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Category Archives: Spring

Dig Into Garden Resources While Sheltering

April 19, 2020

While quarantine has been hard on everyone, it gives us a chance to learn something new. There are many online classes and resources to dig into.

Digging!

Several Master Gardeners have been sending me links which are now compiled below for you to browse.

Susan Thornbury suggests the Texas Wildflower Newsletter here. and eco-friendly low maintenance gardening.

She added this article on what plants can teach us about surviving a pandemic as a must-read.

Beverly Allen has been reviewing techniques to start herb and vegetables from seed and found these guidelines to share from Terrior Seeds.

The Agrilife Facebook Live class (class #2 seed starting) on the same topic are also very helpful.

Kids at home? Garden projects from Garden Design for cute ideas.

Sheila Kostelny has recommended A start to finish guide for growing sweet potatoes.

Here’s one from me. I am imagining myself in France at Monet’s garden.

 

Ann Lamb

 

June 2nd is the date for our scented geranium educational event and lunch. Please consider signing up on Eventbrite.  The date of our event may change depending on health guidelines from Dallas authorities and the Dallas County Master Gardener Association. See the eventbrite link above for more details.

 

Pictures by Starla Willis

 

A Gardener’s Response To Shelter in Place

April 7, 2020

Until 3 weeks ago I had no idea what “Shelter in Place” would look like, I just knew I didn’t like the sound of it.

On Monday, I went to The Raincatcher’s Garden before restrictions went into effect on Tuesday. The garden was showing signs of spring; wildflowers, vegetables, new growth, flowering trees and shrubs, and irises. Although the bees were about their normal business of pollinating, it was lacking the normal buzz of people.

Raincatcher’s Garden without the buzz!

We are now about 2 or 3 weeks into Shelter in Place – How are things going?   To be really honest, this girl is having a hard time staying put There are plenty of things to do at home, inside and out, but it’s the NOT going, and NOT connecting that’s the real challenge. 

Starla and son and dog sheltering in place.

 I am a social gardener. I realize that my energy comes from interaction with people as much as growing things, so this quarantine is difficult to say the least.  

But on the bright side, my yard is awash with color; yellow columbine, red and pink roses, purple irises, and pink Indian hawthorn and many white flowers. 

Front yard with Columbine, Iris, and a backdrop of Loropetalum.

Bridal wreath and white Agapanthus. Other white flowers in Starla’s garden include dianthus, candytuft and snowball viburnum.

 With all of this springtime bounty, I have found a distraction that stays within the boundaries of social distancing and provides an outlet for me.

Wanting to surprise my neighbor from across the street, I asked to borrow a vase. She agreed and then the fun began, after flowers and greenery were chosen from the yard, an arrangement was created and placed on her porch. 

It was fun to bring a little joy, some sweet scents, and colorful flowers to an unsuspecting neighbor in this time of uncertainty.  My kitchen has turned into a florist’s workshop as I  continue to create garden bouquets for my neighbors.

A surprise bouquet from Starla. Starla, won’t you be my neighbor?

Everyone is dealing with this situation differently, but this has helped me to stay connected while adhering to social distancing guidelines. 

I can’t wait to get back to regular routines and friends, but in the meantime this will be my outlet. By the way, can I borrow a vase?

What are you doing to bring a little sunshine to those in your circle?  Dallas Garden Buzz would like to hear how you are dealing with this disruption of our normal patterns.  Leave a comment to let us know.

Starla Willis with captions by Ann Lamb

Raincatcher’s Garden Spring 2020

April 2, 2020

Most of us are at home this week and for the next coming weeks.

If you’re itching to walk through a garden, why not take a tour of ours through the eyes of Starla, our photographer who took these pictures last week.

New decomposed granite walkway flanked by beds of  Canyon Creek Abelia, Hamelim Dwarf Fountain Grass, and Texas Sage, “Compactum” (Texas Ranger) Read a full description of this new memorial garden here.

Veggie beds full of turnips (mostly gone), mustard greens (lots), collards (gone), carrots, and onions. Meanwhile Jim, is nursing 6″ pots of tomatoes and peppers for the garden.

Pollination of a blackberry blossom

The color wheel garden with a pretty apricot iris. Jim has repotted 40 zinnias and has 20 more to repot for the color wheel.

Redbud tree in bloom

The rain garden, our unsung hero! It has been channeling rain from our full rain cisterns to this sunken garden.

Garden questions? Send us a question by making a comment.

Ann Lamb

Pictures by Starla Willis

Have Hope, Carry On

March 24, 2020

Hello dear readers,

Most everything, every event, every gathering has been cancelled in Dallas and we are under ‘shelter in place’ orders until April 3.

The Dallas County Master Gardener office is closed and our Dallas County help desk is not available at this time. If you have garden questions, send them to us in the comments area of this blog and we will try to answer quickly.

Please don’t fret, our gardens will survive and one day soon we will be welcoming you back to Raincatcher’s events, plant sales, garden classes, and garden visits.

