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New Thread: Wild Wildflowers II

12 years ago

Taking forever to scroll through posts on original WW, so opening up new thread.......

Jeanie

Comments (50)

  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Hi Jeanie,

    It was getting sort of long, wasn't it? Turns out it was a really good thread!
    Can I post a question here about a wild plant, even if it isn't a flower? I keep seeing a couple of trees and didn't know who I could ask. This forum seems the perfect place. I can start a separate thread for it if I need to do that. ??

    Growing within just a few miles of us here in Bethel Acres, just off of Hwy 102, I've seen three separate trees that I can think of offhand, growing wild, and they look very much like schinus molle, the CA pepper tree that is not supposed to be able to live here. It's only (supposedly) hardy to zone 8. Some people say zone 9, some say possibly zone 7, so it's hard to say.

    I must admit that the trees are not really accessible or in an easy place where I could stop and get a good close look at them, and I haven't seen any of them with berries on them. but I wasn't paying a lot of attention until now. From the size of them, they've been there quite a while. I'd be the first to admit that trees are not my strong point, but I sure can't think of anything that looks quite like a pepper tree except a pepper tree. Does anyone have an idea of what it might be, or do I need to stop and see if I can get a close look. Maybe clip off a twig or get some photos in order to ID it? It just has me puzzled. I'm pretty sure the answer will be something silly that I should have thought of . . . but whatever it is, it's not coming to mind.

    Pat

  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I also just looked up the wild geranium (maculatum) and have the link for it. The site says that it also grows wild in OK, but it prefers a bit of high shade and some humus if possible. It looks to be more of a woodland plant than the hybrids I'm more used to seeing.

    Pat

    Here is a link that might be useful: MO wildflower seeds and plants

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  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Pat,
    Who knows?! Maybe it blooms. HA. Trees are definitely NOT my strong suit. I don't even know what a Pepper Tree looks like. Got any pix?

    Jeanie

  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago
  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Pat,
    I was fairly certain you would know the difference between Pelargonium and Cranesbill. HA. I am not familiar with the Maculatum, but it does look somewhat like a Cranesbill. Actually, when I see the words "woodlands", "marsh" or "loam", I lose interest almost immediately as the soils, heat and exposure where I live would gobble up anything I put in the ground, and just about everywhere I've lived. I mean this IS Oklahoma! HA.

    Cactusgarden,
    No. No degree. Just years of experience, dirt under my fingernails and sunburned noses. I don't recall sitting with anyone at the computer searching for grasses at Satterlee's. I really miss that nursery. He had quite a nice variety of succulents and cacti, and he loved perennials. You could find a better selection of perennials there than any place in town. Moesel's was always such a cluttered, disorganized mess that you felt like you were trekking through a jungle when you went in there. Remember the giant rubber tree in the green house up front? Wonder what they did with that thing. I worked with a Moesel at Lovable Critters in Yukon. He was very knowledgable. Precures has two nurseries, both in NW OKC. They are really quite nice and carry a lot of good landscape material. Same for TLC. Paul James was on cable on HGTV, which I can't get out here. I have DISH and DIY, instead. These triple digits every day are "bummers"! I'm not doing a whole lot outside, except early AM. Can't even get real interested in the yard, at all, right now. Find myself looking forward to Autumn, which, for me, is a little early. I usually don't tire of gardening until the "dog days" of August..........

    Jeanie

  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Well, aren't we all sitting up late at night?

    It wasn't a grass, it was Grass Sage (Texas) but no matter, its not important. Thats why the woman was getting a bit exasperated. It looks just like a grass until it blooms in fall. HCG now carries it.

    I forgot one.... Horn's Seed. At least they are still around. I wonder what happened to the plants from Satterlee's more than the ones at Moesels. If I remember right, they had a sale and that was how I heard the bad news. I didn't know the owner or that he had cancer. I never really knew the reason why they closed until you told me today. I wanted to go to Satterlee's after it was all cleared off and snoop around on the dirt and pavement. When a nursery moves, many times things will come up where roots have grown out of the pot into the ground. This is my kind of adventure. My husband said he would disown me if I did. Then I had this friend in Texas who did exactly that when a nursery there packed up and closed and found some pretty good free stuff. She sent me two Texas Sage plants that came up from roots that had grown into the ground.

    What do you think of that Possumhaw? I've never really looked at them before. Its in the Holly family and its an Okie Native. (Texas too) The bark is pretty and photo #3 makes it really look tempting.

  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Boy, I am not too familiar with trees either, unless they are larval host trees, of which I have 4 - Ptelea trifoliata or Wafer Ash, which is a small tree in the Rutaceae family (Giant Swallowtail), Liriodendron tulipifera or Tulip Tree(Tiger Swallowtail), in the Magnoliaceae family, Prunus serotina or Wild Black Cherry, in the Rosaceae family (Tiger Swallowtail), and Salix nigra or Black Willow, in the Salicaceae family (Mourning Cloak, Viceroy). All of these are native to Oklahoma. Wafer Ash is a small tree or shrub depending on how you prune it. I also "inherited" Hackberry and Elm, both larval host trees, but which are a pain to have growing in your yard. Non-native is a Morus alba unryu, or Contorted Mulberry (no fruit), a relatively small tree that my granddaughter states is "her" tree for climbing.

    Other natives I forgot to mention include Arisaema triphyllum or Jack-in-the-Pulpit, which needs water before and after flowering in spring, but then dry conditions (an Aroid tuber), and Spigelia marilandica that the hummingbirds love, has great red flowers with yellow throats similar to the Cuphea igneas. I don't water mine at all and it thrives.

    Susan

  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    AHA! So West Texas Sage is a Salvia. The blue flowers are beautiful! A true blue in a flower is difficult to find. The blues lean toward purple or lavender, as a rule.
    I think Possumhaw (love the name) is awesome, but being a Holly, you would need both male and female for good berry production, which I have plenty of room for, but my clay and caliche soil is so difficult to dig a hole in, and it allows no room for root expansion. I have no muscle power around the house, so hole digging in concrete is a bit discouraging. I know. I've tried it!
    I'm sleepy. WHY did we all stay up half the night, chattering away about gardening?! HA
    I hardly ever shopped Horn's because I hated the hassle of Classen Circle, and they were, also, a bit pricey. Need to get out and do some watering.

