Have you been caught off guard when petting your dog and wound up getting stuck by sand burs? What about tying your shoes and grabbing burs attached to your laces, or socks or..... ouch! Such an effective dispersal mechanism for this grass.
Blue Plumbago is gorgeous, and did you know pocket gophers supposedly hate it?
Bulbs, bulbs and more bulbs from Joplin. If you did not collect the fall bulbs last Saturday, don't fret. More bulbs are slated to come next spring. Read about the group doing this "America Responds With Love, Inc."

August 28 2013 Blog

Becky Emerson Carlberg

While waiting for traffic to clear, I took the time to look closely at the sand burs now raising their seed laden heads into the air to send forth many offspring on animals, in the wind, etc.  In my brief moment of research, I found most slender heads contained up to 16 individual burs, but squatter plumper heads may have 9 or 10.  Cenchrus insertus, what an appropriate name.  It has been reported some heads may contain up to 40 of these fruiting burs.  Clever design.  Makes you want to double check your socks and shoes, doesn’t it?

Two article/pictures in Wednesday’s Shawnee News-Star (August 28th) touched on things I have dealt with lately. 

Did you read “Hardy Plumbago best used as Ground Cover”?  Tom Terry wrote this article accompanied by a picture of some of the healthiest blue Plumbago ever.  I found 4 little pots of hardy Plumbago plants at Southwood Nursery in Tulsa two weeks ago, and brought them home to plant in my ravished raised bed garden.  Yes, the bed with the pocket gophers.  An avid veggie gardener in Choctaw highly recommends the blue Plumbago since it numbs the mouth of a pocket gopher and they leave it alone.  I am not sure yet how these poor plants and the gophers will get along, but all four plants are still present (one looks quite skimpy now.  It made the sacrifice for the good of the whole). 

The other was a picture of people gathering bulbs at Shawnee Twin Lakes this past Saturday morning.  My husband was over there with a 5 gallon bucket, and brought home 2 days of work at the Japanese Garden.  When we were finished digging, or pick-axing our way through the soil, we had put out over 20 dahlia roots, and 50 gladiola and crocus bulbs.  Not to be outdone, several irises had already been shoveled in along the fence, courtesy of the Tom Terry downtown thinning commitee.  Those irises there had overgrown their happy home, and had been divided.  Tom brought the tubers to the Master Gardener meeting held on Wednesday, August the 21st.  I took a few sacks full of irises, suffering from temporary amnesia about how easy it would be to plant those things in the Japanese Garden.   They were eventually installed and a short prayer service was held afterward.

The Joplin glads and crocuses went into a newly prepared bed around a vent pipe I have no idea for what purpose it serves.  Initially some downtown iris roots had been planted closest to the pipe, disturbing a little field mouse in the process.  It had found another home by the time the next series of bulbs were planted. 

There is a story and active organization behind the bulbs.

“America Responds With Love, Inc.” is a national charity based outside Philadelphia in Freedom Valley, PA.  This organization responds to any disaster.  This time their goal was to help communities devastated by tornadoes in Central Oklahoma.  Richard McDonough is President and CEO and said the bulbs originally came from Mississippi.  They were shipped to Joplin, MO sometime this spring.  A side note:  Joplin had lost 20,000 trees in their tornado (May 22, 2011).  About 10,000 trees had been replanted with another 10,000 scheduled to be planted in 2014.  McDonough mentioned one problem was with the initial care of the trees.  People did not understand the trees needed to be watered often. 

A huge number of bulbs had been planted in Joplin to be harvested next spring.  It was decided bulbs could be sent to Shawnee and Moore, OK for this fall.  The fall bulbs would be given to citizens and organizations within the towns and distributed to smaller towns affected by the tornadoes such as Carney, New Castle and El Reno.  A Tulsa trucking firm brought the bulbs from Joplin to Tulsa.  Gilbert Trucking brought the bulbs from Tulsa to Shawnee and Moore.  James Bryce, Operations Manager and Parks Director for Shawnee, and other volunteers were there to help those bulbs find new residences.    

A substantial number of spring flower bulbs anticipated to be harvested next spring (2014) will be sent to Shawnee and Moore as well as other towns.  McDonough followed up with an e-mail stating the organization was putting together a report detailing some of their charity activities in Oklahoma and had a few requests.  For those who took bulbs to plant, read through and help America Responds with an answer or picture.  The e-mail address and phone number follows.

Please send some quotes that could answer the following questions:

How did (or will) you use the flower bulbs in your town? Where did (or will) you plant the bulbs? What has been the response of local residents to the bulbs? Why did your town come on board for this flower project? Who in your town helped with this civic project?

The first two questions most of you may be able to answer, but the last three questions people in the know will know and hopefully respond to.

Ahhh pictures.  McDonough would like some photos.

Flower bulbs being transported, unloaded or distributed. Sites before, during and after bulbs were planted. Sites with flower bulbs in bloom.

The America Responds With Love national phone number is 1-321-AMERICA or 1-321-263-7422.  The e-mail is: richard@respondwithlove.org

As for the Japanese Garden, we took photos after the fact.  Bulbs are in the ground covered with some mulch.  Nice shot of the Zen Garden though.