Garden Photo of the Day

Part 1: Oklahoma Gardens and Adventures

By Kim Charles

After a few short years of growth, the bermuda lawn defiantly began giving way to more interesting architectures. In this early spring view, I've added many, many more rocks from the site into dry stacked retaining walls and bed borders. (Perhaps I was a stone mason in a past life?) Redbuds (Cercis canadensis) are the State tree of Oklahoma, and there are some very nice selections becoming available and worth seeking. The Tulip or Saucer Magnolia (Magnolia x Jane) blooming on the left I encouraged into a multi-trunked specimen. The colour of its flowers match the native Redbuds. The smaller tree in the centre is a selected variety of Redbud named 'Oklahoma.' (NO, I didn't make that up!!) Stage right, is another variety of Redbud labeled 'Texas White,' and is one of my favourites, albeit a treasure hunt to find them. The young pines in this picture I planted to one day replace the towers which were cut for the cabin. In the background, one can see a preview, or history, of what was and what will be. (Loblolly and Slash Pines.) In the centre is also a Vitex I've trained into another multi-trunked tree. It, the crape myrtles, and mimosas were always fashionably late to awaken from winter's slumber.Although we had 16 acres to call our own, time and resources confined the intense horticulture to well less than a half acre, not counting the small orchard. The remaining we left as a natural refuge and invited in the local devas. (A nod to Findhorn!) But, as they say: Be careful what you wish for!

Jesse Rhode shares with us his Oklahoma gardens and adventures, laid out in a series of vibrant photos as well as descriptions.

“The story of my garden is actually two stories; and more to the point, two gardens:

One is of a garden which we recently had to leave. Due to greener pastures (pun intended) of a financial nature, we packed up house and garden and relocated. I was very saddened to leave such a special and unique place, as well as the friends and contacts we had established. But, it provided some materials and ideas for our second garden, which is still very young and most certainly a work in progress. We’ve a long way to go before our beds, borders and orchards are “done”, and “finishing touches” are years away. I’ll just label these efforts as “Job Security.” (Now, if’n I could just get a paycheque for said efforts!!! 😉 I’ve also asked for a heavy dose prescription of Patience. )

Our first garden is one of mountainous challenges and vistas. Literally. Many don’t realize that Oklahoma has mountains, but, we do indeed! In fact, geologically speculating, the tail end of the Appalachians do not peter out in Georgia/’Bama, but curves and resurfaces West of the Mississippi (I LOVE typing that name!!) in the Ozarks and Ouachitas of Arkansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma. The Mighty Mississippi river systems have cloven the miles and elevations between.  And, just like any good mountain story, this one has a log cabin at it’s heart!!

When we first moved to the site just after the Y2K scare, there was the cabin, a very low stone wall, a surrounding bermuda weed lawn with a remnant of the native forest cradling the home site. The large pines which were there were harvested and used for the walls and frames of the cabin, just like in days of olde. We had three neighbours….two brothers who ranch cattle and therefore clear the forests, and the Ouachita National Forest was our third boundary. (Oh, and by the way, it’s pronounced: (ah)-Watch-e-taw.)  For those readers and travelers who are familiar with this neck of the woods, we were less than a mile from the western terminus of the Talimena Scenic Drive, and our views where dominated by Winding Stair Mountain, where the drive summits and follows the ridge. I immediately began planting “the bones” of the future gardens with trees and shrubs, as well as the tempting perennials and bright annuals. Having just moved out of the DFW metroplex where I learned about container gardening while renting apartments, I was in Hawg Heaven by now having REAL soils in which to plant!”


As the Bermuda weed was vanquished and exiled to ever further quarters of the realm, the bones grew and sheltered us from the angry summer sun and almost ever-constant zephyrs and gusts. (Remember, this is Oklahoma!! 😉 ) I used the strengthening bones’ branches to hang and grow many basketed treasures. (Tradescantia sillamontana, aka: Gossamer Plant on the left in 3/4’s sun; Lepismium cruciforme, one of the rainforest cacti, in 1/4 sun on the right.)

I’ve never shaken the “plants in containers” habit from my Big City years, and it took a separate truck load just to bring my Apartment Garden to this location from the Metroplex!So to harbour my precious children, I elected to bite the bullet and spring for a suitable and enjoyable enclosure against the sub freezing temperatures. *(Y’all can see the temporary and partial solution in the background..which worked…..kinda…..for a while…)

I Loved our wrap-around porch, and took full advantage of that feature to grow and showcase much of our massive container garden. We splurged one year and purchased a very large Coral Bark Japanese Maple for the front corner of the Porch. (Acer ‘Sango Kaku’.) In this Indian Summer capture, it hasn’t yet begun to turn either it’s leaves nor its bark. The lush foliage in the foreground are Anthurium ‘Lazarz’ and Crinum ‘Queen Emma’ . Plants here thrived in the Morning Sun/Afternoon Shade conditions.Many of us plant for butterflies, hummers, and/or pollinators to lure their animated colours amongst our more static hues, and I arguably choose colours and nectars before most other criteria of acquisition.Integrating these selections into a co-hesive and even pleasing view is both the challenge and the fun!

Just in front of that Japanese Maple is a simple, silly ole Bridal Wreathe Spirea. And, down the length of the front porch is an American native Red Buckeye. These Aesculus aren’t seen all that much, and I don’t know why although they’re difficult to source. Although they’re precocious with their floral display, they’re painfully slow growing. This was one of the first “bones” I planted upon arrival and it’s now as tall as the cabin’s roof. It always comes into bloom just as the Hummers are returning from their Central American Winter Sabbaticals.

Off the side porch, Salvia ‘Indigo Spires’ begins it’s late season blooming playing nicely with the flowering tobacco volunteer, which entertained our olfactory senses. The rose doing a photo-bomb is another delight for those who love natural perfumes: Rosa x ‘Wild Spice’.