    Jeanie

  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Susan,
    Thanks for calling our attention to "Wild Things". I did not know about them. Too late this year but will plan on attending the Cactus Show at WR Park and Wild Things in Norman in June of next year. Seems June is their month.
    I did not kill Oranges and Lemons by dead-heading. I over-watered and since they were planted close to the "funky", ill-fated cactus that I lost, I am assuming water stood in that area of the bed or whatever. Ya just CAN'T overwater heat-loving plants. Duh!

    Jeanie

  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    That possumhaw is really interesting, and I'd like to learn more about it. However, it isn't a pepper tree, or even close. The one that's called a California Pepper actually migrated up from Peru. It's hard down to 20 degrees (and maybe below) and is a large tree, usually even wider than it is tall, although there can be some variation in that. I'm just curious about it because that appears to be what's growing along the road where I drive past it, and I didn't think it was supposed to be here. If it decides to bloom and produce berries (which aren't berries at all, but a little hard peppercorn-like thing with a bright red papery shell) it will be an absolute give-away even from a distance, since I don't think anything else does that.

    {{gwi:1123025}}

    {{gwi:1123026}}

    Jeanie, I'm certain I killed all of my gaillardia here by putting them into a clay bed that is either brick hard in summer or sodden in the winter. It doesn't drain worth a darn. If I try to amend small areas, all it does is create a bowl for the water to stand in. That's what nearly killed the buddleia also.

    Pat

  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Pat,
    The California Pepper Tree is beautiful! I don't see how it could survive here, though, if it is only hardy to 20 degrees, unless it has found some incredible micro-climate. How is your distant vision, young lady? It looks to resemble our old common Mimosa Trees. My vision did a flip-flop as I aged. Instead of being Miopic, I'm now Hyperopic. Trees have leaves instead of fluff balls. A lot of people really like the Mimosa. I think it is kind of messy. One of my favorite large trees is the Ginko, absolutely gorgeous Fall color!

    Jeanie

  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Distance vision, Jeanie? Would you believe blind as a bat?! Call me a young lady and I just might hug your neck. But no, I'm all but positive it isn't a mimosa. I happen to be quite fond of them and usually spot the ones that are growing wild. I'm also pretty sure it isn't some variety of native willow.

    Now it's got me so puzzled that I'll need to go get some photos of the ones I where might be able to get close enough to get a shot. I agree that it makes no sense at all that a pepper tree would survive here. I did see one rating that said it might make it in zone 7, but I can't see it happening around here. It's like the magnificent big eucalyptus of SoCal (when they're properly pruned). Really pretty where it's happy, and not possible at all in other places. People will persist in planting eucalyptus where is is doomed to failure right from the beginning. What a waste.

    Pat

  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    OK Ya'all,

    We KNOW it isn't a pepper tree just like we know we are not going to see a date palm, around here either. Or the really nice buckwheat plants growing up there in California and Oregon and other coastal states. Most California Coastal native perennial plants are not going to make it here even if they are rated zone 7. If they do, you certainly will not be seeing them growing in the wild like these trees you are wanting to ID.

    With the choices abounding from Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado and New Mexico (and beyond) we have plenty of wonderful non-California plants to choose from and be happy with. Lets get real. We can be proud of what we have here in lowly Oklahoma too.

    I don't like the Mimosa Tree either, However, Fragrant Mimosa (Mimosa borealis) is an entirely different matter. Thats a nice native to Oklahoma and Texas and I would definitely consider it.

    I remembered after posting that last night I bought three of the Possumhaws many years ago and planted them. They were loaded with red berries even as small plants and grew rather quickly. I took them out when I did a garden theme changeover and because they were leaning badly from the neighbors big trees. I have that problem perpetually. Grasses seem to be the one solution to the leaning plant problem.

    MIMOSA BOREALIS
    {{gwi:1123028}}

    {{gwi:1123029}}

  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Cactus, sorry if I'm annoying you with my silly western garden questions. I'm just trying to figure out what the tree IS, since we pretty well know what it is not.

    The mimosa borealis is really pretty.

    Pat

  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Pat, I don't mind western garden questions and I don't think there is such a thing as a silly question when it comes to gardening so please don't read in something that isn't there. My apology if you took it that way.

    I was trying to help figure out what the tree was. Its difficult without a photo.

    But, I want to point out, it doesn't really involve or help us here to know about what works and grows in California because we can't do that here. How long have you lived in Oklahoma now?

    Janet

  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Jeanie,

    The Texas sage is not a salvia. I mean, not that there aren't a lot of Salvias that are Texans but I think you are probably thinking of the silver one we see a lot of lately. I have a native Texan called Salvia Penstemoides. It got really big tubular flowers and likes water so I planted it where the air-conditioner run off drips all summer. They had thought it extinct but them someone found it growing. I love stories like that.

    The ones I was talking about that they call Texas Sage is a Cenizo. Its also called "Purple Sage" or "Texas Ranger" I got two from my friend! One is the typical silver leaf variety we have seen in the garden centers around here that a lot of people have planted and the other one is a larger type called "Green Cloud".

    I didn't have much luck with them a few years ago. I have since I added the sand and these two have done very good. I don't think they will tolerate heavy soils around here when it gets wet but I see them around OKC a lot so I don't know that for sure.

    My neighbor always does her spring plant shopping at Horn's, religiously. I can't afford them. I do like going there for seeds however, and am planning to get some Mexican Hats. They give very good garden advice when you have a problem and I have gone in there when I was at my wits end in the past. Thats where I found out about putting sulfur on Yuccas for those awful beetles. Each year my Pyracanthus would get the grunge and I went there and got a spray but they mostly said to take them out, they will always have that problem here in central Oklahoma and they don't recommend planting them. I took them out.

  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Janet, I've sort of lived in OK for 6 years now, but a lot of it was spent in recovering from some serious physical problems ( I broke nearly all of my ribs, among other things), so I'm just now really getting into the OK gardening thing and wanting to get serious about native plants. I think part of what has me stumped is in where the overlap lies in materials that will survive the hot, dry and extreme conditions that may plague OK, NM, TX, CO, WA, and yes, large parts of northern CA. Hail, snow, drought, drenching rain, poor clay soil and rocky ground can be common to all those areas, so I'm in the process of trying to sort it out. You understand? I'm having a really bad week, with one serious catastrophe after another, so I'm sorry if I took your comment the wrong way.

