Lilac chasteberry, Vitex agnes-castus

Have you seen these flowering shrubs around Oklahoma City? Vitex was known to Pliny the Elder in Rome and is from a Mediterranean climate which thrives in OKC, especially against a south wall. They can take the wind and traffic of being close to the street, and rival a buddleia butterfly bush for long beautiful blooms. The five lobed leaf shape can be echoed across the landscape with Japanese maples and cannabis (for licensed patients, up to six plants behind a six foot fence). For contrast, plant with Russian sage and Threadleaf bluestar. Photo taken by Karolyn Chowning in 2021.



Bearded Iris - Iris germanica 'Royal Storm'

Iris can't be easier to plant. These have been growing in my backyard in OKC, no pesticides. I use them to cover areas that I don't want to edge or weed-whack. You can do that too, come on and get you some. Now these aren't the tiny one-color iris you might be used to seeing around. These are big, bearded iris that are deep purple and light lavender. A toddler called them "cupcake flowers" and they look delicious. When plants them, get the roots underground but the rhizome part just barely covered. They seriously do grow fine in backfill or clay here in central OK. Iris are equally lovely as a cut flower or a garden staple. Watch for the goofy bumble bees bumbling in and out of them :) They grow tall in the garden and are sturdy in our winds. You can expect them to multiply at a pleasant pace and divide them yearly if you want to spread them around. Come on and plant some different colored iris this year and you'll have an excellent stand of them next year. Picture taken by Karolyn Chowning in Oklahoma City, 2018