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Celebrating and preparing–plus mystery plants

April 20, 2015

The birthday celebrating continued. Today Julie, Holly, Beth and Mary took me to lunch and tonight we took my sister-in-law to dinner. Her birthday is tomorrow. We went to Acadia in Hillcrestacadia apr20.15 (3)

acadia apr20.15 (5) and I had the best red fish I have ever eaten. acadia apr20.15 (6) The fact that my son cooked it made it even better!

I also got all my power points and handouts ready for the rest of the week, since I am on the road the bulk of this week. Tomorrow is Conway, then Jasper, spend the night in Harrison, Eureka Springs on Wed, then Perryville on Thursday and Bentonville Friday and Saturday. A busy week to be sure.

It was a stunning day and I listened to the forecast before I left for dinner and the weatherman were suggesting protecting tender plants since the low will be 48 tonight. I guess I am glad I haven’t planted tomatoes yet, but most garden plants should be fine unless we get to freezing. Tropicals and tender houseplants would be sensitive to temperatures well below 50 but should not be killed unless freezing or below.

Here are the answers to your mystery plants and your new challenge:
Mystery plant A – mystery plant a apri13.15.2 is the native black cherry – Prunus serotina. This tree is native to eastern North America, Mexico and Central America. I It is one of the largest of the cherries, typically growing to 50-80’ tall with a narrow-columnar growth habit. It grows in full sun to partial shade. In the spring it is covered in these clusters of white flowers, followed by small cherry fruits that turn from red to black. Fruits are bitter and inedible fresh off the tree, but can be used to make jams and jellies. Fruits are attractive to wildlife, but it can also reseed and come up in other areas.

Mystery plant B – mystery plant b.apr132

mystery plant b.apr131 are both wildflowers in the same genus, but different species. This is another plant that has had a Latin name change. I knew it as Senecio, but the name has now changed to Packera. Golden ragwort or squaw weed, it is a somewhat weedy perennial which is valued for its ability to thrive in moist shady locations. It is a spring wildflower native to Arkansas and Missouri. Features clusters of yellow, daisy-like flowers (to 1″ diameter) atop sparsely leaved stems in early spring. Oblong stem leaves are finely cut or toothed. Flowering stems typically rise 1-2′ tall from basal clumps of long-stemmed, heart-shaped, toothed, dark green leaves that often have a purplish tinge beneath. Synonymous with and still frequently sold as Senecio aureus. Packera obovatus or the Spoon-Leaved Ragwort is the one with rounded leaves.

Mystery plant C – mystery plant c apr13.15.2 is the rue anemone or Thalictrum (thah-LIK-trum). This early spring-flowering wildflower is native to stream banks, shaded mountains, and moist meadows.

I took all these pictures last weekend at Lake Ouachita.

Here are your new mystery plants for the week:

Mystery Plant A – mystery plant a apr27.15 is a perennial.

Mystery plant b – mystery plant b. apr20.151mystery plant b. apr20.152

mystery plant b. apr20.151 is a small tree.

Mystery plant C- mystery plant c apr20.151

mystery plant c apr20.152 is a shrub.

Good Luck!

A very happy birthday

April 19, 2015

Today was a great day. The weather turned out gorgeous for most of the day and we were inside at a concert when the storm hit, so we missed all the excitement. My husband cooked brunch for me when I got home from church, I received wonderful presents and loads of phone calls, cards and emails. Social media really expands your network–thank you to all who sent messages, e-cards and more via Facebook. This evening we went to dinner with the kids and friends, then the kids went home and we went on to the Fleetwood Mac concert. fleetwood mac concert.15 (2)

fleetwood mac concert.15 (3)

The place was packed, and while we thought it would mainly be our age folks we were amazed at the young people in attendance. We sat next to several 20 somethings and they knew all the words to the songs! It was a fun concert, and amazing that they could still perform as full-out as they did considering the youngest one of them is 66 and the oldest is 71! fleetwood mac concert.15 (1)

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fleetwood mac concert.15 (15) They have obviously aged and they can’t hit the really high notes anymore, but they played many of our favorites, and we all sang along. It was great fun. We came out and the temperatures had dropped a good ten degrees or more since we went in. When we got home, we still had hail on the deck at 11 p.m. sleet apr19.15 (1)

sleet apr19.15 (2) and this picture sent to me from Mt. Magazine which happened earlier in the day. hail damage mt magazine apr19 Those green things used to be hostas! It is too dark to check my plants, but will take a look tomorrow.

In spite of tonight’s storm (which we missed) it has been a good day. Just think, last year I was on a houseboat in France and this year at a Fleetwood Mac concert for my birthday. We need to start planning something for next year!!

