Monday, February 29, 2016

Thousands of Bulbs

What does over 14,000 bulbs look like prior to bloom? Well, not like these pictures but you can get an idea. There is no possible way I can show you all 14, 000 plus bulbs I have planted on our property in the last three years because they are spread out all over the property. I did take these pictures of our big field which contains the orchard and a wildflower area. The wildflower area is posted above. It is a small portion of the field where I planted mainly native prairie plants such as asters, sunflowers, rudbeckia, Joe Pye Weed, baptisias, cup plants, and many more perennials. Prior to establishing this area as a wildflower area though, Mr. Fix-it and I spent some time planting daffodil bulbs here. These are all predominantly 'Ice Follies'. The grass is brown because it was just bushhogged this month in preparation for the growing season. Soon new growth of the perennials will begin as the daffodils fade away. I will post pictures once these 'Ice Follies' bloom.
Moving into the orchard we see green grass. The orchard is mowed on a regular basis. We walk in this area a lot and need the grass to be maintained in order to have access to the plants and to keep down the insect problem. The chickens also live in the orchard and help out with insects. The orchard itself is about one acre large and is filled with daffodil bulbs of all sorts. The bulbs are planted about 18" apart throughout the entire area.Those tall green stems are the daffodil bulbs showing their foliage in preparation for blooms. The hay bales are a wind block for my two bee hives. Both bee hives are doing great.
More of the orchard looking at the daylily beds and toward the grape arbor. Mr. Fix-it and I planted the bulbs before we mapped out the garden beds. Hence, there are bulbs everywhere including in the garden beds. This is totally not a good method of planting a garden so don't do it. I wish I had taken the time to plan things out better. And this from a landscape designer.
More of the orchard looking past some bare fruit trees toward the front gardens. This area will be amazing once the daffodils bloom. Right now the flowers don't make a big impact in onesies and twosies but that will change as the bulbs slowly multiply. The orchard will, believe it or not even with only one or two bulbs per hole, become a mass of yellows and whites soon. All of these bulbs are of different varieties. There are perhaps about two dozen different kinds of daffodil bulbs just in the orchard. Therefore their bloom times may vary a little. The entire show will not happen all at once then disappear.
More daffodils.
These ones have begun their bloom. They are probably the cultivar 'Rijnfelds Early'.
More blooms are beginning to show. These flowers are such a delight for me! They are never bothered by the wildlife, are tough as nails, easy to divide, and propagate, and bloom for a very long time. I usually have daffodils in bloom all the way from early February until the end of May. For information on how to divide daffodils see my popular post found here. You do NOT need to wait until the bulbs are dormant. In fact, if you do you most likely will forget where the bulbs are located. All of the above bulbs have been divided and replanted within the last three years when they were in bloom, prior to bloom, or just after bloom. I prefer to dig and divide daffodils prior to bloom IF I know what cultivar the bulbs are. If not, then I wait until they bloom so that I can coordinate the height and colors and types of blooms with adjoining blooms....

in the garden....

Tomorrow is Super Tuesday and for those of us in Tennessee it means we get to exercise our valuable right to vote. That's where you'll find me and I hope you'll also be visiting your local polling station too. 
Words and Photos Property of In the Garden Blog Team, In the Garden

Friday, February 26, 2016

Vegetable Garden Update February 2016: It's Time to Plant!

