Thursday, April 30, 2009

Big Bird Alarm Clock In the Garden

We had a surprise visitor to Tiger Gardens this week. There it is perched in a tree in the frontyard. BJ is a bird dog and he found it in the front garden pecking around for bugs. It is some type of guinea that was busy looking for bugs. It got quite a shock when that big old bird dog (BJ) 'flushed' it out and caused it to find a safe perch high in a nearby tree. There it sat all night long, nice and quiet.

Then around 5:15 it woke up. Or might I say it WOKE me up? It was quite a squawk or crowing or whatever these birds do, and it was LOUD. A very good alarm clock indeed. The bird left shortly after it 'crowed'. Good riddance too as I don't need that kind of alarm here!

It was quite interesting to see this bird up close though. I believe these types of birds do a good job eating ticks and we sure need that around here, just not in the yard due to all the dogs we have here.

Anyone else have these 'problems' in their gardens? I know some of you have peacocks, ducks and geese-how about turkeys and chickens?

in the garden....

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

A Few of My Favorite Foliage Combinations

So many times we gardeners garden only for blooms. I myself simply adore blooms, but try to consider the foliage too. Blooms are fleeting whereas the foliage lasts a long time. Spring is an awesome time to notice foliage. Everything is so succulent, green, and full that the foliage really tends to grab an onlooker. Here are a few of my favorite fabulous foliage combinations. Some look good together based on color, or texture, or form, but all fit well together regardless of additional traits they possess. I usually do consider texture and form when planting, but some of these are just happy accidents. The first such picture is one of those happy accidents.

Santolina (Lavender Cotton) and Yellow Button Mum
Hosta and Feverfew

Dwarf Alberta Spruce and Nepata 'Walkers Low'

Daffodil, Iris and Asiatic Lily Foliage

One of my absolute favorites! Bishops Weed (yes I know you can never get rid of it, but mine is contained and I like it) and Lily of the Valley

'Goldflame' Spirea and Iris Foliage

Iris and Variegated Grass (I lost the name-sorry)

Hosta, Lamium and Woodland Phlox

Sedum and Tree Peony Foliage

Turtlehead and Goatsbeard and Astilbe

Lambs Ear and Anisse Hyssop 'Blue Fortune'

Yellow Primrose and Iberis (Okay, disregard the blooms!)

Oxalis and Iris

Iris Ensata and Shasta Daisies

'Powis Castle' Artemesia and Mom's Hydrangea

Some other great combinations not pictured: nandina and little leaf euonymous or boxwood, lambs ear with allium or sedum or 'Firewitch' dianthus, and daylily with salvia or shasta daisies. These are just a few of my favorites. What are some fabulous foliage combinations you find in your garden?

in the garden....

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Breaking New Ground, The Veggie Garden

After building a house for the four years and having a few surgeries before and after the construction, I'm ready for my veggie garden again. We have a very large yard with nothing landscaped in it, perfect! And mostly sunny! One problem, my husband blew the engine in the rototiller, I mean he blew it. Crankshaft went out the front of the engine...glug..glug..glug, spilt the oil. So we called around to all the local shops and could only rent a tiller with front tines. It wouldn't break new ground.

Someone, had the brilliant idea to turn by hand, ugh. It was slow going then we found this giant rock, probably placed there by us when we were building, actually I know it was....Okay, that will have to be a very deep raised bed for ....say, carrots! We'll be choosy about the soil and leave it undisturbed, we'll have to. This is as far as the two teenagers got, my son and his friend. See all the rocks this spot was growing?

So the next day, 4-21, we traveled to an equipment place and rented huge rototiller with rear tines. Large, impressive, and heavy. It turned out to be fairly useless. The tines rotated in a forward motion and all this power plow would do is walk the ground! It was easy to stick the shovel in the soil and give it a twist, this thing really couldn't do the job.

Fast forward to the following weekend, our weather was close to if not, seventy degrees. My husband, Jack of all Trades, stopped at a lawn and garden place. The owner was kind enough to let us try a used motor from another tiller, same horsepower and all. If it worked great, if not bring it back. Well, it worked, and worked well. This tiller, although 30 to 40 years old, is one tenuous little machine. It's tines rotate towards the operator while it motions forward and although small, it really gets the job done.

