17 January 2018

J. L. Hudson Seedsman Ethnobotanical Catalog

The seed bank, J. L. Hudson, Seedsman, is a unique catalog that continues to be a successful, non-commercial venture in La Honda CA.

Keep your computer or smart phone handy because you have to have the botanical name of what you are seeking in order to find it. Common names often appear in the description but not in the listing titles.

I've bought seeds from them several times over the 15-years I've been growing from seed. They have all manner of unusual and common seeds, some of which they categorize as Open Access and Reserved Access.

Every page of the seed list has a search engine that allows shoppers to find out if they have what you are seeking. Serious seed growers, shoppers and browsers can find many special items to try.

The catalog is typeset and very informative, albeit in black and white. No hideous Photoshopped flower and plant pictures but you can always find those on an image search.

Go browse around to find something new to try this year! http://jlhudsonseeds.net/
 New Arrivals - Updated 25 December 2017
"Preservation Through Dissemination"
Seedlist A - AkSeedlist Es - EzSeedlist Pe - PhVegetables A - D
Seedlist Al -AnSeedlist F - GSeedlist Pi - PzVegetables E - R
Seedlist Ap - AzSeedlist HSeedlist Q - RVegetables S - Z
Seedlist BSeedlist I - KSeedlist Sa - ShBulk Vegetable Seeds
Seedlist CaSeedlist La - LeSeedlist Si - SzOrganic Seed Listing
Seedlist Ce - ClSeedlist LiSeedlist Ta - ToReserved Access List
Seedlist Cn - CzSeedlist Lo - LzSeedlist Tr - TzNew Arrivals
Seedlist Da - DeSeedlist MSeedlist U - VBooks
Seedlist Di - DzSeedlist NSeedlist W - ZGibberellic Acid
Seedlist Ea - ErSeedlist O - PaBulk SeedsTobacco Seed

09 January 2018

Richters Herb and Mountain Rose Herb

The two best known and trusted herb seed and plant companies are Richters Herb and Mountain Rose Herb.

My herbie concoction making friends use Mountain Rose pretty much exclusively. I've used them both successfully.

Richters sends me a print catalog every year so, of course, I tend to select items from them - I can see and read about potential selections. Being able to sit with a cup of tea and a pencil makes it much more likely that I'll find things and then go to the website to get others.

In addition to seed packets, Mountain Rose has bulk herbs, teas, aromatherapy supplies, butters, oils, salts, extracts and syrups, facial care, body care and bath, containers for your concoctions, books, kitchen stuff and pet supplies.

For those of us who grow sprouts in the winter, they also have a few sprouting seeds.

One item that caught my eye is "Tasty Tea Collection". It's seven seed packets: thyme, tulsi, valerian, vitex, white sage, wood betony, wormwood, yarrow and yerba mansa.

Richters sells seeds, plant plug packs and trays, plants and supplies. They specialize in herb seeds, oils, kitchen gadgets, garden helpers, dried herbs, teas.

For example, here's the entry for Anise-Hyssop (I can smell it now and see the pollinators all over it).
Everything you need to know to decide, right there on the website page.

Agastache foeniculum
Uses: Culinary/BeverageDuration: Perennial (hardy in zones 4-9)
When to Sow: Spring/Late Summer/Early FallEase of Germination: Easy
Anise-hyssop produces an abundance purple flower spikes, rich with nectar that attracts honey bees, and for beekeepers it yields a lightly fragrant honey. When you squeeze the leaves, a sweet anise-like fragrance is released. When brewed the leaves make an uplifting tea; crushed, they are a culinary seasoning; chewed, freshens breath. Essential oil is medicinal and aromatic, as are its leaves. Roots are known to benefit chest ailments. Sow into well-draining, moist loam, somewhere in full sun. Height up to 40in (100cm); spread 18in (45cm) 
P1145Plants$3.75/ea, $9.00/3 plants, $28.80/12 plants
P1145Plug pack 12$15.00/ea
P1145Plug tray 90$65.00/ea
S1145-001SowNatural(tm) Seeds$3.25/pkt
S1145-001SowNatural(tm) Bulk Seeds$5.00/g, $12.00/10g, $84.00/100g
S1145Bulk Seeds$16.00/10g, $128.00/100g
Currency: United States Dollar

01 January 2018

Black Cherry is Prunus Serotina

Native Black Cherry trees are a really good idea if you can add some wildlife beneficials to your yard.

