Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!


Happy Halloween!

Don't let the spooks and ghouls get you tonight so be sure you have plenty of Halloween candy on hand.
Otherwise you might suffer the same fate as this witch and fly into a tree....

in the garden....

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

Friday, October 28, 2011

A Few Pumpkin Pictures for Skeeter

When I had posted a picture of this pumpkin while it was growing in the vegetable garden Skeeter remarked she did not know pumpkins start out green. It seems like everything starts out green then changes to another color. Even the fall leaves. I never really thought about this fact and find it interesting so I thought I'd try to show the changes in the pumpkin. I did not however anticipate the vine this pumpkin was growing on would dry up and wither and die.

So I cut the pumpkin off from the vine. I never pick them or pull them off from the vine. The stems can be quite long and need to be cut. The pumpkin was still completely green when I cut it off the vine. I then placed the pumpkin on a table on my deck outside. It has slowly turned to a bright orange and I'm happy to report it is completely orange now. I had no idea if it would continue to ripen after being picked but was simply delighted it did. Some vegetables you must pick when ripe-for instance cantaloupes. Others you can pick when they are green and they'll change to the ripe color. Some examples include tomatoes. If you live in Middle Tennessee you might be doing what I am doing with my tomatoes. Pick all of the green ones off from the plants and store them in a double paper bag in a cool dry area like an unheated garage. The green tomatoes will slowly ripen and you could conceiveably be eating ripe tomatoes from your garden in January! I've done it before and it is a treat. But for now Skeeter, enjoy the orange pumpkin....

in the garden....


I received my new camera this Wednesday. This last picture is taken with the new camera. So far I am liking the quality but not the learning curve on how to manage the pictures. The software is extremely difficult to use and it is driving me crazy. Any suggestions on good software for Nikon pictures? 

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

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Happy Spooky Weekend

My Georgia Woods are full of goblins again this year. The friendly type of course.
The Saint spotted a scary sight on our front porch though. This Insect was sucking the life out of a Bee. Yikes, that was scary but most interesting as well. Thanks to Randy, I was able to identify this vampire type insect as a Robberfly. Ironically, he posted about one within days of us seeing this one.

I hope this video works. They seem to load in a strange manner for me these days. I was walking into the gardens and heard a strange sound. I went towards the sound and this is what I spotted.
YIKES! Another scary event happening right before my eyes! A Praying Mantis was sucking the life out of a Gypsy Moth! It was real eerie to say the least but again, I found this most interesting and watched until night fall. They were on a Cleome bloom.
This photograph did not turn out as I had envisioned. I was trying to capture the full moon outside the window and Cheetah high up on the Monkey Tree at the same time. This is the scary shot I ended up getting just before kitty jumped to the floor.

These few things should get you ready for a HAPPY SPOOKY WEEKEND, In the Garden...

Note: Cheetah kitty is bringing in a good hunk of money for the Humane Society with her photo entry. Thanks to those of you that contributed to the cause...

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

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

This is NOT the Fall Color You Want to See in Your Garden

I have been growing 'Hicksii' yews for eight years now. I purchased the little evergreen shrubs in three gallon pots for what I thought was quite a significant price in 2003 (approximately $25 per pot). The eight shrubs were to be used as a privacy screen between my neighbor's home and one of my gardens. I planted them in full to part sun and in a good soil area that was not waterlogged or overly dry. The shrubs grew in a pleasing manner and even bore some berries for me in some years (all berries from yews are poisonous) then just this spring I started noticing some foliage turning brown. Uh oh. I was a bit worried but simply cut out the brown limbs and hoped for the best. As spring progressed the first two shrubs that displayed brown foliage continued to turn completely brown and had to be removed. Removing the shrubs was a big job and took a lot of might but remove them I did and replace them with something more fun. The yew pictured above is not one of the ones I removed in the spring. So far this yew is fairly healthy but right next to it is another yew that is changing its color-and it is not a welcome fall change of color.

