Friday, October 30, 2009

Watch Out for Those Creepy Crawlies...

From In the Garden

Watch out for the creepy crawlies while you are enjoying your Halloween....

in the garden....

P.S. I have tentatively identified this grasshopper as a two banded grasshopper. If anyone knows something different please do let me know.

W2W in Florida has done a much better job of identifying my grasshopper than me. I now believe it to be an American Bird Grasshopper thanks to her information. Thanks W2W!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Happy Halloween!

By SkeeterLook what I spotted while at Tina's "Tiger Gardens" back in August! The sun was shining perfect, illuminating this Spider Web! It was so perfectly round and reminded me of the Record Albums I played on the Turn Table in my teenage years. I still have a 8-Track, Am/FM Turn Table Stereo combination and a few of those vinyl albums! The thing still works and I listen to the AM/FM Stereo often as it is located in the office. Talk about living in the past! ha...I was back in my Georgia Garden for the Full Moon to appear from behind the tall Georgia Pine trees. Does the halo around the moon mean rain? I say yes since it arrived just after that moon...

I woke up to a scary sight on my front porch ceiling. Click on the video to see for yourself. From this Link I assume the Granddaddy's were deterring a predator, being me. The sound you hear on the video is not the Granddaddy Long Legs but the Cicada of a Georgia Summer singing their song.
The term Granddaddy Long Legs can refer to many types of insects and some are not Spiders nor are they venomous. Click HERE to learn 10 Facts about the 8-legged creatures. Yikes, Granddaddy Long Leg's Galore! There were hundreds of them on the front porch ceiling that morning! I gently knocked them off with a broom. I had them go elsewhere for their stay as the Bed & Breakfast was not open for their business!
Some were hiding out in the porch birdhouse but they too were directed elsewhere by a not so happy Me. They are harmless and they don't scare me and I even played with them as a child but I don't care to have my porch taken over by Creepy Crawlies!This Argiope (Black and Yellow Garden Spider) is also harmless to humans. But again, I did not want this visitor on my front porch. So off to the woods we directed it. Now the front porch is full of other spooky items! And just look at the mess the Spiders are making. I must get my broom again... Goblins are taking over our front woods! Ah, a closer look reveals it may be our Bunny's all dressed up for Halloween! And what is Halloween without Black Cats? Sheba must give this strange looking thing a "Cat Scan" before it is put into place to greet visitors. Ah, the Harvest Moon tells me it is about time to pluck the last of the veggies! This was 3 weeks ago but believe it or not, we still have a few peppers on the pepper plants.
Everyone have a HAPPY HALLOWEEN, In the Garden...
*Note: I will not have computer access by the time this "scheduled" post is up but will get on here when time allows to read all your wonderful comments! Have a great ghoulish weekend and be safe...

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Fall Color In Tiger Gardens and the Upper Middle Tennessee Area

From In the Garden

Dave at The Home Garden hosts a Garden Blogger Fall Color Project showcasing fall color from garden bloggers all over the world. This is my contribution to the mix. I am highlighting upper Middle Tennessee fall color mainly in my garden unless otherwise noted.

