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Archives for October 19, 2017

University of Oklahoma’s chrysanthemum gardens are in full bloom …

NORMAN — The chrysanthemum gardens on the University of Oklahoma’s Van Vleet Oval are in full bloom, depicting OU’s logo and the words Oklahoma and Sooners in deep red and white.

The short-lived dramatic display is the culmination of work that began in late March, when 1-inch plugs were purchased and placed in a greenhouse to grow until they were ready for planting in gardens in June.

Football fans flocked to the gardens Oct. 7 to view the annual display. “They just seem to love it,” said Allen King, OU director of landscape and grounds. “Everybody was dressed in red and white and taking pictures with their kids.”

The blooms are at their peak for one month to six weeks each year during football season. An especially large number of admirers are expected for homecoming Oct. 28.

It’s a tradition that will live on thanks to an endowment by the late OU alumnus Morris Pittman.

“We can even have this garden (display) when we’re going through hard times,” King said. “We work off the interest so it will always be there.”

Critical care

Landscaping specialist Angel Mejia and his crew prepared the ground before the planting and mark the beds so each 1-foot grid of the design is positioned correctly.

During the first two weeks after planting Mejia checks the plants twice each day as they become established. They are watered twice daily and fertilized every other day.

“It’s critical for those baby plants coming out of the greenhouse,” said Mejia, who oversees the entire operation.

Even with all the tender loving care, some of the baby plants don’t make it, so he keeps a couple hundred spare plants in the greenhouse.

Some plants don’t survive weather conditions. Others are stepped on by children or dogs running through the gardens.

“It’s going to happen, so we always have some spares to replace them with,” Mejia said.

Lighting also is critical, King said. The streetlamps surrounding the South Oval are covered on the side facing the gardens because their light will hinder blooming.

In June, the plants “look like dots in the ground, and you watch them develop,” King said.

“You put all this time and work in, and you get this reward,” he said, standing before the gardens in full bloom.

“It pays off in the end,” Mejia said.

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Create beautiful landscapes Choose native trees

By Susan McMann

OSU Ext. master gardener volunteer

Home gardeners love to create beautiful landscapes. In fact, home gardeners love to create landscapes full of color, variety and texture. In the past couple of decades, interest in growing beautiful ornamental trees was the norm. But nobody was thinking about whether the trees were native. Consequently, many of them used in our landscapes are of foreign origin, such as Europe or Asia.

When trees are not native, they are not part of the normal ecosystem. Each plant and animal has a part in the ecosystem in which we live. Native trees in the home landscape can create a great habitat for our native insects and bird species. Native trees provide the best quality resources to preserve native bird, butterfly, bee and other wildlife species.

Here are some other great reasons to plant a native tree or two in your landscape this fall:

Increased property values: Properly cared for, trees are valuable assets for homeowners that increase property values and the aesthetics of the home.

Energy savings: Strategically placed trees save up to 56 percent on annual air-conditioning costs. Evergreens that block winter winds can save even more.

Intercepting storm water: Trees can be planted in “rain gardens” with the goal of intercepting storm water. One hundred mature trees catch more than 100,000 gallons of rainwater per year. By intercepting storm water, less contaminates get carried into fresh waterways.

Clean air: Planting trees can help clean the air we breathe, by removing pollutants. In fact, 100 trees remove 53 tons of carbon dioxide and 430 pounds of other air pollutants per year. This can help counter the carbon element that contributes to global warming. Further, removing pollutants from the air can help decrease the triggers that cause respiratory problems such as asthma.

Horticultural therapy: Yes, even human health is affected by trees. A study by Roger Ulrich of hospitalized patients shows that post-op patients, with views of trees from their hospital rooms, heal faster and use less pain medication.

Healthy communities: Some research suggests that tree-filled neighborhoods lower levels of domestic violence and are safer. There is some research that argues that access to nature and green space may help those in low-income communities who suffer from unequal access to many services.

Overall, native trees suit today’s interest in low-maintenance landscaping. At the same time, they attract and sustain our beautiful, and often charismatic, native wildlife that we are fortunate to have here in Northeast Ohio.

Visit for more information and a list of native Ohio trees.

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Mohnton landscape firm Waterfall Gardens raises funds for Breast Cancer Support Services

Marianne Adam, Comfort Bag Project Coordinator for the Breast Cancer Support Services of Berks County, and Angela Wambaugh, Office Manager for Waterfall Gardens, a landscape firm in Mohnton, announced a month long promotion which will also raise funds for Breast Cancer Support Services.

Marianne and Angela are longtime friends who share a love of gardens and are both survivors of breast cancer. Breast Cancer Support Services provides comfort bags to newly diagnosed breast cancer patients through local surgeons and hospitals. Comfort bags contain items that provide comfort, hope and support to these women at what is a very stressful time in their lives.

In observance of the Breast Cancer Awareness Month of October, Waterfall Gardens will be donating $25 to the group for each deposit on new landscaping projects scheduled in the month of October or $50 with the scheduling of a Pink Pansy Planting of 10 flats or more of winter pansies.

According to Angela, Fall is an excellent time for planting and otherwise preparing your landscape for the winter months ahead and being a survivor of breast cancer herself, the idea for the promotion came into being. Waterfall Gardens plans to present a check to Breast Cancer Support Services of Berks County in mid-November at the conclusion of the promotion.

Call Angela at Waterfall Gardens, 610-777-5159, for further details.

