Favorite Pole Beans for the Rocky Mountain Region & a shout out for Fine Foliage!

Productive, delicious pole beans for your garden. Grow them in just 18 sq. inches.

Productive, delicious pole beans for your garden. Grow them in just 18 sq. inches.

Today, on the River Radio Morning Show, I shared w/listeners, and Ken and Tim, my passion for pole beans. You can grow 4 tall vines in one 18 inch square area. Place 4 poles (rebar/bamboo/sticks) in a teepee fashion, lash them together at the top with wire, string, or zipties. Make sure the teepee is set at least 8-12 inches into the ground for sturdiness. Plant one or two bean seeds at the base of each pole. Water in well. Stand back and let ’em grow. Pole beans are my faves because they produce non stop (you HAVE to keep them picked) and they produce about 10 times as much as bush beans. Bush beans are great, but I have limited space and want my beans coming on for a long time. You may also want to plant another tee pee in a couple weeks. By planting every 2-3 weeks you will have an ongoing supply of fresh green beans until a hard frost kills the vines.

My favorite varieties are Helda (recommended by RoseMarie Nichols McGee of Nichols Nursery), Lazy Housewife (a gift from my beloved friend Lorene Edwards Forkner), Spanish Musica (have not grown them yet but recommended by several folks) and Tri Color, pretty as a picture. Musica and Tri are available from Renee’s Garden.

I also talked about the importance and ease of gardening with foliage, and recommended a book by some friends of mine, Fine Foliage, co authored by garden designer/writer friends, Christina Salwitz and Karen Chapman. Lucky caller number 5 took the book home!

Fine Foliage

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Here’s another “Heard it through the grapeVINE!”

Su shows us how she plants up a straw bale for the garden.

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Trying out Vine!

Friends and I are trying to keep up with social media these days. I took some 6 second “looping” (also loopy) videos when I visited Moss Mountain Farms w/P Allen Smith and the gang. Here’s one of them. Hey, I am not up for an Oscar. Go easy on me.

Remember, it loops. So turn it OFF when you’ve had enough. Which won’t take long. Trust me on this.

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All Prickly: Thistle-like blossoms in the garden

Showy, pretty, generally tough as nails (a characteristic required to live at Ranch du Bois), these snazzy looking centaureas and the cardoon, are welcome in my garden. Not on the guest list: nasty knapweed. They are members of the same fam, so don’t get them confused.

Cultivated thistles

Cultivated thistles

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Showy Milkweed in my garden

Showy milkweed a/k/a Asclepias speciosa

Showy milkweed a/k/a Asclepias speciosa

Does everyone but me know how great this smells?

The occasional showy milkweed plant that shows up in the garden is treated as an honored guest and is much adored. I was pruning something next to it and when I leaned over, I got a whiff of something terrific. Sniff sniff. It wasn’t the gaillardia, and nothing else nearby. MMMM good!

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The great ideas just keep coming: more clematis and rose pairings

At the Idaho Botanical Gardens, we have an arbor loadedwith blossoms and the brilliant ‘Dortmund’ climbing rose. I am going to push for the addition of a Henryi clematis to go with. Well, actually, to go over, around and through. Make that two of them. One on each side. Now we are talking!

Envision if you will, this combo:

Dortmund (image from Google, Bob Morton)

Dortmund (image from Google, Bob Morton)

Clematis Henryi

Clematis Henryi

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Perfect in Pairs: Climbing roses and clematis

The quintessential combo: climbing roses with clematis scampering through, over and around. Do try this at home.

At the Idaho Botanical Gardens, we used New Dawn roses (plus purple Japanese Wisteria) with General Sikorski and Etoile Violette clematis.

New Dawn roses on pergola at the Idaho Botanical Gardens

New Dawn roses on pergola at the Idaho Botanical Gardens

New Dawn, clematis, wisteria, sandstone, Ponderosa pine pergola: in the desert

Here’s another combo I want to try:

Golden Showers with Etoile Violette

Golden Showers with Etoile Violette

from White Flower Farm.

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Fire Spinner Delosperma spinning out of control!

