Green-Ink Notes

The Green-Ink Notes on the Today's Notes page have caught some folks' fancy enough that they've asked us to keep some of them online for future reference. So, here they are:

From November 16, 2010
We had a really nice experience last week at the new Botanical Center in Springfield, Missouri. It was an orientation for volunteers who want to help out there. Katie Steinhoff, the Center coordinator, provided us a great picture of exactly what botanical centers are and how they benefit one and all. She also led a nifty tour. We took a few pics. At left above is the Center from the outside. At right, the-lobby-jpg.jpgKatie describes what takes place in the Center's spacious, airy lobby. At golden-rain-spider-mum-jpg.jpgleft, volunteers are heading to learn about the Center's offices, including the woman shown, Mrs. Yuriko Mizumoto Scott, for whom the Mizumoto Japanese Stroll Garden in the park is named. Mrs. Mizumoto, by the way, identified the yellow flowers to her left for us as 'Golden Rain' Spider Mums. At right is a closer golden-rain-up-close-jpg.jpglook at the plant, which seems about 5 feet tall, not counting the container. As always, you can click on these pics to enlarge them. This one enlarged looks like the mum that ate Detroit. At left is a picture that we hope suggests the unusually serene, restful atmosphere of the Botanical Center building. On our few visits there, we've found it to be uniquely so and very relaxing.The pic light-jpg.jpgat right shows how beautifully the building realizes one of its most important design goals by admitting the maximum amount of natural light.the-stained-glass-window-jpg.jpg The pic at left is an artist's rendering of a feature designed to, well, just knock the socks off everybody visually--a huge stained glass window to be installed in the panels in the previous photo. If you're wondering why this pic looks a little weird, it's of a glassed-in image and reflections. Flash--Shortly after we added that stained-glass-jpg.jpgpicture we learned that the window had just been installed, so we fairly raced to the Center to catch the photo at right. Are your socks still on? Ours aren't. We think the stained glass window alone is worth a trip to the Botanical Center. We just wanted here to give you some casual sense of the tour and orientation. We have to give the experience five stars plus as the best possible way to really understand the Botanical Center and what it will do--and is doing--for all of us. Katie has scheduled two more orientations, the first on Saturday, December 4, from 9-11 a.m., the second on Monday, January 10, from 5:30-7:30 p.m. If you'd like to take part or have any questions, you can call her at (417) 891-1515.
Life goes on. Now we're heading out to our yard and garden for--what else?--some serious cleanup. Stay warm.

From December 10, 2010
Call us wacky if you will, and we bromeliad-orange-jpg.jpgprobably are, but just on a lark we're posting these pictures of bromeliad blooms.
        We know nothing about bromeliads but saw these in the greenhouse on a recent visit to Wickman's Garden bromeliad-white-jpg.jpgVillage in Springfield, Missouri, one of the Ozarks' oldest nurseries. We'd never really looked at bromeliad blooms closely, and we couldn't bromeliad-pink-jpg.jpgresist photographing them. We don't know the varietal names of the plants, or anything else, really. We just like the colors bromeliad-reddish-jpg.jpgand thought you might too. As with all the photos we post here in the green ink, you can click on them to enlarge them, bromeliad-yellow-jpg.jpgif you care to. Oh, on second thought, we do know one thing about bromeliads. The pineapple's one. That pretty much covers it, for us. Update: Linda Siler of O'Quinn's Orchids and Water Gardens tells us that epiphytic bromeliads grow in trees and are best grown in the home in sphagnum moss or orchid mix or mounted on decorative pieces of wood or rocks. Right now, she says, people can see about 50 at O'Quinn's, located at 2936 W Republic Road in Springfield, Missouri. Note: All of the above bromeliads are growing in soil.

From January 25, 2011
garden-work-jpg.jpgThis afternoon (January 25) sees the start of Master Gardeners classes in Greene County, Missouri (the heart of the Ozarks, don'cha know) at the new Botanical Center at 2400 S. Scenic Ave. in Springfield.
      The classes will be held every gaillardias_jpg.jpgTuesday and Thursday from 1 to 4 p.m. through March 10th and will cover horticulture in general, along with such specific subjects as soil management, flowers-from-fairyland-question.jpgplants, landscaping, lawns and turf, and pest control.
      There's a $135 fee for the course. That may sound iris.jpgdaunting to some, but to be perfectly honest about it, it's a pittance for what it does for its participants. The fact is, we can't say the-tour-jpg.jpgenough good about the program or the people it transforms into Master Gardeners. All you have to do is talk with a few of them or simply see the work they do to a-good-place-to-relax-jpg.jpgunderstand how empowered, capable, confident, and accomplished they really are in the wonderful world of gardening.
      We always like to sprinkle a few variegated-canna-jpg.jpgphotos in this green-ink section and this time around we're very happy to show you some of what these remarkable people create and contribute to the robert-poole-up-close.jpgcommunity. Starting with the picture at upper left of Master Gardener Dana Allyn at work, these are all photos of two marvelous projects of the organization, rarin-to-go.jpgthe Xeriscape Garden and the Master Gardeners Demonstration Gardens, both in Springfield, Missouri. (As usual, you can click on the photos to enlarge them.)
     You can see more of these gardens by clicking on Real Gardens at left, then choosing whichever you prefer, or both.
      Above is Barbara St. Clair, who oversees and beautifully manages the Xeriscape Garden and who, we just learned, is the new president of the Master Gardeners of Greene County, Missouri.
      Oh, we almost forgot. The young woman working so hard in the first photo is Dana Allyn, also a Master Gardener.
      If, after you see what these folks can do, you think you'd like to become a Master Gardener too, all you have to do is call 417-881-8909. Like the tv guy says so convincingly, "What are you waiting for? It's easy."

