria is native to AZ and is a showy thing with long tubular blossoms red-orange that look much like a red fuchsia, but it's heat and drought tolerant and has also survived in CO. It's hardy to z5. The info says it will thrive in areas that would fry anything else. Does anyone know anything more about it? Any success or failures with it? If no-one knows, then I may give it a try and see if it will work.
I'm quite sure no-one cares if you dig a few "ditch lilies". I've transplanted these things in the dead heat of Summer, and they survived.
Googled your Hummingbird Trumpet, and noticed High Plains Gardens carries it and suggests you plant it in the Spring to give time for root establishment. It is very pretty, and pleased to see it is a shrub and not like the orange-red trumpet vine that grows on telephone poles around here. Talk about taking over the world!
More days and days of triple-diget temps. coming up. Take care of yourself and don't stay outside too long. I can't take the heat as well as I could when young..........
Be sure you check the drainage requirements on the native plants you're wanting to plant. My experience with many of them has been that they much prefer well-draining sand, of which I have only a very small amount, and don't like the slowly-draining clay at all. So, for me, native xeric plants that survive in sandy soil in all kinds of heat do not tolerate my clay soil for more than a couple of months. It is the soil, not the heat, that gets them and it gets them every time. Even a lot of the native prairie plants on our property that are very heat tolerant in an average to very hot year will die in a wet year, and then I have to wait another year to see where they'll come back or if they'll come back at all.
Jeanie and Dawn, thanks for the good tips. I fully agree that working out in the heat is not anything that I can do any more. Ah, for those long ago and far away days when I could keep on working in spite of the weather! If I can find a spot that's soft enough to dig without needing a pickaxe, I might try to uproot a few of those lilies that are in bloom here.
I do have a pretty sandy area to put in some of these xeric plants in the big border, but I think what I may do is turn on the drip system and let it give all the established stuff a good drink, then go out a couple of times later and check the remaining moisture in the soil with a moisture probe. I can get down 10-12" with it, and it might give me a better idea of what is really draining well and what isn't.
I hope my white sage and perovskia make it through this winter. They should have plenty of drainage, but it's all going to depend on what the climate throws at us. I think it's a try-it-and-learn situation.
If anyone is interested in seeing what the zauchneria looks like, I lifted a photo of it from the High Country Garden web site. It looks beautiful. It's supposed to be seed propagated, but I haven't found anyone who has it listed, and the plants are not that expensive. It's probably worth getting a started plant to save the time and energy.
This has been my first experience with trumpet vine also. I dug some up from an abandoned house and plopped it into a spot in front of a farm shed that I wanted to mask off. I have to look at it out the kitchen window and figured the vine would cover up the ugliness. It is certainly doing that! I have to periodically whack back the canes enough that I can get in the door, but it doesn't seem to be a problem otherwise. I considered letting it get started on the big chain link fence, but I don't want it to get all tangled in the oak trees that hang over the fence. What a nightmare that could be. I think the only places I could use it as a fence cover-up would be in areas where there's nothing else for it to invade and I would not care if it ran wild. I've noticed that it tends to put out a bumper crop of seed, but I haven't found any new ones sprouting. Does it tend to reseed itself? I do not want it in the pasture! We have enough problems out there already.
Can anyone tell me what the ornamental yarrow does around here? Does it tend to scatter seed all over the place? I have some of the wild stuff growing in the pasture (the sheep don't like it) and when I put some of it into a wildflower border in the CA mountains, I noticed that it soon migrated 100' away and began coming up in the lawn.. . . and the orchard, and. . . . . It didn't seem to care if we ran over it with the mower. It just got lower and flatter and kept right on going.
Someone suggested that we need to start a thread on the invasive stuff, and talking about the yarrow brought two more to mind. Yarrow is at least unobtrusive. Rose campion (lychnis) with the gray leaf, and wild sweet pea are not!. I'd be hard-pressed to say which one is worse. Probably the sweet pea. At least you can yank up the pinks. The sweet pea not only climbs over, around, and through anything in its path, but the roots of the sweet pea break off when you try to pull it out and a whole new crop comes right back in its place. Pinks are supposed to be biennial, but the seed is very tiny and prolific. Once they get started they can fill up an enormous area. My mother has been declaring war on them for the past 25 years and has never managed to get them all gone. She has about 3 acres of garden to take care of and she's nearly 90, but her war on pinks has not slowed down any.
Pat, I never had any trouble with the yarrows sold in the trades. I wouldn't be surprised to find the wild ones reseed themselves generously though.
I believe the Zauschneria will do fine here, once established and planted in a spot it likes. In the Plants of the Southwest catalog and the HCG catalog, they specify a difference between drought tolerant and plants requiring NO WATER! Usually they have that symbol of a water drop with either an X or a / over it. I would avoid the "X's" unless you can provide or improvise a situation for very quick run off. I have certain areas I have improvised to try the challenge of growing some of these plants. Sometimes I'm successful, sometimes not.
OkieDawn, my experience is the same as yours about the non draining clay and the sand for growing native plants from desert/dry regions. I think another problem perhaps even worse than the water killing them is the lack of oxygen around the roots when its wet and then the brick hard soil when its dry. The roots get smothered in other words along with rotting. Neither is a good thing. I imagine certain plants have developed a tolerance for clay and its properties and can withstand this kind of abuse. I notice the root growth in sand or sandy soil, on almost any plant, is completely different than it is for ones grown in clay when I weed. In clay its a weak looking stunted kind of root system and in sand its either very long or dense. The roots are able to establish themselves faster and deeper in sand seeking water deeper down. I have some plants that have long lateral roots and its surprising how far away from the plant these roots will travel. The same type of plant in clay has none of that and is usually a smaller plant. These can pick up water four feet away or further in some cases. The cactus and agaves especially do that, thats why you can never get one in a pot to resemble one grown in the ground. I've had some that looked like a completely different species when taken out of the pot and planted in the ground.
Once, after I accidentally found out many very interesting prickly pear cactus will grow good here, I had an uninteresting green 4" pad that had few spines and a couple pads that had been growing in a pot very slowly for years. When I put in the ground, it sent up a 14" pad covered thickly in long white barbs from that small pad, which stayed small by the way. The next year it put out about seven large blue pads with spines like short toothpicks all over it. Its now a large cactus with dinner plate sized pads. I think this illustrates the situation for many desert species. If you want to grow them, you will have to bring in some sand if you don't have it. Also, they like a gravel mulch to keep the base of the plant dryer in winter. No organic mulch! It will rot the crown. The gravel melts snow off real fast I found out and its gone after a day of sun about a foot around the plants and the rocks are dry. The gravel melts off the whole yard ten times faster than places without.
Pat, here is a suggestion of something you might want to try. If you went ahead and ordered seeds now, you could try sowing some indoors and with a plan to set out plugs or small starts in Fall. We live in a very good zone for fall planting, which is recommended for many perennial forbs and grasses. (most shrubs need 2 months or more cold stratification) That way, you'd have all of our long nice fall days (don't we ALL look forward to THAT!!!) to get the roots established and then winter when they mostly work on growing roots in many cases. Mulch them in all winter nice and cozy and then....Come spring, you will have a big head start!
Some need cold stratification and these I wouldn't try but for the ones indicating "sow anytime" it might take some of the disappointment and frustration away you must be having and give you a positive direction to work toward.
Anyway, its just a suggestion. I am going to order some more Deergrass and others and do this exact thing myself. I want to have plugs ready to set in place this fall.
However you decide to go, purchased plants or seeds, fall is a great time to plant. End of August is when I start planting anything new and thats not too far off. Not really.
Another suggestion is do what nature does. When all the plant life is destroyed in a fire or like at Mount St. Helen's, there are always certain plants that spring up immediately. Its as if these seeds are in the soil ready for such a disaster. These will carpet the area and serve as nurse plants for the slower growing trees, shrubs and perennials growing under them, giving them protection from the hot sun and other elements. No matter how tough a plant is at maturity, it needs protection as an infant. Finally the site will become reestablished and the nurses disappear and get crowded out.
I run across plants with this description many times when I am reading about native plants.
You could take this tip from nature and use it to get your other plants established and the roots will help the soil in the meantime.
Another option would be to plant a winter cover crop to turn over in spring or a summer cover crop for an area to be worked over a season to plant in the next.
Well, folks, I got my excitement for the day when I almost accidentally weeded up a small copperhead this morning. I was merrily pulling up weeds and had just moved my hand over for another bunch when I said Yikes!!! It was only about a foot long and happily curled up in a nice cool spot, exactly where I was reaching. You'll notice I said 'was'. Not any more, he isn't. I don't mind a common garden snake or two, but that one I could live without. Literally. Maybe the heat is driving them into the cool areas of the gardens? I don't know, but it's something to consider. In a drought year in CA I saw diamondbacks coming down from the hills and into yards in town. In a subdivision, no less. Kids playing in yards and so on. NOT fun. Danger, Will Robinson!
Now, on to the good garden stuff. Cactus, you just answered a question I was going to ask, when you said I could start some of the 'plant anytime' things in containers now and set them out later. I don't really want to direct seed in the areas I need to plant, since they'll come up right along with the weeds if they do manage to germinate. I'd rather chill the seed and start them separately.
This spring I tried to direct seed a bunch of campanula, columbine and so on and it was a total failure. It clearly needed the cold stratification it did not get over the winter, and I got busy and forgot to put the seed in the fridge. I'm just itching to get the new stuff going, but will need to be patient and wait for the ones that need the winter chill to germinate.
I think I've answered the question of drainage in the flower bed. It got a good 3-hour soak with the drip system spinners night before last, and by noon today it was bone dry, for as far down as I could reach with the moisture probe. Well, now I know.
What I was thinking was that, if I could leave the big established plants in place and change my drip system over to shrub bubblers to get more water to them, and then plant a bunch of xeric stuff in the dry areas, I might have a lot better luck than the way I have it set up now, where some things are not getting enough deep water and the drought tolerant stuff would be getting too much. Does that sound like a plan? I can always set an oscillator or the little Nelson sprinkler now and then to fill in any areas that might need help. Also, it would eliminate a lot of the little spinner heads I'm using now and simply concentrate on the plants that really need the help.
