Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Recycle an old Pole

I enjoy this torch in my Georgia Gardens. We fill the torch with citronella oil and it not only gives us light but keeps the bugs at bay as well. We purchased two of these torches while living in Germany. We found some neat things in the AAFES (Army and Air Force Exchange) Garden Center while in Europe. I have never seen these little Smokey Joe Grill torches since. I have found some similar on the Internet. We have had these things out in the weather for over 12 years and one of them finally separated at the seams. We took the top off and left the pole in place. I was thinking that something would come to mind like a birdhouse.
Sure enough, in time something came to mind.
I found this candle holder at a discount store for a mere $5.00. I took the top off and turned it upside down and over the pole. Now, I have a fake light pole! This is a little project I took on last year so you can see the weathering from being outside for a over a year. She shall need a coat of paint at some point as she ages.
I also found this Mandevilla for a bargain price of $3.00.
I love mandevillas but they are an annual in my garden and too pricey for me to purchase.
So I normally do not have them in my Gardens.
But I am enjoying this bargain in the middle of a sea of Vinca. This is how I RECYCLE AN OLD POLE, In the Garden...


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

Monday, July 30, 2012

Snakes, Bees, and Cats-Oh My!

Strolling through the gardens can be an eye opening experience. Such was the case when I happened upon a garter snake near the house on the north side.
I was almost pretty much in shock because I rarely see snakes in the garden. When I do I always get very excited as snakes are good! Of course this garter snake will not bite me and inject poison into me so I consider this one to be good. I have occasionally seen copperheads in the garden, but they are rare and are usually tiny so I just move on. I would never ever intentionally kill a snake when given an alternative, because I consider all snakes beneficial in that they reduce the rodent population. Of course they might also reduce the frog population too; which is not so good but overall I tend to leave snakes be in the garden.
Many people have a fear of snakes. I will not say fearing snakes is irrational, because I cannot possibly know what a person feels who is afraid of snakes. I will say though, snakes can be fascinating given half a chance. At big amusement parks like Busch Gardens there are always snake shows, and I find it truly neat just how a snake feels up close and personal. They are not at all slimy and icky like slugs as some might think. They can be pretty cool in the garden too in that they help control pests and add a different element to the garden.
Now this fella is cool too. He helps with the rodent population but we are having difficulty with him and our resident orange tabby cat called Orkin. While Smokey boy has not attacked Orkin (he has no claws) he does tend to bother her to the point that she will simply stalk off or attack him. It is a frustrating time for us. Especially since Smokey is a stray and has no home and as you can see he is always hungry. We want them both to feel at home in our gardens and hope the situation works itself out to the good for both cats. 

Another cat has also shown up in our gardens. We call him Cloud and he will be taking a visit to the veterinarian's clinic next week to be neutered and vaccinated. He is a good boy, but he is not as friendly as Smokey. 

Please, if you have pets get them spayed or neutered to prevent all of these unwanted animals roaming around homeless. These two new cats would not be hanging out in my garden if they had a good home or even a home where they were fed and given basic necessities. It is not fair to let dogs and cats fend for themselves and is quite an issue here in my area of Tennessee. Thousands of animals are killed each year simply because they are homeless. If we reduce the population by spaying and neutering perhaps we can reduce the euthanasia rate as well. 
I normally don't grow sunflowers since there is not an awful lot of sun here, but occasionally some will sprout from the bird feeders. Such was the case of this little sunflower. The amount of bugs buzzing around it was a nice treat. I snapped these few pictures in the same session. The bees just seemed to take turns on the sunflower which I thought was very cooperative of the bees.

Look at this big bee. It came in as soon as the little bee took off and they would rotate around on the head of this sunflower....

in the garden....

Don't forget about Skeeter's Giveaway post for a Troy-Bilt found here. Time is running out!