From March 14 2011
CAN IT GET ANY SILLIER than the pair below? Or more fun?

      sproutlets-jpg.jpgProbably not. We had to laugh when we saw them sitting drolly on the counter in the Springfield-Greene County Botanical Center gift shop.
      They're called "Sproutlets." They're absurdly inexpensive and include everything a kid needs to plant 'em up. (We'll pretend they're for kids only.)
      The gift shop has lots of fun stuff, even $5 kites you can take out the door and fly on the spot. Just think, you can see the Center and the botanical gardens and fly a kite, too.
      We keep thinking that on this website we need to tell everybody in detail how wonderful the new Botanical Center really is. But that's a daunting task--there's so much good about the Center and what the people are doing there and the gardens and the lake and the playgrounds and the special events and more that it's overwhelming.
      For now, please just take our word for it that the Botanical Center and its many attractions are not to be missed. You and your loved ones can see and experience it all in Nathanael Greene/Close Memorial Park at 2400 S. Scenic in Springfield, Missouri.
      We may post more here later, even a photo or two, so you might check back. Meanwhile...read on.

From June 19 2011
WHAT IN THE WORLD is going on? Suddenly in the Ozarks we've gone from a May filled with torrential, flooding rains and nights in the 40's to a heat wave in early June.
     a-jay-daylily-and-a-stokes-aster.jpgThese are weird turns even for the climatically-quirky Ozarks, and for most of us they've added up to a huge delay in getting our gardens planted.
      Rather than dwell on our misfortune, we're sprinkling a few pics here of Ozarks gardening that's gone well; for example, the Stokes Aster and 'Jay' variety daylily at left that turned up in a rural Greene County, Missouri, garden. spiderwort-jpg.jpgThen there's the Spiderwort at right, a familiar roadside Missouri wildflower that's blooming beautifully even as we speak.
    These are all pics from the website pages we call Garden Finds and More Garden Finds. They're just little scenes we encountered while driving about ingenuity-jpg.jpgthe Ozarks. We like them because they're fun and also at times most revealing of the cleverness, ingenuity, and extreme good will of our Ozarks gardeners. Oh, and we might add humor, as exemplified by the scene at right.
the-circle-up-close-jpg.jpg      The last photo here is a portion of a beautiful round flower bed we happened upon in Republic, Missouri. We just liked it for its mix of celosia, marigold, ornamental grasses, and you name it.
      Withal, these pictures remind us that whatever the weather, eventually Ozarks gardeners are going to get the job done, and that includes sharing these and other cheering, heartening scenes with whomever happens by.
      You might like to check out the other Garden Finds on the site. You'll find them in the links in the left margin.
      That said, we're going out and try to catch up a bit with planting and weeding before the infernal heat hits us again. Please note our use of the word "infernal" rather than some other terms that came to mind.

From June 19 2011
things-to-do-jpg.jpgDOES THIS PICTURE look anything like your place? It's actually our own side yard, and real testimony to the sporadic, fits-and-starts gardening we're all stuck with doing in this insufferably hot Ozarks summer.painters-palette-jpg.jpg
      For fun we thought we'd show you a little of our own fits-and-starts garden; no big deal, just a few little things that by surviving the heat are lifting our spirits enough to keep us from giving up.
      First is our favorite plant, 'Painter's Palette" at right. A perfect canvas in the garden on which to show all other garden colors, it goes with everything. It also reseeds freely, so you don't have to buy tons of it. The lady who does our favorite neighborhood garden tipped us off to it, and you can see how she uses it here.
      incrediball-hydrangea-up-close-jpg.jpgThe big white ball at left is a dusk photo of the Incrediball Hydrangea, which blooms spectacularly all season long. In its second year in our garden, it's already 5 feet tall and  covered with monster flower heads nearly a foot wide.
      At right are some wild delphiniums wild-delphinium-jpg.jpgthat come up each year all on their own, a note we really like.
      At left is our very favorite rose. It's 'Oranges 'n Lemons,' which besides  beautiful coloration has a most single-oranges-n-lemons-rose-jpg.jpgwonderful citrus scent. This single blossom is the only one intact at the moment because Japanese Beetles prefer this rose over any other plant in our garden and are busy ravaging it. Not to worry. They'll do their damage and then move on, while we avoid wasting time and money trying to control them.
      At right is the explosion of hostas in the-hosta-explosion-jpg.jpga shady portion of our side yard. We had no idea the biggest one, 'Blue Angel', would reach 6 feet across and we're a little intimidated, but, of course, we like it.
      garden-lysimachia-jpg.jpgWe found the Yellow Loosestrife at left at a Farmers' Market three years ago and it's raised our spirits every year.
      Like most Ozarks gardeners, we love coneflowers and this year we were most surprised to be sent little-annie-coneflower-jpg.jpga brand new variety, 'Little Annie' at right. It's a dwarf coneflower that will grow to no more than a foot tall. Pretty neat, we thought. It looks a little bedraggled here because it's just been planted, but we like the blossoms and are looking forward to seeing it fully grown.
      real-red-lily-jpg.jpgThe super-red Lily with the unique sheen is another Farmers' Market buy. We've forgotten its variety name but we can tell you that in four years, it's been a joy.
      Another plant we really like is the plain old bee-balm-jpg.jpgBee Balm at right. There's just something in the shape and texture of the flower, its rednesss, and the scent of the leaves...and of course it attracts bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds like crazy.
      So there you are. Again, no big deal, just a few small things that are doing okay and please us in our spit-and-chewing-gum gardening this summer.
      Oh, we almost left out the wild kittens abandoned by their mother in our utility shed about three weeks ago. gardening-pals-jpg.jpgWe decided to feed them till they could sort of fend for themselves, and now they're growing and frolicking and following us around in the garden constantly to "help" us weed and dig and plant.
      They think Dr. Scholl's shoes from Walmart are a perfect place to feel safe and sleep.
      Maybe they are.
      Happy gardening. And stay cool.