Cold hardy in zones 3 to 9, Black Cherry is an ideal addition to your habitat shrub row.
Happy in sun or part-sun, these trees bloom in April and May providing nectar for pollinators and sweet scent for humans.

They have a long tap root so they have to be planted young and will resist being transplanted. Eventually, they grow 50 to 80 feet tall so keep them away from overhead wires.

The berries are said to be good for jam but the birds and other wildlife eat them all before we even notice that they've ripened.

NativNurseries offers them for under $5 apiece. This nursery has been recommended to me by habitat gardeners.

Dudley Phelps at NativNurseries said, "We will be growing plenty more this spring, and should have them back up on our website for sale beginning around the month of August. You can order then and request a ship date for when it is a good time of year for you to plant."
For our Zone 7 area, fall planting would be best so request fall shipping. AND Phelps will give you a 10% discount if you use the coupon code ALLTHEDIRT with your order.

Here's the scoop from Missouri Botanical Garden
Prunus serotina, commonly called black cherry, wild cherry or wild rum cherry, is native to eastern North America, Mexico and Central America. In Missouri, it typically occurs in both lowland and upland woods and along streams throughout the state (Steyermark).
It is one of the largest of the cherries, typically growing to 50-80’ (less frequently to 100’) tall with a narrow-columnar to rounded crown. It is perhaps most noted for its profuse spring bloom, attractive summer foliage and fall color. Fragrant white flowers in slender pendulous clusters (racemes to 6” long) appear with the foliage in spring (late April-May).
Flowers are followed by drooping clusters of small red cherries (to 3/8” diameter) that ripen in late summer to dark purple-black. Fruits are bitter and inedible fresh off the tree, but can be used to make jams and jellies. Fruits have also been used to flavor certain liquors such as brandy and whiskey. Fruits are attractive to wildlife. Narrow oblong-ovate to lanceolate, glossy green leaves (to 5” long) have acuminate tips and serrate margins. Foliage turns attractive shades of yellow and rose in fall. Mature trees develop dark scaly bark. Bark, roots and leaves contain concentrations of toxic cyanogenic compounds, hence the noticeable bitter almond aroma of the inner bark. Native Americans prepared decoctions of the inner bark for cough medicines and tea-like cold remedies. Hard, reddish-brown wood takes a fine polish and is commercially valued for use in a large number of products such as furniture, veneers, cabinets, interior paneling, gun stocks, instrument/tool handles and musical instruments.

Genus name from Latin means plum or cherry tree. Specific epithet comes from the Latin word for “late” in reference to the late flowering and fruiting of this cherry in comparison to other cherries.

Problems: As a native tree, black cherry is adapted to the climate and has good resistance to most pests. As with most cherries, however, it is susceptible to a large number of insect and disease pests. Potential diseases include leaf spot, die back, leaf curl, powdery mildew, root rot and fireblight. Potential insects include aphids, scale, borers, leafhoppers, caterpillars, tent caterpillars and Japanese beetles. Spider mites may also be troublesome.

Keep these away from walking paths because the cherries on the ground will smear on your house floors.

23 December 2017

Columbine Love

Columbine is a lovely flower to see in sun or part-shade garden spots. The bell-shaped flowers are a gorgeous red-hot-pink with yellow center and anthers. 

Mary Ann King at Pine Ridge Gardens said in Plant of the Week - 
"Eastern columbine is native to Arkansas and all states from the Midwest to the eastern shores with the exception of Louisiana.  Zones 3-9.  

There are several misconceptions surrounding this lovely native.  Most folks think it is delicate – and I agree that it looks fragile.  But let me tell you it is one TOUGH plant.  

It will grow in the full sun, out between two rocks, or it will grow in the shade or anywhere in between.  I’ve seen it growing out of boulders where it has almost no soil.  It is certainly drought tolerant.  

I think it probably wouldn’t like soils that are too wet.  Hummingbirds adore it.  Bumblebees as well.  

