Thursday, January 31, 2013

Sycamore Tree

The Saint and I were out for a walk in one of many wonderful parks we have here in Georgia. As you can see, the sky was a beautiful shade of blue that day. The blue made a great back drop for this clump of white trees.
They stood out to us both so I stopped the walk to snap a few pictures. At this point into zooming the lens, I still had no idea what we were seeing.
Zooming in a wee bit more, I spotted some leaves. One never knows how a photo is going to look on a sunny day. The sun seems to take over the little window.
Zooming in to something that looked round to my eyes, I found these leaves were not leaves but rather some dangling fruit balls. I suspected we were looking at Sycamore trees!
Zooming into the bark, I see the white bark is not bark but trunk where bark has peeled off. I had to rely on my zoom lens of the camera as the trees are located in a swampy type terrain.Yep, me thinks we saw beautifully highlighted SYCAMORE TREES, In the Garden... 
Words and Photos Property of In the Garden Blog Team, In the Garden

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Mild Winter

These Doves are enjoying a sip of water from one of many bird baths we have here in my Georgia Gardens. Our flock of Dove never seem to grow beyond about a dozen or so. The resident Hawk, sees to that. Click HERE to see the hawk. I spotted the Hawk with a squirrel in its talons as it flew off into the woods this past weekend. Poor Squirrel but one less to dig in my gardens. Such is the cycle of life.
Well, hello there Miss Sunshine!
Even though I feel the Narcissus and Daffodil's are opening up early, looking back to last years files, I see they are blooming about the same time. Although, last year we had an early spring as it seems we may repeat this year as well.
Crocus are new to my gardens this year.
They are popping up along with weeds. Weeds=Not Good...
I planted 265 bulbs of Narcissus, Daffy's, Crocus and Muscari using my trusty Auger/Drill.
The Lilies are popping up and I hope they are not bit by Mr. Jack Frost in the coming weeks.
This Lily is way beyond where she should be. I have yet to clean this planter so the old remains.
 The Camellia's have never bloomed so long for me!
They started blooming in late Oct and continue to give me blooms today. I really do enjoy these beauties as they are at the front door and we see them every time we go outside.
Yep, we are having another MILD WINTER, In the Garden...

Words and Photos Property of In the Garden Blog Team, In the Garden

Monday, January 28, 2013

The Red Headed Woodpecker Visits a Waterfall in Tiger Gardens

"The gorgeous Red-headed Woodpecker is so boldly patterned it’s been called a “flying checkerboard,” with an entirely crimson head, a snow-white body, and half white, half inky black wings." (The Cornell Lab of Ornithology 'All About Birds')


Guess who came to visit Tiger Gardens on a recent frigid day in January? The wonderfully colored red-headed woodpecker showed up on my waterfall. I was so excited I ran to get my camera and was able to snap a few shots of this beautiful woodpecker in order to document the sighting. You see, these woodpeckers have declined over the past of up to 70% according to Cornell. This decline has been primarily in Florida and the Great Lakes. The decline is in part due to loss of habitat and also due to the fact that once upon a time these woodpeckers were so abundant that bounties were placed on their heads and they were also often hit by cars. I was telling a local friend that one of these red headed woodpeckers had come to visit and she said she has them all over the place on her property just down the road. I guess the population of red headed woodpeckers in this part of Tennessee is pretty healthy based on her sightings.


I am so happy to find not only this woodpecker in Tiger Gardens but also a yellow bellied sapsucker, and small woodpeckers such as downy and hairy woodpeckers. All woodpeckers eat insects and add to the biodiversity of the garden. The red-headed woodpecker will actually eat mice! All the better for Tiger Gardens!

This is not the first time the waterfall has attracted neat and wonderful birds but this is the first time I was able to capture the visit in photos....

in the garden....

Words and Photos Property of In the Garden Blog Team, In the Garden

Friday, January 25, 2013

A BIG Job for the Professionals: Taking Down Two Large Trees

Black Gum Tree

When we moved into our home nearly twelve years ago the property was a mess. The house had been empty for four months when we saw it in August of 2001. Four months during the growing season in Tennessee means lots and lots of growing. The yard was covered with bramble, weeds, tall grass, tree saplings, rocks, and large trees. All had been allowed to grow wild as in 'Trees and Weeds Gone Wild!'. Apparently the previous owners did not have much of a plan for the property. And when I say a plan I do not mean a full on landscape design. I would have been happy if the owners had at least had a bit of foresight to manage the trees. Trees are by far the largest and most prominent part of a landscape in my humble opinion. They do, however, need managing in order to grow properly and fit into a landscape. For instance, you cannot let oak seedlings grow willy nilly and expect to have healthy oak trees without some thinning and management of those seedlings. Said seedlings grow into very large trees quite quickly. That was what had happened here in Tiger Gardens. The trees (mostly oaks) were overcrowded and not so healthy. I must say on a positive note that I am most grateful there were trees here at all. Many Tennessee landscapes have no trees and that is perhaps a far worse problem than mismanaged trees.