From August 14 2011
the-way-it-used-to-be-jpg.jpgWE'RE REDOING some pages on this website right now, and one we're working on is about Schaffitzel's Greenhouse, for a long time one of our very favorite nurseries.
      The photo at left reminds us of nothing more nor less than a Norman Rockwell painting, for us the very essence of this family business founded in 1949.
      At right is Tony Schaffitzel, who tony-schaffitzel-jpg.jpgwith his brother Mike at lower left runs the retail nursery end of the business. Their mom, Barbara, who is also a retired nursing administrator, grows a world of plantmike-schaffitzel-jpg.jpg stock for the nursery and the family's flower shop in greenhouses at her house in Fair Grove, Missouri.
      If you want to cut to the proverbial chase about Schaffitzel's, you can click here and see what's happening with their page. Or you can keep reading here in the green ink.
      For us, Schaffitzel's is all about a-homemade-sale-jpg.jpghelping neighborhood gardeners get the job done. They're long on substance and don't fool around with fluff--for example, the homemade sign at right. This down-to-earth way of doing business works big time. Tony says, "We've got guys who've been shopping here 40 or 50 years."
      We have to talk about plants, of course. Schaffitzel's starts with a great outdoor lot filled with such basic treats as the sea of a-sea-of-coreopsis-jpg.jpgCoreopsis varieties at left, They also bring in such intriguing varieties as the white 'David' david-garden-phlox.jpgGarden Phlox at right, and one of our very favorite plants, the 'Mystic Desire' Dahlia below it, which, thanks to Schaffitzel's, now grows in our own garden.
      We could go on and on about the plants at this remarkable nursery--they sell around 50 kinds of perennials, lots of annuals, and some native Missouri plants. For more, though, it's best to click on the link above. mystic-desire-dahlia.jpg
      Oh, by the way, this isn't an ad. As many visitors already know, we don't sell ads on this website--we just tell people about garden stuff we think they might like or find helpful, and that includes plantsellers.
      We should let you know that Schaffitzel's is located in one of the oldest neightborhoods in Springfield, Missouri. The address is 1771 East Atlantic. We think it's character alone makes it well worth visiting.

      In other news, some people have asked us to keep these topical green-ink notes online because, as one put it, "They're sort of bloggy and interesting." So, to oblige, we've put a link to them. You'll see it at your left. We're calling them, cleverly, "Green Ink Notes."

      And in even other news, we could write a whole essay about the ongoing, incessant heat wave in the Ozarks. But you already know about that, don't you.

      Happy gardening. And stay cool.

From September 3 2011

pinstripe-petunia-and-shirley-jpg.jpgSHIRLEY ANDERSON, at left, loves to garden. Here she shows off a 'Pinstripe' Petunia, one of countless thousands of nifty plants she grows as the greenhouse manager for the Wickman's Garden Village nursery in Springfield, Missouri.
      One of the busiest people we know, Shirley nonetheless also does a garden at home, one we'd call a good, old-fashioned neighborhood garden. Sh
e let us catch some close-up pics in it the other day, and we want to share a mt-fuji-up-close.jpgfew with you here. Take, for example, the 'Mt. Fuji' Morning Glory at right. We really like it. We even like the ants. We hope you do too.
      Then there's the 'Tie Dye Blue' Morning Glory growing up on tie-dye-blue-morning-glory-jpg.jpgthe arbor at left. Shirley's not crazy about its "floppiness," but we like the "it-might-be-time-for-a-nap" effect.
      Shirley's garden is full of nice surprises, and of course we had to get a photo when we spotted the Black Swallowtail Caterpillar at black-swallowtail-caterpillar-jpg.jpgright, busily chewing away on its very favorite cuisine, a nice, fat, juicy Bronze Fennel. We know, it looks for all the world like a Monarch caterpillar. It isn't, though. Its markings are just a little bit different.
      praying-mantis-jpg.jpgNaturally we had to get a shot of the Praying Mantis at left. That's because we love Praying Mantises. Don't ask why we love Praying Mantises. The heart has its own reasons. At any rate, love or no, it isn't much of a photo. We really tried our best but couldn't coax the Mantis onto the top of the stem.
      The plant at right is, believe it or wild-poinsettia-up-close-jpg.jpgnot, a Wild Poinsettia. We especially like its foliage. Oh, and the reddish plant to its left is a 'Haight-Ashbury' Hibiscus, so named because its leaves resemble those of, uh, another plant.
      sweetpea-up-close-jpg.jpgWrapping up our impromptu little visit to Shirley's Garden is the bug's-eye view at left of the old-fashioned, tried-and-true favorite of many generations of gardeners, the Sweet Pea.
      It's all just a small sample of the goodies in our favorite neighborhood garden. If you're curious, you can see much, much more of it for yourself here.
      We'd like to thank Shirley for keeping her nifty home garden going through our insufferably hot Ozarks summer this year, and for letting us revisit it once again.
      That's the news from the green-ink section this time around.
      Happy gardening.

From September 6, 2011
A Real Sweet Deal....
sweet-treats-jpg.jpgWe don't usually do "day after" stories on this website, but we have to this time around the-hosta-lineup-jpg.jpgif only to inspire you to make a note not to miss next year's Greater Ozarks Hosta Society Plant Auction. This year's Auction, which happened Saturday, was a winner all the way, with a lively turnout, an incredible Sweets Table with homemade goodies, some truly outstanding hostas, lots of sales the-table-jpg.jpgand terrific bargains, a prize drawing, time-to-eat-jpg.jpgand, finally, fun for one and all. It all happened in Nathanael Greene/Close Memorial Park, 2400 South Scenic Avenue, in Springfield, Missouri, and it'll happen again next year. Again, do yourself a big favor and make a note not to miss it in 2012. a-good-crowd-jpg.jpgMeanwhile, if you're interested in seeing the particular garden this sale beautiful-plants-jpg.jpgbenefits, click here. We promise once more, you won't be sorry.

