Thursday, July 31, 2008

Whimsy in the Garden-Design Workshop

I love whimsy in my garden. Some might call it the 'redneck' or 'tacky' factor in my garden, but all will without a doubt get a kick out of the little touches. There is nothing more pleasant than someone laughing in a garden, even if it is at themselves because I have fooled them in some small way such as what happened with the yucca tulips. The following pictures show a bit of whimsy and all have stories associated with them in one way or another; which makes the whimsy even more whimsical!

My mother got me a bunch of these ceramic signs to place in my garden. I strategically placed this one next to my front door as a hint. Though no one has gotten the hint yet!
Bottle trees are the funnest. Here is a close up of mine. It is in a visible location from the house and I love looking at it all times of the day. A few folks think bottle trees are the best-no watering required!

This sign was found for a mere $10 at the Nashville Flea Market. Mr. Fix-it kindly mounted it above his garage door. I love the color and the wording and the history it must have behind it. I have been to New Orleans a few times and Bourbon Street in particular. All trips have been special and I have good memories of Bourbon Street, so its wording is ideal in my garden. This sign is also visible from the house.

And even I will admit this could be construed as a bit rednecky, right up there with toliets in the yard-shhhh-you didn't hear me say that! My goldfish pond is doing well though I did lose five huge goldfish to an unknown predator, I still have two left.
Lastly, I will leave you with some bowling whimsy. And no! I never owned a bowling alley but used to be an EXCELLENT bowler as a teenager. I still love to bowl, but that is not why bowling gear is in my garden. I like the bowling balls, shoes and pins because they wear well and fit in well with my garden-and they are colorful! Here you see three green bowling balls suspended. They have withstood all sorts of weather for about one year and look great.

Here is my bowling ball garden. These bowling balls serve a functional purpose more than just a decorative purpose, though the decoration of the great color is what I love. They actually line this garden and help slow down water run off into this little rain garden and further down the slope to a natural stream on my neighbor's property. A local bowling alley kindly gave me these balls. Sure helps the landfills, don't you think? All I had to do was haul them off.

I found this bowling pin fella at a flea market. I like him mainly because he ties in with my bowling balls and the bowling shoes. The bowling shoes were given to me by the same local bowling alley. I have filled the three pairs with different types of sedum.

There is more whimsy in my garden, but this is taste and probably about all I want to show right now. Hope you enjoyed. Thanks to Gardening Gone Wild for coming up with these design workshops. They really make me think and help give a direction for a monthly post. I also must add in a link and thanks to Aunt Debbi/Kurt's Mom in Texas for encouraging bloggers to share some whimsy in their gardens.

in the garden....smiling but not bowling-yet.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

What Type of Flower Are You?

Two days ago I stated what type of flowers I thought some of my commenters were (at least to me). It was fun. I thought about both the flower and its representations and characteristics, as well as the person's characteristics and what I thought they would like to be as a flower and also maybe what they saw themselves as. Truthfully, I related memories and associations when coming up with some of my pairings.
There is actually a test on the Internet that tells you what type of flower you are. It is a fun test and I took it awhile back. The test said I was a Canna. I can live with that, though it would have to be a bright yellow canna that never gets attacked by Japanese beetles! I know many readers have done the test and know what flower they are according to this test, but what type of flower do you see yourselves as in your own mind? Is it the same as what the test said as far as associations and attributes?
Just for fun, picture yourself a flower, what would you be? Then visit the website and take the test and see if the two match up. What kind of flower do you think others would see you as? You don't have to state the reasons for your choice, but if you like just let us know if the test came up with what you expected. If you wish to share your flower-please do so!
in the garden....
I need some help with the above flower. What type is it??? I purchased it at a plant sale in Maine last year. It was simply labeled "Camp Flower". Does anyone know what it could be? The foliage is similar to that of delphiniums and it is about 3 feet tall.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Garden Art, from Bowling Balls

Okay, okay, probably everyone has heard enough about bowling balls from me, but I just can't seem to stop. If you don't like reading about them-stop right now.

My friend Geri is an excellent gardener and also likes crafts. She doesn't have any bowling balls lining her gardens or on poles suspended in the air, but she does have some bowling balls. Where are they you ask? Why in the garden of course! I just saw them yesterday and they are looking good!

I shared a few of my many bowling balls with her so she could make these beautiful treasures. In return, I insisted she let me post about them. They are so beautiful! The picture really does not do them justice. These bowling balls are covered with glass gems and absolutely sparkle! She made two, and Clare (her daughter) made two. It was one of their craft projects over a long weekend. Here are the directions Geri and Clare used to make their cool bowling ball art courtesy of Backyard Living, Lynne Hansen, Nov/Dec 07.

