The Shawnee News-Star Gardening May 15th 2019 Becky Emerson Carlberg The hazelnut seedlings from the Arbor Foundation did not survive the winter. The incredibly tiny saplings were sent bare root (in this case roots barely there), planted in pots deeply embedded in mulch with inches of mulch over the soil surface. Both were regularly watered. […]

The Shawnee News-Star Gardening May 15th 2019

Becky Emerson Carlberg

The hazelnut seedlings from the Arbor Foundation did notsurvive the winter. The incredibly tinysaplings were sent bare root (in this case roots barely there), planted in potsdeeply embedded in mulch with inches of mulch over the soil surface. Both wereregularly watered. They were just toosmall. The other three to the east ofthe house are still alive.

You'd never know it, but I am a charter member of theArbor Day Foundation's

Hazelnut Project.The objective is to create a system of woody agriculture to supply food. We're doomed.The last two years my hazelnuts have hung on by the skin of their teeth,but not for lack of fertilizer. Theseptic tank and laterals have experienced problems and the area has beensaturated a few times.

Others have thriving hazelnuts producing multitudes ofnuts. Pictures abound of happy gardenersstanding by their trees, arms outstretched, showing off their nuts. Don't' gothere. Easy to pick, easy to crack anddelicious to eat. The only way I amgoing to enjoy hazelnuts is having a spoonful of Nutella. The trees reach a maximum height of 10 to 15feet with dense canopies. Thus, theyform great windbreaks, wildlife cover and living snow fences. When was the last time we had enough snow tomake snow ice cream or even cover the leaves on the ground?

This year's brilliant idea was to order the PollinatorParadise Garden in a box. Most the timeI lust over the pictures in the High Country Gardens catalog. Although they are located in Vermont (yesVermont), they support sustainable gardens and have offered drought-resistantand native plants for over 25 years. Lowmaintenance grasses (even Buffalo), ground covers and wildflowers substitutefor constant mowing. No worry about milkweed.The early Green Milkweed is already blooming in many places.

The perennial garden of summer bloomers was designed tofit a 5' x 5' square. The plants arrivedbefore Easter, wrapped and packed in a flat box. I freed all from their protective covers andplaced them in the sun. Everyone got agood drink and soon perked up. Must now somewhere make a bed. Build it andpollinators will come.

My first thought had been to create a raised bed tuckedbetween the native grasses by the driveway.Or I could take the spade and see how difficult it would be to dig outthe grass. One clump after another, Isoon had a an angle. Howdid that happen? The bed was skewed like a parallelogram. Most competent gardeners would have properlymeasured the area, driven in stakes and tied string to use as guidelines. Well, the botanist did not do this. Grabbing some bright utility flags, I eye-balledand then re-aligned the edges to shift the boundaries. Really glad no one was around to see or hearme as I determinedly corrected the bed.Those 8 plants plus shipping cost $76.92. It had gone from a pollinator garden to aninvestment.

The directions said soil prep is essential. Quite right.They recommended to amend the soil with Yum Yum Mix and compost. This I read after the goldenrod, AgastacheCoronado Red, Hyssopus, black-eyed Susan, two Liatris and one purple coneflowerhad been planted. These natives shouldhandle the sandy clay soil. I could faintlyhear my 4th grade school teacher Ms Jones telling my mom the C on myreport card was because I did not follow directions.

Yum Yum Mix is a soil amender sold through High CountryGardens. Good enough to eat. Alfalfa, cottonseed and kelp meals, greensand,rock products, humate (dried organic solids) and dry molasses in a 4.5 pound shakerjar for $30. Not happening. Why not buy a bag of cattle manure/compost fromthe store. I wrestled the bag into thevan, all 40 pounds of wet stinking staining organic mush inside a sleeve ofslick plastic. Back at the garden, the heavy damp compost was mixed aroundevery plant. Knowing how vulnerable andenticing this would be to the wildlife world, pieces of landscape timber,fencing and tomato cages were strategically placed to thwart any invaders.

My pollinator garden looked positively tacky. What next.Tiles. Red concrete tiles soonsurrounded the bed. Not only did I havea place to stand but they would certainly tamp down the grass growth. The bed resembledan eclectic Roman mosaic floor. A few inches of pine straw or wood chips willsoon be applied. Voila, done.

By the second growing season the plants are supposed toreach mature size. Pruning andmaintenance tips to improve winter-hardiness and spring emergence wereincluded. Right now, the plants lookvery good. Of course, in a few daysanother dip in the Jet Stream will bring severe weather. This translates to possible hail or strongwinds.

As with all plants here in central Oklahoma, love andappreciate them every day because you never know how long they will bethere. On May 19th 2013 mygarden was blown away by Tornado Bob.