Friday, January 29, 2010

Making Turf Interesting and Stable

From In the Garden

Once upon a time a teen aged boy who drove a very big gas guzzler of the 80s era lived here with his wife. The gas guzzler was a huge ole black monster called Pontiac Grand Prix (circa 1980) and had big tires that made driving it very difficult for the wife. It was always a battle between the wife and car with the lawn winding up in the middle of the fight. You see, starting and shifting the car was most difficult for the wife and the car would sometimes lurch and move around on its own-while in its parking place. Old antique cars tend to do these sorts of things:) One such time the Pontiac made it into the section of turf you see pictured above-in the middle of a very wet season. Can you guess how deep the wounds were that the turf suffered? Six inch deep 10 feet long ruts come to my mind-okay maybe not that bad but pretty bad. Do you have any idea how much soil it takes to fill in such ruts? My daughter-in-law found out when she gamely sought to repair the damage caused by her battle with the Pontiac. I, on the other hand, sought to figure out how to lessen the damage to the lawn when errant automobiles tend to migrate to this spot.

The idea I came up with has been most pleasing. I took some plain concrete pavers and dug them into the turf area in a checkerboard pattern. It was my hope that should a large Pontiac (or other gas guzzler-er-antique much beloved old car) travel into this area that the concrete pavers would help to lessen the damage, all while providing some nice interesting patterns in an otherwise boring spot of turf. So far, my trick has worked and ruts have been kept to a minimum, actually they've been non-existent. Hmmmm, that might be due to the fact the Pontiac has been relegated to a storage area waiting for more glory days.

Mom-any ruts in your grass?:)

in the garden....

Words and Photos Property of In the Garden Blog Team,

In the Garden

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Winter Paradise pt 2

By Skeeter
We had a nice warm snap in my Georgia Garden to start the month of January but then back to the cold stuff for the week we had the Saints parents visit. They left Virginia as it was sleeting and arrived to our wonderful 70 plus degrees. Unfortunately, they brought the rain and cold with them to GA. They have since returned to VA and taken that nasty stuff back. Today the weatherman is calling for sunny skies and back into the 60's but come tomorrow, it is back to rain and cold. Gee, this Deep South living is such strange weather but a break is nice during the winter. I just hope it is not too confusing for the flowers this year...