1. Fill finger holes with silicone caulk

2. Spread tile adhesive on the ball and add the accouterments to it. Leave about 1/2 inch of space between decorations for grout application. If you are going to set the ball on a stand, leave the bottom clear. Let dry for 24 hours.
3. Mix grout to the consistency of cake batter. Adding a grout additive instead of water will help it weather better.

4. Apply grout with a sponge, wiping off excess as you go along. Let dry.
5. I am planning seal mine, though the directions don't say to do so.

6. Now enjoy!

Today is my sister Dawn's birthday. Happy Birthday!!!!!!!!!! I won't say the age though I am still older even though we are the same age now.

in the garden....

Monday, July 28, 2008

The Story of the Commenters

All right, now is the time to talk about my commenters. I spend enough time in the garden and talking about it, time to let my faithful and loyal commenters shine.

A few bloggers have emailed me asking about my little group. Many know Skeeter and Lola. These two comment on a ton of blogs and are great commenters. Some know my mother, Jean. She comments on a few blogs she established a relationship with early on in my blogging 'career'. My mother reads more than she comments on. Dawn, my sister, is a loyal and funny commenter ever since my mother and I let her know how to comment. She now has her own blog and is very busy still talking here and blogging in the craft blog community. Anonymous and Nina, well you will have to read their stories below.

The commenters are not listed in any certain order. I have stuck to the original six NOT to slight anyone else who comments on here. Especially my wonderful oldest daughter (Christine) who comments occasionally. I have stuck with these six simply because they were with me when I blogged through an FTP site and were with me religiously. All kept me going and it was like having a conversation with each daily. I have met all, except Lola. Lola lives in Florida and it would difficult for us to meet. We have all traded emails, addresses and phone numbers. We have become friends through this blog and enjoy talking. Blogging buddies or not, you develop a relati
onship blogging and I think sometimes it is MUCH easier than developing relationships in person. At least you know the person you are speaking to has the same interest (gardening). I don't know about you all out there in cyberland, but as soon as I start talking gardening to others their eyes are liable to roll back in their heads and they are just not all interested (big surprise to me). Big hurdle when you try to establish something in common with someone else. Not so on here as everyone who visits usually likes to garden.

None of my commenters had their own blogs when we began talking. My sister Dawn started hers much later due to the great amount of fun she had on my blog. Skeeter was a member of another blog and was familiar with blogging, but d
oes not have her own blog. She and I share pretty well on here.

I am not including commenters like Dave, Frances and Gail, who all have their own blogs and were also early commenters in this posting. They would need their own posting. I do appreciate every one who takes the time to comment on here, especially other bloggers. I have also been fortunate to meet a few other bloggers; which was super great! But Dave, Frances and Gail and I all kind of found each other through the blogging community; whereas these original six found my blog through a different community, one published via an FTP.

This FTP was a whole new ballpark for bloggers. I would never recommend blogging throu
gh an FTP to anyone who truly WANTS to blog and relate to others, but it did bring into my life some really nice people I might not ever have met except through the FTP. (One can never be sure though) Those are: Skeeter, Nina, and Lola. I already knew Anonymous, and obviously I know my mother and sister.

Now, on to the commenters. Since this is a garden blog, and since you all know how corny I am at times (okay-maybe like all the time!), I chose pictures of flowers to represent my commenters. Also, I want to say I refer to these guys as my commenters, but really they aren't! They can read and comment anywhere! The good thing about the computer and cyberland is that commenters are not limited to a certain blog. There are SO many blogs that readers and commenters can be picky
and choosy. At the same time, there is no way commenters can ever possibly comment on all blogs they read and like. It is NEVER personal, and I know all folks understand this. Commenters, bloggers, and even readers who never comment, need to find their niche and they have to have something in common with the blogger in order to return. So, onto my flowers....oops! commenters!
This picture of lilacs represents Anonymous. Lilacs are her favorite flower. She is from Pennsylvania and remembers their sweet fragrance from the north. It is great she can grow them down here. She chooses to remain anonymous and I will always respect her privacy. Anonymous lives locally and she and I have been friends for more than five years, though we had lost contact for a few years. When my new blog (published through an FTP) was to begin, there was some publicity about it in the newspaper. Anonymous's Number #2 son saw my picture and told his mom. She began reading the blog from nearly day one way back in September of 2007. I never knew! Anonymous would never comment. I ran into her one day at the Wal-Mart and we began talking. I was quite shocked she knew all about me, my grandson and the Jimster and so on! I don't know why I would be surprised, I mean duh, the info is out there for anyone to read. I guess the shocking part was not knowing who was reading, and not knowing she was reading. Very shocking indeed in this small community.

