RSS Feed

Category Archives: Summer

Pollinator Friendly

August 10, 2019

Pollinators like bees, butterflies, moths, hummingbirds, bats, birds,   and wasps are the basis of a healthy ecosystem. They allow plants to reproduce and those plants provide us with countless varieties of fruits, vegetables, and nuts.  I have read that one in every three bites of food lands on your plate because of the work of these pollinators.

With that in mind, look at your garden in a new way. How are you providing for the pollinators who make your life happen?

Here are some of the plants we are growing with that purpose.

Above: Zexmenia hispida

Above: Rudibeckia fulgida and Gregg’s Mist Flower

Above: Tithonia rotundifolia or Mexican Sunflower in front of a 5 foot hedge of Lantana ‘Miss Huff’

Above: The delicate blossoms of the Desert Willow provide nectar

Above: Datura-an interesting flower that blooms at night and attracts the sphinx moth

Above: Pink Skullcap

On the right side of the page under Raincatcher’s Resources, take a look at the list of butterfly and hummingbird plants for more information.

Ann Lamb

 

Crushing Heat

How do  you beat the heat in summer? What are your tactics? We asked several Master Gardeners and this is what they said.

Above: Starla gives a pictoral  reminder for all of us

Susan Swinson says: Long sleeves and pants for the mosquitoes. I like the fabric in hiking pants. It’s pretty cool and wicks moisture. Hat and sunglasses of course and towel for mopping up. Enormous insulated glass of iced tea with a lid that I keep in the shade. If I’m working in the backyard I rig up a big fan with extension cord.

Lisa Centala: A hat and sunscreen are the first wave of defense! One way I stay cool is to drape a wet, cold cloth around my neck. I keep a couple to change them out and roll some ice in the towel if it’s really hot.

Jim Dempsey: Never go out into the heat without a good wide brim hat.

Jon Maxwell: In the Texas summer heat, “you have to start early and end early!
Its not just the plants that need water, remember to drink plenty when out in the summer garden, and not just when you feel thirsty!

Cindy Bicking: I try to get out early in the morning and get “finished” for the day by 10 a.m. If  I have a lot to do, I keep to the shaded areas as much as possible.  I also set a timer for 15-20 minutes and then go inside for about the same amount of time.  That’s when I drink my water.  Also, try to wear a hat. If it’s dry enough, I mow in the morning while it is cool.  Otherwise, I wait until just before dark.  Use bug repellent.

Also, I sometimes wander about for a few minutes and pull weeds, trim a littler here and there.

Dallas Garden Buzz Readers, please give us your heat crushing advice in the comment section.
Ann Lamb

 

A Walk Around The Garden

June 18, 2019

When you’ve worked in a garden, something happens to you. You begin to pay more attention to the rain, the temperature and sunshine and how it affects your plot of land.

You peer down at the soil looking for signs of life. Have your squash seeds sprouted? Are the beans going to climb up that trellis?

Some plantings have flourished and are bearing fruit, others have  peaked and need tender loving care.

What I am saying is-you are now emotionally involved with a garden plot and it makes it very hard to leave town.

That is the state I am in and so yesterday I walked through our gardens and took these pictures.

Above: Garden trellis made of irrigation tubing. Long beans will grow here and other vining crops.

Above: the grape vines seem to be glowing

Above: Poblano Green Pepper

Above: Blue on blue-sage and vitex in our butterfly garden.

Above: Should be a good fig harvest this year!

Above: The color wheel

Above: a view of our grass plots-looking mighty fine!

Above: Horsemint in front of our Redbud Tree

Ann Lamb

If you would like to learn more about herbs of the Mediterranean, come to our garden lecture by Marian Buchanan on Tuesday, June 25th at 10-11:00 am. Class will be held in the church sanctuary.

The lunch following the lecture has been sold out. No reservations required for the lecture. Just come! All welcome.

Location: 11001 Midway Road, Midway Hills Christian Church

(Master Gardeners earn two CEU’s)

 

 

Wildflowers in East Texas

June 4, 2019

The roads of East Texas are full of wildflowers and I got to be in East Texas at just the right time. A new grandson was born in May. One day during my visit, my grandaughter and I walked the fields looking at wildflowers.

Queen Anne’s lace was everywhere. It is an ancestor of the garden carrot and it’s taproot can be cooked and eaten.

Above: Queen Anne’s Lace

Another white flower was en masse along the roads. Woolly-White is common in East Texas along roadsides and uncultivated land.

Above: Woolly-White or wild cauliflower

You’ve got to love a plant like sensitive brier that has feelings. Touch the foliage and it bashfully closes. The prickly stems protect it’s sensitive nature.

Above: Sensitive Brier

This picture was taken on a misty morning. Hope you don’t mind the blur effect. Enjoy this beautiful blue and the simplicity of the three petaled flower.

Above: Ohio Spiderwort

Cherokee Indians steeped the roots of Venus’s Looking Glass with other plants and drank the infusion for indigestion.

Above: Venus’s Looking-Glass

Cows enjoy grazing this daisy. Now that I am back home looking at these pictures and reading my wildflower guides, I realize how much was missed. This flower is fragrant and I never even noticed ! I’ll not chastise myself too much because fire ants and poison ivy were all around. Grandaughter and I had to stay clear of those dangers.

Above: Huisache Daisy

Another bright yellow flower but this one is not tasty. Honey made from pollen of this flower is very bitter and unpalatable. Hence the name-bitterweed.

Above: Yellow Bitterweed

Only a few Indian Paintbrush flowers were seen, but even one makes a brilliant statement.

Above: Indian Paintbrush

Wild clematis, what a find! The nodding bell shape flowers  are so unusual. Notice the bumble bee mining a blossom, upper left.