My Wife (and Best Friend and part time Boss…ok: Full Time Boss)  scored a very nice metal gazebo from a wholesale box store a few years ago….wish they’ld offer it again for that same price…we could use another! I grew fast shade on the structure. Morning Glory is a Hummer favourite, and this heirloom variety, ‘Granda Ott’ reseeded itself generously…I only had to plant it once. The background melody in this early morning and early season shot is my favourite Mimosa, ‘Summer Chocolate’……expensive, but worth it!!

The Hummers fought over the Porterweed we placed out every summer…and carted in every Autumn. (Stachytarpheta spp.)

We relied upon self seeders, native wild flowers, and semi-aggresive perennials to colour between the lines and fill the spaces. I once thought the Moth Mullien, (Verbascum spp.) was a native, but recently found out that like many of our families, it was introduced from another continent and has naturalized here. We had both the White and the Yellow spires freely sprouting in our garden. The Rose in the background was a gift from a sister. It is NOT the variety of tree rose she purchased, but is the grafting rootstock which was used. The trunk and top perished for some reason, but the roots took over the show, albeit with a different presentation and colour. She elected not to take it with her when she moved, so she bequeathed it to us!! Thanx, Sis!!!


Have a garden you’d like to share? Email 5-10 photos and a brief story about your garden to [email protected]. Please include where you are located!

Have a mobile phone? Tag your photos on Instagram or Twitter with #FineGardening!

You don’t have to be a professional garden photographer – check out our garden photography tips!

Do you receive the GPOD by email yet? Sign up here.

Follow us: @finegardening on Twitter | FineGardeningMagazine on Facebook @finegardening on Instagram

View Comments


  1. frankgreenhalgh 06/23/2017

    G'day Jesse - I'm going with the ponytailed, olde hippy, Okie lad who has a good sense of humour. If'n I have the gender wrong I apologise.

    Good to see your post you 'olde fox'. Your hanging baskets, container garden and pics. of the 'hummers' are great. I'm sure it was difficult to leave your first garden after so much hard work and enjoyment etc., but life moves on and there are new opportunities. I look forward to seeing Part 2 of your story. Cheers from Oz, mate

    1. User avater
      gringopeligroso 06/26/2017

      Good Morning, Young Fox!!
      A long day here on this side of the planet coming to a close while the new one is already happening over there! As well, while we yanks are plowing full steam ahead into summer, may I assume y'all are probably following through on your clean up of the warm season and heading into cooler times? I see you have Gum trees in your gardens so assume you can keep going pert-near year 'round in growing down there. But will assume it's more of a shifting gears for y'all instead of shutting down as it is for most of us when that time comes back this-a-way.
      Frank, you hit the nail on the head when talking about leaving. Forever will those gardens, experiences, and home be missed. It's not been that long ago, and it's not really that far away. But, I'm finding out 2 hours drive can make a big difference, and I find myself learning lessons all over again. It's amazing what worked so well in those mountains, fails miserably in these hills. But, you are also correct as there are things I can do here which I couldn't dare do at altitude, although I sure tried!!
      I've found, as it sounds have you, that when one door closes, another (or two) opens. (Well. Will you listen at me getting all philosophical!!)
      There IS one advantage to gardening with and in containers, and that is that they can travel if one has the energy and means. And, once again, many of my green and blooming kids followed me to yet another location! As well, while we left quite a bit behind in the ground for the new owners, we dug several starts and divisions out and brought them North with us! Most made the transition successfully, and the stress death toll wasn't horrendous. The stress on ME, however was a different story. But, that which doesn't kill you makes you stronger, right?
      I am SO tickled you enjoyed my post! I was afraid that my style and prose would turn most off who get these for breakfast. But, the response has been far better than I could've wished for! I appreciate your good natured banter and the comments from everyone. While this first set was a little different from what is often seen and read here, the second set may be even further off the reservation, depending upon which materials Ms. Charles picked from what I sent her. I hope you and the others here appreciate them, also!
      Well, Dear Heart, (wink, wink!) it's past time for this olde hippy's bed time and altho we didn't get the rains I had hoped for late last week, the grass continues to grow un-abated. That means I'll be on a machine of one sort or another tomorrow, making noise and mowing back the wilde! Job security, I reckon!
      But, the peace and quiet of today was heavenly!!!
      G'nite, my friend, and talk to you soon!
      Again, and genuinely, Thank You!
      jesse (without an 'i')

      1. User avater
        gringopeligroso 06/26/2017

        Oh, and PS:
        As I stated before on this site: No apology necessary dear friend, But, to help erase any further confusion, here's a view of me from about 5 years ago:

        Please note the cookie duster under my nose and lack of pleasant curves.
        I'm helping to install a good sized Pandanus (Screw Pine) at a resort in the Bahamas. (A nasty job but someone has to do it...wink, wink.) The planting hole it's going into had to be chiseled and jack-hammered out of the limestone bedrock, and the all terrain fork lift elevating it can't get any closer or risk sliding into said hole. A lot of pushing, pulling and grunting going on in this pic. But, we got it in and it looked nice, there!

        1. frankgreenhalgh 06/26/2017

          Hello there Jesse 'old son' (Aussie expression which good mates use, so it's not to be taken literally) - Firstly, on behalf of GPODers I thank you for a marvellous effort in replying so comprehensively to all comments (a marathon effort indeed). Secondly, we appreciate learning so much about you and your philosophy on life - as well as your gardens of course! For me, it has been one of the most interesting and informative posts I have seen on this blog - and throw in that marvellous humour, then it becomes an absolute rip-snorter. Life is very short so we need to make the most of it while we can, and it is obvious that you have a great outlook on and attitude towards life.

          Yes we are in winter here, and just past the shortest day of the year - so it's all upwards from here as the days get longer. And yes we don't have severe winters - very unusual to have snow, but we have some frosts in late autumn/fall and early winter followed by lovely sunny and calm days.

          I don't know if you have been to Oz, but if you and your lovely wife get down here, we would like to show you around our gardens and countryside etc.

          You certainly look as fit-as-a-Mallee-Bull (look that one up in Mr Google) in the pic. How about throwing in a more recent pic. in Part 2 of the series? - and whilst your are at it, we would love to see the 'boss'! Talking of Part 2, it is nearly time for it to come on- line here, so I'm getting warmed up to have some further input. Cheers 'Dear Heart' (wink, wink, wink) you 'olde smooth, silver fox', and keep up your great work.