Anonymous has contributed many photos to this blog and is an excellent photographer. She took the picture of the lilacs posted above.

After a time, we began talking on here. Slowly and hesitantly at first. Commenting in cyberworld can be a daunting thing. Truly. And I do think you have to be careful about it all. Anonymous did the right thing by moving slowly. Now thanks to the blog, Anonymous and I have a daily relationship that has grown and grown. We all love to hear her talk about Sidekick chasing lizards, or catching snakes, Girl Model decorating her room, Boy #2's baseball antics, and Boy #1's activities as well. Not to mention her 'Red Beauty' and the ritual of cutting the grass (with a weedwhacker?!). I always enjoy her comments and we visit in person as well. This friendship has been going strong for awhile and will continue for life.

The hydrangea has to without a doubt represent my mother, Jean. Whenever I see hydrangeas I think of my grandmother and the hydrangea my grandmother planted in my mother's vegetable garden.

My mother is handicapped and has an awful hard time getting around. She has not gardened in years, but I grew up with a garden everywhere we lived due to her love for gardens. The one thing my mother can do is to use a computer. She doesn't know a single thing about the technical machines but sure does love the Internet. Along came a little blog called, In the Garden authored by her oldest daughter, and now my mother had a new outlet on the Internet that led to two very important things. The first is that she and I can talk not only each and every day, but she can also see what is going on in my life and my garden. She can see pictures of my family real time and we can talk about it all. The second thing is that she has been motivated to begin her own gardening endeavors. Her gardens have helped her to be able to move around a bit more and also have helped to bring our far flung family together in the common goal of working Mother Earth. It has been great fun talking with my mother each day.

My mother visits a few other blogs here in Tennessee. She doesn't always comments but reads and really takes an interest in the people behind the blogs.

My sister Dawn is not even one year younger than me. We never had much in common growing up (think always fighting as it is with close in age siblings who almost always had to share a room!) but we sure do now. The above rose is a beautiful rose growing in Dawn's garden in Maine. It is a purple bluish one and very fragrant. Dawn has many roses and that is why I chose a rose to represent Dawn. Though my mother would say she is a Georgia Peach, I do not have a photograph of a peach blossom.

Dawn is a gardener, a collector and a crafter. I am also all three of these but my first love is gardening. Dawn's first love is crafting. She used to read this blog occasionally, then was schooled on how to comment. She has been on here ever since. Oftentimes my commenters would send me pictures that they wanted to share. I used to do the posts but once I switched to blogger, I chose to invite my commenters to share their own pictures in their own words. Dawn took the plunge and began sharing gardening related posts from Maine. I always enjoy her posts and her comments, especially Oy Vey! A few of my favorite posts from Dawn are: Dwarf Dogwood and Fiddleheads and Sensation.

Dawn and her husband have been building their dream house for about four years now. She has finally completed the house and is getting settled. Once that hurdle was no more she was able to focus on her crafting. Dawn started her own blog called C & G Designs. She posts daily and has made many contacts of her own. She has agreed to continue to post on here occasionally, and we have decided the first Saturday of each month is her posting day. It has worked well and I enjoy being able to share this blog with the commenters and readers. I appreciate the break too!

The iris has to be Nina. Nina is a true meet on the blog gardening friend. I never knew her prior to her talking with me on the blog. She loves to garden and is an experienced gardener too! I have learned quite a bit from her and she enjoys my 'lectures' on gardening as well.

I can't remember what Nina first commented on, but I have a funny story to share about it. She would comment each night on the same post after I had already gone to bed. I would get up in the morning and check the posts and find she had commented. I would always start my reply with "Good morning." Do you know I probably had about 6 or 7 "Good mornings" on that one post to Nina? After a while it probably looked pretty silly to viewers. Sigh. Yes, we were all kind of new to blogging. Now I feel like I am an old experienced blogger but never do I miss those early days. No sirreee! Now I will say good morning just once on each post.

Nina and I continued to talk for some time. We talked of gardening, of her father and of plants. After a while some of the commenters began talking to each other. Nina and my mother had a great deal in common, though all commenters at the time started conversations with one another. There were some days I did not even need to comment because they would talk amongst themselves. Those days when the commenters talk with one another are always my proudest days as a blogger. I loved seeing the community develop among the commenters. A relationship began developing. Plans were made to meet and carried through. Nina, Anonymous, Sidekick and I had a delightful lunch at the Front Page Deli one bleary winter day. The next meeting was an invite to lunch at Nina and Jean's place south of Clarksville. It was delightful! I got to see her gardens and beautiful home, meet her husband, and just hang out and talk gardening. Since then we have met a few more times. Plants and gifts were exchanged (thanks Nina!) and we have gotten to know each other. I am so glad to have met Nina and look forward to exchanging many more gardening stories.

