Gardening in February with the consultants – Shawnee Information-Star

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Gardening in February with the experts – Shawnee News-Star

By Becky Emerson Carlberg
For The Shawnee News Star Weekender

Next Saturday, February 4th, 2023, why not grab a hot cup of coffee (or tea) and continue to the Gordon Cooper Technology Center for an enjoyable morning listening to great plant speakers. No, or maybe yes, they may talk to plants, but all three are passionate about their subject.
The garden theme for 2023 is “Landscaping with a purpose”. Obviously this is not my garden we are talking about. Nature has her own ideas about what to do with my wildscape. Seems to match the birds and the rest of the wild population. Each season brings one or more new developments to the five hectares. All but two of my neighbor’s slash pines were decimated by the May 2013 tornado, but not before they spread through my wildscape. Currently, part of my land has turned into a pine forest. Not exactly central Oklahoma, it works for someone coming from Southeast Oklahoma with large stands of shortleaf pine.
Steve Owens, host of the television show Oklahoma Gardening from 2001 to 2006, founded Bustani Plant Farm in 2005. Bustani (Boo-stah-nee – Swahili for garden) was chosen to reflect her worldwide interest in botany and horticulture. The specialty nursery is filled with plants designed to live and survive in Oklahoma.
OSU Extension Specialist Shelley Mitchell will be speaking on “Gardening with Kids.” Kids love to get their hands in the dirt! She was involved in the very successful TURF (Tomorrow’s Undergraduates Realizing the Future) camp at Oklahoma State University for ten years. Camp Turf was a free two-week summer school for select high school freshmen and sophomores. Camp Turf not only introduced her to the various outdoor life sciences, but also to college life in general and the Stillwater community.
Sam Grimmett is the arborist (tree specialist) at the very cool Scissortail Park. His experience includes being an ISA (International Society of Arboriculture) certified arborist in Edmond for eleven years. He was hired by the Scissortail Park Foundation in 2019 and continues to work as a Subaru salesman. See Sam in action in the August 2020 Oklahoma Gardening episode “Trees in an Urban Landscape at Scissortail Park” https://video.okstate.edu/media/Trees+in+an+Urban+Landscape+at+Scissortail+ Park/1_jkhjb36g
Come down, up, east, west, north or south. Continental breakfast starts at 8:30 am with socializing and viewing of the stand. The first lecture is scheduled to begin at 9:00 am. Everything ends at 12:00 p.m. Raffle basket and door prizes. Price at the door $20.
Barn ceilings are one way to enhance the landscape. Originally many barns were not painted but had squares, rectangles or circles of painted wood identifying the owner. These images were soon modified by creative quilt makers.
The first quilts appeared as layers of fabric sewn together that the Turks wore under their armor during the Crusades. Portions of quilts have been found in ancient tombs, but two 14th-century full-piece quilts from Sicily are in museums in London and Florence. Both have elaborate scenes from Tristan and Isolde, depicting the illicit love affair between a Cornish knight/prince and an Irish princess who was destined to marry the cornman’s uncle, King Mark. Apparently, the two drank a love potion and henceforth only had eyes for each other, even though Isolde had married King Mark. The king was not amused.
Quilts were used in the more affluent households in colonial America. The colonists soon began making quilts out of layers of wool and linen sewn with decorative patterns on the top.
In the 17th century, Dutch farmers came from Pennsylvania, bringing “hex signs” with them from the old country. Similar to Scandinavia, the images of birds, hearts, grains and the popular six-pointed stars were painted on circular discs. Either for decoration or protection from the devil, take your pick.
Printed materials incorporated into quilts appeared before the revolutionaries in the 1800s. By the time of the Revolutionary War, barn ceilings were hung from the sides of barns, homes, and even shops. The barn roof was a sign to American soldiers that the area was safe, secure, and had supplies.
Nowadays, the barn ceiling can have geometric patterns, images from nature or even patterns of quilted bedspreads. Bright, vibrant colors make the quilts stand out from afar.
Mona the Monarch was a barn cover that graced the side of the shed at the Pottawatomie Extension Office. She was painted onto a 4’x4′ piece of treated, primed and pre-painted plywood before being sealed with several coats of marine paint. Mona was attached to the outer north wall in September 2020.
Mona fearlessly faced the elements until about two years later, small haloes of color began to appear on the edges of the barn ceiling. The tresses became streaks of sky-blue paint that detached from the underlying surface, but the butterfly remained intact until the surface was damaged further. Now the paint was coming off Mona’s lower wings. To protect the edges, a rough frame was attached and glued on three sides. Couldn’t reach the top under the small roof overhang. It was evident that being attached to an absorbent wood fiber wall and being exposed to extreme weather events shortened Mona’s life.
Mona had to come home. It was pryed off the wall on this warm, sunny, dry day, put into the van, driven to the house, and carried into the plastic bubble where it had been prepped and painted. She’s now resting on two sawhorses until I get some ideas on how to fix or replace the barn top.
Nowhere on the internet does anyone admit that their barn ceiling is disintegrating. I located a location that sells barn ceilings made from construction grade PVC that look like wood. The image is a UV and weather-resistant digital print. Wash it with soap and water from time to time. Indestructible.
Barn ceilings tell stories. Mona’s story is how beautiful and important butterfly gardens are. The flowers attract pollinators. A little bit of nature comes home.