Category Archives: Gardens (not mine)

Public gardens, nurseries, professional sites

Cat Control

Are the kitties using your garden as a litter box? Here is a solution that Betty Ward uses.


Plastic picnic forks deter the cats from digging in the mulch. Photo by Betty Ward.

Momma Cat scaled a privacy fence to get in the back yard with a tiny kitten in her mouth. The fenced back yard seemed like a safe place for the momma cat to raise her lone little kitten. Those two cats who sought shelter in Betty and Louie’s well manicured back yard decided to stay.

No telling what unfortunate circumstance brought  the cats to the back yard.

But the Momma Cat was weak and exhausted though she continued to nurture her kitten. It was clear Momma Cat had been through a harrowing experience.

And she too needed to eat, but there was no cat food in sight. That’s because the residents didn’t want a cat, weren’t interested in ever having more pets.

Still, the cats stayed. Poor weary momma cat needed some nurturing too. So cat food found its way into the couple’s grocery bag.  The cats were finally safe and well fed. Slowly, the couple allowed the cats into their hearts.

And since the cats are now residents, they needed names. Momma Cat and Babe now officially live in the well manicured back yard. They go to the veterinarian. They even have their own cat beds.

Just one problem. Instead of the littler box, the cats use the beautifully landscaped  gardens. So, that is why there are little plastic forks in the mulch. The forks are meant to be a cat deterrent.

UPDATE – It worked! Forks kept the kitties out of the garden.

If you have had success with this deterrent, or if you have a better idea leave a comment.

The kitten is grown and both cats are well cared for. They have no intention of leaving. And the couple have no intention of having more kittens in their back yard cat sanctuary. So, the cats have been spayed and neutered.

Babe and Mama cat

Babe is the black cat. The tabby cat on the right is Mama Cat. photo by Betty Ward

Spayed and neutered. What’s that? Spaying is a general term used to describe the ovariohysterectomy of a female animal. Neutering is a general term used to describe the castration of a male animal. However, neutering is often used in reference to both genders. The surgical procedure, performed by a veterinarian, renders the animal incapable of reproducing.  –  American Humane Association

Bleeding Hearts

I’m sharing this beautiful flower with you because I learned something new about this spring time treasure. It is Lamprocapnos spectabilis (formerly known as Dicentra spectabilis), an old-fashioned bleeding-heart. I was calling it by the old name. Who knew?

Lamprocapnos spectabilis

It is a rhizomatous perennial that prefers shade. I’ve never had a good place to grow them, but they are a springtime standout. My most recent sightings, in the springs gardens at Eureka Springs AR, in Branson at the Showboat Branson Belle and, Most recently, at the Vaile Mansion in Independence MO.

The Vaile Mansion has this David McCullough, quote from his book TRUMAN. On page 51, McCullough describes the Vaile:

Bleeding Heart thrives in the shade of Vaile Mansion

“The Vaile house on North Liberty, the showiest house in Independence, was a towering stone-trimmed, red brick Victorian wedding cake, with thirty-one rooms and Carrara marble fireplaces. The Vaile stable had mahogany paneled stalls. There was a greenhouse and four full time gardeners. If Harvey Vaile, who made his money in “pure water” and contract mail delivery, was not the richest man in town, he certainly lived as though he were.”

I think Bleeding Hearts look fussy and well suited to Victorian decor, as is the Vaile Mansion, the Branson Belle, and the whole of Eureka Springs.

If you have a shady spot, give it a try. They are not as delicate as you might think. If yours goes dormant and dissappears in the summer, plant hosta near by to fill the gap in your shade garden.

A rhizomatous perennial that prefers light shade

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day April 2011

Confederate Memorial State Historic

I’ve been traveling this month, enjoying other peoples flowers. The neighbors are enjoying mine.

forsythia at Arkansas Welcome Center



Visit  Carol at May Dreams Gardens to meet more flower lovers participating in Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day.


MO Botanical Gardens is just beginning to bloom with redbuds






thousands of tulips at MBG



So many color combos and tulip flower sizes at MBG








Beautiful primrose is in full bloom when some herbs are just surfacing in April.

primrose in the herb garden behind Shaw's home at Missouri Botanical Gardens.

Our travels took us to Independence where we saw these softly fragrant  pink lilacs.

Pink Lilacs with the same heavenly fragrance as the lavender lilacs.

