A Few Flowers For Your Pleasure
Finally, after months of hard work and frustration, my flowers are blooming. Well, some of them are. Others are trying to bloom. Others are just sitting there putting out lovely leaves and showing absolutely no interest in producing any flowers.
Oklahoma is a great state, but it isn't always friendly to non-native flowers. Sometimes it isn't friendly to native flowers either. However, if a plant can survive the surprise frosts, erratic floods, strong winds and blistering droughts...it will go on to present brilliant blooms that pop exquisitely against the startling blue sky.
This year our storm patterns in the spring led to the need to replant several times. Thus the late start for so many plants. I built so many new flower beds this year, and it is a little saddening to see so many bare spots where there should have been perky zinnias and bushy marigolds.
Still, I am very happy with some new additions that have flourished. Namely, my mint, my sweet potato vine, and my coleus. Join me on a tour of my Oklahoma flower garden. I hope these flowers make you as happy as they make me.
Did you know that the blooms of the nasturtium are edible? The flavor is spicy-sweet. These flowers are often added to salads.
I'll start with my crankiest flowers. Nasturtiums are supposed to be very easy to grow. I've seen some gardens with full borders of blooming nasturtiums. No matter where I plant them or what I do for them, they aren't really happy. I have a few skinny plants, and only two have bloomed.
This will be the last year I torture nasturtiums. I will leave the seeds for others who can handle them. I will stick to easier flowers. I still enjoy them, they are beautiful flowers, but they are just not for me.
Supposedly, nasturtiums like to grow in poor, well drained soil. They can be grown as borders in flower beds, in containers, in window boxes, or along fences. In places with mild winters, they return as a perennial.
Planting in recycled tires is a beautiful way to re-use ugly garbage. The plants do well too, because the soil is built up and free from weeds.
I have tons of zinnias! Not as many as last year, unfortunately, but there are still plenty. I planted some of every variety that were available at my local stores. They are all shapes and sizes and colors.
Although I planted several packets of mixed colors, I still ended up with mostly pink flowers. I do have one delicious pumpkin orange zinnia that looks just like cake frosting. Also to be seen are white, salmon, and red zinnias.
Zinnias are some of the easiest flowers to grow. I highly recommend them for beginners or for children. They can germinate as soon as three days after planting. Blooms can appear as soon as two weeks. (although this is under the best conditions, which in my case was throwing them in the yard and forgetting about them.)
There are about 20 different varieties of zinnias. They can range anywhere from a few inches tall to over three feet! The red zinnia featured below was supposed to be a dwarf zinnia.
However the plant is now three and a half feet tall. The blooms measure a little more than 5 inches across! Hooray for planting in old tires!
I love roses. I intend to have a whole fence-row build from planted roses at some point. For now, I have roses scattered randomly through the yard. One of the roses I have is a mystery bush left on my place by the previous owner.
Not only does it have no identification, it is sulking off in the corner on the other side of the fence. The only thing I do know about this rose, is that it produces very large blooms that start out orange and fade to a magenta.
Next year this rose will be moved into the yard. Hopefully, once it is closer to a water source it will grow and bloom more evenly. As it is, it is in sad shape, blooming mostly on once side. The blooms are much too lovely to be hidden way over in the side yard.
Did you know: There are seven recognized types of roses:
- Tea Rose
- MIniature Rose
- Shrub Roses
- Climber Roses
- Tree Roses
There are over 100 species of roses divided into these seven categories.
Last year I planted marigolds from the store. When the blooms died, I collected and saved them. From 14 plants I had enough seed heads to fill a one gallon plastic pitcher.
I stored these in a brown paper sack, and brought them out this spring. I wasn't sure if they would grow again. I also bought about twelve new packs of seeds just in case.
I now estimate that I have at least 200 marigolds. These are just the ones that have survived. Some were eaten by grasshoppers. Others drowned. Some were accidentally mowed down before I could save them from the yard.