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

Friday, July 27, 2012

Vegetable (AKA Potager) Garden Update July 2012

It has been forever since I've done a vegetable garden update so I thought I'd share some pictures from that garden with you today. Great Blue Lobelia (Lobelia siphilitica) is an excellent bloomer for late summer to early fall if it is sited in a watered area. I have several plants that have self seeded in the vegetable garden and I let them grow. They are delightful. The original seeds came from Catherine in Washington. I don't think Catherine blogs like she used to but when I see these plants I often think of Catherine and her blog.
A long shot entering the garden from the east gate. Here you can see many of the self seeded lobelias. I had to remove many more seedlings in this area too. Seeds love the old brick of the paths in this potager.
The tomatoes are ripening up. Due to the amount of shade we have on the vegetable garden my tomato plants are not very prolific but I do manage to get a few.
Cucumbers are very prolific this year just like last year. I can't keep up with picking them all but then I never have quite enough to make pickles. I usually just share the extra ones with others.
This is an heirloom squash called Lakota squash. I had received the seeds in a package from Seeds of Change. This is a cool squash and is doing quite well. One of the large squash grew on the fence. I had to pick it as it was actually growing into the wire fence. I can't wait to eat these! I hope they taste as good as they look.
A long shot of the lobelia growing amongst the brick pathway.
Blueberries surprised me by ripening up in a big way. I had actually pulled this plant and it was destined for a friend's garden. Unfortunately for her she waited too long to take it so I wound up planting it in a different bed in the garden. You may remember that I moved my blueberry bushes to the center circular bed in the potager just last year when I decided to grow not only vegetables and flowers but fruits as well. Well, that bed is really too small so the blueberry bushes are all moving again. While planting this one in its new bed I disturbed a paper wasp nest and was stung about 5-6 times by three different wasps. I consider myself quite lucky I didn't get more stings. One of the wasps stuck on my sock and I could not get it off. Hence the multiple stings. Ouch! Fortunately I am not allergic to bees and the pain and wounds quickly faded. The large orange blooms behind the blueberries are from the Lakota squash. Remember I companion plant and load up my vegetable garden using the French Intensive method of gardening. In this bed alone (which is 13'x3.5') I grow: Lakota squash, cucumbers, two blueberry bushes, cucumbers, and heirloom carrots-not pictured).
This is the same blueberry as above and is called 'Powderblue'. It is a southern highbush blueberry and bears fruit quite a bit later than my northern highbush blueberries. The other southern blueberry I grow (Climax) was a total wash this year. Once I move it to the new bed I will give it some time to grow and bear fruit. If it does not it will be given away. I enjoy eating these Powderblue berries but the skin is a bit tougher and seeds are a problem whereas with the 'Bluecrop' northern highbush blueberries I don't have those two problems. I do like the idea of having a long season for blueberries so I'll continue to grow both northern and southern blueberries.
The cucumbers growing in the bed I described in an above paragraph. The reason I can cram so many things into beds is due to vertical gardening and innovative use of my ground space. Under this trellis is where the blueberries, carrots, and Lakota squash are growing. There is some overflow to the brick pathways. You can just make out the carrot foliage behind the cucumber foliage. I have a problem though as the carrots grow right where the blueberries are due to all be planted. I suspect the carrots will be pulled before they are ready; which normally would not be until next year or perhaps late this fall.
I have tried forever to get a shot of a dragonfly and have never had any luck. While standing in the vegetable garden one landed on a nearby stool and posed for me. I believe this dragonfly to be a Common Whitetail adult male. He's a beauty. I have noticed a threefold increase in dragonflies in the garden since I installed the garden pond.
One last picture of the entire vegetable garden from outside of it. My vegetable garden is surrounded on two sides by a large perennial border.  There is not much blooming in the perennial border right now and it looks like a mass of plants but it really is not such a bad garden. If you looked at the backyard garden tour post you'll see the perennials a lot better....

in the garden....

Don't forget about Skeeter's great giveaway of a Troy-Bilt rototiller found here. Good luck! 

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

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Troy-Bilt Cultivator-GIVEAWAY!

Troy-Bilt contacted us here at In the Garden. Was I interested in trying out a new product? Well, sure and here you see Sheba kitty giving the box a complete Cat Scan. She just loves it when that big Brown Truck shows up on our door step!
She really loves it when there is a box within a box here in our Georgia Gardens.
Troy-Bilts 2012 Cordless Cultivator! Up to 1500 square feet on a single charge! Click HERE to learn more about this product from Troy-Bilt.
We have purchased many products from Troy-Bilt over the years and have been happy with them.
My favorite of their products is our Riding Mower AKA: my Red Rider. Here you see Aunt Skeeter using Red Rider for a little family fun on a Summer day.