From November 16, 2011
the-fall-demo-garden-jpg.jpgWHAT A WEEK. Or two. Or maybe even three. We've lost track amidst many gardening events and the always-disorienting shift from fall to winter in the Midwest.
      We wanted to catch the garden at fireworks-gomphrena-jpg.jpgleft, a special master gardeners demonstration garden in Springfield, Missouri, that we really love, before the first killing frost robbed it of its color. As you can see from the brilliant 'Fireworks' Gomphrena at right, we made it just in time.
      burgundy-cotton-jpg.jpgDid you know you can grow cotton in your garden? At left is another demo garden treat, 'Burgundy' Cotton, a purple-leaved ornamental variety that does beautifully in the Ozarks.
      We didn't expect nearly so much silky-yellow-butterfly-weed-up-close-jpg.jpglife and color in the garden so late in the season, and some of it just about knocked us out, like the 'Silky Yellow' Butterfly Weed at right.
      Some of the garden's most beautiful fall-blooming plants were clearly at their best. Our favorite examples were the tatarian-aster-jpg.jpgtowering Tatarian Asters at left, which can grow 7-8 feet tall. They certainly made that height and in addition were literally bursting with blossoms and loaded with Monarch butterflies.
      Equally picturesque-planting-jpg.jpgcolorful and compelling were the plants grouped at right, namely the 'Pow Wow Wild Berry' Coneflower, 'Purple Dome' Aster, and 'Class Act' Sedum.
      When you get right down to it, it's hard to beat Knock Out Roses for season-'round color. We were happy to see the rainbow-knockout-roses-jpg.jpgbeautiful drifts of Rainbow Knock Outs at left still growing strong.
      We've hardly touched this garden's wonderful autumn character. For now, though, we'll leave you with another winning example, the 'Sapphire Blue' sapphire-sage.jpgSage at right, a plant highly engaging on its own but even more so when combined with other colors.
      We've had that first frost by now, and even a second, but it didn't get much below freezing so we're not sure what's still going on in the garden. We can, however,  refer you to our page here, which shows it all year-'round. Or you might visit it in person in the Botanical Center complex at 2400 S. Scenic in Springfield. Whatever the season, it's worth it.

From December 5, 2011
ONE OF OUR FAVORITE NURSERIES, Wickman's Garden Village in Springfield, Missouri, held a nifty scarecrow-making contest for their fall festival this year. They also auctioned off the donated scarecrows and gave the proceeds to the Ozarks Food Harvest, an agency that feeds men, women, and children in need.
the-bridecrow-jpg.jpg      At left is a favorite we're calling The Bridecrow. I mean, really, have you ever?
      At right are The Three Palscrows. thethreepalscrows-jpg.jpg
      We made up these names up because we don't know any better.

     Below, from left to right, are The Haveasnortcrow, The NASCARcrow, the BlondeBraidscrow, and the BoyHowdycrow.

the-haveasnortcrow-jpg.jpg the-nascarcrow-jpg.jpg   the-blondebraidcrow-jpg.jpg   the-boybhowdycrow-jpg.jpg

Finally, we have The Fishercrow, The YayforMecrow, and The BeautyQueencrow.

the-fishercrow-jpg.jpg       the-yayformecrow-jpg.jpg        the-beautyqueencrow-jpg.jpg

And there you have it. You can click on these scarecrows and blow them up bigger, if you're not too afraid.

We love it that Wickman's did this contest, and we love it that the auction earned $700 for the Ozarks Food Harvest.

From January 12, 2012
GOOD GRAVY, IT'S 2012! How is that possible? How can it be? We were just born the other day....
amy-at-work-jpg.jpg      Oh, well. Ours is not to reason why, ours is but to work on the website. Why? To make it more useful and maybe a little more entertaining for folks who like garden stuff.
      For those who've asked how we do the site, at left is the first picture ever published of our central operation's Coffee Table Division, as presided over by our CEO, Amy Winehouse the cat. As you can see, we've spared no expense to put your finger right on the pulse of gardening in our region. The bag of cat food, it should be noted, is the preeminently nutritious and concomitantly costly Science Diet Kitten Formula, a gift from a friend who clearly wants us bankrupted by Amy's appetite. We're happy to report that Amy has since switched her allegiance to less costly chow.
      It should be noted that Amy's drug of choice is tuna.
      Please do not share this photo with anyone, as it is highly classified top secret corporate stuff. We're only sharing it with you because we trust you.
      Moving on, we weren't kidding on the Home Page about adding tons of fun to the site. We have so much info and so many photos we've been remiss in posting, and at the same time the garden world in the Ozarks has grown so exponentially in the last year that we haven't been able to keep up.
      Is there still time to wish you and yours a Happy New Year? Then so be it. Rejoice--we're all still alive!
We shall prevail !