    The thing is, it's true that I was a certified Master Gardener in CA, but the keyword here is WAS. It only applies to northern CA from Sacramento and San Francisco to the Oregon border. While that takes in a whole lot of different conditions, OK is a whole new ballgame. A lot of my knowledge simply does not apply here. I'm trying to cram a lot of fresh, new knowledge into an old and slightly tired brain, and under less than optimum growing conditions.

    You mentioned pyracantha. I've had more than my fill of it and would never consider planting it, but will some of the fancy cotoneaster do well here? They are even more showy, and without the thorns. It's such a big family that there are many sizes and shapes to choose from, but would they all fall prey to one sort of blight or infestation or another?

    I'm very interested in that Texas sage. it sounds exciting! I almost never get into the city to do any shopping, but is there an online source for it?
    A couple of others I have questions about are the prairie verbena (glandularia) and the rose gentian (sabatia campestris). They are both supposed to be native here. Does anyone have experience with them?

    Pat

  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    As I said, trees are NOT my strong suit. I look to them for soothing shade out here in our prairie region, and if they happen to be attractive and give great Fall color, then I like them. I don't like the weedy ones like Albizia Julibrissin which can become invasive, are messy, have brittle wood and are short-lived. Neither do I like those stupid Elms that pop up in your flower beds and can, literally crack your house foundation if not removed when small. I hate neighbor's old pecan trees, etc. that hang over your fence and break off and drop on your vehicle or onto your driveway or smash your flower beds in high wind.
    I haven't a clue what the mystery tree is. I just thought the California Pepper Tree sorta, kinda resembled the old familiar silk tree. Never have even heard of Mimosa Borealis, but admit it is much more attractive.
    I DO know one thing, for sure. I am going to start using the common names of plants and not struggling to come up with the botanical names. I truly admire one and all's knowledge of the wonderful flora and fauna with which God blessed this earth, but I'm older and tireder and just want to enjoy gardening and the great "exchange" on these forums! You all are wonderful and I really appreciate the info and pix you share, but Please make it easy on this old gal and speak English. That way I won't have to be wracking my brain to recall Latin names or running for one of my books to look up exotic-sounding plant material. Tee Hee. Some day you will understand, my little Whipper-Snapper gardeners.

    Jeanie

  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Pat,

    I am probably not really a good one to advise on a lot of that information you want on how a plant will perform. The reason is, I don't ever rely on information from others about how a plant will do here. I just try them out and go by trial and error and choose the ones I like. I always expect a certain amount of failure. I also like breaking rules or maybe I just hate rules in the first place. If someone tells me it won't grow here, it usually just makes me dig in and want to try it even more. So our approach is quite different. I have no past experience in many of the plants you have asked about and no formal education. I don't like being in the position of being asked as an expert because I always think of that guy in Texas called "Mr Smartyplants" and feel like I am coming across like that and I feel creepy. I like Mr. Smartyplants but I don't want his job. I don't think I am nearly as serious as you in gardening either. I am almost never serious and have a sarcastic black sense of humor that some get and others are offended by.

    Another reason is I live in the city and have access to all the water I want. Its different in the city obviously on that factor. But the biggest reason is I have altered my soil in such a way as to be able to grow what otherwise would not grow here. We brought in two full dump truck loads of sand in both the front and back and another dump truck load of top soil for the back, making three large mounds and three loads of river rock as a deep mulch. I am also on a slope, the entire property.

    So I would hate to think you would ever buy a plant based on my advice. Others on the forum would be much better in recommending which plants. I do know one thing for sure. Temperature and zone numbers is way down on the list of factors in determining whether or not a plant will adjust or die.

  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Janet, I'm envious of your truckloads of sand and topsoil! I can do tiny areas of amendment here, but it's almost not worth the effort. It would be easier if I could find plants that would survive the conditions. That's going to take some legwork. Like you, I often push the envelope and see what I can get away with in different or more unusual plant materials.

    I know what you mean about giving advice on plants. It's all but impossible to guess exactly what the conditions will be in another location, or what sort of care another person will or will not give to something new.

    We're certainly not in the city, and we're on a well. We've got six acres of very mixed conditions. Some of it is going to be a lot more challenging than what I'm working on now. It gives me a headache to think about it. We have a 3-acre scrub pasture that eventually will need to be developed if we decide to put a house on it. Right now it's a blank clay canvas with a fence around it. I suppose I can look at what I'm doing now as sort of a test of what might work and what will not. I'd like to at least get a few trees started there, but the prime challenges at the moment are in keeping the sheep away from them, and seeing that they get water.

    Before I post this, I do have to take exception to the comment that there are no silly garden questions. I hope you all appreciate it.
    When I was still working in the nursery, a man came in and wanted to know if we didn't have the shrub he wanted, and described it as being "a big green thing . . . you know what I mean?" Pushing him for more of a description only got the same answer, with more of his arms waving around to show that it was a "big green thing". I don't think we ever did find it for him.

    :-)

    Pat

  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Janet,
    Since we live smack-dab in the middle of Cross Timbers territory, check out the Crosstimbers and Prairies website (first look at Wikipedia map), then click on "recommended plants". 27 pages of great plants.

    Jeanie

  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Wow, Jeanie, what a great site! I ran a check for just OK perennials and came up with 18 pages of them. I don't know if I'm in the right place or not, but it's the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. I got confused at first, when I was looking for it, so I'm putting the link in here. If it's the wrong one, can you point me in the right direction?

    Pat

    Here is a link that might be useful: OK perennials

  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Pat,
    Yes. You found it. Surely, there are some plants on this list that we can use!

    Jeanie

  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Oh, good. I hoped it was the right one. I haven't had time to really go through it yet. Had to go spray the veggie garden for grasshoppers. Ick.

    Did you see the link I posted on the other weather conscious thread, that lists all the non-native invasives for OK? I was dumbfounded by some of the stuff I found on there. Things like privet, that I'd never have dreamed would be invasive. Just goes to show what happens when you plant something in a spot where it's really happy and can be unrestricted, doesn't it? I was going to ask if a chinaberry tree (melia) can be grown here. Now I won't bother, since I see it's on the invasive list. I grew up with one in a very hot and dry climate with hard clay soil and it was great. No problem at all. Here it seems to like the improved rainfall and it tends to thrive and spread. And spread some more.
    I had also asked about the yellow (sulphur) cinquefoil and no-one answered. Now I see that it can also be invasive. Holy Toledo. I need to pay attention to the lists of good natives and bad invasives.