Click HERE to see other products available from Troy-Bilt that will assist you in the garden.
A continued Cat Scan, reveals all was packaged well for the journey to our gardens.
Don't let the size fool you!
The Saint and I read all the paperwork enclosed and easily installed the wheels. The wheel height can be adjusted for tine depth.
The battery was not fully charged so we set up the charging device and easily inserted the battery.
One hour and 1/2 later and the green light came on to let us know the battery was ready to install into the cultivator. A completely drained battery, should take about 2 hours to fully charge.
We like that the battery has a button to push that will let us know if it needs a charge. Nice to know before one starts a project. This battery can be charged at any point without harming the battery life!
A simple squeeze of the lever on the handle and I began to cultivate the border of a garden. A sort of edging process for us.
Click on the Video to see how easily it chopped its way through the dirt, grass and pine needles. It also broke right through some small roots! We were impressed. I hope these videos work. I am having computer and camera issues today. Grrrr...
As I said, don't let the size fool you. This little thing is powerful for its size! In these video demonstrations, we have the tines (disc) set at medium level. We could go deeper into the earth by adjusting the settings of the wheels. Battery life is 1500 square feet so this is not a tiller type tool for large jobs.

My video went out on me at this point so you must take my word for the next part. We took this tool into the gardens and were able to easily weed. With its compact size, we could go right up against the plants and weed without bending over and hurting our backs! An electric Hoe, maybe? Weeding without bending over makes this a great item in my book!

We were a bit concerned about cleaning the tines. Since it is battery powered, one cannot spray it off with a hose. The Saint demonstrated on a video how easy it is to remove the tines, clean and replace them. The video went grainy on us but I want you to see how easy this process was for us. So I am hoping you can see through the grain of the video. (seems my video has died on the camera, sigh) I timed the removal, brush off and replacement at 25 seconds per side! I would not use this unit in the mud but if I did, I could spray off the tines once removed, dry, oil and replace them easily enough.
And look how light weight! No cords and you can get this red beauty into very small spaces. It is an asset with mixing our compost dirt. It would be awesome to go between rows in a Vegetable Garden and preparing for seed tossing next spring. I am also thinking it may assist me in extending pathways in my gardens! The use of this little gem are endless.  

Have I sold you yet? Well, here comes the best part. One of you lucky commenters will be the proud owner of your very own Troy-Bilt Cultivator! No strings (or cords) attached! Just be located within the contiguous United States. The winner: must let me know their address and phone number via email, for shipping this item direct from Troy-Bilt.  Is that simple enough? Leave us a comment and your name will be entered to win. One entry per person. A winner shall be picked from the Magic Hat on August 01, 2012. The winner's name shall be announced here at  In the Garden on Thursday August 02, 2012.

Get your name in the hat for the TROY-BILT CULTIVATOR-GIVEAWAY, In the Garden...  
Words and Photos Property of In the Garden Blog Team, In the Garden

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Backyard Garden Tour For July