From January 28, 2012
snowy-frog-jpg.jpgWOW AND DOUBLE WOW ! When the Frogometer in our back yard showed it was snowing Thursday, January 12th (and the Frogometer is never wrong), our hearts sank for the annual Friends of the Garden Open House & Winter Party set for that evening. With biting cold, fierce winds, and lots of slickety spots on the roads, we feared nobody, but nobody, would show up.
     But frabjous joy, calloo, callay, we couldn't have been more wrong that day. Look what happened. fog-open-house-jpg.jpg
     It was a record turnout, standing room only, and a terrific time for all, with lots of delicious foods like those few shown at left, desserts that inspired vows of dieting, lots and lots of extremely nifty foodarama-jpg.jpgdoor prizes like the handcrafted wine box plant stand at right and the miniature house at left, a great talk on plants that survived the Ozarks summer of 2011, and an inside look at a major Friends meeting.the-wine-box-thing-jpg.jpg
      Listen, if you missed this event this year, mark it on your calendar for next because it's huge fun and a unique chance to meet and make the-miniature-house-jpg.jpgfriends with a wonderful gardening community.
      As for the Friends of the Garden, they described the night with no little surprise as "Fantastic," "Spectacular," and "The best Open House we've ever had."
      We have to add a note, too, on the amazingly generous folks who contributed the door prizes--plants, gift bags, gift certificates, floral arrangements, hanging baskets, bird feeders, bird houses, pottery, handicrafts, and more. They include Botanical Center Boutique, Carson's Nurseries, Fassnight Creek Farm, Friends of the Garden, Garden Adventures Nursery, the Greater Ozarks Hosta Association, Marisol International, O'Quinn's Water Gardens, Peggy's Flowers, Perkins Restaurant, Schaffitzel's Greenhouse, Steinert's Greenhouse and Garden, WannaGetta Pizza, Wickman's Garden Village, woodworker Don Brown, and gourd artist Bob Kipfer.

From June 15, 2012
WE TRY TO KEEP UP on this website with our region's gardening news, but we're always falling short.
       dreamland-asiatic-jpg.jpgThis year we're really running behind. For one thing, we've been moving to new living space. For another, our extra-warm Ozarks spring jumpstarted everything in the plant world.
      Those two hitches notwithstanding, we'd still be behind. Truth is, gardening in cathedral-windows-asiatic.jpgthe Ozarks is expanding too rapidly and too greatly for either comprehension or coverage. Never, for example, have we seen so many people flooding our nurseries and garden centers, never so many public gardening activities and events, and never so many beautiful yards and gardens.
      marco-polo-oriental-hybrid.jpgWe love it, of course. We more than love it. It gets us...right here. For us, the gardening going on in a region or community is a great measure of its health and vitality, and by that measure the Ozarks region is truly alive. 
      Now that we finally have time, we're playing catchup. The new blackout-up-close.jpgpics here are of lilies blooming even as we speak, and we'll be adding more of everything.
      As we and our gardens--and our gardening world-- continue to grow, we hope you'll join us now and again. Meanwhile...
      Happy gardening. Happy living.

hot_work.jpgFrom July 30, 2012
IT'S SUMMER, ALL RIGHT. When we see the thermometer in triple digits, we're not at all confused. At left, a visitor from New England waters a parched flower bed as a favor to her hostess. She says our summers are not for her.
       The forecast predicts 101 degrees today, so as soon as we're done here we'll be at our "Do-Or-Die Ozarks Morning Watering." That's what we call it and plants like the 'CB Maroon' cb-maroon-coleus-jpg.jpgColeus at right and the 'Watermelon Charm' Supertunia at left below won't survive this ultra-torrid summer without it.
      watermelon-charm-supertunia-jpg.jpgWe just moved and these are some of the plants we're using to revitalize a long-neglected 74-foot border at our new digs. As it happens, they were provided us by the Proven Winners company.
      As you may know, we don't do ads on this website. We do, however, tell visitors about really good garden things we come across and these PW plants, as tested by blushing-princess-lobularia-jpg.jpgour sweltering summer heat, are winners for sure. Add to the above two the Proven Winners 'Blushing Princess' Lobularia, or Alyssum, at right==the best Alyssum we've ever seen by virtue of its vigor, beautiful spread, and barely visible but captivating trace of lavender in its coloring.
      lemon-slice-superbells-calibrachoa-jpg.jpgWe very much like all three plants, but the one that really knocks us out is a fourth, the 'Lemon Slice' Superbells Calibrachoa shown at left. You can't see it so much in this picture, but the blossoms are white with pinwheel bands of bright yellow and make a most cool and refreshing presence in the summer garden. (Everybody who's seen it just loves it.) Oh,
this plant is also quite vigorous, spreads beautifully, and even takes some drought.
      To bring this border back to life we mixed these plants with some we brought from our old place. To our amazement, even those we had to transplant in 100-plus heat survived and are thriving. Their success isn't because we're geniuses, though; we just followed the old advice to 1) water deeply early in the morning; and 2) mulch.good-border-group-jpg.jpg
      We appreciate Proven Winners for letting us grow these goodies. We'll leave you with the pic at right of an especially nice grouping of all four plants here, plus Pentas, plus a white Cosmos.
      The good news is, it was absurdly easy to rejuvenate this border, Ozarks heat or no Ozarks heat.
      Sometimes things work out.
      Here's hoping the same for you.