    Pat

  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Well, a lot of them I recognized, but was unaware of Privet. I have always avoided Privet, because, if I'm not mistaken, these are the plants used in England in formal gardens that grow so tall and wide, they build mazes and tunnels with them. I can't afford a team of gardeners to trim and shape, so was fairly certain I did not want to spend countless hours keeping them sheared and under control. HA. Wonder why they don't include Dandelions, Crabgrass, etc.?

    Jeanie

  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I don't care for privet either, but I was surprised to see it on the list. And I was really surprised by the cinquefoil. My personal bane is ragweed, but my daughter said to include the nasty thorn she calls 'goathead'. And what is that atrocious little weed that the locals call 'stick-tight'?? I don't think star thistle grows around here, but if it ever gets started, watch out! It's beyond horrible.

    The list of invasives actually comes as a pdf file, so I printed out a copy of it.

    Pat

  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I apologize for using latin names here. I was always taught to use them in lieu of the common names because the common names can be so confusing and can apply to more than one plant, e.g., the Cardinal Vine discussed in another thread for example. Also when doing Google searches on the net, the common name can yield several different family/genus/species plants referred to by common name. For me, it is easier to use the latin names, but I try to also include the common name along with it. Not trying to be "snobbish" or anything, it has just been "instilled" in me.

    Many of the forbs and trees you mention, Redding, I have never even heard of. If you lived in California, you lived in the Salvia capital of the nation. There are more native Salvias in CA than anywhere else. Texas has a number of them, but there are only 2 or 3 for Oklahoma, including Salvia azurea. I grow S. coccinea 'Lady in Red' and 'Forest Fire'. Also have S. gauranitica 'Black & Blue', S. x microphylla 'Hot Lips', S. greggii 'Cherry Queen', and S. darcyi. The one thing Salvias generally have in common is their need for sharp drainage. Some require more water than others, for instance my Black & Blue likes more water than the coccineas or greggiis.

    I am a bit of a different grower in that I have a wildlife garden. Many of the plants I grow, someone else would have nothing to do with, e.g., False Nettle aka Boehmeria cylindrica. This nettle in the Urticaceae family, does not have the stinging hairs, has insignificant blooms and non-descript foliage, and would not be an appealing ornamental for the garden. It is, however, a larval host for the Red Admiral butterfly. I also grow lots of things for the hummingbirds and most of those are ornamental plants as are the nectar plants for the butterflies. I have blueberries for my Cardinals and they are so funny to watch as they gather the berries from the pots the plants are in.

    Most butterfly larval host plants are native plants since these are what their larva consume and have for centuries and beyond, probably. That much of their habitat has been destroyed by we humans, many home gardeners are providing gardens to mitigate the losses.......somewhat.

    So unless the plants have a wildlife value of some sort, I will not put it in my garden - it is too small for wasted plant space. If I had a larger garden, I would grow much more in the way of ornamentals. I do have some that were in place when I purchased my home back in the 90s, such as the Nikko Blue Hydranges, the Azaleas, the obnoxious climbing rose, and that's about it.

    So, I apologize for over-selling the wildlife plants that are not a true ornamental - some are - for the garden, and once again, for the use of latin, botanical names. My heart lies with the wild things.........because we have taken so much from them.

    Susan

  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Susan,
    And you were properly taught, as there are many, many varieties of the different plant species, and the Latin names DO direct you to the EXACT plant, and believe me, you are NOT the only one who uses Latin names, me included, but most of us are gardening with the common plants easily found at our local nurseries and rarely get into the elusive, difficult-to-find exotic varieties or strains. There are those few who have "Garden Themes" and are bored with "Grandma's Garden". Which is usually full of the plants brought in by the pioneers, who were thankful to have ANYTHING growing and blooming, and there is nothing wrong with "Garden Themes", either, but as I said, most of us (especially this year) are just struggling to keep our daylilies, roses and daisies alive. Cactusgarden loves the Prairie look, you love only Butterfly Host plants, Redding keeps trying to adapt her West Coast thinking to our totally different gardening challenges and, quite frankly, ALL of us are having to adapt our NORMAL gardening to much harsher challenges this year, which seems to be leaning more and more to the wild things of the Prairie.
    So, don't apologize for using Latin names, for this is truly proper, but I am simple and learned most of my gardening at my Grandmother's knee, and it doesn't give me a headache to call a rosea a Rose or an albizia Julibrissin a Mimosa. Tee Hee

    Jeanie

  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Jeanie, I tend to switch and swap back and forth between the Latin and common names, but I really do like it when someone uses the Latin one to tell me just what it is that I need to look up, particularly when it's a special named one. There are so many new plant materials here for me to learn; species and all the sub-species that may be either a complete switch from what I've known in the west, or a totally new plant that I don't recognize at all -- like the volunteer passion vine that is taking over the front of the barn. And there are so very many that have completely different common names, like the mimosa. A lot of folks in the west call it a silk tree.
    I don't like feeling so completely clueless about what we have growing on the place, or making giant mistakes by bringing in the wrong thing. In a situation like the invasive weeds we talked about earlier, I don't know how to look them up and find out what to do for control if I don't know their proper name. I can't call it "that nasty sticky thing" even though I normally use the common name once I've learned it.
    Working in a nursery for a while, or doing any landscape design, knowing the Latin names was a requirement. I didn't have any choice in the matter. It's rather like when the fellow came in to the nursery and wanted us to find a specific shrub for him, and it was "a big green thing: you know!"

    Last week I was having the very devil of a time in remember another name for what we called the 'umbrella tree' when I was a kid. It finally dawned on me that it was also known as a chinaberry, so I could find the real name of melia.
    No, I won't be planting one, since I found it on the invasive list for OK.

    Now I have a confession to make. When someone drops a new name on me, as happens all the time here, I must admit that I cheat. Yep. I keep a separate browser window open and switch over to it so I can quickly look it up. Oh, the shame of it all. Woe is me.

    However, to add a bit of humor, my husband coined a phrase that has become a family joke. When someone used to ask me the name of a plant and I'd rattle off the full Latin one, he'd just look at me and say "You do and you'll clean it up!"

    On a slightly different tack, I'm particularly fascinated with the huge salvia family. Someone said that CA is the salvia capital. Um . . . really?? Trying to grow them out there, I found that they can do pretty well or be a big disappointment, and where I was trying to make a go of it in Z6-7 mountains, the latter was most often true. I'm hoping for much better success here, and looking more to the hardy perennial natives rather than the showy things you see in 6-packs at the big box stores. Penstemon is the same way. Where they are happy, they are wonderful. The trick is in selecting the right ones and then finding out how to keep them happy. I'd love to have wads of both salvia and penstemon scattered in among the other things, and if that won't work, then I've gotten a lot of good ideas from group members for plants that can be used as substitutes.

