Monday, March 31, 2014

Come Along While I Plant Some Elderberries in Tennessee and Check Out These Huge Rootballs

If you are a follower of my Facebook page you may remember I posted that I was planning to buy some honeyberries for my orchard on our farm. Well, after more investigating I found that honeyberries are actually in the honeysuckle family and may spread themselves around. This is not something I want for our farm so I cancelled that order and ordered a native plant-elderberries. Now for the funny part, elderberries are also in the honeysuckle family and will for sure spread themselves around. Sigh. I may yet order some honeyberries at a later date but for now let's talk about the elderberries.
Elderberries are a native plant and this is something I desire for my new gardens on the farm. For the most part the farm is fairly free of a lot of invasives and non naturals with the exception of Japanese honeysuckle. That stuff is everywhere on the land that there is sun. Mr. Fix-it and I are trying to control it but it is a neverending battle. Honeysuckle is pretty, smells good, and grows well but it absolutely will strangle trees when given a chance so it has to go. Elderberries are native and can certainly spread themselves around (with a little help from wildlife and suckering tendencies), but even if they do spread themselves around I feel fairly confident the elderberries will not strangle other native plants and will in fact benefit the local wildlife, and hopefully the local humans too! In fact, elderberries were the 'Herb of the Year for 2013' as named by the International Herb Association. In my experience plants chosen as a plant of the year are usually good plants so I took a chance on the elderberries.

I purchased four elderberry plants from Stark Bros. I have always noticed the beautiful flowers of elderberries alongside highways growing in ditches. From the road it always looked to me like the plants were growing more like bamboo than a shrub. I was a bit surprised to get shrubs and not the canes I was expecting. The plants came bareroot and were in great condition. I could not believe just how big the roots of the barerooted plants actually were. I bet they extended two feet out from the crown of the plant. The roots were dense, fleshy, and a big old tangled mess. The woody part of the plants looked good and on a few of the bareroot elderberries there was actually new growth. The first picture shows the four plants straight from the box to my wheelbarrow as I prepare to plant them. It is always best to get bareroot plants into the ground as soon as possible but if you cannot, just store the bareroots in a bucket of water. I've successfully done this for a few days. 

Elderberries are not self pollinating so you will need more than one variety. The two cultivars I ordered are 'Adams' and 'Johns'. I ordered two of each type. These are American type elderberries (Sambucus canadensis). There are also European elderberries (Sambucus niger) but I tend to stick to the American types for no particular reason other than I am American and thought that for America the American types would suit me best.
Siting elderberries is not too difficult. I did not place these plants in my orchard because that area is already planned out quite meticulously there and I do not want to start just placing more plants in the area. Instead, I decided on a native area in our Back-40 area that is still easily accessible from the living area of the house. The elderberries would like a nice sunny area to perhaps part shade (I think the more sun the better so stay away from shade if you can), good drainage, and a moist, loamy soil with organic matter. I chose a southern exposure near some oak trees on a slightly sloping hillside. I grouped the two 'Adams' in a front row with the two 'Johns' in a back row offset between the 'Adams'. 'Johns' will get larger than the 'Adams' so 'Johns' is somewhat on the downside of the slope. The four plants are spaced approximately 12' apart in a trapezoidal type area.


 I amended the soil with bonemeal. If I had had compost or rabbit droppings available that would have been a much better amendment but in a pinch I always use bonemeal as a backup. I've never gone wrong adding bonemeal to newly planted plants tho some would say using it is an old wives tale. Hey, it can't hurt and I, for one, swear by its use so use bonemeal if you don't have some good compost. Even if you do have compost bonemeal is still a good thing in my book.
I had to dig the holes about two feet wide and nearly as deep. I spread out the roots and backfilled well ensuring there were no air pockets in the soil. Water well after you plant anything or try to plant prior to a rain coming in. Now I can sit back and wait on these lovely plants to begin growing. I suspect that by next year I'll have flowers and even berries-providing I can get to the berries before the wildlife. Deer and birds are fans of elderberries and we have plenty of both on the farm.