Above: Bellflower Clematis, Clematis pitcherii

These two wildflower books helped with plant id: Wildflowers of Texas by Geyata Ajilvsgi and Texas Wildflowers by Campbell and Lynn Loughmiller.

In future years, hunting wildflowers could become a family outing. The fields in May are full of them and they will always remind me of a special birthday.

Ann Lamb

Pictures by me and grandaughter!

 

 

 

Grape Harvest at The Raincatcher’s Garden

Our Fig Luncheon on Tuesday, August 7th is sold out but we have plenty of room if you would like to join us for Jeff’s Fig Lecture.

 

Champanel Grapes Harvested at The Raincatcher’s Garden, summer 2018

Jim’s grape notes:
33 lbs. of grapes were picked last Tuesday, July 31st. Previous week’s harvest was 16 lbs.   The ripe grapes were juiced providing enough for 5 batches of jelly. That should make about 40- ½pints of jelly. We have been wanting grapes, well… we are getting grapes now!

Thank you, Jim Dempsey and everyone who picked the grapes!

 

The Bath House Garden is 10 Years Old!

Come celebrate the 10th anniversary of the planting of the Bath House Garden Saturday evening, July 7th, 7-9 pm

This celebration is part of a fun night at the Bath House Cultural Center at White Rock Lake with an art gallery opening, live music and refreshments.

All Master Gardeners and members of the public are welcome!


Janet D. Smith, fresh out of the Master Gardener class of 2005, was brave enough to think a partnership between Dallas County Master Gardeners and the City of Dallas Parks and Recreation Department could evolve to build a garden  in front of the bath house at White Rock Lake.

The White Rock Bath House Garden and “Whirl” Sculpture in June 2018.

Janet, having a passion for pollinators, dreamed of a garden that would host and feed all kinds of bees, butterflies, and birds. Carmel Womack,  Dallas County Master Gardener  class of 1997, took up Janet’s mantra and designed the garden around the “Whirl” sculpture. Monies were donated and following the May 2008 art installation the garden was planted in July that year.

Garden funding is so important!

10 years later, let’s look at the changes. Plants have been cut way back, a few have died, and some have been removed. More native plants like autumn sage, cowpen daisy, native milkweeds, four-nerve daisies, rock rose and blue mistflower have been added.

The original irrigation system was inefficient and has been disconnected.  Instead Master Gardeners volunteer to hand water the new plants until they are established and then about once a month in our hottest, most scorching weather.

The current garden tenders include garden coordinator Janet D. Smith and CMG’s Judy Meagher, Ginnie Salter, Barbara Hardin and interns Nancy Griswold and Monica Nagle. They currently meet Tuesday evenings to work when the sunny garden is in the shade. Ginnie also provides TLC for the plants inside the BHCC. 

All the plants are labeled and the Texas natives have Texas-shaped stakes to make them easy to spot.

Native Plants are identified with appropriate signage.

Oh, and a new garden has been started on the other side of the building. It’s a small start with salvias planted around a desert willow,  but look at the view.

The new bath house garden with a view of downtown Dallas.

The team also takes care of a tiny garden surrounding the historical marker at Winfrey Point. Check it out when we have meetings there.

Ann Lamb

For more information and the plant list click here.

Chrysalis Butterfly

A lovely friend and fellow Master Gardener has left us. Carolyn Bush died Friday, June 15, 2018.

From the beginning, Carolyn  supported our garden in many ways.  She brought her chickens when we had children visiting the garden on field trips. She also taught our visiting kids a  wonderful little class on cotton.  She brought a loom and let the kids weave. She taught them about growing cotton as well as it’s social aspects.

Carolyn Bush teaching children about cotton in 2014.

When we built our first rain garden in 2009 on Joe Field Road, Carolyn created posters explaining the whys and hows of rain gardens. She could be poetic as well as scientific in her explanation of things.

After our move to Midway Hills Christian Church in 2014, Carolyn began writing for Dallas Garden Buzz. Whenever she submitted an article, she always let me know we didn’t have to publish it  and reminded me to check for typos and errors. Of course, there never were any and we loved reading her point of view on everything from rose rosette, to unusual vegetable crops and then her last article written in February about cabbage white butterflies.  She didn’t like them as you can see from the title of the post: THOSE @#$%&BUTTERFLIES. Her gentleness had some limits!

Carolyn, the fund raiser, contributed to our craft sales with her handmade paper art and she was the instigator of our brick sales campaign.

Other gardens benefited from Carolyn’s knowledge and commitment including Hope Community Garden, Texas Discovery Garden and the chicken coop tour,” A Peep at the Coops.” She was also the capable layout and design editor of Helping Hands, the Dallas County Master Gardener monthly newsletter.

Chrysalis butterfly was Carolyn’s email address. A butterfly emerging from a cocoon is beautiful and a good representation of our friend.

Oh Carolyn, I wish I had known you were leaving us. I would like to tell you how much you were loved and that I admired your courage in the face of handicaps.  How wonderful it would be to see you pull up to our garden one more time in your trusty Subaru.

Goodbye dear Carolyn. We miss you,

Ann Lamb

Blog posts by the multi talented and productive Carolyn Bush:

Year of the Pulse

Malabar Spinach

A Musical Squash for the Edible Garden

Hanging out at the Mall

When Words Fail

Pretty Peas Please

Christmas in July

Made for the Shade

Cotton from Plant to Fabric

A Gardener’s Fright

It’s that Time of Year

Compost vs. Mulch, What’s the Difference?

Want to Try a Different Vegetable?

A Bright Spot in the Early Spring Garden

Vegetable Lambs

From Wheat to Bread

 

 

 

 

 

%d bloggers like this: