Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Red Camellia: It's a 'Black Tie' Event

From In the Garden

The spring blooming japonica camellias have made their presence known here at Tiger Gardens. There are three and while I really like them all, my heart belongs with the sasanqua camellias. I like the sasanquas reliable bloom time in the fall when the blooms are pretty much perfect and not damaged by cold weather like the spring blooming japonicas sometimes have to endure. The three japonica camellias I grow here are: 'Black Tie' camellia (double red camellia and it is pictured), 'Nuccio's Gem' (a double white one that tends to get damaged by the cold just as Skeeter posted about), and an unknown peachy double camellia. All three are attractive shrubs even when not in bloom.

My garden is rated Zone 6B and most of my seven camellias are rated to Zone 7. My secret for growing them in my garden has been to place them on the north side of something-like my home or a tree. This winter had me worried
that my camellias might be damaged with all the talk of "it being the coldest winter in a l-o-n-g time" . That has not been the case. There is very minor damage to some leaves that can be easily cut off but all mature shrubs are in fantastic shape. The cold winter has not affected the bloom and all seven shrubs look pretty good. 'Black Tie' has to be my favorite. It has reliably bloomed each year, is undemanding, and a real standout when there is little else blooming in the garden with the deep red blooms. The picture above does not rightly do the deep red justice but take my word for it, the bloom is blood red. It is a very attractive plant that is quite dense in glossy foliage too. I planted 'Black Tie' in 2005 as a one gallon pot plant and it is now about 5'+ tall and 3' feet around. It is most happy here....

From In the Garden
in the garden....enjoying these springtime blooms.

Words and Photos Property of In the Garden Blog Team,

In the Garden

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Cherry Blossoms

By Skeeter
The Saint took the day off from work on Friday and dragged me out of my Georgia Garden for a little birthday get-away. He took me to Macon, GA. Home of the Cherry Blossom Festival. Upon our arrival, I spotted swags of Blossoms with big pink bows adorning many Doors, Window, Poles and Light fixtures such as the one above.
I spotted a beautiful window display in the old downtown hub.
I was captivated by these beauties in different shades of pink!
Half pale pink, half deep pink. What is up with that?
They were so beautiful that I had the Saint pull the car to the side of the road for a closer peek.
I did a bit of research on the Cherry Blossom Festival and found an interesting story about the trees. William A Fickling Sr. came across a Yoshino Cherry Tree in his backyard in 1949. He had no idea what the tree was until taking a business trip to Washington DC in 1952 and seeing the same trees surrounding the Tidal Basin.
Once home, he learned to propagate the trees and freely shared them with the community of Macon.
Carolyn Crayton took notice of the beautiful trees and approached Mr. Fickling with the idea to donate trees to a neighborhood. He agreed as long as she organized the planting. On Saturday Nov. 24, 1973 500 Yoshino Cheery Trees were planted in the front of residents homes. This was the start to something special. 300,000 Yoshino Cherry Trees have been plated since the one spotted by Mr. Fickling in 1949!
The Cherry Blossom Festival was started in 1982 to honor the beautiful cherry trees of Macon, GA. It is referred to as the Pinkest Party on Earth! I was not sure about why pink when cherry blossoms are white but after a closer inspection of the blossoms, I do indeed see pink! We had no idea what to imagine but were a bit disappointed when entering the town to not see many trees. We were expecting streets lined with Cherry trees all along old downtown but to our dismay, only a few can be viewed downtown. Luckily, we stopped in at the city Visitors Center. We were given a map to follow in our car to see the street lined trees in the neighborhoods. They were breathtaking to say the least.
We also played tourist while in Macon by touring some homes. The Hay House was most impressive and referred to as the Palace of the South.
I recognized this tree on the front lawn of the Hay House.
The baby fan-shaped Ginkgo leaves were the give away of this very old tree. I bet this tree could tell some great stories if it could talk. A small garden is all that remains of the once grand gardens to this stately home.