Stuttgart, birds and preparing for France

April 18, 2015

Before I left for Stuttgart this morning I got to see the first of three baby robins making their initial inaugural flight. She/he jumped out of the nest and with much encouragement from mama robin, they soared off the deck. The first stop was actually a dip into the water garden with mama bird hovering but then they were on their own. The other two were left waiting robins ap18 (2) but ready. They were all gone by the time I got home this afternoon. robin empty nest apr18.15. Fascinating to watch.

The Rice Experiment Station in Stuttgart was the site of the Arkansas County spring seminar and plant sale. They had a great crowd and lots of plants for sale. annual container apr18.15.

ark county mg seminar apr18 (2)

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I did buy some plants to plant at home and hope I find some time to plant. They also had some wonderful door prizes and raffles.

I drove home and walked in to find a birthday surprise (tomorrow is my birthday) but had some beautiful flowers from Michelle–our travel agent for the France trip. birthday flowers apr15 (1)

birthday flowers apr15 (4). The flowers are my colors and stunningly beautiful with sliced citrus fruit in the bowl. I did find some time to finish up some columns before heading out to dinner with friends. All but two of the attendees will be on our trip to France in a few weeks, and those two went on the same trip last year so had some pointers for us. We started off taking the tour of Ann’s garden which is on a steep terrain but quite manicured. RUSSELL GARDEN APR18 (2)


russell party (5) Then it was on to a fabulous 6 course meal to give us a taste of what is to come in France. Ann (with I am sure the help of Greg) wowed us. russell party (8)

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russell party (12) Afterwards we got to see pictures and hear narrative of France. A great night. russell party (14)

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It made us all excited about the upcoming trip to France.

Finally, a day in my yard!

April 17, 2015

I took the day off to work in my yard since I have been on the road so much, and I do work tomorrow as well. I was out early and weedeated the front and almost half of the back. spring garden apr17.15 (1) I want to say for the record that I do not like wild violets and Vinca major. Both plants are everywhere in my yard. I try and try to annihilate them, but they are back just as strong this year as last! I also cleared parts of the vegetable garden, and was going to pick or at least cut back the kale since it is in full bloom, but as I was out there, the bees were loving it, so I harvested some to eat and left some for the bees until I need more. kale flowers apr17.15 (1)

??????????????????????????????? The yard is really changing daily. The buckeyes are in full bloom. buckeye blooms apr17.15 (2) along with the Summer Snowflake viburnum. viburnum flowers apr17.15. My Lady Banks rose amazes me with the amount of blooms, considering it is in almost total shade. lady banks rose apr17.15. It is in the back of a bed, and I wish I could move it to a showier part of the garden, but it is so old. The heuchera are loving the shade. heucheras apr17.15. and the yellow twigged dogwoods are blooming–not as showy as our native tree form, but once they are finished flowering I will thin them out. yellow twigged dogwood flowers apr17.15 (1) These are cane-producing plants that we grow for their bright yellow stems in the winter. If they get too old the yellow twigs are brown, not yellow, so thinning each year is important for these and the red-twigged dogwoods.

In the annual world the new cuphea Vermillionare or large firecracker plant is coming on strong cuphea apr17.15. and the nemesia is loving our cool mornings and evenings. nemesia apr17.15 (2) I do not have the heart to pull the pansies that are gorgeous still. pansies apr17.15.

Every day new blooms open and new plants emerge. Even the small fig tree I thought was dead is beginning to sprout. Walk your garden daily, or as often as you can to see what is happening. spring garden apr17.15 (3)

Some plants may be a bit too happy. I have a ton of toad lilies that need to be thinned. toad lilies apr17.15.


The Arkansas County Spring Garden Seminar on Saturday, April 18, promises something for everyone who enjoys gardening, whether it is in their vegetable garden or in their home landscape plantings.

This event is being sponsored by the Arkansas County Master Gardens and will feature seminars with three guest speakers presenting programs to enable you to learn more about planning, planting, and caring for your plants. The event will be held at the Rice Research & Extension Center, located nine miles east of Stuttgart at the junction of Hwy 130 and Hwy 153, from 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

The schedule for the seminars

9:10 – 10:10 a.m. — Jackie & Anthony Johnson of Lauren’s Garden, DeWitt

“Adding Color to the Garden in Pots and Landscape Plantings”

10:25 – 11:25 a.m. — Michael Seal, owner of the Funny Farm of Poplarville, MS

“Tillandsias (Air Plants) and Bromeliads”

11:40 a.m. – 12:40 p.m. — Janet Carson, Extension Horticulture Specialist

“2015 Garden Trends”

There is a $5.00 admission fee, with drawings for door prizes being held at the end of each seminar. Raffle tickets will also be sold for a Garden Bench and Hypertufa Trough Fairy Garden to be given away at the end of the day.

The Master Gardeners will hold a Plant Sale with a wide variety of plants available. Additional vendors will be offering plants, container pots, gardening tools and equipment. Snacks and drinks will be available at the concession stand. This program is open to all persons regardless of race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, gender, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status. For more information, please contact the Arkansas County Extension Service at 870-946-3231 or 870-673-2346.

