Landscaping ideas found around town

Tom Terry
Master gardener
Ornamental sweet potato vines at SSM Health Doctor’s Building.

I have a tendency to look at yards and landscaping when I am driving. I inherited it from my father. We would visit grandparents on Sunday about 10 miles down a country road from our home. My mother would regularly say “Willis, watch the road” as we veered toward a ditch when my father was looking at the crop on the other side. My daughter has assumed that role for me.

If you are looking for something new to add to your yard or perhaps to plant next spring, now is a good time to observe the landscape, perhaps while you are walking or when someone else is doing the driving.

I was pleased to see the use of ornamental sweet potato vines at the entrance to the SSM Health Doctor’s Building. Previously there were large boulders with Liriope surrounding them and they are still there. The addition of Chartreuse and dark green ornamental sweet potato vines has added a colorful touch to the entry that will last until freeze. It is difficult to find a space large enough in the home landscaping for this plant. We used them the in the large pots on Bell Street several years ago and before long they were growing into the street and we were urging people to come take cuttings. If you don’t mind having to cut them back frequently they would be a colorful addition next spring at the back of the yard especially if you plant them so that they can be observed from inside your home or from the patio.

Recently I saw a home on W. Federal that has steps from the yard leading to the street. Several large containers are placed at intervals on the steps containing purple fountain grass. The eye catcher is red begonia plants surround the fountain grass. They are very attractive. I have purple fountain grass in a large pot with a red begonia plant in a pot next to it, but had not thought about planting them together. I’ll give it a try next year.

Some of us are fortunate to have “Surprise Lilies,” Lycoris squamigera, that started blooming this week. The blooms last about 10 days and then wilt with the foliage reappearing next spring. They can be dug and some shared with friends. Steve Dobbs, in his book “Oklahoma Gardener’s Guide” tells about a former pastor who proclaimed that he had never before preached with a bunch of naked ladies in front of him, referring to the alter bouquet. According to Steve, the pastor soon learned the botanical name for these flowers.

The Pottawatomie County Free Fair is scheduled for Sept. 8 through 11. The horticultural exhibits will be in the room at the south end of the exhibit building, where they have been for several years. Horticulture entries are accepted beginning at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 8 and must be in by 6 p.m. that day. Judging of entries will be on Sept. 9 and the entries may be picked up on Saturday evening or by 11 a.m. on Sunday morning. Information about exhibits and entry information can be found on line at Pottawatomie County Free Fair. Scroll down to Fair Book and look for Plant Science and then to Cut Flowers that will be followed by other plant entries.