    I'm really trying to get away from the 'big box' type of thing and go with a lot more of the hardy natives, and with a lot of them, like the salvia family, I don't think I'd ever be able to sort them out without the Latin names. We got on to a discussion of cotoneaster in another thread, and there's such a huge variety of sizes and forms in the species that the Latin is pretty much a necessity. Sigh.

    Pat

  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Pat,

    After we bought this land, I spent two years walking around our land with grass, tree, wildflower and native plant ID books making lists of what already grew on the property and where it grew, because I learned from the soil jar test that our soil changes every few yards so what grows well in one spot will not necessarily grow well in another. It took me a long time to ID stuff (and I didn't figure out what "everything" was, either) and make all my lists, but once I had lists of what grew well where, and what was able to exist (a) on nothing but natural rainfall while (b) also tolerating the occasional rare year in which incredibly high rainfall occurs, then I had my list of what would grow on our land. It doesn't really matter what grows well in "my" part of OK if it doesn't grow well on our specific land with its unique soil characteristics and drainage issues in wet years and dry soil/drought issues in most years. Some of our neighbors have tons of sand and little clay, so what grows well for them...and I can see those plants right there on their property while standing here on our own place....doesn't necessarily grow well for me and vice versa.

    So, my suggestion is to study your own land and develop a thorough understanding of what grows on it already. Then, do your research and figure out which plants will tolerate similar soil and similar weather. It doesn't necessarily matter what grows well even a mile from you if their soil and esp. their drainage isn't very similar to yours. I ignored those lists of what grows well in the county, region, state, etc. and focused on what grows right here on this specific property. Once I understood what I was starting with, I could look for other plants that thrive in those specific conditions.

    I just think you'll drive yourself crazy if you focus on lists of what grows "here" in Oklahoma and surrounding states, because soils here are highly, highly, highly variable and what grows well in, let's say, NE OK bears no resemblance to what grows well in NW OK or SW OK, etc. Also, not only are the soils highly variable, but so is the rainfall. Some parts of our state routinely receive 60" or more in an average year, and others receive 10" or 20", so even with very similar soils, the conditions are still very different.

    I also found that focusing mostly on natives was the way to go in terms of wildlife problems. Anything that is too different from what routinely grows here is a deer magnet...hostas and daylilies, for example, are deer chow, so there's no point in planting them there. If a given plant is found on our land and the deer don't eat it down to the ground every year, it is one that I can plant.

    Dawn

  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Dawn, thanks for mentioning the fact that your place changes a lot in the soil and growing conditions, because ours does the same. What I can grow in the veggie garden I would not even think of attempting in the clay patch 25' to the west. The variation is pretty radical from place to place here. The low area by the barn is nothing at all like the higher flat pasture 150' to the east although there's less than 18" rise in elevation. And then of course we have the old chicken pens that we won't even bother to discuss.

    I don't have the vigor that you do, but I'm certainly trying to take a page out of your book and pay attention to what grows where, what thrives and what does not. And then there are confusing years when what had been a beautiful field of paintbrush is suddenly empty without a single wildflower blossom in sight.

    If I could just manage a crash course is grasses it would be a huge help. Not just the warm and cool season ones, but also the ones that will tolerate the drought conditions. I'm not talking about lawns. I need pasture grass to feed the livestock. We were going to cross fence and seed one side of it this fall for cold tolerant winter pasture, but now we're in the middle of the drought and I'd love to find something that can take the heat and reduced water and still have a hope of survival for next summer. If we don't get any water at all, it's going to be an exercise in futility.

    Pat

  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Pat,

    You're welcome.

    Wildflowers are just that way. One of my favorites here is the liatris. Some years it is spectacular and fills the pastures (generally in a normal summer after a normal spring). Other years, usually after an exceptionally rainy spring and early summer, it virtually disappears. This year it had potential because decent rain fell in May (woo hoo! six inches!) but then little rain fell in June and less in July. So, it started out great, but in many areas is now withering and dying and I fear not many of them will make it to the flowering stage, which usually is in August here.

    Indian Paintbrush, on the other hand, can survive seemingly anything. I've seen if look lovely in full bloom in April and then brown out and go dormant in a very dry May....so then you're thinking it is 'done' for the year, right? After all, it is a spring wildflower, not a summer one. However, if there is good rainfall in June or July, all of a sudden, we have Indian Paintbrush sprouting back from the ground and blooming in the middle of summer. Nothing, it seems, is typical or average here. Everything is weird! lol

    Let me think about the pasture issue overnight and I'll try to post a list tomorrow of good ones for our clay soils in our area. The issue with mixed native pastures, though, is that certain grasses dominate in wetter years and others in drier years but this is a plus and not a minus since our weather is so highly variable. Then, in this very extraordinary drought year, nothing is doing well and there's not much anyone can do about that.

    Today at the local feed store, the owner told Tim that mid-sized big round bales are going for $165.00 right now, if you can even find them, and the quality is poor because of poor rainfall and high heat. Bales of this same size normally are about $95. I called these mid-sized because they're not nearly as big as the big round bales in a good year. I don't know how someone decides to make round bales one size or another, but these certainly aren't as big as the round bales were last year. With that kind of a price increase, how many ranchers will be able to feed their cattle all winter long?

    Not having livestock, I don't know much about them, but I know that the grass that's growing best right now is the horribly invasive, noxious weed "Johnson grass", but you have to be careful about using it. While it can be a great livestock feed under certain condition, it also can poison livestock under specific conditions that are somewhat common here.

    For forage research in Oklahoma, no one can beat the Ardmore-based and world-famous Noble Foundation. I'll link one of their Johnson Grass articles below.

    If I had cattle to feed, I might appreciate Johnson Grass but as a gardener, I totally despise it. Johnson Grass is bermuda grass....on steroids!

