Newspaper Archive of
The Perkins Journal
Perkins, Oklahoma
May 3, 2012     The Perkins Journal
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May 3, 2012

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Thursday, May 3, 2012 Home &Garden 401 S. Main St. i I ,5.372-1647., 800.6, Fax 405 372 7752 Finding balanceln00t :e.garden Gardening takes orga- nization. From the first seeds sown to finding time in your calendar to process vegetables or prune roses, design. Rather than pur- posing for an edible land- scape, wily not sprinkle edibles throughout your flower garden? It can be gardens don't just happen. Nature happens. In our attempt to create the most natural look- ing landscapes, garden- ers often plan and plant genus and species that grow together in the wild. No one plants a hybrid tea rose in a meadow or prai- rie planting or sunflowers in the shade of a magno- lia. In the latter case the misplaced sunflower will slowly die for the sun and soil requirements are amiss. In the former, the rose just looks out of place, detracting from the overall "wow" effect of a bloom- ing meadow. Striving for the natural look more often than not places gardens in a box. Vegetables in the veg- etable garden, roses in the rose garden; beauty and purpose can flank formal- ity. Nevertheless, do not whimsical gardens bring smiles to our faces and a sense of.wonder to our spirit? Many gardeners are finding ae between done without appearing as if a plant out of place and it can bring that ele- ment of surprise to garden visitors. I recently enjoyed walk- ing with friends on a mini-tour of the changes they had made to their gardens in the past year. One woman walking with us was filled with joy at the sight of ripening strawberries intermingled with low-growing conifers and perennials. The bright green leaves of the berries blended in beautifully and gave me the idea for this column, Looking through my photographs I found many examples of edibles mixed with flowers. Some of the pictures were specific with herbs, others like corn in a raised box I had forgotten about. In each the beauty of the moment caused me to snap a photo and in ret- rospect I understand why; edible plants in flower beds harbors creativity and interest. the two. One way to b!end the two .di2;ls3ndgCa.les are  isi,itf-rtlit trees. Flower- mbt :ne!b finy  mdans, iperenlalalst require but:have %ften found minimal maintenance and thegaselVes liTnited in positioned away from the trunk of the tree can create a cloud of flow- ers long after the fruit is harvested. Another way is to intersperse herbs with flowers. When walking through a garden center, herbs are rarely paired with flowers. Herbs are for herb gardens or to be planted in con- junction with vegetables. While I agree with that theory, I also believe herbs are for everywhere! With a little research and atten- tion to detail when visit- ing botanical gardens or gardens of friends, novice gardeners will discover the varied and beautiful world of herbs. Be it the feathery, red fronds of bronze fennel or the tight golden mounds of lemon thyme; herbs can accentuate plantings throughout the landscape. Though some can be more aggressive than others, few herbs fall into the category of invasive; this allows them (even if perennial) to be a part of a flower bed that is redesigned each spring. Woody herbs like rosemary and lavender can bring subdued structure to a bed and still bloom their little hearts out ..... ., Browsing book, s on kitchen gardens and edible flowers will also give gar- deners ideas of appropriate plants for a desired effect. A gastachefoeniculum or Anise hyss-6 "is.  Widely offered., and planted '.i:mt_ few realize the flowers are edible and have a wonder- ful licorice flavor. Daylily buds are in many cultures included in stir-fries. Pineapple sage with its bright, red tubular flowers not only is a hummingbird favorite, but makes a dandy tea. Purple-leafed peppers and Scarlet runner beans add more than just color and contrast to a flower bed-- they add food ! I have been accused in the past of having a surviv- alist mentality, and I do. I don't stockpile weapons and gold for the coming Armageddon, but I cannot help but wonder what happens if the economy really crashes. No drug companies, empty super- market shelves, though I trust in God for provision, I can't not include edible and useful plants in my gardens. Won't you? k roslon control under trees and in shady areas By Keith Reed ..... The theme forz the week in the Extension ofice has bni,erosion p01]ems und;er trees aother shady areas, a pblem we are happy to address since it means we have been receiving some nice rain. Tall fescue, our "go to" turfgrass for shade in this region, is not the ideal solution in many Circumstances. Extreme shade, high humidity, and hot summers all pose problems for this species. Consider the following options for dealing with these problems in your own landscape. Liriope (monkey grass) is a great plant. However, it is so common that we often overlook its value for this