Winter is winding down and spring is in the air. Have you noticed all of the robins visiting your backyards? How about the bluebirds scouting out the local birdhouses? The days are noticeably longer and spring is here in my humble opinion. That means planting!
In all of the years I've lived in Tennessee I go with my gut on when to plant my vegetables. I am always good with early spring plantings but never good with fall plantings. I shall work on that this summer but for now my gut is telling me it's time to plant! That is just what my wonderful (now a gardening husband) husband and I did this week. Lowes has its spring vegetable starts in the stores and it was a good time for us so we jumped on it. Above Mr. Fix-it planted: red lettuce, 'Buttercrunch' lettuce, baby broccoli, and spinach. The rest of the bed is also planted with: potatoes (four types), and onions (three types). We are very excited to harvest a bunch of vegetables this year.
This bed still has Brussels sprouts growing in it. Since the weather has warmed up new growth has appeared and we are excited about these. Brussels sprouts is a vegetable I will always grow. The cabbage and cauliflower that were also planted here succumbed to the cold and the snow.
The newly planted bed with its potatoes, onions, and starts. This bed held tomatoes and peppers last summer. After these crops are harvested we'll plant sweet corn here. With only four beds it is fairly easy for me to establish a rotation plan for the garden. I do not follow with the same type of crops in any bed.


The herb garden is doing well. So far my rosemary is happy! I've never been able to winter over a rosemary plant in the garden but this year I've had success. It must be because the bed is raised.  Sage and thyme are also still showing some green. Pansies are there for added color. Pansies will usually winter over in Tennessee gardens and come back strong in the spring.
I came across some neat seed packet holders while I was visiting my daughter in Florida. I had never seen or used these packet holders before but I love them. They are fairly inexpensive and very easy to use. I do think with extended sun exposure the plastic will get brittle and break, but that will hopefully be a year or two down the road. Right now they make it ever so easy to label each crop.
And they are really attractive. Even my grandchildren will be able to clearly see what is growing where....

in the garden....
Words and Photos Property of In the Garden Blog Team, In the Garden

Friday, February 5, 2016

Lake Eola Part III

Continuing our walking tour around Lake Eola in the heart of Orlando, Florida we find this island just off shore. It was quite an interesting island and has a surprise. Look closely and perhaps you can spot the wildlife roosting in the brush on the left side of the island. Can you see them?
I did not initially see them but upon looking closer I got a good surprise. I don't know what kind of birds these are but there were a few of them just roosting quietly on the branches of this tree.
Looking at the island from a different perspective we also get a view of one of the many homeless people living in this park. If you are a homeless person Florida is where you want to be in the winter because it is fairly warm. All of the homeless we saw seemed to be enjoying the park very much and many, like this gentleman, were taking naps under the trees or on the benches. Still, others were eating nice plates of good food. The day we visited was Christmas Day and because of this holiday several local places were giving out free plates of food.
The turtles were quite a sight.



Bald cypresses were a very common tree in the part of Florida I was visiting. My daughter's subdivision had several little ponds that were surrounded with nicely landscaped areas. Bald cypresses were part of the landscaping near all the ponds I saw. This one has several knees since it is growing in the water. The white ibis were taking advantage of the perches in order to spear their prey.
White ibis were everywhere in Florida it seemed. In my daughter's neighborhood they prowl around the lawns looking for prey. They are a beautiful bird. Their call sounds like a duck's call. Check the Cornell site for more information on them.



The park was beautifully decorated for Christmas. This tree was a very large tree and completely lit up. We happened to pass by this park after dark and the wished we could've visited it then too because all of the Christmas lights were quite festive....

in the garden....

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

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Lake Eola: Part II

Continuing around Lake Eola we find a little pier that on this day, totally belonged to the pigeons. It must be mating season for these pigeons as they were putting on quite a courting display for passerbys.
Swans were all up along the shore as we slowly made our way around the park. At first I thought this swan with the raised foot had a injured foot. But then Mr. Fix-it and I noticed several swans had a foot raised up.
We have no idea why the swans were like this but don't think they were injured.


Off to the side there was a memorial to fallen soldiers. It's almost a rule that all public parks must have memorials to soldiers. At least it seems that way because so many have them. 

While in this area we saw quite a few homeless folks. Because it was Christmas Day they all had large plates of food to eat and were sharing with one another where to go to get the plates of food. A couple folks told us Merry Christmas and one managed to ask for money while we were leaving. I have no problem with homeless folks, but I do not appreciate  outright begging.  