Grows from 1 to 3’ tall.  After flowering, seed follicles form and fill with shiny black seeds.  The follicles splits along the top and you can catch these seeds and disperse them where you will.  I just like to take handfuls and toss them.  
Giant Mix from Harris Seed

The foliage is poisonous so rabbits and deer generally leave them alone.  

The main cultural practice that columbines don’t like is: being planted deeper than how they are growing in the pot and they don’t like mulch pulled up close to their crown."

There are many hybrids, that bring other colors to our spring flower beds. Harris Seed (photo) sells a mix of colors in bare root plants. 25 for $53.

Clementine Red from
Bluestone Perennials

Here's a double flowering hybrid variety, Clementine Red, from Bluestone Perennials. $13 per plant.

The natives, Aquigelia canadensis for example, are most likely to spread around your garden. Hybrids grown from cloning methods such as cuttings, chemical replication, etc. have shorter lifespans and spread only with ideal care and location.

Most seed companies offer seed packs of the single varieties as well as some of the doubles. A quick check from my computer yielded dozens of places to get them.

The best seed growing how-to resource, http://tomclothier.hort.net/, says that germination is slow and spotty with cold stratification helpful and probably necessary. Maybe if you want to grow from seed you should order now or soon.

16 December 2017

Poinsettia Care

Pete Carson opened Carson Borovetz Nursery for his annual Poinsettia sales event. Native to Southern Mexico, Poinsettias, Euphorbia pulchenima, dominate holiday home and office d├ęcor to the tune of 80-million sold each year.

This year we are offering four sizes and most of the colors available, said Carson.

Shoppers will find over 2,000 plants in various sizes and colors at the nursery. Here is a rundown of the poinsettias choices this year at Carson Bororvetz.

Casual observers never notice the Poinsettia flowers because they are so tiny. The colorful leaves or bracts that bring seasonal cheerfulness into our winter environment are not actually flowers.

Carson pointed out that even before the bracts turn colors you could see what color they will be by looking at the petiole or leaf stem. All the plants have green leaves when they are growing in October. But the stem that connects the leaf to the main stems carries the eventual bract color. Look for red stems on red poinsettias.

Carson will have white, pink, red, Monet, maroon, Winter Rose and Marble.


Pixie is a 4.5-inch pot miniature with 6 to 8 blooms. Ideal for tabletop, bedside, desks.

Six and one-half-inch pots have 2 plants per container and there will be 12-blooms. This size is the most popular for home coffee tables and in churches.

Eight-inch pots contain 3-plants, planted close together to create a taller display. This height is often used around a fireplace when it is not burning.

Hanging baskets are 10-inches in diameter and will have 20-blooms.

In the middle of August when most gardeners are sipping iced tea, Carson received four thousand Poinsettia plant cuttings. When they arrived their root ball was about as big around as a ballpoint pen.

All Poinsettias are hybrids grown from cuttings, Carson said. Each variety has different growing characteristics that I’ve learned over the past 25-years.

For example, a cloudy spell will impact when the bracts become colorful. August and September heat, an October hard freeze and insect migrations, all have to be worked around. Carson keeps both growing houses controlled with fans and heaters to keep the Poinsettias at their required 75-degree daytime and 64-degree nighttime temperatures.

Carson said he has learned from experience how many of each color to grow and which size pots Muskogee area holiday shoppers need.

By the way, Poinsettias are not poisonous. A few individuals have an allergic rash after touching the sap inside the stems of all Euphorbias.
- Temperature is critical to long lasting color. Keep away from television, stove, fireplace, furnace ducts, cold windowsills and doors that are frequently opened.
- Night temperature of 60-degrees F is ideal
- Water twice a week and drain the saucer after every watering.
Carson Borovetz Nursery
3020 North Street between South Country Club and York Streets
Monday November 24 through December 24
Monday to Saturday 9 to 6
Sunday noon to 6
918.682.4404 and 348-1270 cell

09 December 2017

Sustainable Gift Giving

Tulsa Sustainable held a meeting this week with a speaker from Root Tulsa, a project of the Kaiser Foundation. (Root Tulsa is a great app for things to do in Tulsa, sadly available only for Apple customers.)

