Friday, June 29, 2012

Catbirds In the Garden

Have you ever seen or heard a catbird? We have a pair of them making their home in Tiger Gardens. My silverberry hedge out front and the other border hedges and shrubs seem to attract all sorts of birds; which is really cool!  Birds I am not familiar with such as the above catbird.
Each time I go out front to relax this bird comes around talking to me. It is not really a fussy talk but a talk nonetheless. I haven't gone searching for its next but suspect it has a nest nearby. There is also a pair of brown thrashers living in the garden but I have not been able to capture them in a picture. 

I had no idea what kind of bird this was until I Googled 'large gray bird with black cap' and came up with catbird. This bird looks very similar to a Northern mockingbird; which are quite common in our part of the United States. The only real difference is that the catbird is a solid gray and has no white on it. According to the Cornell website on birds the catbird does have the ability to mimic other birds and has a good repertoire of songs. Its distinctive call to me is one that sounds like a cat though. Listen here for this call which is but one of many (listen to the mew call). Once you hear this mew call there will be no mistaking why this bird is called a catbird. An interesting note, the mew call is not the call I hear when the bird wants me to move out of its garden though. There is no recording of that chatter....

in the catbird's garden....

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

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Magic Mailbox

What does one do with an old mailbox? In my Georgia Gardens, we work our magic! I found this mailbox for free through Craigslist. A nice guy named Terry handed it over to me, rather then have it taking space in the landfill.
I gave it a fresh coat of green spray paint which I had on hand.
Out with the Patio Paints (Thanks for the outside paint tip Tina) and I started to play a bit.
I painted all but the front flap.
Yellow and Purple were my colors of choice along with a white picket fence.
A salvaged piece of wood from a front porch renovation and just like Magic, we have a new mailbox for the garden! To the left is a Crepe Myrtle that had to be cut to the ground last year after a storm destroyed it. Looking good now. Volunteer Black-eyed Susans and Cleome are popping up in this picture as well.
I had planned to keep the front flap completely open thus, no painting of flowers on the flap. The plan is to attract Wrens in this new birdhouse. We opt out on cutting a hole. The Saint thinks our chances of gaining interest from a bird are better if we do not open the flap all the way. Hum, should I go back and paint the front now? This project has led to extending the Semi-Formal Garden. We shall talk about that brick pathway another time.
The Saint put a fresh coat of paint on the recycled post and I have planted some pretties below. Russian Sage, African Violet, Clematis, Verbena and Penstemon. And of course, Miss Myrtle is to the left.
This is a long shot of my MAGIC MAILBOXIn the Garden...
Words and Photos Property of In the Garden Blog Team, In the Garden

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Amsonia Seedheads and Money Plant Seedheads

Amsonia Hubrichtii seedheads on the plant.

It looks like it will be a good year for self seeders such as Amsonia hubrichtii and other self seeders like Lunaria annua, aka Money Plant.
Lunaria annua with river oats in the background (those seeds won't be ready for another month or so)

Other plants I have been collecting seeds from include: 'Pesche's' marigolds, columbine, Love in a Mist, larkspur, rose campion, and cleome. I will be saving some seed for seed swaps and for sowing in the garden in the fall. 
I can't tell you how happy I am about self seeders!
in the garden...

Are you collecting some seeds too?

Don't forget to check out my little dog on the sidebar. He will sit, play with a ball and follow the mouse icon around for you. Boy, the things that can least they do me! 

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

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Seeds and a Mystery Plant


I have mentioned before how I do not have luck when scattering seeds in my Georgia Gardens. Last year, I scattered many packets and containers of seed with little to no luck. I decided to try a different route this year. The plan was to add plants instead. Seedlings started to pop up before I got around to finding plants for this area. As you can see the only seeds to work for me is Black-eyed Susan. When everything else fails, they always shine.
This plant starting popping up as well. The Saint and I argue if it is a weed or plant that came from the seed packets. I told him to keep his hands off it as I wanted to see what would happen.
It is a very tall plant standing about 4 feet tall. It has branched off and has yellow blooms on the top of each branch.
It has very large green leaves and is healthy and happy even during these hot drought conditions.
The yellow blooms come and go daily. 
It has fuzzy buds.
Japanese Beetle and Aphids like it.
Here is a yellow bloom. Sorry so dark but as I said, the blooms come and go quickly. I spotted this bloom in the evening.
A pretty little bloom.
Do any of you know the name of this plant? Or Weed?
It is enjoying the Susan's, Lily, Gladiola and Balloon Flower.
Only 3 Gladiola's came back this year. Either the Vole's got them or the bulbs do not like to return with our mild winters.
Susan mingles with Balloon Flower, SEEDS AND A MYSTERY PLANT, In the Garden...
Words and Photos Property of In the Garden Blog Team, In the Garden

Monday, June 25, 2012

Bleach, Fountains, and Plants Do Not Mix Well

During the recent garden tour in Montgomery County I thought it would be nice to turn on my circulating fountain for ambiance in the garden as visitors strolled around. In preparation for circulating the water I added a bit of bleach to the water to clean it and clarify it a bit. The water circulated all day and splished and splashed like water fountains do and it was nice. It was nice until about one week later  when I noticed damage to the nearby plants.
It seems these peonies were very sensitive to the bleach in the water even though the bleach was very diluted. I had no idea this problem could happen but have learned a valuable lesson-no bleach in the fountain when splashing is possible (it's almost always possible with fountains).
Fortunately these peonies will survive and live to grow and bloom another year. For now I have left the situation alone other than to cut out dead parts of the plant....

in the garden.....