          1. User avater
            gringopeligroso 06/28/2017

            Frank, I believe that IS the most recent photo of me...there's not too many out there. I don't do as well in front of the lens as I do behind it!
            Also, I've been told that I just don't change very much, if'n at all. So, if you're hopin' I might have gotten prettier since then, I'm afraid that just won't happen!!!!
            And, there's probably less pix of the boss out there than I. Since I don't know if'n she'ld be comfortable with me posting one of her, here, I'll send one which, while dated, tells of how we met. I think you'll like it!

  2. bsavage 06/23/2017

    So many beauties to enjoy! Well done!

    1. User avater
      gringopeligroso 06/25/2017

      Ms. Savage!! Thank you Very Much!
      'Tis but a small vignette of what goes on here, er, what went on there, but I believe there may be a bit more on the morrow! I hope you'll enjoy those views, as well!!

  3. tennisluv 06/23/2017

    Morn'in, Jesse. I thoroughly enjoyed your stories and pictures of Garden 1 while waiting for the sun to come up sipping my first cup of coffee. I'm getting ready to go back thru it all with my second cup. Loads of lovely flowers, trees and shrubs. I'm in pursuit of a Rising Sun Redbud and a Forest Pansy one for my new yard so it was a pleasure to read about your varieties. The mimosa and bridal wreath spirea brought back pleasant memories of my grandmother's garden, which was chokefull of plants just scattered willy-nilly with no 'design plan' at all and more the delight for the lack. Thanks for sharing; can't wait for installment 2.

    1. User avater
      gringopeligroso 06/25/2017

      Ahh, Ms. Peel!!
      Rising Sun!! It's on my wish list, also, and it's VERY popular here in this market!
      (Arkla-homa border lands) Our local venues carried some this Spring, and I delayed a week or two. Went back to score one, and they were sold out from under snooze, you loooze!! My "neighbour" down the dirt road about a mile (which is close in our neighbourhood!) planted one next to said road, and it performs beautifully and is an eye catcher all season long!

      Grandmothers' Gardens...just saying that brings images of colour, warmth, whimsy, carefree or careful manipulations (depending upon your family history and comfort zone!), fragrances, and safe and loving havens!! Oh, and I almost forgot: Memories!! (Pun intended!!)

      I planted one Mimosa upon arrival here, and another this past winter/early spring.
      The older one is in full bloom as I type, and altho not overly detectable in bright sunlight, the perfume during the crepuscular and dark hours is heavy enough to lift one's physical and emotional bodies! Our local Hawk Moths REALLY enjoy the show! I can't wait for the younger to catch up and also bloom! (I"ll probably have to get a permit or something as you know they're gonna go off the scale and may be noticeable quite a distance away!)
      You bring up a valid point, as well, about older varieties and species. We're blessed to have some things in our gardens which used to be quite and even ultra common, but now-a-days, one doesn't see hardly anywhere, if'n at all.
      When we were much younger, we worked in OKC, but our house and gardens were in the far eastern ex-urbs of that town. The previous owner of that house had planted an entire hedge of Bridal Wreathes down both sides and back borders of the front acre. When we purchased the property, those shrubs had grown to 6 ft tall and 8+ft wide! Besides the privacy those hedges provided as other folks realized and capitalized on the value of that location, you can't imagine the sheer beauty (or, mabey you can!) of those mature plantings when they billowed into full bloom each spring! Pure magic!! The Early Swallowtails flocked to our gardens to harvest the bounty!

      Our new gardens, from where I respond has, among other things, Rose Campions, larkspur, and olde fashioned Tiger Lilies. When visitors come, which isn't very often, they are often surprised and then transported to another time and place as they spot some posy or shrub that they haven't seen nor smelled in years, if not decades!

      I have trouble obtaining good photos of our country gardens as they always seem to look unkempt, to a degree. I depend upon re-seeders and volunteers to replant themselves each year, probably as did your grandparents. I let them do their thing, then simply thin, transplant or mow any which sprout where un-needed. I can't be so quick to deadhead and groom if'n I want the seeds to be viable, so there's always a bit of brown in amongst the brightness! I guess that's the trade off of a picture perfect flower bed? Still, when our Hummers return to our Salvia coccineas gone wild, and the b'flies hover between the prolific Verbenas and Gomphrenas whose parents I planted a couple or more seasons ago, somehow I become blind to the browns!!
      Speaking of, I just reminded myself I need to go check to see if'n our signet marigolds also reseeded themselves thickly enough! Our Indian Summer butterflies as well as the migrating Monarchs will be looking forward to them later this year. (And, so will I!!)
      I'm really glad you enjoyed this set, and hope you like the second just as much!
      Take care, and Thank You!!

      1. User avater
        gringopeligroso 06/25/2017

        dammit... I got so busy reminiscing and talking about nosegays and such that I forgot that I had put lunch on the stove top.... SEE: Guys CAN'T multitask... it's dangerous when we try!!
        At least the temps here this weekend are ultra-mild.
        Gotta go open a LOT of windows and turn on the fans.
        At least I don't need to dial 911!
        better stick to sandwiches today.......

  4. Sunshine111 06/23/2017

    Good morning Jesse

    I loved seeing all of your photos. The lushness, the vibrancy, the energy, and the aliveness. I too am a Findhorn devotee with my own relationship with the devas. I'd love to chat more offline sometime. Nice to see the gardens of a fellow traveler!

