Shawnee News-Star Blog  August 25th 2016 Becky Emerson Carlberg It has been a busy August and my coordinating abilities have been put to the max.   Monday, August 22nd, eleven Oklahoma Baptist University students were brought by bus to the Japanese Peace Garden (JPG).   We all got to experience an August miracle.   There was cloud cover and [...]

Shawnee News-Star Blog  August 25th 2016

A New Way to the Faucet

Becky Emerson Carlberg

It has been a busy August and my coordinating abilities have been put to the max.   Monday, August 22nd, eleven Oklahoma Baptist University students were brought by bus to the Japanese Peace Garden (JPG).   We all got to experience an August miracle.   There was cloud cover and it was actually cool.   Everyone was sorted into teams and promptly put to work under the direction of a dedicated master gardener.   The Mulch Team shoveled wood chips into wheel barrows and distributed it around the shrubs and trees, the Murrah Memorial Plot Team struggled with their weeds (that was pure work; the lack of moisture impeded the extraction of the roots from the clay and it turned out to be more like pulling roots out of set up concrete), the Teahouse Team had an easier time with the weeds as the soil was sandier, and the Tile Faucet Team did an amazing job in arranging tiles from the airport path to around the repaired faucet.   Their job was to tackle a stack of tiles plus tiles that had been haphazardly placed around the new watering hole and create a level path and platform for people (and their pets) to have access to water.

The Japanese Garden scruffiness has been tamed and somewhat controlled! The Bridge of Understanding looks sharper now that it has two round wood finials glued onto post tops (four finials had been unscrewed and taken).   The balls and one railing were then painted.   Two more finials are on order and soon the arched entrance into the Heart will be complete once again.

The Prairie Gardens are coping with limited water, but this is what a prairie garden excels in.   The grasses and wildflowers may not be tall or as thick, but they are alive and will return next year.   If you walk or drive around where you live, look carefully at the plants.   It should become apparent how different species of plants and trees have adjusted their growth patterns to the wildly fluxing levels of rain that has fallen throughout this spring and summer.   Timing of water (and heat) is everything during the seasons plants grow.   Vegetation may soar high like an eagle or stay squat and low like a squirrel under attack by a blue jay.

This year the Maximillion sunflowers that grow in the high dry landscapes are quite sparse and short, but along ditches and moist areas the sunflowers have larger, lusher leaves and are much taller.   The poor Common sunflowers in the Murrah Plot at the JPG are struggling to reach two feet tall, but in other areas growth is more 'normal' and they are 6 feet.   My Compass plant is ending its flowering season and has produced 34 flowers.   This is a wonderful plant to put in a garden, and I would recommend several together in one area. The group support system would help prop up the long, leggy stems that continually bloom for weeks.   My Compass plant is now stooped over like an old man, but the yellow flowers are still as vibrant as ever.  Good thing the sunflower is inside a wire cage.   It helps keep the plant more upright and protects the base of the plant from deer who love to munch on Compass plant leaves.

The weather forecast is not too optimistic in terms of precipitation the next several days.   If you are lucky enough to be under a thunder cloud when it opens up, lucky you.   Otherwise, your plants, birds, animals and wildlife will appreciate having fresh water on a regular basis until the rains come, the temperatures cool down, or November gets here.

Hope for Rain