situation. Once the plant matures, it forms a very dense mat highly resistant to ero- sion. While primarily planted for its foliage, Liriope does have a nice purple flower spike to add some interest to shady areas. Mondograss is a very similar plant, only smaller. Inland sea oats is another common plant that is often overlooked for this use. Inland sea oats is a bunch forming grass with a very showy seedhead that is valued for its use in winter and cut flower arrangements. The flat seedheads like to dance around in the wind and are quite attractive. If you have sPent any time wandering along our creeks, you have probably seen this plantl Ajuga, also called car- petweed or bugleweed, is a low growing broadleaf plant. Ajuga has a very showy purple flower spike. It is available in many cultivars with a wide range of leaf colors. This plant may not per- form well in every site, but if it likes the location, it makes a very dense groundcover. Moneywort is another plant to consider, especially if adequate moisture is available. Moneywort is a very low growing plant that also forms a very dense mat. You should know that this plant is on the invasive species list in some states although it has not proven to be a problem in our part of the world. However, just to be on the safe side, it is probably best not to plant this if you are unable to keep an eye on it. In other words, don't plant it along a creek or other riparian area where flooding could move it downstream. Many common types of mulch will float and follow the water. A few that resist this to some degree are cotton seed hulls, pine needles and shredded cypress. Cotton seed hulls will mat together and form a very dense barrier. Keep this in mind when you are making your initial instal- lation as it is always easier to go back and add more than remove part of it if too much was installed in the beginning. There are no hard and fast rules as to the amount of slope/ runoff these mulches will withstand so it is best to start small and see how it works in a run-off event before spending lots of time and money only to see it float down the street. Lastly, be sure your maintenance practices are not contributing to the erosion problem. A common issue we see is repeated non-selective herbicide application, especially along fences and other hard to main- tain areas, creating a bare ground situation. Any cover is always better than no cover when ero- sion is involved. If you have additional questions, you are always welcome to email (keith .reed@okstate.edu), call 405-747-8320, or stop by the Payne County Extension Office at 315 W. 6% Horticulture tips for the month of May By Keith Reed The best time to prune most spring blooming shrubs is right after they have dropped their blooms. These plants flower from buds set last year, so pruning now (as needed to control growth or improve shape) insures that the plant has plenty of time to re-grow and set buds fully for the follow= ing year. The forsythia is a great example of this principal. These land- scape standbys can tend to get large and unruly late in the summer and we have a tendency to want to prune them back at that time. The plant tolerates this just fine but it will not bloom the following spring. Early to mid May should be the last time your tall fescue or other cool season lawn is fertil- ized until fall. Summer fertilization will only exacerbate disease and heat stress issues these grasses will soon face. On the other hand, now is the perfect time to make your first fertil- izer application on your warm season turfgrasses such as bermuda and zoysia. Some fertilizer costs have risen dramati- cally recently. We would encourage you to use this as an incentive to have your soil tested if you have not done So in a few years. This may help you avoid needless fertilizer application. Contact us in the Extension office for more information on this service. BagwormS are acommon pest that typically affects our landscape plants beginning in late May. As early as other insects have appeared this season, I would suggest scouting for these insects soon. Look for small worms near the bags or on the tips of leaves. Control is much more effective if you begin treatments now while the insects are small. You can find more information on OSU Fact Sheet EPP-7306 concern- ing scouting and control strategies for this pest. Remember that seeing only a few of a particu- lar pest does not mean chemical control is war- ranted. With our recent rains and forecast warm temperatures, you can expect to see fungal dis- eases becoming an issue. If you are spraying fruit trees, remain diligent in the timing of your appli- cations during this period. If you are considering planting new roses, look for "landscape" roses as opposed to hybrid teas. These plants have been bred with disease resis- tance in mind and are much easier to maintain in the home landscape. If you have additional questions, you are always welcome to email (keith .reed@okstate.edu), call 405-747-8320, or stop by the Payne County Exten- sion Office at 315 W. 6%