    Dawn

    Here is a link that might be useful: Johnson Grass--Brief Article from Noble Foundation

  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Dawn, many thanks for that link. I had no idea at all of what Johnson Grass can do when it's exposed to certain circumstances. Horrible stuff.
    A mixed native pasture would be great, or even . . . how shall I put it . . . native friendly, maybe. Stuff that could manage to evolve and change with the seasons as you said, with some dominant at times and others at different times, but not cause any invasive problems for anybody. Right now we have a dry, brown mess of stubble out there that I don't think any amount of water will rescue while the temperatures are high like this. I have a terrible feeling that it might not come back until next spring. Tomorrow I have to go buy feed. I didn't think we'd need any until December. I think I'll use a pelleted ration to avoid any waste, but it's going to get pricey to try to keep our animals. We'll have to see how it goes. If we have to sell them, we'll take a loss no matter how you look at it.

    Coming home from town this evening, we saw two semi-trailers bringing in round bales from someplace else. That's pretty ominous. And when we crossed the N. Canadian just outside Shawnee, there was very, very little water in it.

    Pat

  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    We've been watching big flat-bed tractor trailer rigs loaded with hay traveling down I-35 to Texas since last winter. They are a daily sight here. I try to imagine what it will cost to buy that hay by the time transportation charges are added in to the original cost per bale.

    Our Volunteer Fire Dept. had its annual garage sale in early June and that two days is always a great time to catch up on all the local news because everyone comes to the garage sale and hangs around and talks, which is wonderful fun. Most of the local news this year focused on how much feed had gone up per ton and how much more it was expected to go up. A lot of folks here are selling off cattle and some have been selling off horses (and the horse market is very depressed).

    Everyone here that has cattle has native pasture because of the way that a diverse planting generally produces something in any given year versus the way a monoculture can fail in a year that is not to its liking. The kind of native grasses that perform best vary depending on soil type. For example, out in the western third to half of our county, you see a whole lot of sand love grass because it forms huge clumps and handles tough conditions very well in their sandy soils. Here in our clay, the sand love grass forms very small clumps and goes to seed really fast in hot weather, but the blue stem grasses perform much better. We have several kinds of bluestem grasses on our land---at least one of which I'd never even heard of until we moved here. Indian grass is one of my favorite grasses here, and I love the curly mesquite grass although it is not that common here and some years I don't see any of it at all on our land.

    It is hotter and drier here by the day. Anyone who was able to cut and bale hay after the heavy May rainfall was able to sell it (if they wanted to sell it) before it was cut and baled. I understand some folks have been cutting and baling the corn stalks, which didn't even produce usable ears because of the drought. I don't think corn stalks provide enough nutrition, but one of my ranching friends feeds them to his cattle for 'bulk' to fill them up and supplements with bagged feed to up the nutrition.

    Because of the incredibly high fire danger, Tim and I are about to start cutting our pastures as short as we can. I hate to do it, but it is all dry and cured and will burn like crazy if a grass fire reaches our place. Back during the drought of 2005-2006, they advised us all to go out with the string-trimmer and cut our grass as close to the ground as humanly possible. We might as well do it now because we're drier now in July than we were in mid-winter then.

    Unless a big tropical storm system or two dumps tons of moisture on Texas and Oklahoma and greens up everything and puts moisture back into the soil, I'm afraid we're in for an epic fall and winter fire season.

    Dawn

  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Dawn- I'm hoping that a statewide emergency is declared and the ranchers recieve hay hauled in by the National Guard like they did in 2005 or 2006. I remember they did that in OK and TX for cattle and horse ranchers.
    I'm going to attempt to paste a couple of interesting articles on Sudan grass, which could be used for cattle and can also crowd out Bermuda before planting native grasses.
    http://www.wyorange.net/Drought/sorghum.html
    http://www.kerrcenter.com/publications/summer-cover-crops.pdf

  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Tracy, thanks for sending those links. Good information in there, if I can ever manage to put it into practice. I am just so ignorant of the pasture grasses. It's pitiful.

    I suppose if anything good can be said of this situation, it's that at least I can get a good look at the property now and see what is growing and what is not. I can see where the water tables are, simply from the stands of ragweed.

    The natives that seem to be handling it the best are the elms and persimmons. Looking out my windows at the country to the west and north of us, the conifers are all in pretty good shape, as are the oaks and cottonwood. We seem to have a better water table here than what is only a couple of miles up the road. A lot of the native trees there are looking really sad, and more than a few appear to be dead.

    Two of my young maples seem to be coping fairly well, but I lost one completely and another one is really struggling. I have to wonder if that dratted gopher is under it. The trees are about 5 years old. When we lost the big callery pear, my younger daughter brought another one out and planted it. I wish she hadn't. I'm having to keep it watered also. It's not a very happy camper.

    The wild honeysuckle does not appear to be slowed by the conditions, and wherever the wild polyantha roses can get any water at all, they are chugging right along. I found one wildflower near the garden that looks like some sort of a native aster, but I don't know. I took a photo of it to see if anyone can ID it for me. It's tangled in one of the wild roses.
    {{gwi:1123031}}

    As to the rest of the veggie garden, the beans are gone and the spidermites got several of the big marigolds. The peppers are hanging in there, but they get really limp in the heat. Quite a few banana peppers are showing sun scald. The lemon cukes have recovered from whatever was bothering them and are setting fruit again, and I'm going to rig a sun shade for the tomatoes.
    The squash are still producing, but I've found them with limp leaves more than once. Same for the cantaloupe. The strawberry bed is still alive, but full of weeds. I don't even want to disturb it very much in this heat. I'm just trying to keep enough water on it that I don't lose all those new plants.

    Oh, I have a question about my new little yucca (hesperaloe). It's still sitting in the tiny nursery pot from HCG and I really don't want to try to put it in the garden now, for fear of killing it. Can I simply transfer it into a larger pot and give it morning sun, as I've been doing? If so, what would be the best soil mix to use for it? I have a big bale of the Bonnie's potting mix that's pretty heavy in peat and vermiculite, but I don't want to use it straight, even though it appears to be in a similar mix now. Would it be suitable to mix it about half and half with the sandy soil from the area where I plan on siting the yucca?

    Pat

  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Looks like Wooly Ironweed. Veronia lindheimeri.

    Its a shame the rose is trying to smother it and you can't see it that well because its a very pretty native even if it doesn't look quite as good as it would without that foreigner trying to take over. I think natives look best when they don't have to compete visually with non native plants. My decision would be nix the rose and encourage the Ironweed.

    You might try Googling it.

    There you go Pat, use that plant as a guide on this difficulty you keep talking about trying to figure out soil prep and special conditions you need to provide for your natives and all the special changes and soil temps and watering etc you think you need to make. Wouldn't a nice big planting of this plant, really making a statement, be a good native plant choice? Since I can't seem to get across any other way, I am trying this illustration to explain what I mean when I said you are not seeming to get the concept of planting natives. You did absolutely nothing and there is that pretty native looking as healthy as a horse. Just like an easy to grow native. Which they are. Even in Oklahoma.