He's HE-MAN teen using a crowbar to remove another rock. A good workout in preparation for football season.

I must say, we are fortunate we know owners of a horse farm, and he was willing to deliver manure on his Sunday morning.

Not only one dump truck load, but two.

We spread it rather fast, I even put some on my flowerbeds and there is more for seeding some grass seed later next month. My soil is dusty clay and needs this amending, it makes it so easy.

Look at the difference in the quality of dirt! I never was so excited about dirt...before. I'm anxious to plant but in my area of Maine, Memorial day weekend is the date.

Well, we still have the sandy loam to put in our raised bed, logs to outline the edge of our plot (to discourage critters from digging), and a fence to install. Next weekend will be another busy, exhausting, two day adventure.

In the Garden, breaking new ground.

Monday, April 27, 2009


Not too long ago I saw a picture of a craft that I liked very much. And since I have limited space I thought this the perfect solution. I purchased the items needed (Re bar, Terra Cotta Pots & soil) and got to work. In the first picture you can see how I got started.The next picture shows how I proceeded with my project.
Here they are all put together. Not finished yet.
A different angle. This shows my blueberry in the half whiskey barrel. It has blueberries on it. Yuummmm!
Here I've added some more pots for a collage.
This picture shows the completed project. The bottom 3 pots have Strawberry plants and the 2 top pots have alyssum planted. The alyssum is just coming up. That's my snail sprinkler tucked in there. The little rock I purchased on my trip that says "Welcome".

So I am hoping for a fruitful white topped tower....

In the Garden.


Sunday, April 26, 2009

Natural Outhouse

As a child, I learned a lot about nature while visiting my relatives (grandmothers side) in Waverly, Tennessee. I learned about cows and their pies, crawdads in the creek, chickens in the hen house, Outhouses, snakes and other such fun country living. The Saint and I now have a bit of country living with our Georgia home. Do you see the outhouse in our front woods?
Here I moved in closer. Can you see it now?
Okay, surely you can see the one-holer now! Maybe not a house after all. Nature can be so humorous at times don't you think? This high back throne is made for a King!
This tree looks like the perfect spot to take a seat and read a book or magazine. Maybe even the Sears Catalog!
I peek into the hole occasionally to see if a raccoon or snake has made this spot a home but so far, nothing but roots in the hole.
Well lookie here, even our next door neighbors have a NATURAL OUTHOUSE, In the Garden...

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Philly or Bust!

We do not have many inside plants here in my Georgia home. The reason would be those two little fluff balls you see in the above picture. They love to nibble on everything so what few plants we do have in the house, must be placed high away from little paws.

One plant which does find a spot in my home while up high is my prized Philodendron plants. I purchased one when we first moved into the house and have since produced more plants by clippings placed in water to root.

Our Master Gardener here at In the Garden, Tina, stopped by for a visit just before Christmas last year. That is when I found out that the Phillys I have in the house are not Phillys but Pothos instead!
I have never heard of Pothos in my life until this news to my ears! Tina had such a giggle out of me calling them Philodendrons. She had to convince me as I was not buying the joke she was playing on me. Or was it a joke? No joke but a mistake that I am sure many of us make. I did a search on the Internet and found one place which says the Golden Pothos is the Scientific name for the Philodendron. I searched more and became totally confused as many seem to refer to the Philly as a Pothos and vise versa. Too much confusion for me that I gave up on the research. I do know that I love this plant. It fills in bare spots on the front porch during the summer months. It brightens the tops of a few cabinets inside and hang in the sun room during the winter months. Anyone can grow them as they are so easy to care for.

I will call this a Pothos from now on since this little bit of knowledge from Tina. I wonder if I should go PHILLY OR BUST, Or just stay, In the Garden...
You can stop giggling now Tina :-)

Friday, April 24, 2009

Robins....In the Garden

Robins, those harbingers of spring-and-what else comes with spring and the birds and the bees? Why frolicking in the garden of course. Birds frolicking in the garden produce....
Large 'robin blue' eggs....

in the garden....

