Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Chickens and Electric Fences and other Goings on at Tiger Way Gardens

Hello there! We are now moved into our new home and adjusting to life in the country. I thought I'd update you all on a few things going on in the new Tiger Way Gardens. Looking out my front windows I see my beautiful front yard that consists mainly of dirt at the moment, but if you look further you will see the orchard; which has green grass; and you might even spot the chicken coop in the orchard.
We acquired three Rhode Island Red chickens a few months ago and they are really the best! Who says chickens are not smart? These gals are great and pretty smart too. They know exactly where there food is located and beg for it each time I visit the coop. I can't trick them by giving them anything less than the good stuff because they know the difference between cracked corn and mealworms just by sight. They follow me around looking for those handouts and they are just a delight. Not to mention my three eggs each day. I really have only one complaint about these gals and their intelligence. That one complaint is that if they ever feel like they are 'taken', they simply give up, squat down and let whatever will happen-happen. I think they should fight a bit but that's just my thoughts. To help keep the gals safe from predators we have their coop located in our fenced orchard area. The fence is quite a large and effective electric fence. The electric fence is six feet high and has seven strands which is all electrified with a a DC fence charger helped along by a solar trickle charger. It was always our intent to place the chickens inside of the orchard since we knew we had to fence the orchard in order to protect it from marauding deer. So, in a sense, we kill two birds with one stone by putting the chickens in this area.
Looking through to the chicken coop area we can see the strands of the wire and the cabinet that houses the electric fence equipment. Lately I have been feeling good about my gals and have decided I would try letting them free roam in the orchard area. I knew I could pretty much keep them safe from ground based marauders but was not too sure about hawks. So far so good as the chickens have all remained safe and intact-that's a really good thing. When my hens are out and about they really focus on only one thing-eating. Since they associate me with food they seem to love me by following me around-even when they are inside the electric fence and I am outside of the fence. Mr. Fix-it and I were wondering what would happen if one of the chickens happened to run into the electric fence and I recently found out. The electric fence puts out about 7000 volts so it is powerful enough to stop predators as well as deer. You would think it would stop chickens too but not so. When I recently ventured close to the fence and the girls one of them decided to come and visit me. As soon as she stepped on the bottom wire she zoomed through the fence to my side really fast. Lightening speed fast. Right when I was about to panic about her being outside of the 'safe' area she actually zoomed right back through the electric fence! I was relieved that she was not injured by the electricity, and doubly relieved she went back to her safe place. What a smart gal! Chicken brained not!
In other going ons at the farm we are working on a new dog ramp. One of our dogs has hip problems and while we don't have too many steps going into the house, any steps can be tough on a living being with hip problems. Hopefully I'll finish up this ramp soon. Right now the dogs are running around on their own with only a wireless fence collar keeping them close to the house.
To the right of the dog ramp and dog pen area is our new koi pond. You might remember the postings I did a few years ago on my koi pond in Tiger Gardens. I can hardly believe that pond is nearly two three years old now. It has been such a joy to me and the grandchildren love it so much I desired to have one in the new house. Our backhoe digger dug this pond while he was doing backhoe work (thanks Mike!) and he did an excellent job. The pond was dug exactly 40" from the high side of the backyard and has a few plant shelf ledges. This pond is about four times bigger than my previous pond and has really been a bear to get going. You might remember I hand dug my last pond and put it together slowly over a period of weeks. This pond has been dug for several months now and while it is getting closer to being completed, it is still not finished. There seems to be one setback after another. Here we are trying to level up the lower side of the pond so that we can begin the rock process. At this point in the process most of the rocks are in place with exception of the small waterfall, and the liner is pretty much set the way I'd like it. We had planned to finish everything by Thanksgiving weekend but I failed to order enough tubing to complete the plumbing. Once that tubing comes in I'll finish that up and rock the waterfall and turn her on! Wish me luck in getting it going soon. 

Other going ons in Tiger Way Gardens include: starting the vegetable garden (outlined in block and backfilled but waiting on beds to be made), the completion of the iris beds along the outside edge of the vegetable garden, staining the concrete in the garage and on the front and back porches, moving and sorting things from the old house, and trying to get ready for the holidays. Here's hoping everything is going well for you all....