I fully agree about the way that things recover from a fire or something like St Helens. I've been around both. In fact, after St Helens, the farmers in the giant Yakima Valley fruit orchards all went out and plowed or tilled in the ash after washing as much as possible off the trees. It seems that the valley became what it is today largely because of the volcanic eruptions of the past.
It's pretty hard to breathe in all that ash, and it gets into everything including eyes, but it sure is good for the soil.
Also, after the giant Fountain Fire in CA, the ceanothus and Scotch broom came back in amazing amounts. The hillsides were so beautiful the next spring, in spite of the devastation of 80,000 acres of forest. I think that even a lot of the native manzanita and bearberry (kinnikinnick) survived and came back. We got a local view of Mt Shasta for the first time I can ever remember, but the cost in losses was horrific. I really, really hate wildfire.
Just got back from the library with my copy of the wildflower book, so I'll sign off for now and go see what it says. Can hardly wait.
The best plan is to have plants all together with the same watering needs. This is in a perfect world. The pros do that.
An option might be to purchase some large PVC pipes and dig them inserted vertically down deep, one or two by each of the well mulched plants which need more water, and put the hose in there, fill them up and get the water down to the roots without runoff and waste. I know some people who have done that but I never have so I can't say how well it works. Seems like it would work good.
After the bad ice storm a few years back, some nice people planted a lot of trees in the park up the street in spring. They used those tent watering things for a couple seasons. We had a drought that first year and these kept the trees very well watered and none died. You fill those tents up and the water then soaks in very deep. I don't think they would have made it without them. You might be able to construct something, like cutting the bottom out of big pots to serve the same purpose.
A lot of people wintersow and there is a really good forum that is quite active and buzzing here on Gardenweb I noticed. You might try checking it out. They collect all kinds of containers, soil recipes and brands and have all these secrets they share and its just crazy over there during winter. Lots of seed swapping goes on as well. I always keep my wintersowing pots in the shade under cover out of the rain etc since we can have a lot of warm spells here. I have good luck for the most part and don't have the drying out problem, the steamy pot problem, the windy blowing them around problem or the critter problem.
I could tell you were itching to get started in planting seeds. You have that sound I get every winter when its like an obsession. I recognize the symptoms. I feel the same way about starting new grass plugs and am looking to see what else is possible right now to set out this fall.
Really Pat, this is just the worst year and it won't always be like this. However, this isn't the first summer like this and it for sure won't be the last so now you know in advance and this will determine whether or not you decide to fork out big cash for some plant you get tempted to buy after a couple "nice" well behaved years. I got really cocky after a couple mild winters on the Zone Denial thing. I no longer succumb to that temptation.
Ah, for a perfect gardening world. But think how boring it would finally be.
This is not exactly what you'd call a photo of wildflowers. It's more wild country, and shows the area where I was gardening for 15 years before moving here. You can still see evidence of the devastation from Fountain Fire, 10 years earlier. I lived another 5 miles down the road from where the photo was taken. Back in the sticks would be an apt description.
I think each time I've made a major move to a totally new zone, it's been interesting, but a whole new learning curve, that's for sure.
When I said I'm suffering from gardening culture shock, you can see my point.
I'd love to be able to use the PVC method of deep watering, but I can't get very far down into the soil before I hit caliche. Wwhile it would be great to have all the like-needs plants together, I can't take up things like the big crape myrtles and rose of sharon and move them to try to accomplish that. I'm sort of stuck with them being where they are, with big spaces to fill in around them. I think I'll have to stay with the nursery practices we used when I worked in the hot climate of Redding, and adjust the size and type of emitter to what the individual plants need. It means a lot of needle tubing and a bit of work to get it all arranged, but at least it's flexible and can be moved when necessary, or the emitters can be adjusted or changed, and it's the most efficient use of water that I know of, when you can't do something like sink those PVC pipes.
Here are some of my possible selections for more tolerant plant materials.
The Mirabilis that you showed me.
Wild hyssop (agastache canna)
Gayfeather (Liatric punctata )
and possibly wine cups (callirhoe)
mountain pinks (you didn't give a Latin name for those)
I'll need to go back and double-check them, but I think all will tolerate a small amount of water, rather than the full-xeric no-water species. What do you think?
On a good note, it looks like I'm saving the baby buddleia by putting it into the big pot in the shade. It's trying to put out new little leaves, so I've got my fingers crossed.
I never had Crepe Myrtle or Rose of Sharon need watering ever no matter how dry it was. These were ones I ignored because they just sit there and do fine no matter what (water, no water) so I wouldn't even count them in your watering plan. I think of them as un-killable.
I should say, when I make remarks like that, I am always talking about established plants. After a year, I'd think of either of them as established and able to take just about anything.
I haven't ever grown the Mirabilis, I just remembered it blooms a lot and is in the catalog and you said you wanted long blooming plants. All of these will tolerate and probably appreciate extra water. I would only worry about any of them in standing water in cold weather and make sure they have good drainage. I don't think it would be possible to overwater anything right now for example.
You might possibly be having a compacted soil problem more so than a water shortage? If the roots can't breathe, its not going to matter about watering.
The Mountain Pinks are from seeds I got from a friend in the Hill Country. The Latin name is Centaurium beyrichii. It was a challenge because it needs a perfect spot. Seeds are described as "Finer than Frog Feathers" and I nearly fainted when I realized I actually got 4 of them. I'd been trying to ID these plants since last year and only realized when they bloomed I actually done it and they were the pinks! I wrote my friend and said Lady Bird Johnson would be proud. She could only get them to come up on the slope by their runway. They grow on dry limestone there on my friends property and look surrealistic and are the only plants growing in that spot. I'm really proud of mine. That, the Prince's Plume and the Mormon Tea were my greatest xeric challenges that have made it. I never water them or a beavertail cactus I have perched on a steep slope.
From Plants of the SW:
I recommend the Paperflower too. It will grow anywhere and comes up in fall. Its easy and will definitely need no watering. I think everyone needs some no fuss easy ones that don't need anything. The flameflowers will insure pink blooms from now on no matter how dry it is and so will the desert marigolds. You will have non stop flowers and these are EASY in drought or a normal year. Another easy "no watering necessary ever" one is thelosperma. If you get all of these naturalized, they may replace your weeds as new pretty ones that you actually like.
Good points about the compacted soil. After the discussion on the soil in the chicken pens, I'm having to rethink what's in the front flower bed. Toward the back that's closer to the oak trees, it stays fairly light and easy to work. Now that I really look at it, I wonder if, the closer it gets to the front of the bed, the more silty it gets. I tried to put the moisture probe in it today and could not even penetrate beyond 1/2" at best. And yet it's not clay. Water does soak into it pretty easily, does not stand or run off, and drains right on through, but . . . . Then there's always the layer of underlying hardpan also. I just don't know. I sure can't afford a soil analysis. I may do a silt test on it also, and see what happens. There is just no way I can dig amendment into that huge area. Guess I'll cross that bridge when I get to it.
The crape myrtles look okay, but the rose of sharon are definitely showing the stress this year. They've been in for at least two years and the largest one is over 6' tall, but it's not a happy camper. Both the leaves and blossoms are small and sparse compared to last year.
I think I may pass on the mountain pink after all. If the seed is that tiny, I'd probably never find it without a magnifying glass. I can't even manage to thread a needle without glasses these days.
The other book I picked up at the library today is Native Plants of the South.
Naturally, not all (or even most) of them will work here, but there are still some interesting ones that look like they might be worth a try. It also helps me to recognize some of the things I'm unfamiliar with.
At least, after our discussions, I'll be doing some serious thinking and planning before I go nuts over the catalogs and online nursery sites. They are all tempting! It's so nice to talk to people who know what will make it here.
Pat, its so dry, so deep down right now I don't think there is any way to judge your soil right now. If you have caliche, there are plants that do grow in it. My friend I told you about says its so bad down there by Austin, they consider using dynamite on the caliche but there are many native plants that thrive in it. What if you check on line and see if you can find a list?
There are always plants which will grow in the most impossible dirt. It seems to be a matter of figuring out the ones and trying them rather than attempting the impossible, like dig up and amend that large coop poop area. Make the plant fit the situation rather than make the situation fit the plant in some cases. Is any kind of weed coming up in that stuff? That alone will tell you if you can grow anything. It might be a matter of picking a better "weed" ie wildflower or a nice native grass.
You can designate a manageable area to plant the more domesticated ones where watering and amending can be done and have your more needy plants there? Just an idea. I guess that is how I would attempt to approach the task because otherwise it just sounds too daunting.
By the way, that Liatris takes forever to get to any kind of size. Like about three or four years. I think I would opt for plants in that case unless you are not in any hurry. I dug mine up in the wild, you may have read that.
A lot of the others you listed need to be winter sowed for that two month chill.
Here is another seed suggestion. I have wanted to try this one and I think I will this year. Penstemon ambiguus (Phlox or Sand Penstemon) I have read nothing but praise about this drought hardy NATIVE OKIE. I read in some sources that it blooms all season while others say spring. Hum. I shall find out. Needs no winter stratification either. "Sow anytime". That would be a very good one to order now. 200 seeds. You could maybe get a whole section done. Two ft. bush type.
Have you ever checked the plants at Santa Rosa Gardens? They have a very good fall half off sale each year. The spring HALF off of HALF PRICE (about $1.99/plant) just ended. They do that in fall too. The sell a lot of natives. Easy to order from and they have a very good rating on service, shipping and plants. They also have Paypal.
Here in Oklahoma soil tests cost $10. Just call the OSU Extension office nearest you.
On the sweet pea, is it invasive in Ok? I never bothered to grow it because I thought it would die in our summers.
Pat, I love trumpet creeper, and have planted Madame Galens in several places. I don't the native trumpet creeper in any civilized areas because it is too invasive, but leave it wherever it is growing naturally away from the civilized yard and garden areas. I also have a 'Madame Galens' and a yellow one, might be 'Flava', down on an arbor by our front gate, where they have to survive in rock-hard, unimproved clay and only rainfall. They've never died back, but some years they don't grow much. These plants regularly produce tons of seed in their big seed pods, but never once has a plant grown from one of those seeds. It might be we're too dry here at the time the seeds fall. I don't know.