From December 10, 2012
GOOD GRAVY, WE SAY. The Ozarks climate is already weird enough, and now this December we've had record heat--all-time highs of 73 on Monday the 3rd and 74 on Tuesday the 4th. That's in the Springfield, Missouri, area.
      And now, even as we write, the temperature's dropped to 18 degrees.
      Such extreme changes keep us more than a little off-base as gardeners. They put our winter-coneflower-jpg.jpgplants off track as well. Take the Purple Coneflower at left. A friend found it actually blooming in the Springfield Botanical Gardens December 3rd.
      Wacky warm spells or no, we have to say that when the thermometer gets down to 18 degrees, it's winter. For us that means, among other things, more time to amethyst-oakleaf-hydrangea-jpg.jpgimprove this website. Right now we're adding a good many plants to our Winter Garden page, such as the 'Amethyst' Oakleaf Hydrangea at right.
      The Winter Garden is an amazingly helpful resource for Ozarks gardeners because it displays so many plants they can use to brighten their gardens and landscapes in winter, and vintage-gold-chamaecyparis-jpg.jpglately it's been adding more beds, a water feature, and even more plants. Two new ones we especially like are  the 'Vintage Gold' Chamaecyparis at left and the 'Color Guard' Yucca, color-guard-yucca-jpg.jpgalso known as 'Color Guard' Adam's Needle, at right. 'Color Guard' holds its color perfectly all year 'round.
      You can visit the Winter Garden in person in the beautiful Springfield Botanical Gardens at 2400 South Scenic in Springfield, and you can see our page on the Garden here.
      shirley-at-the-gate-jpg.jpgWe're also updating our rather wildly popular Shirley's Garden page. That's Shirley at left, and we think hers the most inspiring neighborhood garden we've ever seen. If you haven't had the opportunity to learn from it, and enjoy it, you might click here. We promise you won't be disappointed.
      We could go on about many other additions to the website, but for now, let's give you a breather. Then you can read on....

From January 12, 2013
A GOOD TIME: It was last night at the Botanical Center in Springfield, Missouri. They called it by several names. First, we heard "the Friends of the Garden Open House," then it was "the Friends of the Garden Open House and New Year's Party," then it was "The Friends of the Garden Annual Meeting," and finally, on the public online announcement they didn't call it anything. They just gave the time and location and said to come.
      That particular annoyance aside, it was a good event, with lots of conviviality, delicious foods, door prizes, and a most interesting Friends of the Garden meeting featuring reports on just about every aspect of the wonderful Springfield Botanical Gardens and the Botanical Center.

      Prizes were generously donated by the Botanical Center Boutique, Fassnight Creek Farm, O'Quinn's Water Gardens, Peggy's Flowers, Steinert's Greenhouse and Garden, Wickman's Garden Village, Garden Adventures Nursery, Schaffitzel's Greenhouse, the Friends of the Garden, and the Friends of the Springfield Art Museum, and some others whose names we didn't catch. Tom Lakowski passed 'em out and did it with flair and humor, so there were lots of laughs.
      If you don't know already, Friends of the Garden is the group of more than a thousand volunteers of all ages, backgrounds, and work and life experiences who've joined together to fund, create, and maintain all but one of the 36 beautiful gardens that make up the Springfield Botanical Gardens. And if you haven't met them already, believe us, you'd like them.
      Oh, the guest speaker was  John Price, the new president of the Springfield-Greene County Park Board, who filled folks in on some nifty Park Board plans and priorities, which we liked a lot. You may not know it, but Springfield's Park Board in 2000 won the Gold Medal Award  for cities from 100,000-250,000 population
from the National Recreation and Park Association.
      Our point in mentioning all this is that we'd like you to file it away in some nice compartment in your brain so that when the event happens next year, it might ring a bell and you might even go.
      Now, all that said, read on....

From April 6, 2013
a-spray-of-crocuses-jpg.jpgWell, it's time to come up with something else for our little "green-ink note" here. As we sip coffee and type, we have a nice little coating of sleet and ice on the ground, thanks to the major winter storm that swept over the midwest this week. That, of course, fuels thoughts of spring.
      We have a whole page about cherry-blossoms-jpg.jpgspring on this website, and we've been working hard on it lately to make it better. We can't claim to be a real photographer, but every now and then we catch a pic that even we like, such as the cheery spray of crocuses above, or the pink dogwood blossoms at right. Thank heaven for digital cameras, we say. The ability to shoot away and electronically discard our iris-reticulata-up-close-jpg.jpgblunders allows us to live out the philosophy "Even a blind hog finds a mushroom now and then."
      On our spring page we've posted a few of our photographic mushrooms in the hope of capturing at least a smidgen of the glory of spring in the Ozarks. Our ice and cold at the moment, of course, has us caught up in what a redbud-jpg.jpgclever friend calls "the countdown to color." Thoughts of the soon-to-appear dwarf iris at left, for example, we find real cheering, and we're eagerly looking forward to leisurely drives through our city of Springfield, Missouri, to enjoy our neighborhoods in spring color, as shown at right.

      If you'd like to see our spring page, and more of what makes the season so glorious in the Ozarks, you'll find it here.
      We don't want to get maudlin about it, but we're so grateful to be living in this part of the country, where nature can be, and so often is, breathtakingly beautiful.

From June 1, 2013
snowy-pansies-jpg.jpgWell, we can't let this one go by. As if spring in the Ozarks hasn't been freaky enough, Friday and Saturday, May 3rd & 4th, we had sleet  and snow, which set a record for the late occurrence of such gifts in the Springfield, Missouri area.
      One apparent casualty, we thought, was the bowl of pansies at left. We had hopes, however, surviving-pansies-jpg.jpgand sure enough, the low never dropped below 32 and the following Tuesday our pansies were back, as shown at right.
      Another apparent casualty was an orange 'Dreamland' zinnia we'd just planted. It managed to acquire a nice cap of snowy-dreamland-zinnia-jpg.jpgice and snow and we thought it most likely a goner, as the 'Dreamland' variety of zinnia in the past has seemed especially tender, but lo and behold, it too came back, as you can see at right.zinnia-survives-jpg.jpg
      "Whew!" we say.
      Our siege of cold and snow and sleet was harrowing for gardeners so eager to get going with their gardens that they'd already planted. It did, however, give us a chance to take  some sort-of-interesting pictures. We just liked the tree and the circle snow-circle-jpg.jpgbeneath it for the photo at left.
      Now, and fortunately, it seems we're past our snow, ice, and freezing temps for this year, with a real time-to-plant spring in the offing. The week-ahead forecast for the Springfield, Missouri, area calls for highs in the 60's, 70's, and even an 82 next week, with lows no lower than 43. With that, let's leave our very-first-lilac-bloom-jpg.jpggreen-ink notes this time around with a photo of the first blossom of spring on one of our very favorite lilacs.