Wow! gotta love Plant Select’s Fire Spinner. Here it is in all its glory at my buddy Jeff Lightbody’s garden. I tried to capture the iridescence of the blooms, but I guess you just can’t capture magic. Trust me, it’s stunning. This planting began with 6, 1 gallon plants last spring. Try it, you will like it! And check out this post from last year,Jeff's Fire spinner and my Claude to see some awesome plant partners for FireSpinner.

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P Allen Smith welcomes us to Moss Home Farm and Arkansas

IMG_0031 - Copy - Copy
IMG_0033 - Copy - Copy
Two weeks ago, I had the great good fortune to participate in the Garden 2 Blog gathering in Little Rock, Arkansas. P. Allen Smith and crew were exceptional hosts. It had been a long time since I was in Little Rock (a couple decades, in fact). Southern hospitality is just that. Lovely. Hospitality.

Upon arrival in Little Rock, my driver took a moment to show me just a couple of the City’s landmarks before the sunset: the capitol, the Clinton Library, etc. (Total hospitality) At the gorgeous, historic Capital Hotel, it was easy to find my group since their merriment was audible -from the bar (in all fairness, they were eating dinner). Everyone was excited to be together and ready for “gardeners’ summer camp.”

The next day began in earnest with a run through the menu at the hotel. Why looky here! Bacon Cheese Grits and Poached Eggs! My dear friend, the beautiful, industrious, willowy BumbleBee blogger – Robin – joined me for cappuccinos and breakfast.

Right off the bat we are making new friends right and left: Sassy Carrie Stokes from Between the Limes ,Chris of Redneck Rosarian notoriety, Diane LaSauce of I-made-2000-Key-Lime-Pies fame. Carolyn Binder, a saucy, zesty red head (1), Teresa Byington (of ‘best hair-do-ever fame) and with 175 roses giving the Redneck a run for his money, Chris Tidrick a/k/a our garden philosopher, and the shy as all get out artist, Steve Asbell, hailing from N Florida. (There are more to introduce, so hold your ponies).

Our first stop was a tour of the Governor’s mansion and gardens. First Lady of Arkansas, the energetic and gracious Ginger Beebe greeted us in the garden and again at the luncheon.
IMG_0052 Allen has worked with the garden staff creating a garden for the people of Arkansas: a welcoming, strolling garden including roses, vegetables and herbs.

Public Service Announcement No. 43: I accepted this trip as the guest of P Allen Smith and his business associates at Hortus. They paid my airfare, hotel and meals. I received some swag. There you have it. Feel free to share it with the CIA, FAA, HMFIC, FCC, FBI and anyone else monitoring my business including the IRS in Ohio.

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Plant sales galore and more!

Two for the price of one on May 4: the Idaho Botanical Garden and Boise Garden Club will be conducting dueling plant sales that day. Since they are just a few blocks apart, let me suggest you shop early and often.


SATURDAY, MAY 4th 9am to noon

1302 Warm Springs Ave.

Beautiful plants – annuals, perennials

vegetables, herbs, Heritage tomatoes

Plus ceramics, tools and everything to

make your yard special all summer long.

Autographed copies of the new Rocky Mountain Gardeners Handbook will be available for $20.(Signed by none other than our very own member, Mary Ann Newcomer, the Dirt Diva.

All money raised will be donated to the Idaho Botanical Garden.


Wait, there’s more!

Spring Plant Sale 2013

Garden enthusiasts look forward to this event each spring. The Idaho Botanical Garden Plant Sale offers water-wise and unique plants for your private garden. Look for the Plant Sale Catalog to plan your purchases (and your yard) in advance. Garden Members have exclusive entrance on Friday evening and are encouraged to mingle while enjoying a glass of wine and bit of cheese. Back by popular demand, all garden lovers, regardless of membership, are invited to shop on Saturday.

Members-Only Exclusive Sale: Friday, May 3rd, 2013
4 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Admission is Free.
This is an exclusive member event for current Garden members only. ‘Plus’ guests, friends and family of members are welcome to join us for Saturday’s Public Spring Plant Sale or may join/renew their membership at the kiosk before entering. If members need help carrying plants, Garden staff and volunteers will be available for assistance.

(Please bring your membership card for faster entry, if you do not have your card, a membership list will be available for look-up.)

NEW* Public Spring Plant Sale – General Public Welcome: Saturday, May 4, 2013
9 a.m. – 2 p.m.
General Garden Admission Applies.

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