I fear this shrub will need to be removed soon and it is a job I am not looking forward to completing. At first I thought perhaps the shrubs had been over exposed or suffered freeze damage in the spring when the problem first surfaced but then the rest of the shrubs began turning brown. I knew at this point all of the 'Hicksii' yews were doomed. I searched high and low in books and on the web for any possible information about why 'Hicksii' yews might die. The information I found was scanty at best. It seems that generally yews grow well in my part of the states in many varied conditions so I was and am still at a loss as to why these 'Hicksii' yews died. I checked for spider mites and saw no evidence of them though I may have missed the signs. Drainage could possibly be a problem as could the drought we had last summer and this year. Then again it could be the heat and humidity but I honestly don't know why the yews died. Does anyone have any experience with this happening to yews? I know one thing, I will not waste my time on these rather pricey shrubs again.....

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

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Reaching out for Charity

Here I am in my Georgia Garden standing under the tall Banana Tree. Thus far, the cool Fall nights have not harmed this beauty. Soon, she will be cut to the ground by the Saint. I normally over winter a baby plant in the house but this year, the tree and 2 babies will remain in the ground. I have yet to have a banana survive the winter in my gardens so it will be interesting to see if this one will return next year.
We welcome many different animals in our garden. This picture shows a young Buck and 2 fawns getting a drink out of a birdbath during our summer drought.
CoCo Bean belongs to our neighbors but comes to visit us in the garden. She was a stray that came out of the woods just like our 2 Fur Babies came to us. I just love this baby's beautiful Blue Eyes.
Harley does not trot freely in our gardens but has been known to bring his owner over for a visit at times.
Zip, well what can I say about this little fella. He is our buddy and drops by often to visit us in the gardens and even has sleep-overs with us. He loves to roll around in the green grass. Here you see him at a nearby lake we took him to visit while in our care.
The newest visitor to our gardens is Lilo. He is still a bit shy at times but here you see him enjoying our brick wall in the gardens.
I have shown you OJ many times before on this blog. He is a sweet boy that loves to explore our gardens and get himself rubbed as we sit on the swing. He also showed up as a stray from the woods behind our homes.
This past weekend, we had our first fire going in the living room. It was a bit nippy outside and we decided a fire would be nice. Here you see The Saint with our Fur Baby Sheba napping in his lap. The Girls love the warmth of the fire and a nice soft lap. The Saint rarely smiles when I have the camera in my hands but as you can see, he is very happy in this picture. The love of an animal can get him to smile every time.
As you can see, Animals are a big part of our every day life. From the wild critters in our gardens to the domesticated ones we call our very own, we love animals. We take great strides to keep harmony with all animals (even pesky squirrels) in the garden. I cannot imagine our life without some type of animal in it.

Since 2007, in late October, the Clarksville Humane Society puts on an awesome event. This event is called the "Wags to Witches Fur Ball Bash" We leave our Georgia Gardens each year for the drive to Tennessee to attend the Fur Ball. It is the biggest fund raiser for the group and we have a blast at it each year. I have been busy working on my costume the past week.

A portion of the Fur Ball is a Pet Photo Contest. We have never entered one of our girls in the contest as we normally vote on some one else's beautiful Furry Friend. This year, we decided to enter one of our girls. Above you see the entry photo of our Cheetah kitty. Our pets are lucky and have the best in life from a warm lap to plenty of food for their belly's.

Not all domesticated animals are so lucky. So today I am Reaching out in the name of Charity to ask for your Vote for Cheetah. Voting for Cheetah will be a donation for the Needy Animals of my beloved hometown of Clarksville, Tennessee. $1.00 equals 1 vote. The winners will receive prizes (which I plan to pass onto another event) and a spot in the 2012 Calendar, which is yet another charity event. So if you have a buck or two or feel the need to donate to a wonderful cause, please go to the CLARKSVILLE HUMANE SOCIETY Website and Vote for Cheetah Birdsong as Miss Wags!