Back to the front of this house, I want you to take notice of the Camellia bushes. These things are really large so I can only assume very old.
Here is a close up of one of the beautiful blooms.
We also toured the Cannon Ball House. Not as impressive as the Hay House but interesting just the same. The kitchen is in a structure in the back of the house like most homes of the 1800's but this one actually housed the dining room as well. The Saint nor I have ever seen this before.
Information on the Cannon Ball House.
I enjoy driving around old cities such as this one as you never know what you might spot with a quick eye. This huge bush with bright fringe caught my eye.
I am guessing this to be a Chinese Fringe Bush (Loropetalum)
I also spotted Spring and Winter mingling together. The Birds must not be too hungry in Macon as I spotted lots of berry's.
We enjoyed our little get-away to see the CHERRY BLOSSOMS, In the Garden...

Words and Photos Property of In the Garden Blog Team,

In the Garden

Monday, March 29, 2010

Pine cones and Sweet gum

Posted by: Dawn

My kids had last Friday off from school; some workshop, in service, that sort of thing. So what to do with a free day, no snow, but bitter blowing cold? My seventeen year old didn't care, he bugged out to a friend's house and spent the night and it took him a full day and full night to recover.

My daughter and I decided to make the best of a quiet spring day.
I saw this somewhere in my travels and I'll let the pictures speak for themselves.

What you need: Use the skewer to poke a hole through the center of each ball,

**missing the day of photo shoot...a plentiful supply of pine cones and sweet gum. Thanks, Skeeter for the sweet gum!

use the sharpie to draw the idea,

Make sure you have glue designed for styrofoam. Oh, use the snipers to cut a well in your design.


And...glue some more.

Estimated drying time: One day.

String one bead through the twine that you cut at the size of 6x's bigger than your biggest ball. Tape both ends of twine to the end of skewer, thread through your pre-made hole.

Cut the twine of and string both ends through the smaller ball, place the last bead on top, knot both ends together.

Time for the secret ingredient!

Three part peanut butter to one part birdseed. Coat with seed and wa-la! This feeder is up really high, just outside my daughter's window, she has promised me to tell me when a little birdie lands on it.
Until then, sweet tweets In the Garden!

Happy Birthday to Lola!

Words and Photos Property of In the Garden Blog Team,

In the Garden

Friday, March 26, 2010

Making Plant Labels for Tiger Gardens

From In the Garden
I think it was last year or so that there was a meme about plant labels. Ever since then I've been wracking my brain on how I could make some really nice plant labels for my garden-on the cheap. The requirements for my labels were that they were easy to read, long lasting, inexpensive and functional. I think I've got it figured out.

Long lasting means no wood can be used so I reasoned metal would be best. I then had to think of how to mark the names on the metal. Writing with a permanent marker, paint pen, or etching was not going to work because in my experience the markings just don't last. I figured stamping the plant names into metal labels would be best. I found a perfect stamp kit at Harbor Freight Tools for under $10. This is a premium stamp kit, quite heavy and made to last. I chose 1/4" because I thought it would be the easiest to read while not taking up too much room with large letters.

The next step was to find the metal and make the metal plant tags-oops wait. That post will come another day because as of right now I have only made an alternative type plant label-those made from Sculpey clay. I learned of Sculpey from my sister. I purchased a good sized block of sculpey for about $6. I first cut the block into 15 equal pieces and kneaded each piece into a ball. I then used a full coke can to roll out the balls into oval shapes. I next took my stamp kit and imprinted the names of some of my choice trees and shrubs (more to go-this is only a start). I baked the clay for 15 minutes at 200 degrees then let them cool down. My last step was to stain my pieces. Staining brings out the imprinted plant names. I used Minwax (love this stuff!) but you can use watered down patio paints too. The main goal of staining and sealing the clay is to protect the label and to bring out the plant name. Adding some stainless steel wire to each label (be sure to punch a hole in them before you bake) finished off these plant labels. They have all been hung on the appropriate trees and are holding up quite well so far. It is a relief for me to know which tree is which at a glance.

These 15 labels costed me about $7 (clay $6, wire $1). I do not include the stamp set in the cost because that will be reused again and again. So for about .50 cents per label I have a long lasting plant label that is specially designed for my garden and my needs....
in the garden....