While we are on the subject of planting I have been extremely busy planting other plants too. The elderberries were relatively easy to plant because I could lift the plants. The above Japanese maple took my husband and son a great amount of work to lift it onto the trailer. When I planted it I kind of let gravity do that job by dropping it off from the trailer and rolling it in place. It never fails to amaze me just how heavy root balls can be. The root balls of most of the shrubs and trees I have dug have wound up being about three feet wide and one foot high. This is a pretty heavy root ball, but a big root ball is great for ensuring the plant will survive the transplant. I wound up moving seven large upright Japanese maples. I will be leaving behind five mature Japanese maples in Tiger Gardens that were either too mature for me to dig or which were in gardens where I had plants I did not want to risk moving to the farm. The upright Japanese maples line a 250 foot section of my driveway that is located under mature hardwood trees. The driveway has a red and yellow theme going on and I will share it on here at a later date. I have two more weeping Japanese maples that will require moving once I have a spot for them.This probably will not happen until this fall sometime.
The last root ball I show is a Japanese spiraea. This spiraea has been in place in Tiger Gardens since about 2003. It was not as difficult to dig up as the Japanese maples were because the roots were not so woody, but the root ball is nearly as large and fairly heavy too. In addition to these few shrubs I dug up quite a few red azaleas. All shrubs and trees have taken quite a lot of work but came out nicely. The azaleas came with extras because many of the outlying branches had rooted over the years. I was delighted to get over 20 red azaleas from just five to begin with. I never realized azaleas would roots like this.

The garden is coming along fine and we are looking forward to not only seeing our new elderberries grow but also all of the newly transplanted shrubs and trees....

in the garden.... 

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

Friday, March 28, 2014

Berl's Landscaping in Louisville

Hello from Louisville! Today we'll be visiting one of the coolest nurseries found in Louisville. This nursery is waaaay cool because it carries a wide variety of plants that I find to be unique and a bit different from what a lot of nurseries carry. Plus, this nursery has another nursery in it where the owner's son specializes in tropicals. A tropical greenhouse is a delightful thing during the cold days of winter. As an added bonus Berl Williams Landscaping has some gardens and statuary, a sweet little cat or two, and is opened on Sundays. The best part of all is the owner is always on site. I enjoy talking to the person behind nurseries mainly because they know everything that is going on in that nursery and can really help me out if I need help.
Surprisingly enough I found out from the USDA plant hardiness map that Louisville is Zone 7A; which is the exact same zone my home in Tennessee is located in. I was surprised because Louisville is a couple of hours north of my home in Tennessee. Even though we are in the same zone I think Louisville tends to get a bit colder in the winter and stay a slight bit cooler in the summer. This makes Louisville a pretty nice city. Add to that fact that my daughter and granddaughter live there and you know I like this town a lot. Berl's has a great deal of plants in the ground. A good amount of these plants are plants that would be considered marginally hardy in Zone 7A. The plants include: agaves, palm trees, yuccas, prickly pears, tetrapanax, orchids, and probably more that I cannot think of right now. Each fall Mr. Berl and his group of workers take great pains to winterize the tender plants growing on the nursery grounds. When you have a palm tree that is 15' tall those pains can be great indeed. Just look at all the wrapping and mulch applied in the above picture.
There are even mini greenhouses that not only protect tender plants but also serve as a windbreak to the tender plants. Sometimes it is not the cold that gets plants but dessication of the plants. In the winter when the ground is frozen the plant cannot take up necessary water. Add to that drying winds and plants can quickly get drought stressed even in the winter. This will kill plants in the winter quicker than cold temperatures. The other major killer of plants in the winter is poor drainage. Plants just cannot stand their roots sitting in water and ice without suffering damage. Almost all plants the normal gardener will grow will specify 'plant in a well drained location' and for good reason.
Berl's is a nursery that I always love to visit. I have bought a few things here over the years and all of them have done wonderfully. These things include my evergreen dogwood (Cornus augustata Empress of China). My daughter (Liz) buys a lot of plants here as well. She has purchased a yellow magnolia, several leatherleaf viburnums, a 'Graham Blandy' evergreen, and some crepe myrtles here. We love this nursery for its variety, good availability of plants and good prices but you do have to look around and know what you are looking for when visiting here. You never know what you might find.
After our house is done (or mostly done) I plan to purchase a gingko tree. I will most likely purchase the tree from this nursery so I have been keeping my eye on them. Berl's has several good cultivars of gingkos; which are all male, and the trees are priced reasonably. Additionally, some of my friends and I will be making a trip up to Berls in May. May should be a perfect time to visit, but really, if you don't mind the cold and wind go anytime. Just be sure to peek into the really cool tropical greenhouses and get warm and maybe even buy a few things. My other daughter (Christy-who was visiting from Alabama) loved the tropical greenhouses and purchased a really neat hoya and a few other things on our recent visit. 
Back home in Tiger Gardens it appears spring has sprung despite our up and down temperatures. Somehow overnight these hyacinths and daffodils have all begun blooming. Welcome spring....