Similar experiences? 

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

Friday, June 22, 2012

Giveaway Winner!


  Giving away a gift to a commenter was so much fun for me as I kept wondering who would it be? Well, the answer was decided last night by a random number generator found here

But first let me show you how I numbered the comments (it's not fancy at all). Since the giveaway was limited to commenters with a mailing address in the United States only, some commenters were eliminated. This meant that just because you were the 15th commenter does not mean your number is 15. Here are the numbers in chronological order of qualifying commenters. 

1. Dave
2. Judie
3. LNL
4. Tamera
5. Linda (Meadowview Thymes)
6. Gardener on Sherlock Street
7. Jean
8. Carolyn
9. Darla
10. Donna @GWGT
11. Skeeter
12. Michaela
13. Terrie
14. Lola
15. W2W
16. Pearl
17. Kathleen
18. Rose
19. DarleneS
20. Janet
21. Rebecca 

I wish I could include overseas commenters but logistically it just wouldn't be fair to the small company and its marketer that kindly offered the give away to a commenter/reader of this blog. 

So, without further ado....


The number drawn was 6! That means Gardener on Sherlock Street won the giveaway. Congrats GonSS! Please send me your address so I can forward it to the company and your owls will be in the mail post haste....

in the garden....

I thought you all might like to see we are eating fresh tomatoes here in Tiger Gardens. These are not just any tomatoes though. They are the variety 'Silver Fir Tree' which is an heirloom variety. I received these seeds along with many other older open pollinated varieties in a packet last summer from Seeds of Change. Silver fir tree is a determinate type tomato plant. I surmise this is why they are so early as I think eating fresh tomatoes on June 19th is early. 

Do you know the difference between determinate and indeterminate tomatoes? And if so, traditionally what type of tomatoes do American grow....

in the garden....?

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

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Back At It

 I have finally finished Posting about the Garden Bloggers Spring Fling! I know some of you are saying FINALLY! But it was such a wonderful event that I wanted to share every thing with those of you that could not make the visit to Asheville, NC. I hope I have inspired you to get to that beautiful city as it is worth a visit. Or at least be a bit more open minded about different types of gardens.

Now I am back in my Georgia Gardens and a lot has been going on. With all the Fling talk, time did not stand still and my gardens are ever blooming and expanding. As I sit at the computer in the sunroom, I look to the right and this is my view out the window!
 I am ever so happy to see Hibiscus Luna is doing well and getting bigger and stronger each year. She is filling my eyes with lots of beautiful blooms.
 Not dinner plate size but about dessert plate size. I will take this on my plate any day.
 I am not happy to see this guy. Japanese Beetles have been showing up the past few weeks. I have been squashing them as fast as I find them. It appears this one has been in this spot eating for a while. See the poo behind him? This one succumb to my fingers just after me snapping this photo. I did not know there was a second one under the leaf until I saw this photo loaded on the computer. That is the beetle that got away! Bugs are really bad this year especially the grasshopper and crickets. But to be expected with such a mild winter.

Right in the middle of composing long postings on the Fling, the McCorkles "Giant Plant Sale" (Open to the public) took place. The Saint took the day off from work and accompanied me to the event! We had agreed we would not get any trees as this is not the ideal time of year to plant them with the heat taking off and our continued drought conditions. The first plant in our little red wagon; A darn tree! The Saint grabbed a 10 gallon Leyland Cypress for $8.00. He said he could not resist and the hole was already dug and ready. The tree is now in the spot where we lost a leyland from last years drought. It did not take me long to get my wagon full several times. Once I felt there was nothing more for me to see and I was starting to melt from the heat of the day, we cashed out and left. I came home with a nice haul.  
 Knock Out rose's for $9.00 in colors of red (double knockout) and yellow. Hosta @ $3.00. Butterfly Bush @ $3.00. Hydrangea Mini Penny @ $5.00, Deep purple (rare) Crepe Myrtle @ $12.00, A huge Agapanthus, Barberry, Plumbago, etc.
 A return trip had me taking home some small perennials and annuals as well. $7.50 for a flat of 12. Fun things such as Salvia, Sage, Coneflower, Phlox, Purple Queen, Moss Phlox, Angelina Serena, Coleous, etc.