    1. User avater
      gringopeligroso 06/24/2017

      Ms. Jacobi!
      Boy, with a name like yours, I feel you were BORN to garden!! I found my way here a little later in life, altho the hints were there at a very early age. But, that's another story!!
      I also admire Findhorn as what they accomplish there in Scotland is nothing short of miraculous. It ain't supposed to be that-a-way....and yet...!!!! I borrowed their attitude as well as some of their beliefs and employ those "alternative" methods to this day.
      I read their first documentary book shortly after they printed it. Loved it...until the endish. I'm afraid they lost me when they introduced Pan back from antiquity, or more correctly, they went over a line I wasn't prepared to follow. Perhaps I'm too closed minded, and yet I ain't claiming it's not so. But, the possibility percentage for this olde fart is rather low. For me, it would be like introducing Aethena, or Artemis to my bunk mates. I'll even confess that some of this attitude comes from my programmed and prejudiced cultural perspective. It's also been a couple decades since I read that book, altho I still have it, and mabey I should re-read it! (meanings and comprehensions change over time.) All I'm sayin' is that I may be from Missouri in a past life, as I would have to be shown.

      THAT line being said: one doesn't throw the baby out with the bath water.
      I DO also believe there's something to the rest of the book's, and the community's explanations and examples. Perhaps it's my Cherokee heritage speaking, and certainly it's from other books and stories I've read. I firmly believe older cultures and more sedentary communities have a connection with their place in the Universe which I both envy and don't comprehend. The pool of understanding gets deep in a hurry. And, yet, it's surprisingly shallow, too.
      (I think that's a Zen koan, I just made up!!)
      I know from my studies that we, you, me and everyone breathing are biological beings from this planet, and products (or children) of this particular environment. If you doubt that, just go a few minutes without breathable aire and see where that lands you... or several days without fresh water. And, everything we deal with, from pets, to plants to garden residents are also vibrational and of this World. Therein lies a connection. (You may glimpse more of this on Monday, here, depending upon the magic Ms. Charles has worked!)
      Now I ain't smart enough to know much less label those connections, and if they mimic tangible life, then there's more than one and probably several connections at various levels we can't (yet) test and quantify. Multiply in the number of entities in a given ecosystem and those maps of connections begin to mimic our brain's neuron connections. Funny how that works!
      I don't believe for one second that science has found all the connecting pathways. Science, by it's very definition and modus operandi is a catch-up discipline. That being stated, using the "cutting edge" of science, they're uncovering some remarkable and miraculous things happening at the string theory level. Truly Mind Blowing and impossible.....and yet......

      I'm afraid I'm getting way off onto a tangent, and there's only so many hours in an Earth Day! SO; Bringing it back 'round to this planet and this discussion: I know that we're all made of vibrational compounds, and so is every living thing, and perhaps "non-living" things, too. However we can connect back into those pathways gives us and every participant strength. I think of a rope. Any individual rope fibre is both short and easily broken by a toddler. But, combine lots of fibres into a mass, and one can tow Ocean liners into dock. I THINK that's what Findhorn, and other similar permaculture and utopian type places are working on. (Both physically and spiritually.) They are also trying to find that common language to make it easier on all. Our gardens are very much the same on an extremely local level. Some folks don't...and that's why the plastic and silk floral industries are profitable. But, for those who find themselves here and choose to employ the challenge of nurturing living beings, and then combine those entities into beautiful compositions..well, I consider them, and me and you Earth Angels. (Or, Devas, if you'ld prefer!) It HAS to be two-ways, or it will shut down. (i.e. die)

      I've probably said too much, and may have stepped on some sensitive toes, and I've definitely stepped over the lines of this site, so I'll quit while I'm not too far behind!! Obviously, you've touched something I've given a bit of thought to, lately!
      Regardless, I am SO pleased you enjoyed my views (photographically,) and hope you find the second part equally thought provoking. If the pix get posted that I believe ARE to be posted, you, my Dear, will really enjoy the second batch! (I hope!)

      If'n anyone is still following this thread and wishes to blister my bottom:
      [email protected] is where I get my "mail'.

      1. User avater
        gringopeligroso 06/24/2017

        OH, and PS: One of my favourite proverbs:
        "The Best fertilizer for the garden is the farmer's footprints."

        1. Sunshine111 06/25/2017

          Hello Jesse! Greetings from New Hampshire this fine Sunday, Sunday afternoon. I'm sitting on my front porch having just read all of your lovely responses to all the comments we received on part one of your photos.

          I think we agree on many, many points. We may have a different Perspective with regard to Pan, but I hardly think that matters. What is important, I feel, is that we love our little corner of this beautiful garden of Eden, wherever it may be, and that we are doing our level best to take care of it, honor it, cherish it, and learn to be with it. Because from my perspective Being is the most important part! Looking forward to more photos tomorrow. Namaste

          1. User avater
            gringopeligroso 06/25/2017

            Wow!!! New Hampshire!! Never been that far East and North...and I'll wager it's my loss! I've heard and believe New England is beautiful! (If'n it ain't, please let me keep my myth intact!!)
            YES: The Journey is just as, if not more important than the Destination.

            And, YES: We shouldn't get too bogged down in semantics.

            AND, YES!! Think Globally, Act Locally!!!

            I've learned, sometimes the hard way, that people, spirits, and events are placed upon our paths sometimes to focus or re-direct our mindset. Perhaps we're meeting here for a reason?

            I DO know you tapped into a line of thought and inquiry I've been spending some time upon, lately. I also think that perhaps it's time for me to re-view that book; if for nothing else other than to note the change in perspectives over the years from this reader's point of view. Other books as well, but I believe I'll start with that one!!

            I believe we're on the same highway and headed in the same direction. I ask that you wave to this slow poke as you pass me in the fast lane! My wife is WAY up ahead somewhere, but I can't even see her tail lights nor dust anymore. She's really good about leaving me breadcrumbs to follow, tho!!

            And, if'n it looks like I've nodded off again, a gentle nudge would be appreciated!! A warm smile is ALWAYS welcome, these days!

            Peace, Pilgrim!!

            (hmmm. I tried my best John Wayne accent on that last phrase, and it didn't fit too well. Oh, well, disregard that accent and best to be myself!!)

          2. Sunshine111 06/25/2017

            New England is great I think, three seasons of the year. I don't ski,so tend to hibernate and stay warm by the fire reading and/or cooking. Yes, when I saw your mention of Findhorn, I thought to myself I wonder if we should connect? and here we are chatting! So yes, rereading some of those Findhorn books might give you a completely different perspective now. If you do so, and would like to chat afterwards you can contact me at [email protected].
            I am attaching a photo so you can see who you're talking to… Taken at Easter this year at my church with my coconut layer cake that I made for the potluck… It was wonderful,too bad you weren't there to sample some! People are still talking about it wink wink !