Ornamental yarrows I've grown do alright most years but in a really wet spring they can die even though I have them in highly amended clay. They do not reseed heavily in the flower border around my veggie garden. Native yarrows reseed a lot more, but like all natives in our heavy clay, their growth varies from year to year depending on weather conditions. Some years we have a lot, some years we have a little.
Rose campion and pinks are not invasive in my soil and my growing conditions. Our summers tend to be dry and droughtly probably 8 years out of 10 (I remember 2004 was wet and so was at least the first half of 2007) so plants that need moisture in summer tend to die back significantly in those summers. In the rare wet year, some plants that are barely visible in the dry years take over and grow rampantly. Sweet peas only grow for me in winter and spring and then the heat kills them.
Cactusgarden, We have heavy clay and minimal sand and I won't bring in sand because our heavy rainfalls wash it away since we're on sloping property. April is what gets us. A couple of years ago we had 12.89" of rainfall in a 24-hour period and it washed down sand from our neighbors' property south of us since that land is higher than ours. My planted, heavily mulched veggie garden had as much as 4" of sand and weed seeds on top of the 4" of mulch in the garden at the lower end of it. I'm still trying to fix that soil because the sand and weed sands were not welcome there. So we have sand periodically because we get a big April rainfall like that about once every three years. The one prior to 2009 was in April and we got 9.25", most of which fell in about 4 hours. We lost all our native prickley pear cacti after the April 2006 and April 2009 rainfall, and then lost the few that had sprouted last September when we had 9" of rain in the month, 6" of which fell in a 2-day period. I think that's why prickley pear doesn't last long here---it can tolerate the dry clay in an average to dry year, but a persistent wet year or a huge downpour of heavy rain can kill it just like that. They tend to rot off right at the soil line. In sandier soils a few miles north and west of us there's a lot of native yuccas. In sandier soils a few miles south of us there's tons of native prickley pears. In our clays though, both are infrequent and short-lived visitors.
At this point, I'd be careful to make a lot of plans for fall planting unless rainfall returns. By late summer and early fall, I expect we'll be seeing more water restrictions unless significant rain falls between now and then. Also, while it may not be an issue for anyone in an urban or suburban area, for those of us in exurbs or rural areas, fall plantings have to be netted or fenced or they become 'deer chow' and in a drought year, every deer for miles around will visit your property nightly looking for anything green to eat. I like to overseed the lawn with rye grass in dry autumns so we can maintain a green envelope around the house in dry, wildfire winters. It has become increasingly hard to do that because the deer will start eating the rye grass as soon as it sprouts and they literally yank the young plants out of the ground while eating them, leaving us with big bare patches in the green rye grass. In a dry, droughty winter, especially if the mast crop failed, deer will eat everything they can find and they'll eat stuff they normally don't eat. It can make fall planting extremely hard unless you can protect the plants....and not just from deer but from rabbits, voles, etc.
Pat, Cactusgarden is right. It won't always be like this. Sometimes it is worse. (Just kidding! For most of us this is the worst it has been in our lifetimes.) We've lived here 13 years and we've managed to have 3 or 4 good rainy years interspersed with the bad. It depends on where you live. In southcentral OK we're prone to drought almost every single summer and we're used to that. It is when the drought drags on for many months...or when it started in winter or early spring....that it is an issue. The worst years since we moved here, in terms of drought, were 2003, which I think mostly affected only southern and western OK, 2005-2006 which was a year of very widespread droughtt statewide, 2008-2009 which started in southern/SW OK and slowly spread north and eastward over the months, and now...where drought is widespread and persistent and has been for many areas since last fall. Eastern and northeastern areas got a temporary reprieve via heavy spring rainfall but they're drying out again too. More troubling is that the Oklahoma drought is part of an overall drought affecting many other southern states, including Texas, Lousisiana, etc. all the way to Florida and the Carolinas, and then westward into New Mexico, Arizona and northward up into Kansas and Colorado. Even Arkansas, which had heavy rainfall and flash flooding just weeks ago now is returning to drought status. When a drought is that widespread it generally persists longer than a more localized drought.
That's when we start hoping for a good tropical storm or two to hit the Texas gulf coast and send a big plume of tropical moisture our way. When that happens at all, it seems to happen in August or early September and be then we are so far gone that only tropical moisture brings significant relief because it often drops inches and inches of moisture.
Cactusgardening, I have to water crape myrtles and Rose of Sharon every summer, and even more in a dry summer or they die here. I'm sure it is the combination of the native clay soil and weeks to months without significant rainfall. In Texas, with better clay and somewhat less persistent drought, I never had to water them either.
Tigerdawn, In the years I've planted sweet peas, they usually die out in June.
Thanks for more tips on dealing with the soil. As far as the chicken pens, even if I don't count the barn (24 x 120') it would still leave me with roughly 5,000 sq ft of soil to amend if I wanted to use it. Yes, five thousand sq feet. Somehow I think it will just live there the way it is until we can have the pens demolished and bring in a big tractor to till and cultivate it. A few of the native elms have managed to take root in them, but I mean less than a half-dozen young trees in that huge area.
The soil in my flower bed seems to go down for 12 to 18" before it hits hardpan. Since I have no idea at all of what might have been done to it in the past, if anything, it's a matter of trial and error. Because of all the oak trees that surround the property, I'm assuming that they were originally growing there also and were cleared about 40 years ago. The things that like the soil seem to really like it, such as the spiderwort, coreopsis, lavender, bearded iris, crape myrtle, and peonies. Others. like the perennial geranium, just shrivel up and die. The violets have gone crazy, but violets will grow under nearly any conditions. The little sedum starts that I put in last year are alive and growing, but are not nearly as vigorous as I thought they'd be. I have tall African marigolds in the veggie garden that are lush, full sized and blooming, while the same ones put into the flower garden on the same day are about 6" tall and look like dwarf plants with single stalks and no bloom. Go figure!
We do have an OSU extension in Shawnee, so that's a very good idea. I didn't know it would be so inexpensive to have the soil tested. Thanks for the tip!
I also didn't know that liatris can take so long to get up to size. Well, rats. I'll cross it off my list. I've had the same luck with penstemons from High Country Garden. They never got beyond about 6" high, filled out, or produced any flowers, and then they were uprooted by an overly ambitious person who was helping with the weeding. Maybe if I try one that's native to OK I'll have better luck. I've seen penstemon grow under the most impossible conditions.
In 1998 we had 95 days straight of no rain and it was HOT. That was the year we re-stuccoed our house and we were saying what a good year we chose because if it had been a rainy one, we would have gotten inside damage. I think that year was as bad as this one. Maybe not but when its that hot and dry, it sort of becomes irrelevant as to 103 vs 105.
Okie, I stand corrected on the Crepes and the R of S. I have never seen one actually die. They always seem to come back no matter what, even in a worse case scenerio when they really get punished. Many years back, in the 80's, we had a very early, very cold, sub zero December following a long warm fall. None had prepared for dormancy and all the Crepes died down to the roots. I don't think a single one was spared, but they all came back for the most part. You used to see them as trees. I had a very old and pretty one with a big trunk that died to the ground. Now it seems, everyone trims them each spring and you never see them as graceful trees anymore , just tall shrubs.
Check out Native American Seed. They have recommendations for planting in caliche and also sell bare roots of Liatris for $3.00+ apiece. They have a lot of native plant seeds. Looked like good sized roots on the bareroot plants too. They recommend Beargrass (Nolina) and some others and had a write up on planting in caliche without amending it which they seemed to snub as a bit off the deep end and unrealistic. Beargrass is very ornamental and will take the crummy soil and dry conditions.
If you're looking for BIG crape myrtles, you should come to Shawnee. My daughter had some gorgeous ones (pruned as trees) around her old house and the tops were level with the 2nd-story windows. They had the most beautiful trunks on them. Interesting even when dormant.
I'm still checking the soil in my flower bed and trying to get an idea of what's going on with it. Last evening it got 3 hours of water, which should have been more than sufficient. And yet, when I checked in at noon, the meter read from 'low -moist' to barely registering at all. I didn't find one single place that actually registered as being 'wet'. I also found places where the probe would only go into the soil a couple of inches, so I'm not sure what's going on there. Clearly, at least in that area, I have no problem with standing water! There are other places on the property that are heavy clay and a completely different story. I even managed to get my 4-wheel drive stuck in what I had thought was fairly dry soil. Live and learn.
And speaking of learning, I still don't seem to be able to really get rid of my old west coast gardening mindset. 65+ years of selecting zone-tolerant plants and then caring for them religiously can create habits that are really hard to break. Talk about teaching old dogs new tricks! The first time I visited a farmer friend in So. Illinois, my jaw dropped when he said he didn't own a garden hose or sprinkler. I'd never heard of such a thing. But I'm trying to get past it and garden more efficiently in my new climate.
I just couldn't wait to at least have some wildflower seed packets in hand. I just ordered 10 varieties from Plants of the Southwest. I hope that at least some of them will make it here. I did notice that they don't show both ends of the hardiness range. Just the cold tolerance, apparently.
Oh, and here's a question. With the ones that need to be cold stratified, I've always just put them in the fridge for the required length of time. Is that best, or do they actually need to freeze? Does anyone know?
Don't freeze the seeds! Its up to you how you do it. I just do them outside because of space issues and already have them planted in pots when I sow them. Seems less work.
I wouldn't do those cold stratification ones yet if it was me. I'd wait to time them for spring so you don't have to baby sit them all winter with weak light making them stretch. I had good luck, by the way, with penstemons here. Especially the Wild Pink Snapdragons and Pineleaf. I had 3 Pseudospectabilis come up from some mixed desert seeds I sowed. They were two and a half to three feet tall and bloomed for over a month in very early spring. The plants still look fine.
Another good one is Purple Prairie Clover. It just gets better and better each year. I had some seedlings this spring I clustered in among some native grasses, its a very good combo because I want some more. I think you are making a mistake if you avoid the native grasses by the way. I know you fear fire but I wouldn't discount them altogether. Keep them planted away from buildings. There is just nothing that beats a good stand of blue Indian Grass or Little Bluestem for natural beauty. Oklahoma is a native grass state and here in central Oklahoma, like you and I are, our typical annual rainfall is quite generous as a rule.