Nina is also the person who introduced me to those famous 'Yucca Tulips'.She even made her own and sent me a picture. I have a feeling it will be an annual tradition here at In the Garden. Nina is also a bottle tree lover and has one of her own as well as many of my friends.

The daylily above can only be my one and only commenter, Lola. It is yellow, (my favorite color in the garden), strong and reliable. It is a mainstay in all of our gardens, as is Lola here at In the Garden. Lola is one of the most faithful and smartest commenters on here. I met Lola through the FTP website. The relationship began with emails then progressed onto talking on the blog. We still do email frequently. Since day one Lola has talked with each and every person on here. I always, always love how she makes a point to respond to each person.

Lola lives in Florida but is originally from close to me here in Tennessee. It is unlikely she will travel much so if we are to meet, I think it will have to be in Florida. One of my sisters lives in Florida, as does my uncle, so we may just meet one day. Even if we don't, my mother has talked of meeting up with Lola in Florida, and I have many pictures of her and her family. I know Lola has a few 'Young Uns', and some very cute great grandkids living near her. She loves to garden and is a brilliant gardener, coming up with some very innovative methods of solving problems.

Lola has collaborated with me on several postings, to include: Poke Me a Salat, Arbors (though some of the pictures were lost in the switchover from the FTP), Tuberroses, Tip Day, Poinsettias, Raised Beds, and most likely a few others as well. It is getting hard for me to remember with nearly 400 posts in 10 months. Please forgive me Lola. And keep up the super conversation and sharing of your vast knowledge.

Lastly, is Skeeter. Skeeter is a rose for sure (though lantana and butterfly weed ran a close second). Skeeter and I met when she was a member of another blog on the FTP website. She is an ardent blogger and super nice person. We first met last fall when she came to town from Georgia for a visit with her family. We met at the library on hot fall day and exchanged a few gifts. It was wonderful to meet her and her husband the Saint. Our next meeting saw Skeeter and the Saint coming out to Tiger Gardens. We had a lovely visit and talked for quite a while. I really appreciated her taking time out of her very busy visits to Clarksville to travel all the way out to my neck of the woods. Anyone who travels to visit family knows how busy these trips can be and to have her make the special effort meant a lot to me.

I wish I could say Skeeter was my very first commenter, but someone else beat her to the punch. No matter, Skeeter has been the longest and most faithful and regular commenter on this blog. Out of 342 posts (not counting this one), only six posts don't have a comment. This is solely due to Skeeter commenting every single day no matter what! Skeeter-what is up with those six??? Just kidding. Some posts would only have two comments, mine and hers, or even just one comment, hers. I was so discouraged those first few months that I considered giving up this blog. She encouraged me and kept the faith and held on. Somehow she just knew the blog would pick up and more people would begin commenting. I have to say, that this was during a time when this blog was published through an FTP website. I had no idea how many readers were reading (if any) and was discouraged about the whole situation. The FTP people were not much help, Skeeter was the biggest help through it all. I only tell you this because most bloggers have the ability to track their stats, I did not. So not getting comments (except from Skeeter) and not knowing my readership was a bit discouraging. Now of course I track my own stats and get comments regularly. Comments are-how did one blogger put it? Annie in Austin put it best when she says, "A comment from you is like chocolate- maybe I could live without it, but life is more fun with it." Skeeter is just one of the many commenters who put the fun in this blog, but she should get an award just for doing this so regularly and so faithfully that I am so impressed! Okay! Enough on the comments.

Skeeter is an avid gardener and pet lover. She will tell you her pets always come first, and they do! But running right alongside the two black-as-night kitties (Sheba and Cheetah?) is her love for gardening. She is an excellent gardener and has shared many, many photos and topics with me over the past ten months. Too many to link or address, but I will mention just a few. The very first post Skeeter helped me out with was Lantana. In fact, she brought me a huge lantana plant from her garden. I am happy to say it is doing well in blooming in yellow in my garden. This post was on October 2, 2007 and was posted within one week of my beginning the blog! Skeeter was there from the start and it has been so great!!!!!!!!!!!!! She was also my 'partner in crime' in taking pictures of some Butchered Crepe Myrtles. I never could've done this post without her help. From the beginning Skeeter has helped me out.