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

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Panola Mountain State Park

 This is the type sign we enjoy seeing while out hunting for Geocaches. We know we are about to embark on a wonderful day of serenity in the woods. This day we were at Panola Mountain State Park. Click HERE to learn more about the park. The pamphlets were not ready for the season so we were on our own with identifying the wildflowers.
 I believe this to be Chattahoochee Trillium but not sure as there are 27 different types of Trillium here in Georgia.
 Some type of wild woodland Holly. I have spotted this in our GEORGIA GARDENS, well rather the woods on our property.
 This is one of many large trees we admired.
 Fungi is so at home in the woods.
 Yet, another huge tree that captivated us!
 I thought this to be a Trillium but after a bit of research, I am not sure.
 Here is a close up of a bloom.
Here are several plants close together.
 Moss covered logs look so at home in the woods.
 The Saint gazing off into the woods admiring the Redbud and large fallen tree. 
 I have never notice as many Redbud trees here in Georgia as I have this Spring!
For many years I have told people we just do not have the Redbuds here like in TN and VA. But I do believe I am wrong. I just have not been where they are located. On this day, we spotted many along the Country back roads of GA...
 This was indeed a large tree! Too bad it fell during a storm. This one had been cut as it crossed the walking path. A tree gateway for us. 
 These little beauties were all over the woods.
I believe them to be some type of Anemone. Some were of a pinkish color.  
 Most of the ones we spotted were more white in color.
 A moss covered fallen tree made a nice feature to walk beneath.
 Mayapple's were not blooming yet.
 Trout Lily, I believe.
 I could not decide what these bell type flowers could be. Any guesses?
 Here is a Close-up of them.
 Ah, this boulder is close to our Cache find.
 And the Saint finds the treasure!
 We found our way back to the picnic area.
My eyes were sighted on this strange tree trunk as I sat and rested from our nice hike in PANOLA MOUNTAIN STATE PARK,
In the Garden...

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

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Happy Birthday and a Giveaway!

Happy Birthday to Skeeter!

I have never really been good with birthdays as anyone in my family will tell you, but it is giveaway time and I thought that in honor of my good friend and blogging buddy that I would use Skeeter's birthday as an excuse to giveaway something. So be sure to wish Skeeter a Happy Birthday on this post as she deserves it and you might just get a gift for you! Happy Birthday my friend!! These kitties are for you as I know you love cats. My two 'boys' in the hood are very loving cats and wish you a Happy Birthday too!

The good folks at Serenity Health & Home Decor are kind enough to sponsor a giveaway again this year--this will be the third year in a row and I thank them very much for their generosity. They are very generous each and every year and I can tell you that the first giveaway was a complete smash. Gardener on Sherlock Street won that giveaway. Last year's giveaway was also most successful. I mean who doesn't love the chance to win a free gift or gifts? 

The random winner of this giveaway will get to choose ONE of the following items. All you need to do to be eligible is to comment here, check out what items you might like, and wish Skeeter a Happy Birthday. This giveaway is limited to the United States only. I will use a random number generator to select a number from the chronological order of your comments. For instance, if you comment first then your comment is #1. If the random number generator chooses #1 you are the winner. If you are selected I will need your name and address to pass on to Serenity Health and Home Decor so they can get your prize out to you. I will announce the winner right here on the blog on Friday, April 18th. Monday, 21 April 2014.

