Wednesday, July 31, 2013

A Little Landscaping Makes a HUGE Difference Plus Some Stars In the Garden

I can hardly believe tomorrow is the first day of August! Where has the time gone? What have I been up to? Well, I've been busy as always but what is very different for me is not blogging. I have to be honest, I haven't missed blogging either. I did not expect that and really don't want to lose my 'scrapbook of activities and gardens-called the blog' so I am trying to still put up a post or two while I go through this phase. In addition I do try to post things on my professional page found under Coach In the Garden on Facebook. Today's post is what I did this weekend-worked on my daughters property! 

Mr. Fix-it and I traveled to Louisville to visit my daughter (Liz) and new granddaughter (Everleigh who is four months old). Whenever I get together with Liz our activities include gardening. No big surprise there right? Both of my daughters garden and my older son likes to garden, though he doesn't do much. The younger son (the Jimster) refuses to garden outside. Something about icky spiders and dirt and heat. Ha! You all do know gardening is dirty right? And hard work? I don't really blame Jimmy at all but for the girls and I the benefits of a beautiful landscape far outweigh the discomforts of getting there.
Liz purchased this house last June and as a housewarming present I promised I would do a landscape design for her. The landscape design is completed and over the past year Liz has been slowly implementing the design in stages. It is hard to do this when you are pregnant and have a newborn so the going has been s-l-o-w for her. Much too slow. Enter Mom (garden helper) and Stepdad (baby duty) and some changes miraculously happen-overnight. Or so it seemed to the neighbors who were all quite curious as to what the hard working ladies next door were doing in the yard.
We started by collecting a ton of rocks (four small trailer loads) from an undeveloped part of the subdivision (with the developer's permission of course). The rocks match her house perfectly, are an awesome garden edger, and were FREE! Rocks are very expensive to purchase so if you can find a local source where they are usually very happy to have you haul them away then you should take advantage of it. Once we had a load of rocks we began laying cardboard on the garden to be. Liz had been collecting cardboard for a long time and had plenty to do the job. It is best to spray the grass prior to laying down the cardboard with a weed killer if you have the time and can safely do it without damaging nearby plants. In our case most of the grass had been sprayed but not all. This is not a big problem and it is still okay to cover the grass without spraying, but the grass will take a bit longer to die completely. This is not an issue if you don't plan to plant anytime soon (within two or three seasons). In Liz's case she is in no hurry. One more note, if you plan to plant a lot of perennials you might wish to use paper bags or newspapers in place of the cardboard. Cardboard is a bit tougher to cut through when planting but it is not an impossible job. I personally prefer cardboard under shrubs and paper under perennials.
Be sure to cover all grass thoroughly. Liz was pretty good at this job. My job was to trench the edge of the garden while she lay the cardboard and rocks. Then we all (Mr. Fix-it, Liz, and myself) spread the mulch over the cardboard. The mulch need be no deeper than 2-3". The point is to cover the ugly cardboard with pretty mulch and make the mulch thick enough that it will not wash away.
Her garden design encompassed a major part of the frontyard. There will actually be just about a ten foot grass path through the frontyard when all is said and done. Also, the hell strip will become a perennial garden. Looking at this view you can see we still have a lot to do, but for now the front garden closest to the house and the eastern side of the house is complete.
Part of planting this garden meant relocating laurels that were planted about two feet from the house in this location. The limelights are planted five feet from the house. They look quite forlorn out there in the middle of the garden but trust me when I say they will grow quickly and will soon fill in this space. I always allow for a few feet between the house and shrubs. It may be that as the 'Limelights' mature Liz may have to prune a bit to maintain that space but it won't be a big problem. Not like she would have to do if the laurels stayed in place. The laurels were moved out back as a border hedge. This subdivision is very new and there are still a ton of houses to be built and which are being built even as you read this post. None of the houses has much landscaping and what they do have is only a builder package next to the homes. Liz's house stands out in that she has planted a beautiful 'Sunburst' magnolia out front by the hell strip along with a few other small trees. Her laurel hedge out back really stands out too in a landscape that includes nothing but grass in all of the surrounding yards. You can see the houses are pretty close together so to differentiate the houses and make them more comfortable and appealing landscaping is needed. Liz will surely reap the benefits of a beautiful landscape soon and I suspect some of the other residents of the subdivision might try to catch up to her as well. Good landscaping can be contagious.
Now in my garden I have to share the 'Limelight' hydrangeas. They are slowly coming into full bloom. I pruned my half a dozen or so 'Limelights' back in March then again in June. The blooms will all be staggered. These blooms pictured here are on the growth from the March pruning. The June pruning is also producing blooms but at a slower rate than these fully opened flowers. The total effect is one that will enable me to enjoy the blooms for a longer period of time. Behind this group of four 'Limelights' is a large group of Joe Pye weed. To the left of the grouping are yellow cannas. Pink, yellows, blues, and whites are a good color combination for me. Out on our farm I have one complete garden dedicated to this color scheme (no reds or oranges are allowed-they are saved for the 'hot' garden). I will share more of the hydrangeas on my professional page found under Coach In the Garden on Facebook.