      If you like our little "Green Ink Notes", or find them a little helpful, in response to quite a few requests we've posted a whole bunch of them here.

From July 9, 2013
workday-jpg.jpgWe like a bit of whimsy now and then, especially when there's work to do. So, naturally, we liked the barrowful of plant labels at left.
      The work on tap was to bring into tiptop shape the marvelous Hosta Garden in the Springfield Botanical Gardens.
      If you're unfamiliar with the Springfield Botanical Gardens, well, they're a treasure trove of 36 botanical gardens located at 2400 S. Scenic in Springfield, Missouri, and they're wonderful, and the Hosta Garden may well be the visitors' favorite of
all. Already a real prize, the Garden now has been redesigned by Tom Lakowske, the hosta-helpers-jpg.jpgpresident of the Greater Ozarks Hosta Society, into a singularly beautiful attraction.
      On this particular day in late May, Society members gathered for some serious weeding, planting, cleanup, and labeling Hosta varieies. You can see them fanning out at right.
      labeling-jpg.jpgLabeling the hostas was the major priority because having 100 labeled Hosta varieties can help the Garden qualify as an American Hosta Society National Display Garden. At left, Tom readies for the job with Lisa Bakerink, a Hosta Society member and president of the Friends of the Garden.lisa-and-the-arbor-jpg.jpg
      Forgive us, but the photo of Lisa at right reminded us of Gary Cooper in "High Noon," even if she was armed only with plant labels. (It's that "whimsy" thing again.)
      weedlady-jpg.jpgAlso showing up and ready to go was Janet McWilliams, the Society's secretary, toting her foldable-upable garden bag or carry or whatever it's called, and we need one of those things ourselves.
      Happily, the Greater Ozarks Hosta Society now has over 160 members to help out. At right, avid marilyn-weeding-jpg.jpggardening enthusiast, hosta lover, and new member Marilyn McCowan digs into the weeding job.
      As the volunteers worked, people continued to visit and kids-in-the-hosta-garden-jpg.jpgenjoy the Garden, which proved a true wonderland for the boys at left--they didn't want to leave.
      Thanks to its redesign, unusually generous spring rains, and the good work of its volunteers, the Hosta Garden this year is clearly more lush and lovely than ever, as you can see below.
      At left below, another view of today's Garden, revealing much more of its beautiful water feature. The Hosta Garden in its entirety has become a much-loved setting for weddings. Often the actual exchanging of vows takes place on the water feature, above the waterfall.
      hosta-garden-water-feature-up-close-jpg.jpgIt was a good workday. The weeds--and there were a ton of 'em--got pulled, the new plants got planted, and the Hosta varieties got labeled. At the end of the session came the day's final reward, a tasty lunch of croissants chowtime-jpg.jpgfilled with absurdly delicious chicken salad that Tom made even better by adding walnuts and cranberries. There were other goodies, too, and of course that deep sense of satisfaction that always comes with making good things happen in the garden.
      That was the day and we can do nothing better than to urge you, if you like gardens, and especially if you love hostas, America's most popular foliage plant, to go visit this wonderful garden yourself. You won't be disappointed. In addition, if you have any notion that you might like to be part of or just know more about the Greater Ozarks Hosta Society community, please click here.

From August 23, 2013
milk-chocolate-1967-jpg.jpgWe haven't updated our little green-ink section here in quite a long time, and we have to tell you that it's been due not to our inherent laziness, but what we like to call "the exponential explosion of gardening in the Ozarks."blessed-mood-1975-jpg.jpg
       In a nutshell, way too much has been happening garden-wise in our region for us to keep up with on this website. To touch on just one element of same, the Springfield Botanical Gardens in Springfield, Missouri, has had three of its gardens receive national recognition. The Hosta Garden is now an American Hosta Society National Hosta Garden. The Daylily Garden is now an American Hemerocallis Society National Daylily Garden, and a bed of heritage daylilies within it is an AHS National Historic Daylily Garden.
fritz-schroer-1961-jpg.jpg      FYI, an "historic daylily" is a daylily introduced in or before 1980, and we thought this time around it might be nice to show you a few. At upper left is 'Milk Chocolate', introduced in 1967. Other hybrids and dates of introduction include 'Blessed Mood' 1975 at upper right, 'Fritz Schroer' 1961 at left, my-kingdom-1977-jpg.jpgand 'My Kingdom' 1977 at right,
      All of the heritage daylilies are located in one bed within the Daylily Garden identified by the sign attesting to its new national status. In order to help visitors, and especially those who might want to secure the same daylilies historic-daylilies-sign-jpg.jpgfor their own gardens, each variety is clearly labeled with the varietal name and the date of introduction.
      We're told that our Historic Daylily Garden is one of only 18 in the United States. It's quite a distinction for all those who've helped create the Springfield Botanical Gardens, and certainly for the members of the Ozarks Daylily Club that volunteer countless hours in making, maintaining, and improving the Daylily Garden. (You can see some of these extraordinary people on our Daylily Garden page here.)
      Creating a special page here for the Historic Daylily Garden is tops on our list of double-kathy-1993-jpg.jpgto-do's. We haven't done it yet, but we will soon, and in the meantime we can show you a few more of these remarkable real-wind-1977-jpg.jpgheritage daylilies. At right is 'Double Kathy' 1993 and at left 'Real Wind' 1967.
      Some of these older daylilies we found especially appealing.
For example, and we'll leave you with this one, 'Prairie Blue Eyes' 1970 at lower right really caught our fancy.
      We're not sure why we find this daylily so appealing, but we're willing to bet that you can prairie-blue-eyes-1970-jpg.jpgfind favorites of your own if you just visit these amazing daylily gardens yourself.
      The Daylily Garden proper, including both new and heritage daylilies, now displays 850 individual  varieties, each clearly labeled.
      You can see them all in the Springfield Botanical Gardens at 2400 S. Scenic Ave. in Springfield, Missouri, and we're happy to tell you that right now the garden is still blooming beautifully. Please go and enjoy.
      There. We caught up with at least one of our to-do's this amazing gardening season. That leaves only...well, let's take a little coffee break.