Once I switched my blog to blogger from the FTP site, I realized there was no need of her or any of the commenters helping me out anymore. Now I could easily add them in as contributors to In the Garden and they could post on their own about things they found important in their areas. This plan never would've worked had it not been for the relationship we all developed on this blog over the time it has been in existence. We have a unique blog in that we can do this here at In the Garden, and I can say it has been a painless process and one that I am ever so happy to have put into place! You see, early on in the beginning I was nervous and hesitant to really venture into blogging while posting on the FTP site. Skeeter gave me some great advice that has stuck to this day-even while I was on vacation last week! Skeeter's advice was this: (in a comment no less!)

"Tina, you have to post daily, try and post only once a day, and try to keep the posts short and not so technical."

This has been good advice and I have tried to follow it religiously. I think readers AND commenters like the regularity of the posts (maybe not always the length) and I try to keep them going daily. Subject matter is never an issue for me, time is the issue. That is why adding Skeeter, Dawn, and other occasional guests, (like my daughter Christine) is such a good idea for me and this blog. I get a break, they get to have fun and talk and share, and the blog goes on. Now onto my vacation and the advice. I contemplated not posting while I was out of the net, but Skeeter encouraged me to continue to do so and said she would fill in for me. What a pal! Recently Skeeter agreed to try out posting on Saturday and Sunday (with the exception of the first Saturday of the month which is still Dawn's day to post). I am hoping she enjoys it as much as I do on the other days of the week thanks to all of the commenters and readers. Thanks Skeeter and all of my commenters for being there and being a part of

In the Garden....

P.S. One more thing about In the Garden, the contributors have carried on my little closing on all my posts as a sort of homage to me and I want to say I appreciate this! It was totally their doing with no input from me.

Disclaimer: Most of the commenters knew I was preparing this post-but not all. So if you are one of them I hope you don't mind.:)

In closing FINALLY! I do want to say thanks to anyone and everyone who has ever commented on here or on ANY blog. Most bloggers love comments and they do mean alot to the blogger-so keep them coming! Even one single comment is important-so get your typing fingers warmed up!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Gas Woe

I am not happy about the price of gas today but that is not my only Gas Woe. I am going to reveal an ugly secret hiding in my garden!

Just what every gardener wants to see in their yard right? NOT! This big old ugly gas tank provides us with wonderful heat during the winter months. Heat is good during the winter but the tank is not something I care to see on a daily basis.

What is a gardener to do? Well, use their imagination and create a solution to hide the big Silver Bullet.
I had an old piece of wooden fencing lying around without a use. The Saint dug two post holes and cut a 8 foot fence post in half for me. We put the posts into the ground secured with a bag of quick-crete. The next day, we put the fencing in place and hammered a few nails.

I wanted to plant some type of vine that would grow quickly along the fence, thus hiding the ugly gas tank. I selected Trumpet Vine! This is a 12 foot piece of fencing so the sales person at the nursery suggested two plants. I took the bait and bought two when one would have probably been fine. Darn sales people!

See that little banana tree in the middle Tina?

Trumpet Vine (Campsis Radicans) is native to the southeastern United States. It grows really quickly and can be viewed as an invasive plant in the garden. The leaves are really pretty with their bright green color and pointed ends.

In time, I will dig out saplings and plant them along the chain link fence behind the tank to cover the neighbors privacy fence. That task will take place once we are out of drought conditions. I have enough to water now!

The Trumpet Vine grows well in my garden with little care and provides me with beautiful trumpet shaped clusters of blooms. I prune it in the spring to keep it away from the tank because the Gas Man needs a clear pathway to the tank.
This is year 3 for the vines and look at how many blooms came with this grouping!
In this picture you can see the pollen has been moved about by a pollinating buddy of mine. Probably a bee but the hummingbirds and butterflies really enjoy this flower as well. They were another factor in me selecting this vine as my fence cover.
Trumpet Vines can be grown on Arbors, Trees, Telephone poles as well as Fences. Their invasive way must be kept in mind as they will become heavy in time such as the Wisteria Vine.

Look at the yellowish throat of this red-orange bloom! She is a real beauty in the garden and has been putting on a show for several weeks.
I see Trumpet Vine growing along the banks of the lake as well as the roadside here in Georgia. It loves full sun and does not seem to mind the drought conditions we have been having the past few years.

I believe I chose a perfect solution to my GAS WOE, in the garden...

Saturday, July 26, 2008

White Fly

White flies are small white flies, approximately 1/8 of an inch long. There are more then 1500 different species around the world. They extract the liquids contained inside a plant and in doing so promote mold growth. It also reproduces rapidly and can become a problem in a short period of time. They carry diseases and viruses and are a real problem in the agricultural world.