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

Friday, November 14, 2014

Irene's Garden Part III

We start with whimsy the first thing in this post and I know a lot of you all love whimsy! This bowling ball 'caterpillar' is a lot of fun. The bowling balls for this garden caterpillar actually came from my garden. Irene posted on that she desired some bowling balls and since I am cleaning my garden up I told her she could have mine. Have you ever participated in a Yahoo email group? That is what Freecycle does. Freecyle is actually a email group of local people who are interested in keeping things out of the dump while sharing with others. So, for instance you happen to have a lot of extra bowling balls or irises and someone needs some you can send an email to the group and offer your extras and the person who may need them will respond. It is then up to you to set a place and time to transfer the items. This needs to be done with common sense as meeting strangers can be a not so good experience. Fortunately, I've been very lucky in many of my dealings with Freecycle members. This is actually how I initially met Irene and her husband. They responded to an email I sent giving away irises. I am betting those irises are still growing well in Irene's garden. You just never know who you might meet on Freecycle as I've met a lot of people who have the same interests as me. Oftentimes we become good friends as in the case of Irene and I.
Here is the other side of Irene's foundation garden. Don't you love the curved sidewalk? We had curved sidewalks poured at our new house too. I don't know why more people don't do the curved sidewalks as they make getting to the front door easier than walking along all those right angles. As a bonus, your garden will be less formal with curves versus straight angles.
More of the foundation beds.
Here we have evergreens mixed with deciduous plants. Even when the 'Red Rooster' is bare of leaves the spent seedpods provide winter interest. I love the variety here and am a stern believer that foundation gardens need not be all evergreen boxwoods. I will soon be posting some pictures of my new foundation beds at Tiger Way Gardens. 
This butterfly garden out in the field was really lovely. Irene had taken old tires and painted them bright colors with her grandson, and then filled the tires with soil and planted plants. Mainly drought tolerant plants and plants that need good drainage or need to be contained. This garden was a hot, hot garden; which is good for butterflies.
Now here is the big greenhouses a thing of beauty and what most of us would love to have in our gardens-me included!
An ornamental garden looking toward the raised vegetable beds.
'Henry Eiler' coneflowers were stunning on this hot August day.
Lastly, I leave you with a long shot from the driveway. This is indeed a country garden with lots of great vistas and nice diverse plant material....

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

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Irene's Garden Part II

Continuing our garden tour of Irene's garden we find another border garden filled with attractive shrubs and a Japanese style concrete lantern. I really like Irene's ability to combine different styles of gardening successfully. Irene is an expert at combining formal and informal areas, as well as cottagey type gardening and English style gardening. Each plant has its space and plays well with its neighbors. This is also a lesson I need to learn-leave enough space!
More textures and a combination of evergreen and deciduous shrubs and grasses.
A rock garden where some more drought tolerant plants grow. Most all of the paths through Irene's large garden are grass.
A long view.
Another sign paying homage to Puerto Rico. Irene's husband does help her out in the garden to a certain extent so she makes sure he has some areas of his own.
Irene's property is very large and as such she has filled it up with gardens but has also managed to keep views of the surrounding country. Right behind this garden is a small driveway and on the other side of that is a large fenced in pond that contains a bunch of ducks and waterfowl that belong to her neighbor. Irene enjoys the view from the upper story of her home. Here, I took the picture from ground level.
Obedient plant was blooming its heart out. It was quite a sight on a hot and dry August day.
A vintage patio set is placed conveniently in the garden.
Vegetable gardening is important to Irene. Most of her beds are raised up by concrete blocks mortared together. In Tennessee, raised beds are really the only way to go. Note the PVC framework for some heavy plastic in order to extend the growing season. The PVC frame makes it a cinch to drape heavy plastic over the bed in order to grow cool weather vegetables during the winter months.
I leave you with one last picture of the front foundation garden of Irene's home. Again, textures combine with color and the area is quite interesting to look at. I think the red is perfect against the stone on the house. With my new house where the house is all brick, I am having difficulty getting good plants to show up well without clashing with the dark brick. I have pretty much figured out white blooming plants or lighter blooming plants such as pinks, will be my go to colors for my house foundation gardens. 

When we come back on Friday I'll showcase some more of Irene's foundation beds and a few more garden tour pictures....

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

Monday, November 10, 2014

My Friend Irene's Large and Whimsical Garden in the Country Part I

Good morning all! I hope it is a wonderful one and that you all take a moment to remember the sacrifices all veterans make each day so that our country can be free as tomorrow is officially Veteran's Day.

I am trying to still blog and take pictures of what is going on in my new gardens but it is hard. Oftentimes I only have my mobile handy so that is where most of the pictures go. I don't normally upload pictures to the blog from my mobile so then I am without pictures. I really need to do better as there are exciting things happening in Tiger Way Gardens. The main one is that the house is nearly finished and that I have been able to landscape--finally! Tearing up all of the land in front of the house for the geothermal heat, and tearing up all of the land in behind the house for the septic system, and not having any soil around the house has made it extremely difficult for me to landscape. I'm happy to report those issues are over with now. I have graded the yard and backfilled (with some help from my backhoe guy), and am busy making a new vegetable garden and foundation gardens along with setting up lighting and so on. At any rate, I'll try to get some pictures soon so you guys can come along for the ride and follow some of my thought processes. Today's posts (and Wednesdays and Fridays--hopefully) will be about my friend Irene's beautiful and large country garden. I visited her home back in August and had a delightful time spending time out with my friend. She, unfortunately, lives on the other side of town from me so we don't get a chance to hang out often. I took a ton of pictures of her garden as I knew you all would love it! While looking at the pictures take note of the textures you can find in Irene's garden. I am a big texture person over color or anything else you may find in a garden. Irene is an expert at weaving textures along with garden art into her landscape. 

