Thursday, March 31, 2011

Tennessee Favorite's

By SKEETERBeing a girl from Tennessee, I should always have a little bit of TN in my Georgia Gardens. Tennessee's State Flower is the Iris. There are around 170 different species of the Genus Iridaceae. Although, the Purple is mostly recognised as the Tennessee State Flower. I was lucky to have my Purple Iris bloom just before I left for a Tennessee visit. My first Iris thanks to Tina passing them along to me.
While in Tennessee, I spent an evening with another Tennessee favorite, Elvis! The Clarksville Humane Society had a benefit for the needy fur baby's of my hometown. The Judds, Buddy Holly, Rod Stewart and the King rocked the roof off the place! The HS raised nearly $20,000 at this event! I was so happy to be a part of that and it was a fun filled night of entertainment. I had a great week of visiting with family, friends and Pets. What more could a girl ask for on her birthday! Maybe some Flowers, Chocolate and Balloon from Sidekick and family!

Thanks to "In the Gardens" very own Master Gardener Tina, I have a little bit of those TENNESSEE FAVORITES, In the Garden...

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

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The New Old Fence: Refurbishing a Salvaged Fence


After about six months and many stressful days when no work could be done my 200 foot long privacy fence is done! What a relief. We mainly put in the privacy fence to keep the dogs inside the yard but do you know the evil dog known as Lady has still tried to jump this 5-6 foot tall fence? When that didn't work she has tried to go under it. Sigh. Well, it's done and what a big relief as garden season is in full swing and I've been pretty busy with plants lately.

I am still fixing the going under part with the dogs by placing wire in all gaps but for the most part this fence will keep the dogs in and give me a good sense of enclosure; something I love in a garden. 

The area around the fence is a bit of an enclosed wooded area and I just love the fence as a wall alongside this part of our property. Here you can see toward the frontyard (east) and a section of the fence still in progress. It has been completed since this photo was snapped.


We initially were not going to put up a fence on this southern side of our yard due to the fact all the landscaping took care of privacy and also due to the fact I did not wish to lose the sun. But when I came across a deal too good to be true I jumped on it. That plus the fact Lady would disappear rather frequently. I found an ad on Craig's List that said 26 panels of privacy fence for $100. The only problem was the panels had been sitting out in the elements for at least a year and who knows how old the fence was initially. The fence had deteriorated a bit which meant I had my work cut out for me. The above view of the fence is looking west toward the pond and the side of our garage. I'll be talking about the large arborvitae hedge you see on the left in this Friday's post.

After pressure washing every single fence panel and staining all the panels with a 'Desert Sand' solid color fence stain from BEHR paints, I had a fairly workable fence. I dug the 35 holes, mixed the 40 sixty pound bags of concrete, set and plumbed all poles, and attached all panels. What a job. Okay, I have to admit it, Mr. Fix-it dug four holes and set four posts-thanks baby! The rest was up to me and since I am home most of the time it made sense. My issue was the weather. It was impossible to pressure wash and stain panels in the cold of the winter. Brrrr! But I slowly plodded on and got all of the panels up-a mere 32 feet short of the total distance. That was okay because I prepared to be a bit short and was happy the initial $100 got me as far as it did. I built the last five panels from scratch with a little help from Mr. Fix-it (he is home all the time now due to being on final vacation from the Army). And the fence is done!

The total cost for this nearly 200 foot long fence was about $635: 20% of what it would've costed new and professionally installed. The breakdown of costs is as follows: $100 for 26 fence panels, $30 for some 2x4s to replace damaged ones and to build the portion of the fence I had to build, $75 for the dog eared pickets I had to purchase to build my portion of the fence, $25 for nails, $125 for the 4x4 posts (I only bought about 24 posts because my neighbor gave me 9 and I had a few here in the gardens already) and about $280 for the solid color stain. It sounds strange I spent so much on the stain but I tell you the stain makes a big difference on any outdoor project you do. Not only does the solid color stain make all wood look good, but it also protects the wood and increases the life span of the fence. If you ever get the chance to rehab and salvage an old privacy fence give it a try but be sure you know what you are getting yourself into....

