When is it safe to plant in Oklahoma City? Yes, spring is almost here and all local nurseries are stocked with lots of beautiful plants that are often just too tempting to pass up. But, as we all know, Oklahoma City’s weather can be unpredictable.
As Loretta Aaron always reminded me, “Too often, tender plants are set out into still chilly soil, and the reaction of the plant is to just sulk and do nothing. Hold off on planting periwinkles until late April. And wait until after April 15 to set out coleus, impatiens, celosia and zinnias. Petunias, marigolds, and alyssum usually can be set out after April 7. Many gardeners are tempted to purchase plants too soon. If you find good bargains, take them home, but do not immediately set them into the borders. Allow them to ‘harden off’ on a covered porch, protected area under a tree, or north of the house for a week or 10 days. Never allow them to dry out.”
Try Artemesia. One of Loretta’s top picks for a background perennial is Artemesia. “The family of Artemesia, a beautiful neutral gray, is a good choice to highlight blooming annuals or perennials. Silver Brocade is great to use as a border plant because it will grow only about 10 inches tall and has a neat spreading habit. The Silver Mound Artemesia has delicate lacy foliate. Just one plant used in the perennial border will make a statement. The taller Artemesia Silver King is ideal to use in the background or in areas where other plants will not grow well in full sun. All Artemesia plants should have full sun and good drainage.”
And try Kerria. I have several patches of Kerria in my yard and they bloom all summer. Here’s what Loretta has to say about this great plant: “A much overlooked flowering shrub is the kerria. The shrub is deciduous, and after foliage drops, the lime green branches remain attractive all winter. Bloom is either single or double, and a deep yellow color. Bloom is heavy in the spring, scattered throughout summer, and then heavy again in the fall. The best location is filtered sunlight, or morning sun only.”
April is LitterBlitz month! LitterBlitz, as a formal program, began in 2001 and has steadily grown. This program is a partnership between OKC Beautiful, the city of Oklahoma City and the Great American Clean-Up.
In April 2013 more than 10,000 Oklahoma City residents worked together to help pick up litter throughout the metro area, picking up more than 181,000 pounds of trash off our streets. Organizations, businesses, and individuals can contact the OKC Beautiful offices at 525-8822 to receive free trash bags and gloves to clean up an area of their choice.
For 21 years, Loretta Aaron, an Oklahoma City gardening expert, was a beloved and well-known gardening columnist for The Oklahoman. Loretta died in 2009. With the permission of Loretta’s family, we are reprinting some of Loretta’s words of gardening wisdom.