Today, I am REACHING OUT FOR CHARITY, In the Garden...
Words and Photos Property of In the Garden Blog Team, In the Garden

Monday, October 24, 2011

Garden Blogger Fall Color Project

This year's fall color sees many neat things changing in the garden. The trees are usually the stars of the show but in today's post we are not going to just lump all trees together. I hope to show you some different trees, shrubs, and flowers you might not be familiar with for fall color. I was also happy to see that on Dave's blog he stated fall color is not just about the trees. I will be linking to Dave today and his Dave's Garden Blogger Fall Color Project.
In the past when I've posted fall color I have traditionally posted pictures from areas other than my gardens. This year all pictures are from Tiger Gardens.

We'll start with my little Korean maple, aka Pseudo Japanese Maple.  I love this little tree purchased from Don Shadows nursery in Winchester Tennessee in May of 2008. During the past three years it has doubled in size and is starting to look like a real tree. It seems to take a l-o-n-g time for baby trees to mature but the wait is worth it. I love this tree because no matter what I throw at it it still hangs out in the garden and looks good. Fall and spring are the best looking seasons for this tree and its foliage. In the spring the leaves emerge a limey green with graduations to yellow and pink. In the fall the color is unmistakeably orange.
I don't have many good orange trees in my garden and actually, I don't see a lot of oranges in Middle Tennessee. We mostly have golds, reds, russets, browns, and the purples of dogwoods with few orange trees. There is an occasional stunning maple but generally I miss orange and this is probably why I love the trees in my yard that kindly turn orange for me. I also grow a serviceberry that turns orange but that tree usually loses its leaves before the show in the fall due to summer droughts. I do have one other tree that turns orange and that is a stunning Japanese maple. It will start its change anytime now but is still green.
The 'Sheffield Mums' are putting on a quite a show. I got my initial start of these lovelies from a fellow Tennessean blogger. It was a most kind gift as I did not know what they were prior to her gifting me with some. Last year I added another 'Sheffield' style mum that is only just beginning to bloom now. Its blooms shows promise of a vivid maroon/magenta so I am very excited to see them in bloom. The cultivar name was lost with my garden catalog a few months ago. I kick myself almost everyday for losing that catalog.
The asters in the Rear Center Garden are in a perfect spot. I may spread them around to make this short hedge a bit larger. Asters are a very drought tolerant plant. These grow in a partly shaded garden and are doing quite well. You just have to love drought and shade tolerant perennials that can look this good in the fall! Directly behind the aster hedge are two smoke trees that will soon start changing colors.
A view of the colorful Sunny Perennial Border. I just can't get enough of it. It is normally a full border but this year I seem to have a greater variety; which I like very much.
Winged sumac, Rhus copallinumturns a brilliant red each fall. This species does not grow showy seed heads (not in my garden anyhow) like its cousin the Staghorn sumac, but it is still a nice small tree in my natural style garden. I did not plant this sumac but have allowed it to grow and sucker on a small bank behind Mr. Fix-it's garage.
This small native tree is commonly called Sourwood, Oxydendrum arboreum, and has stunning fall color. The leaves are turning a brilliant and deep red.
So far my tree is but a seedling (purchased in the summer of 2010 at Jackson's Summer Celebration) but it has pretty good fall color. Someday it will get large enough to give me lily of the valley like blossoms that will add to the allure of this tree.
The Greenhouse Garden is doing well. I planted the pink impatiens back in April and all summer long they did nothing but languish. Now that the weather has cooled down and we have received some rains they decide they want to bloom. Ironic right?

