Thursday, July 3, 2008

The President's Tour

David Baker is the President of the Montgomery County Master Gardener Organization. That is him pictured above showing us his 'sacrificial' dill plant. He sacrifices the dill for the swallowtails, but was surprised one of the visitors to his garden was in awe because it was doing so well. He calmly replied, "I don't do anything for it, it is sacrificial." Now isn't that like gardening? You work your heart out to grow something that suffers and does not do well, then the gardener down the street grows the very same thing as a sacrificial plant-and does it better than you! Urrrr! Anyhow, David's garden was one of the seven featured gardens on this year's garden tour. I had the privilege of visiting his garden on Saturday after the tour.

I got an extra bonus in that there were plants left over from the plant sale. David's specialty is Angel Trumpets, a favorite of mine too. I got a few starts real cheap and am very happy about them.

I asked David to write something up and to share something with the readers of this blog. He came through! Despite not having Internet at home OR at work, he made the effort by going to the library to do this work, and I appreciate it.

One of the most popular parts of David's garden was this 'Impatiens Tower' he designed and planted. David has been kind enough to type up his instructions for constructing it. I will be one of the viewers making one as it was a really cool way to grow impatiens that anyone can easily fit into the garden.

This is what Dave had to say of the tour:

I enjoyed talking with the many guests who toured my garden on June 21, 2008. There was a total of seven gardens on the tour. Many individuals shared that they had enjoyed the variety within the gardens.

My guests were very impressed by the show that my hydrangea provided. It is an old fashioned mophead hydrangea. I have taken cuttings each time we have moved. One popular question-How do you keep it's blooms blue in color? the answer is the application of aluminum sulfate. Since my wife likes a mixture of color, I apply the aluminum sulfate to three sides of the plant. This allows a few pink to lavender colored blooms on the front of the plant. The other question-What fertilizer do you use? The answer is that I don't. This plant has been happy in it's corner since 1989.

The endless summer hydrangea also offered numerous blue blooms. Although the oak leaf hydrangea had gone through it's peak season of white bloom, it still had numerous bloom heads that had faded to a pinkish color. Several people were quite interested in this plant. My oak leaf hydrangea is a standard one which I keep pruned. I shared that persons considering a foundation planting might consider a dwarf form of the plant to avoid pruning.

We had many conversations throughout the day about my impatiens tower located on the north side of our home. The mixed colors in the tower offered numerous blooms. I shared the material list and construction tips with many individuals. I have prepared a sheet that details the construction of this project. Many guests indicated that they intended to construct their own tower. You could use other plants in the tower in sunny locations. Petunias would be one such plant.

Another great plant that put on a good show was Monarda (Garden View Scarlet)-common name Bee Balm.

Several people purchased a brugmansia-common name of Angel Trumpet. Mine were not ready to bloom, but I am including a photo from September 2007. I provided the purchasers with a photo sheet with instructions on how to over winter the plant since it isn't winter hardy in our zone. I have four varieties of this plant-a pink, a yellow, a white, and a variegated. They always put on a good show each year.

Thanks David!

I am not sure if I can upload a file on Blogger, therefore, readers interested in David's instructions for building the impatiens tower should email me for a copy. It is a pdf file. I will be one of the individuals making this outstanding tower and will most likely post on the process (giving David credit of course!).

David's datura picture did not come through, but for more information on them, click here. These are OUTSTANDING plants and very drought tolerant. Like I said before, I was delighted to get a few new starts for my garden. David's advice on winterizing them was helpful too.

This concludes my tours of the other gardens on the Montgomery County Garden tour for 2008. There is one other garden, but I failed (miserably) to get photographs of this garden. It was a truly beautiful, sunny, and colorful paradise though. Lots of whimsy, hardscaping, a koi pond, and neat containers. TONS of plants, including a special double oak leaf hydrangea. Maybe one day I will go visit it again and snap some pictures.

in the garden....


  1. Another beautiful hydrangea, I'll have to get a blue or pink, endless summer. While I'm lady would be nice. A tad frustrating when others grow better, the schools pansies are doing better than mine! And I'm here always!
    The flower tower is a cute idea, nice space maker.

  2. Tina,

    Your series of garden tours has been fun...and each garden has its own unique look and feel. That is one of the best things about tours...seeing how people use the same plants in different and creative ways. Thank you for taking us along with you.

    Boy, did I miss out on the PPS tours this year. I have a feeling that next years will be better...folks will have had two years to recover from 2007's freeze and drought.

    BTW, I do think your garden is a delight...and the bed with the Mullein is good looking.


  3. Great post. Is that asparagus in the first photo (in the background)? After seeing his it occurred to me asparagus might look good behind some of my perennials?

    I always plant for the butterfly larva. Parsley, dill, and a volunteer tomato for the sphinx larva.

    I like the impatiens tower. Is your email addy on the blog somewhere?

  4. The tower is a neat idea! I never thought about encouraging a hydrangea to bloom on three sides with one color and the other with the other. You learn something new everyday. There is a way to do files on blogger but I would need to look it up. It's the same thing I did for my bird audio file I uploaded a long time ago.

  5. Good morning all!

    Dawn, I love hydrangeas too. But a word of warning, Red Lady did not last here. I think it may be marginally hardy there so check it out before you buy it.

