Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Monday, March 30, 2009
I've noticed all around my neighborhood flowers are starting to bloom, even though there aren't a lot of different kinds.
But as you can see from the picture, the azaleas are the stars of the show. I inherited this with the house. They are way over my head!
This is looking from the back towards the front. Strangely the ones that got more sun had more blooms and bloomed first.
This is looking at the front of the row of my azaleas.
If you look closely you can see another space forming.........
In The Garden
Sunday, March 29, 2009
In the Garden...
HAPPY BIRTHDAY LOLA!
The Saint and I recently cut down a dead tree with the assistance of our neighbor and his tractor. Once the dead tree was to the ground, we found a surprise from within the hollow walls. Two baby squirrels were snug as a bug in a rug in some of my stolen fake snow from my Winter Display on the front porch! Here you can see one of the cute little critters so young its eyes are not yet open. Being animal lovers, the Saint and I were quite upset at disturbing an animals home. Yeah, I know, why care about a squirrel when they wreak havoc in my garden so often. Well, because they are living breathing things and even though a pest at times, they to deserve a chance at life. So these animal lovers went into action. The Saint placed the hollow half log on top of the 3 foot tall stump for a bit of security from raccoons, foxes, coyotes and cats. I gathered more fresh fluff to keep the babies warm. The weather forecast was calling for rain so I did what I could to keep the little critters dry. I gathered bark from the dead tree and carefully made a roof for the babies.
I then placed a heavy notch of wood on top to keep all in place. We checked on the nest after 24 hours of giving them peace and quiet. The babies were no longer in the nest. We do not think a raccoon got them as the area was too neat so we believe the mother squirrel moved her two babies to a new nest. Squirrels build more then one nest in their territory so maybe one was nearby just waiting for such an emergency. We saw an adult squirrel with a mouth full of the fluff so we think that may have been mommy continuing to make them a nice cozy home. Gee, those two very babies we rescued will probably be digging up bulbs this summer, In the Garden...
Saturday, March 28, 2009
I am not a photographer but do enjoy snapping pictures and have as long as I can remember. Hum, wonder why I never took a photography class? Probably my shy bones would not allow me to sign up for a class.
I was snapping a picture of a fern sitting on top of a stump in my Georgia backyard last fall. I added the little water faucet to the stump. In pretend world, it keeps the ivy below it watered since my buddy Pedro the elf only naps against the stump instead of work as he promised me when I brought him home.
Happy 50th Anniversary to my (Skeeter) wonderful mother and father today! You are a great inspiration and we love you dearly. Raising glasses (cheers) to many more years to come...
Friday, March 27, 2009
When out walking in the woods you come upon some seedlings that look like the ones above it is very likely they are touch me nots. They are quite easy to transplant in this state into your garden for your very own touch me not garden.
Once summer is upon us, these tiny seedlings will quickly reach 3-4 feet in height and will cover themselves with orange flowers. Then the fun part starts. The touch me nots bloom until the first frost and as the flowers go by, they turn in to seedpods. The seedpods explode when ripe with the slightest touch-hence-touch me not or you get a surprise!
You all have a great weekend.
in the garden....
Thursday, March 26, 2009
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
You see I have a problem, I like flowers and color and plants. I want color all year around and I want it loud and bright and I want my gardens to say "Look at me!" It is extremely difficult to do this in shade and so I am finally accepting this fact. I must remember to no longer plant poor little coneflowers and 'Goldsturm' in the shade, hoping for the best. Sigh. I must no longer scatter those peonies and Joe Pye weed and catmint and irises and daylillies in less than ideal light conditions-well you get it. It is time to work with the shade and embrace-cough-cough-it.
I have found in the past five years of growing pulmonaria that these darling little foliage plants really deliver on the color and the flowers and the brightness in my gardens. I grow two varieties. Pulmonaria x 'Trevi Fountain', and Pulmonaria longifolia 'Diane Clare'. 'Diane Clare' is pictured above with a hosta. I profiled 'Trevi Fountain' as Plant of the Month for April 2008. It is early this year and as we speak is in full bloom and will stay that way for a good month or more. Pulmonarias are super good companions for hostas.
