Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Some Pretties and Happy New Year

We have had such a mild winter this year in Tennessee that you'd hardly know it was wintertime! Blooms in the garden in the winter is a very delightful thing for me because 2011 has not been a very good year yet the garden always makes me happy. I thought I'd share a few pretties with you all today and also wish you a very safe and wonderful welcome to the new year. First up is the first hellebore of the season. I love love love hellebores mainly because they do well in the shade here at Tiger Gardens and because they bloom in the wintertime. I was a bit stunned to find a bloom so early-27 December 2011!
I added several flats of violas to my gardens this year. They are sweet little flowers that bloom and bloom and bloom. Our local market here in the Clarksville area did not carry violas in great quantities but when I traveled to Alabama to welcome my newest grandchild into the world I stopped in Chattanooga and found several flats of marked down violas. Viola!
Walking in the garden I noticed a heavenly gentle scent that I knew had to be the vernal witch hazel. This witch hazel does the best of the three that grow in my garden and begins blooming in January each year (it's a bit early this year). It has been in my garden for five years and is finally growing into a lovely form. I may even cut some branches to bring into the house. These are perfect shrubs for that kind of thing.
The greenhouse is a delightful place to be on a sunny day-any day really. The blooms are amazing.
I've been busy working in the garden too-when I am able to-which is not often. I have started digging a 1600 gallon watergarden pond. The hole is almost there now too! I have to dig the deep part about another foot but the rain came and stopped progress for a bit. All of the dirt removed found a home elsewhere in the garden via wheelbarrows. Lots of good work! Now if I can teach myself the mechanics of the pump and so on I might actually get this thing done in another month or so. If you have a pond and can share your successes and what you may have done differently-let me know.

Of course no self respecting pond would be complete without a nearby patio. A store about two miles from our home is under renovation. A big pile of HUGE concrete chunks materialized out back of it. Opportunity! I asked if I could gather the chunks and was told yes, of course since the contractor has to pay to dispose of them. Mr. Fix-it, Jimmy and I made two very rough trips to get these chunks of concrete. I have finally buried them level with the ground and they make a perfect informal patio for my salvaged table and chairs.


And finally, a shot of my beautiful oldest twin daughter, her husband and brand new baby girl named Adella. Adella is one of the few bright spots of this past year and is sure to warm our hearts for many years to come. Here's to 2012 and good things to come....

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

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Yellow Button Mum Hedge

Got mums? Boy do I have mums here in Tiger Gardens. The mums are not all that special but they make up for any shortcomings by being bright and prolific. I wonder if those two are connected somehow? Bright and prolific? Hmmmm. Five years ago I got a start of these beautiful yellow button mums (I don't know the botanical name) from a fellow master gardener on a master gardener garden tour and wow have they really taken off. Before I knew it I had planted whole hedges of these mums.
 Looking East along the Northside Shrub Border

The longest stand of them is in the Northside Shrub Border. This border is 100 feet long by 11 feet wide but does spread out on the ends in order to accommodate  the property boundary. When I first began this garden back in 2003 it seemed like the area was so big and would never fill up with flowers. Now it seems I have run out of space and it is all thanks to these mums-they helped fill the area quickly.
Looking West at the Northside Shrub Border

These mums will easily grow to four or five feet tall and will spread very rapidly if left to their own devices. I have mine planted in front of the shrubs in order to provide a step down from the shrubs to the perennials in this garden. When not in bloom these mums provide a great cushion of green foliage that does not mind the heavily shaded and dry conditions in this garden. This mum is a keeper and I am enjoying all of them this fall....

in the garden....

These being passalong mums are some of the best mums in my mind. Anyone who visits Tiger Gardens this time of the year leaves with a good sized clump so that the cheer can be spread around-from one master gardener to another. Thanks Joy!

We will be taking a break here at In the Garden but will surely see you all next year. Happy Holidays to all!