    Just don't kill that hesperaloe with kindness, its usually the way people kil plants like that. Over parenting.

  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    This is the first time I've seen that plant on the property. Might have something to do with the fact that it's also the first year we've put a garden in there and it's had access to a little more water? The illustrations look like it, except that mine is bigger. It's easily close to 4' tall.
    We did try to get rid of the wild roses but it obviously didn't work. They are very happy in the same location.

    We had very few wildflowers on the place this year, but I imagine most of that has to do with the fact that the balance is fenced for sheep pasture. They tend to prefer forbs over grasses. If the climate doesn't give us a break pretty soon, we'll have to decide whether to keep them or not. I hate to take a big loss on them, but we can't feed them for months and months either.

    The hesperaloe is still sitting in its little nursery pot, but it has to go in the ground. I kept waiting for a break in the weather, and I don't think that's going to happen any time soon. I have a location for it that's full sun and a light, friable soil that drains very quickly. I think (I hope) that will be a perfect location for it.

    I'm still trying to figure out what I can use for the horrible clay area next to the house. It's a little bed that's about 5'D x 10'W and it seems to want to be either bone dry or a sodden mess. There had been a callery pear shading it for years but we lost that in an ice storm. The combination of old roots and poor soil makes it almost impossible to dig. It's western exposure with afternoon sun bouncing off the house and the wind hitting it nearly full-blast. So far the only thing I've managed to get to grow in it is a little coreopsis and it's nothing to write home about. It's alive, but that's about all I can say for it.
    The combination of conditions is a particularly bad one. The poor plants have to be able to tolerate heavy soggy feet and an icy wind part of the time and the baking heat and dry clay the rest of the time. Although I can offer some water to ease the thirst, I can't stop the heat or the wind.

    I'd be perfectly happy if I thought one of the big sumac might make it there. I just need something to soften that corner and help screen the big A/C unit and the chain link fence. Maybe one or two of the ornamental grasses? I've seen them growing under really awful conditions in downtown Shawnee, but have no idea what sort of soil is under them.

    I do have Scott Ogden's book on difficult soils and need to do some more reading. I also have Lauren Springer's 'Undaunted Garden' and Greenlee's volume on the American Meadow Garden as a reference.

    I suppose, since it's too hot to do very much outside, I'd better spend some time reading. This place was nothing but a breeding ground for fighting chickens before we bought it. The original owner planted a string of cedar windbreak trees around the perimeter, put up acres of 6' chain link fence and someone added a couple of fruit trees. Other than that, it was used for raising birds, and is littered with assorted chicken runs, flight pens, and the big old barn, scattered around the pasture. The lower areas have native trees that have managed to survive. The 3-acre higher pasture is wide open. Someday I hope we can get most of the pens gone, but that's a giant chore since most of them are also buried several feet underground. We can't just knock them down and haul them away, unfortunately. For now I take one little patch at a time and try to make it look like something.

    Pat

  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I am having second thoughts about the Wooly Ironweed ID. The leaves don't look right but the flowers do. They do get big. I going to try to germinate seed I got from a woman in Texas. She said if its planted in poor dry soil it stays more controlled. If its in a field, it will get huge but that might be a good thing in certain situations. Its very pretty and silver and I love the flowers. Planted with yellow flowering Solidago, it would be a pretty late summer/fall combination.

    Whatever that wildflower is, I think it would be pretty if you planted more seeds around it when they mature and made a patch for a larger mass planting of it. Silver and purple. Very pretty.

    One native grass to check for that spot that gets very wet and then very dry is Panicum Grass also known as Switch Grass. There is the native kind that grows in Oklahoma, but what I suggest is google the improved types and look at them. These will take the wet, need full sun and have a fairly good drought tolerance as well except they will grow better with some water when its very dry. There are some very beautiful ones. They will tolerate clay, but do not need clay. Usually when something say it will tolerate certain conditions, such as salt or clay or dry it doesn't mean it needs them. It only means it will grow in such conditions.

    Now if it says it will NOT tolerate certain conditions, thats an entirely different matter. I hope that helps explain so you can judge better what will grow where.

    Look up: Panicum 'Heavy Metal', Panicum 'North Wind', Panicum 'Shenandoah', Panicum 'Dallas Blues' and any of the others, there are more but these are the most popular.

    They might fill the need you have for coverage. Santa Rosa Gardens will have them available for shipping in 4" sizes this fall. They have a sale if you wait. I like the 'Northwind' the best. It is very vertical. Looks spray starched and is an olive green. A grouping of these would possibly do what you want.

  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Thought you'd like these.

    {{gwi:1123032}}

    {{gwi:1123033}}

  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Janet,
    Love these pix of Echinacea Pallida! Thank you, so much for posting them! I actually have two of these that I ordered from a wildflower nursery back East. They bloom early and go to seed early, but I hope they eventually become a whole patch of them from dropped seed , as I cannot afford to purchase very many plants.
    Stumbled onto another Texas based succulent nursery tonight while reading in my trusty old Southern Living Garden Book. You may already know about it, but I had never noticed it before. It is the Yucca Do (yuccado.com) Nursery in Hempstead, Texas. They are having a Summer sale right now, but their prices seem to be comparable to HCG.

    Jeanie

  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I'm going to see if I can manage to clip back some of the polyantha to free up the little (well, not so little) wildflower without stressing it, and maybe get some more photos of both the bloom and the leaf. It does seem to grow in upright single stalks like the wooly ironweed, and the blossom is showy enough to be seen from quite a distance.

    The suggestions for the grasses are terrific. I keep running into the quandary of what can take all the conditions in my trouble spot. Heavy clay, really hot in the summer and soggy in the winter, and then there's the wind. Sigh. I think the grasses might be the perfect choice. I had originally wanted to put in a nice clump of gaillardia, but I'm sure not having any success with it.

