Spring is in the air….and it’s time to get your garden going!  We have had a very cold and winter with at least some moisture.  My prediction is for a gorgeous explosion of green and Spring colors in a couple of weeks! The long colder than normal winter takes plants in a severe dormancy and when it does finally warm up your plants will just be beautiful.

Now is the perfect time to install new landscape plantings – trees, shrubs and bare root roses – hardy perennials are ready to go in now as well.

This is also a wonderful time of the year to get inspired by beautiful garden designs you admire. As you assess your landscape and garden design you may want to consider that sometimes it’s actually a good idea to “kill” a plant:

Numero uno on my list – the wrong plant has been put in the wrong place.  Is the plant too big for the spot…blocking your pretty home?  Get rid of it!

Number 2 – the plant is not thriving…don’t put up with a plant in a key spot that’s just “hangin’ on for dear life.  It should be a beautiful healthy specimen – so if it’s not – then replace it.

Number 3 – not exactly what you had in mind?  Not fabulous?  Not lovely?    Doesn’t work with your exterior home design….change it to a plant that does…

Number 4 – Lacking the “wow” or perfect potential?  Sometimes plants meet all the criteria above but still don’t make your heart happy when you drive up to your house…change it!

Remember sometimes there are really good reasons to “kill” a plant – this is coming from your friendly tree-hugger!

Top things to do in March
March is the optimal time to perform most Spring Clean up and pruning tasks – do this now and you won’t prune off beautiful new growth – if you procrastinate you will.
Prune your roses in early March – apply a systemic feed / insecticide at the base of the bushes – love the Bayer 3-in- system product.
Prune and edit trees
Prune / cut back evergreens which need to be maintained – hollies and yew – but please don’t use electric shears – try to avoid pruning if at all possible – if the right plant is in the right spot it should need only minimal pruning….try to avoid the “lollipop” effect as this will require a lifetime of difficult maintenance.
Please do not prune the tops of your tree form crepe myrtles  - when I see this form of Crepe Murder I just cringe…..this tree will never look the way it was intended to look once this is  done – please don’t do this to your crepe myrtles.  If you see the guys that mow your grass come near your crepe myrtles with pruning shears or clippers send them away!  
Cut back all forms of ornamental grasses – Liriope, mondo, sweet flag, and tall ornamental grasses.
Secure climbing rose canes – they are getting ready to put out lots of fresh new growth and canes.
Feed cool season grasses like fescue and rye with fertilizer and for extra dark green grass I like to add an application of ironite.
Bring the pansies you planted last fall back to life after our long icy winter by removing the dead foliage and then a boost with water soluble fertilizer like Miracle Grow.
If you are like most gardeners, you can’t resist strolling through the nurseries looking for old favorites and new varieties alike. Always fun to see the new Proven Winner selections, I like to incorporate these into containers because it’s an easy and safe way to try them out.
In Oklahoma, our last freeze date is early mid-April – so before that only hardy plants get planted but after April 15, you should be safe to plant tender annuals and vegetables for your summer garden.
Spring plantings of perennials, annuals, rose bushes, shrubs and trees is in full force.
Take photos to remember color combinations of pansies and tulips for the upcoming fall when it’s time to plant them again.

Best of the Season 
Green fescue and rye blends of grass looking lush and dark green
Pansies & Tulips in full display 
Flowering trees like crab, redbud, whitebud
Flowering shrubs like forsythia, snowball, viburnum are just coming on
Spring Perennials – creeping phlox, dianthus, candytuft

Get ready for Easter!

What is easier than a grouping of white rabbits and some fresh spring branches like
Crab Apple, Cherry or even Bradford Pear?

Love the simplicity of this rustic basket with daffodils and yellow chicks.

Everything looks better under a cloche jar!

My style!

Enjoy the first month of Spring – and if you want to see more inspiring garden  and holiday designs check out my Pinterest design boards. http://pinterest.com/terrydcarlson/

Happy Gardening & Happy Easter!

Happy Gardening -

All My Best -

Climate is nearly everything in gardening – June has been hot as you know what – now July is coming and we already know what we are in store for…MAJOR HEAT WAVE!!!!

What I am so envious of when I go to the cooler parts of our country in the summer are the flowers….and the reason why is cool night time temperatures.  So many of the plants we love like geraniums, lobelia, petunias, dahlias and hollyhocks need late night temperatures to drop into the 50’s to allow the flowers to rest from the previous day of heat.  Even really heat-loving plants like hydrangeas and daylilies will benefit and product more luxuriant flowers with the cooler night-time temperatures. 

Well here’s my recommendation…get out of town this summer and hire someone to water your pots and roses!

Top Things to do in July – Celebrate the 4th of July – hopefully someplace cool!

  • Water – everything!

  • Deadhead your plants – believe it or not they will put on new fresh blossoms even in this incinerator heat.
  • Use water soluable fertilizer like Miracle Grow…you are watering all of the nutrients out of your pots and flower boxes.
  • Look at the zinnias in gardens – you will love them….put out seeds May!

