‘Twisty Baby’ black locust is underplanted with pink Sheffield single mums.

This is the first year for the Sheffies, as they are called. I really like them because they stand up well without staking. Lots of flowers and buds at the same time. The buds have a darker coral color that contrasts well with the lighter pink of the open daisy-like flower. The other thing I like is that they are blooming in late October.

Single mum make great impact that gives an airy look for fall.

Pink Sheffield mum are planted under a black locust cultivar, 'Twisty Baby'.

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Species iris grown from seed collected by members of SIGNA, Species Iris Growers of North America.


Iris fulvala, a naturally occurring hybrid in the wild.



water-loving Iris virginica



Iris brevicaulis called the Zig Zag iris


I’m a member of SIGNA, a group of iris enthusiasts that collect and share seed for its members to grow them. I have many in my bog garden. This month I’ve moved 10 new ones to the growing beds and am waiting to see what color they will be and what species.  It is easy to grow species iris from seed. All it takes is a little patience and to join SIGNA. These irises were all grown from seed in a large plastic self-watering trough. I covered the trough with peony circles and bricks to prevent the squirrels from digging them up. A number of these species + I. hexagona, all together, produced the Louisiana Iris, a beautiful group of water-loving iris with many cultivars.



The long hike took us close to the tallest Waterfall, Agua Blanca.

Agua Blanca Waterfall in Costa Rica


This is the day! I’m joining thousands of other bloggers to talk about water, a resource we must protect.  I started my post with this photo that I took on a trip to Costa Rica because it is a country rich in water resources, which they use to produce clean energy and work to provide clean water for all. They are a good model to follow.

Yesterday I promised to talk about some ideas for solutions, small steps we can all take, to save this wonderful resource.  Great organizations are working on solutions to empower us to do our part to address the water crisis, such as these from the Natural Resources Defense Council:


1. Correctly dispose of hazardous household products. Keep paints, used oil, cleaning solvents, polishes, pool chemicals, insecticides, and other hazardous household chemicals out of drains, sinks, and toilets. Many of these products contain harmful substances — such as sodium hypochlorite, petroleum distillates, phenol and cresol, ammonia and formaldehyde — that can end up in nearby water bodies. Contact your local sanitation, public works, or environmental health department to find out about hazardous waste collection days and sites.* If a local program isn’t available, request one.

2.  Recycle and dispose of all trash properly. Never flush non-degradable products — such as disposable diapers or plastic tampon applicators — down the toilet. They can damage the sewage treatment process and end up littering beaches and waters.

3. Use natural fertilizers. Apply natural fertilizer such as compost, manure or bone meal whenever possible. Ask your local hardware and garden supply stores to stock these natural fertilizers. You can also buy a composting setup at a garden supply or hardware store, or by mail. Composting decreases the need for fertilizer and helps soil retain moisture. If you don’t know how to compost, visit The Compost Resource Page or the EPA’s composting pages or call the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Office, 479-444-1755, to get pamphlets on composting.

4.  Decrease impervious surfaces around your home. Having fewer hard surfaces of concrete and asphalt will improve drainage around your home and in your yard. Do your landscaping with vegetation, gravel or other porous materials instead of cement; install wood decking instead of concrete, and interlocking bricks and paver stones for walkways. Redirect rain gutters and downspouts to soil, grass or gravel areas. Planting vegetation at lower elevations than nearby hard surfaces allows water to seep into the soil, increasing the ground water level.  

5. Be an activist. Contact your public officials and attend hearings to encourage them to support laws and programs to protect our water. Ask officials to control polluted runoff, increase protection for wetlands and other aquatic ecosystems, reduce the flow of toxics into our waterways, and strengthen enforcement. Volunteer for a beach or stream clean up, tree planting, water quality sampling, or stream pollution monitoring project sponsored by a local environmental group or watershed council. Visit NRDC’s Earth Action Center to get government contact information and learn about urgent issues you can get in involved in.

6.  Drop the Bottle: Reducing the amount of bottled water we use helps cut back on petroleum, carbon emissions, and of course, waste. It also helps protect ecosystems in rural areas where spring water is mined, often with little regulation on how much water can be pumped. Instead of spending money on bottled water, we should be directing our efforts to making sure all of our water infrastructure is properly maintained and that everyone has clean, affordable water coming from their taps.

The suggestions above are all easy to do and simple to teach to others. Our down spouts are connected to perforated pipes in the ground to trap all of the roof run-off.  I only use organic products in the garden, we recycle everything we can AND we’ve dropped the bottle!  We have a whole-house water filter so we drink our tap water and carry it with us in safe containers, unlike the plastic water bottles. To get started, just pick one thing to do. If everyone in the world did that, think what a great change for the better we could accomplish.  Save our water, our most important resource.

Hey, I’m back to writing my blog. . .

I took this photo of a lovely, sparkling stream while traveling in  Wales. In the United States and in other fortunate countries, like the United Kingdom, we often take water for granted. It is just always there when we need it, BUT, nearly one billion people lack access to clean water. African women spend 40 billion hours  struggling to carry water for cooking, drinking and cleaning, and 38,000 children die every week due to unsafe drinking water. This year, on October 15th,  thousands of bloggers from over 125 different countries will come together to write about water issues around the world.

The problem of scarce clean water is the biggest one facing under-developed countries, but in industrialized nations like our own, the biggest problem is the over-consumption of our precious resource. Tomorrow, I will join all of the other bloggers,  by writing about solutions for our planet’s water issues. Join me. Thanks.