A recent purchase from Bluestone Perennials is Pulmonaria saccharata (sometimes officialis) 'Sissinghurst White' is expected any day now. Purchasing another cultivar is a big step for me, as you see I am really trying to embrace those shade loving perennials. It's not like I don't have the hostas and Solomon's seal and heucheras and hellebores and lily of the valleys, well you get it, I have plenty of shade loving perennials but they just don't quite do it the same as the sun loving perennials.
Pulmonarias are the exception to the shade rule if you will. They bloom for a pretty long period of time, look good most of the year and are evergreen. The only period of the year I think the pulmonarias tend to look ratty is late December to late January and mid to late summer when the plants can look very wilty due to the heat.
The gardener needs only to plant the pulmonaria in shade to part shade, a moist but well drained spot and close to a pathway or the front of the garden so that the plant can be enjoyed up close. Pulmonarias are ground huggers, except when they flower, and oh boy do they flower. The colors come in blue, purple, pink and all shades and tones of the above mentioned colors. It is really quite astounding to see the pulmonarias flower.
If the pulmonaria is happy, after it gets established it will grow and spread slowly to about two feet wide. In my experience you cannot divide the pulmonaria successfully. But! After a few years the gardener will be rewarded with some seedlings of the pulmonaria-something that is very desireable in my garden.
One more note about the pulmonarias. Are you familiar with the term pulmo? It means lung. A doctor might say you have had a 'pulmonary' embolism (I hope not!). The pulmonary part of course refers to the lungs. The pulmonaria because pulmonaria was traditionally used as a remedy against lung diseases. Pulmonaria is also known as 'lungwort'. What an awful name for such a fun and great plant in the shade garden.
in the garden....
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Monday, March 23, 2009
I equate my chosen avocation to that of a house inspector-but I'll take it a bit further. You know how you wish to buy a new house and the realtor advises you get a home inspection? In fact, oftentimes now a days, home sales are contingent on the results of the home inspection. You hire some guy with a truck and a ladder, maybe a safety suit and a tape measure, and you pay him (usually a him) an exorbitant amount of money to come to your house where he spends about two hours inspecting your home, its exterior and interior elements. He flushes toilets, checks the heating and cooling system and so on. Then he heads back to his house and types up a report (if you are lucky he types it!), puts it in an envelope and sends it to you-the prospective home buyer. You read it and then try to decipher it's contents.
"Okay, my stove was manufactured in 1978 by Whirlpool and is a model 567, check. My heating temperature is right on, check. My exterior door casing is rotted, check-oops-gotta get that fixed."
You understand right? I do, I've paid for several home inspections and find the information most helpful; especially since the whole house is new to me. Most of the time it is money well spent. Well I will be running my garden coach business in a similar manner.
There will of course be a fee for my services, most likely a package deal just like home inspectors provide. I will come to your home and 'inspect' everything close up. I will not do this alone though, I will expect clients to walk with me and I will guide, advise, and evaluate as I walk through your garden. This initial session will last approximately 1.5-2 hours. All the while I'll be taking notes, pictures and most likely measurements. See the similarity to a home inspector here? I will then convene back to my home and type up my findings in an easy to read and understand report format. I will also include recommendations based on the client's needs, desires, and realistic capabilities. How will I determine these needs, desires, and capabilities?
It is pretty easy when doing any type of inspection or on site visit to determine quite quickly what type of homeowner the person is like. Is the homeowner diligent with cutting and trimming their lawn? Or is long, weedy and spotty at best? Are there existing plants? And if so, what condition are they in? Well trimmed, or yellowed and dying? I can determine fairly quickly the capabilities with an on site visit, but I also have to match that bit of the puzzle up with the homeowners desires. Just because they might not be the best gardeners, is there a real desire there? Perhaps the homeowner is new to the home and the garden is left over from the previous homeowner? Maybe even the homeowner is handicapped and will need methods of maintaining the garden that he or she can handle? These questions and more will be answered when a client contracts me for services and I send him or her an in depth survey to fill out. The survey will need to be completed prior to any on site visit so as to aid me in understanding the client. What happens next?