Best of the Season



Purple Cone Flower...

Crepe Myrtle…

A very darling friend of mine passed this on to me  a couple of weeks ago…I had not seen this before and just loved it when I read it…so I decided to share it with my gardening friends….enjoy!

How To Plant Your Garden

First, you Come to the garden alone, while the dew is still on the roses.


1. Peace of mind
2. Peace of heart
3. Peace of soul

1. Squash gossip
2. Squash indifference
3. Squash grumbling
4. Squash selfishness

1. Lettuce be faithful
2. Lettuce be kind
3. Lettuce be patient
4. Lettuce really love one another

1. Turnip for meetings
2. Turnip for service
3. Turnip to help one another

1. Thyme for each other
2. Thyme for family
3. Thyme for friends


Happy 4th of July and hang in there for the rough 2 months as a Gardener!

Happy Gardening -

All My Best -

So summer is here even if it’s not June 21 - the longest day of the year.  I used to say I can handle Oklahoma weather – it’s just two bad months a year – but for the last  few years June is becoming the 3rd bad month…too hot for us to be outside and too hot for our plants!

I look out at all of my beautiful pots and my favorite purple cascade petunia is suffering…it won’t be long before I will pull them out and replant some hardy plants in their place –but they just won’t be the same as my faithful, fragrant petunia.  Last year I tucked in some lavender shades of lantana and more purslane – they did the job no matter how hot July and August became.

So gardeners if you have finished up your planting – get at it not much time left.

Top Things to do in June                 

  • Now is the time to really start paying attention to the watering part of your job as gardener in tune with your garden.   The summer heat comes on strong in June, and hand watering your newer plantings, e.g. roses, will pay off.
  • Remember to shut your sprinkler off if you receive heavy rains - we can hope this happens.
  • Check out varieties of perennials at the nurseries you might not see in the spring months – verbascum, agastache, and rudbeckia – find a spot for them – they are wonderful in any garden.
  • Dead head your roses, petunias, verbena, geraniums, and penta – they will reward you with fresh blossoms.
  • Continue to support your roses and climbing vines – they will continue to provide vigorous growth through the summer months
  • Container plantings will benefit from weekly feedings of water soluable fertilizer like Miracle Grow. 

Best of the Season

Hydrangeas – the hydrangeas look especially wonderful this year.  In fact I was in Dallas a few weeks ago and was struck by one beautiful yard in Highland Park; the entire property which looked to be about one acre in size was completely surrounded by endless summer hydrangeas.  Unlike most of the hydrangeas in Oklahoma City, these were that beautiful shade of blue we all crave in the garden, not the pinky blue we seem to have.  I’m often asked how to keep hydrangeas blue, and it’s all about the soil pH.  A strong acid soil of pH 5.5 or lower will result in blue flowers while a more alkaline soil pH 6.2 and above will promote pink flowers on your hydrangeas.  If you must have the blue then add garden sulfur to promote the acidic soil they need – and if you want pink and are lucky enough to have blue then use some dolomitic lime.  I have never altered the pH of my soil, deciding that it is best to work with the soil I have, after all I never met a hydrangea I didn’t love.

I also get asked about pruning hydrangeas….basically don’t do it unless they get to big for the spot you have them in.  Of course prune off the dead sticks in late spring if they don’t have any leaves on them, but that’s it.  The older varieties of hydrangeas like Nikko Blue bloom on old growth only – so know your hydrangeas – hard to go wrong with the new repeat blooming varieties like ‘Endless Summer’.

Who wouldn’t love this pink beauty…no need to turn this blue…

If only we lived in Boston!

Don’t overlook the magnificent Oak Leaf hydrangea – blossoms the size of milk

bottles!  This is one of my standby plants in a beautiful landscape.  Please do not

 prune this plant – the bigger the better – tall is good and natural.

Happy Gardening -

All My Best -

The term bucket list became a popular slang after the movie The Bucket List became such a huge hit and struck a chord with so many of us that life is short – so make it sweet. Even before I developed my own “bucket list”, the Kuekenhof Gardens were on my must-see list. I had traveled to Holland many times, but was never able to orchestrate the timing so that I was there when the gardens were at their peak. Also making a trip there a little tricky is the fact that the gardens are only open 2 months out of the year. This year my stars were aligned along with a trip to Sweden to see our granddaughter and celebrate her 3rd Birthday. The trip to Kuekenhof did not disappoint, and Amsterdam is a fun city as well, so I would highly recommend this excursion to anyone who appreciates nature and spectacular garden design. It is the most photographed place in the world.