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

Monday, March 28, 2011

More Blooms in Tennessee


Red geranium from the greenhouse.


A long shot of the geraniums.


Old fashioned bridal wreath spirea (Spirea prunifolia).


Spirea 'Ogon'.


Purple oxalis.




'Diane Clare' pulmonaria.


Snowflakes (Leucojum aestivum)


Corydalis solida.


Helleborus sp.


Flowering almond.




Standard dwarf bearded iris.


Daffodil, type unknown.


White daffodil (type unknown) 'Rubra' quince, and 'Goldmound' spirea foliage.


Tulips, that fooled me and came back to bloom. Probably of the Apeldoorn series, red.


More white daffodils.


'Ivory Prince' hellebores.


More daffodils. 


Guinea flowers (Fritillaria meleagris)

Everyone have a great day....

in the garden....

Also blooming not pictured: Jacob's ladder, 'Newport' flowering plum,  'Forest Pansy' redbud, 'Pride of Augusta' gelsemium, white and red camellias, and 'Jet Trail' quince (white). 

Check out the Decorah eagles on my sidebar (brought to you courtesy of my mother, Jean.) I tell you they are mesmerizing and one can get wrapped up in watching them pretty easily. Their eggs are due to hatch sometime this week between Wednesday and Friday. 

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

Friday, March 25, 2011

Some Blooms and a Rescued Dog in Tiger Gardens


'Rubra' Flowering Quince in Front Sidewalk Garden




Chionodoxa 'Pink Giant'


Purple Hyacinths


'Ruby Giant' crocus (later bloomers here)


Unknown Viburnum Bud-It looks to be a good year for my viburnums.


 Spicebush Buds/Blooms (Lindera benzoin) Do you see the cobwebs? No housekeeping in the garden-I let the spiders do their thing.


The Virginia Bluebells are showing some color.


Muscari has just begun blooming.


Bloodroot is in full bloom.


And here is Lili, a temporary bloom in the garden. We are house sitting my daughter's two dogs (the other is Bella) for a bit while she is away on Army training. Short story about Lili. Christine found Lili running in the middle of the road and stopped to rescue her. She is a pit bull. Our county automatically euthanizes pit bull breeds if the owner does not come and claim them after the three day waiting period. They took down her info and we all hoped her owner would call in. No luck of course. 

We posted her 'Found' info in all the local stores. If received a call saying 'my' pit bull was seen running around. Ha! Ironic huh? I post a 'Found' sign only to have some say I lost the dog. We got her back quickly and found she is an escape artist. Enter choker chain and tie out. Still, Lili escapes. This time we don't find her so quickly and my daughter is frantic. We spend all evening hunting for her. The next morning I call the local gas station to see if anyone reported seeing a pit bull. The clerk tells me a friend of hers who is a clerk at another local gas station reported to her that a customer said she found a friendly pit bull at her house and is holding her. Wow! In the meantime I am calling Animal Control the same time as this lady is reporting this lost dog and could they come and get her. A lucky ending for Lili was I was able to secure her. Christine will have to fix her fence and watch her closely. She has not escaped my yard though she tries awfully hard. 

I only tell you Lili's lost and found story because we know this dog was loved and had to have been a family pet. She was well cared for though not spayed and not chipped (both have been rectified). I we can find her with a little effort why didn't her owner come forward? It is so heartbreaking seeing all the unwanted animals in our society. People, if you have a pet or know someone who does, encourage them to spay or neuter them. If you know someone who does not have a pet, encourage them to adopt one....

in the garden....

I figured I'd soften you all up with pretty pictures of flowers before I got on my soapbox. Animals suffer so much. I know there are many who suffer and I wish I could help them all, but in the case of animals they have no control-we do. All it requires is for us to be responsible.