So lets leave the cold today for part two of our Winter Paradise get-away... After Key West, we headed to Nassau, Bahamas. As you can see the blue of the waters were breath taking upon our arrival. We docked then boarded a Glass Bottom Boat ride to a Coral Reef. Along the way, the Captain of the vessel told us of the many famous people and their homes along this stretch. There was the once home of Elvis, the home of Nicholas Cage and other famous people as well. All these homes are surrounded with beautiful plants.
Lush Green is the color of choice on this island.
Yes, I could wake up to this view each morning!
The boat took us by the Atlantis Resort. See the bridge connecting the two structures? Ah, a close up view is so much better. This is the Bridge Penthouse. Michael Jackson was the first to stay in this room. I believe the Captain informed us of a $25,000 a night cost with a one week minimum stay! I could buy a lot of plants for my garden with that!
The High Rollers of the Atlantis Casino (850 slots, 90 tables, race & sports bar, etc) can stay here at the Harbor-side Resort. More on Atlantis later...
Now we finally get to the Coral Reef. This is not an aquarium in the picture but a picture I snapped right though the glass bottom of the boat! Yes, the water is that blue and crystal clear! It was amazing to see life underwater from the coral to the fish!
The cruise took us along the wharf to see the fisherman dockside. They get up early in the morning and catch fish and what ever else is in season and sell it right on the dock. Talk about fresh catch of the day!
As we returned back to our starting point, we had a clear view of our ship and its small size compared to the others docked beside our Carnival Fascination! And we thought we were on a big ship! Ha, the Royal Caribbean to the far right was incredible to say the least.
The Saint wanted to go to the Atlantis Resort so we hailed a cab and off we went. We were reminded of our days spent in England with the driver on the left side of the street. The drive up to the resort from the main street was lined with tall palms trees.
The flying bronze horses in the fountain caught our attention.
The lobby of the resort was as if I had stepped into a massive hotel in Las Vegas! That is where I have seen hotels of this magnitude. I bet the price we paid for 4 nights in Vegas does not even come close to one night here! They have 6 different type buildings to chose from for your stay. 8 Fine dining, 11 Casual dining and 8 Cafes and Quick eats within the Resort! You can swim with the dolphins, snorkel, scuba, golf, tennis, spa, private beach, pool, water park and much more. We were saying it would take us a few days to do all we would want to do!
They have an aquarium in the lobby that tells the story of the City of Atlantis.
Here you can see two of the many aquarium windows in the background. The lobby was full of plants and even palm trees!
We did not spend too much time inside this marble palace as we wanted to be outside and see the grounds.
Water is the theme as with any island resort but this one truly took water to a new level for me! Do you see the fish?
We walked the grounds for quite some time while taking in the beautiful sights.
I like the way the vine was growing on the stone wall.
Down the stairs to the beach area was an inviting walk.
Blooming beauties my eyes have never seen in the wild before.
Interesting plants with every blink of the eye.
Ah, the hibiscus is a must on a Tropical Island.
I can only wonder if these are edible as I have no idea what they could be...
Beauty around every corner of this awesome place.
Fish, sharks, starfish, etc were swimming in the water all around us.
Have you noticed there is no human forms in the pictures? I am so glad we went during the low season as we seem to have the gardens all to our self! Where are all the people? I did see 4 large cruise ships in port right?
Nothing soothes my soul more then the sound of a waterfall.
At this point I was asking the Saint if I could have a water fall.
Yes, that look on his face tells me "it ain't gonna happen". Can't blame a girl for asking. I would so love to have a piece of this WINTER PARADISE, In the Garden...

**Once home, we searched for a Map of Atlantis grounds to find we had only touched the surface of this huge place. There are 14 exhibit lagoons on 140 acres and we only saw a few of them! I just saw on the Internet that it is 75 degrees there today and I so wish I were there. Maybe some day we will go back so I can swim with the dolphins...

Words and Photos Property of In the Garden Blog Team,

In the Garden

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Sleeping Banana Tree

By Skeeter
Have I mentioned it is cold in my Georgia Garden? Well it is therefore, everything is sleeping for the winter. Just look at the banana tree snoozing away for me. Hum, I hope it is snoozing away and not dead from the extreme cold we have had in recent weeks. We failed to Cut the Banana Tree or mulch it like Tina and Mr. Fixit do to their plant.
Time got away from us with all the rain we have had so the dead foliage remains in the planter. The plant is located right by the exhaust of the gas heat so I am hoping that maybe the warmth from the Unit has kept her feet warm and happy during these cold weeks of winter. We will know come spring if she is dead or a SLEEPING BANANA TREE, In the Garden....
Words and Photos Property of In the Garden Blog Team,

In the Garden

Monday, January 25, 2010

Canada Lily

Posted by: Dawn

The Canada Lily is a perennial wildflower that prefers moist meadows or wood margins. It's one of the more eye catching spots of yellow along the roadsides here in Maine.

I absolutely love this photo of my Queen Elizabeth rose taken last summer. As you can see, there is a yellow flower about to bloom in and amongst the fragrant pretties, how it manages to survive is more than a wonder to me. There are actually three stalks of Canada lily growing in this small crowded space, I allow it because if we have a bad year with the Japanese beetle, they will completely devour the lilies instead of touching my roses and this lily has always returned year after year no matter what.

I hadn't planned for a grouping of these funnel shaped, nodding flowers in this area and I'm quite surprised they took foot since they are mostly corms, the seeds must have been brewing for awhile, three to five years would be my guess.

This lily will grow to a height of 2 feet to 6 feet, some will have flowers of a count of fifteen, while others will have only two.

The flower is 2'' to 3'' wide and will engulf a hummingbird as it's a favorite of the ruby throated hummer.