Top things to do in May:

  • Enjoy all of the beautiful plants continuing to come into the nurseries from growers – nurseries keep their inventories high through May.
  • Complete spring plantings of perennials, summer annuals, rose bushes, shrubs and trees.
  • Ideally, this is the last month to plant ball & burlap trees, so they have a chance to tolerate the summer heat…of course you can plant throughout the summer, but this will require more work on your part.
  • Begin to convert your containers from spring flowers to those that will endure the summer heat.
  • Review the placement of your perennials and edit as necessary – are sunny perennials getting enough sun – if not move them to a sunnier spot – likewise for shade loving plants.
  • Apply a dose of ironite or milorganite for greener lawn.
  • Check for suckers and dead limbs in your trees – out they go!
  • Secure climbing roses and vines – they will grow twice as fast – don’t let them languish on the ground or flop around in the wind.
  • Apply slow release fertilizer to flower beds and containers.
  • Monitor your water based on the weather – don’t leave your irrigation system on auto pilot – take control for better results and water conservation.
  • Enjoy the surrounding gardens and neighborhoods, as this is definitely one of the most beautiful months to see various plants and shrubs showing off their season’s best.

Best of the Season

  • Everything is green in shades only seen this time of year
  • Roses, hydrangeas, flowering vines – clematis, jasmine
  • Early Summer Flowering perennials – penstemmon, scabiosa, huechera, daisies…and so many more
  • Japanese Maples

Just a few photos from our stroll through the Kuekenhof Gardens:

Kuekenhof is the largest bulb flower park in the world, it covers an area of over 32 acres and over 4.5 million tulips are planted in 100 different varieties. 7 million flower bulbs are planted by hand.

As we walked through the front gate to the garden, this massive display flanked us on both sides of the entrance – you could hear an audible wow from everyone!

More than 2500 trees can be found throughout the gardens. As you can see, many of the trees are enormous – as they are hundreds of years old. There are 87 different varieties of trees scattered about creating the incredible bones of the garden design.

The fragrance of the hyacinths was completely intoxicating.

Where Kuekenhof is situated now, was a hunting area in the 15th century. This design, in the English landscape style, has always been the basis of Kuekenhof.

There are many lakes and streams situated throughout the gardens, this was a unique feature – stepping areas fashioned to look like lily pads….

A small garden shop had scores of potted bulbs displayed.

A beautiful combination of pink tulips and burgundy hyacinths.

Inside an exhibition hall, new varieties of various bulbs were displayed. My husband is over 6’ tall - look at how high these tulips are!!!!! These were almost unbelievable!

My husband also has large hands….look at the size of these tulip flowers!

Playing chess with a woman from Russia…he stopped after a while… 

The only thing that made our trip to Kuekenhof better was seeing it for the first time with dear friends…White Flowering Crabapple tree behind us.

Happy Gardening -

All My Best -

As many years as I have planted tulips and pansies in the fall, I still find myself so amazed at the difference the tulip makes in the spring garden as she emerges from the earth. Tulips add dimension and vibrancy that only they can add to your springtime landscape. Yes, they don’t come back in our climate here in Oklahoma – but they are well worth it – I always tell my clients and gardening pals they are a luxury you give your neighbors and yourself! Tulips beautify a neighborhood in a way that only they do in the spring when everything is green and vibrant – a breath of fresh air! Try them once and you’ll be hooked.

Now that the temperatures are in the 70’s and 80’s gardeners are out in force everywhere – this is the month we wait for all year. We get to enjoy all of the fruits (flowers) of our labor and planning. April and May are the most beautiful months of the year. The birds are chirping, and the garden is coming to life – much more than just the pansies and tulips now…. Happy planting!

Top things to do in April

  • April 15 is last freeze date – plant with confidence.
  • Planning and the right gardening in April can give way to months of enjoyment during the upcoming summer months.
  • Late April and early May is the optimal time to remove dying pansies and the foliage from tulips (which do not come back in Oklahoma).
  • Getting your summer plantings in by late April to mid May will give you stronger plants – this will allow them to thrive during the hot months of July and August.
  • Several trips to the nursery are surely on your agenda - I once went to a nursery 5 times in one day….obsessive?
  • Spring plantings of perennials, annuals, rose bushes, shrubs and trees are in full force.
  • Secure climbing roses and vines – they will grow twice as fast – don’t let them languish on the ground or flop around in the wind.
  • Begin the transition from your spring containers to summer plantings.
  • Take photos of your containers to the nursery to help you plan out which plants to purchase. If you took photos of your containers last year at the end of the year when they should have looked their very best – that can also help when purchasing plants for your containers.

Best of the Season

  • Flowering trees like Redbud, Whitebud, Crab Apple
  • Roses
  • Flowering Vines like cross vine, wisteria, clematis, jasmine
  • Flowering shrubs like viburnum and snowball and spireas
  • Green fescue and rye blends of grass
  • Perennials – Salvias, Dianthus, Creeping Phlox, Woodland Phlox, Violets
  • Pansies and Tulips

Spectacular example of old fashion Eastern Snowball bush – a “must-have” for the Spring garden.

Beautiful container for the Spring – get planting!

Happy Gardening -

All My Best -