Thursday, June 30, 2011


By SKEETER I love birds and have provided a happy yard for them here in my Georgia Gardens. But these guys are not welcomed by me.
Grackles are beautiful birds but they show up in flocks and take over the feeders. They run off all the song birds and even the squirrels don't have a chance nibbling fallen seed under the feeders.
We usually have a few here and there but never a large flock until this year. I suspect when we cut down the 90 foot oak tree, it opened the view of the feeder to the grackles. I ran them off with loud claps but they would return within a few minutes once seeing the song birds back at the feeders. I had to resort to drastic measures. I removed the bird feeders in hopes they would go elsewhere. I will install the feeders in time and there is plenty of goodies around for the birds to eat for now. I do miss my feeders as they are always so busy with activity.
The squirrels miss the fallen treats from the feeders so they are capitalizing on the sunflowers in the area. I get the biggest kick out of watching them pull down the long stems of the sunflowers and trying to remove the entire sun flower bloom. I have yet to see one in action removing the bloom but have seen them nibbling on the bloom and running into the woods with a big bloom in their mouth.

This video shows one running with his treat. I cannot help but laugh as the blooms are as big as their heads but they are not letting go of their treasure. Too cute but not so cute when they move on from the sunflowers to my beloved garden flowers. Grackles GO AWAY, I do not want GRACKLES, In the Garden.

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

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

In the Garden by Elvis Presley

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

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Miss Myrtle Doing The Splits

By SKEETER I snapped this photo on June 23 here in my Georgia Gardens. The Crepe Myrtle (Click Here to see my Southern Belles) is blooming way earlier then normal this year.
Here is the same tree the very next day! This poor tree has had issues in the past few years. When we moved into this house, she was in place but had been drastically pruned (Click HERE to see Crepe Murder) year after year by the previous homeowners. After learning that Crepe Myrtles bloom on old wood, I decided to never prune this tree again.
Just look at my Southern Belle doing the splits! Sigh, Miss Myrtle thrived but was too top heavy for the branches to support the heavy blooms. Each time it would rain, the water would weigh down the tree and we lost a bit here and there over the past few years. Click HERE to see a post about the damage. We have been talking about going back to Murder as everything we tried would not work for this poor gal. So now she is split right down the middle.
It was heart breaking for me to clean up this mess. The tree was about half way in the blooming process. Yes, this tree loved where it was located. After the blooms finish, we shall cut down the remainder of the tree. I plan to have the Saint give her a clean cut at the base of the trunk and let her grow into a bush. He wants to remove the entire thing roots and all and plant one of the new Red Rooster Myrtles here but knowing how Myrtles send up shoots from the base, I want to give this tree one more chance at life. What a sad day to see MISS MYRTLE DOING THE SPLITS, In the Garden...

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

Friday, June 24, 2011

Another Garden Tour Post


Are you up for another garden tour? Tis the season for garden tours in my part of Tennessee and I've been having a ball! Sometimes, being an avid gardener with gardening friends, the best garden tours are not on the tour route. This garden is a private garden in the same neighborhood as one of my friends (thanks Helga for the tour). And wow, I must've taken 50 pictures but have chosen a select few for your pleasure today.
This garden is a designer's garden. The gardener (Angie) does NOT have a collectors garden-her garden is what I would call a designed garden. She designs about the best I've seen anywhere. Her plant choices meet no criteria other than they look good and she likes them. This garden goes non-stop all year and I look forward to heading back and seeing her daylilies. Angie divides, masses, and knows what she likes and is not one to jump on gardening trends-you know them-buy this hot plant or garden this way. Angie has no part of trends and gardens to please herself in an artfully designed manner. I'll try to explain what I mean.
This garden has a limited palette of plants-as compared to a collector's garden-like mine. Angie must have hundreds of cultivars of irises and daylilies, yet her plant palette is fairly limited to choice perennials that include not only irises and dayliliies, but peonies (probably over 100 of the SAME cultivar, veronica, poppies, crinums, roses, and topiaried junipers and other evergreens.
The concrete paths in the garden were all laid by Angie's husband. He is the muscle while she designs. Together they are quite a duo and have been married over 38 years.
Just look at the color! Can you see all the spent irises and peonies? We'll get to them soon.
Angie's house sits at the end of a cul-de-sac. Can you imagine having a neighbor who gardens like this? I should be so lucky to have a neighbor like this!
At first glance you would think the topiaries are the main draw but no, they are the framework and serve to add interest to a fantastic garden with lots of great bones, whimsy, and beauty.
The mulch is rock mulch with landscape fabric under the rocks. I just cannot imagine gardening like this but the more gardens I see with this beauty and rock mulch the more I become a believer. This is a pathway right in front of Angie's beautiful home. Note the squirrel on the log in the distance? The surprising whimsy was a treat and totally unexpected.
This picture does the greatest job of showing all the peonies. I'm told by Helga these are all the single pink Japanese style peonies. Wowser!!! Angie divides-a lot. She has lived in her home over twenty years so her garden is a mature garden.
Now we shall move to the backyard-yes-all of that was just in the frontyard! Rounding the corner we run into a beautifully managed vegetable garden. Everything was dress right dress and there wasn't a weed in sight. By the way, did I tell you this was not a planned tour? Naomi, Helga, and myself went out for a bit of plant shopping and upon returning to Helga's home we decided to stop by Angie's house since she and Helga are neighbors. I have posted about Helga's Garden and my friend Naomi's Garden in the past. Just check the links.
One of several pathways in the backyard. There wasn't a blade of grass behind the house.
Here we are moving toward the end of the cul-de-sac area. Due to the odd shaped lots in a cul-de-sac Angie's property is quite large on the side of the house. She has an extensive lawn area bordered by gardens filled with more topiary, perennials, and vegetables such as sweet potatoes.