Today is Skeeter's Birthday so here is to a very
Happy Birthday Skeeter!

Words and Photos Property of In the Garden Blog Team,

In the Garden

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Georgia Snow in March

By Skeeter Yes, it is March and it snowed in Atlanta, Georgia this past Monday! I do not live in Atlanta but rather a 2 hour drive due east of Atlanta. We did not have snow in our area (Augusta, GA) but you could have fooled me when I was driving around town Monday!
Look at the white filled trees! Yikes, look at that scary sky!
Not white fluffy snow but white blossoms of Pear Trees.
In our area, Landscapes are full of Planted Pear Trees with most of them being Bradford Pears.
They are so beautiful in just about every direction I turn my head.They glow with the sun shining on them and unlike our one real Winter Snowfall, the blossoms do not melt within hours!
Not only do we have tons of planted Pear Trees but also Wild Pear Trees in bloom.

I have talked about these trees in the past but could not find the posting. Anyway, I left that posting a mystery as I did not know what these trees were at that time.
Yesterday, I contacted our retired Extension Agent and he informs me the trees are Flowering Pears while some are Fruiting Pears.
These Pears are abundant and with the many blooming Planted Pear Trees, they are a beautiful sight.
I came upon some in our back woods and took this close up shot of the blossoms. I never knew our back woods had any until the Saint and I took a stroll this past weekend. I stumbled upon some other interesting things while in the woods but will save those for another day.
I do not have any White Blossomed (Blossomed, is that a word?) Pear Trees in my Garden. The trees are too fickle for me but I do have several Bridal Wreath Bushes in bloom. They also look as though they are covered with snow.
The tiny Bridal Blooms are so cute to me and remind me of the days I played bride with my dolls and used the blooms as bouquets for them. Ah, the childhood memories.

Atlanta had the real snow but I prefer this GEORGIA SNOW IN MARCH, In the Garden...

Note; I have been sitting on the Grand Jury and finding it most interesting. I cannot speak of what goes on behind the closed doors as I am sworn to secrecy but I do have one thing I would like to share with you that I learned yesterday. As gardeners, I think you may get a chuckle from this.... "Collard Greens ARE a Weapon"! So be careful if you are growing Collard Greens in your vegetable gardens...

Words and Photos Property of In the Garden Blog Team,

In the Garden

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Wildflower Wednesday-Bloodroot

From In the Garden

Thank goodness I have a (as in ONE flower) wildflower blooming otherwise you all would have had to look at the starts of wildings in the garden (my backup plan). I'd have to make sure all I showed were natives which is not an easy thing to do and you all really didn't want to look at plants without flowers did you? Good thing we have a bloom.

The pretty little flower pictured above is Bloodroot, aka Sanquinarea canadensis. I actually thought it was cutleaf toothwort but could not find a flower named toothwort that looked like this one. Then the light came on and I could see the foliage better and see that it is clearly bloodroot. In my defense the bloodroot has been here for one year and is just now showing up. The foliage on this clump was not particularly striking but it is there. Hence the confusion with my flowers. (Okay, I am learning, albeit slowly).

I planted the bloodroot in an area that resembles its native area in that it is in shade, on a slight hill with good drainage, and the soil has lots of organic matter. I am slowly adding more native wildflowers to this area and even though it is in the back 40, it is an area I find myself walking to quite a bit lately. This bloodroot has been here for one year and did go dormant last summer. I had forgotten all about it until I saw it sprouting up just a week or so ago.

I watched this one lone flower stem until about 2 pm yesterday when it gifted me with the bloom. Whew! There are lots of flowers blooming here but none, much to my dismay, can be considered true natives. Most flowers in bloom here at this time have naturalized but were at one point introduced (think pulmonaria, scilla, glory of the snow, crocuses and others) and I was adamant I could display a true native flower today. So my hat is off to the bloodroot for saving my day! There should be plenty more natives to choose from for next month's Wildflower Wednesday, a big relief for me and perhaps you too.

Join Gail at Clay and Limestone for more wildflowers....

in the garden....

Words and Photos Property of In the Garden Blog Team,

In the Garden