With the holiday gift giving season here, these two organizations came up with dozens of ideas for our conservationist selves to consider.

In order to share the presentation with you, here are pictures of several slides.

One of the ideas, Keep it Local OK, is not available in Muskogee, but is across the rest of Oklahoma.
Purchase or give a $15 gift card for card holders to receive discounts at over 300 Oklahoma restaurants, stores, personal service businesses, clothing outlets, movie theaters, etc.
Here's a list of the businesses that sell and honor the card.

The emphasis is on locally purchased, minimally packaged items that
take as little as possible while giving as much as possible

Green, sustainable, gifting builds your community rather than an online store's profits
Focus on giving experiences rather than objects
Root Tulsa has a great list of suggestions at this link
Home made over commercial. Shop previously owned. Upcycle. Recycle,.Re-gift
"A thriving society, responsible economic growth, and environmental stewardship are the mutually reinforcing pillars of sustainability, and are the driving principles behind Sustainable Tulsa."

Oklahoma Sustainability Network includes the towns at the links below.

Rick Ewing, Muskogee Parks and Recreation has formed a committee to explore the possibility of Sustainable Muskogee. Contact him if you'd like to be involved in that effort.

04 December 2017

Gloriosa Lily Flame Lily Glory Lily

No matter what you call it, this lily is a spectacular summer flower to grow on a fence or trellis!

These summer blooming vines are cold hardy to zone 7 so we are weather compatible. A word of caution: many garden sites say they are hardy only in zone 9. Of course, they need a sunny location for the best flowering.

Gloriosa rothschildiana
A plant guru recommended Terra Ceia Farms so I ordered mine through them. The bulbs are 3 for $10 and ship in March.
There are color choices, of course but I wanted the one I saw growing at the Mobile Botanical Garden, which is Gloriosa rothschildiana, one of the red and yellow varieties.

Leafari planting guide suggests planting them with open structure perennials, "With their vining habit and need to something to climb on; flame lilies partner well with open-form shrubs, roses and sturdy mid-size perennials.

They want dry feet and average soil, "Average, moderately fertile soil with medium amounts of moisture will be fine for glory lilies. Soil that drains poorly and allows water to puddle will encourage tuber rot. Adding a slow release fertilizer when you plant can be helpful if your soil is a bit lean.

Gloriosa superba bulbs

Keep soil very slightly moist - too much water encourages tuber rot. Roots will start growing in 7-10 days and top growth will be visible in 2-4 weeks. Plant about 6" apart. "

The Garden of Eden blog from the UK says, "Despite its tropical looks the Glory Lily is relatively easy to grow. It is best off started in pots and then transferring them to the ground during May to June once the threat of late frosts have passed.

Similar to the oriental lilies the growth of the Glory Lily is upright at first, but these are climbing plants that love to scramble. If you look carefully you'll see that the tip of each leaf has a barbed end which it uses to support itself on whatever is at hand to climb on.
Using loam-based compost - with either horticultural grit, perlite or vermiculite or bark chippings to aid drainage. To help give it a head start you can also throw in a handful of grow-more or bone meal, just make sure that it is mixed in thoroughly before planting.
Gloriosa greenii flower
Plant the bulbs 3-4" deep, in larger pots you can plant several specimens so long as they are about 6" apart. Just lay them on their sides and cover them up - they will know which way is up. Water well, thoroughly soaking the compost and then allow any residue to drain away. If kept in a warm room you can expect to see new shoots in two to three weeks.

During the growing season the Glory lily should be watered thoroughly, but again, they will need to be allowed to dry out almost completely before re-watering – never leave them waterlogged or standing in water as this can encourage rots. When growing begins in the spring they should be given a liquid feed once a week to encourage new growth. Later on in the season a half strength fertilizer added to the water every two weeks will keep plants blooming strongly throughout the summer and sometimes further into early autumn."

Planted in large pots, they would be easy to dig and save over the winter.

It's exciting to try new plants and at 3 for $10 it's not terribly expensive to try this beauty in your garden this coming year.

In its native setting "Gloriosa superba occurs in semi-shade or sun in bushveld, coastal dunes, coastal woodlands, forest, thicket, grassland and savanna-forest boundaries, in the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga, Limpopo, North West and in Swaziland, Botswana, Namibia and Zimbabwe and into tropical Africa, India and southeastern Asia."