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

Tuesday, July 30, 2013


 Today, I shall show you the Good from all the rains we have received this Summer here in my GEORGIA GARDENS.
Elephant Ears have grown like crazy! This is year 2 for this clump of Ears by the front porch on the West side of the house. I stand 5.7 and the Ears are way above my head! We hope these do not decide to harm our house foundation. This clump also receives run off from our Air Conditioner. So plenty of water has been in this area and I have only had to hose water them once back in early June.
 Year 2 for this clump and hose watered twice I believe this year. They are starting to mingle with the Bald Cypress Tree so this clump shall be removed and located somewhere else by next spring...
The clumps along this pathway were planted last fall. They were once on the other side of the Cypress Tree and became too crowded. Good thing for the rains, as I had not planned to water in this area. This is far from the house and I don't care to tend anything this far away even though the hose will reach. Just never planned to create gardens in this area. But now that the Saint and I see these beauties, we shall maintain them during drought times. Love the way they hide the tool and wood sheds.
 Now to pull the weeds below them. Yes, rain has brought the weeds as well.
 Year 2 for these clumps of Ears which are located behind the Swing Arbor.
 Love the look from this view but the Ears are overtaking the Tropical Red Canna's. I have the Canna planted behind the swing to the right, left and middle for filling in over time. But I must admit, the green of the Ears shows up and may look better then the Canna. What do you all think?
 Zooming in, you can see the Canna is now under the Ears. Hum, to move the Canna or to move the Ears? Also, in time the small Angel Trumpet you see in the lower middle of pic, will be larger. This was a rouge root I pulled and thought was dead but planted it anyway. It appears, it is far from dead and by next year, should be much larger and blooming.
The way the Elephant Ears are growing, you would think the Banana Tree Clumps would be growing as quickly but no so. They seem to be taking their time about REACHING TOWARDS THE SKY, In the Garden...

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

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Random Views

 Look at the green grass in my GEORGIA GARDENS. The grass has never been more happy with the plentiful rains this summer. Getting it mowed in between rain falls has been a challenge. 
 Elephant Ears mingling with Iris and Susan.
 Here you see a new garden I started back in spring when I tossed some seeds around. A bit wild looking now but will take shape in time.
 A new lantern and shepherds hook for year round color. 
 Elephant Ears and Canna mingling behind the swing. The Elephant Ears shall be thinned out next spring as they have taken over this area in two years growth! Yes, they are loving all the rain this year. Stay tuned for a Posting on the Elephant Ears...
 A nice view in the Semi-Formal Garden.
 Angel Trumpet Garden after taking out 4 overgrown Lilies.
 The Wishing Well Garden has really grown.
 View to the left of our Grill/Patio area. Yes, that is one happy Fern on a stump. Here you can see pink Mandeville, Holly tree, Vinca, Liriope, Hydrangea, Prostate Yew, Rose of Sharon, Leyland Cypress and Dogwood bush that was once a tree that fell after a freak ice storm. After a smooth cut at the ground, it returned as a bush! Oh, and I forgot to point out the tall weed. ha.
 And here is a second happy Fern, Hosta and Jasmine.
 Spike Plant has really taken off with the ever falling rains this Summer. This plant is either 3 or 4 years old and over-winters in this pot and remains happy with our mild winters. A couple of Potato plants are dangling to give a nice RANDOM VIEW, In the Garden...

