For more information, call the phone number or use the email address provided. To submit items, call Melissa Howell at 475-3770 or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Reference “Home and garden calendar.” Please submit items at least 10 days before publication.
• Midwest City Council of Garden Clubs, 1 p.m. today at Rubye Atkinson Center, 422 Russell Drive, Midwest City. Program is “Landscape and Plants in Italy.” Speaker is July Kautz, Master Gardner, member of Red Rose Garden Club.
• Oklahoma City Council of Garden Clubs, 10 a.m., April 12 at Will Rogers Exhibition Center, 3400 NW 36. Refreshments at 9:30 a.m. provided by hostess club Amaryllis. Program is “Wildcrafting — Foraging Oklahoma's Wild Edible Plants.” Members should bring sale plants for April 13 plant sale. Call 601-9466 or 722-8822.
• Creating an urban “wildflower” simulation, 9:30 a.m. to noon, April 26, Will Rogers Exhibition Center, 3400 NW 36. Discuss the step-by-step process for locating, designing and maintaining your own wildflower bed. Free.
• Low maintenance landscapes, 9:30 a.m. to noon, May 4, Will Rogers Exhibition Center, 3400 NW 36. Using native plants can reduce watering, pest and disease treatments, and assist in many other areas. Learn how to choose and design with natives. Registration required by calling 943-0827. Free.
• Personal flower arranging, 9:30 a.m. to noon, May 10, Will Rogers Exhibition Center, 3400 NW 36. Participants bring floral material, vases, plus hand pruners and floral wire. Free.
• Annual Spring Plant Sale sponsored by Oklahoma City Council of Garden Clubs, 8 a.m., April 13, Will Rogers Exhibition Center, 3400 NW 36. Sale will continue until sold out. Plants of all types and varieties available. Funds are used for scholarship awards, educational programs and special community events. Call 601-9466 or 722-8822.
• Garden Festival in Norman, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. April 13 at the Cleveland County Master Gardener Demonstration and Teaching Garden, located on the southwest corner of the Cleveland County Fairgrounds, 615 E Robinson, Norman. Event will be held, rain or shine, featuring educational demonstrations, children's activities, a plant sale benefiting the Master Gardener Association, as well as seasoned gardeners on hand to answer questions. In addition, local growers and other horticultural related vendors will be available. For more information, look on Facebook under the Garden Party, or call 321-4774. Free and open to the public. Sponsored by the Cleveland County Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service.
• Spring walking tour, 9:30 to 11 a.m., April 26, Will Rogers Exhibition Center, 3400 NW 36. Enjoy the beauty and bounty of the gardens at Will Rogers Park. Cameras welcome, and comfortable walking shoes recommended. Dress for the weather. Free.
• Festival in the Park, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., May 18, Will Rogers Exhibition Center, 3400 NW 36. This annual celebration combines a plant and gardening materials sale with free horticulture seminars, floral design and entertaining kids activities.
Have backyard chickens? Give the entire flock a ‘food forest'
It's one thing to get permits from the local authorities and reach agreement with the neighbors. Before you set up housekeeping for a small flock of chickens, also be sure to provide the proper surroundings to keep them from flying the coop.
Chickens are like any other birds invited into the yard; they need food, water and cover to be healthy and happy, said Jessica Bloom, author of “Free Range Chicken Gardens: How to Create a Beautiful Chicken-Friendly Yard” (Timber Press. 2012).
“It's best if you can create some beneficial habitat for your free-ranging chickens — particularly plants they can eat from,” Bloom said in a telephone interview from her home at Mill Creek, Wash. “That also gives them some shelter and a general sense of well-being.”
She calls that a “food forest” — a diverse and multilayered mix of tree canopy, berry-laden shrubs, vines, ground cover and planting beds.
Chickens can be great for a backyard: They control pests, aerate yards, and supply fertilizer and eggs. They're entertaining, too.
But they also love to scratch and peck when foraging, and that can destroy gardens.
Fence garden areas, particularly when the plants are small and at their most sensitive, Bloom said. Use containers so chickens can't reach high enough to get at their contents.
Hen houses, chicken coops or night shelters are a must for every flock, especially to ward off predators, she said.
“If they are well designed, these little structures can be fun, colorful and add an attractive element to any garden.”
Dean Fosdick, The Associated Press
Advice for selecting kitchen art
Q: What about hanging art in the kitchen? I'd love something good to look at while I cook, but my husband is horrified. He says the grease will ruin it.
A: Hubby is entirely too practical, but he's also right, for the same reason you don't expose good art — especially original watercolors — to the moisture in a bath (they'll run).
But posters, photos, whatever you love enough to keep freshening up, will always be in good taste in a kitchen.
Rose Bennett Gilbert, Creators Syndicate