I leave you with one more picture. Helga had been telling me about all the irises in the 'iris field' at Angie's but I was skeptical. Until now. I will make plans to go and see these irises in bloom next spring! Remember, this is one person and a private gardener at that. Angie is not part of any gardening circles though she has many gardening friends. Can you imagine? At the beginning of this post I said this was not a collector's garden-I stand by that comment. That being said however I would say Angie is a collector just based on the sheer number of irises (about 252 cultivars) that Angie grows in her garden. There is a difference between a collector's garden and a designer's garden but a designer can still be a collector. Here Angie's collection is all grouped together so she can enjoy the blooms in one spot. Can you just imagine the sight of this iris field in bloom.....

in the garden....

I know most of you realize what that prominent peachy/pink dahlia looking flower is that is displayed in these gardens but in case you don't, it is a peony poppy. They make for quite a show. 

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

Thursday, June 23, 2011

McCorkle Goodies

By Skeeter
This past Tuesday, I showed you a post on McCorkles Nursery. Today I will show you some of the things we picked up for our Georgia Garden... Sorry but I failed to snap a close up picture of the Green Giant Arborvitae (Thuja) before we put them into the ground. Here you can see three of the 5 we purchased. 15 gallon pots for $15.00 each! See how tall they are as the Saint is standing nearby them. I am planning a natural fence between us and the neighbors for privacy. Right now with summer and the trees in full foliage, you cannot see much over there but during winter, I see an eyesore of a yard next door. I want to see evergreen beauty and I think these Green Giants will do the trick. We planted them fairly close for quick gratification.

The Saint has never liked Magnolia trees. He does not like the thick leaves that will not be mulched with even a mower blade. Being a Southern gal, I have always wanted my very own Magnolia tree. Imagine my surprise when the Saint said okay to this 15 gallon $15.00 Little Gem Magnolia! My parents have one in their yard and it blooms all summer long. The little Gem is not as large as the Southern Magnolia but I will enjoy it all the same. Thank You Saint for this wonderful gift! Don't worry, it will not be planted where you see it located in this picture. We had to put it in a safe place during high winds of a passing storm. Oh, we are getting a bit of rain so thanks to any of you that said prayers for us to enjoy a drink from Mother Nature.

Another in the tree category, which could also be a bush if you desire, is the Rose of Sharon. We had these at the old house when a child. My parents had one of my brother's dig a few of them to take to their current home and they are thriving. I had two of these at our Gartenplatz when we lived in Germany. Imagine my shock to find them missing one day. Our partner, which knew nothing about gardening thought he was doing me a favor by taking out the dead trees. It was winter and the trees were only dormant. He had taken them to the compost dump and I never saw them again. Grrrrrrrrr. I love hibiscus and never made the connection until now that Rose of Sharon is in the Hibiscus family. Silly me, the blooms pretty much tell all, Duh. Such bargains that I got one in Pink, White and Blue!
I was happy to find Red Rooster Crepe Myrtle. I have wanted a red myrtle for some time but they are way too pricey for me. I was shocked to find them at $10.00 for a 3 gallon pot! The Saint and I were so happy that we picked up 5 of these. I plan to take one to my mom in Tennessee as she has wanted one of these since seeing them here in Georgia. Unfortunately, I think they are mislabeled. They are blooming in bright Bright Pink which is beautiful as I have one but I really wanted Red. Sigh...