    Gail, Garden tours are so great. I would be so intimidated going on a PPS tour. Some of those guys live in mansions with estate gardens. There is a slideshow of them each winter at a meeting. I could not believe it all, but so beautiful. Nashville is a pretty city and fairly rich compared to Clarksville. And thanks for the comment on the mullein bed. That bed is in its second season and coming along. My gardening style is somewhat crammed and full and a big mix, not for everyone but I like the plants. With time it works itself out.

    Marnie, Good eye! That is asparagus and one of David's specialties. I think it is pretty too and would go great in a perennial bed. Email me at: It is on my profile as well. I can attach the in depth instructions and mail it to you. It is ingenous really how he designed it.

    David, The hydrangea thing is a trick. I recently read something on a blog about it. It was cute and stuck with me. She said in horticultural school she learned to have a multi color hydrangea pour vinegar on one side and drive nails in the ground on the other side. Isn't that kind of cool? I haven't tried it.

    I did once upload an audio file too, but this is a pdf file and quite a detailed document. I am not sure how it would show and felt emailing it out would be a better method. You would love the tower for your shade garden-it just takes two pvc pipes-so if you want the file let me know.

  6. Such lovely gardens. I do wish I knew more about plants and flowers, but I am learning more and more each day. Thanks Tina

  7. My poor hydrangea is layed over because the blooms are so big and heavy this year. Should I cut some of them off or just leave it?

  8. Sarah, Thank you so much and do drop by sometime!

    Jillybean, I wouldn't cut my hydrangea blooms unless you want some dried blooms in the house. I like mine in the garden. But to hold them up you might try a rope around the whole shrub? Just to pull it all together until the blooms dry and lighten up. This will give it some support for a bit.

  9. Hello All,
    Another great garden you've shared with us. I truly enjoyed it. So many plants, & the flowers, great. The dill is a great idea so is the asparagus. I have asparagus growing--the regular & what they call the red kind. It is sweeter than the regular. Somehow I've wound up with asparagus all over the place---in flower beds, by the black berry vines, out front in bed by flag pole. I just let it grow as it is so expensive in grocery stores. I like to just pop it off & eat raw. Yummmmmm, so good.
    I would like details on how to make the tower. You have my add.

  10. Hi Tina, I feel like I have been to these gardens along with you, great job describing the people and gardens. I want to share with you about my neightbor Mickey's daturas. He has several and after a while they got too large to repot and drag into his heated shed for the winter. He cut them down to about three feet tall and surrounded them with cages made from reinforcing wire, about four feet tall. He fills this with leaves in the fall, and adds to it as the leaves break down. After all danger of frost in the spring, he uncovers them, waters and fertilizes them. They grow to be over ten feet each season, dripping down with the huge trumpet flowers. The orangey yellow is my favorite. I don't know what your zone is, if you are colder than our zone 7a, but the last few years our winters have not have the single digits too much at all. I would grow your daturas on a while but if they get too big, try the Mickey method.

  11. Hi Tina --another very nice garden. And, I am so excited --we just had a rain shower out here!!! I am so excited --everything has been so dry. I hope we get more tonight:) The kiddos want to go out and walk in it. Hi everyone --have a great 4th!

  12. Hi Lola, I will send you the instructions post haste. I wish I had room for asparagus, but I don't. Lucky you to enjoy it.

    Frances, The next time I come that way can I get a tour of M & M garden? Just kidding. I know it is spendid. I will try their method but David also has a similar method. He says to take a 40 lb bag of potting soil and put over the stump once it is cut off, then pile up the leaves and mulch. I will use a cage to hold the leaves like M & M do. Last year I sadly did nothing with my orange angel trumpet, and just as sadly it did not come back. They are way too big to dig and mine never bloomed when I did dig, so I just can't see digging anymore but hate to lose them. I hope it works for me. I will use both methods. Question, what does he use to fertilze them? Anything special? Do you have some in your garden? Maybe get a cutting or two for surely it would fit in right next to the blue rose on top of the hill. I can see it now.

    Anonymous, We are excited too! A short rain but any is welcomed! Especially when it was not forecast. Still hoping for more tomorrow. Maybe the lawn will perk up and things won't totally die. You have a happy 4th too! I have a special post for tomorrow. The boys will want to see it then bug mom and dad to do it too. Be sure to check it out-a video too!

  13. Thanks for sharing this. I was down there for the state MG conference and really enjoyed the MCMG demonstration garden.

  14. Hi Tina, I'm sure he uses something like Miracle grow on the daturas. I have grown them before and used to take them into the greenhouse, but as you say, they just get too big. Hope yours makes it through the winter. I am planning on putting more of hesperaloes around the shed. The Financier got me a huge one for Mother's Day and it could be divided next spring. The hummingbirds love the flowers, which are taller than I am, which is not saying much. ;->

  15. Aunt Debbi/Kurt's Mom, Did you go to Missouri? Isn't that where the conference was held? If you ever come to TN please let me know as I would love to meet you. I wanted to go to the conference but it was not in the cards. It was close to us which would've made it handy.

    Frances, Thanks. I hope it makes it too. Killed me to lose the other one. And I began digging the roots out and it seemed they were alive but nothing came up. The red yuccas would look great there. I love mine but it doesn't bloom each year. The blooms last so long.