Fall color in my garden starts with the wonderful camellias. I can't get enough of them! Most of my camellias are Camellia sasanquas. Some bloom in early to late fall and even early
winter, while others bloom in late winter to early spring. This particular one is 'Jean May' and she blooms faithfully each year. I plan a post highlighting her many qualities. Directly behind 'Jean' is a 'Sango Kaku' coral bark maple. The two make a wonderful combination. I happen to be one of those people who like yellow with pink so if you are not, you'll not like it. But I forgive you:) I also included a long shot of this northern end of my home. This is one garden I consider a foundation planting. Here is the plant material (starting with the brown foliage on the far left): sensitive fern (already brown due to a frost), 'Maresii' variegated hydrangea, 'Compacta' holly, 'Jean May' camellia, PG hydrangea, 'Sango Kaku' Japanese maple, and finally you can see just a bit of the yellow foliage of 'Mt. Airy' viburnum.
While my garden has tons of oak trees and a few maples and even a few bits of color most of the oak trees in my garden and in the surrounding area simply turn a dull brown/gold and fall off. The oaks predominantly do not color up nicely. Sigh. I have to look outside of my garden for some lovely fall color sometimes. Here is a shot of 'Bradford Pears' at our local Wal-mart. Whatever you may say about Bradford Pears you can never say they do not have wonderful fall color. As a bonus their leaves last a long time. I do not grow these in my garden but do love the vivid red.
My new serviceberry is earning its keep. Though I was not fast enough to eat any of the berries, I am enjoying its orangey color and specifically sited it so that the evergreen cedar tree would set off the color.
I couldn't resist adding in a shot of my neighbor's two horses. Meet Roz (white lady) and Sassy (brown lady). They are a lovely part of any season here. If you look around them you will see mainly oak trees. Can you see any color other than brown? Our oak trees in my area mainly turn brownish gold then drop the leaves. The view is dull at best so the horses help to spice it up a bit.
Here is a dogwood along my road in front of my home. I love reds in the garden and you can't beat dogwoods for some good color in the fall in this area. This is one of my favorite vignettes in my own garden. I actually planned this view in advance by taking advantage of the fall color of these two small trees. The orange tree in the foreground is a Korean Maple, the bright yellow tree in the background is a new purchase called Two Winged Silverbell (Halesia diptera magniflora). The clear yellow is most welcomed here. You can just make out the problem tree stump to the left of the two winged silverbell. It will slowly rot and add great organic matter into the soil. A post on problem trees will come up next week. Here is a close up of the Korean maple. This maple is a good substitute for Japanese maples in cold climates. I purchased this little tree from Don Shadows nursery last May so it has been in my garden about 18 months now. I really enjoy its orange color that glows. As it gets bigger the coloring is getting stronger. One last picture to leave you with. Seeing as how hydrangeas are my favorite shrub I could not leave this post without getting a picture of one or two as well. The Hydrangea paniculata (aka PeeGee) hydrangeas turn a lovely yellow in the fall. They are very sunny in the garden. The red shrub behind it is a burning bush (Euonymous alata). This is not a shrub I would plant today but when I planted it six years ago it seemed like a good idea. I do like the shrub as a whole but don't like its invasive tendency to self seed prolifically. Hostas are also yellowing up in the garden and are the groundcover mixed in with the PG hydrangeas above.

That's it for fall color here at Tiger Gardens and the surrounding upper Middle Tennessee community I live in. There is more of course. It seems like fall color has popped out all over this area overnight. On the way back from Nashville along Interstate 24 I was truly amazed at all the color we have going on here. I was thinking it would not be so colorful due to the warm weather and rains we've had but I was wrong. Hickories, sourwoods, sweetgums, maples, some oaks, dogwoods, tulip poplars, and many more shrubs are simply glorious! It is wonderful this year all around Tennessee. I hope fall is bright and colorful where ever you are located too.

in the garden....

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Furry Treats

By Skeeter This is so not in my Georgia Garden but cute enough to share with you all today. The Saint and I attended the annual "Wags to Witches Fur Ball" benefiting the Humane Society of Clarksville, TN. We left late after work this past Friday basically to attend this wonderful event. Then we returned back to Georgia on Sunday. Yes, one quick trip but so worth the drive and all for a good cause to support the homeless animals. Plus I was able to squeeze in a quick visit to "Tiger Gardens" to drop off a Dogwood tree and pick up a Angel Trumpet from Tina! Tina our visit was awesome as usual and my mom is still talking about your gardens, dogs, birds and killing that leaf, sigh....
I went dressed as a Witch with a Spider theme and had been collecting items found at thrift shops and at bargain prices all over town. I needed some direction of how to put all the goodies together to make a unique costume that no one else would be wearing. And look at what I found with a "witch costume" image search on the Internet! I found cats and dogs in Halloween Costumes! A lot of us gardeners have pets in our life and I thought you may all get a little chuckle from seeing these cute pictures.
Since Halloween is just around the corner, Maybe you will get inspired to dress your little fur ball such as these pet owners have...
Ha, I cannot imagine putting a hat on either of my cats much less getting them to pose for the after picture!
Look how cute this homemade costume is on this little pooch.
This little kitty looks like it is ready to cast a magic spell. Maybe on its owner for the costume...
I am not sure this little girl looks too happy about her costume...
Another cute witch.
Can you believe this picture of not one but two cats in costume?
All this doggie needs is a broom to take off over the moon!
And I saved the best picture for last. Is this not the sweetest face you ever saw? Notice the ears through the hat! What is this kitty thinking? Maybe, "why you do this to me"

These Fur Babies are the reason for driving through Atlanta Rush hour traffic on a Friday night in drizzle rain! Raising money to help the homeless fur balls is all worth the effort, plus we have so much fun each year with our animal loving friends. Here is the costume I ended up creating for the Fur Ball.