          3. frankgreenhalgh 06/26/2017

            Nice photo. Lily - lucky members of the congregation!

          4. User avater
            gringopeligroso 06/28/2017

            I'm not sure which is sweeter....the confection or the baker!!
            Tell you what: If we ever get together for a culinary duel, you bring that infamous cake, and I'll bring my semi-famous Rhubarb Pie. I was told by a professional baker that it was the best of that type she'ld EVER had. (Victorian Age recipe) Altho we're both honest, we'll have to find objective judges, you understand!!
            For a balanced meal, I'll stop by Summerfield on my way! This is a tiny hamlet about 15 winding minutes through the forest and just about a quarter mile off the highway. (from the cabin.) The place consists of a one room post office, a baker's dozen (pun intended) variety of houses, a community centre bulidling, a plumbing shoppe, and convienience store with pumps, and then your already thru town. Oh, there's a church there, too between the store and shoppe. The store looks like any other mom and pop operation which exist all over and away from larger settlements. Not exactly dirty, but not bright and shiney, either. You walk inside and there's a couple of elderly ladies dressed conservatively and looking rather dis-approvingly at folks they don't know. Oh, they're cordial, but I wouldn't go any farther on the warmth scale!
            Until you ask for one of the Cheeze Cakes in the glass counter.
            They melt and you're all of a sudden their lost grandchild...which at my age is sayin' somethin'!!
            When you finally get to where you're goin' and get to sit down and sample that cheeze cake, it's your turn to melt!! Those ladies make them by hand, from scratch.
            Those ladies have spoiled this ole boy. I can't hardly stand the store bought versions anymore.. (Will you listen at me sounding all snobbish and all? But, there IS a huge difference!!!)
            Anyway, I figure we can bribe, er, I mean compensate the judges to help decide who wins the duel!!
            Somehow, me thinks they'll want to deliberate for 2 (or 3) order to be fair, of course!!!

          5. User avater
            gringopeligroso 06/28/2017

            Summerfield, CBD. No, that ain't a billboard. It IS what it says it is. People have to find other lodging!

          6. Sunshine111 06/28/2017

            Jesse you make me laugh! Which is I guess, exactly what I needed right now! So thank you so a Bakers duel...I've never had one of those, but around here I would win. Out in the middle of nowhere, or unfamiliar territory? I would say you would probably win… It's all for fun anyway, so whenever you're up for it I am ready!

  5. User avater
    meander_michaele 06/23/2017

    Hi, Jesse, it's no surprise that your garden areas are full of liveliness and personality...and communicate your contagious enthusiasm for most all things of nature. Hmm, although, perhaps, bermuda grass is not beloved? Include me a fan of 'Oklahoma' redbud...for those who aren't familiar with it, it has a somewhat shiny leaf and the flower color is more intense than its au natural cousins which brighten forest edges as a volunteer.s And, a big yes also to the Red Buckeye tree...yours looks like a real beauty! Well, I am going to treat myself to a rereading and re-looking at your photos to hold me over until part 2.

    1. User avater
      gringopeligroso 06/24/2017

      Michaele! Thank you for that keen observation! It is my hope and desire that EVERYONE'S personal garden reflects their own personalities and inner beauty. I think everyone who submits views which get published here does just that.
      Your garden's vignettes exemplify this ideal in what I truley believe is a higher calling, and you being an artist as well as a green thumb illustrate and inspire what is possible! Not that we should imitate nor copy you, but to find our own chords, and then begin our own dance. (We might steal an idea once in a while, though!!)

      Bermuda grass NOT beloved......hum......that's putting it extremely mildly, but politely. Not sure how it acts in Knoxville, but here, it takes the concept of "Invasive" to the Biblical level. I now know what it's like to fight the devil. It's everyday, every-way, and never ending. And, if'n you turn your back, may Heaven help you. I'm THIS close to purchasing that well known and hated herbicide (don't want to get the Legal Eagles in trouble!) and issuing forth into battle with a Banzai scream and frenzy! In the meantime, pulling, mowing, digging, and then pulling again is good therapy, right??!! ...ommmm....

      As I stated above, I somehow stumbled into collecting Redbuds, and yes, 'Oklahoma' is a preferred and beautiful variety and even more showey than the natives! Not always easy to find, tho.
      If life were cruel, and I could only have one, it would be a terrible dilemma for me to choose between 'Forest Pansy' or 'Texas White.' I might die of olde age before I made the choice! The White also has that shiny leaf texture you mentioned. I very rarely do formal plantings, but at the cabin I did at our front entry path. (One should colour outside their own lines once in a while, don't you think?) I planted 4 Whites symmetrically where visitors entered under a, well, a miniature Allee. As they grew to form the solid canopy, the dense shade was/is a relief from our triple digit temperatures and offered relief to others before they got to the front door. Also growing so close together, they offered support for each other during our violent weather...which is a given here in tornado alley. The REAL show however was/is in the Spring. Those clouds of Crystalline White overhead were magical, albeit short lived.

      As stated, the Red Buckeye isn't seen very often although our areas are its native grounds. I was running an errand to the neighbouring town of Poteau one spring to the olde Library...probably owing yet another overdue fine!!! Afterwards, instead of retracing my tire tracks back up the main drag, I took a slight detour through the shade dappled older surburban neighbourhood adjoining the busier section of town. When I turned the corner, I hit the brakes as an emergency. Good thing no one was behind me and I was only going 15mph!! There, by the side of an older home, was a Red Buckeye in full bloom. But, it was the size and stature of a mature Bradford Pear!! One of my Religious moments in Horticulture!
      I didn't always travel with a camera back then, and cell phones weren't all that smart, yet. I meant to return with proper equiptment for documentation and memory, but life got busy again, and the town really wasn't that close.....well, you know how things go.
      That tree must've been planted about the time the house was constructed, which I guess to be just after the war. (1940's-1950's) A gardener from an earlier generation obviously lived there , and their gift to this generation is magnificent!!
      Thank you for your kind words, and thank you for all you do here daily for all of us. This site wouldn't be the same without you! Literally. (That's a TOTALLY un-biased and objective opinion, of course!! ;-)

      1. User avater
        meander_michaele 06/25/2017

        Hi, again, Jesse, well, no surprise, you just know that after reading and enjoying all your bubbling enthusiasm, I have to join in and make it a conversation.The thought crossed my mind that if you were a character in the Peanuts comic series, you would be labelled Mr. Sunshine...the opposite of Pigpen. You would be bathed in a glow of positivity and elicit smiles from folks who cross your path.