And my pride and joy find was this Persian Palm @ $8.00! I have seen them priced at this size for $29.00 and up! I happen to be at the truck when it came in from the fields. I am a seasoned veteran with this sale and know that when a closed truck comes in from the field that you better be by it when the back doors open as you may miss out on something great. I was there when the worker took the Palm off the truck and I said to just hand that one to me rather then stock it. He said I was the lucky winner as it was the only one they had from the greenhouse's! As I walk to my truck with it, people kept oohing and aahing and asking me about it. It is hardy in zone 8-11 and I fear it will perish if I plant it outside. We do have mild winters and I may plant it. At that price, it will not be a great loss. I may weaken up and bring it inside and into the NO NO Room away from the cats for the winter. Only time will tell as to my decision.

I also found Silver Berrys @ 6.00 when I normally pay $15.00 for them Retail. Yes, this is a bargain hunters world, this twice a year Open to the Public Sale! McCorkles grows for Companies such as "Southern Winners" ... "Gardens Confidence Collection"... "Southern Living"... "Knock Out Rose" amongst others. These are some of the goodies I have in my collection.

Mark your calendars for the next sale this fall where we plan to rack up on some evergreen items. September 21-22, 2012. You can find Magnolia's, Leyland Cypress, Giant Green, etc in 15 gallon pots for $15.00! There are bargains galore and you never know what they will be bringing in from the field next! I spotted an Atlas Cedar Tree in 15 gallon pot for $75.00. Garden centers have them at retail in 10 gallon pots for $128.00 and up!  

They have lots of bushes also but I do not know much about them. I so need for someone that knows these plants to come to GA for a visit and go with me! Tina, Janet, are y'all listening? You will have free Room and Board.

I have most of my new goodies in the ground as I have been working my rump off the past few days. We had a low humidity spot and I took total advantage of it. I have a few remaining items that must find a hole but I have decided it is time for The Saint to dig a hole or two as I am not a good hole digger. 

As you can see, I am BACK AT IT, In the Garden...
Words and Photos Property of In the Garden Blog Team, In the Garden

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Bloggers Fling: Ku'ulei 'Aina and Bonnie Brae

Noontime on  Day 3 of the Garden Bloggers Spring Fling took us way, way, way up into the mountains.  Bloggers gathered at the home of our very own Fling Organizer, Christopher of "Outside Clyde". Here you see him surrounded by listeners as he told of how he and his father built his home together. I failed to snap pictures of his home but Click HERE and go to Christopher's Blog and see several postings of this charming home nestled on the mountain side.
 Christopher's house is new therefore, his gardens are pretty much a Clean Slate for a Garden Artist to paint with colors, textures, stone work, etc. The Artist is coming out in this small area where bottles form a small garden area. This Garden is Ku'ulei 'Aina, the Garden that will be, in the months and years to come. After strolling around and taking in the views a bit, we had an awesome buffet lunch.

Christopher sent us next door through this Wild Meadow. It looks a bit difficult to walk in this photo but I assure you it is not at all.
See, nice paths that his mother, better known as "Bulbarella" pretty much walks daily!
 This Meadow was alive with beauties even though we missed the Hundreds of Spring Bulbs planted by Bulbarella. I bet it is a sight to see during the Spring Showing!
 There was still plenty to see along this lovely walk.
 At the end of the Meadow, we arrived at Bonnie Brae, Home of Bulbarella.
 The view from her porch is just stunning!
 On an upper level, I could see St Francis calling me in for a look.
 We took the Garden Gate and headed into the woodland gardens.

What a treat to be able to stroll through this beautiful woodland haven.

Pathways led us past such beauties as this Iris.
 This white iris.
 And my favorite deep purple almost black Iris.
Pathways wound all around the woods that were filled with shade favorites such as hosta. Must not be any deer at Bonnie Brae...

One had no idea what would be around the next path, such as this neat work of art.
 Or this fallen log that has been turned into a natural looking planter. What a great idea! making note to self..
 A sun filled peony.
 A cute little birdhouse sitting upon a stump.
 The last of the azaleas.
 Christopher had planned the Fling for the Peak Season of the Azaleas but Mother Nature did not play nice for us as she came really early this year. We saw the remains of few Azaleas but still beauty all around us.

We could have spent hours upon hours wandering those beautiful woods but time was not on our side.

As we stroll back through the Wild Meadow, I spotted this old chimney. All that remains of a place once called home for someone. When I see such structures, I cannot help but wonder the story of such a place. A large tree now grows in what was once maybe the living room.
Back to Christopher's Driveway where Bloggers had gathered for a Plant Development Forum. This is where The Saint and I had to say goodbye. Sigh, but time for this dream to end and for us to get back to our real world.

I hope to make it back up that mountain some day to see the progress made at Ku'ulei 'Aina and to stroll about Bonnie Brae and maybe see those bulbs in bloom.

I tell ya, Asheville is full of beautiful gardens, art and people. Wonderful places to visit and such a charming downtown area filled with fun shops. Biltmore was on my Bucket List but I never thought of Asheville. If you ever get a chance to visit Biltmore, be sure to check out Asheville as well. You are in for a wonderful treat. Click HERE to find out more through Explore Asheville. And tell "Del" that Skeeter Sent ya!