And, "Tubers are eaten by porcupines." Not a worry in Oklahoma.

28 November 2017

November Gardening in Muskogee

Because the weather has been so wonderful, I'm spending 3 or 4 hours 'out there' every day. There are lots of tasks to accomplish inside the shed and the perennial beds had grown out of control since I didn't do much out there last year.
Tropicals re-potted

The tender tropical plants that are in the shade outside in the summer were desperate for pruning, pup removal, fresh soil and larger pots.

Some of the succulents I've been starting with a leaf were ready for pots of their own plus pruning.

Agastache Apache Sunset seedlings
The tiny seedlings needed to be transplanted to six packs, separated in the 72 cell trays and checked for true leaves and root length.

Perennial beds

Salvia Azurea

 Outside, I've been working on two large perennial beds that had become overgrown with phlox and other well-intentioned plants that need to be thinned regularly.

I can't put photos of everything here because of space issues, but you get the jist.

Daffodil and Iris bulbs have become thick and in some cases three layers deep, so I've been digging, dividing and replanting them - it feels like by the hundreds!

I hope your schedule has allowed you to enjoy this incredible spring weather at the end of November.

21 November 2017

Progress on Tree and Shrub Cuttings

Cuttings taken from cold hardy perennials strike roots in weeks or months after being planted in potting soil, perlite or vermiculite and kept moist. Their containers need drain holes and the plants need a protective top until they strike roots and begin to grow.

Here are some examples from my garden shed which is minimally heated and lighted. The Plums are considered practically impossible to grow from cuttings but I had to try.
Forsythia, of course, is easily rooted to extend a green row with yellow spring flowers.
Fig cuttings are a 50/50 deal for me so I plant more than I need/want.
Lavender is also fairly easy to grow from cuttings. These will be replacement plants.

American Plum Tree cuttings taken three days ago
and planted in a plastic clamshell with a lid

Forsythia shrub cuttings taken in April
have foot-long roots in November

Three Brown Turkey Fig tree/shrub cuttings were taken a few weeks ago

On the left is a Lavender cutting and
on the right is a Salvia cutting.
Both were taken two months ago, struck roots and have moved to the light table in individual pots for growing on.


13 November 2017

Sand Plum is Chickasaw Plum, Sand Hill Plum, Mountain Cherry, Prunus angustifolia

Prunus angustifolia has many names but is delicious both for wildlife and human consumption.

Fall in the Ozarks

We drove over to Arkansas a few days ago to visit Pine Ridge Gardens and buy a few shrubs for our back acre where we have fruit and food for wildlife.

Native Sand Plums
Sand Plums are a great source of jelly making fruit if you can get any before wildlife takes them all.

Chickasaw plum plants grow 15 feet tall and wide in a twiggy form.
The bark is black and the stems are reddish.

MaryAnn King and Candy
Feb through May, small white flowers and little red plums appear. The flowers have five white petals with reddish or orange anthers. The plums are cherry-like and tend to be quite tart until they fully ripen later in the summer.

Chickasaw Plums thrive in low water, loose, sandy soil with sun to part-shade. The ones I planted two years ago have died without forming clumps because the area became too shady.
Native range Prunus angustifolia
In 1874 they were cultivated by Native Americans and early settlers to be used as a food source, cover for livestock, windbreaks, erosion control and wildlife food. If you want them for your kitchen, protect the plants from rabbits, deer, birds, squirrels, etc.

I asked MaryAnn King, owner of Pine Ridge, if she had any special planting suggestions and she responded, "They grow alongside the road so you know what to do."

Since I'd like to have many more than I could afford to purchase, I'm going to try my hand at propagating them by cuttings.

Pine Ridge Gardens native nursery

Pine Ridge Gardens has provided many of the native plants we have added to our backyard landscape in the past 15 years. King sells at her nursery (open houses continue this month) as well as selling at many festivals around the Tulsa area.

This is the ideal time to plant shrubs, trees, spring blooming bulbs, garlic, onions, perennial flower seeds, native plant seeds, etc.