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TODAY'S NOTES


Quick Takes....
IT'S WINTER IN THE OZARKS, a season that brings the holidays and something of a respite from our beloved garden chores. It also, for many gardeners, brings the question of what plants they can add to their gardens and landscapes that might actually make them attractive even in the cold winter months. Here are a few from our page on this website about farrow-arctic-fire-dogwood-jpg.jpgthe wonderful Winter Garden in the Springfield Botanical Gardens in Springfield, Missouri, a garden created for just that purpose. First, at the left, the 'Farrow' Arctic Fire Dogwood, and at right, a much closer view of the same wonderful plant. farrow-arctic-fire-dogwood-close-up-jpg.jpg
      Not nearly as colorful as the 'Farrow' Dogwood, but a true textural marvel is the plant below it, the Japanese Umbrella Pine, a conifer that truly draws the eye and umbrella-pine-jpg.jpgmurmurs of appreciation. Not a true pine, this tree is the only member of its family and genus. Very slow-growing, it can take 15 years to reach a height of 10 feet. (We think it's worth the wait.)
      At right is an engaging ornamental red-head-fountain-grass-jpg.jpggrass ideal for winter gardens and landscapes, 'Red Head' Fountain Grass. This engaging plant blooms early with burgundy flowers that can reach 10 inches in length and remain gorgeous through the season. It can grow to 5 feet tall and 4 feet wide.
      gold-breeze-zebra-grass-jpg.jpgAt left is a most striking ornamental grass for garden and landscape spaces. It's the unique 'Gold Breeze' Zebra Grass, a wonder of a plant with beautiful gold bands along apple green leaves and beautiful feathery gold plumes that appear in fall. With its narrow habit, it can grow to an imposing 7 feet tall.
      We could present more  plants that bring life, color, and texture to our winter gardens, but gail-wright-and-winter-garden-jpg.jpgfor now let's note that all of these plants are growing in the wonderful Winter Garden in the Springfield Botanical Gardens in Springfield, Missouri, a garden created by the extraordinary lady at right, Gail Wright, to whom all of us who love beauty in our winter gardens are indebted.
      We so treasure this garden that we've given it its own section on the website, and if you'd lke to see more of these winter wonders, simply click here.

     A Good Tip: There is no better time to visit the Winter Garden than than the present. The Springfield Botanical Gardens are located at 2400 S. Scenic in Springfield, Missouri, and are open daily from sunrise till sunset.


      Note: If you like our little "Green Ink Notes", or at least find them a little bit helpful, in response to quite a few requests we've posted a whole bunch of them here.



A Terrific Book on Native Plants
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Alan Branhagen
, the horticulture director at Powell Gardens near Kansas City has, in our opinion, knocked the ball out of the park with his new book, Native Plants of the Midwest: A Comprehensive Guide to the Best 500 Species for the Garden. Ideal for  anyone interested in native plants, it lists and describes 500 plants, along with excellent photos, tells how to grow them, their landscape uses, and their ornamental attributes. We have and cannot recommend it highly enough.



You Can Be a Master Gardener

j-j-at-work-jpg.jpgIf you'd like to be a Master Gardener, classes start February 16th and will run from 1-4 pm Tuesdays and Thursdays through April. Orientation will be January 31st and February 2nd from 6-8 pm both nights at the Springfield Botanical Center at 2400 S. Scenic in Springfield, Missouri. We've taken the training and have to say if you have a real impulse to do it, go right ahead--you'll never be sorry. The classes will fill in a world of the normal gaps in gardening knowledge and give you a world of new confidence.You'll also meet a wonderful group of like-minded (and extremely likable) people with whom to share your experiences. Fees for the training are $150 per person and $255 for couples sharing a textbook. For more info, or to register, call Kelly McGowan at 417-874-2956 or email her at mcgowank@missouri.edu.




A Master Beekeeping Class
the-bees-090530-960-jpg.jpgEver think you might like to keep bees? You can learn to do it in the Master Beekeeping Level 1 Class "Bees and Beekeeping" from 8 to noon Saturday, January 14th in the Springfield Botanical Center. Certified beekeeper Dan Crooper of West Plains will cover the history of beekeeping, honeybee biology, the relationship between plants and pollinators, and essential equipment and requirements. The cost is $61 and includes a beekeeping book. For more info go here.


Another Fine Native Plant Book
dave-tylica-book-960-jpg.jpgAnother outstanding book on native plants, Dave Tylka's Native Landscaping for Wildlife and People, focuses on the myriad wonderful creatures--butterflies, birds, and others--nourished by native plants. Filled with color photos, helpful information, and highly useful charts, this book is a pure treasure for all who would like to add a world of new life to their yards and gardens.



HELP SAVE OUR BEES!
neonics-label-640-jpg.jpgDO NOT BUY PLANTS WITH THIS LABEL. These plants are treated with neonicotinoid insectides, meaning that once they're planted in your garden, they will kill bees and other pollinators that visit them. In 2014 the environmental group Friends of the Earth and Pesticide Research Institute found that 51 percent of the plants sold by HOME DEPOT, LOWE'S, and WALMART contain levels of these insecticides sufficient to kill bees.
     Tragically, two of the biggest plant suppliers in the United States, Monrovia and Proven Winners, both use neonicotinoid insecticides.
     It should be clear to everyone that if we continue to allow this self-destructive idiocy, we could very easily end up like China, where in several provinces plants now have to be hand-pollinated by humans because insecticides have completely wiped out their bees.
     We try here to avoid posting anything that would be hurtful to a business, but in this case we have to advocate not buying *anything* from merchants engaging in this heinous practice. 


Yes, We Do Love Mail....
mailbag-page-jpg.jpgWe have a new email address on our Contact Us page. Please write if you have any questions, comments, suggestions, info, or corrections to help us make site more useful to gardeners. They'll be greatly appreciated.
Important Note: We're not-for-profit and noncommercial, so we do not sell any products.






THE SPRINGFIELD BOTANICAL GARDENS STORY
completed-botanical-center-jpg.jpgThe Springfield Botanical Gardens and its centerpiece Springfield-Greene County Botanical Center are open and drawing so many visitors that some professional observers are saying that they're now the number one tourist attraction in Springfield, Missouri. Click here for the story of of how they came to be and the many benefits they bring to the Ozarks, and indeed, all of the Midwest.




WHAT'S NEW HERE
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December 21, 2016 Added a gorgeous conifer, 'Aurea' Himalayan Cedar, to our Winter Garden section here. November 10, 2016 Added several photos to our Demonstration Garden page here. November 9, 2016 Added a photo of Black Mondo Grass to our page on a great Demonstration Garden here. October 30,2016 Added a new photo of the Lois K. Boswell Horticultural Library to our page on the Springfield Botanical Center here. October 30, 2016 Added two outstanding island beds to our collection of More Garden Finds here



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