Oakleaf hydrangeas are a multi season shrub without a doubt. This native looks good all year long.
The mottled kaleidoscope leaves are very special.
The 'Forest Pansy' redbud is beginning to turn yellow. I enjoy the fall color of the redbuds almost as much as I enjoy the blooms in the spring. This tree could be considered a winter interest tree when it is loaded with seedpods but I personally don't find much attractiveness from them in the winter.
Here is some definite fall color in the form of  the light tan of the ornamental grass plumes. This grass is fronted by 'Chocolate' eupatorium. The flower forms of the ornamental grass and eupatorium contrast nicely.
Now this little shrub is a fantastic shrub that is deer resistant and easy care-think no care! It is called 'Lo-Gro' sumac (Rhus aromatica). As a side note NONE of the sumacs I have talked about in these posts will give you a rash or bother you in any way. Every time I say sumac to a friend I get a worried look so I thought I should reassure you all ahead of time. I do NOT grow poison sumac in my garden. When I find it I quickly take action to eliminate it right away since I am allergic to the oils. 'Lo-Gro' is a suckering shrub that stays about three feet tall but will spread to six feet or more. This picture was taken from the back side of the Front Center Garden.
Here is a picture of the same shrub from the front of the Front Center Garden. The yellowish shrub to the right of the colorful (red, yellow, green, orange) 'Lo-Gro' is Japanese kerria. Both of these shrubs are shade and drought tolerant. Some of the fabulous oakleaf hydrangeas are located further down from the 'Lo-Gro'.

There are yellows, golds, oranges, reds, browns and green. This shrub is electric in its fall finery and the wide variety of colors makes the shrub very interesting.
I think it is pretty neat that while trees all around the crepe myrtle are changing color and preparing for their long winter's sleep this crepe myrtle is still putting on a fine show of blooms. I am not sure which variety this crepe myrtle is but I'd like a few more of them.

Asters and lantana provide great color in the fall. It seems the 'Miss Huff' cultivar of lantana I grow does not really catch its glory until the fall! When it does begin blooming it blooms in a big way. The blue of the asters sets off the oranges and yellows of the lantana. This picture was taken in the Front Sidewalk Garden. Do you see the swing in the distance? We'll soon move to a better vantage point to see it.
This is a look at the Foundation Garden that shows some mums and grasses with a few 'Sheffies' beginning to bloom. This is the view you will see when you approach my front door. It is quite a different view you see from the swing you see in the background. Gardens are neat in that you can almost have different gardens within the same garden.  This garden is obviously closer to the house than the previously shown Sidewalk Garden. Both gardens tie together though.


The fading flowers of the 'Limelight' hydrangeas give us some fall color and texture. The textures are the best I think. These hydrangeas front the crabapple in the Greenhouse garden. The crabapple is just beginning to turn yellow and it will soon drop its leaves as a another fall turns into winter. Time sure does pass quickly and I think that if you are a gardener you seem to mark the seasons even more acutely due to the changing seasons. Fall is a time when I get a bit melancholy. 

What is your favorite fall color plant in your garden? Mine is of course the Korean maple (at least for today)....

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

Friday, October 21, 2011

Fall is a Wonderful Time In the Garden

Fall is probably my favorite season of the year. All of the plants are full and lush (providing they survived the ravages of summer), the leaves on the trees are beginning to change, usually the rains have returned, the smell of nature is in the air and it is just a great time to be in the garden. Spring just can't compare with fall and all of its fullness and ripeness-and even color. Here are some pictures from my gardens so you'll see why I like fall so much and spend as much time as is possible in the garden. I always like to concentrate on how full the gardens become this time of the year (read no room for weeds!)