The flower can be yellow, orange or red. They are native from Alabama to Quebec and bloom from June to July. They are also on The Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada. In the Garden.

Words and Photos Property of In the Garden Blog Team,

In the Garden

Friday, January 22, 2010

Need Some Tropical Punch? Grow a Pineapple Plant

From In the Garden

Longing for some tropical punch and a bit of warmth? You might try growing a pineapple plant. This is something I would never do normally since I don't care for houseplants, but a dear gardening friend's daughter was talking with me one day and I asked her if she could grow one plant, what would it be? She replied a pineapple. I didn't see why someone couldn't grow a pineapple plant so the next time we purchased a fresh pineapple I decided to see if it would grow.

I know there are tons of instructions on the Internet on how to start a pineapple and just about any other plant you wish to start, but I did not follow those instructions. Putting sand and whatnot in a pot and cutting the pineapple this way and that was just too complicated for me. All I did was cut off the top of the pineapple being sure to leave about 1/2-3/4 inches of the meat on the stem, then I placed the fleshy end down in a pot of good potting soil making sure there was a strong contact between the fleshy part of the pineapple and the soil. I left the pot on my front porch in morning sun/afternoon shade conditions and kept the pot moist (during the summer). A few months later roots appeared. After one year of growing this pineapple plant in this manner the plant has grown into a fine specimen that makes a super good houseplant. Even I can't complain about it since it does not drop its leaves, is not picky about my neglectful watering habits and helps to brighten my house up during the cold winter. I do bring the plant in during the winter and place it in a sunny south facing window. Too bad I will probably never get pineapples from my little plant but I can hope and dream of the tropical life can't I?

in the garden....

There is a new seed company called Hometown Seeds that let me know they are offering a 10% discount on your total order for all readers of this blog from now until February 28th, 2010. They cater to the home gardener-you and I. You need only add the word 'Thanks' to your order as a coupon code if you decide to order from them.

Full disclosure!
I have never purchased from Hometown Seeds NOR have I received any free gifts from them. I just thought I'd pass along the information to my readers.

Words and Photos Property of In the Garden Blog Team,

In the Garden

Thursday, January 21, 2010

House Guest

By Skeeter
We have a house guest here in our Georgia home! My dad gave me this cute little Lady Bug pot a while back as we continue with our Lady Bug Game. Last summer, I chose a violet plant for Lady Bug to cradle. I brought Lady into the house for the winter and look at what she has given me in return.
A beautiful Bloom! This violet has not bloomed since the day I placed it into the pot.
And now she has given me a most beautiful bloom to enjoy for the winter while being my HOUSE GUEST, In the Garden....

Note: Speaking of house guests, we will have guests in the human form (as well as a furry 4 legged one) staying with us for the next week so I will be off blogging for a bit. I will pop in here when time allows. I know I said I would be getting the second part of our cruise pictures for you to enjoy but I don't have the time to load all the pics for now. I will get them up as soon as possible...

Words and Photos Property of In the Garden Blog Team,

In the Garden

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Veggie Garden Update-January 2010

Tina's Veggie Garden Update-Tennessee:

Now that the 'big arctic' freeze is over I had the heart to venture outside and explore the garden a bit. I must say I am most excited to see any green in the vegetable garden but to find as much as I did I am most excited! This Swiss chard (pictured above) is a keeper. It has been growing in the garden since last spring and seems to show no sign of letting up. I have purchased more seed and this is one vegetable I will always grow in my garden.
The Chinese cabbage is another keeper. This 'cabbage' is growing under a coldframe and has held up really well. I can't wait until it gets a bit bigger so I can start cutting the leaves for salads. The spinach that was also growing in this coldframe did not fare as well, but I am hopeful it will bounce back soon.
Finally-see those seedlings above? They are lettuce seedlings NOT growing in the coldframe. I planted these in November and they have all hung on despite the frigid temperatures. I am most excited with these!

I also have some elephant garlic, turnip greens, and onions growing and they are all doing outstanding. You'd hardly think it was cold here at all.