In the meantime, look through seeds you have saved and begin planting. Seeds represent hope!

Some garden centers in Dallas are open and have pick-up service because they supply herbs and vegetables. I have an order in right now, for starts of squash, eggplant, jalapēno, green beans and hopefully sun gold tomatoes.

Starla took this picture yesterday of The Raincatcher’s Garden to cheer you.

Bluebonnets, Englemann daisy, redbud trees and peach, pear, plum trees in bloom.

Ann Lamb

Picture by Starla Willis

Raincatcher’s Plant Sale, April 25

April 23, 2019

Master Gardeners are bringing the very best plants out of their gardens and you have an opportunity to purchase them on Thursday, April 25 before the Master Gardener meeting 10-11:30am and then afterwards from 1-2:00pm. The proceeds are plowed back into our garden so that we can continue the educational programs we enjoy bringing to you.

Lisa Centala has three toad lilies and has propagated purple trailing ruellia, a tender perennial. Lisa originally got the ruellia  from one of our favorite Master Gardeners, Tim Allsup. It had been in his grandmother’s garden.

Trailing Ruellia, pretty in a pot!

Toad Lilies

Jim Dempsey, a  true gentleman gardener, brings seedlings and rooted cuttings from his home garden to our sale. You may want to make a list of what you plan to buy before coming. I sure am!

Tomatoes:
Celebrity
Cherokee Purple
Brandywine Red
Beauty
Lemon Boy
Yellow Pear
Porter
Tomatillo: Grande Rio Verde
Eggplant: Black Beauty
Peppers: Hot Sunset
Gypsy
Cornito Giallo
Carmen
Poblano L
Dutura: Double Yellow
Marigolds:
Janie Yellow
Janie Orange
Disco Mix
Super Hero
Tithona (Mexican Sunflower): Fiesta del Sol
Zinnia:
Pinwheel Mix
Forecast
Giant Yellow
Giant Lavender
Basil:
Purple
Sweet
Rudbeckia:
Autumn Glorosia
Cuttings (rooted):
Champanel grape
Celeste grape
Winter Honeysuckle

Evelyn Womble is offering Hardy Amaryllis bulbs. They are blooming right now in our courtyard and are so pretty, so reliable and they multiply!

Evelyn holding Hardy Amaryllis blooms. You can buy these bulbs at our sale.

We are willing to part with some of the treasured members of our garden for a small price. So won’t you please come to our sale on Thursday; it’s a tax free day.  Cash, check or credit card accepted.

Ann Lamb

 

All Members of the public are invited to Master Gardener meetings.

Click here to find out more about this month’s meeting on Orchids Treasures of Texas.

Bluebonnets at The Raincatcher’s Garden

April 9, 2019

Bluebonnets are blooming once again along Midway.

Bluebonnet close up

In the fall we sowed more wildflower seeds, hoping for their return.

Bluebonnets at The Raincatcher’s Garden

It’s a good year to head out on country roads outside of Dallas to see bluebonnets. Here’s a great website that gives an update on the blooms in Ennis: https://www.visitennis.org

We have written many times about bluebonnets so before you go in search of them read:

Itching in the Bluebonnet Field

Wildflowers at the Farm

Bluebonnets in Texas 2014

And now would you please get your calendar ready for these dates:

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES FOR ALL

Thursday, April 25th – Plant sale and DCMGA monthly meeting.

Tuesday, April 30th, 11am-  ‘Planting the Edible Landscape – the Spring/Summer Collection” with Linda and Ana to share the plants chosen and the reason behind the choices. Class and tour to be provided.

Tuesday May 7th, 9-11am Turf talk and demonstration by Stephen Hudkins.
 
Saturday May 25th 9-11am Grapevine Canopy Management Pruning by Michael Cook
 
Grow and Graze Events:
 

June 25th… Herbs of the Mediterranean (Please note the new date!)

August 27th… Corn, the Golden Essence of Summer, and Okra, a Garden Giant

October 22nd …Seasonal Splendor, Pumpkins and Sweet Potatoes

Grow and Graze reservations will be posted approximately one month before the event.
 
Ann Lamb
Pictures by Starla Willis

 

 

It’s Spring and Plant Sales Are Coming!

April 2, 2019

Over and under and in and out, Roseanne and her volunteer band of planters are busily preparing for the upcoming plant sale at Texas Discovery Gardens.  They could still use some help in the mornings  and be sure to ready your list and make your way to the plant sale April 13 and 14th, (April 12th for members).

I just added a new Shrub to mine !

Texas Discovery Garden Greenhouse

Under the tables, so to speak at TDG!

I spy Mangave ‘Pineapple Express’.

Kerria japonica is the perfect blooming shrub for shade to part sun.

Tig Thompson and pots!

The Raincatcher’s Garden plant sale is April 25th. More information about what we have to sell will be coming your way in the next few weeks. Good prices, home-grown selections!