Next to zinnias, marigolds are one of the easiest flowers to grow. They grow well in beds or in containers. (although in hotter areas, the plants in containers don't seem to do as well.)
They are also a fun plant for children to grow, because they germinate quickly. Most will produce plenty of blooms from spring until late into the autumn, too.
If you don't want to save seeds, you can make tea from steeping the dead blooms and some of the leaves. This can be used as handy, all-natural bug spray. Just remember that it doesn't seem to repel grasshoppers at all.
I planted several different types of daisies, and a bunch of other plants that look daisy-ish. Then I threw away the packets. So, now I just call anything that comes up that is similar to a daisy, a daisy-thing.
So far, I only have two daisy things. I am not really a daisy person, but my daughter loves them. She actually planted the seeds, which may explain why neither daisy thing is where it is supposed to be.
Bachelor's buttons are a great flower for attracting butterflies, bees, and some birds. In particular, the Pipevine Swallowtails seem to love the purple flowers more than anything else in the garden.
Not only are the purple-blue flowers a striking contrast to all the pink I have this year, these cornflowers are non-picky.
And I like non-picky flowers. Bachelor's Buttons are known for thriving in any type of soil, just as long as it isn't water-logged.
Honestly, I haven't noticed them much minding being overwatered though, either. They are very content to just sit in the sunshine in bloom. My favorite part about these flowers is that they resemble thistles, but don't have stickers.
These plants take a lot longer to grow than some of the other annuals. They are also not truly annual.
They can return if any part of their root system remains in the ground. This makes them ideal for fence rows and other areas where you need a little color without a lot of work.
Mirabilis jalapa--By far my favorite flower this year. The seeds are heirloom seeds passed down from my great-aunt. I planted them last year, but they never came up.
By this year I had forgotten about them completely. When the plants appeared I thought they were pepper plants!
I found them growing in may places, and transplanted most of them to the flower beds. I now have magenta, baby pink, yellow, and white. Next year, I hope to have even more...hopefully enough to do an entire bed.
Did you know that four o' clocks are edible? The leaves can be cooked and eaten, and the flowers make a natural food dye. I won't be harvesting mine for culinary purposes, I am too in love with the fragrant, trumpet shaped flowers.
The Plants In My Yard
Like marigolds, the frilly cosmos is part of the daisy family. A native of Mexico, it enjoys warm weather and sunshine. It thrives here in zone 7a, growing up to five feet tall.
The cosmos do have some problems. They seem to attract outlaws. I will often wander outside and see a bunch of rogue butterflies loafing around these showy blooms.
Those butterflies look pretty tough, so I don't ask them to leave. I do wonder what they are talking about, and why they aren't at school. When they get tired of frequenting the cosmos, the gang will move on check out the zinnias.
Bees also seem to like the blooms, but my bumblebees are so fat that they keep causing the flowers to bend. It is a lot of fun to watch the bees struggling to stay upright.
Other Flowers In My Garden
And then there are those plants that still haven't bloomed, or that bloomed and then refused to repeat the action.
So far I have quite a few, and their lack of blooms is not due to a lack of being coddled! Anyhow, the plants are there....so maybe they will bloom someday.
- Morning Glory
- Moon Flower
The Sooner State Is Beautiful
Despite the rough start my flowers had due to the wild weather, they have more than rewarded me for my patience and time. The summer has continued to be kind, and all across the county the roadsides are filled with colorful wildflowers.
The flower garden that I was sure would be sparse and weak has filled out. Every corner is dripping with fines and flowers. Vegetable plants have taken over the back yard, every fence panel is covered in gourds and squash and energetic morning glories.
Although I never intended to garden before my daughter wanted me to plant flowers with her, I have to admit that seeing the flowers has made me very happy. I have learned quite a bit, and will do things a bit differently in the seasons to come. For now, I am content to sit back and relax in my little Oklahoma flower garden.