The above mums are located in my Rear Sidewalk Garden. All year long these mums sit incognito only to burst through as a pot of gold in the fall.
Asters and mums make a great combination. You just cannot beat these two very fine plants for the fall garden. Both are drought tolerant and reliable bloomers. If you pick your mums right you can have blooms from August through December in Middle Tennessee!!
More mums in the Front Center Garden. These mums simply glow a bright pumpkiny orange when the sun hits them just right.
Here we are standing behind the Redbud Garden (part of the concrete patio area) looking toward the house. The combination of mums and grasses is a good combination even though neither of these plants are located in the same garden. I always consider long distance views and this one just happened to work out for me. We are looking west and when that setting sun hits the grasses it is magical.
'Chocolate' eupatorium is stunning this year. This is more of a wildflower than a cultivated perennial. It will self seed itself around quite a bit. I don't mind because its dark purple foliage in the spring and bright white blooms in the fall brighten shady and sunny gardens alike. This bunch is growing in pretty much full shade in a very dry soil and still it does well. Gotta love tough plants like these!
Here we see three colors of mums (yellow, lavender, and red) with a huge group of yellow button mums (not yet in bloom-bud stage only) in the background. The yellow button mums are late bloomers and I have actually had them bloom in December in my gardens. They are wonderful! The red, purple, and yellow mums in the foreground are smaller florists mums. These florist mums tend to stay more compact but are just as floriferous and stunning as the yellow button mums.
The berries on 'Brilliantissima' chokeberry add to the excitement. This new shrub is located near a large crabapple. The blue jays, mockingbirds, bluebirds, and robins are all busy feeding on the berries and crabapples.
Now to the backyard and the Sunny Perennial Border (bordering the potager). This large aster (most likely 'October Skies') has so many flowers you can't see the foliage. The butterflies are going nuts in this area. The pineapple sage (red spiky blooms), lantana (orange blooms), and zinnias only add to the excitement for butterflies, bees, and birds alike. Fall is Mother Nature's last hurrah before the big winter chill sets in and wow is it ever a show.
The angel trumpets are very late this year. The first blooms showed up on October 14th in my Tennessee garden. Skeeter also mentioned in her Acorn post that her trumpets were late this year. My friend Geri also told me her very large white angel trumpet just began blooming; which is quite late for her. I was thinking I saw a pattern that angel trumpets were very late this year when at the PPSMT meeting this past Tuesday the speaker said her trumpets had been in bloom since July. So much for my pattern. This orange one of mine was planted out as a cutting in the spring and has only just begun blooming on the 14th. The fragrance is great. It is a lucky day for it to bloom too because if it did not I was not planning to take cuttings into the greenhouse. My angel trumpets never winter over for me so in order to have them each year I must take cuttings and winter them over in the greenhouse. I suppose I could dig this plant up but it would take up way too much room and cuttings work out better for me.
Fall is also special because we have a special visitor this year. This guy here is my mother's younger brother and I call him Uncle Rick. He is visiting us from Florida for the entire month of October while his wife visits Okinawa. I lived with my uncle when I was a senior in high school and for a few years afterward. We lived together even when I had my twin daughters with me. My uncle helped me to get on my feet when I was very young and fresh out of high school. Having family that will help you out is a gift indeed.

We lived in Fayetteville North Carolina; which is of course the home of the famed 82nd Airborne Division. My uncle was a paratrooper soldier who served in the artillery section of the Army. At one time (late 80s early 90s) we were both stationed at Fort Bragg. Then the Gulf War kicked off in August of 1990 (actually it was not war at that point and was known as Desert Shield) and my uncle retired and moved to Florida. Having served two tours in Vietnam and ready for retirement my uncle was very ready to retire. Me, I went to Saudi for six months to help with the war effort.

Now, twenty years later, we are presently in the Clarksville Tennessee area; which is the home of the famed Screaming Eagles of the 101st Airborne Division. My uncle served with the 101st during his first tour in Vietnam. As such I thought it only appropriate we go and visit the division headquarters. And who should we see at the Division Headquarters but a Screaming Eagle paratrooper himself-parachuting right into the headquarters building.

One last reason I like the fall so much is because the camellias begin blooming. I have two shrubs in full bloom with these splendid pink blooms and they are really putting on a show. It is such a shame they do not have a scent though. 

I hope fall is spectacular in your neck of the woods....

in the garden....

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