From October 1, 2013
Finally, we've found time to update our little green-ink notes here.
      Time is always the rub, it seems. We love doing the website, but it can be real labor intensive at our end. As you know if you've visited here before, the site's purpose is to save gardeners as much time, energy, and money as possible in their gardening and landscaping. That's why we post so many plants here--we think the biggest time-saver is in showing gardeners plants they can use that really thrive in the Ozarks.
      Photographing plants and posting the pics is easy enough. It's the research that eats up the hours. We also want to tell you about the plants--their best features, the color of their flowers, how big they get, how best to grow them, and so forth. Finding the best info available isn't so easy. We do a lot of research on the Internet and also talk with plant growers, horticulturists, professional gardeners and landscapers, and home gardeners, As might be expected, there's a lot of contradictory information out there, and we feel obliged to resolve those contradictions as best we can by gathering all the info possible and coming up with a consensus.
      It seems to be working well enough. We do get positive feedback now and then, and no one yet has told us to go soak our heads.
      Right now we're not only adding more info but are redoing a lot of pages on the website with the goal of making them a little more attractive and a little more helpful to visitors. We hope you like the results.
      Thanks for visiting OzarksGardens, and remember, we always welcome any comments, criticisms, or suggestions you might have for improving the website.

From December 12, 2013
Our current mission to make this website a more useful resource for gardeners is making real progress, it seems. We've now reworked quite a few pages and are thinking you might like seeing some of the results.
silky-yellow-butterfly-weed-up-close-jpg.jpg      If you click on the small photos here, they'll take you to some of the new pages. The photo at left, for example, is a magic carpet ride to one of the most inspiring (and helpful!) gardens imaginable--the Master Gardeners Demonstration Garden in Springfield, Missouri. Its page is now filled with photos and info on more than 90 plants, all of which thrive in the Ozarks and could really help brighten your surroundings.glory.jpg
      At right is a link to a page that's a big, big favorite of many visitors to this website. It's called Garden Finds and it's a collection of surprising scenes any of us might just happen upon in the Ozarks that give our region special color and character.
earth-mother-jpg.jpg      If you click on the lovely lady at left you'll go to Earth Mother Gardens, a delightful collection of absolutely wonderful plants she and her husbnd grow.
      Clicking on the pic at lower right will whisk you off to the new page on the Butterfly Garden, a beloved feature in the beautiful Springfield Botanical Gardens in Springfield, Missouri.rudbeckia-jpg.jpg
      We've reworked other pages, too, but these should be enough to give you a taste of the new. You may notice that photos on the new pages are quite a bit bigger than before and can be enlarged even more. Not so obvious is that we're also working to provide better, more useful information.
      Let us say we very much appreciate your visiting OzarksGardens. We hope you find the website helpful and, of course, we always welcome any comments, criticisms, or suggestions you might have for improving it.
      That said, happy gardening, one and all.
      Note: If you like our little "Green Ink Notes", or at least find them a little bit helpful, in response to quite a few requests we've posted a whole bunch of them here.

From December 24, 2013

We're embarrassed to admit that before this go-round, we hadn't updated these green-ink notes in four months.
      We can make all kinds of excuses, but the real reason we're behind is a happy one: it seems the gardening world in the Ozarks has grown so exponentially in the last year that we just can't keep up with it.
      We'll try to do better, though.
      As noted before in this space, we're currently working hard to make the website more attractive and, even more important, more helpful to gardeners. If you click on the small pictures here, they'll take you to some of the results.
little-bunny-fountain-grass.jpg      For starters, and most appropriately, we think, a click on the photo at left of 'Little Bunny' Fountain Grass will take you to some terrific ornamental grasses that could really brighten your winter landscape.
      The photo at right will take you to a regal-mist-muhly-grass-jpg.jpggreat guide to gardening for winter beauty--the Winter Garden in the Springfield Botanical Gardens in
Springfield, Missouri. (You can even find out about this gorgeous grass.)
      If you've been thinking at all about daffodils and spring, you may want professor-einstein-up-close-jpg.jpgto click on the photo at left to learn about some marvelous daffodil varieties that grow in a very special border.
      It's not just garden pages we're updating. We're also improving our pages on Plantsellers, of which we have quite a few. Some of them are really special, we think, such as Bob Town Blossoms at right, mixing_it_up.jpgnoted for growing unusual and distinctive flowers such as these hard-to-find Benary's Giant zinnias.
      Among our regional plantsellers are some outstanding larger nurseries, and one of our favorites has a uniquely rich blue-bird-rose-of-sharon.jpgheritage. Clicking on the photo at left will take you to Wickman's Garden Village and info on no fewer than 94 plants ideal for your Ozarks garden.
      A click on the photo at right is a ride to the wonders that Lee and Peggy Coates grow and sell at the dizzy-lily.jpgSpringfield Farmers' Market. We think they'll surprise you. as they do us on a regular basis.
      We could go on because, really, we have improved a lot of pages, but we think this is enough of a taste. We hope you enjoy the new pages, and most of all we hope you find them helpful in creating or improving your own garden.
      With that, we'll leave you for now. Happy gardening to you and yours.
      Oh, and lest we forget, have a wonderful holiday season!

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