Here in OKC there are crepe myrtles everywhere in every conceivable situation. It just seems this trimming fad has taken hold. Another plant that seems to look unflapped by the heat and drought is Chaste Tree. I see them on Highways and Median plantings in scorching conditions looking fresh and green right now. A nick name is Texas Lilac because it will take the dry heat of Texas unlike a real Lilac.
Silver King Artemesia is touted to NEVER need watering. Mine is large, unwatered and a glorious round shrub of nearly white lacey looking perfection! If I had a large area, I'd plant a dozen or more. My Chamisa is now about 5ft by 5 ft and does very good in drought.
Apache Plume. Another staple in the successful dry plant category that is large and makes a definite statement. I don't think this would suffer in this type of summer for you, once it was established.
It is hard to break old habits and I can imagine it would be frustrating as well. I think in part, you are having a very bad introduction into a new climate. You are jumping to conclusions, it seems, based on this one bad summer. Its just not a good overall reflection of the gardening situation here. Established plants can make a big difference in how you would rate any certain plants performance. I wouldn't set any rules in stone based on this years performance. Just because a certain plant died this summer is no reason to cross it off your list as a wrong choice.
How do the plants look in that bed you keep checking the water level on? I would go by that more than what any meter says. Is that meter reading a guaranteed accurate thing? I think I would get hives checking it that closely all the time and getting negative reports. Just because you can't poke something down past two inches is no indication there isn't water way further down I would guess. That top part can get mighty hard especially if its clay.
Cactus, I began checking the soil with the moisture probe a couple of days ago because of how the plants were looking. Not happy, so I needed to know what was actually happening. I think I've found out now. I'm not married to the meter or anything like that. It just comes in handy at times when the moisture level is really in question, such as in the really big pots.
I'm okay with the climate this year. It's not a problem. It's just hard to change my old habits when it wants to behave just like it did in the west. You know?
Thanks for the tip on not freezing the seed. I had never done that, but I wasn't sure about it. What I usually do is check the length of cold the seed needs and then figure roughly when I want to be able to start plants. I date the packs and put them in the fridge at the proper time for those two dates to match. You're suggesting that I try putting them in outside pots and let the climate do a natural winter chill? I'm confused. Won't they get really beaten up that way? I hate to bother you, but could you explain?
I've used both Silver Mound and Silver Brocade artemesia, and Brocade is by far and away the most hardy and drought tolerant. I haven't tried Silver King.
Where did you find the Apache Plume? I'd like to look into that.
They have Apache Plume for sale here at TLC Nursery. High Country Garden sells it too. I planted mine from seed years ago and have a new baby started since spring I'm saving and watering that came up volunteer.
I wintersow in pots under a covered area in the shade outside all winter in pots with clear plastic wrap on the tops or in old sandwich containers or sherbet containers or whatever I scrounge up that have slits cut for circulation and homemade drainage holes. They are grouped by a wall under a carport out of the weather and I don't have to worry much about them blowing or getting too hot or steamy, critters or wind. They stay moist all winter there pretty much.
It sounds to me like I am telling you things you already know well with so many years of gardening. Maybe there is a point. You already know this stuff and might be wanting to alter your practices too drastically when it isn't really necessary. Here is a case in point to consider. Yesterday I heard the ranchers are trying to sell off their cattle as quickly as possible because the grain crop failed and there will be no winter feed. Now what if someone had just moved here and decided wheat and grain won't work in Oklahoma based on the short experience of this one terrible year? I am trying to impress on you that you don't need to swing as far into the dry plant category as you are seeming to write, nor do you have to fear the wet season for them either. We can grow a very wide selection of varied plants here in normal seasons.
Its mostly a matter of how often and how much watering different people are willing (or able) to do in cases of dry summers. The drought hardy plants can go OK with an occasional deep soak and be fine. I choose the drought hardy ones myself but mostly because I like them more visually and I am designing a drought/desert type garden already. I just thought this was a good year to suggest certain plants that can take it. Typically, my taste runs counter to most other people which is why I mail order so many. That kind of wild native that catches my eye is almost never offered in the trades. I dislike the cottage garden look, lots of flowers and lots of shade trees for the most part.
Just ignore anything that isn't in your scheme and use what ever might happen to be useful. Experience will be the final reason you choose to plant anything on your property in its different areas no matter what anyone says on a garden forum. We each learn to know our own specific gardens better than anyone else.
All your letters are coming into my "Inbox". I started this thread to be able to see what my fellow Oklahoma Gardeners favorite Oklahoma wildflowers were. Your letters are interesting and loaded with information about xeric gardening and hardy plants for this region, but the original theme got lost, somehow. I admire you both, as you are, obviously, experienced gardeners. I have a couple of questions. I am 73 yrs old and have gardened in Oklahoma since I was a little girl, tagging around after my bonneted Grandmother. Are you in my age bracket, and how long have you lived in Oklahoma? The pix you have posted are lovely with many varied plants, and yes, I am considering putting in more desert natives, mainly because of the harsh conditions of my hot, windy, horrible soil area, BUT cottage gardens ain't so bad. Have you ever heard of Gertrude Jekyll? Quite the English horticulturist and landscaper! One of my favorite gardens of hers is the "White Garden" she created with all white and silver plants. Absolutely gorgeous! If you like it, it shouldn't be that difficult to copy, what with all the white coneflowers, daisies, liatris, spider flowers, dusty miller, lambs ears, achillea, white callirhoe, etc. etc. ,and they all do well in hot, dry conditions. Of course, this has nothing to do with wildflowers, just my opinion about cottage gardens. Still would love to have pix of everyone's favorites.
Pallida, I feel like the guest who got so busy talking I forgot the host. Ha!
I dont' have an "inbox" and forgot they even existed. Cottage gardens ain't bad at all and are probably one of the most popular types of gardens and I like seeing them. It just depends on each persons temperament. I am a chronic weeder and neat-freak in the garden (I have been called a Garden Nazi) and will not allow one plant to touch another so the Cottage is just out for me because it feels like chaos. I once had a clipped hedge garden and herb knot garden.
I have definitely heard of Gertrude and stole her idea of doing a wide swath of the Blue Leymus Grass she made famous. So far it doesn't look like much but I just put in the grasses last fall and they are dormant now because they are cool season ones. Frankly, they look terrible currently.
I am 59 and have gardened in Oklahoma since I was in my 20"s. My grandmothers both had those big old fashioned vegetable gardens that took up half the yard and big flower gardens. One was in Pond Creek on a big corner lot, the other out by Nash. I am definitely from country people.
We always had a big garden too, it took up 1/3 of the backyard and that was where we played and picked the vegetables, snapped beans, husking and scraping corn etc. I have two of my grandmother's garden bonnets. They have cardboard strips in the rounded "shade the face" part and are very faded on top and are home made out of flowery cotton fabric.
I have been wondering if anyone is making sand plum jelly? If I remember right, July is the month they get ripe, around mid month. Best jelly on earth.
I also got so caught up in the topic that I'd go on and on, and only once in a while feel guilty that I was wandering away from the wildflower photos.
I'm 69 and have only lived in OK for 6 years. I've been gardening for about 45 years, I guess. Here and (obviously) in CA from one end of the state to the other and from the desert to literally the oceanfront to the mountains; in central (high desert) WA, in Boulder, CO, and in Oregon.
I think (though I'm not certain) that what I want to do here is incorporate xeric wildflowers that will make it in the tougher areas of my garden and work them around the existing plants that are established. I'm not stressing out about it, Cactus. I just hate to waste time and money in doing something that won't work. I'm getting too old for that kind of thing. You know? I'm also taking care of one of my great-grandbabies part time, so I should be old enough to have at least learned a few things along the way. I can always hope so, anyway.
Of course I've heard of Gertrude Jekyll, and I love her white garden. I had one of her books that I donated to the library when I left CA because I thought I wouldn't need my fancy landscape library any more. I took 5 big cases of garden books to my friendly gardening librarian. Now I'm busy buying new ones on gardening in Oklahoma, wildflowers and so on.
I did find a plant today that I wanted to ask you guys about. When I went to the High Country Gardens site, I noticed that they list nierembergia gracilis as a drought tolerant perennial. I've never seen this specific one, although I've grown nierembergia before and just love it. It's such a happy little thing. The plain purple (called purple robe) and white ones we've grown have only made it for two years at best, but it's possible they may have been over-watered. I definitely want to try this one. Has anyone tried growing it? I've asked for nierembergia at places like Lowe's and they just look blank. They have no clue what it is. Maybe someone like TLC would have it?
Now I'll have to look around and see if I can find any of my wildflower photos.
Cactusgarden and Pat,
L. O. L Thanks for your witty and friendly "come-backs". As a gardening enthusiast, my problem is, I want EVERYTHING! I love the clipped hedges and beautiful structured English gardens with fountains and pathways leading into "garden rooms"on enormous estates, but have to face the reality that this isn't England with loamy soil and constant rain, and I certainly couldn't afford such grandeur. I love the cottage gardens clustered around the little homes of the common-wealth, more in my price range, but many of those plants wouldn't survive here. I love the northern gardens with plants that won't melt in the heat. I love the southern gardens where they can grow Sago palms and houseplants outside. I love the coastal gardens with sandfences and tough salt-tolerant plants and yes, I love the plains and desert plants that survive the roughest conditions of all, heat, drought, wind and concrete soil.
Now that I am getting older and less supple and heat-tolerant myself, I am leaning more and more toward "care-free gardening". I just don't have the strength or patience to fight the elements to keep the more tender trees, shrubs and perennials alive! I've enjoyed reading about the plant material you ladies have either grown or were going to test-grow.
TLC is a good source for a wide variety of plants, and believe me, they are much more knowledgeable than the personnel at Lowe's or Home Depot!
Oh, how I wish I still had one of my Grandmother Becky's sun bonnets! She made them herself, probably out of old flour sacks. She loved gardening and could grow anything.
I, too, got rid of a lot of gardening books, as I have down-sized to a small cabin and just don't have a lot of room.
One of the things that I simply can't grow out here ( although I've stubbornly tried) is David Austin roses. I really like the Gertrude Jekyll rose among them, but this soil and the fact that I have virtually NO shade and almost constant wind just will NOT allow me that luxury.
Cactusgarden, send pix of your Blue Leymus Grass.
Pat, send pix of your wildflowers (they can be west coast flowers).