Some homeowners just can't be bothered with trees. They either cut them all down and mow a large green lawn or they let everything grow as it will. The yard quickly becomes very natural and overgrown. The problem with this is that trees will quickly colonize an area and those cute little small trees soon grow into very large trees-and they grow quite quickly in a lot of cases. When trees are left to their own devices and are allowed to grow and grow at will, you will get crowding. Crowding can consist of two very large trees growing right next to each other or it can consist of large trees crowding the house and other out buildings. Additionally, trees that are crowded compete with one another for resources such as water and nutrients and can, in some cases, even shade one another out. Trees that are crowded or have root disturbance from buildings or hardscape cannot possibly grow in ideal conditions and will become stressed. A good wind, late freeze, drought, or any number of mitigating factors will take advantage of the tree, stress the tree, then the tree is susceptible to becoming sick and not so healthy and strong. Once a tree is sick, unless measures are taken to fix the tree the tree will die or fall down before dying. When a tree falls it is possible damage will result.

Over the years I have tried to fix the situation here at Tiger Gardens by culling some trees and planting others. The plan has worked well but I was overlooking a few problems due to the sheer immensity of the problem-namely the large trees in difficult positions. The main problem was a multi-trunked silver maple tree. I posted about that tree several years ago found at this link. Silver maples are notorious for above the ground roots, brittle wood, and fast growth. They are also messy. To be fair they have a few good points. The cedar waxwings love to eat the buds in the spring, they provide good shade, and are reliable-until they snap or fall. Not bad, but when coupled with the fact that my multi-trunked silver maple was growing right next to the property line where I happen to have a nice privacy fence; which was being muscled out by the tree; and that the tree had grown tremendously in the years we have lived here, I felt it was time to take it down. 

The second problem tree was a black gum tree. While I loved the tree and it was in a fairly good location with no major issues, it had some stresses wrought by the late freeze in 2007, subsequent drought, and then several years of summer droughts. This past summer the gum lost all of its canopy in June, then partially regrew it in July when the rains returned. I could tell it was stressed. In the past five years it has had the same cycle of losing its leaves due to droughts and I knew it was only a matter of time before it succumbed to its abuses. Trees are not hardwired to produce two canopies per year and the toll was slowly killing the gum tree. Also, while I have read black gum trees grow to about 85 feet, I swear this one was over 100 feet tall and very mature. This black gum was not at all resilient like the oaks and even the silver maple. Even though I truly hated to remove it I felt the time was right for the gum tree to go as well as the silver maple.
Removing the Black Gum Tree
One of the reasons I had not had the trees taken down before was because the trees were hazard trees in that they were going to be difficult, if not impossible, to fell without damaging other trees or structures or what have you. Obviously my garden has grown up around these trees which made the situation even more precarious. Had I taken out at least the silver maple when we first moved in twelve years ago the job would've been much easier and cheaper. Finding a tree cutter who would even touch the job was difficult. I first called on my go to tree trimmer whom I have used on numerous occasions. He came out and gave me an estimate for only one of the two trees. He said no on the silver maple. I don't blame him at all for that. You see, special equipment was going to be needed to take down the silver maple due to its location next to the privacy fence and above several structures and gardens. The smart guy that he is he suggested I check with Huskey Tree Service here in Clarksville. I almost never ever recommend a local service on this blog but with the difficulty I had finding a reliable tree trimmer to take down my trees and with the professionalism, speed, and ease Huskey Tree Service did the job I felt I should put a link in here to their website.
Removing the Silver Maple. Note the multiple trunks and close proximity to the privacy fence.
You see, in addition to my normal tree trim service man who told me he could not do the one tree, I had also called several other tree trimmers. One in particular that had been recommended due to the fact he had the proper equipment to take down my problem trees (a crane) didn't even bother to return my calls. I could totally understand if he was all booked up but if you are a business, at least take the time to return a call to a prospective customer. I was frustrated to say the least because I knew the two trees should come down and come down before another year had passed. Well, when my regular tree man suggested I try Huskey I did. Within two days both trees were smoothly and safely removed!!!
Target Tree Black Gum
I have to say Huskey Tree Service was most easy to work with. The owner of Huskey asked my neighbor if he could access the silver maple from his side of the fence. The neighbor quickly agreed. I had actually mentioned to said neighbor more than a year prior that I was hoping to remove the silver maple and would he mind if the tree trimmers took it down from his side. He agreed, then and asked if he could have the wood. It seems he burns a lot of it in his fireplace. Well, the tree service did not mind him having the wood at all. I did not particularly want the wood so did not care where it went. 
Target Tree Multi-Trunked Silver Maple
Huskey Tree Service had a crane and some really experienced operators. I was totally amazed at just how quickly and safely the two trees came down. Taking down the silver maple commenced first. My neighbors (white house in the background) all stood outside on their deck to watch the process. I was able to watch only periodically because I was working and quite busy with a design at the time. I was glad I did not watch the whole thing because it was actually nerve wracking. The process is that a man in a bucket truck goes up to the an area near the top of the tree and secures a chain/tie to the tree. The tie is attached to the crane. The crane then pulls that tie taut and secures it. The man in the bucket then goes in and cuts the tree. The tree trunk then swings out. Do you see my greenhouse to the right of the picture? I was a bit terrified a large tree trunk would swing into the greenhouse as it dangled above. Nerve wracking indeed!
Silver Maple after removal-yeah the sun shines in!!