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

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The LARGEST Perennial Plant Sale in Middle Tennessee


It is spring now and you all definitely have spring fever. I can just tell! Not to mention my traffic count tells me there are a lot of folks looking for garden information. Well here is the best tip I have for you this season! Okay, maybe one of the best because surely you know I have more tips. There is a HUGE, and I mean HUGE, perennial plant sale with over 450 varieties of plants, and thousands of pots of these said plants, all priced to sell  and you are invited to buy! The sale is hosted by the Perennial Plant Society of Middle Tennessee and will take place at the Al Menah Shriner Center, 1354 Brick Church Pike, on April 9 from 9 a.m to 2 p.m.

I have been a member of the society for several years now and have posted about it before. I tell you I love it! The members are so sweet, share their plants freely and teach me tons! If you are interested in joining it check the badge on my sidebar and be sure to not miss this plant sale...

in the garden....

Oh, I almost forgot. What perennial is pictured above? I'll give you a hint. It is the queen of all flowers but it is a sub shrub-not herbaceous. Still it is technically a perennial. Any guesses? 

One more note on plant sales, Cheekwood is having their annual Wildflower Plant Sale this Saturday, 26 March 2011 starting at 10:00 am at Cheekwood. 
Words and Photos Property of In the Garden Blog Team, In the Garden

Monday, March 21, 2011

The Star of My Winter Vegetable Garden: Chinese Cabbage


It has been a while since I've talked of my vegetable garden so today I wanted to share the star of my winter vegetable garden. I had to wait until I actually ate this Chinese cabbage first before sharing it. Sometimes I just grow things to grow them and don't really fully utilize my things once they are grown. Ever do that? Well I'm not doing it anymore-at least not in the case of this cabbage. I planted a six pack of these little starts last fall and my how they have surprised me. Winters in northern Middle Tennessee can be cold and brutal. Usually even the most hardy vegetables will succumb to the cold by the end of January. Not this Chinese cabbage! It laughs at the cold and is never fazed. I love it! It looks so pretty in the vegetable garden as it is the only green thing there in the winter. But what I really really like is how it tastes. 

I was a bit hesitant to eat this cabbage because I had nibbled a bit of it straight from the garden. Rabbit I am not as I did not like the taste of this very leafy vegetable when it was raw. My two rabbits adore it though. Well, one snowy evening when I was giving a talk to a home school group and talking about this vegetable I mentioned I did not know how to cook it. One of the ladies perked up and said I do! I asked "How then?" She replied, "Saute it." I happen to have a wok and we love stir fry so I thought that would be the perfect meal to try out this Chinese cabbage. It is so pretty cooked up and added that bit of green that makes stir fry dishes colorful. We all loved it here. The only downside, the two fertilizer bunnies might be eating a bit less Chinese cabbage....