I am pretty sure this majestic bird is an anihinga, or snake bird. My daughter pointed several out to me while we were out and about. These birds are predators in the water. They stalk their food and spear them with their long sharp beak.
Swans eat a lot of food. We did not feed any swans on this date but I thought it good the park placed informational signs out for visitors to remind us all that feeding wildlife it not really a good idea; even if they are on special diets.
The gardener in me immediately caught a couple of camellias in full bloom. This red one is trained into an umbrella like tree. There were several different colors of camellias in this apartment complex's garden (the garden did not appear to be part of Lake Eola but skirted the park. I was thrilled to learn a bit about tropical gardens simply by observing the fauna in all of the landscaped areas in Orlando. I realized I don't know much about tropical gardens at all. 

There is one more post about Lake Eola.....

in the garden....

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

Monday, February 1, 2016

Let's Visit Florida: Lake Eola Part I

I recently traveled to sunny Florida, specifically Orlando, in order to visit my daughter Christine and granddaughter Adella. I have to tell you I really loved Orlando. The people were all very nice, the weather okay, the landscapes and roads were clean (This is something Tennessee does not have), it was easy to shop at local stores and there was a wide variety of stores and services close by. Orlando seems to be a lovely city to live in. It is completely opposite of the country hick town I live in. Honestly I cannot say I'd rather live in the city but the city truly had some advantages over this area I live in--quite a few actually. At any rate, while visiting the city Mr. Fix-it and I ventured out to visit a city park in the heart of Orlando called Lake Eola. Upon exiting our vehicle we were greeted by a great display of annuals right next to high rise buildings and the road. It was a feast for my eyes and a precursor of all to come. Let's walk the .9 trail around the park and see what else it has to offer.

After passing the beds of annuals we are greeted by this beautiful sculpture. And when I say beautiful I mean beautiful. I thought she rivaled sculptures from Europe and her setting was quite appropriate.
She must've been fifty feet long or so. She was so long I could not capture the whole sculpture in one picture. The woman is prone among a groundcover and you can only see portions of her. The feet and hands and all parts were unique in that they were very anatomically correct and the whole effect was soothing.

Bald cypresses are a very common tree in this part of Orlando. You cannot find a pond without bald cypresses planted in or near it. Can you see a knee popping up from the water? Soon there will be many more. We'll see some more knees in a later post about Lake Eola. I planted two bald cypress trees on my farm last summer in the hopes they will grow to be magnificent trees so I can enjoy them at home. So far they are doing well. Bald cypresses do not need to be planted in or near water to grow well, but I think they would like a wet area.
Looking across the pond we can see a magnificent water fountain. It is powerful and makes quite a sight; especially when lit up at night.
Now this is a picture you won't see on many Lake Eola websites, but I loved this building. It is the restroom pavilion of the park. The glass blocks were so in tune with Florida and the coral blues and aqua were a very nice contrast. It was a very well taken care of service area for this busy park area. Orlando is doing well with their maintenance.
Birds are the word in Florida--they are everywhere. All kinds of birds are abundant, but more so water birds when near the water. I have no idea what kinds of birds we saw except for a few. My daughter, who is an avid birdwatcher, could probably tell us but she did not join us on our walk this day.
These birds are easy to identify. They are mute swans. I think everyone loves swans and I am no exception. These birds were the queens of the little lake. There are also black swans in this lake.
Traveling along the path we find this male mallard taking a little nap.
The lake was surrounded by sculptures. Some were massive like 'The Muse' and this one called 'Take Flight', but some were also as small as a sparrow. I did not photograph all of them but this one is quite noteworthy to me.
And to this bird too as it took refuge on a piling.
All of the sculptures had metal plates identifying the sculpture and it is interesting to note that the artist of this sculpture as well as 'The Muse' are both Kentucky artists....

in the garden....
Words and Photos Property of In the Garden Blog Team, In the Garden