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Pinch zinnias for more flowers

Q: I put zinnias around my mailbox. They grew five feet high! Is there a way to cut them back so they won’ t get too tall?
Joyce Thomas, email

A: On a garden tour in England, I learned the phrase “the Chelsea chop.” British gardeners have learned that they should cut back perennials and tall-growing annuals around the time of the annual Chelsea Flower Show in late May. When they do so the plants sprout new stems, grow stockier, and have more flowers than they would otherwise. When your zinnias are six inches tall, pinch off the growing tip with a thumbnail. The plant will produce two stems at that site. Each stem can be pinched again when they’re six inches long. At this point, add fertilizer and let the plant grow and flower. You’ll have a stocky plant with lots of blooms to enjoy.

Q: I believe I have a fusarium infection in my garden soil. Plants start out healthy but quickly wilt and discolor. Is soil solarization an option?
Allen LaBerteaux, Gwinnett County

A: Fusarium is a root disease that is hard to eliminate from soil. Solarizing (covering the soil with clear plastic for two months and letting the sun heat it) might be useful sometimes but it means your garden is taken out of action all summer. In my experience fusarium is a disease associated with soil that stays moist too long. If this is true in your case, this winter consider tilling in an inch-thick layer of very gritty sand to a depth of 10 inches.

Q: I have an old silver maple in my yard that is losing bark and has dead limbs. How can I save this beautiful tree?
Barry Brantley, Stone Mountain

A: My answer will disappoint you, but I think you should have it taken down. Silver maple is prone to many problems. It gets leaf spots and cankers and root diseases at the drop of a hat. The limbs are brittle so they fall easily. The leaves have little color in autumn, and they drop throughout the year, making a mess in a landscape. Major bark loss is almost certainly unstoppable. If the tree has any chance of falling on something valuable, like your house, your car, or you, this is a liability you don’t want to have.

Q: I have a large and beautiful bermuda lawn. I typically scalp it in spring. Can I get away with not scalping? It’s a pretty daunting job at my age.
Doug Hines, Villa Rica

A: Plenty of bermudagrass lawns go without scalping in spring and look fine. The only advantage to scalping is that the soil warms more rapidly and the lawn turns green a little earlier in spring. You can start mowing when the lawn is more than 90 percent green, no scalping necessary.

Q: The builder planted a maple in the yard of my new house. I love bald cypress but they get huge. Is there anything else you can suggest?
Greg Anderson, Loganville

A: There are smaller varieties of bald cypress that don’t grow so tall. Ask around for ‘Peve Minaret’ (20 feet high and 8 feet wide) and ‘Skyward’ (25 feet high and 10 feet wide).

Listen to Walter Reeves Saturday mornings on News 95.5 FM and AM750 WSB. Visit his website,, follow him on Twitter @walterreeves, on Pinterest, or join his Facebook Fan Page at for more garden tips.

Listen to Walter Reeves Saturday mornings on News 95.5 FM and AM750 WSB. Visit his website,, follow him on Twitter @walterreeves, on Pinterest, or join his Facebook Fan Page at for more garden tips.

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Time to prep flower gardens for winter weather – Loveland Reporter

As the snow season nears, it’s now or never to get flowers and gardens ready for winter.

“I think the biggest things people need to remember, and this was new to me coming to Colorado, you need to water through the late fall and winter if we don’t get precipitation,” said Barbara Near, president of the Loveland Garden Club.

It doesn’t have to be a lot of watering, Near said, maybe once a month. This includes trees and shrubs, which she said should be checked to see if they are getting too dry.

Although Near wouldn’t suggest pruning at this point, there are a few things that could be cut back.

“I wouldn’t cut things back way to the ground,” she said, as the snow can be protective. She would suggest cutting back plants like lavender or sage brush, woodier plants.

Snow covered flowers Oct. 9 at North Lake Park in Loveland, the first snowfall of the season in the city.

Snow can be a protective barrier for some things, but Near suggested mulch for other plants.

“Roses with grafts, you want to protect the graft if it gets cold,” she said. Grafting is technique in which parts from separate plants are joined together.

For bulbs, you will want to take the more tender plants inside for the winter while planting the hardier ones for spring.

“There is enough time now to put in the spring flowering bulbs,” Near said. She planted her bulbs after the first snow of the season. The plants just need enough time to take root before it gets too cold.

“If they hustle up, they can plant daffodils and tulips. That sort of thing,” she said.

Near has gardened for 35 years. She enjoys it due to its many benefits.

“It’s sort of an art form, but it’s very scientific,” she said, and it keeps her active as a form of exercise.

Near moved to Fort Collins two years and half years ago from Michigan. She has had to adjust everything she knew about gardening for her new home state, especially when it comes to the wildlife.

“In Michigan, you could plant the things on the list that (rabbits) wouldn’t eat and they wouldn’t eat them. Here, they eat absolutely everything,” she said.

Near joined the Loveland Garden Club shortly after moving to Colorado to meet people with a common interest and give back.

“It’s a fun group. We learn and we benefit the community, so it’s great all around,” she said. The club raises funds for scholarships and tree donations.

The Loveland Garden Club meets at 10 a.m. the third Wednesday of the month from September to May. The next meeting is Nov. 15 where the group will hear a presentation on the High Plains Environmental Center.

“I would encourage people who like to garden to join the club or to come and visit,” she said.

For more information, go to

Michelle Vendegna: 970-699-5407,

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Ensley: Garden tips for October





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