        Ha, you even make your hatred of Bermuda grass entertaining! I live somewhat out in the country and it (Bermuda) is the grass of resignation for most folks out here although my husband and I fight the fight against it in the areas we designate as "lawn". I will confess that we have enlisted that dreaded herbicide into our army and sometimes it is called up to duty. Without a doubt, Bermuda is an evil, insidious and opportunistic grass and thrives on hot weather and making mischief.

        Your allee of 4 Texas White redbuds sounded lovely and when in bloom, must have made someone walking up to your front door feel like they were transported into a Disney film. I'll bet that there was even a chance of some zippity-do-dah blue birds flitting about to make the scene perfect. I had a glorious 'Pansy' redbud for about five years but I guess I lavished it with too much love (water) and it grew too vigorously. One morning as I was making the rounds, I came upon it split down the middle of its main trunk. The damage was irreparable... no artful pruning was going to save the day and I was devastated. I went with a dark leafed crepe myrtle to replace it but it doesn't duplicate the lovely airy canopy the 'Forest Pansy' had developed. Such is gardening...the story of loss and optimism. We gardeners keep plugging along.

        Speaking of (plugging along), I was watching a nature special last night and one of the segments featured the phenomenon of sea turtles following their instincts to come to a certain location, dragging themselves far on the beach to get to dry sand and dig down almost 2 feet to lay their eggs. Well, as took in their labor filled efforts, I started to laugh and said to my husband..." I am as much a slave to gardening as these turtles are to what their DNA commands them to do"

        Thank you for the additional picture (showing what an attractant those white blooms are to the cycle of nature...Mr. Bee looks headed for a meal) and a special big thanks for your very generous words about my daily visits here on gpod being appreciated. This site is a win/win for all of us and I am very grateful for it.

        1. User avater
          gringopeligroso 06/25/2017

          Now you've got me laughing with your Charles Schultz analogy!!
          In that vein, I might be more accurately portrayed as a cross between the two characters. You've not seen me start for the house after a summer's day of labour of love. Picture my Wife standing vanguard at the front door with a water hose locked and loaded stating: "Not in MY house, you don't!"
          (We really COULD use an outdoor shower facility, here!)

          SO, y'all lost a Forest Pansy to catastrophic splitting, TOO????
          Um. Now you've got me wondering because the same thing happened to one of ours, and we had another which split off a main branch, but then recovered and kept going. Like you, I thought it was something I had done, but now I'm not so sure. I wonder if others have had similar experiences? I know that the beloved and overly planted Bradford Pears suffer this fate sometimes, and that there are actually communities across the country which have banned that beautiful (but over used) ornamental. Repairing power lines, vehicular and structural damages and blocked roadways just became too common and costly to continue.
          We've 3 young Forest Pansies planted here at our new place, but me thinks I had better put a higher priority on preventative pruning than I have presently in mind. And, YES! Those new varieties of dark-leaved Crepe Myrtles are incredible!! I've a couple of them planted, too, and altho too young to flower yet, I feel the blossoms may be more icing on that cake rather than the main substance! That being said, I can't wait to see the flowers, either, or too!! Like you inferred: Optimism is a wonderful trait!!

          And, Plugging Along! Yes. Like the turtles, tis my path. I read a story several years ago about a young pilgrim asking a wise monk what enlightened people do. The monk just smiled and said something like "We chop wood and carry water!" Instead of wood, I reckon I'll be chopping roots (and rhizomes and runners.)...AND carrying water!
          I shouldn't complain...could be worse! I've a friend whose basically bed bound with failing health. (He has a great attitude, tho!) Reminds me that my glass is truly half full.

          Beautiful PNW temps and conditions here on the edge of the Ozarks this weekend. They won't last, but gonna enjoy them while they're here! I hope these delicious temps reach over and bless y'all back East, too! Gotta go chop and carry, and do my jogging thing with the dogs, too, today! Should be heavenly!!!

  6. user-4691082 06/23/2017

    Good morning, Mr. Jesse! As I saw the spelling of your name, I questioned that the post referred to you as a 'she'. Either way, your collection of plants is a ripper! (Good afternoon, Frank!!!) You're quite a wordsmith, and that really adds to our enjoyment. Who knew that Oklahoma had mountains? And the pronunciation of Ouachita with the meaning! I love learning about your neck of the woods. That buckeye is beautiful. I keep meaning to find a place for one. I'm looking forward to tomorrow!

    1. frankgreenhalgh 06/23/2017

      Greetings, Rhonda - Has your thumb healed completely and enabled you to garden?

      1. user-4691082 06/23/2017

        Well, it's coming along. I am out in the garden as much as I am able. Kevin went out to dinner with us after visiting Longwood and Chanticleer recently. He has such a great eye for design. He has wasted all these years being a physician. Lol!

    2. Kim_Charles 06/23/2017

      I stand corrected! When I first started pulling this post together...I had in my mind that Jesse was a 'she'--please accept my apology!

      1. User avater
        gringopeligroso 06/23/2017

        Ms. Charles! No apology necessary, but do appreciate the sensitivity!
        Frank (from Oz,) and I joke about this! As does my boss (wife) to this day!!
        My ponytail has earned me a LOT of second looks and chuckles over the years! My hope is that one day, our society (societies) can be equally amused both ways, and perhaps we can rid ourselves of all the "glass ceilings" as we realize how silly things are, now a days. (Things are better, but we've still a ways to go.)