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

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

June/July Blooms

 It has been a Rainy, Steamy Summer here in my GEORGIA GARDENS. It has rained all but 2 days thus far for the month of July. I am finding myself in a bit of a depressed mode and do not want to go outside the comfort of my dry, cool house. I do not want to Blog or even go anywhere! I do not recall ever feeling this way during the Summer months. The rain has my gardens one soggy mess that I do not care to walk about. This time last year, we were begging for rain and today, I am begging for a bit of dryness. The ground is so saturated with water that I am now loosing plants left and right to Root Rot.
I was happy to spot this Gladiola return again for its 3rd year. 
 Gladiolas do not seem to do well in my gardens due to Voles and mild winters. So to see this one makes me happy.
 Susan's are doing well as always. They do not care if drought or flood conditions!
 Many different types are always happy in my gardens.
Liatris was happy and is expanding as planned.
I love those purple blooms and wish they would hang around longer.
 Purple Queen never fails me with blooms from late Spring until Frost.
  The 3 Ruellia's are doing great and are multiplying as I had planned for them. 
 Tiger Lily's have also multiplied and I am ever so happy about that. They are popping up in areas I have not had them before. I cannot remember if I plucked seeds and tossed them into these areas or not but they are coming up and very happy.
 These are a favorite Bloom of my Lily Collection. The blooms normally do not last too long but this year, they were in place for almost 2 weeks! Either they loved all the rain or the cloudy skies.
Hosta loves the plentiful rain falls.
 Canna are happy with plenty of rain as well.
Cleome has been added to new garden areas with seed tossing this spring. Some are yellowing as others such as the one above, are most happy.
Bee Balm did not spread like I had wanted but still around and hopefully, in time will fill out for me.
 A surprise in the garden this year is the longevity of the Confederate Jasmine. I am spotting blooms yet today! A rare thing this late in the year.
 Mums blooming in July is not rare if you forget to prune them back in early Summer. But ever so pretty even though not in Fall. 
We are picking tomatoes most every day from our 3 plants. If I had only known about all this rain before it happened, I would have planted a big Veggie Garden this year! But after our past drought and now floods, I am just happy to have these JUNE & JULY BLOOMS, In the Garden...

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

Friday, July 19, 2013

Phillip's Garden Tour Part III

We'll finish out our garden tour today with a few more pictures from Phillip's Garden. I have to tell you I was as interested in this 1928 house as I was in the garden. It was a beautiful house and decorated so creatively inside. I love houses that have character. Here there is an arbor over the sunroom window. I believe the vine growing over the arbor is pipevine, though Phillip and I did not specifically talk about this vine. It is supposed to be a wonderful habitat vine, but not so hardy in my part of Tennessee.
Phillips' frontyard was a perfect no mow yard. Here there is more mondo grass, gravel, and flagstones as well as plants. This is the front of the house and the road is just to the left of the shrub hedge in this picture. You can't even see the road. Many gardeners go for privacy in their paradise and Phillip sure achieved it here. This is my kind of gardening!
Another view of the frontyard looking from the opposite direction. It is so natural and flowing. I really liked the whole effect. Phillip felt like the crepe myrtles (the tall trunked trees) were a bit too much but really they and the mature Japanese maple in the center bed added a wonderful vertical element to the garden.
This stone was a wonderful stone and used so nicely. It caught my eye right away.
Now we are coming to the side of the house and the tour is almost done.

'Til next time.....

in the garden....

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

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Phillip's Garden Tour Part II

We continue our virtual tour of Phillip's Garden looking through a secret gate that separates two parts of the garden. Phillip set up his garden in the style of garden rooms. Creating garden rooms has been an important style of gardening for many years. People tend to like intimacy in a private garden and rooms help to fit the bill. That is 'Snowflake' oakleaf hydrangea to the left of the gate. What a perfect specimen of it!
This is a sunny path. If you like textures in a garden you can't beat cannas. The bold foliaged plant is cannas and they really rock a garden even without blooms.
Now this small white tree is Cornus kousa 'Wolf Eyes'. Phillip and I both grow this wonderful little tree. His is much bigger than mine, and sited very well. Look at how it lights up this corner of the garden.
This pretty leaved plant is called Plume Poppy. I am not familiar with this plant but really liked the foliage. As an interesting note when I visited the University of Tennessee at Jackson gardens last week I saw a big stand of these plume poppies. They are going on my list to try.
Remember the large rose arbor in the center of the garden? This is the walkway underneath. How cool is it? Phillp has used mondo grass to great advantage in his shady garden. Here it fills in amongst the cool stepping stones.
This picture kind of reminded me of the Gentling garden we garden bloggers were able to visit last May in Asheville North Carolina. Phillip's garden is on a hill though not a mountain, but it shared rock walls and lovely overflowing borders like the Gentling Garden that Skeeter posted on last year....

in the garden....

Friday will be the last of Phillip's Garden so stay tuned and stay cool. 
Words and Photos Property of In the Garden Blog Team, In the Garden