Traditionally, GBBD is April 15. And, garden bloggers share what id blooming in their own gardens. Carol’s idea has grown so we can see the changing of the seasons, and the wave of flowers blooming through all zones both urban and suburban.

Since April is Poetry Month:

“And Spring arose on the garden fair,
Like the Spirit of Love felt everywhere;
And each flower and herb on Earth’s dark breast
rose from the dreams of its wintry rest.”
–  Percy Bysshe Shelley, The Sensitive Plant

Garden Magazines

Missouri Gardener 2011 March/April

I have a story in this months March/April 2011 edition of Missouri Gardener. That makes me proud and happy.

I think what makes me love this magazine even more, is the fact that this is the second edition, the second month that this magazine has published. When magazines and news papers a disappearing daily, State By State is rolling out monthly magazines about gardening to an ever increasing number of  states.

Today I was in Springfield, where Barbara St Clair lives.

Barbara's Dahlia

I bought a copy of the magazine to take to her and say thank you for allowing me to share her garden with the public. Barnes and Noble bookstore in Springfield has copies of the Missouri Gardener.

She too is a Master Gardener and has donated many (hundreds of) hours to the new Springfield-Greene County Botanical Center in Springfield, Missouri’s Nathanael Greene/Close Memorial Park and the Xeriscape Garden.

She told me that because the article mentioned her and the Master Gardeners, The Botanical Center had decided to start carrying Missouri Gardener magazine. I was happy to hear that news. I hope theword gets out about Missouri Gardener.

If you have never been to the xeriscape garden sponsored by Springfield Master Gardeners or the Botanical Center.

Make time to see them this gardening season. Become a member or donate online.

I think the Botanical Gardens are a destination site, worthy of a day trip or weekend get away. When you go, tell me what you think.

You can subscribe to your state by state gardening magazine on line.

Build A Butterfly Garden

Invite butterflies to live their full lifecycle in your garden. Provide host plants for laying eggs and for caterpillar food.

Butterflies lay eggs that hatch in 3-6 days. A caterpillar pupates in 3-4 weeks then in 9-14 days, a new butterfly emerges.

1. Locate your butterfly garden in full sun. Butterflies need sun to warm their bodies to fly.
2. Plant butterfly-attracting flowers that have strong scents and bright colors.
3. Include plants in your garden for butterflies lay their eggs and for emerging caterpillars to eat.

Bright colors and fragrance attract butterflies.

Select native plants and they will attract local butterflies. Watching a butterfly emerge from a chrysalis is reward enough for all the chewed leaves missing in the garden.

Puddling –

By sipping moisture from mud puddles, butterflies take in salts and minerals from the soil. This behavior is called puddling, and is mostly seen in male butterflies. Placing stones in the garden, or shallow bowls filled with sand and water are perfect for puddling.

Herbs attract butterflies and caterpillars.

Fiskars Indoors and Out

Bypass pruner

Where are your Fiskars? In the tool shed, sewing basket, crafts drawer, and in the office.


I had a light bulb moment today. At lunch with my scrap booking girlfriends, Fiskars craft tools came up. They were talking about crafting with Fiskers equipment like stamping tools, punches and paper trimmers they use in craft projects.

Who knew? I just thought Fiskars made some of the best garden tools I own. That is when we punched in Fiskars on our ipods.

“They make sewing stuff,” Liz said.

“I use those orange scissors all the time,” said Gail.

“I just thought they made these really cool paper punches.”

The Reel, Reinvented
(Momentum Reel Mower – Reviewed Spring 2011)

I have several pairs of Fiskars pruners in my garden tools box, all cleaned, ready and waiting for spring. There is also a Fiskars Momentum™ mower in the garage waiting to be tested with the first lawn mowing of 2011.

This is the reel thing.

I am looking forward to using the ergonomically designed mower that says it is much easier to handle, has StaySharp™ blades, and a greater cut range. Every Fiskars tool I’ve used so far has been easy to use and long lasting. But the Momentum™ is way more than the precision pruners I love.

When was the last time you heard anyone say they were looking forward to mowing?

Learn more about Fiskars products

Enter to win the Fiskars® Ultimate Scissors Collection. Giveaway package featuring 8 premium pairs of scissors. Deadline is February 20th, 2011.