        Will respond to everyone after the sun goes down, but I've a couple of Catalpa trees from the Cabin and a supposedly (and hopefully) resistant American Chestnut to install this morning/mid-day. The Weather peeple say we MAY get a stray shower from the storm which is working it's way towards the Mississippi (LOVE to type that word!) River and hopefully, it will water in my efforts!!

        1. Kim_Charles 06/23/2017

          Oh great Jesse---thanks for your understanding note back! I look forward to reading the rest of your comments. Working on Part 2 of your story for Monday now! Have a great weekend and best of luck with our tree installs!

      2. user-4691082 06/23/2017

        The female spelling usually is "Jessie" but no worries Kim! It's an honest mistake!

        1. User avater
          gringopeligroso 06/24/2017

          I'm laughing as you have NO idea how many folks try to insert an i into my name, even face to face!!
          I also knew a Kim in High School. HE was a great guy, kinda cute said the young ladies, and knew how to throw a mean pass on the grid iron!

          1. frankgreenhalgh 06/24/2017

            Based on your smooth style and charm 'Dear One' I bet the young ladies also chased you before you met the 'boss'.

          2. User avater
            gringopeligroso 06/24/2017

            LOL!!! Frank, they chased me until the caught me......and then they ran the OTHER way in sheer terror!!!
            (Obviously, the Boss ain't scared!! She's a keeper!!)

    3. User avater
      gringopeligroso 06/24/2017

      Good Morning, Rhonda...well,er...Good Evening Rhonda...well,it's damn near morning again already! Better finish and take this back up later in the morning!!
      Anyway, no worries and certainly no offense on my part about the confusion! Indeed, I find it humourous!!
      But, back to the subject at hand:
      We can only show a tiny part of our collections here, but I hoped to illustrate a little of the depth of said plantings to y'all. Your comments say I achieved that hint!! One of the things I really enjoy about GPOD is the views of and from distant places. I believe we all do. These submissions also illustrate how special other places are and the lengths we Earth Stewards go to to enhance and beautify, and in some cases, heal the casualness and sometimes destructive enterprises others pave over. I am truley honoured that Ms. Charles ran my views to y'all, and equally honoured that y'all have enjoyed them so much! While this is a photo site, I've always enjoyed captions under pictures in books and magazines. I get a bit carried away, but hopefully not TOO carried away. (A good editor is a blessing, and worth their weight in gold!) I had a lot of fun putting this submission together, (talk about detours down memory lane!!!) and if'n you enjoyed it too, then it's all very well worth it!
      Thank YOU, Dear One. And, I really DO need to sign off and get to bed!!

      View from the top of Buffalo Mtn. with the Potatoe hills in the background. Hang gliders launch from here in defiance of gravity and to taste freedom.

      1. user-4691082 06/24/2017

        Wow, so cool. Oklahoma should designate you as state ambassador! You have caused me to add another place to my bucket list- your house! Lol!

        1. User avater
          gringopeligroso 06/24/2017

          Does that mean I need to shave my legs and shower?????
          And, yes, come by anytime! I could use your experienced help!!
          And, bring a truck or trailer. We'll send you home with more goodies for YOUR gardens!!
          Found a couple of exterior pix of the finished greenhouse I'd forgotten I had. Will post in a while, here, but want to answer a few more folks who were also kind enough to comment! Be back in a bit!

  7. annek 06/23/2017

    Great stories and beautiful photos. Ahh, the redbuds, buckeye and glorious colors are lovely. I will go over the photos several times before breakfast is over. Thanks for sharing!

    1. User avater
      gringopeligroso 06/24/2017

      I am SO glad you enjoyed my submission!! I also hope you like what's coming next!! Stay tuned!! And, thank YOU for the compliments!!!

  8. User avater
    LindaonWhidbey 06/23/2017

    Good morning Jesse and thanks for this entertaining story about the birth of your garden. Do you do a blog because like Michaele, you have a great way with words? I'd love to see the finished greenhouse photo. Did you end up heating it? Like you, I find redbuds beautiful but have never seen the varieties that you've mentioned here. Thanks for sharing. I think I'll be perusing this throughout the weekend.

    1. User avater
      gringopeligroso 06/24/2017

      You're most welcome and thanx for commenting! You and the others here have made it all worthwhile!! And, "like Michaele..." I am not worthy. I Dream of one day being as talented, as she. But, I doubt I'll EVER be as kind and warm!! But, Thank You, Dear Heart for even mentioning me close to her league!! AH LUV U!!

      Um, finished photo... You know I don't believe I ever took one.... I DO know I was planting around it, trying to give it some curb appeal, but it's hard to make a plastic shell attractive. It is what it is, me thinks. I mite have one or two, but it may take me a while to dig through my archives. I'll post here if'n I can locate any.
      And, yes, we did heat the structure. We're in Zone 7 and can/do dip below 0° f, but don't usually stay there for very long. The tropicals I've collected over the years demand a semi-warm environment, but I work with the microclimates inside to a degree. The hardiest of my non-hardies, what I label as my Texas/California garden, were placed along the outside edge of the space and near the opening door to the frigid outside. Washingtonia Fan Palms, Oleanders, Agaves, etc. As one moves more to the centre of the house, one encountered more and more cold sensitive (less hardy) collections. (Think orchids and anthuriums.) During the coldest hours, the centre of the house could and would drop into the 40's f. Outside edges a little lower, but still above freezing. Oh, and the size of that house is 24 ft x 36 ft. Of a practical note: I had to be careful about overwatering during the cold babies didn't need nearly as much as I was offering, and I rotted more than a couple before I realized it.
      Redbuds. I didn't mean to take off on a tangent with them, but the breeders HAVE been busy and they DO so well here. I now find myself collecting as many as I can, along with my other passions: Viburnums and deciduous Magnolias!

      1. frankgreenhalgh 06/24/2017

        Crickey mate, there is no end to your charm ('Dear Heart'), and I agree with Linda, you do have a nice turn of phrase.

