Friday, April 29, 2011

A Glorious Arbor Entrance to the Vegetable Garden


I have a few arbors in the garden that have been screaming for their time to shine on the blog. Literally-they are saying look at me! My time to shine! Today we'll talk about the gigantic PVC arbor I built as an entryway into the vegetable garden. I built this PVC arbor from 6" PVC pipe several years ago. It is about 10 wide at the base and about 16-17 feet tall at its peak. I pieced together PVC parts to make it all work to form a large arbor and glued the parts together with construction adhesive. I couldn't get that stuff off from my hands for days. It is really really strong glue. Prior to putting the arbor together I painted the white PVC with a deep green color using the Fusion spray paint made for plastics. Once the arbor was in place I secured chicken wire to the arbor so the vines would have a place to cling to as they grew up the arbor. It has been about five years since I built the arbor and the vines are finally providing me with a show.

The left side of the arbor (south side) has a 'Tangerine Beauty' crossvine (Bignonia capreolata) growing on it. The north side has a 'Pride of Augusta' (Gelsemium sempervirens). Both vines bloom at the same time. One side is orange and the other is yellow. I highlighted the yellow side in my vegetable garden post from last Wednesday. Today is the crossvine's (orange) time to shine.


Crossvine is a cousin to the vigorous trumpet creeper we see blooming all along the fencerows in Tennessee during the summer. Crossvine is purported to be less aggressive. I cannot vouch for that because I do not grow the trumpet creeper, but I can say the crossvine is a very manageable vine that can grow in the shade or sun. Bloom will be much less in the shade however. My vine grows on the northern side of mature oak trees and is somewhat shaded. It does get some sun but probably not as much as it would like. Nonetheless it blooms wonderfully every year.



Can you see the chicken wire attached to the arbor? I do have to do some training of the vines to ensure they are growing up and around the pillars but once the vines have a solid structure I should have to only trim errant stems. I need a ladder to reach to the top of this arbor so training and trimming is not something I do often.


And finally here you can see the complete arbor in its glorious context. This arbor is a big presence in my garden and I really like it not only for its presence but for the fact I can grow up-a nice luxury when I run out of room on the ground....

in the garden....

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

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Peony Assistance

By SKEETER At times, I need a bit of help in my Georgia Gardens. This help is coming to my peonies with support from these neat items I found at Rural King. I have seen these on other blogs and it was a happy day when I spotted them last fall. The price was right and I picked up 4 for my peonies as an experiment.
The Peony grew up through the grid just like they were supposed to do.
Ah, the joy of seeing the first buds pop out!
My peony are young so they are not very large or strong. The ones I remember as a child in my front and back yards were very stable and did not need help in standing tall.
I just love the large blooms of peony and cannot get enough of them!
The largest of the peony always shoots to the sky and the weight has the blooms on the ground. I was interested to see how the frames would assist the heavy blooms. I see about 14 buds here.
As expected, some of the taller blooms are falling to the ground. I am happy to see some are staying upward though.
The pink ones remind me of cotton candy and they smell Divine!
My experiment with the PEONY ASSISTANCE is paying off, In the Garden...


I was out last night giving my beauties a sip of water (rain is skipping us) and I was distracted by chattering above my head. I turned to see the bluebirds going crazy. I thought that maybe they mistook the garden hose for a snake (I saw two snakes today) but not so. They were trying to get their baby's to fly to them. Here it was night fall and their baby's decided it was time to leave the nest. Geesh, I had to drop the hose and call The Saint and grab the camera. I fear that OJ kitty may see them on the ground with his nightly stroll around my gardens. We collected the baby birds off the ground and tried to put them into the Cypress tree but they would flop to the ground while trying to fly. The parent birds kept fluttering around the entire time chatting away. We ended up putting two of the fledglings on top of the wishing well and in the darkness, we lost track of the third one we saw. Off went the water with hose on ground for the night and in we went. Nature shall take its course during the night...

Note: I will be in and out with blogging due to a major home renovation. If I leave you a "one word" Comment, it is because I had time to read or look at pictures but not to reply. The Saint and I are renovating our Bathroom and Closet. We are doing all the work our self and a lot of this is learn as you go so it will be at least a month of work if not longer. I hope I do not find myself neglecting my gardens during this process. I do plan to post something on my normal days of Tuesday and Thursday but who knows.... Wish us Luck!
Words and Photos Property of In the Garden Blog Team, In the Garden

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

More Spring Bloomers In the Garden


Spring is the season when things happen really quickly. I can't even keep up with it all so in a valiant effort to capture some blooms I'm trying to post some pictures. Here are a few for today. Dutch? irises are blooming big time.


'Carolina Moonlight' baptisia. I purchased three of these at Wal-mart a few years ago for a small price. They have really begun to come into their own and all three have a good bloom this year. I am looking forward to when I can showcase the blue ones that grow here too.