Moving on to bushes, I have my very first Oak Leaf Hydrangea! Ellen Huff in a 3 gallon pot for a mere$6.00. I have seen these for $23.00 and passed on that price.
I also picked up an Endless Summer Twist and Shout Hydrangea! I hope with our acid soil that I will have blue blooms some day. It has a bud now so who knows, I may get a blue bloom this season. I don't know much about Hydrangea's so I hope I do right by these two additions to my garden.
The Saint found this little gem. A Dwarf Variegated Gardenia. So cute and unique that we picked up two of them. I plan to put them with the Endless summer.
As soon as I spotted this beauty, I grabbed it up quickly. My parents have this bush/tree in their yard and I love the thing. My parents call it the Blue Bush better known as the Chaste/Vitex though. A hole was dug and the pot is sitting inside for safety during the storm. Saints idea and it worked as nothing fell over!
I was on the look for a Yellow Butterfly Bush since seeing one in the Saints Parent's Garden. I found one and only one at the sale! Happy Day for me...
Many Blogs have recommend "Knock Out" for those of us scared to attempt to grow rose's. I decided it was time to give her a go. Pink was my color of choice for this 3 gallon pot of beauty.
Strange looking Elephant Ear (unmarked) but I had to have one.
Also unmarked is this Black Elephant Ear. I had a Black ear in the past but she never returned after winter. I don't know if not hardy or if a Vole had a good meal that winter. This one, I plan to plant by the AC so it should have plenty of water. The Variegated Monkey Grass will accompany the ear.
Canna made me think of you Lola! I am adding these in your honor sweetie!

And these as well. I have started dividing my cannas and have made a new area behind the swing so these will go with those canna.

Hypericum Calycinum better known as Saint Johns wort, is new to me. I have seen it on the blogs and just had to give it a try as we have a new area for this ground cover to take off and run. Research tells me that I can clip it with the mower if need be just like Liriope (Monkey Grass). I am hoping it remains in tact with our mild winters.

The Saint has a thing for Ivy. He loves it. Well, English Ivy but not poison ivy. He is dealing with that on his eye at the moment. Doctor has him back on track though. I am not sure where he plans to put this ivy. We planted 15 sprigs two years ago and the Deer ate well.

I could not resist this huge Begonia. I have never seen one so large before. I was chatting with two other ladies about this beauty. One said she gets them at this sale every year!

I picked up other fun things as well. Loropetalum (Fringe Plant) Howard Ligustrum, Leyland Cypress, Zinnia, Beard tongue, Honeysuckle, Clematis, etc.
I also found these lovely bargain priced Penta's at Wal-Mart. I must stop walking through the garden Center when running in for a few things. i love Penta's as they call in the butterflies, bees and hummers.
We have been dealing with 100-Plus degree temps and the humidity makes it worse! With the humidity, we are getting a pop-up storm or two so some rain is falling on the gardens. HA, just enough to keep the weeds happy! Grrrrrr. I am getting things into the ground a little at a time. It is hard work in this heat and it drains me. Today I had a good day with digging out two new areas! I hope to carry on until I am finished. I can't wait to see what thrives in my Georgia Gardens. Only time will tell as a lot of these plants are new to me. I have read about many of them on the blogs and thank you all for sharing your gardens with me as you are encouraging me to add these things to my life. My garden is ever growing and I cannot wait to get all these MCCORKLE GOODIES, In the Garden...
Words and Photos Property of In the Garden Blog Team, In the Garden

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

A Full Entry Along a Busy Highway-Landscaping a Driveway Area

Here in upper Middle Tennessee, just like in many areas of the country, we experience droughts and harsh growing conditions for our plants. No area of the garden can be harsher than the area by the driveway entry point for your property (if you live-like me-on a state highway or any road but not in a subdivision). My driveway area is an area I do not like to spend time in gardening but I still want it to look nice for when I come home and for my neighbors to enjoy as they pass the house.
Prickly pears are but one plant that can not only thrive in harsh growing conditions (think no water, red clay and rocks mixed with gravel, sloping areas, periods of heavy rain and even flooding due to the drainage ditch, heavy piles of snow pushed on it during the winter, and the smog and pollution from motorists passing by) but can laugh in the face of adversity. I love this plant-but! It is not a plant you would want to plant where you do heavy gardening due to the prickly side of the 'pear'. This plant is native to our country and is very easy to grow. I got my starts from a fellow gardener who handled her prickly pears with long tongs and gloves. She told me, "Just simply lay the pad on the ground and it will grow.". Now four years later she was right and I have a thriving community of prickly pears growing on either side of my driveway. 

