Monthly Archives: June 2009

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day June 2009

Dolly’s Garden

About 5 hours away from my garden, I decided to share Dolly’s Garden with you. I’m in Branson and I drive past Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede most every day. There is a giant butterfly made of flowers in the lawn.

Long story short. So, I drive up to the Dixie Stampede, loaded with two cameras. I can not wait to see what flowers they have used in this gorgeous floral landscape.

Maybe some dwarf gerbera daisies, little golden sunflowers, red cocks comb?

I had to laugh. The flowers are not real. And it makes sense to me. I think when you are driving by on highway 76, the important thing is big bold color and simple clear design. From the highway, the butterfly is gorgeous.

Up close, as you walk up to the box office, the flowers are real.Stella De Oro are h
ardy, permanent and easy to grow in most any soil, and they do standout like little golden trumpets. The green mound shaped plant is about 24 inches tall and wide, making it a compact landscaping plant that will look good all summer.

There are a lot of these sunny plants used in the landscapes throughout Branson. Stella De Oro offers a profusion of bright yellow blooms in early summer, then flowers repeatedly throughout the season. The golden blooms are are trumpet shaped and flowers reach about 2½ inches across.

All the window boxes are filled with beautiful artificial flowers. As I was snapping photos of the these fake flowers near the horse stalls, there was a grey horse that looked bored and sleepy, but the minute I started taking pictures, that grey mare perked right up. A show horse to be sure.

Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede Dinner & Show
1525 W Hwy 76, PO Box 6850
Branson, MO 65615-6850
Toll-Free: (800) 520-5544
Phone: (417) 336-3000
Fax: (417) 339-4350

The grey mare became lively and alert when the cameras started clicking. She did not know I was only taking photos of the colorful but fake flowers.

Ticks and Chiggers

Chicks and tiggers, giv’em the brush

I used the phrase chicks and tiggers instead of ticks and chiggers when I was young just to aggravate my brother. Chiggers are not bugs or insects. Chiggers are the juvenile (or larval) form of tiny mites, the Trombiculidae. Mites are arachnids, like spiders, and are related to ticks. Chiggers may be even more aggravating to gardeners than I was to my little brother using this tang tungler.

It is a myth that nail polish, bleach, alcohol, turpentine or salt water will rid you of ticks or chiggers. Chigger mites are unique among the many mite families, only the larval stage feeds on vertebrate animals; chiggers dine on us only in their juvenile (or larval) stage. As adults, they become vegetarians that live on the soil.

My eye sight has never been good enough to the tiny red chiggers. I usually discover them after they have settled in for dinner. I am the main course. Chiggers are tiny. But you can brush them off. They are looking for tender, thin skin such as where the skin wrinkles and folds. Sadly, the longer I live, the more ideal dining area I provide for ticks and chiggers.

As if chiggers aren’t annoying enough, this illustration and the following paragraph are right from the Ohio State University Extension Fact Sheet HYG-2100-98


Chigger larvae do not burrow into the skin, nor suck blood. They pierce the skin and inject into the host a salivary secretion containing powerful, digestive enzymes that break down skin cells that are ingested (tissues become liquefied and sucked up). Also, this digestive fluid causes surrounding tissues to harden, forming a straw-like feeding tube of hardened flesh (stylostome) from which further, partially-digested skin cells may be sucked out. After a larva is fully fed in four days, it drops from the host, leaving a red welt with a white, hard central area on the skin that itches severely and may later develop into dermatitis. Any welts, swelling, itching, or fever will usually develop three to six hours after exposure and may continue a week or longer. If nothing is done to relieve itching, symptoms may continue a week or more. Scratching a bite may break the skin, resulting in secondary infections.

disgusting, huh?

The best way to avoid them is to take a soapy shower after you have been stamping around outdoors. Though they are young, chiggers are vulnerable to temperatures. Chiggers are most active in the afternoons, and when ground temperature is between 77 and 86 degrees. Researchers have also found that chiggers actively avoid objects hotter than 99 degrees. Rocks that have been baking in the sun are usually free of chiggers, and make a safe place to sit when you are in a chigger-infested area. Chiggers become completely inactive when temperatures fall below 60 degrees; temperature below 42 degrees will kill the chigger species that bite us.

Excellent information about preventing and caring for tick and chigger bites is on the Missouri Department Of Conservation Web site: If you are in an area that probably has chiggers, the best thing to do is take a soapy shower as soon a possible. A shower or bath is the best defense. If this at is not possible, give them the brush. A brisk brushing off of your arms and legs will crush or knock them off before they c an attach. State health department officials have documented a 300 percent increase in tick-borne disease in Missouri since 2003. Good information about ticks is also at the Missouri Department of Conservation website.

This tick illustration using the dime for comparison is from the CDC.

GMO Beet Roots Busted

GMO seed means you no longer have a choice.


My friend and fellow writer Rose Marie Nichols McGee, has this story on her blog,
The Gardener’s Pantry.

Tomatoes at a Baker Creek festival.

GMO Beet Roots Busted

The presence of viable GMO sugarbeet roots in recycled potting soil is the lead article in today’s Corvallis Gazette Times/Albany Democrat Herald. The beets were identified because they bore numbered tags. I’m not going to repeat or paraphrase this article which is an excellent example of hometown journalism and why we need our newspapers. For the rest of this article go to her blog.

To the credit of a local newspaper reporter, we know about this.

Roundup Ready sugarbeets — a patented variety engineered by Monsanto to tolerate the company’s widely used Roundup herbicide — have turned up in a soil mixture being sold to gardeners at a Corvallis landscaping supply business.

Battle over beets can be reached at or 758-9529.

I am passing on this information because it’s about a better, safer food supply, and the fight to resist gene-altered Frankenfood and the companies that support it.

I only know what GMO* means because of Jere Gettle of Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company.

His seed company offers open-pollinated seeds: pure, natural and non-GMO, from 70 countries, including many that he collected. Jere Gettle started Baker Creeks Seeds in 1998 as a way to preserve rare seeds.

Emily and Jeremiah Gettle

Being one that can not pass up a bargain, let me just say: at Baker Creek, they are offering
FREE shipping on all online orders, through June 15!

* GMO is Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) or gene-altered food.

The store in Bakersville, home of Rare

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