I may be wrong, but I've always viewed a cottage garden as being more of a style than it is particular plants. I'll bet we could design one for you that would give the effect you want and still use things that will work here, and some wild ones as well. Wouldn't it be fun to map it out, even if we just do it with ideas?
You can't get the David Austin roses to grow here??? That's not good news. I was thinking of maybe getting another Graham Thomas. Have you ever tried that one? I don't know about wind, but I do know that it will take cold and heat. It's really vigorous.
Thanks for saying I could post images from out of the area, since I haven't been here long enough to get any good ones of the native wildflowers. I do love the old orange lilies that grow in the ditches, and although they are a tree instead of a flower, I also love all the mimosa when it's in bloom.
One of my all-time favorite places to be for flowers and gardening is San Diego. It's just amazing. All of the bougainvillea; poinsettias that are as tall as the eaves on a house, bird of paradise everywhere, and the incredible drape of pink iceplant down the cliffs, under the palm trees. Orange and lemon trees growing in yards in town, and the brugmansia is just incredible. There's no end to what I could list for San Diego. Ah, well. It costs the earth to live there, and the traffic is insane.
Here's one I shot a very long time ago. The lupine wasn't in bloom yet, but it would be mixed in with the poppies before long. Earlier in the year, the whole area out in the flats behind the trees used to be a solid carpet of wild buttercups. Millions of buttercups. It never lasted very long, but it was something to see.
You probably recognize them, but those are CA live oaks in the background. I'll see if I can find any other photos. I think I may have some interesting ones, including avalanche lilies on Mt Rainier.
Good Morning, Pat,
As far as I know, cottage gardens ARE a style. I just meant that the pix I have seen of the English-type cottage gardens would have plants that enjoyed all that great soil and moisture. My main bed is loaded with heat and drought tolerant plants, such as Perovskia, Echinaceas, Liatris, Hemerocallis (which the deer destroyed this year), Achillea, Coreopsis, Gaillardia, Callirhoe (which the deer and rabbits keep nibbled down), etc.
The DA roses don't like my soil, even though I amend it. The one that did the best was "Pat Austin".
Love the pic of The field of Poppies, etc. I've always been a little jealous of those climates that allow the cultivation of "tender perennials". Here, they are annuals, of course. Hope you can find more pix.
I have grown David Austin roses here and, of the ones I've grown, Graham Thomas performed the best. Most years it was just lovely. Last year I took out the roses after 7 or 8 years of growing them. They always had blackspot in humid springs and summers and were too high maintenance for me. They often struggled in heat once the temps were staying above 100 for days on end and required very frequent watering. I had them in highly, highly amended clay soil in a bed raised 12" above grade. In our climate, you have to pick your battles, and growing roses and keeping them happy was a battle I was tired of fighting.
Jeanie, I can see why it would be more that a small challenge to maintain your garden if the rabbits and deer keep getting in and munching it. I haven't seen any serious rabbit damage so far, and a deer only got in once in 6 years. I've even been pretty lucky with raccoons and possum. (Knock on wood!)
Dawn, my Peace rose is still hanging in there after 6 years, but the Double Delight is not a happy camper. I think there's a gopher under it again, but it has never done well. On the other hand, the Pinata is really satisfactory and the little wild polyantha I transplanted is going crazy. The canes have grown 6' to 8' long since I planted them this spring, and they're going everywhere. It may prove to be a bit more vigorous than I had planned. For now I'm going to concentrate on some of the exciting new perennials and leave high maintenance things like roses out of my buying scheme.
I was really glad to hear that the trumpet vine doesn't tend to sprout from seed. I had visions of it also turning up everywhere.
I was very surprised to hear that the rose campion is not invasive here. Well, at least in your garden it has not been. I'd still be afraid to get it started. And the sweet pea I was referring to is a pink wildflower perennial form, not the pretty hybrids. The vines of the wild one are heavy and tough and will live through just about any conditions, coming back more than vigorously year after year. They can quite literally bury a perennial garden under mounds of vine. Once they've died back in the heat, there are all those vines to contend with, because it's not possible to stop them all once they've started, and the following spring they'll be back as bad as ever. Or worse. I think you could call them the CA version of OK wild honeysuckle, and then some, because of the seed pods.
I'll see if I can get some of my wildflower photos to work properly. I have them on a disk and it's been acting up.
One of the most amazing things I think I've ever seen is what happens in the desert after a good spring rain. I've never seen the TX wildflowers in bloom, only photos, but I've certainly seen sections of the Mojave desert. It's incredible. Great carpets of flowers of every description, including the cactus. Some are tiny things, less than an inch high, with a blossom smaller than a pencil eraser, but some of the cactus will put out a big showy bloom that's 3" across or more and often pretty exotic.
My Pat Austin rose, at it's peak.
Dawn, you are more patient than I am. I have pulled all my DA roses and hybrid teas except for one lone "Love", and it is borderline. My best rose is a shrub rose called "Grandma's Yellow Rose", tested and approved in a Texas Grandmother's flower bed. It blooms almost constantly and black spot is not a problem.
Oh, Jeanie, that's lovely! You mentioned TX, and I wonder if anyone has been to or had dealings with the huge rose place that's in New Braunfels. At least I think that's where it is. Don't they have the big historic rose garden there?
Here's the photo of the Avalanche lilies on the slope of Mt Rainer that I said I'd try to find. The lighting isn't as good as it might have been because a storm was coming in. It's also at a high elevation, which plays tricks with cameras and film. I had to try to lighten it, so it looks a bit washed out.
We just happened to get lucky and see the display. From what I understand, they don't do it every year. Only when the conditions are right. It's an extremely fragile ecology, and walking in there is strictly prohibited. I was standing on a nature path when this was taken.
This next one is probably unfair, considering how dry everything is right now but I wanted to share it anyway. I don't know if you can even see any of the tiny flowers. They are mostly yellow or white. This one was taken in Muir Woods, just north of San Francisco, in the same park as the giant redwoods.
The shot was taken in mid-summer, and everything you see is completely natural.
If it makes anyone feel better, the summers there can be cold and foggy, so growing a veggie garden of any kind is all but impossible, even if there was any room for it, which there usually isn't. They'd consider one tomato plant in a pot in a sunny spot on a deck to be 'growing veggies'. Nasturtiums are perennial there! Right along with a bumper crop of snails and more than a few slugs.
WOW! The pix are wonderful! Make you want to escape the heat and go there!
Tyler, Texas is famous for it's roses, and there is "The Antique Rose Emporium in Brenham, Texas. I want to go there some day. I ordered their catalog this year, and their gardens are beautiful! New Braunfels, I am not sure about. I'll have to Google that one.
Thank you for posting the pictures!
Jeanie, I'm sure you're right about it being Tyler TX. I just remember a friend of mine that took a vacation from running the library in CA and made a special point of visiting the rose gardens there. Is that the little town with the strong German background? She said that everything is beautifully groomed and is just lovely, with little gift shops and things, and then the amazing antique rose gardens. Maybe that's why I thought of New Braunfels.
About the photo from Muir Woods . . . . it's a lovely place to visit, but you wouldn't want to live there. :-)
I have family in Brenham and we visit the Antique Rose Emporium all the time. It is very nice. Touring the Blue Bell Ice Cream factory is also nice!
Maybe one of these days I can get down there to see it. I do love some of the big old climbing damask roses, but I rather doubt that they'd make it in this climate. Even my little wild ones are suffering from the heat now. All except the one that gets water from the edge of the veggie garden. It seems to be thriving.
I made some mention of native grasses a while ago and completely made a hash of the name of the fellow who first got me interested in them. It was Kurt Bleumel. No, I never knew him personally, but was on his mailing list for catalog and things, about 25 years ago. From what I read in the Meadow Garden book, it looks like he isn't around any more. He did some amazing work with the grasses and was a wonderful resource.
I'm getting excited about the new xeric wildflower seeds I received today, but I need to give some serious thought to what I want to do for grasses, yucca, and the more vertical types. I did order one of the hesperaloe from High Country Gardens, but have no idea of when they might ship it.
Getting back on the subject of wild Wild Flowers.......
I am planning on adding the following wildflowers next year. These are just the kind I love, small leaves and small numerous flowers. I found the Flame Acanthus growing in a bed at here at Will Rogers Park, a mature plant. Its listed as Zone 8 but I have grown it before and pulled it to plant something else. I'm sowing seeds next spring to start it again. The Broom Dalea is hopefully going to be easier to germinate than the Feather Dalea which I never could get to germinate and I tried three times. I got the seeds of all but the snakeweed and Flame Acanthus from Plants of the Southwest.
Are you still planning on adding some drought hardy perennials and wildflowers? I wanted to share these with you since you said you were leaning in that direction. The Beargrass is cast iron when it comes to drought and I really like it. I have one, Nolina Texana and am adding this Nolina microcarpa. In Texas, I read its a great plant for hot dry medians and that rather says it all for its ability to take a rainless season. Its in the same family as Desert Spoon and I have had that growing successfully going on year 5 now. I am going to go ahead and sow the Broom Dalea and Bush Penstemon now for fall planting since they say sow anytime but am planning to experiment with all the seeds I ordered to fall plant. I will have backups if they don't winter over. Often, fall planting has been more successful for me than spring because the plants are more established when summer hits.
Have you made any decisions on new ones to try?
BROOM DALEA (native in Oklahoma)
PERENNIAL BROOM SNAKEWEED (the annual kind is invasive, I am fairly sure this is native in Oklahoma)
PENSTEMON AMBIGUUS (Bush Pentemon, native in Okla)
NOLINA MICROCARPA (Beargrass, Texas native)
Here is a mixed native planting I pulled offline because I like this look very much. The red flowering shrub is Salvia Greggii. Have you tried it? These do very good in drought here and will also take some shade well. I have three.
That flame acanthus is just wild. Wow! It doesn't look remotely like any acanthus I'm familiar with. The salvia appears to have some form of very large artemesia growing in front of it? Like a Silver Mound on mega-steroids, unless the photo just makes it all look much larger than it really is.
Am I wrong in thinking that I'll be best off if I save all my wildflower and water conscious seed to be started next spring? I'll stratify the ones that need it and start them all at the same time? I had no luck at all with direct seeding last fall or this spring, so I think I'll do everything in pots this time and let them develop some root structure. The recent weather has even killed the gyspophilla, and it's usually pretty tough. I'd be just sick if I lost this whole batch of seeds also. I have my heart set on some of those penstemons. Will they have a better chance of survival if I do it that way?