Epimedium 'Niveum' foliage. It is finally coming into its own despite the drought we had last summer. This is a good plant I hope spreads.


Here is the bloom of the 'Niveum'.


Some kind of Solomon's Seal. I have quite a few of the variegated but this has a different bloom and foliage color. Any ideas on the cultivar? It is doing fantastically despite being moved early this spring.


Technically not a bloomer I suppose but I just can't resist showing my 'lady' in the Front Sidewalk Garden. She sure looks like a ballerina posing gracefully. This unknown J. maple cultivar was planted in the fall of 2003 as a two foot seedling. Despite being set back several feet in 2007 after the late freeze it has come back wonderfully and now stands at about nine feet tall. One foot of growth per year is a pretty good growth rate I think. Unfortunately it is leaning toward the sun (the west area which is toward the house due a large pine being on the east side). I have had to stake this tree and the staking actually reduced it's height by a few feet.


Some common purple irises blooming in the Front Center Garden. The Roadside Shrub border blooms behind this garden from this angle. Just on the other side of these shrubs is a very busy road but I am quite proud that I cannot see it. You can see the 'Snowball' bush blooming. Irises and the snowballs make a great pairing.


At one time I might have known this cultivar but not now. Does anyone recognize it? Here it blooms in front of an aucuba.


The first peony of the season is in full bloom. Unfortunately the rains have beat it up quite a bit. Nonetheless this Japanese style peony that was labeled 'Festiva Maxima' (NOT) on the package when I bought it at Wal-mart in 2004 has turned out to not be what I thought it was. I still love this peony though. Once this one is done there is another peony right behind it that will kick in.


May Night salvia can't be beat. I find this works great with azaleas and peonies.
Here it grows along the front of my house along the sidewalk.

More unknown irises in the Front Center Garden.


Irises seem to be in abundance here. I love them backlit. Here we are looking west toward the house at the Redbud Garden. The redbud is a special cultivar called 'Forest Pansy'. While it's blooms clashed with my red tulips its leaves go perfectly with the lavender irises.


Lastly a few backlit pictures of more irises in my garden. This view is looking east toward the road in front of my property. The irises are glowing here. I do so love irises when they are in bloom but I have a bad relationship with them due to the conditions in my garden-namely too much shade and woody mulch. Irises do not like that. So when they bloom I enjoy them fully....

in the garden....

These are not all of the spring bloomers in my garden but I just can't keep up. I've been so busy lately and have to apologize if I've not been around as much. Tis the season...

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

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Periodical Cicada

By SKEETERCoco Lavender is in full bloom in my Georgia Garden and giving me a nice show. Bee's love this plant and so do I with it's interesting bloom. Purple is my favorite color so I am always happy to see the arrival of my Lavender. Here is something we normally do not see until later in the year. With a warmer then normal spring, the skeletons are showing up sooner this year. These little skeletal remains are everywhere! I found all of these within a few feet of our sun-room windows. Yikes, there are lots of them this year... The woods are filled with sounds of this insect singing their heads off as I have never heard before. I found 12 of them on the East side of the house Sunday morning. I was reminded of the movie "The Birds" as I had thoughts of these things taking over! I believe they were drying out their wet wings. As I was snapping a picture of this one, I felt something on my leg. I looked down to see one of these things crawling up my leg! Yikes... I believe we are not dealing with just any Cicada this year. I believe we are seeing one of 1500 species of Cicada that shows up every 13-17 years.

Click on the video and listen for the songs in the background. You may only hear birds but if you listen beyond them, you may here our Cicada's sounds. I suspect this is the PERIODICAL CICADA, In the Garden...

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

Monday, April 25, 2011

Some Garden Beds In the Backyard


Looking southwest from the deck. Note the two 'brides'. The 'Vanhouttei' spireas that flank the pathway to the deck.


Rear Center Garden

Deck Garden


Perennial Border alongside the Vegetable Garden


Another view of the Perennial Border.


More perennials in the Perennial Border.


The new 'Non' Pool Garden looking down from the deck. We'll see it again below. It has really worked out the way I planned it last year with the exception of two hydrangeas dying and several grasses dying. I replaced the grasses by dividing others in my garden, but the hydrangeas lost their spots to irises. Disregard the plant pots scattered about. The dogs use them as chew toys. Sometimes with the plants still in them. Bad dogs. 


Woodland Garden looking toward a camellia with a ground covering of lamium.


This garden bed is on the northeast corner of the house. It got a complete rework when I buried the downspouts back in February. Due to the intense shade and moisture in this bed the only things that really grow here are hydrangeas, the 'Sango Kaku' Japanese maple, a ligularia, hostas, ginger, brunnera, and some astilbes.


