If you want to see some beautiful flowers, now is the time to pay a visit to the Pottawatomie County OSU Extension Office. You can visit any time of the day however you might avoid this Wednesday morning while the Master Gardeners are meeting and the parking lot is full. These beds were planted by and are maintained by the Multi-County Master Gardener members.
Shown in the picture, the sign bed on the northwest corner features Oklahoma Proven plants. The Autumn Sage ‘salvia greggii’ is covered in dark pink blooms on either side of the grey Artemisia ‘Powis Castle’. The purple coneflowers on east and west sides have about spent their blooms, but the Arkansas Blue Star on the southwest end is putting on its fall colors. Beside it are two large Abelia plants: ‘Kaleidoscope’ and ‘Rose Creek.’
An ornamental grass bed is planted at the Acme Road entrance to the parking lot. Observe the ‘Ruby Grass’ on the west end of the bed. It is featuring lavender colored plumes and is of a size that would fit most residential flower beds.
Many of the plants in the Butterfly Garden are in full bloom. The bed just north of the tool shed has several purple/lavender blooming plants including Mexican Sage, Hardy Heliotrope and Hardy Ice Plant. Towering over the plants is an ‘Orange Peel’ Cestrum. This plant was originally in a gallon container and is cut back to the ground after the first freeze. You may have to dodge the butterflies!
The bed to the north has a large ‘Mexican Petunia’ with beautiful purple blooms. Behind it are two varieties of Goldenrod. Russian Sage is sporting its purple blooms. A Hardy Ice Plant and Yellow Ironweed are in the bed. Identification tags are placed by each plant but sometimes plant growth covers them.
On the back side of the front beds you will see many varieties of zinnias. To the east of the tool shed are large Chaste Trees ,‘Vitex’ that are blooming. These trees were covered with blooms in the late spring and are featuring their second bloom of the season. When they get too large they can be heavily pruned, even to the ground and will grow quickly in the spring.
If you have time take a stroll around the building. On the south side there is a large Esperanza ‘Yellow Bells’ bush in full bloom. It was planted there a number of years ago and has returned to bloom again each summer even though it is a zone 8 plant. Its location on the south side of the building against the brick wall apparently keeps it from freezing. Next spring you might think about planting one on the south side of your home and see if it makes it through the winter.
Continue your walk along the north side of the building and notice two large Oak Leaf Hydrangeas that have finished their bloom but the blooms have turned a nice tan and are still attractive. The west side of the building has two plantings of purple Plumbago ground cover that are in full bloom. If you are there during office hours, on Monday through Friday, 8:00 to 4:30, closed for lunch noon to 12:30, stop in to check out the large selection of OSU ‘Fact Sheets’ including one that shows the many Oklahoma Proven plants. If you are interested in taking the Master Gardener class and becoming a volunteer, applications will be accepted from October 1 to 15 this fall for classes beginning in mid January 2020. Phone is 273-7683.