garden3I’m ready to get serious about planting herbs and other plants around my home.

I’m a little wary to spend the money and want to make sure I’m getting the most bang for my buck.

I haven’t had much luck planting plants and, frankly am tired of funneling money into the green thumb cause.

Normally I’d buy something at whatever big box store I happened to shop at and have to throw it out in months.

That is, until last year when I bought several plants from a nursery. I was totally prepared for the plants to fail, but they wouldn’t die.

I live in Oklahoma, so in just a few months those plants survived a drought AND flooding. Plus, I placed the plants in a part of the yard where nothing else would grow. It was just dirt.

What the hell happened? Was it where I bought the plants? Did I just dig deep enough or care more?

I tracked down Mary Lou Havener, owner of MB Gardens and Landscape, to find out.

“Sometimes these nurseries use the same vendors as what a box store would use,” said Havener. “But they’re grown with different specifications.”

The first two minutes in to the interview with Mary Lou, I knew I was about to be enlightened.

“If you do buy at a box store or a retail store like that, just make sure you’ve got a good root system.”

The larger the root system, the better chances of the plant surviving. Got it!

garden4But, what about those small little six packs? You know… the ones that are usually the most affordable.

“If it’s been watered and is fairly loose, you can easily pull one of those items out. And if it’s packed with roots, it’s still going to be a good buy.”

The obvious signs are on the outside. Mary Lou says look at the leaves to make sure they’re green and not wilted or dry.

Now… once you get the plant home, success is in the soil.

“For a beginner, go to the store and buy good potting soil if you’re going to do container gardening, read on the label whether it contains a fertilizer.”

Natural is better. One tip Mary Lou recommends is adding egg shells.

I actually tried this once after a recommendation from my grandmother and it worked!

Mary Lou likes to take it to the next level… one I’m not yet willing to try. BUT, I admire Mary Lou for her dedication.

“If I need to buy a large quantity, I’ll buy just plain old potting soil and I’ll get a bag of manure and mix it together.”

If you’re into gardening or not, you gotta love a woman who will buy a bag of manure and love it.  Who knows? Maybe I’ll throw caution into the manure smelling wind and give it a try.

garden2Oh something else I learned… you can’t just go to the pasture and grab a cow patty. There’s actually an aging process. So don’t try that just yet. :O(

Want to grow a garden that attracts wildlife? Click here for details.

There are so many questions when thinking about starting with plants. Master gardeners spend decades honing their craft.

Find them at free events in your area and ask questions.

This weekend is SpringFest in the Tulsa, Oklahoma, area.

“It’s a marvelous festival. We always say that it kind of welcomes the springtime.”

More than 50 vendors with a wide assortment of items and the time to talk about your concerns and specific problems.

“It’s a place to get information, get plants and get started.”

Plus, you know you can find quality at these events.

“If you come to SpringFest, you are buying from the actual grower. They have grown it. They have nurtured it. All of these vendors have been in business for year and years and years.”

Go to an event like this and you can buy what’s called a pass-along plant. It’s a division from mature plants that have grown well in local gardens, therefore offering a good rate of success.

I learned too much from Mary Lou for a single blog post. Next week find out how to get started with a container garden and when it’s time to give up on a plant.

Here’s the info on SpringFest this weekend:


WHEN:                Friday, April 10 and Saturday, April 11
9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Volt will be on-site from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, April 11

WHERE:              Tulsa Garden Center
2435 S. Peoria
Tulsa, OK  74114