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

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

One of My Favorite Nurseries-We Du Natives

Are you a plant collector? If so it is possible there are many plants on your list of must haves that you might not be able to find locally. I myself have this problem. It seems most of the usual suspects (viburnums, hydrangeas, evergreens, and spiraeas, etc) are mainly what I can find locally in any big box store. I rarely shop at local nurseries but when I do I find they rarely have anything all that different from the local big box stores but they have much higher prices so I pretty much only buy the majority of my plants at big box stores-generally marked down 50-75%. Yes, I am a bargain shopper and you might call my garden a bargain garden but the plants don't know I purchased them cheaply-shhh-don't tell them okay?

I do occasionally order hard to find plants from mail order nurseries that have fabulous prices. If a nursery has shipping costs higher than my order for plants I am most definitely not going to buy plants there-even if their plants are on sale. I just can't justify the expense so I am very careful with where I order my plants. Enter We Du Natives, aka Meadowbrook Nursery in Marion North Carolina.

I first came to be aware of this small nursery in the mountains just off from I40 at exit 85 when I was looking for witch hazels back in 2006. There were two nurseries I found that carried witch hazels. One was the We Du Natives and the other was a nursery in Louisville Kentucky. Both were doable for a road trip but since my in-laws live just east of Marion North Carolina around exit 110 I decided that upon our next visit with them that I would make a trip to We Du Natives. I was not disappointed and purchased two witch hazels for my garden. Ever since then whenever I could I would travel to We Du for more unique native and non-native plants. Some of the plants I have purchased there are: Japanese roof irises (the best iris of all!), silverbell tree, heath aster and a few more that don't come to mind right now. While visiting the nursery I signed up for the emailed newsletter.

This month's newsletter said their hydrangeas were on sale. Hydrangeas are a favorite shrub of mine so I decided to investigate further. Come to find out they had two gallon 'Silver Dollar' and 'Phantom' Hydrangea paniculata on sale for $9 each. I researched the two hydrangeas and found that 'Phantom' was the one for me and went to order it. Well, when I ordered I was informed the nursery has a $35 minimum order. Ah ha! That meant I could do more shopping and shop I did. I really only wanted the hydrangea but managed to find two other shrubs that I thought would make good additions to Tiger Gardens-especially since I was reworking a rather big bed that needed some structure in the form of shade and drought tolerant shrubs. Those two shrubs are Adina rubella, aka Chinese Buttonbush and 'Reifler's Dwarf' Littleleaf Viburnum, aka Viburnum ovatum. The Chinese buttonbush is pictured above and the Littleleaf Viburnum is shown below exactly as they came out of the huge box they arrived in from UPS. The dried seedpods (I'm guessing) on the buttonbush look just like spent blooms on brown eyed Susans and really make the shrub very interesting even without leaves! This buttonbush is supposed to be more drought tolerant than our native buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis) and is also supposed to be shade tolerant. It will slowly grow to about 10 feet tall with an 8 foot spread.
The littleleaf viburnum is supposed to be a small viburnum that will grow to about 3-5' tall and wide. It is supposed to have good year round interest and hey, I believe it since it is a viburnum. Viburnums are a genus I am particularly fond of due to their ease of cultivation and wide variety of types. The fall color on this viburnum looks great so I am already impressed.

I chose the 'Phantom' hydrangea because it is supposed to be similar to 'Limelight' but with bigger and better blooms. I love love love 'Limelight' hydrangeas so this one will fit right in. This shrub arrived with a few leaves still attached and I was so excited to see this! All three shrubs look great and were well wrapped. They looked as though I had simply driven to a local nursery and picked them up in person. I was so totally shocked by the good condition and LARGE size of all three of these shrubs for $54 (shipping and cost of the large shrubs) that I decided I should finally write a post dedicated to We Du Natives. I had been promising I would do a post on them to Jamie Oxley for like forever but somehow it always slipped through the cracks. The size of the plants shocked me because normally when I order mail order plants-even from good quality nurseries-the plants arrive looking dead (many are) and are so small they succumb to the shock and give up the fight pretty quickly. I then wind up losing the money I spent on the plants. This is very frustrating. Have any of you received pitiful mail order plants that died no matter what you did? If so you might check out We Du Natives for great prices, good selections, and fantastic shipping and handling. These three shrubs are all safely tucked into my Front Perennial Garden and I am looking for good things from them in the future. It is not too late to plant shrubs in Middle Tennessee-this is actually an ideal time to plant most shrubs. The ground is still wet and fairly warm so the roots will be able to establish rather quickly.