Once the survey is completed, the on site visit is completed, the report is typed up and finalized, I will, at the client's request, deliver the report to the client in their garden-resulting in another visit to the garden. Hey, we all know gardens change very rapidly-I can't tell you how much changes in my garden from the morning to the night-tons! So I can get another eyes on look at the client's garden and see if some of the measures we talked about in the initial consultation have made a difference. Once the report is delivered, I will be available for follow up sessions at a later date.
I expect I will be most busy during the spring and fall seasons, but gardening here in Tennessee can go on all year long. Winter or summer sessions for garden coach services are not out of the question.
I have taken the necessary steps to be approved to operate my business from home, I have the website, email, business license and business cards. I am also registered on a worldwide directory of garden coaches and am ready for business. My shingle is hung-finally!
I hope that in some small way, I can help spread my love of gardening around my community so that everyone can enjoy what nature has to offer. Garden coaching is a start for me, albeit a small start.
Contact information for me as a professional garden coach is pretty easy. Obviously you can contact me here. In fact, the blog and my business website will be linked. With over 600 posts with lots of good information and helpful to do lists for local folks, I hope everyone will use this blog for gardening information they can easily implement on their own. It is what it is here for-in addition to helping me to learn more about gardening, and of course enabling gardeners to connect with one another.
I have also set up my profile on Susan Harris' premiere garden coaching website. You can find me here. In case you forget how to get there, just pull up the Garden Coach Directory, search by state, pull up Tennessee, and there I am!
Additionally, I do have a professional email address: email@example.com. My business website is: www.coachinthegarden.com. Do check it out-now and each time you feel like it! I made it quite easy to remember and of course, you can see my motto there....
in the garden....
One more note, my co-posters and close friends and family were informed of my plan a few months ago. In case you are worried, this blog will not change. We have been posting for a very long time and I think readers have come to expect certain things from it, we will not waver from our commitment to this blog. Thanks to my co-posters encouragement and help on here, we will still post daily. Though I expect I will become more busy than I have been so we'll see how that affects my blogging. I will also be adding a link to the sidebar for the convenience of any readers who wish to access me professionally when they find they need garden coaching services.
I also must say a big hearty thank you to Helen Yoest of Gardening with Confidence. Without her encouragement and a big nudge for me to 'hang out my shingle', I might not have taken this huge step. I am grateful to her and to anyone who has ever read this blog and encouraged me in some small way in my gardening endeavors that means you!
Sunday, March 22, 2009
Don't be Envious of my mild winter temps, Get yourself some GREEN IVY to cheer you up while you are not, In the Garden...
Saturday, March 21, 2009
A new Spring Scene sits back into our woods welcoming neighbors as they drive down our street. Once the azaleas to the right and left bloom, this will frame the setting.
This was the first year I ever saw Scarecrow type Bunny's! I was thrilled to incorporate them into a Spring display for all to enjoy. The squirrels have already been chewing on the big plastic eggs. Gee, those critters will nibble on anything!
Here are some real and not artificial pretties in my Georgia Garden...
Close-up of the orange and yellow Tulip and the Starry Night Viola.
Azaleas are opening up for us now...
I am so ready to WELCOME SPRING, In the Garden...
This little contest was a lot of fun for me. Many guessed the correct answer being "packets of seeds". We also had good guesses of Poinsettia, Peony and some type of Bulb. But the best "wrong" answer was from Dawn being a Chia-Pet! That was so funny I about fell off my chair with laughter. Good guesses everyone and look for more give-aways in time.
And the winner of the "Riddle" contest, Drum roll please.........(out of the Saints Magic German hat) is......More Drum roll.....And the winner is;
Hey, my eyes are too old, get closer please...Ah, That's better. Marmee you are the winner!!!
Please send your address information to Tina's email at: firstname.lastname@example.org and she will forward me the info and I will get your prize of Seed Packets and a bonus Seed Plaque in the mail to you....
Happy Planting and enjoy Spring Everyone...