As I look outside today – it seems more like March than January…the warmer than average temperatures could easily lull our garden instincts into action….but really just enjoy the respite from garden chores…they will come soon enough.  

I have a favorite garden blog spot called May Dreams Gardens – if it’s not on your list of garden blogs please check it out

Carol has written a lovely article that will provide your inner gardener her secrets to Gardening Happiness… If you have time please read her blog on this…it is so charming! Here’s the short list of 5 secrets: 

The Five Secrets to Achieving Happiness in Your Garden… 

  • The First Secret - Grow the plants you love 
  • The Second Secret – Size your garden for the resources you have 
  • The Third Secret – Buy Good Tools 
  • The Fourth Secret - Respect Mother Nature 
  • The Fifth Secret – Share Your Garden 

Top Things to do in January  

  • The garden and seed catalogs will begin arriving in your mailbox, as well as other garden and outdoor living catalogs. It’s fun to see what’s new with the trends in these. Wayside Gardens  will tempt us with new species and varieties. We can just file these away for now – enjoy this quiet month. 
  • Time to order bare root roses…best planted in February and March. 
  • Water if Mother Nature isn’t providing necessary rains. 
  • The very best time to prune trees and evergreens. 
  • As little as possible – you deserve a guilt-free break 

Best of the Season

Beautiful Red Twig Dogwood – love to cut these for holiday arrangements

Deciduous Hollies laden with berries

My favorite holly – Nellie R. Stevens…the birds will devour the berries during January and February

Happy Gardening -

All My Best -

Thoughts on Gardening in August….fall will come – it will rain again!  Keep telling yourself that…of course this is a weird weather pattern…they say the worst since the eighties.  Everyone tells me they don’t remember it ever seeming so horrible!  As bad as the weather is, good planting and the right plants have made a difference this summer and beautiful gardens can still be seen throughout Oklahoma City.  

This is one of my favorite varieties of Crepe Myrtle – “Pink Velour”, it thrives in the hot summer heat, and in the spring the leaves are a dark burgundy instead of green.

I love to incorporate raised planters into my landscape design.  Plants thrive in them, because planters typically have perfect drainage and great soil.  This particular planter is filled with English boxwood and white Knock out Roses and “Walker’s Low” Nepata.  A colorful mix of my favorite purslane, verbena, and blue scaveola cascade over the wall. 

Love to mix in Angelonia into my garden designs…it's about as close as I can get to lavender!

I’m shocked out how fresh these flowers look – I took this photo yesterday.  Love the pink profusion

Zinnias peeking through the blue salvia and Angelonia.

More of my favorite summer mix – with the dark cherry colored penta.

Mixed in some little white Mexican daisies in this mix…

Hard to believe we have had nearly 30 days of 100 degree temps when you look at these flowers.

Love how this hardscaping frosted in flowers softens this huge driveway.

And believe it or not my faithful “Abraham Darby” English rose surprising me with a gift – a reward for my hand watering.

Top things to do in August

  • Water – of course!
  • Move pots and baskets to the shade to give them a break from the sun and heat.
  • Cutback things that have lots of brown leaves…like spirea or perennials…remove dead plants – your beds and pots will look better.
  • Drive around and look at gardens that are performing well in these extreme conditions.
  • Look at how your irrigation system is performing – you may want to modify coverage this fall.
  • Take one more last vacation to someplace cool.

Off to Africa….

Happy Gardening -

All My Best -

Color Wheel for Gardening

The color wheel can help you…

  • Develop a color scheme – ideally composed of contrasting colors, harmonious colors or monochromatic (one-color scheme).
  • Using colors side by side on the color wheel create analogous harmonies such as yellow and orange or blue and purple.
  • Colors opposite each other on the color wheel create complementary or contrasting harmony, such as blue and yellow
  • Make use of neutral colors such as white, silver and gray - for example plants with gray foliage or white flowers could be used to break up plant combinations of different color schemes.
  • Monochromatic – one color throughout the garden – shades of grey or white can also be used with one other color
  • Split complementary – choosing one color and then the colors on each side of it – example green / yellow / orange
  • When choosing outdoor fabrics or paint – consider your garden design and colors used or desired in the garden
  • Understanding the science of the color wheel is a true recipe for garden success – once you understand how color works you are on your way to mastering one of keys to good garden design and you will like the results!

Look at the examples of “Colors Opposite” on the color wheel.  If I plant a dwarf globosa spruce I always try to pair it with something in shades of yellow – it will really maximize both plantings.  Also the “May Night” Salvia – always pair it with a contrasting color – otherwise this stand-out plant can just recede into the garden space.  There are so many wonderful plants available in the shades of yellow from hostas, ground covers, and shrubs – the combinations are limitless.

Color Wheel Tips For GardeningUsing the color wheel in your gardenHow the color wheel can help you in your garden

Monochromatic Color – Here is an example of how white tulips mixed into this pansy mix of soft blues and white just add to the subtle but impactful color scheme.

Color theory and your garden

Colors side by side – the yellows and oranges in the citrus mix of tulips looks great – that’s because these two colors work so well together.

Gardening with the color wheel

Another example of colors side by side on the color wheel and the addition of white – which “doesn’t count” as a color.

Garden color theory

Happy Gardening -

All My Best -

Whether you are a veteran gardener or a complete novice but a "wanna be", March gets the blood flowing through your veins. March is the first of the 3 most glorious months of the year as a gardener. Get busy, do some planning, scout the nurseries for plants to use in the garden, but first get the cleanup chores out of the way while you wait for the last freeze date to arrive.