There is another reason I am writing this post now. The gathering of all garden bloggers (who so desire to gather) will be held in Asheville North Carolina from May 18-20. Both myself and Skeeter already have our hotel reservations and are looking forward to meeting all other garden bloggers who attend. I also wanted to let you all know about this nursery that is very close to where our meet up will be held. I for one plan to visit this nursery during my visit and personally thank Jamie for taking such good care of my mail order bargain plants....

in the garden....


P.S. I did not receive any compensation in any form for this post from anyone. I paid for all of my plants I purchased at We Du.  

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

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Happy Holidays, In the Garden

By SKEETERThere are still a few pretty things in my Georgia Gardens. One would be this African Daisy.
Oh how I wish I had picked up more then 1 as it has been blooming since planted...
Phlox is loving this cooler weather.
Wild Thing Sage is looking awesome.
And of course, the Camellia bushes are filled with buds.
The first Camellia bloom of the season!
Back in Oct, I talked about the Wags to Witches Fur Ball we attended in Tennessee. I never showed you the gift basket we donated for the Silent Auction. I had a blast finding things at bargain prices to fill the Garden Caddy I created. It was difficult to hand this over because as a Gardener, I wanted to keep everything I had purchased for the Cause! I am not sure how much money this Caddy made for the Humane Society but the entire evening brought in $16,000.
I have had this picture on file for some time now. Tina talked about a Moth recently, (Click HERE to see that moth) and it got me to thinking about the moth I had yet to Identify. That post encouraged me to hunt down the name of this beautiful moth. This is a Harnessed Tiger Moth and attracted by Clover, Dandelion, Corn and Plantain. Click HERE to read more on this moth. Dandelion is the only thing that could have attracted this moth as I have none of the others in my gardens. I keep control over the dandelion so I have very little on our 2.5 acres. I reckon this is why I have only seen this moth one time. I think it is a beautiful Moth.
While in Virginia recently, we had a treat while sipping our morning coffee. This female Pileated Woodpecker entertained us out the window.
Within seconds of her landing on the tall tree, her mate joined her! What a treat to see two pileated woodpeckers at the same time!
Saturday morning we awoke to a surprise visitor in our Sun room! This Scorpion posed for us then we gently captured it and took it into the woods to live a happy life. I research them a bit and found that we have two different types of Scorpion here in Georgia. The "Striped" and "Devil". Their sting is about as painful as a Wasp or Bee and unless you are allergic, they are not that harmful. They are meat eaters indulging in bugs, spiders, etc. We have only seen about 4 in the 10 years we have called this place home. I am not happy with finding this one inside the house but we suspect it may have come inside by hitching a ride on the firewood. We shall be more careful to knock the wood clear of spiders, scorpions and the such. So for now, the Scorpions are welcome in the garden. But not in the house you little Devils.... I enjoyed reading comments about peoples experiences with these critters. Click HERE to read more..

My attention has gone to falling leaves now. Click on the video to see the leaves gently falling as the Yellow Sulfur's enjoy a treat.
Yes, that is a healthy Geranium sitting on the patio table! Surviving a visit from Jack Frost and still feeding the flutterbugs! This plant has been such a beauty since her bargain purchase of $1.00 that I do believe, I may bring her in for the winter. Winter, burrrrrr I get a chill just saying that word.
Cheetah kitty has the right idea about what to do on cold winter days!
With Thanksgiving approaching us quickly, I am finding myself with less and less time to spend towards Blogging.