Here is a White Fly on a Trumpet Vine in my garden. If the picture will enlarge, you can get a better view.

White fly control is difficult as they rapidly gain resistance to chemical pesticides. Various companion plants will repel or trap white flies. Marigolds, Nasturtiums, Mint and Basil has a reputation for repelling them.

The Preying Mantis is a natural enemy to the white fly so if you see a Preying mantis in your garden, leave it be to do its job of eradicating your garden from White flies.

I have marigolds planted in the garden but they do not seem to be keeping the flies off my Trumpet Vine! Look at the white powdery mold growing on the stem.
White flies have been really bad in my garden here in Georgia this year. I wonder if our lack of rain fall has anything to do with that? Humm...

When I spot them, I usually just take my fingers and run them along the stem to remove the mold and fly. I also squash the fly in the process, that is, if it does not jump away. This particular type of white fly is a quick jumper. I am usually watering at the same time so as to remove the sticky mess from my fingers and the plant stem. Kind of gross but does the job without pesticides.

An Ivy plant on my front porch was infested with the little buggers also.

It looks as though powder has been poured onto wet stems. Can you spot the little liquid sucking culprit in this close up picture of the ivy leaf?

I welcome certain bugs into my garden such as the Lady bug but this WHITE FLY is one bug I do not welcome, In the Garden...

Friday, July 25, 2008

Irises in July?

Another iris for your enjoyment. Again, I have NO idea where this one came from. I am of the habit to get, beg, borrow or steal, plants from others. Even gas stations are good places to get some new plants, wildflowers and botanical gardens are all fair game too. So where did this beautiful dwarf iris come from? It was a pleasant surprise in July in my garden. Anyone recognize it?

in the garden....

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Mom's Vegetable Garden

Don't let the hydrangea fool you! This post is about a vegetable garden-with some ornamentals. My grandmother was an avid gardener who planted this hydrangea. This hydrangea is the mama of my hydrangea down here in Tennessee, and just happens to grow in my mother's vegetable garden so that is why I included it in this post. It is just now blooming in Maine.

My grandmother initially planted this hydrangea many years ago. At that time the now vegetable garden was strictly an ornamental garden. And this garden has an ideal spot on the east side of my mother's home over the septic field. It is in a bed surrounded by natural stone and somewhat raised. The raised elevation could have something to do with my mother hauling in 7 yards of loam; which went a long way to get the vegetable garden on its way.

My mother is handicapped and can barely walk, so you all know what a chore making this garden had to have been. When I arrived in Maine it was so tidy, neat and beautiful. Radishes are huge, watermelons are growing, the marigolds add lots of color, and those cool pea stakes also add some color and whimsy. While checking out the garden my sister-"I don't know why ANYONE would ever want to garden!" informed me they had all saved the front perennial garden for me to fix up. No problem! Fortunately the ground in Maine was soft and loamy, despite not having rain in several weeks. The weeds came up easily and the new perennials went into the ground quickly. I also added some old perennials and planted another hydrangea for my mother in her new perennial garden. The recent rains my mother has received in her neck of the woods in Maine has probably helped all the plants along their merry way.

I did help out a bit in this garden too though. Here is a longer view of the garden. Isn't that loam lovely looking? And look-no weeds! They worked hard to get rid of the weeds before we arrived in Maine. Did it have something to do with me coming Mom? I picked up some hay bales for my mother, laid the newspapers and mulched the whole garden. Actually, I must confess, the Jimster did it all with a bit of supervision from me. He was so happy to help out! And that is really what this garden has represented. My sister-"I don't know why ANYONE would ever want to garden!" , my daughter and her boyfriend and numerous other family members have all contributed to making this garden successful and beautiful. I hope it gives my mother many years of pleasure-and lots of good healthy food! It has sure served to give the family a common goal and purpose.

in the garden....

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Gardening in Maine

How could I go to Maine and not talk of gardening? It seems everything grows bigger and better in Maine. Texas has it all wrong! For huge plants, New England and Maine are the place to go. I will share some of my favorites with you, though it is never the same as being there I hope you enjoy.

My non-gardening sister "I can't see why ANYONE would ever garden!" works in the town office of her and my mother's small town. I NEVER thought I would see the day our family was kind of involved in politics at its best-the small town type. She told us the garden in front of the town office and a historical building in town were maintained by the local garden club. We had to check it out and were delighted with the neatness and color of it all. Mr. Fix-it loved the cones of the above small tree. I am not sure what kind it is, but I bet it won't grow here in Tennessee. Isn't it textural?