The Chinese cabbage, lettuce, spinach, and turnip greens are all growing in the vegetable bed where I buried manure 10" deep under the soil. I don't think the manure has generated any heat so it is simply not helping the vegetables with warmth. However, it will make a big difference come this summer when I plant gourds in the bed. I will continue to amend the soil with manure when I don't have compost available but I prefer compost. Next winter I may try something different in my coldframe. I read in a book (Brother Gardeners) where tannic acid can heat the soil in a coldframe. I've not done any research on it though so I need to research it further before I try it out.

It is nearly time to start your seeds here in Tennessee. I usually plant seeds for the summer garden mid to late February, but right now is the time to start your cool weather crop seeds like: lettuce, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, and chard. Next month I"ll be planting peas in the garden and may pick up some transplants once they come in. I am not big on starting vegetable seedlings since I think there is a pretty good variety in the stores but I will be starting a few.

How is your vegetable garden growing? And are you ready for it to ramp up real soon? I'm not!

Skeeter's Veggie Garden Update-Georgia:The gourds I grew in my Georgia Garden are hanging in the shed as they continue to dry. I will turn the larger ones into birdhouses while making other crafts from the smaller gourds.

Again, as in the past few years, we are receiving way too much rain in the yard. It was already a soggy mess and here we had over 2 more inches this past weekend! Ouch...We made a great attempt to have a vegetable garden the past two years but with little success. I am sad to say we are giving it up as it is too costly and time consuming for such little rewards. The fence you see above will come out of the ground and we will leave the pine straw and leaves as a natural area of water run-off. We will continue to incorporate sweet peppers, herbs and tomatoes into the flower garden as they do thrive there. We chose a bad spot for our Veggie Garden and we knew it would be a gamble. We have lots of land but no great area to dig a new Vegetable Garden without cutting major trees. We have just decided to dwell on the things we know we can grow with our current conditions.I have finally gotten around to playing with the smaller gourds from our 2008 crop. They have a coat of white paint on them and soon they will be snowmen. I will show the finished product at some point. I have put them on the back burner for now as we are going to be tied up for the next week or so.

This will be my last entry to the Monthly Vegetable Update as I don't see how I could keep anyone interested in peppers, maters and herbs for an entire year! Ha ha... Happy Vegetable Gardening in 2010, In the Garden...

Words and Photos Property of In the Garden Blog Team,

In the Garden

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Warm Days, Cold Nights

By Skeeter
Here in my Georgia garden, we are finally receiving some nice weather. Well, Warm temperatures during the day hours anyway. It has been winter for some time and I knew that when I spotted the first Lady Bug on the bathroom ceiling! I am not sure where they come from but every winter we have these cute girls join us in the master bathroom. We believe they come through the attic vents and then make their way to the warmth of our bathroom through the exhaust vent. Which by the way we went to replace with a nice new sound free vent only to discover the existing vent is not piped through the roof like it should be! Argggg, shotty building or lack of codes 30 years ago when built? Who knows but for now, we no longer use the vent. When steam gets into woods of the upstairs, well, we would have one messy mold issue. Grrrrrrrr, on the builder that cut that corner and grrrr, for the inspector not doing his job 30 years ago......
So our day temps are nice enough to venture outside while the night temps are still falling into the 30's but luckily, not 32 where things will freeze. Cheetah is smart and makes a nice little bed by the fire in the living room. I am by her side in the recliner also enjoying the warmth but I am so not in the picture as I had such a rats nest on my head this evening. It had been another rainy day so inside we stayed where it was nice and dry and the hair never got touched by a comb just the ole fingers through it on this lazy day!
Okay, little girl, the fire is gone and it is time to crawl under the electric blanket now! I sure hope this round of 2 inch rain will not rot all my already soggy plants in the yard. Oh gee, the worries of a gardener.

Today, we plan to hand wash the car then again, by night fall we will be sitting by the warmth of a fire. Ho hum WARM DAYS, COLD NIGHTS, In the Garden....

Words and Photos Property of In the Garden Blog Team,

In the Garden