Now is the time to dedicate life towards the Holidays with homes full of Family, Friends and lots of yummy cooking. Thus, Blogging will be put on the back burner for a while. I still have plenty to say (my mama does call me the Mouth of the South) so I will be back at some point next year. Until then...

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

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Front Sidewalk Garden

The Front Sidewalk Garden in my garden is uniquely positioned to be a showcase garden where I can grow everything and anything-with some restrictions. Anything I plant in this garden has to be: less than three feet tall, has to bloom a long time, and has to look good most of the year. One restriction I place on the garden is that it must have interest all year long. This garden gets enough sun that I can grow both sun and shade plants and I try to maximize them all for the interest this garden provides me and my guests. As such it can be a busy garden. I thought I would try to capture the garden through the year to kind of showcase the monthly interest. Unfortunately I have done a terrible job of keeping up with the pictures and this post. Nonetheless I have a few pictures that might help to show the way this garden changes over the year. We all know gardens should change but really looking at the changes can be eye opening. 

We start with a spring picture in March. This is about when the gardens here in Middle Tennessee really get going. Yes, we have many plants that will bloom in January and February but March is when you can really notice the color. The red quince in this garden takes center stage. I simply adore the quince but I must confess it is not right for this garden. Quince will grow to be big hefty shrubs over eight feet tall. Quince are also thorny. This garden is quite small and since I have the restriction that my plants in this garden cannot be over three feet tall that means I have to do a lot of pruning on the quince. But for this one plant and this fabulous splash or red color I choose to prune away for as long as I can in order to have this brilliant red in the garden. Daffodils, crocuses, hyacinths, muscari, and pansies (planted yearly) round out the color in March for this garden.


 March 22, 2011

By the time May rolls around we can see the ground is now covered by foliage. This time of the year is probably when we have the most color in this garden. Peonies (three herbaceous and one tree peony), lilies, verbena, 'The Fairy' rose, tulips, and irises now provide the color for this garden. The foliage of the lavender cotton (gray leaved foliage) is a great color combiner in this garden.


July 16, 2011
Things have really slowed down come July. There are dayliies, Russian Sage, cosmos, and some pink coneflowers in this garden but they aren't doing as well as I'd like them to do, hence there is not so much color in this garden during the summer. That is something I'll have to work on next year. You can just see the 'Autumn Joy' sedum heads forming now and soon the asters will come into play for the fall. 'Miss Huff' lantana also graces this garden but it is not in full bloom as of yet.

October 12, 2011

It is not October and wow on all the 'Miss Huff' lantana. Lantana in my garden does not really get going until late August. This is due in part to not receiving full sun and also due to the fact lantana likes prolonged hot weather. Well this year it sure has had its share and grew to over five feet tall. The lantana is finally slowing down a bit but here you can see it in all its glory. I have been lucky in that three of the lantana in this area of Tiger Gardens have wintered over for several years now. Asters and lambs ear also provide some color for this fall view of the Front Sidewalk Garden.


May 22, 2011
 Shifting gears a bit here we now see side views of the same Front Sidewalk Garden. This is the view we receive when we park our cars and walk to the front door. You can see why it must be a show garden since it is in such a prominent spot.

In May we have lots of lilies, 'The Fairy' rose, 'Homestead' verbena, pansies, a few peonies and some of the Hippeastrum x Johsonii bulbs (the red color). The textures weave together in a manner that is pleasing to me and there is something going on all the time in this garden in May. The Japanese maple that is the centerpoint of this garden is virtually invisible from this side view but it will show up a bit more in the fall. Almost all of my gardens have trees as their centerpoints. It is the way I design and garden but it was never a conscious thing. 