Yes, I will be putting in more drought and heat-tolerant plants. I am going to follow your example, though, and order seeds this Fall. I have ordered from HCG in the past and was very pleased with the plants they sent me, but now that I am living on SS, I can't afford to order a bunch of plant material, and will have to start with seeds. I'll need to order a seed catalog in order to make selections. I will try to keep up with your suggestions. I already have zebra grass and a grass that blooms purple, then fades to a soft beige. I also have Perovskia, Echinacea, Liatris, the wild Achillea, Clammyweed, Gaillardia, Yucca Tricolor, Red Yucca, Agave, Callirhoe Wine Cups and a tall spikey succulent with saw-tooth edges ( whose name I have forgotten)that I bought at the cactus show at Will Rogers
Park a couple of years ago and, of course, the wild Prickly Pear. I will probably pull out my sickly roses and, maybe, my Hemerocallis (since they attract deer so badly). This will leave some huge holes which I will need to replace with the xeric plants. I think Salvia Greggii and Broom would be two plants that would add color to that bed. This is exciting to think about going to a more Southwest look! Love your pix. Thanks for sharing.
I am sowing the Bush Penstemon, Texas Beargrass and the Broom Dalea for fall planting. I'm saving some seed for spring just in case it doesn't work out but a head start would be nice. I don't know of a seed source for the broomweed. I found some growing on the Hispanic side of OKC in a median planting by a church. The whole thing was planted in Texas Natives. There is another equally good one with tiny yellow flowers called Damiantia that I got seeds of from a friend in Texas. By that same hot median in the parking lot was a tiny Turpentine Bush growing in a crack I dug out with my car key. Its one of my pride and joy plants since I never could find seeds on the parent after many trips at different times of the year. Whoever planted the garden had to have been from Texas.
That silver plant by the S. Greggii is some type of wild growing artemsia/sage. This grows wild in Kansas, my sister said, up there in the black foothills (is that what its called?) around Manhattan in that dry arid part that has been set aside as a reserve. We surely have types of sagebrush in Oklahoma but I haven't looked into it. I was tempted to order Prairie sagebrush from P. of the SW but didn't because it spreads by rhizomes and I don't have room for that kind of aggression but I would think, Pat, that would definitely be a good reason for you to try it since you are trying to fill a lot of space.
Do deer eat sagebrush?
Another one I ordered that I am real excited about since I have wanted it so long is Indian Ricegrass. Pat, really, don't snub the grasses. They can be a great way to fill space and help with that weed problem. I would consider planting that whole strip of chicken droppings in solid Little Bluestem, If it grows it will be beautiful. I think it will grow in it and reach down roots past whatever that is on top.
Jeanie, I might have bumped into you at that Cactus Show. If you go again, they have a guy from Socorro NM who brings in a whole boatload of interesting prickly pears and others every year that are definitely worth the trip. The whole west wall is loaded with Winter hardy cactus (many kinds) and agaves. I'm going to have to look up Hemerocallis. I know I know this plant but am wracking my brain on it now.
Jeanie, You don't need a catalog to order from Plants of the SW. I just called mine in and read it off the website. You are right about High Country Gardens. Its pretty expensive ordering plants from there even though they do have so many tempting ones and the plants are really nice. I am the Queen of Cheap when it comes to plants.
Last year I ordered mixed wild flower and native shrub packets from WILD SEED out of Tempe Az online. I spent time separating seeds and planted them in separate pots, just to save money to get a lot of types for less money. Then I direct sowed the leftovers and had a few surprises come up I noticed when weeding. I almost never direct sow seeds I buy unless they are leftovers. I collect from plants I like and we are coming up on that time of year. I always carry little plastic bags around with me in case I stumble across anything interesting.
I use a Jiffy plastic thing with the clear lid I bought and the little peat pellets you soak that fit into the container. For wintersowing, I just use whatever is available in home made containers with lids and set them outside using seed starting mix just like most everyone else.
Cactus, I'm not snubbing the grasses at all. I've long wanted to grow some of them. I'm just trying to be selective and make up my mind on which ones I want, and not make mistakes with them. I'm also on SS and need to be careful in doling out my pennies for the garden. I've decided I definitely want one of the Apache plume . . . for sure! After that, decisions, decisions, decisions.
You mentioned starting things in peat pellets. Two thing I've found that work really well are 1) the dome-top deli containers that hold cooked chicken, and 2) the disposable aluminum cake pans with clear lids that you can get from the dollar store. They both make perfect little 'greenhouses' for starting seeds. They are a lot cheaper than the Jiffy trays and work every bit as well, whether you are using peat pellets, pots, or paper cups. Whatever works. The cake pan style is easiest to handle because they can be stacked away for later use.
Hemerocallis are daylilies, and the deer love them.
Yes, I talked to the man at the West wall as to the hardiness of his plants in OK, and he assured me they were hardy. I bought the "funky" serrated-edged "spike" (which is about 3' tall now), an agave (which sends out off-shoots) and another "funky" cactus that grows very tall and blooms that died. My son bought the same cactus which survived. I love those shows at WR Park, and will go again. I will have to get on the Internet and check out the prairie seed companies. As I said, I would like to have the Salvia Greggii, Broom and perhaps, Artemesia. This is a mixed bed, and the added color and contrast would look really good. You and Pat are getting me excited about adding and expanding more xeric plants.
I am rooting 3 Flame Acanthus (Anisacanthus quadrifidus var. wrightii) now - very easy to root! Also easy to start from seed, blooming second year for me. The newly planted seedlings made it thru our very cold winter and were among the first to leaf out in spring. They did not start blooming until late June, but will bloom thru fall. I love it! If anyone would like a rooted cutting, let me know. You would need to pick up in OKC.
I grow lots of tough natives, but I think I already mentioned them in earlier response.
Flame Acanthus is also a larval host plant for the very pretty little Texan Crescent butterfly.
Here is a link that might be useful: Texan Crescent butterfly
Jeanie, I've had mixed results with the artemesia family. Some are more rugged and tolerant that others, of course. One that seems to keep on going even when it's neglected (for me, at least) is Powys Castle. I love Silver Mound and it's wonderful at first, but it will tend to get straggly and flop open in the middle later on, needing to be sheared all the way back to start over and it isn't always really effective afterwards. The prostrate one called Silver Brocade is tough as nails, with a very pale gray leaf with good substance. It can stand blazing heat, Ice storms, below 0 temps, and just about anything you want to throw at it and still manage to come back. It also starts easily from cuttings.
One that I had success with in a wretched situation in CA and it proved to be very drought tolerant is Santolina chamaecyparissus, the gray lavender cotton. It has a habit something like a sage or one of the largest artemesia and is a bit sprawly, bit I found it to be very satisfactory and requiring almost no care.
It was growing in poor soil with a pretty high clay content, in full sun, and only got watered when the tenant remembered to do so, which wasn't often.
I looked up the butterfly acanthus and read mixed conditions for growing it. One site said it's happy in nearly any soil, including clay, while another said that it will grow in clay if it's well-drained. Hello?? I'd like to know how they manage that. (I'm being facetious.) If I could get my clay to be well-drained, I'd be walkin' in tall cotton! Mine is either soggy and like glue, or it's bone dry and brick hard. Very little in-between going on there.
I don't think that deer will eat sage as a rule, but I suppose it all depends on how hungry they are. The wild burros in the west will eat it, but they have multiplied to the point that they will eat anything to avoid starvation. I've seen starving horses picking through garbage heaps to try to find an edible mouthful of something. It all depends on the circumstances.
One of my favorites as a filler with a different texture has always been the old German bearded iris. Talk about tough! My mother once tossed a few of them out on the edge of the driveway and scooped a handful of gravel over the rhizomes until she could get back to them, but then she forgot them. 20 years later and with zero care, they are still growing there in bone-dry soil that only gets winter snow and spring rain. All summer long, from May to Nov. they get nothing at all. The ones I found growing wild in our pasture and transplanted 3 years ago have now tripled in size. I'll need to thin them out if we get some decent weather this fall. Some of the newer (and expensive) hybrids are not nearly as hardy as the old purple or bronze ones that have been around forever.
Susan, I can't find the post you are talking about. What natives are you growing?
My friend in Texas said the Flame Acanthus pops those seeds out a long distance from the plant and she was getting small plants everywhere down in Austin. I have decided to plant the next one right by the curb by the street at the end where the seeds can pop without a problem. The plant I got seeds from at Will Rogers was very nice, about 2ft high and 3ft wide and covered in blooms late summer two years ago. It was right by the curb and there were lots of seeds on the pavement. I think they come up "too easy" if you get my meaning.
The one I dug up made it through last winter fine. They are rated Zone 8 but I don't ever let that stop me from trying. I dug mine out because it was in the way of a grass garden I planted this year and it only got half+ day sun. It doesn't boom well in only morning sun and the plant doesn't have the same character.
I'm in OKC too.
Jeanie, We all discovered Socorro can be counted on to exaggerate about the hardiness. Not often, but definitely sometimes. I got burned on a couple.
This is just a note on the idea of planting any of the brooms. I don't know about all of them, but Scotch broom is on the prohibited list issued by the CA Forestry Service, because of it's flammable tendency. The stuff burns like a torch. It's really pretty, but I'd need to really think twice (or maybe 3 or 4 times) before I planted any of it. Likewise any of the manzanita or creosote bush. A big mature manzanita can be quite lovely and ornamental, with its red trunk and interesting shape, but . . It's hard as iron if you ever need to prune it, and it burns hot, hot, HOT.
Laugh! I don't think we are in much danger of Manzanita or Creosote setting us on fire in these parts! Creosote is not offered much in the Nursery Trades and the seeds are very difficult to germinate and Manzanita is a Pacific Coast plant that I doubt would last long here.
Its a good thing, of course, to consider fire hazards especially in rural settings. In the city, we don't much dwell on it.
There are some annual brooms growing around here that are invasive, I hear ranchers hate them, but the one I am talking about is a perennial and I don't really have any worry about it. Its well behaved. Its recommended to plant in Texas as an ornamental.