Here is a larger view of the garden in front of the town hall. You can just see the pine cones in the left of the picture. These are from the same tree I posted above this picture. My sister tells me the town allots exactly $100 per year for the maintenance of this garden. It doesn't sound like much but evidently it does the job. There are a few perennials, but mostly annuals. The garden is changed to reflect the seasons and I hear the fall display is excellent.

The above daylily is probably an heirloom daylily. It is growing in my mother's garden and was planted by my grandmother. I thought it very neat and grabbed a bit of the huge clumps to bring back to Tennessee. Despite 22 hours in the back of a pick up, these daylilies are still blooming and finally planted in the ground. Does anyone recognize this type? Frances?

These hostas were at the local nursery. Our small little town is blessed to have a family run nursery right in town. I have visited this nursery since I was a teenager. I still love to go. I made quite a few purchases with the help of Mr. Fix-it. I wish you could see these hostas. They are all fully 4-5 feet across! I have NEVER seen hostas that big. I am sure they have not been growing in this position for more than one or two years. I do not remember them on my visit to this same nursery last year. Hostas seem to do better up north where it is colder and not as humid. They truly love Maine.
This is the lovely hip from a rugosa rose. I like these roses but have found they don't do well down here in the south. Some tell me they do, but I have never seen them growing anywhere. Has anyone seen a good stand of rugosas? These were growing on the beach in Maine and fit in well everywhere.

Lastly, let me share a few of the plants I purchased in Maine. On our way into our little town there was a sign on the side of the road that said, "PLANT SALE, SAT-SUN 9-12". That was a big deal to me. Sunday morning I was there. The woman who was selling the plants was scheduled to be on the Garden Tour the very next weekend. I was surprised she was selling plants, but she said she had to make room to plant some new things. She had a beautiful perennial border all around her backyard. It was filled with color. I enjoyed talking with her very much. I bought some perennials here and also at a local nursery in town. My mother also gave me several other plants in addition to the daylilies. And believe it or not, I got some Siberian irises from my non-gardening-"I can't see why ANYONE would ever garden!" sister. I love them all and feel like I got some great plants. Many of these plants are not plants you will find here in nurseries or big box stores, even though they will all grow in our zone. When I spoke to the nursery owner she said regional preferences and differences dictate what is sold where. What a shame. I once had a nursery person tell me that if you can't buy a plant here, then it doesn't grow here. Funny and not true! I have had great luck with all of the plants I purchased up north last year. I expect the same from this batch I will soon be adding to my garden this year.
One of our blogging friends here at In the Garden is Jillybean of The Post-it Place. Jillybean commented on here and answered a question about some DD's I asked of my readers. She got a surprise in the mail when I packed them up and sent them to her Georgia! The blogging relationship has progressed from there and Jillybean, I am still hoping for that special dinner one day! Well anyhow, Jillybean sponsors many contests. I actually won a $25 gift certificate to a nice restaurant on a contest she ran a while back. Dave at The Home Garden was a close second behind me. Remember Dave? Another tidbit is that Jillybean and Skeeter have met in person and both Skeeter and I love Jillybean's barbecue sauce. Thanks again to Jillybean for sending me a special jar of it via Skeeter! Jillybean is sponsoring a contest for a multi-slicer. All of us vegetable gardeners or just vegetable lovers need one don't we? So you all use the link and go visit Jillybean, you may just get lucky like I did a while back and win yourself a multi-slicer, though I am seriously hoping for it to grace my kitchen.
Tomorrow's post will cover my mother's vegetable garden in Maine. So tune....
in the garden....

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Visiting Maine

While on leave with Mr. Fix-it recently, we were able to slip in a vacation in sunny, sunny Maine. Can you guess what we also had a chance to do? Hint: See the fishing pole in the foreground? Yes, that is my fishing pole and I so thoroughly enjoyed the pleasant day on the dock with the salty ocean breeze and sturdy lobster boats buzzing around. No, I did not catch anything on this day, but Mr. Fix-it did! He was about to give up but on his first cast he caught two pollack (we think)! The next catch saw him reeling in two mackerel. What fighters they were!

I am not sure part of the whole trip Mr. Fix-it enjoyed most, but those fish were right up there close to the top. He needed a break after working sixty plus hours each week trying to put young people in the Army. Recruiting is a rough job and takes it toll. The trip to Maine was relaxing and enabled us all to enjoy life's little pleasures-like fish and lobsters straight from the ocean! Do you notice the coat? We found the weather a bit chilly at times. What a relief and nice respite from all the heat of the south.