October 12, 2011
I guess I just kind of skipped over the summer view of this garden-I told you I was very bad with keeping up with it didn't I? Well here we are in October where the lantana, asters, santolina, and sedum all take center stage.  The Asiatic lilies that were so wonderful in the previous picture are now going dormant and look a bit unsightly in the above picture. I do not cut them off until they are completely dormant so I live with the yellowing.

November Garden 151
 November 8, 2011
This last picture shows the garden as it is now. There are only dried flower heads and slight memories of wonderful plants that have come and gone over this year although 'The Fairy' is bravely putting out some nice pink blooms even this late in the year. The Japanese maple is now also showing up nicely due to the red fall color of this maple. 

Due to the types of plants I have planted in this garden I do very little clean up of this garden. I mainly only remove all of the peony foliage (it's the first thing to go in my garden in the fall-don't trim tree peonies though). I'll do a final clean up in early February so that when the bulbs start bursting forward we'll be all set to start another year in the Front Sidewalk Garden....

in the garden.... 

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

Friday, November 18, 2011

Storing Green Tomatoes Before a Hard Freeze So You Can Enjoy the Garden in the Winter

November Garden 167

The summer garden is finally finished. Upper Middle Tennessee experienced a hard freeze this past week and any hopes of keeping warm season flowers and vegetables around for a bit longer were mostly dashed. Of course we all knew it was coming way before it hit. Geez, it's November already so I think the hard freeze was overdue. Prior to the hard freeze I had removed the very tall tomato plants from the garden. Below is a picture of the before removal and then after removal. 


I removed my 'Better Boy' tomato plants so that I could pick all of the green tomatoes prior to the freeze. Removing the tomato plants is a big job that requires pruners and brute strength. It is a job I dread each fall because it is a difficult job. The difficulty comes into play because the plants are over eight feet tall and are interwoven into the concrete reinforcing wire cages. I first have to remove all of the green tomatoes that I can easily reach and find, then the overhanging plant stems, then the cage itself-which is usually wrapped with the remaining stems. Once the cage is on the ground I am able to unwind the tomato vines and toss them all into the compost. This job took me a few hours this fall and I am not sure why because I actually had less tomato plants than in years past. 


The green tomatoes I harvested filled up four brown paper bags. I check the bags pretty much daily since this year the tomatoes are ripening quite fast. Or so it seems. It may just be that since I have so many of them I am getting overwhelmed with ripe tomatoes all at once. Some people store green tomatoes in a cardboard box covered with newspapers. It works just fine too. I just usually use the bags. I store them in my unheated garage. One year I had fresh tomatoes from the bags in January! Of course I must warn you that tomatoes from paper bags stored in your garage do not compare to sun warmed tomatoes picked from the vine....

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

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Unwanted Visitor named Jack Frost

I normally enjoy visitors to my Georgia Garden. We were out of our gardens for 4 days recently and upon our return, I suspect we had an unwanted visitor. How do I know this, well, just look at the above picture which is how we left our gardens. Cypress and Cardinal Vine so thick on the Swing Arbor that it looks like a tree! Coleus beaming brightly below.
Coleus before we left...
All Coleus when we returned.
Cypress and Cardinal Vine before we left...
Cypress and Cardinal Vine when we returned.
Canna before we left...
Canna when we returned.
Angelona Serena before we left...
Angelona Serena when we returned.
Zinnia before we left...
Zinnia, when we returned.
Tina's Angel, before we left...
Tina's Angel when we returned. Sigh, she had just started to bloom for me.
The scented Angel before we left...
The Angel when we returned.
It was as if someone had stripped all the leaves off this plant!
Look at the big tall Banana Tree to the right before we left...
Poor Banana Tree after we returned. Notice how the baby survived while protected under the larger leaves of the tree.
Some Elephants Ears (not all) showed damage from our visitor. No doubt in my mind that while we were gone, we had an UNWANTED VISITOR NAMED JACK FROST, In the Garden....
Words and Photos Property of In the Garden Blog Team, In the Garden