Top things to do in March

  • Late February and early March is the optimal time to perform most Spring Clean up and pruning tasks - do this now and you won't prune off beautiful new growth - if you procrastinate you will.
  • Don't be afraid to prune...but please avoid the hedge / lollipop effect - use hand pruners and selectively prune your shrubs to keep them at just the right size and tight.
  • Prune your roses in early March - apply a systemic feed / insecticide at the base of the bushes
  • Prune and edit trees
  • Prune / cut back evergreens which need to be maintained - hollies and yew - but please don't use electric shears - try to avoid pruning if at all possible - if the right plant is in the right spot it should need only minimal pruning...try to avoid the "lollipop" effect as this will require a lifetime of difficult maintenance.
  • Do Not prune the tops of your tree form crepe myrtles
  • I have seen so many examples of bad pruning, resulting in many beautiful shrubs being more or less ruined. It can be very difficult for shrubs to come out of the shock of the hedge effect.

March Garden Tips
Garden Tips for March

...please don't do this to your Yaupon Holly!

How to care for Holly'

Yaupon Holly Tree - left un-pruned - more beautiful less maintenance!

Maintain your garden in march

These roses are "dying" to be secured to the wall behind them - sad to see them laying on the ground.

  • Feed cool season grasses like fescue and rye with fertilizer and for extra dark green grass I like to add an application of ironite.
  • Bring the pansies you planted last fall back to life after our long icy winter by removing the dead foliage and then a boost with water soluble fertilizer like Miracle Grow.
  • If you are like most gardeners, you can't resist strolling through the nurseries looking for old favorites and new varieties alike Always fun to see the new Proven Winner selections, I like to incorporate these into containers because it's an easy and safe way to try them out.
  • In Oklahoma, our last freeze date is mid-April - so before that only hardy plants get planted but after April 15, you should be safe to plant tender annuals and vegetables for your summer garden.
  • Spring plantings of perennials, annuals, rose bushes, shrubs and trees is in full force.
  • Secure climbing roses and vines - they will grow twice as fast - don't let them languish on the ground or flop around in the wind.
  • Take photos to remember color combinations of pansies and tulips for the upcoming fall when it's time to plant them again.

Best of the Season

  • Green fescue and rye blends of grass looking lush and dark green
  • Pansies, Tulips in full display
  • Flowering trees like crab, redbud, whitebud
  • Flowering shrubs like forsythia, snowball, viburnum are just coming on
  • Spring Perennials - creeping phlox, dianthus, candytuft

Care and Feeding for your Garden during March

Mix of white tulips with shades of violet pansies and white for the tie in

How to maintain your garden in march

Giant Darwin Tulips - Pink and Apricot Impression with a blue mix of pansies

Tulip care in march

Beautiful orange and yellow mix of tulips with blue and white pansies - this bed would look less vibrant without the Goldmound spireas.

Tulip care in march

Warm colors of citrus

Garden Care

Icy blues and whites

Spring Garden Care

Gorgeous combinations of yellow, blue and white pansies, with citrus mix of tulips and gold moneywort looking luscious!

Spring Gardening Tips

As I approached this planting of blue and white hyacinth the fragrance was intoxicating!

How to care for your garden in the spring

Very rare to see forsythia that has not been pruned / mutilated...wonder if this will be left alone 5 years from now - we can hope so!

Happy Gardening -

All My Best -

  • Keep it Simple by sticking to one garden style – don’t overdo it
  • Blend Hard Landscaping with your home – select materials that blend with your house. Choose colors carefully, and ideally, use the same materials as those used in the house or that are sympathetic to its age and character. I always say landscaping is nothing without great hardscaping.
  • Clean Lines Work Best – in most cases, suburban yards nearly always benefit from clean lines and layout based on geometry, rather than curves.
  • Anchor the garden with a focal point – arbors, trellises, benches, fountains, pools or structures help anchor the garden
  • Choose wider flower beds
  • Choose the right plant for the right spot – understand the plant habit – right size is key
  • Hide your fences with screening plants or climbers – small spaces appear larger with a greater sense of privacy
  • Big Plants in Small Spaces - One of the quickest ways to clutter up a small space is to use lots of small plants - the result feels busy, and overly energetic.
  • Color planning is critical – see my separate blog on Understanding Color.

Garden Plantings – Create a Tapestry

  • Color and texture are key
  • Design using plantings in mass – this applies to shrubs, perennials, annuals and groundcovers.
  • Large masses of a small number of different plants will provide greater color impact than small bunches of a great variety of different shrubs or flowers.
  • Gardens are often more spectacular when the masses are planted in drifts. This is where one large grouping of plants meshes with other groupings in the same bed.
  • Notice what is behind the flowers. A shrub background or structure can stop the eye and cause people to focus on the flowers.
  • Stair step the plant heights. Place the tallest plants in the back of the border and the shortest in front.

Garden Tips

I always try and weave all of the plants together – just like this.

Excellent shrub varieties providing color and texture…

  • Yew
  • Boxwood
  • Helmond Pillar Barberry (Crimson)
  • Goldmound Spirea (Gold)
  • Indian Hawthorne
  • Globosa Blue Spruce (Blue / Gray)
  • Nandina – especially dwarf varieties
  • Miniature and tree form Crepe Myrtle

Look at how these plants form interest through color and texture – these are beautiful in any landscape. I use these as my “go to” list in many garden designs.

Perennial Tips

Perennials for every garden

  • Purple Cone Flower
  • Scabiosa - pincushion flower
  • Salvia "May Night"
  • Creeping Phlox
  • Huechera
  • Rudbeckia
  • Nepata "Walker's Low"
  • Penstemmon
  • Dianthus

3 ways to be a better gardener

Landscape Roses – room in every garden…they bloom all summer…

  • Apple Blossom
  • White Carpet
  • Livin' Easy
  • Double Knock-out

...and always plant with Nepata 'Walkers Low' as companion

Lanscape Roses

Happy Gardening -

All My Best -