Happy Columbus Day! As we celebrate Christopher Columbus and the discovery of America, we have entered the heart of the fall gardening season.
This continent has always been blessed with an amazing diversity of plant materials from long before Columbus. Columbus and the explorers and settlers that followed began the great “swap shop” of plant material and genetics as they took newly discovered American trees, berries, flowers and vegetables to Europe and brought new seeds and plants from Europe, Asia and Africa to the Americas.
That exchange from around the world continues even today as we try to cultivate the best from everywhere while cherishing and saving our native plants. Most Oklahoma gardens are a combination or melting pot of native and introduced plant material.
Most all of the state was blessed with really nice soaking rains over the past two weeks, and it is amazing how quickly our lawns and most plant material have greened back up after those refreshing rains combined with the cooler temperatures of fall. We have about for to five weeks of crisp fall growing season to enjoy our annual gardens before the first freeze but there are many hardier annuals, perennials and cool season fall crops that will survive the early light frosts and keep performing until we get a really hard freeze below 25 degrees, 20 degrees or even 15 degrees depending on the type of plant and the microclimate where you have them planted.
The hardy or fall chrysanthemums are now in full color and most will stay really showy until the first freeze. They do great in containers or the ground but are heavy drinkers and will need regular watering when we have warmer drying days.