I chose to highlight the blooms of prickly pears because if there is one fault the prickly pear have it is that their blooms last but a day. They do have several blooms though so the show lasts for as many days as you have buds and blooms. The bright yellow is an eye catcher in the garden and alongside the roadway. Here I have paired my prickly pears with other tough perennials such as artemesia and 'Adam's Needle' yuccas. Let's look at the long shot of the driveway area.
My driveway is flanked with large wagon wheels Mr. Fix-it and I picked up at an antique store in Enterprise Alabama. The south is the best place to find cool ornaments for garden decorations and I find Alabama to be a great state to find some really useful things for my garden. The entire area along side my driveway was torn up two years ago when the local water company installed a new water line. My garden seems to have recovered okay but at the time I did not think it would ever bounce back and in fact, the area has not totally recovered as we see in the next few pictures. The above picture shows the left side of the driveway as you enter it from the roadway. The house pictured is my neighbor's house. She has moved away now and I do miss her. While my neighbor lived there if I ran out of spots to garden I would go over into her yard. There are many plants in her garden compliments of Tiger Gardens. I smile knowing they have homes that I could not provide for them here.
Here is the right side of the driveway looking toward my home. Both sides of my driveway are similar but not complete mirror opposites. The left side of the driveway has a shorter slope down to the drainage ditch whereas the right side has at least a four to five foot drop to the drainage ditch. I have tried to cascade 'Powis Castle' artemesia down the bank on both sides to help with covering the slope and to hold down erosion. Behind the artemesia are 5-6 yuccas on both sides of the driveway. They are in full bloom in these pictures. I love yuccas but wish they bloomed longer than one week. Again though, despite the short bloom times yuccas are right up there with the prickly pears in ease of care and structure in the garden. Both prickly pears and yuccas are evergreen and hold up year round. The 'Powis Castle' will stay looking nice until about January then it dies back a bit. To start the spring I simply give it a haircut. All three plants are the lowest maintenance plants in my garden-they require no additional watering and only the slightest bit of maintenance in the spring. (I cut the flowering stalks from the yuccas after the flower has passed by and trim the artemesia in February before new growth begins.)

Do you remember when I told you most of the area where the water company dug up has recovered? If you look on the bank to the right of the gray artemesia you will see bare soil that is pretty rough. Nothing seems to grow here except the occasional weed. It has been frustrating to me that this area has not greened up because it was green prior to the waterline install. It is, however, the right of way belonging to the state so I can't worry about it too much. 

A favorite groundcover of mine (for the right spot) is this yellow sedum 'Acre'. It is another low no care perennial that looks good most of the year. It does tend to fade away in the winter but returns vigorously in the spring. Sedum acre is an adaptable plant and will spread given the right conditions. Here it is spreading but not to the point it is irritating. In a garden location it would be though so I do not recommend for it to be planted in a garden area. It is very easy to get rid of if you do not like it. 

There are gardens directly behind the entry way on both sides of the driveway (Driveway Garden on the left and Front Roadside Garden on the right) but I have not highlighted those plants today. They do add to the overall look of the entryway though and are all low care perennials and shrubs. The primary plants I use by the road in harsh conditions in my garden are: 'Powis Castle' artemesis, 'Adam's Needle' yucca, prickly pear, and sedum 'Acre'....

in the garden....

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

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

McCorkles Nursery


The Bathroom/Closet renovations are slowly moving along. The walls are ready for primmer painting. Hardiebacker has been cut for the floor and is ready to be screwed to the sub flooring. But we keep getting sidetracked with this renovation. We cannot seem to get one project completed, then we take on another project. Anyone else like this? Our sidetrack this go round was the nearby McCorkle's Nursery. McCorkle's business began in 1942 and thrives today. 4 million-plus container plants in sizes 1-15 gallon are produced annually. They employ up to 350 people during peak season.
McCorkles is a Wholesale business that opens twice a year to the public. Click HERE for a Forum on this years first sale. This Forum gave us all the information we needed to know for a great experience at the sale.
Our neighbor told us about this sale. He has two young daughters and wants to create a green fence for privacy in the front of their house. He was itching to get to the sale to find Green Giant Arborvitae.
The Saint took the day off from work on Friday and we left our Georgia Garden for the day. Here he is standing by Southern Magnolia's.
Imagine our shock to see these tall beauties for a mere $15 each! Giant Plant Sale indeed!
Trucks with trailers were lining up for the bargains.
Our friend took his trailer and loaded it with Green Giants, Magnolia, Holly, etc.
Encore Azalea's were packed into the back of his SUV.
Jasmine, Jessamine and Ligustrums were in his backseats.
Crepe Myrtles rode co-pilot. We had the back of our pick-up loaded as well. Once home, our friend rented an Auger and Ditch Witch to make a sprinkler system and plant these beauties. All this with high temps and humidity on the moon. But we did not care as we got bargains galore!

I wrote down the names of some plants and came home to research them on the Internet. We all returned for a second batch of goodies after lunch and Equipment pick up. Oh Yes, the Saint was even in awe with the prices. We are already planning to attend the Sept sale this fall....


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