Pruning Stik® Telescoping Tree Pruner

The 12′ Pruning Stik® Telescoping Tree Pruner was a big help after last years winter storms. It’s the easiest overhead pruner I’ve used. This is much easier to control

Askinoise Chocolate

Christmas Gifts for Gardeners

Askinosie Chocolate – eating your way to a better world.  Askinosie Chocolate is a small batch bean to bar chocolate manufacturer located in Springfield, Missouri.

Because it’s Christmas, I want to share the amazing Askinosie Chocolate story. I’ve taken the tour a couple of times because I love Askinosie chocolate, and I admire entreprenuer Shawn Askinosie.

My BFF just sent The Chalk-late Box.™ It has a chalkboard-top that is a perfect way to send a message to friend or foe (remove the chocolate if sending to foe).

This is a top selling gift item on the website. The Chalk-late Box.™ It’s filled with four-85g Chocolate Bars: 70% San Jose Del Tambo Dark Chocolate Bar, 77% Davao Dark Chocolate Bar, 70% San Jose Del Tambo Nibble Bar™, and a Malted Moo Moo Dark Milk Chocolate Bar. It also comes with chalk and a blank top for easy customization. See all the gifts.

Price: The Chalk-late Box™ $43.

More good news: I can usually buy fragrant cocoa bean mulch, when I stop by the Askinoise chocolate factory at a fraction of the cost at Garden Centers.

Friends of Fall Foliage Friday

Fall Foliage Friday – Every Friday this month post a photo of something natural and colorful. The perfect red leaf, a sweeping panorama of golden Aspens, the rusty reds of the Ozarks Mountains.

It’s just for fun. Post a photo and tell us where it is. That’s all.  Or, include a little story, a poem, a did you know fact. Or, tell us about other cool fall foliage sites.

Friends, it doesn’t even have to be Friday. Just Fall Foliage.

This tree is beside one of my favorite hotels in Springfield

Missouri Fall Color Guide by the Mo Dept Conservation

Share your favorites.

One of the nicest Fall Color sites

Oklahoma Gardening

I bet you never really thought of Oklahoma as paradise. Well, I just got back for the Garden Writers Symposium in Oklahoma City and I enjoyed fabulous gardens, great hospitality and a wonderful little city.

Express Ranch
Window box/ garden bench

Red Rocket Crepe Myrtle

The largest city in the state, Oklahoma City is located at the crossroads of I-35, I-40 and I-44 in the heart of Oklahoma. The second largest city in the continental U.S. based on geographical size, more than 1.1 million people call the Metro Oklahoma City area home.

April Fool

April 2007
Gardening Forever

Happy New Year, April Fools

The vernal equinox, was once the celebrated as New Years Day. In ancient cultures, the new year was celebrated for eight days, beginning on March 25 and ending April 1. But then, the efficiency experts began complaining that we were losing too much time.

So, in 1584, when the Gregorian calendar was introduced, King Charles IX of France ruled that New Year’s Day be moved to January 1st. The weather in January is usually so nasty, few people have the desire to frolic for eight days. Efficiency experts were thrilled.

Remember, no one had cell phones or instant messaging in 1564 and it took awhile for the word about the calendar change to get out. Folks who did not learn about the new date continued to celebrate New Year’s Day on April 1.

These traditionalists, or people without cell phones, were subject to ridicule and sent on “fools errands,” sent invitations to nonexistent parties and were the victims of practical jokes. The butts of these pranks became known as a “poisson d’avril” or “April fish” because a young naive fish is easily caught.

This April, we still have tree work to do from last spring’s tornado. Digging holes, planting trees, watering and fertilizing are a lot more work than Jules is used to. He really needs to get into shape for the gardening season, since we (he) will be planting several new replacement trees in the lawn. So, I enrolled Jules in a weight training program.

Although you are more likely to see him at Westlake Hardware store than the YMCA, Jules thought I would believe that they were selling garden supplies and tools at the community center weight room. Supposedly, Home Depot has an outlet there.

A woman instinctively knows when her husband is seeing someone else. I suspected he was out there running around when he come home with the distinct fragrance of potting soil on his clothes and dirt under his fingernails. But the real clue was a receipt in his jeans pocket from Family Tree Nursery. I found a crumpled receipt in the car ashtray from Earl May.

I’m not certain who is the bigger April Fool, me for enrolling him in a class he didn’t want to take, or him for pretending to go. Did he think I wouldn’t notice the shiny new rake and spade hanging in the garage?

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