    I had sort of had a color theme in mind, with the gaillardia paired with the orange Mexican honeysuckle (Montezuma) that is clinging to life on the fence behind it. The red-orange-gold Pinata rose is sited not too far away and I thought it might be an interesting combination if I could put some other things in there to soften it a little. Sounds like the grasses might be the perfect thing

    I don't know why I've had such poor luck in growing echinacea in the past. I've never been able to get it to do much of anything. It wants to stay small and sparse and not at all like the lovely photos I've seen of it in big clumps.
    I'm sure it was a matter of where I planted it, and the fact that it often got left out when I was busy caring for a really big garden. I might try again. I might also have my mother see if she can find starts or seeds of her big Gloriosa daisies. They seem to tolerate just about anything, and they're big and showy, if I can just keep them from seeding and taking over the place as they are wont to do. At one time I was fiddling with improving or reproducing some of the particular ones that grew wild on her property, and it would be fun to do that again. Do you have any idea of whether they might grow here?

    Pat

  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I've taken a new photo of the mystery wildflower so you can see whether it's ironweed or not. It's about 4' tall when it's free of the entangling roses. Maybe it just took on that tall size because it's getting water from the veggie garden?

    {{gwi:1119689}}

    Are there any specific tricks to growing the echinacea to get it to thrive? I'd really like to try it again.

    Pat

  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Pat,
    I, personally, have never grown Vernonia Noveboracensis (Ironweed). The pic did not come through, which seems to happen when the posts start adding up, because my phone isn't fast enough to download a whole lot of pix. According to one of my plant books, it can get 6-8 ' tall, and it is suggested you remove seed heads unless you want it to naturalize.
    Normally, Echinacea is easy to grow, but this year it bloomed way too early and is already going to seed. Not a good year to gauge garden plants, because things just are NOT normal.

    Jeanie

  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Here's a graphic we learned in my college classes. Forgive my lack of drawing skills and my lack of a spreadsheet app on my iPad! Lol! Nevertheless, maybe it will help find appropriate plants for your garden.

    {{gwi:1123034}}

  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    That's a pretty cool graphic. It's really descriptive, and I'm not being remotely facetious about it. Thanks!

    I had a neighbor here a little while ago that has lived 1/2 mile away all his life. I had him look at my poor veggie garden and tell me what some of the grasses are that keep trying to take over. First, he said that this happens any time you plant a first-year garden and it's to be expected. Second, he said that I have both 'lawn Bermuda' and 'hay Bermuda' growing there. Oh, hooray. As if one wasn't enough to contend with. I can foresee lots of digging, and then a lot more digging, if I'm ever going to gain any headway against those roots.

    Pat

  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Bermuda sucks.

    I was looking up your ironweed in my field guide last night and of course I had to stop every other page and read about other plants we'd been discussing. It looks as though most of the forbs that like clay need to have it fairly moist to do well. I bet if you tried your echinacea and coreopsis and stuff again but kept the soil a little wetter, they'd perform for you.

    I grew up just up 177 from you and we had mixed grass prarie and crosstimbers (and cedars) in our area. I'm pretty sure you'll be the same. Just pay attention to what soil is in each spot and look for plants native to those ecosystems. Remember that the drought is going to really mess things up for the next few months at least so you may look into annuals that grow out west in the shortgrass prarie. Just keep in mind that during the next el Nino year, those plants will drown.

    Another suggestion is to stuff as much organic matter into your clay beds as possible. Dawn has done that with pretty good success.

    If I remember right, the blue grama/indian paintbrush pair grow pretty well in the clay. We have echinacea at our place south of Perkins, along with Passionflower, annual broomweed, yucca in the sandier areas...I'll remember more throughout the day and list them later.

    I would like to send you some seeds of my cosmos to see if they do well for you. Would you like to try them over the fall?

  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Hey Dawn,

    All good points there. What I'm afraid of is getting stuff that will take the clay as long as it's just moist, but then drowning it it gets really wet. And boy, have I ever seen it get wet in that spot. I need to do some serious amendment if I'm going to turn it into anything.

    You're right about the mixed prairie and trees. We seem to have mostly oak and cedar around here. I don't know if this places was originally cleared for the pasture, or if it was naturally that way. No trees are trying to come up in the open areas, that's for sure. I think the sheep may have eaten the paintbrush, because I didn't see any of it in the pasture this year. No wildflowers at all that I can remember, and we usually have a pretty good crop.

    I dug up some soil from other places to take to OSU for analysis, but I don't know how I'll manage to pry any of that clay stuff loose. I think I still have a rock-pick in the garage, left over from my rockhounding days. Maybe that would work. I know the area needs a lot of amendment, so I'm hoping to get some suggestions after I have it analyzed. Right now there's nothing much in it but a lovely stand of Bermuda! I guess I can take it as an indication that the grasses will indeed grow there. Now if I can ever manage to get rid of most of the Bermuda roots so I can put in the kind I want . . . . Sigh.

    I do love cosmos. I tried some here a couple of years ago but it was when I was just getting the garden started. I didn't get very good germination and the result was pretty pitiful. The soil in that area is also going to get an analysis, so I'll have a better idea of what I'm dealing with. I actually have to take in 3 separate samples, from 3 distinct garden areas, because none of them are even remotely close to being the same.

    I just changed the info on the MyPage link so that people can send me a private e-mail for exchanging things like addresses and stuff that would not be appropriate to post here.

    Pat

  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Of all the Cosmos, C. sulphureus and cultivars have performed the best in my garden. They tolerate heat, drought, and neglect the best of any, and they bloom non-stop from late May thru frost. I have grown C. sulphureus 'Cosmic Orange' and 'Cosmic Red". The red is harder to find, but I got my seeds from an online nursery. The red is not totally red, but has an underlay of yellow or gold, but it is a stunning color.

    The C. bipinnatus group has always petered out in my garden when it gets too hot, and it doesn't reseed as much.

    The butterflies love the C. sulphureus. It grows best in very lean and dry soil, in full sun. It will bloom great in partial shade, but the plants get taller and more unruly. Benign neglect is what this plant wants.

    I would like to grow the perennial chocolate cosmos, C. atrosanguineus, but haven't tried it yet. Don't know if it will do as well as the annual C. sulphureus or not.

    I love the Ironweeds (Vernonias) and grow V. fasciculata or Prairie Ironweed. The blooms remind me of mistflowers. It is not what I would call drought tolerant, but needs regular watering. It is very much pest and disease free, so far.

    I used to think that coneflowers were very drought tolerant, but changed my opinion when I began to grow the Echinacea purpureum. It needs much more water to perform up to spec! The E. pallida doesn't seem to need as much. So this is a "know your species' requirements" plants IMHO.

    Susan

  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I grow Cosmic Orange. No wonder they're so happy! Plus, I irrigate them about once a week or so.