Blueberry Pancakes
½ c cornmeal
1 ½ c flour
3 Tablespoons sugar
1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
1 ½ teaspoon baking soda
1 ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
2 ½ c buttermilk
2 eggs
3 Tablespoons butter, melted
1 ½ c blueberries
Vegetable, canola or coconut oil for the skillet

Whisk cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt together in a bowl. Pour the buttermilk, eggs and melted butter into the mixture.

Whisk everything together. Dust blueberries in a bit of flour so they don't sink, then stir them into the batter. Add 1 tablespoon oil to skillet and cook medium-low until bubbles rise to the surface and bottoms brown, about 2 minutes each side. Makes 10.

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The Joshua Tree 
Any plant that you find growing in the desert doesn't like living there. The desert is like a lot of lousy apartments; nobody can afford to move. No air conditioning, temperature too high, no shade, too little water and bad neighbors; the desert has lots of these little miseries ratcheted up to the extreme.

The Joshua tree  (Yucca brevifolia) is one of the rare plants that can eek out an existence in an otherwise hostile world. It really isn't a tree at all but a succulent, specially adapted to tolerate life-threatening stresses over and over again. The Joshua tree stands 15 to 40 feet tall, takes 50 to 60 years to mature, and can live for as long as 150 years. So when you see one standing tall among the cacti and other thorny shrubs, you know you're looking at many, many decades of slow but determined growth.

You're also looking at the work of a single moth species.
Joshua trees rely on the yucca moth for pollination. No other animal visiting the blooms transfers the pollen from one flower to another. Without the moth's pollination, the Joshua tree could not reproduce, nor could the moth, whose larvae would have no seeds to eat. Although old Joshua trees can sprout new plants from their roots, only the seeds produced in pollinated flowers can scatter far enough to establish a new stand.

The name Joshua tree was given by a group of Mormons crossing the Mojave Desert in the mid-19th century. The tree's unique shape reminded them of a Biblical story in which Joshua reaches his hands up to the sky in prayer. 

Most species of cacti have lost true leaves, retaining only spines, which are highly modified leaves.

Most cacti are succulents, but many succulents are not cacti. Agaves, ocotillos, aloes are among the spiny and swollen plants often mistaken for cactus. Many of these cactus look-a-likes even have spines; however they lack the characteristic cactus flower and the spines do not arise in clusters from areoles.

Succulents are drought-resistant, colorful, love sun and come in a zillion shapes and sizes. They may be the gardening worlds most forgiving plants.

Cactus are low maintenance and long lasting.

For more information on cacti and other types of succulent plants. 
What About BOB?
We have a relatively new leaf disease of bur oaks that is known as "BOB" or bur oak blight ( Tubakia ). Diseased leaves turn brown and the tree appears to be dying. The symptoms generally occur on the lower branches but during successive years can intensify, eventually covering the entire canopy.
The disease really needs a warm, wet spring to get it going. A shift in climate including warmer nighttime temperatures, more humidity, more spring and summer rainfall may have m ade this disease more prevalent over the last two decades. The disease becomes noticeable by mid-July, sometimes almost appearing overnight. Earlier than mid-summer, and it's most likely something else such as oak wilt or anthracnose.
The infected tree holds onto its curled, brown leaves throughout much of the winter instead of dropping leaves in the fall like healthy bur oaks. Controlling this disease by cleaning up fallen leaves won't help. Pruning away affected branches won't help. BOB spreads when the pathogen survives over the winter in hanging leaves, which then becomes a source for more fungal spores to re-infect the tree the following spring. Those spores splash down on emerging leaves when it rains, perpetuating the cycle.
Infected trees will appear healthy and produce new leaves the following spring, only to appear to be dying by late summer. While it may not kill directly, over time BOB can weaken a tree so that it's more susceptible to two-lined chestnut borer attacks and other stressors.
The most common treatment for BOB is a trunk injection of Alamo® (proprionazole), which is a fungicide used to treat oak wilt. Injections are done early in the season (May or June), but at a lower rate than used for oak wilt. A single treatment may benefit the tree for several years.

Leaves become discolored in late summer
with yellow wedge shaped blotches.

Due to the fact that BOB overwinters on dead leaves that stay on the tree, removing fallen infected leaves or pruning away lower branches will do little in terms of disease control.

BOB-related leaf loss starts at the bottom
of the canopy and moves up. 
Once BOB gets established in a tree, it intensifies year after year and can spread to adjacent trees.

Once all deciduous trees have lost their leaves, bur oaks affected by BOB stand out because they hang onto scattered dead leaves throughout the winter.
For more information on BOB, you may reference this video by Iowa State University's Plant Pathology Dept.         

Thanks for reading.  
Happy Planting!    


Faith Appelquist

President & Founder


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