The Jimster got in some good recreation as well. One of his big sisters is a rock climber. The other one white water rafts on kayaks. On this trip the Jimster got to climb a tall rock wall at the local YMCA with is big sister Christine. You all have seen her on here before as she does check in frequently. We could tell just by watching Christine and the Jimster climb the wall that it was tough work! You need lots of upper body strength and strong fingers. The Jimster did find his groove after a few tries and managed to quickly climb to the top of the bunny climb. Is this what they call it? Not sure. Here is a picture of the Jimster climbing with Christine belaying him at the base. As a bonus, my grandson, Josh, was in attendance. That is him in the blue and white striped shirt. He had a great time playing with balls on the soft mat under the rock wall. We really enjoyed seeing him as we had not seen him since he was a mere six weeks old. It is hard when family lives so far away. Visits are rarely long enough and time passes quickly.

Joshua's daddy, my oldest son, was very enthusiastic when he showed us the factory where he works as a manager. We are all quite proud of him because he works very hard and has a lot responsibility at this food factory. Here he is showing Mr. Fix-it and the Jimster how the line runs. The factory where he works makes biscuits and sells them nationally. The company, Gagne Foods, is growing and my son is a key player in the growth of the business. He enjoys his work very much. Don't they all look funny with the fancy hair nets on their hair? I too had one but since I took the picture-you won't see me with one of the nets!

We all had a really good visit with my parents, sisters, multiple nieces and a nephew, two of my children, my grandson and the flora and fauna in Maine (much to the misfortune of a few ocean going school fish). I am going to do a few more posts on Maine having to do with gardening, but wanted to share this little vacation. Maine is known as the 'Vacationland', and it is a truly beautiful state-especially in the summer which is the only time I like to visit! Sorry Mom! Here are a few more pictures from our vacation.

The famous coast of Maine is known as the "Rocky Coast". Can you guess why? Here is the Jimster playing with a snail which bit him on the leg. What a surprise that was to him! The rocky outcropping he is sitting on is called a ledge. The tide was out at this particular beach. When the tide is in this ledge is the perfect jump off point to go swimming.

Mr. Fix-it was busy picking up sea glass from this beach. Sea glass is merely broken glass which has been washed up on the beach. It is usually very soft and worn from its time in the ocean. When I was a kid sea glass was a simple thing to find. Now a days it is rare. I think the recycling movement has cut down on the amount of glass that winds up in the ocean, plus, summer is the peak tourist season in Maine and many other beach combers were busy searching for sea glass as well. I am happy to say we did find enough to give to our special friend who watched our house and animals while we were gone.

I will leave you all with a picture of my only grandchild. He is the sweetest little boy you will every meet and rarely do you see him without a smile on his face. Here he is a bit befuddled by an acorn he found outside. His auburn curls are so cute and he was a joy to be around during our visit. We only wish we could've visited longer. Anonymous, remember this baby? One of my first posts?

in the garden....

Monday, July 21, 2008


This post is about updates to some previous posts, and to let you all know I am back in the saddle. Skeeter has gladly turned the reins back over to me, though she tells me she has had mucho fun but blogging is an awful lot like-ready???-work! She will fill in again as I need a break. Ready Skeeter? I will prepare a post on her and my other commenters soon. Many bloggers have been asking me about all of these wonderful commenters and unless you have followed along from the beginning, most will not know the story of my faithful group, so it bears telling. Though, even if you have followed along from the beginning, you might not know about Lola and Skeeter and my mother and my sister and Anonymous and Nina. I will promise not to be toooo boring. Okay, now on to garden updates! The above picture shows the bloom of my tuberroses. Lola had mentioned way back when how good they smell. Nina kindly sent me some bulbs and here they are blooming! They do smell good too!

Do you remember my post on the 'Lords and Ladies'? And how I hoped I would get an orange candleflower? I did! Here is the one and only, but it will be joined by some siblings next year as the plants grow and mature. It is very colorful and makes a great dried flower.

Here is an updated picture of the 'chocolate' with the 'Goldsturm' brown eyed Susans. I love the look. Growing along side the brown eyes are some Joe Pye weeds (a post forthcoming), some yews, nandinas, and some other perennials in this 'Perennial Garden'.

Here is a better picture of the banana bloom. Or at least a more updated picture. I am sure I will not get any bananas simply because this is the only bloom. This bloom needs to be pollinated by another and it isn't happening this year.

Lastly, an update on Compost the kitten. Compost made the 22 hour drive to Maine with us. Maine has no kill shelters and is much kinder to stray animals than the state of Tennessee. My daughter Christine is currently fostering her and looking for a good home for this sweet little kitten. Christine just called me yesterday to say she thinks she has found a forever home with a dear friend of hers, and I hope it works out soon!

in the garden....updating.