Cactus, it isn't the fact that it will set you on fire. Of course it will not. However, I've seen a lot of folks who want to plant it close to a house or building. In the event of a fire, that particular vegetation simply exacerbates it . . . a lot.
While I don't know the growing range of all the arctostaphylos (manzanita) species, I've seen things like kinnikinnick showing up in catalogs in odd places, as far east as Virginia. I only mentioned the genus because it can be quite handsome and is drought tolerant as well, in case anyone should be tempted to try it in a xeric garden. I'd think twice about it, if it were me.
The particular broom I'm referring to is Cytisus scoparius. It is most definitely a perennial, and a highly invasive one at that, as several of the brooms are. It's quite happy growing in zones down to 6A but is also drought tolerant. It grows from the west across the country to MD and PA. A lot of people have seen it in bloom, when it looks like a forsythia on steroids, and think they need to have it. I wouldn't plant the stuff on a bet.
Half empty? Half Full?
The plant in question is Gutierrezia-sarothrae. I have babied a little plant on for over a year now and I guess I'm going to choose to live dangerously and plant it in the ground. It needs perfect drainage so I really don't think its a serious threat around here but thanks for the warning. I think you meant well.
Kinnikinnick hates intense heat and likes moist soil. That would be my reason to not plant it.
Half full? half empty?
The plant in question is Gutierrezia-saorthrae. Since I have babied this plant along for almost a year now, I guess I am choosing to live dangerously and put it in the ground this fall. It needs perfect drainage so I don't think it will pose much of a threat in these parts.
Thank you for the warning though.
Kinnikinnick is a low growing ground cover that hates intense heat and needs moisture. That would be my reason to avoid it.
Jeannie, Flame Acanthus is hardy to Zone 7 now. My newly planted seedlings made it thru the harsh winter we had just fine. I do give it good drainage, on a very slight slope next to the driveway. But, I think it is a very tough plant and can probably tolerate some clay soil as well. I will experiment with the cuttings.
Pallida, some of the drought tolerant natives I have include:
Helianthus maximilliana (perennial sunflower, gray green foliage, yellow flowers, large taproot)
Asclepias speciosa (showy milkweed)
Asclepias tuberosa - Butterfly Weed - good drainage
Gaillardia 'Oranges & Lemons' actually hybrid, but gorgeous
Gaillardia suavis - fragrant rayless Gaillardia
Aristolochia macrophylla - bigleaf pipevine
Aristolochia tomentosa - pipevine
Verbesina encelioides - Golden Crownbeard - beautiful gray green foliage with lemon yellow flowers - reseeding annual
Verbesina alternifolia - likes some shade
Baptisia australis var. minor - blooms early, blue spikes
of pea-like flowers - in the legume family
Senna hebecarpa - wild senna
Ribes odoratum - fragrant clove-scented currant - blooms earliest of all
Aster oblongifolius - Aromatic aster
Desmanthus illinoense - Illinois bundleflower
Pycnanthemum pilosum - Hairy Mountain Mint
Rudbeckia hirta - Black Eyed Susan
Rhus aromatica - fragrant sumac
Ptelea trifoliata - wafer ash - shrub, small tree for Giant
I grow others that are not as drought tolerant, so won't list them.
Hope this helps.
Cactus, it's interesting that you say kinnikinnick hates heat and likes moisture. All the places where I've seen it thriving are bone dry for months in the summer, and usually hot. Very curious.
I did notice that the wildflower place in MO lists one of the hypericum as being a desirable plant. Maybe that particular one is, but all the varieties of hypericum I've ever seen are hugely invasive and the root structure is a nightmare to try to get rid of once it's gotten started. I'd never think of deliberately planting it, unless it was really needed for erosion control.
One that Susan lists is the gaillardia 'Oranges & Lemon'. I tried seed from it this year and completely failed, right along with a couple of the other Arizona hybrids and a lot of other seeds that failed. It was just a weird year for getting things to grow. I'm going to try again, even if I have to buy a couple of plants, if I can find any that are affordable. The nursery at Shawnee Feed had some in little 3" pots, but they wanted a fortune for them. I think it's beautiful, but I need to decide just how much I'm willing to pay for them. Sigh.
I'm waiting for the rest of my order to arrive from HCG, but the hesperaloe looks really good. Does anyone know if I dare set it out in this heat, even though it's a yucca, or should I wait until it cools down just a bit?
I really hope the grasshoppers don't decide to decimate all the new plants that are just getting established in the garden. The baptisia, white sage, perovskia and a few others are looking good, but they are still really young. I noticed yesterday that a couple of the African marigolds are chewed down to little short stumps.
Susan, thank you for the great list. Some of the things I already grow. Managed to kill "Oranges and Lemons" a couple of years ago, but it had dropped seed, which reverted to the regular Gaillardia, and I have a large patch of it every year, now, and, of course, it takes this horrible weather in stride. No wonder that it is the state flower. I am not seeing a lot of butterflies this Summer, just the little guys. My Cardinal Vine is not setting buds, so I'm beginning to wonder if it will. Neither is my Tropical Asclepias. Either I am getting anxious or it is too early. Having never grown either one before (because I am a perennial nut), I don't know what to expect. Thanks always for your helpful hints!
Jeanie, I have grown that cardinal vine in the past and I am trying to remember. I think it is an earlier bloomer than July. June is more like it or just anytime it gets big enough. Maybe its the heat? I remember it was a very easy one to grow and it twines daintily around anything. I had a little volunteer come up I noticed the other day from where I put in some new grasses. Now that little seed must have been waiting for over 10 years because thats about how long ago I had it. It reseeds but not aggressively.
Pat, since that plant is not native here, I looked it up although I cannot really figure out why we are talking about it. I never suggested it and can't figure out why all the warnings?
I'm a little disappointed in the Cardinal Vine. It is very healthy and is twining all over my deck railing, but I was depending on the flowers for my hummers and butterflies. Oh well, this heat is causing strange, strange gardening this year. I repeat, I hope this isn't a new weather pattern for us!
Jeanie, I got to thinking and realized the one I am talking about is the Cypress Vine. I always get those two mixed up and when I googled it, seems a lot of people get these two mixed up or call them the wrong name. There is a Catholic church here, Holy Angels, that always had it very thick and blooming on the back porch of the rectory. Very pretty like that. It was in every way a nicer vine (in my opinion) than the Cypress Vine, I thought at the time. Which one do you have?
Yes. The two vines are confused all of the time. I have the Cardinal Vine with the larger leaves. I, too, think it is the more attractive of the two. Having never grown it before, I am not certain of it's bloom time.
I see you have done a lot of nursery shopping in OKC. Over the years, I worked at Warren & Son's, Satterlee's, TLC, Lovable Critters, Lowe's in Yukon and on Memorial Rd. Of all these nurseries, my favorite was Satterlee's. I heard John Satterlee had cancer quite some time ago. I wonder if he is still with us. I truly love that man. He really knew his business! Wonder if I ever waited on you or shopped alongside you, because I also frequented Cooper's, Moesel's (they used to have a nursery down the road from my home in Pauls Valley before they moved to OKC.), Precure's and Marcum's South of Norman. Do you know Wayne and Susan Chambers of Rose Rock? Susan taught me the nursery business when I first started out at Warren & Son's. Life situations and moving all over the OKC area is why my nursery experience is so spread out. My basic love of gardening came from my paternal Grandmother. As I have said before, she could grow anything!
Other than Victory Garden and Oklahoma Gardening, one of my favorite shows used to be Gardening by the Yard with Paul James. He lives in Tulsa but does his show out of, I think, Nashville. Can't remember, for
sure. Saw him shopping one time at Southwood's in Tulsa, and it was all I could do to restrain myself from going up to him and asking a 1001 questions. Are you a Master Gardener? I know Pat is and Dawn SHOULD be! It's very obvious you gals know how to garden and are familiar with plant materials. As a matter of fact, I see a LOT of experienced, knowledgable people on this forum!
Jeanie, I am no master gardener. Not even close. I am sure you could run circles around me many times over. I am an artist and like garden design as a hobby and escape. I get interested in different plants strictly for combinations of texture, color and theme. I am not too interested in flowers really and they are incidental to plants I choose. I am very limited in my gardening knowledge because I couldn't tell anyone anything about soil types, pest control, vegetables, trees or many other things I am just not very interested in. If I get interested in a specific group of plants, I will read up on them and get to know the names and needs frontwards and backwards but as far as general gardening is concerned, I am not a good resource for information due to lack of interest. Soil discussion? I am heading for the door. Native grasses? I am all ears but would rather be out on a hunt for them. Roses? I'm definitely out of there. But, I do like challenges in sowing the plants I am interested in which often requires a lot of luck because of the type of plants they are. I like trying new things and pushing the zone limit and experimenting. If it dies, I don't get very ruffled about it and like taking chances with plants. I think gardening should of all things be relaxed, easy going and fun.
Jeanie and Cactus, I stil really want to get some of the gaillardia going, but I don't appear to be having any luck with it so far. Surprisingly, I have not seen any of it growing wild since I've been here, even though it's the state flower. Maybe it's in certain areas or counties? I suppose I could always take a drive out towards my daughter's old place in Little. About 15 years ago I had a whole bunch of wildflower seed that I'd collected. Mostly gaillardia, with a bit of coreopsis mixed in. She owned 80 acres out in the country with a long and deep road front. I took 1/2 of a #12 grocery bag (the big brown bags) full of seed and scattered it all along that strip of frontage. I wonder if it ever took?
I don't know if it was the right thing to do or not, but it seemed so at the time.
Do the fancy gaillardias revert back to the original fairly quickly? They are a short-lived perennial, aren't they? And any seed saved from the hybrids will probably not come true? As wonderful as they are, it almost makes it not worthwhile to buy the fancy ones. I wonder if their hardiness is any different than the original wildflower? Does anyone know?
I tried hybridizing some coreopsis a few years ago, and had some pretty nice plants. Unfortunately, we had a lot of general ones everywhere and my father went on a weeding spree. He didn't realize he was weeding up the patch of my select ones that had carefully been set off to one side. I did the same with gloriosa daisies, but the same thing happened with them. Ah, well.
Has anyone tried specifically saving seed from the best of the gaillardias in their garden to see what happens, or is that what you did, Jeanie?