I sure am glad I checked this post last night. I had only posted pictures but no description. Can't believe I forgot that but it happens. I've been busy cleaning the garage, downsizing things, and making other things for my garden so this post really wasn't on my mind. Nonetheless here I am. The above daylily is 'Fooled Me'. It is a wonderful bloomer with lots of flower buds even though it is a recent purchase by way of Walmart.
I normally don't fill these pots with anything but with the master gardener tour and meeting over here in June I thought I probably should pot up some flowers. I found a great way to keep water in the baskets--hidden in the pot and covered with Spanish moss are pots that hold the impatiens.
This is a long shot across the yard looking past the patio toward the 'Limelight' hydrangeas. I adore those hydrangeas so much.
The Sunny Perennial Garden looking toward the Rear Center Garden and the back of the yard are quite full of plants. Next year I vow not to plant marigolds. It's always a hard thing for me because I get in a garden mode and just start annuals and cuttings and all sorts of stuff. I plant the plants out in the spring when the perennials are small hoping for a quick fill in. Unfortunately I not only get a quick fill in but an overfill by this time every year. Marigolds in the forefront are the offending plants this year as they have overwhelmed this part of the perennial bed.
I took this picture from my deck. The water movement adds a great deal to my garden. Unfortunately my one and only goldfish who had lived in this pond for several years just went belly up. I am not sure why as the water is crystal clear and there have been no issues with this pond recently.
My summer mosaic is looking good behind a seating area. This mosaic is oriented so the summer sun (which is high in the sky) shines through. I also have a winter mosaic oriented toward the south when the sun is low in the sky in the winter.
Now to the lovely 'Limelights'. Remember this area used to have a swimming pool in the center of the path just two short years ago. If you'd like to see the changes click here for the making of these gardens.
A shot from the deck near the house. Can you notice the Joe Pye Weed behind the hydrangeas? There are also Tartarian asters and cup plants planted in this area. This is the look I sought for from my deck. The plants had to make a big impact and be tall because this area is in a low spot. I like to bring the plants up to me. Some other plants in this garden are: cannas, 'Adagio' miscanthus, peonies, skullcap, irises, agastache, daylilies, a Japanese maple, astilbes, hostas, Annabelles, lilies, coneflowers and probably more I can't think of.
'Diamond Frost' euphorbia is my absolute favorite annual! It blooms all summer long and goes with everything. I think I will for sure keep this one around even if I do get rid of marigolds. I use my 'Diamond Frost' as an overplanting for Pink Ladies which begin to bloom at this time. Unfortunately I just transplanted about 40 bulbs into this area under the 'Diamond Frost', and the bulbs just do not seem to have the strength to bloom this summer. No worries as next summer I am sure they'll bloom nicely.
My two iris beds were built specifically for bearded irises. You see irises like to be high and dry with no mulch on them. My gardens are full of mulch so while some bearded irises do well in my gardens most don't. Here I have made ideal beds for the 35 or so special cultivars my good friends have gifted me with. I am very excited to see the rainbow next spring. The only drawback to these two beds is that they are just too small. I see I will have to do lots of dividing and will have to divide often. Dividing is something I hate to do.
Cutleaf coneflower (Rudbeckia lacinata) is blooming but not as well as it usually does. The drought has probably affected these plants a bit but it also might be too much shade.
Another look at the Sunny Perennial Border and the marigolds. There are mainly daylilies in this bed and my vision was to edge the bed with short marigolds. Ha, that was funny because 'Pesche's Gold' marigolds are very tall and robust marigolds. The marigolds have overwhelmed the daylilies but that is okay. There is always next year right? The silver leaved plant is night blooming jimsonweed. It was a gift from Geri a few years ago in the form of seedlings that had self sown in her garden. Each year since then I have a couple of seedlings come up in the garden. I leave them alone as this plant is not hardy here so self sown seedlings are the best way to get jimsonweed. It is a night blooming fragrant flower and a lovely plant for a moon garden. 

That's it for the backyard. I have prepared a July tour for the frontyard that will be coming up soon too....

in the garden....

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

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

I Love Asheville

I have received a wonderful goodie basket here in my GEORGIA GARDENS from Del of Explore Asheville.

This gift came about from the "Meet and Greet" event at The Garden Bloggers Spring Fling in Asheville, NC. Tina, The Saint and I were the first to arrive at the Meet and Greet event. We met Del and chatted with him about a wonderful contest he was having for this event. For every time you Link his site; Explore Asheville, with a blog about the Fling, he would enter your name into the hat for a chance to win this gift. I wrote a post of each of the fabulous gardens we toured while at the Fling and I Won the Contest! I am thrilled because I rarely win anything.
I knew of the prize of a 2 nights stay at the North Lodge Bed & Breakfast. Click HERE to see more. And also 2 tickets to Biltmore House/Gardens/Winery. Click HERE to see more. But had no idea of the other goodies to come.
A wonderful cook book from the Tupelo Honey Cafe. As I flip through this unique book, I see wonderful recipes as well as beautiful photos from old Asheville to the present time! I must attend a meal or two at this cafe! Click HERE to see more.
Flingers are familiar with Sow True seeds. Click HERE to see more. I hope to have lots of South East Wild Flowers blooming in my gardens!
Not sure where this cute little Bird came from a piece of Asheville Art for my Gardens.
Gaelic ale Mustard from the Crooked Condiments collection. Click HERE to see more.
Flingers also know about 12 Bones Smokehouse. We enjoyed a most awesome lunch from these guys during the Fling. Blueberry Chipotle BBQ sauce. YUM! Click HERE to see more.  
The scent of this Lavender Rose Soap is soothing! This will surely take me away  to a happy place after a hard day of working in the garden. Click HERE to see more.
Unfortunately, the jar of Blackberry Jam was broken upon arrival. It smell wonderful and I was tempted to taste it but fear getting glass into my mouth. Sigh, Del has promised me another jar upon my visit to Asheville. Click HERE to see more.

This is a wonderful sampling of some of the Locally Owned business of Asheville, NC. We cannot wait until our next visit which I think shall be next spring because I LOVE ASHEVILLE, In the Garden...Words and Photos Property of In the Garden Blog Team, In the Garden