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

Friday, March 18, 2011

Daffodil Love in Tiger Gardens

From In the Garden
We here at Tiger Gardens are inundated with daffodils! Tis the season indeed. I started with a few-honest! A few 'Ice Follies' here and there, a few 'Tete a Tetes' here and there and before you know it I had a lot of daffodils. What else could I do but divide them and spread them around a bit? After a few years of spreading the bulbs around (about 6) I now have bunches and bunches of daffodil blooms.
From In the Garden
It really did not take a long time to build up a LOT of daffodils. Not long at all in the grand scheme of things. I think I first started planting seven years ago. I initially started with about 100 of these 'Ice Follies' daffodils. Guesstimating that there are about 70 daffodils per three square foot section, with the river being about 95 feet long I thing there are about 2100 daffodils in this 'river'!
From In the Garden
I always enjoy these daffodils. They are the only daffodils planted in the grass in my lawn at my house. I do have one other stand of 'Tete a Tete's planted in the grass along side the road (picture below) as well but I tolerate these so much better than the 'Ice Follies' stand in my lawn I show you in the above pictures. You see, I won't mow this area of the lawn until late May and oh dear, do the weeds ever love the break! I don't like having the weeds in the grass, but if I wish to appreciate these lovely daffodils each year I must leave the foliage in place to ripen so that the blooms will come again.
From In the Garden
'Tete a Tete' daffodils are the next most prevalent daffodils here at Tiger Gardens. I have them lining beds in shade gardens such as you see here along the deck. I must say 'Tete a Tetes' are one of the best naturalizing daffodils for shade gardens. Even though most of my trees lose their leaves in the winter so the daffodils do get some sun, the shade from buildings and those bare trees decreases the sun reaching my shade gardens quite a bit so conditions are not ideal for bulbs. Especially when the sun is at its lowest in the sky. But for some crazy reason these little daffodils grow and bloom and multiply each year. This edging was recently divided and replanted and that is why it looks so bare. Just wait, next year the amount of blooms will have tripled.
From In the Garden
Here we have 'Tete a tete' daffodils blooming outside of my garden fence and Roadside Shrub Border alongside my busy road. Two years ago when this hillside was dug up in order for our local water company to install a new water pipe I planted these daffodils; courtesy of the project manager on the water pipe install. His name was Chip and he made quite an impression on me. A few houses down the road (I won't say where) there were what seemed like thousands of these daffodils right smack dab in the middle of the water pipe install. Given that the water pipe had to be dug into the ground four feet deep and given that the contractors (Chip included) could not possibly remove all of these daffodils safely and replant them Chip offered the daffodils to me. Of course I jumped on it. I was planting daffodils for days and days and am finally seeing the result. When Chip initially dug up these daffodils they were overcrowded and declining. I gave them all a good home with a dose of bulb fertilizer and finally after two years they are giving me a show. Next year it should get even better. As an after note because I know you all are wondering, the homeowner did not mind the relocation of these daffodils. They have since moved on but I like to think that the original planter of all these bulbs will be happy the bulbs are happy in their new home.
From In the Garden
This is one of the visible roadside gardens. Here we have a mix of the 'Tete a Tetes', 'Ice Follies' and other large trumpet daffodils, probably 'King Alfred'. A friend pulled in the other day and commented on my 'Yellow and White' garden. It sure is looking that way.
From In the Garden
Another rear garden with large yellow trumpet daffodils. I don't know the cultivar but I'd lay money on 'King Alfred'. I bought most of these daffodils as mark downs. I divide the clumps each year and most of the clumps in this garden were just divided last week. If this is 'King Alfred' I must say it is a cultivar that does fairly well in the shade too. Shade is the name of the game here at Tiger Gardens. Sometimes shade can be so frustrating but I wouldn't trade it for anything. Note the 'river' in the lawn behind this garden? All of my daffodils in the garden proper are in gardens except for this river of 'Ice Follies'. Have I mentioned I don't like bulbs in the lawn? Actually I think bulbs do much better when grown in lawns than when grown in mulched gardens. At least I don't have to worry about digging these bulbs up and the voles won't loosen the soil around them like they do in the mulched garden beds. Voles do not eat daffodil bulbs but eat just about everything else growing nearby thereby creating tunnels and making air spaces in the soil.

Here is another small garden in the shade out front. Just to the left of this bed and inset in this bed is a patio I am currently working on. It's a big job and I've been so tied up with dividing daffodils and plants like hostas and daylilies as well as installing my almost 200 foot long fence that I have not been able to get to this patio. I hate having unfinished projects but sometimes I have to pace myself.

A long shot of the back bed of daffodils taken from the deck.


Front Center Garden, North side.


Front Foundation Gardens


And finally, one more lovely little daffodil....

in the garden....

I would've posted more pictures but I finally ran out of Picasa photo space so I have had to begin uploading pictures to Flickr, a whole new ballgame for me. I'm quitting while I am ahead today before something really goes wrong. We'll see how I do in the future. 

Any daffodils in your garden this spring? 

Word and photos property of In the Garden Blog team.