Speaking, birds and deck

April 16, 2015

My drive up to Van Buren County was a foggy drive until about the time I arrived. I spoke today to the Van Buren County Extension Homemakers Spring Council meeting. They had a good attendance and a wonderful potluck lunch to follow. van buren ehc.15 (1) They had a lot of good gardening questions and I had a nice visit. I made it back to Little Rock with clear skies and full sun, which heated up the temperatures.

I do want to share a few photos sent my way from around the state. Here is the graduation photo from the MG training held in Brinkley. master gardeners brinkley graduation We always welcome new volunteers into our ranks.

Then here are two photos I got via Facebook. benton co mgs at work

benton co These are Benton County MG volunteers hard at work renovating the Veterans’ Wall of Honor in Bella Vista by planting new hollies around the fountain. No easy task when the tree is a 15 gallon specimen and the soil is clay! They had to have a dump truck of soil brought to plant in.

Then this evening, I decided to relax and read a bit before dinner on our newly resurfaced deck. To say we are enamored with our birds is an understatement. I think the babies are almost about ready to fly the coop, and I think their mama is more than ready. robins apr16.15 (1)

robins apr16.15 (2)

robins apr16.15 (3)

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Two of the other birdhouses are also doing well with birds flying in and out.

Our deck is also amazing, and Clay added lights this past weekend while I was out-of-town, and it looks awesome! deck apr16.15 (2)

deck apr16.15 (3)

speaking, taping, and plants

April 15, 2015

It was a gloomy, cool day starting off, and rain was intermittent all day. It actually got pretty warm and humid by the end of work, but now it feels better outside. I started off working on two new blog ideas–different from this one–for the Extension website. We hope to launch both I Dig Extension–a garden tip blog which I will do a few times a month and a Master Moments for pointers for Master Gardeners. They have to be done differently than this, so we are trying to figure it out. We are also going to try doing some you tube videos–another new concept to add. Time will tell.

I left that meeting and headed west to the Life Quest program at my church, Second Presbyterian. This program was initially called Shepherds Center, but changed a few years ago. It is an outstanding educational program for adults of all ages and faiths–not just Presbyterian. They have a series of classes in both spring and fall on Wednesdays. We had a great class in the gardening session today.lifequest apr.15.

Afterwards, Julie and I met up to go to the Pulaski County Extension office to tape our first you tube video. pulaski co ext office apr.15.15.4 My first blog post is going to be about pruning forsythia, so that is what we did. I got to visit my old stomping grounds and visited Staff Chair Randy Forst ??????????????????????????????? and visited Mark Brown who has my old office. pulaski co ext office apr.15.15.2 It was a bit tidier than when I resided there!

They also have a new staff member–Eddie, a six-week old lamb, who followed us all around the office and yard as we were taping. lamb apr.15.2

lamb apr.15.4Eddie was in town to go to a school program along with his friend the chicken, who remained in her cage.

We pruned the bushes, and looked at the gardens. They are in the process of renovating the beds, and they have a lot of young seedling oaks coming up along with the dreaded Vinca major. vinca variegated and oak seedlings apr.15.

Once we get the new blogs up and running, I will share.

During the night, I awoke from a sound sleep hearing what I thought was breaking glass. I immediately ran to see if my chandelier had fallen, but it was intact, and so were the other glass pieces hanging up, so I decided it must have been a dream and went back to bed. This morning I discovered the culprit. amaryllis fallen apr15.15.1 The amaryllis bulb that I found sprouting on the shelf in the garage opened up some more and got top-heavy and took down a James Hayes bowl sitting beside it. Sad for both plant and bowl. amaryllis fallen apr15.15.2

amaryllis fallen apr15.15.3 It was my only red piece, so I may have to look for a replacement. I can’t believe I heard it from three rooms away with the fan going!

On a lighter note, last night Katie and I were out harvesting vegetables for our dinner. The onions are about to pop into bloom. Katie had never seen the flower buds before and asked what was happening. I told her it was the flower of the onion, and she said is that where they get “blooming onions”? Pretty funny. But we did eat the onion flower tonight onion flower bud apr15.15.2, although not battered and fired but in a corn mache choux with flounder and gnocchi. We also made kale chips, because we have a lot of kale we need to use up as it is blooming too. kale chips.apr15.1


April 14, 2015

Thankfully the Goofy Gardener caught my mistake. The next County 76 meeting is April 28, not April 21.  This meeting is open to all MGs who are in good standing in their county, but you need to pre-register by emailing us you are coming.

The executive team for County 76 had our quarterly meeting planning the next County 76 meeting–which is April 28 (NOT April 21)!  county 76 board meeting apr.15.1  Now we know who is reading!


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