Tomorrow is my youngest sister's birthday. Happy Birthday!

Everyone have a great weekend!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Hybrid Tulips vs Species Tulips

Tulips, ah the sweet colors of tulips in spring. Nothing can be more welcoming than a big swath of tulips. Love the colors! There are so many to choose from that it can be very difficult to choose. Well, today's post is on choices. Choices not of the color kind, but of the specific kind of tulips to plant-hybrid or species. First of all, let me say I am not an expert on tulips at all. This post is a compilation of two years of specific observations of the behavior of one type of hybrid tulips versus one type of species tulips. The hybrid tulip cultivar is 'Pink Impression', and the species tulips I chose to grow is Tulipa linifolia. Some of the pictures of the hybrids are of other than 'Pink Impression', but only for show. The photos that count are of the two specific tulips I am comparing.
There are a few notable differences between hybrid tulips and species tulips in general. Hybrid tulips are usually pretty flashy and some have variegation like the one pictured above. It is 'Happy Days'. The petals are rounded as well.

My one and only species tulip, pictured above, is Tulipa linifolia. It is smaller than the hybrid tulips. Way smaller and has a different type of pistil and stamen in the center. The petals are pointed as well. The next notable difference is in the foliage. Hybrid tulips have bold, large foliage. These leaves are quite wide and get quite long. They are thick and hefty too.

Whereas species tulips have finer leaves which are quite a bit shorter and narrower. In fact, unless you knew this was where you planted species tulips you would not know this was tulip foliage at all.
Just look at this height of these 'Happy Days' tulips. They are easily 24' tall.

Here the species tulips barely reach 12" tall.

But the real difference comes between blooms and the lasting power of hybrid tulips versus species tulips. Here we have 'Pink Impression' blooms in April of 2008. This was their first year of bloom. Here is the exact same bed of 'Pink Impression' tulips in April 2009. Do you see a difference? There are notably fewer of the hybrid tulips in this second year. I really did not expect any to return so I was pleasantly surprised to get so many this year.
The same deal here with the Linifolia tulips. This is them in 2008.

All have returned this year as well and bloomed beautifully. In fact, I have found seedlings of the Linifolia tulips in gardens where they were never planted. I am thrilled.

Another difference between the 'Pink Impression' tulips and Linifolia tulips are the 'Pink Impression' came and left much earlier than the Linifolia tulips. In fact, the 'Pink Impression' bloomed nicely for about one week. The Linifolia tulips started right about the time the 'Pink Impression' tulips were fading and have outlived the hybrid tulips by at least 10 days so far. They bloom a bit longer, more like two weeks.

Also, due to the smaller diminutive nature of the Linifolia tulips, they tend to fade away rather quickly, unlike the huge foliage of the hybrid tulips. This is a bonus if you overplant and interplant as I do in my garden.

When I saw so many of the hybrid tulips had returned this year in this particular bed I had debated giving it another year before I did this post. But I decided to do this post now and follow up in one year.

But here is the real deal, the fact so many of the 'Pink Impression' tulips returned bodes well for this cultivar. Some of the other cultivars in my garden such as: Apledorn white and red have totally disappeared after only one year of bloom. Generally speaking, I have found the hybrid tulips will fade away after one or two years, disappear for 2-3 years then reappear for one year of bloom, then disappear for good. I am referring to Darwin hybrid tulips since that is all I plant here since they are supposed to be longer lasting than tulips such as the 'Parrot tulips' for example. You see my goal with growing tulips, or any plant for that matter, is to grow ones that will return faithfully and reliably each year. The hybrid tulips have not done this for me in the eight years I have been gardening here so I switched to the species type. I have found through research species tulips have been around for hundreds of years. I liked the Linifolia tulips simply because they are red.

There you have it, some of the differences between hybrid tulips and species tulips. The findings are general and both hybrid and species tulips have their admirable traits. For me though, the final straw is how long will they last in my garden without replanting? I want anything I plant to be here long after I am gone, and I don't think the hybrid tulips will fit the bill in my garden.We shall see what next year brings and I am thinking that should I decide to get more tulips, they will be species types.

in the garden....