Also, on the hesperaloe, I read a bunch of mixed reviews about propagating it. Some folks said it tends to have a lot of babies, and some said it has never done that in their garden. These were widely separated around the country. Does anyone know what it likes to do under OK growing conditions?
I also noticed that the wildflower place in MO advertises a wild perennial geranium. Is is tougher and more able to cope with this climate than the ones that have been hybridized? I've tried several of those and lost every one. I thought, with their deep root system, that they would work, and they didn't. maybe if I give them more time in pots to develop a good root system before setting them out?
I don't even want to talk about what's happening with the redwoods. It makes me slightly ill. Anyone who has ever seen a clear-cut forest would agree. The devastation defies comprehension.
Well, you certainly have an artist's eye in your xeric landscaping. It is beautiful!
The Oranges and Lemons hybrid Gaillardia that I killed dropped seeds that reverted to the original red and yellow rayed Gaillardia.
They drop many, many seeds, and I just let them grow.
I'm not sure what Geraniums you are trying to grow, but, as best I can remember, the old red, pink, white, peach colored Pelergoniums with large flowers are a succulent and are not Winter hardy here. The Cranesbills with single flowers are perennial. I've never heard of a wild Geranium, unless it would be a form of Cranesbill. About the worst thing you can do to a Pelergonium is over-water it.
No, I'm talking about cranesbills. I do have pelargoniums also, but would never attempt to over-winter them. Most of the cranesbill I've grown in the past have been really tough and hardy. The one that's listed on the MO wildflower site for plants and seeds is geranium maculatum. I think I may need to check it out a little further.
My post got snipped. I had another paragraph about some of the local garden centers and somehow it deleted. I keeping on this original post so I can refer to yours.
I never heard of Paul James. I watched the other two shows. I bet I have run into you before. Had to. Cactus Show, those same nurseries. Had to have bumped into you sometime. I wonder if you were the woman at Satterlee's I talked to a few times? Once I was in there searching for Texas Grass Sage and someone sat with me and tried to find it in a small office on a computer looking at me like I was making the plant up. Wonder if it was you? Ha! Nah, I don't think you would have thought I was making it up, I was a woman on a quest and it was obvious. I used to go there and Coopers a lot. Satterlee's was my favorite too but Moesels was just so bizarre somehow, like another world. She always would ask, on your way out the door "You need any peat moss with that?" No matter what you were looking for, she'd go pluck it out of what appeared on the surface like a disorganized mess. Thats what made it so fun, the lack of rhyme or reason to it all. Satterlees had native grasses and was the first place I ever saw Pink Muhly and Pannicum, before it became popular. They had this whole area in glowing pink with that muhly grass one year. Remember those gorgeous pines? Lots of succulents that were unusual too. I didn't ever go to some you mentioned. Precure was too far out and I have never been there. They are still around aren't they? I have never heard of Warren and Sons or Lovable Critters. I do know Alligator Alley however.
Do you have a degree in horticulture?
Pat, I have a lot of Hesperaloe and they multiply by side shoots and I get seedlings too. The seedlings take quite a while, about 3 or 4 years to get to blooming size. It probably depends on your soil etc how they do in any given area. I don't think there is an "Oklahoma Rule" that would be different than other states. If you ever try to separate a pup, make sure to let the root callous for a week or so. I have had them sitting out of the ground for weeks at a time, if that tells you anything about their drought tolerance. By the way, these and especially the Apache Plume don't look good along side of certain plants. They need subtle and muted color companions rather than very green plants with lush green leaves and lots of flowers overwhelming the softer desert colors. For example, gaillardia would not be a good choice.
A friend of mine advised that the secret to getting the Gaillardia 'Oranges and Lemons' to overwinter is to NOT deadhead it. The seedheads are attractive. This is my first year with it, so will have to report next spring, success or failure.
I really like Precure Nursery - they offer a number of native plants, like the Baptisia and Pearly Everlasting I got. I always get my Rue and Fennel there because they have nice, big plants, oftentimes with Black Swallowtail cats as a bonus.
My all time fave nursery, tho, was Warren's. I got my Passiflora 'Lavender Lady' from them and it is still going strong.
Other natives I have gotten from Wild Things when they go to various Farmer's Markets. She sells tons of them, rare ones you would never find at a commercial nursery. But, that is over for this year. Check out their website. She always brings caterpillars of various butterflies, too, eating their larval host plants. The kids, in particular, love it! I have purchased numerous plants from her over the years, including my False Nettle (Boehmeria cylindrica) that is a host for the Red Admiral butterfly.
I loved Satterlee's, too, but they were pretty expensive on a lot of their plants. Horn's is a little less expensive. I was sad to see them close the doors on Satterlee's.
I stood outside and watered for 4 hours yesterday until 12:45. Thought I would pass out, tho drinking lots of water. Had to do it since I have been at my daughter's for the past week and things needed attention.
Cactus, I was planning to put the hesperaloe in a dry area that would really have nothing in front of it but the spreading pink oenothera. I thought the two forms and colors might work well together. Behind it is nothing but the ugly chain link fence and a patch we keep bare on the outside so we can set out the trash cans.
Jeanie, I was puzzled by the description of the wild cranesbill that is supposed to require shade, a humus soil, and regular water, so I looked it up. All the ones I've grown have a very vigorous root system and can take full sun in stride. It appears that this particular one (maculatum) is also native to OK, but only for areas NE of Tulsa. It does like some shade but will also grow in part sun and can take a dry soil. I imagine that like all the cranesbill, it would appreciate some water if it's going to be full and lush, but it's pretty tough. I've included a link to the page in the wildflower site that describes it. It does not seem to take on showy fall color like some of them will do.
Here is a link that might be useful: Geranium maculatum (wild Crane's bill)
Susan I have never heard of Wild Things. Which Farmers Market to they sell from? I have only gone to the Farmer's Market down there by the Stockyards.
I tried the passiflora one year. I haven't ever heard anyone complain about it and thought it was such a pretty vine, but I have to tell you what happened. Maybe mine was some wild version? First, the entire thing was totally denuded every year by wall to wall caterpillars, (I am talking thick) so you lost most of it except the stems to look at most of the time. The second year after I planted it up by the house, it made a clearly marked straight path of the sewer line all the way down the backyard to the end of the property. Little vines that would grow about 50 times faster than the grass. Looked terrible. I haven't ever heard anyone else complain so my guess has always been that mine was some kind of unimproved native. I moved from that house, never able to rid myself of it and I would bet its still going strong today, many years after.
The native passion vine, P. incarnata, is a rampant grower. I have noticed that if I pull up the small starts, it will not come back in that spot like some other plants do, though.
The caterpillars are the larvae of the beautiful Gulf Fritillary, a brilliant, large orange butterfly with silver markings on the underwings. They look like flying jewels. So, that is specifically why I grow it. Some years the population is huge, and some, like this year (due to the drought), they are non-existent. There are more well-behaved vines that will thrive here, like P. 'Lavender Lady', flowers are deep purple. But, the only passion vines that are toxic to the butterflies are the red ones. They are not hardy here anyway. I love the Gulf Fritillaries because they hang around the garden longer than most butterflies.
Here is a link that might be useful: Gulf Fritillary Butterfly Life Cycle
Susan, I looked up Gulf Fritillary. Seems that is the only host plant for it. I guess I did my part in its survival and hopefully, that vine I planted is still there. I have a strange small black butterfly that visits only one plant in my yard each fall. They have red on the head and are very black. I saw them the first time last year on my Rabbit Bush. Hundreds of them.
I found a resource for wildflower and grass seeds @ only $1.50/pack looking for that butterfly that I'd never seen before. Its called Prairie Frontier.
If you haven't heard of it, another you might want to check out which offers many hard to find and unusual seed is Horizon Herbs. A large selection of seed and bare root plants, many I have never heard of. I ordered a free catalog from their online website last year and its interesting.
The small black butterfly is probably one of the spread-wing skippers, like Wild Indigo Duskywing (host is Baptisia), Scallopwing, or Sootywing.
From my reading, the Gulf Fritillary may not make it into Oklahoma this year due to the drought conditions in Texas and Oklahoma. Wah!!! It is a very dry year not only in terms of drought, but in terms of butterfly numbers as well.
It took me forever to ID that butterfly last year. The Rabbitbush was the only plant it was on and I had never seen anything like them and had to look close to see if they were butterflies or something else.
They were Ctenucha virginica.
They must have been migrating (?) because I saw no caterpillars on the plant and there were hundreds of them and it only lasted about 3 or 4 days. Have you ever seen them before? Do you grow mostly butterfly plants or are you more general? I have one I really like called Ipomopsis rubra (Skyrocket or Standing Cypress). Its a biennial that is vertical and takes up very little horizontal space. It really attracts hummingbirds and is tall. Very drought hardy too.
We don't get the Virginia Ctenuche here in Oklahoma. It is an Northeastern moth species. What we get here in Oklahoma that looks almost identical is the Yellow-Collared Scape Moth. I get them nectaring on my Conoclinum coelestinum (fka Eupatorium coelestinum) aka Hardy Ageratum, and fall asters, A. oblongifolius and A. tartaricus 'Jindai'. They are one of the group of moths that are wasp mimics. They are pretty little things, aren't they?
Do you know the latin name for your Rabbit Bush? I find several things listed under that name.
Here is a link that might be useful: Yellow-Collared Scape Moth
Susan, I got that ID from the North America Wildlife forum last year. Almost everyone there was from eastern states. I had tried posting it on the Southwest Gardenweb forum too since the shrub is from New Mexico. No luck and I was told it was not a butterfly since I described them as "swarming" and "buzzing". It was only the antennae that had made me sure they were butterflies when I saw them. The most amazing thing however, was the number of them.
You ID'ed it correctly after over a year. I think you know your butterflies. The shrub is one of my favorites and is the very common type that grows all over New Mexico in the wild. Latin name is Chrysothamnus nauseosus also called Chamisa. Another Latin name that is used is Ericameria nauseosa. I sowed mine from seed at the same time as I sowed the Apache Plume (Fallugia paradoxa) and Winterfat (Ceratoides lanata) shrubs. They are all mature shrubs now and very nice. The Apache Plume attracts a lot of butterflies too.
My Flame Acanthus is up from seeds. The seeds were collected last year but still good.