Another shot just across the pathway from the above garden. This is the Heuchera Garden that is minus several heucheras. Most of my heucheras died out last summer. I have not replaced them because I'm thinking that if they want to die out then I must plant something better adapted to the dry conditions under the cedar tree. Hellebores, goatsbeard, daylilies, hostas, and turtlehead all do well here in this bed.


This is kind of a new bed. I can never grow anything in this area due to the large cedar tree and the two mature oak trees. I did decide to extend it and backfill it though and that gave me a bit of extra room. In the new area there are hostas growing along with some pulmonaria and wildflowers. The next layer inside has a few 'Annabelle' hydrangeas, though they don't show up in this picture. I will not plant anything inside of the bed due to the cedar tree and the fact that the back side of this garden opens to the 'Secret Patio' garden and I wish to have a view to it.Can you see Mr. Fix-it in the picture? He was busy fixing my riding lawn mower and his chainsaw. Both have seen better days.


This bed is just across the path from the previous garden. Here we have the 'Non Pool' Garden. It is doing spectacularly. So far just about everything has worked well that I planned for last summer when we removed the pool and I redesigned this area.


Cornus kousa 'Wolf Eyes' is still a stunner in spring. Here it resides in the Rear Center Bed.


Another shot of the Rear Center Bed looking west on the southern edge of the bed. This bed has a few mature oak trees and is undergoing a major change due to a new patio area. It is a unique bed in that one side gets pretty good sun whereas the other side gets barely any sun. The center has a row of shrubs and the above 'Wolf Eyes'. I am having fun with this bed and being that it is the rear center of my yard and very visible from the house it must look great all the time. It is a challenge due to our hot long summers. Spring always has gardens looking good for some crazy reason.


Now this is what I call the 'Garage End Garden' looking up toward the house and the 'Rear Center Bed'. Someday we will make an addition on our garage extending the garage to this bed. For now it seems to float in the lawn. It is basically a 'catchall' garden. I do have a J. maple, doublefile viburnum, hearts a burstin shrub, the Korean maple, a 'Summer Snowflake' viburnum and several perennials growing in this bed but basically it is a holding or overflow bed.


Here is a secret little spot hidden behind Mr. Fix-it's garage. Once I built the privacy fence it was a simple matter to place the swing and find a nice sitting spot when I wished to reflect. Okay, when I wish to look at the garden in peace. Can you note my neighbor's horses behind the fence? They were probably heartbroken I put the fence up. They can't eat my shrubs anymore. Ha! I was happy to block them out as I like to be the only one in this yard that prunes shrubs.


Still behind the garage looking at 'Daylily Hill'. Another overflow area. There are a few asters, winged sumac, and several 'Goldsturm' flowers growing here as well.


The NonPool Garden looking up from the shed toward the house. David's bicycle sits happily in its spot amongst the shrubs and perennials.


Now we are walking up the pathway between the NonPool Garden. There are two parts. I was faced with a gaping hole once the pool was removed. We needed access to the shed but how to design it? Finally I put the pathway in the middle with a nice curve toward the shed. I was able to plant a bunch more plants, shrubs, and two new trees (sourewood and stewartia).


This is the 'Natural Garden' area. I have a spicebush, Blackhaw viburnum, and a Japanese maple 'Bloodgood' growing here. There are a few perennials as well. Namely: astrantia, bouncing bets, columbine, hostas, cannas, mums, heath aster, and great blue lobelia. It does look a bit bare though.


The Secret Patio is looking great. It's so secret you can barely see it huh? The gardens surrounding it are coming into their own after two years of growing here.


This is a way back bed I call the Dogwood Garden. It is a challenge because not only are there two dogwoods growing in it but a huge black tupelo grows here. This bed is too far away to water so I've converted it to a natural garden. Plants growing here are Solomon's Seal, monkey grass, and I will soon be adding yuccas to it as well. It will be a dry bed for sure. All the greenery is the dying foliage from daffodils.


Here is the Garage End Garden again looking west away from the house. This bed is very close to the Dogwood Garden. That big 'shrub' in the front is a St. John's Wort. St. John's Wort is one of the few sub shrubs that does okay in shade.


This garden is called the 'Rear Sidewalk Garden' and is immediately visible once you enter the backyard. It is anchored by a 'Vanhouttei' spireas, ornamental plume grass, crepe myrtle, and a cryptomeria 'Nana Gracilis'. There are also perennials growing here as you can see.


Another shot of the Woodland Garden looking down the path behind the greenhouse.


There are a few more backyard gardens not shown in this post. Namely the Rear Cutout Garden, the Wisteria Arbor Garden (coming up soon in another post), the Spa Garden, Oak Tree Garden, the Picket Garden, and the Rear Corner Garden. 

This last picture is a teaser. Can you see where I am extending the Rear Center Garden as I mentioned above? More to follow but while Mr. Fix-it is on vacation, he, the Jimster, and myself are planning a big project that of course affects the gardens....

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