I was covered with Spiders and Webs from my hat to my toes! The Saint of course is my Scrooge and does not dress up for the Halloween fun but he did at least put on a Skull and Crossbones shirt. He will dress up next year, he just does not know it yet...

I am happy to announce the Fur Ball raised $20,147 for the cause!

I know this is a Garden blog but occasionally we need to leave our gardens for a good reason and I could not help but share these FURRY TREATS.. Now lets get back, In the Garden...

*Note: All animal photographs were borrowed from the Internet...

Monday, October 26, 2009

Chinese Ground Orchids

Posted by: Dawn

I really didn't know what a Chinese Ground Orchid was, all I knew about this flower was the fact it was marked down at Wally world for $3.50 a pot. Who can resist a bargain? I bought three pots. This was September of 2008, after this pretty flower had gone by. I could see remnants of a purple bloom but I really had no idea. I felt, all my life, how exotic it would be to try and grow orchids, I've heard so much about them.
Everything I read about orchids indicated "planting is above soil, or soil less", this is a beautiful flower that thrives with water mostly.

Well, I figured with three root bound pots divided into six clumps, how could I go wrong?
I had this bottom to a free standing humidifier that had gone bust. I thought it would make a perfect plant house one day, it also has wheels which is a plus. The above photo demonstrates what my foliage looked like after transplanting. Do you suppose I'd have a few living and thriving with these conditions?
You know....I thought if any one of these flowers survived I'd put them in my blue room which has an oriental feel to it. I still had no idea what these little flowers looked like.....maybe the pot will look awesome with bamboo shading glued up and down on the sides covering the bland black? A great idea but I just need to figure out how to waterproof the pot so I can wheel my orchids outside if they survived.
ANSWER: Here are my lovelies shortly after Christmas. Slowly, one by one each leaf turned brown which was nothing but an attraction to all my cats, what remained for greens were chewed on and suffered a beating at the paws of three felines!

I continued to be diligent with my watering and spent extra hours chasing cats away from the plants. I used my shears to snip any dead leaves that showed up.
By Valentines day I started to see a
everywhere. I lost one little sprout out of about eight and I never did figure out what happened, two out of the six clumps met their demise.

I've read different information on Chinese ground orchids. Some sources say they like being planted and can be hardy to zero degrees with insulation layered on top. I think I'll wait and see if I can foster more growth before I go planting these outside because I really just would like to see the flower!

My large pot spent the summer on my deck. We had to carefully tip the rain water out several times during the summer. The leaves started looking pretty good and look what happened after about two weeks of being back inside the house.

A flower bud....can you see the water drop on it?
Here is a photo of two buds together. It's hard to see the one in front of the plant but it has 2 buds. Eventually I will pull all of the dead growth. I've left some because it's bulbous and is still tied to the living plant.
This was my flower 2 weeks later. Further information tells the grower these flowers will bloom for 3 months and I suspect had I had more live I'd be enjoying a purple show until Christmas. These are also native to China, Japan and Taiwan.

One week later, I get a glimpse of the true orchid appearance, see the two lower leaves in comparison to the middle part of the flower, classic.
Can you see the water droplets on the outer part of the flower skin and on the other buds?
Upon closer inspection I found another flower.....
I tried to capture the prettiness of the purple. Here we see a photo of the same flower without the flash.
Another closer look.....just perfect nested between the fan of the leaves.
The upper view.....

Then another 2 weeks later all the flowers popped their heads out. I'm pleased to say that the final fact about this orchid is that they can have between 6 to 30 flowers on one stem. Stunning!
I'm also pleased to say.....I've grown orchids! In the Garden