  The job is complete now! I am SO happy to have that silver maple gone. Not only can I now garden in the area but the plants will all do so much better now that they will get some sun and not have that silver maple wick away all available water. I had already planted a couple of Japanese maples in the area and also a crabapple tree. This has ensured trees will continue in this area of my garden even without the huge silver maple. I have also already taken measures to put a new garden in place of the tree stump and the garden is growing well. Of course this involved bringing in two tons of soil to fill in over the maple's roots but that is a story for another day....

in the garden....

As a side note: The huge wind storm we had December 19th and 20th actually felled a large silver maple on the other side of the above neighbor's property. The tree fell on another neighbor's garage. Fortunately damage was minor. My neighbor here in the white house has been most busy cutting up all of that wood. We were both happy I had had my silver maple removed because you just never really know if a tree will come down. The silver maple that did fall in his yard was completely hollow inside. Mine was not but still, there are no guarantees with trees.

Words and Photos Property of In the Garden Blog Team, In the Garden

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Smithsonian Museum

Today we are still chatting about Washington DC instead of my Georgia Gardens. One thing we enjoy about going to DC is visiting the many Smithsonian Museums. Did you know the Smithsonian is the largest museum and research complex having 19 museums, 9 research centers and more then 140 affiliate museums around the world? Click HERE to learn more about the Smithsonian Museums. These are the most wonderful museums I have ever been too and FREE! You can see some fun things such as Kermit the Frog! Did you know that Kermit has been around since 1955? Click HERE to learn more about this fun frog.  
The Ruby Red Slippers that Dorothy wore in the Wizard of Oz.
Archie Bunkers chair from "All in the Family" Click HERE to see more.
One of the first home computers! 
Bones of a Wooly Mammoth.
Bones of Dinosaurs. 
 A whale hangs over your head.
A Mummified Animal.  
A mummified Human!
A stuffed white fox.  
Now ya know. 
 The Hope Diamond. 45.52 carrots! Click HERE to see more about this famous Diamond. Photo is not that great due to lighting and glass. Most items are not easily photographed.
I mentioned the First Lady's dresses on Tuesday. Here you see Lady Bird Johnson's dress and coat.  
Lady Bird was instrumental in getting the highways filled with wildflowers. I saw her work along the roadways of Texas.  
Fun Quartz piece.  
Nature at its best don't ya think?  
This is where my Aquamarine birthstone comes from. 
And look mom and dad, this is what your hip may look like!  
The Air and Space Museum is the best ever! The main branch is in downtown DC while the annex is near the Dulles Airport. Click HERE to read about the worlds largest Air and Space Museum in the world!
Click HERE to read about the Enola Gay and the dropping of the first Atomic Bomb on the island of Hiroshima.  
SR-71A Blackbird.
 Wow, What a Design! And created in the 1960's! Click HERE to learn more about this awesome air craft.
 When I look at air craft such as this, I cant help but think, "Those Daring young men in their flying machines"!
I have seen the Concord in air as it use to fly near the Saints family house when they lived in Fairfax, VA. Click HERE for more. 
 Charles Lindbergh's "The Spirit of St Louis". Click HERE for more.
The Space exhibits are awesome!  
 They even have Jet Packs!
I remember an episode of "Gilligan's Island" Where they found a jet pack. As a child, I thought that was the neatest thing ever. And now I know they actually did have them back then!
The Space Potty! Yikes, this thing is scary.
 The high light of the day of course was seeing the Space Shuttle Discovery! Click HERE to see a wonderful video of the arrival of Discovery to the Museum.
 I am amazed at the size of this thing! It looks so much smaller in the air riding piggy back on a Boeing 747.  
Just amazing to me.
 Another wonderful museum is the Marine Corps. This is located south of Washington DC near Quantico, VA. Real close to where the Saints family now reside.
 On this day, we had our good friend and Marine, Stacey with us. She and her hubby arrived at the museum about opening time. The Saint and I met up with the his parents for lunch as we had recently been to this museum. Later we met up with Stacey and hubby at the museum and we closed it down. Yep, they had spent the entire day at this museum!  
This is a wonderful museum and the displays are so realistic that you have to look twice. At times, I think they are going to get up and start walking towards me! I cannot think of a better place to go for a great Lesson on History about our Country. The SMITHSONIAN MUSEUMS, are the best, In the Garden...

Words and Photos Property of In the Garden Blog Team, In the Garden