Let's start with a wonderful purple martin house right next to a pergola in behind Irene's house. You can just see the start of a vine climbing the pergola; which actually covers a short staircase down into the back garden. The weeping Japanese maple and shrub behind it add some nice texture.

Here we are under the deck where there are a multitude of tropical and house plants. I could not help but love this vine growing in this beautiful designed pot. Irene has a very large collection of tropicals that she takes into the house each winter into her sunroom. Well, this year she was gifted with a greenhouse (as you shall see) and I bet she is going to have an easier time taking in all of these plants and will really enjoy her greenhouse.
This is looking east in her back garden. The PeeGee hydrangeas is trained to a tree form. This kind of pruning takes a lot of work and time. It is a really neat way to grow these hydrangeas if you can train one like this. For me, I've had no luck creating tree form plants.
More shrubs along the back of the garden. Here a golden mophead shares space with 'Bonfire' patio peach and a hydrangea. The bed is lined with brick. I am not sure if they were brick left over from the house build or not. Irene and her husband custom built their house about five years ago-so this garden is only five years old.
Irene loves whimsy! I know whimsy is not for everyone but you have to remember that each garden has to please the gardener. That is paramount to loving your garden and maintaining it. This bird feeding station most likely pleases our feathered friends a lot! Especially if they read the sign and see that they are welcomed.
A small bottle tree in the form of a peacock brightens a shady area. See how the pulmonaria (gray foliaged plant) plays off from the sedge's spiky foliage (lime green grasslike plant)? Then there are some rounded leaved plants as well. If you are designing a garden and can successfully combine textures, ie; bold with subtle, fine with coarse, and vary plant forms you will be have a very interesting and attractive garden. Color and bloom times and repetition are easy compared to textures.
Irene's husband is from Puerto Rico so here is her homage to her husband's homeland-the beach!
A berm with several types of massed shrubs bordered by a privet hedge adds interest and gives the garden a sense of formality. The grasses really set it all off too.
I leave you with a long shot of the west side of the garden looking up to the pergola you saw in the opening picture. Do come back later this week and see the rest of Irene's large garden....

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

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Visit from Gardener's Confidence Collection

 It has been some time since I last posted a Blog but I am still here! Just keeping too busy to sit and blog much this past summer. Busy is a good thing though...
 We recently had some special visitors to my GEORGIA GARDENS.
 Photographers for the "Gardeners Confidence Collection" dropped by to do a photo shoot. Patrick from McCorkles Nursery's in nearby Dearing, GA. was ever so nice in asking if they could come for a visit. He saw some photos of my gardens when I entered a contest for a gift certificate at The McCorkles Giant Plant Sale this past September.  
 I was ever so happy to have them in my gardens especially when Patrick said I would receive a few plants for my time! Any one that knows me well, knows my gardens evolve on the cheap. So Free is my friend. ha... 
 I was not too sure what to expect and I do not believe they were too sure what to expect either. They are accustomed to photographing in a studio so to actually be in a garden was a treat for them.
 They had lots of Azalea's and really wanted to show them off in their glory. So I told them we could dig out the old Lily in the half circle planters and see what we could do. I suggested they use my many Props within the garden to accompany the plants.
 This was a final result for the Coronado Red Bloom 'N Again Series of Azalea.
The red was so brilliant and really perked up my Semi-Formal Garden.
 Jaydene (rep from Gardener's Confidence Collection) was snapping away with her camera.
 They had a beautiful Snowball Azalea in a pot with Heuchera which really looked nice on top of one of my tree stumps.
Lucky me as they left this container in my gardens!
 I wonder how many photos they snapped?
 Another container with Snowball, Heuchera, Ivy, etc.
 My floppy-eared bunny jumped down from its spot to join in the fun.
 Another beautiful container but it went back home with them.
 I knew they were going to leave me with a few Azalea's but had no idea how many! Wow, they were sure gracious with gifts to my gardens. I got busy the next day putting some of them into their final place.
 This is the result minus some mulch. I shall remove the Peony at each planters front and add the Snowball Azaleas. Within the Half Circle planter you see Orange Frost, Coronado Red and Snowball Azalea's.
 The Round Planter is now home to new Savannah Sunset Azalea and Creeping Jenny. The Hosta was already there. I forgot the name of the other plant but a late Spring early Summer bloomer. I also removed St Francis and added this item found at a yard sale. St Francis shall get a new home elsewhere in the garden.
My wonderful visitors also left me with Love U Lots, Lavender Lady, Pink Explosion and Purple Fusion all of the Bloom 'N Again Series of Azalea's! I have yet to get them into the ground as the weather has turned too cold and windy for me to dig holes! I have all these new Azalea's added to my gardens and an ironic thing, I added 5 new Red Dawn Bloom 'N Again Azaleas to a new garden after the Giant Plant Sale at McCorkles in Sept. Tina helped me to decide where they were placed. I shall get a posting about that new garden as soon as I have a chance! It was a fun day having Patrick and Jaydene in my gardens and I hope they return again next spring. It was interesting watching them work their magic in my gardens! I truly enjoyed this VISIT FROM GARDENER'S CONFIDENCE COLLECTION, In the Garden...

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