Putting on plant sales is a lot of work. Thanks to all the volunteers who share their plants through the spring plant sales and thanks to our audience who support our endeavors. It is a labor of love to find new homes for our plants.

Starla Willis

 

What We Saw at The Dallas Arboretuem After the Freeze

March 6, 2019

Starla and I walked the grounds of the beautiful Dallas Arboretum yesterday and found everything to be as lush as ever.

As Dave Forehand says in the video, the tender vegetables were covered with frost cloth.

Pansies like these ‘Rebelina Blue & Yellow” glowed, undaunted by our cold snap.

Blooming narcissus, hyacinths, and tulips scoffed at our cold weather.

Here’s one particularly cheerful daffodil.

and more smiling in the sun.

This tulip in the trial garden aptly named ‘Hot Honey Rag’ is  on my list for next year’s planting.

The pond froze, see the ice? We promise, it’s there.

We also saw Forsythia ‘Show Off™’ waiting to bloom

and Spring Bouquet Viburnums against a backdrop of Coral Bark Japanese Maples.

The cold weather didn’t bother this Robin

or a squirrel feasting on the Arboretum’s preferred mulch, chopped pecan shells.(I have always been envious of the Arboretum’s use of chopped pecan shell mulch and I guess the squirrels are too.)

Dallas Blooms will be open through April 7th. This year’s festival features a larger-than-life, picnic scene topiary comprised of a  40’x40’ picnic blanket, a vase of flowers, a picnic basket with pie and a giant picnic ant. The frost cover  will be discarded tomorrow. Life is truly a picnic especially when you are at The Dallas Arboretum.

Ann Lamb

Photos by Ann and Starla Willis

Dallas Blooms information here.

 

 

Poppies In My Garden And Bees

Like the title of the book All I Really Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten, I could say all the plants I really need  to know came from  Master Gardeners. For example, these beautiful poppies.

 

They self seed all over my garden and at Raincatcher’s.

A close up tells the story: bees also love poppies!

This loaded honey bee is happy about the choice of flowers in my garden, which is something to consider! Note, bees prefer these single petal blooms rather than double.

Load up on information about poppies. Remember to sow seeds in the fall.

Poppies

Poppy and Larkspur Planting

Ann Lamb

When Words Fail

    Probably almost all of us have had those situations where mere words alone seem to fail us.   Occasionally it is in the happy times, such as an upcoming marriage or a new home, when there are too many well-wishes that one wants to say.  However it is often in the sad, gut-wrenching times when one feels at loss for words.  At these times for gardeners, the language of symbolic herbs and flowers may be of help.

Tussie-mussies (a.k.a. tussie mussy) are symbolic bouquets of flowers and herbs.  Though often associated with the Victorian era during which the language of flowers and herbs were codified and instructions for making tussie-mussies were found in books such as Godey’s Ladies Book, the actual history of the tussie-mussie goes back much further than Queen Victoria’s era.  In fact, due to the lack of hygiene and sanitation, the use of nosegays to mask odors has been traced to medieval times and can be found in several cultures such as Greece, Turkey, and the Aztecs of Central and South America.  Because the meanings of herbs and flowers were derived from various cultures, some herbs and flowers took on widely divergent meanings, sometimes even opposite meanings.  For example, according to an article in Mother Earth Living, the inclusion of basil in a tussie-mussie meant “best wishes” in Greece, “hatred” in Italy, and “sacred” in India.  However a few herbs and flowers have retained their same meaning throughout the world.  Rosemary is an herb that commonly means “remembrance.”

In compiling a vocabulary of symbolic herbs and flowers, most people start with lists of herbs and flowers and their meanings found in books such as Tussie-Mussies: The Victorian Art of Expressing Yourself in the Language of Flowers by Geraldine A. Laufer and The Illuminated Language of Flowers by Jean Marsh.  Though it helps to have a wide variety of herbs and flowers available, even a very small bouquet of mixed flowers can say “love.”  As opposed to a typical large bouquet, a tussie-mussie is normally just the size of a nosegay.  Tussie-mussies can be presented in a small vase or, if you really want to get fancy and be historically-correct, antique tussie-mussie holders can be found on Ebay. Just be sure to include a card that explains the meaning behind each herb or flower.

Flowers and herbs gathered for a tussie-mussie

Over the years I have made tussie-mussies for friends who have new jobs, weddings, and babies.  I have also found the language of flowers to be especially appropriate in those sad times, such as a bouquet that was given to a friend who was placed on hospice.  That tussie-mussie  (composed of geranium for friendship, Lamb’s Ear for kindness, thyme for courage, rosemary for remembrance, sage for wisdom, bay for peace, peppermint for warmth of feeling, honeysuckle for gentleness,  oak for strength, and, of course, flowers for love seemed to say it all.

Carolyn Bush

Picture by Starla Willis

Tussie- mussies by some of our school children here.

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