        1. User avater
          gringopeligroso 06/24/2017

          OH, yeah!! My wife says my charm wore off years ago!! (But, I still have my moments!!)
          From one olde Fox to another: Thanx!!!

      2. User avater
        gringopeligroso 06/25/2017

        Linda, I found a couple of olde photos I'd forgotten I had. Dusted them off and am posting. Not the greatest captures but perhaps will give your imagination the fuel to compleate the picture in your mind!

        This shot is from the corner of the front porch, through the Wisteria and Lady Banks rose, which are both sleeping at the time, of course!

        1. User avater
          gringopeligroso 06/25/2017

          And, while this is happening outside, this is what is happening inside, at least on sunny winter days:
          In this view, taken in Early Winter, I had taken advantage of some clearance items from the box stores who wished to make room for their seasonal inventory of bling, lights, and cut conifers. Too late to harden off and establish roots before the bottom fell out of the thermometers, so the very affordable colour rode out the cold till the next spring inside, with our tropicals!

  9. catherinewheatley 06/23/2017

    Jesse, that was pure delight and so appreciate your sharing. I believe you have a calling and need to write a blog. The reading was as fun as the visuals.

    1. User avater
      gringopeligroso 06/24/2017

      Ms. Wheatley,
      I am tickled and so glad you enjoyed my quirky-ness!!
      Actually, I just started looking at this "blog" thing....apparently, a few folks have taken the plunge. I've been browsing the major template stores on the www, and perhaps, I too, will give it a try!! (My mom says I must've been a novelist in a past life. Do you think I could collect on the royalties if'n that's the case??;-)
      Thank you, Sweet One!!

      1. frankgreenhalgh 06/24/2017

        Hey Jesse - you are such a charmer ('Sweet One'). I reckon your 'boss' has to be something special as well.

        1. User avater
          gringopeligroso 06/24/2017

          VERY special!! put it mildlly...!

  10. thevioletfern 06/23/2017

    Wonderfully wild and woolly! I would so love to sit on your porch and enjoy the humming view. I am envious of that Buckeye. I don't think it is quite hardy here, otherwise I would surely plant it! I laughed, because I, too, rented a truck just for the plants when we moved from Maine.

    1. User avater
      gringopeligroso 06/24/2017

      Ms. Sturr!
      A girl after my own heart!! I miss our wrap around porch... I used to sit there in my rocking chair and watch the world begin every morning while sipping my first steaming mug. Well, at least during the warmer months!!! Besides the morning glories in the picture, Salvia coccinea, reseeded vigorously for them, and Salvia 'Black n Blue' is root hardy for us, and took over the beds we gave it. We also planted Coral Honeysuckle, another native and the hummers LOVED it!
      I had to leave the Buckeye behind, alas as it had exceeded my expectations. I have two more planted in our new place, but they are years away from attaining the stature of my first at the cabin. (Like I said: "Painfully slow...") Perhaps their first bloom next spring; I'm hoping!! I would have to look up how far North it can tolerate.

      "Wild and Woolly!!" I LIKE that!!!

  11. MNGardenGirl 06/23/2017

    Love it! I can't wait to see more.

    1. User avater
      gringopeligroso 06/24/2017

      Ms. VonBergen!!
      (What a Great Name!!) Anyway, thank you hope you enjoy the next installment! I believe it's coming on Monday if'n things went right in the office today!

  12. schatzi 06/23/2017

    Beautiful photographs, great story. More, please!

    1. User avater
      gringopeligroso 06/24/2017

      Ms. Graves!!
      Thank you!! Glad you enjoyed!! More on Monday, I believe, if'n you can stand it!!!

  13. user-7008689 06/24/2017

    GREAT job, Jesse! I'm so pleased that the greater Fine Gardening world is now aware of your garden/horticultural, writing and photographic skills. Oh, and a full concept of your gender, too!

    So fine to see the results of your work again.

    Rock ON!

    1. User avater
      gringopeligroso 06/24/2017

      Ahhhhh, Kimosabe!
      Coming from one of my Great Mentors, this means a lot!!
      This is a Great crowd who's a lot of fun, too. I don't EVEN match up to some of the talent which gets showcased here....but, I'm tryin'!!! And, I'm always learnin' from them!!

      Now, about these "skills" you you know something I don't???
      Take Care! And, seriously, Thank You!

  14. user-6536305 06/24/2017

    Great stories and photos. You are very funny Jesse! Thanks for sharing and looking forward to the second part of the stories and photos.

    1. User avater
      gringopeligroso 06/24/2017

      Ms. Ho!
      Thank you, so much! As I told Ms. Charles, if'n ALL this submission creates is a few smiles and chuckles, then I am pleased!! And, I am hoping you will like the other part, as well! (fingers crossed!)

  15. [email protected] 06/24/2017

    GPOD has proven to be such a delight! And your narrative was as enjoyable as your photos. Loved seeing plants and trees familiar to me here in Washington state, as well as so many others totally foreign to me. Looking forward to part 2.

    1. User avater
      gringopeligroso 06/24/2017

      Pat! Ain't this a GREAT site??!!! I started following 2, or has it been 3 years ago, altho I've been a Print subscriber for longer. I love the interaction here, and the new articles every week, (Read: New Inspirations!!) are a blessing! I've been hesitant to send in anything as there's SO much talent represented and shared here, and much more to come!
      You summed up my reasons for staying with this site. Yes: Some familiars in different surroundings, but ALWAYS surprises (Read: Google Searches!!) and glimpses of the un-attainable, i.e. Meconopsis, or even Lupines this far South!!
      And, for those of you who have perennial Delphiniums in your gardens, and for others who harvest fresh mangos from their back yard trees....droooooolll!!!

      The grass IS always greener on the other side of the fence, and I appreciate this place to have the guided tours of other's sides of that imaginary fence!!
      We're experiencing PNW temps here this weekend, but these blissful conditions won't last. Still, we'll certainly enjoy them while we can! Hope you have a wonderful weekend, too! So glad you enjoy my banter and views and I hope part 2 does not disappoint y'all.

Log in or create an account to post a comment.

Related Articles

The Latest