The choices this year are themed with the great outdoors in mind. Specifically fire pit and fire accessories. Does that sound like fun? It does to me because there is nothing better than a nice fire pit and roasted marshmallows with a few seats around it to make good memories. Of course you can use several of these fire related items in your house if you happen to be lucky enough to have a fireplace. Without further ado check out the choices for this year: 

Log Grabber
Smore and Hotdog Fork (I have one of these and use it a lot! It's an awesome accessory!)
Large Black Fire pit Poker
Outdoor Classics 36" Cosmic Stars and Moon Campfire Ring
Outdoor Classic Halo Fire Pit
Brazilion Style Double Hammock
Outdoor Classics Family Mayan Hammock

That is a lot of choices and I bet it will be hard to choose but check them out and contemplate which one you would like. Let me know in the comment so I'll know which one to tell Serenity to ship if you should be the winner....

in the garden....

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

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Shingleroof Campground

 The Saint and I left our GEORGIA GARDENS to hunt a few Geocaches this past weekend. Our hunt took us to this park south of Atlanta. We have passed this park many times but never took the time to stop until now.
 This Georgia Historic Marker explains the history of the area.
 The Cabins within the park are interesting.
 Our hunt for the geocache sent us to this nice little spot.
 A spring shelter and a small foot bridge to take one on a nature hike.
The water from the spring was so clear.
 This Pavilion was neat with the moss covered roof.
I spotted this marker by the foot bridge and enjoyed the words.
In Loving Memory of
Dorothy Bryans Elliott Paul
My mother kept a garden, a garden of the heart.
She planted all the good things that gave my life its start.
She turned me to the sunshine and encouraged me to dream.
Fostering and nurturing the seeds of self-esteem...
And when the winds and rains came,
she protected me enough-
but not too much-
She knew I'd need to stand up strong and tough.
Her constant good example always taught me right from wrong.
Markers for my pathway that will last a lifetime long.
I am my mothers garden.
I am her legacy-
And I hope today she feels the love
reflected back from me.
In the Garden...

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

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Winter or Spring

  I was out of my GEORGIA GARDENS for a bit to visit family and friends in Tennessee. I enjoyed seeing the ice on top of Monteagle as I drove over that big ole mountain. Click HERE for more on Monteagle. I had been working tirelessly on cleaning debris from the Georgia Ice Storm so I was looking forward to a relaxing visit. Even though my body ached from the clean up of an Ice Storm, I found this ice view very beautiful. The heated seats made the back better during the drive. Ahhhhh...

 Little did I know, I would be in the midst of another Ice Storm while in Tennessee!
At my parents house, we had about 2 inches of ice pellets fall and about 1/4 inch of snow on top of that. I kept the area around my car cleared as it fell that night. I also kept the window clear of ice for fear of a window cracking from a previous rock chip. Some areas such as where our Master Gardener Tina lives, had more ice and snow then our side of town. I ended up shoveling the entire driveway. That was a job but I needed some exercise after being cooped up eating chocolate and other fun treats while home bound.
My poor car has never experienced icicles before! Ice Storms are not so rare in Middle Tennessee but they normally do not last long as the temps rise and the ice melts within a day. This storm was followed by several days of freezing temperatures thus, shutting down the entire city! We had electricity as the ice did not stick to the trees such as the storm here in Georgia a few weeks prior. So not many trees fell over power lines like in Georgia. We also had food in the house, home videos and classic movies so I enjoyed some quality time with my mom and dad during this time.
The storm messed up many of my plans for visits but with Mother Nature being so darn Bi-Polar this winter, well, I did the best I could to visit those on my list. There is always the next visit.
  Wow was I shocked to see the things I saw in my gardens upon my return to Georgia. Not Snow covered bushes but rather the most beautiful Bridal Wreath Spirea's ever!
 Both of these bushes are outside my sunroom window and they just glow during the day and at night.
Forsythia is bursting with color!
 Wild Violets are blooming throughout two of my gardens and in control thus far. They are starting to jump the borders though so I must keep an eye on these beauties.
 Creeping Phlox are starting to open up.
 Grape Hyacinth's have multiplied since last year!
 Many different types of Daffodil are dancing in the March winds!
 Some may be Narcissus but I call them all Daffy's...
They really do cheer me up in the Spring.
 I only wish they would hang around longer for me to enjoy.
 They do not seem to all bloom at the same time. So I get to enjoy them longer and that makes for a happy gal. I want to add more and more of them as I just love those yellow faces.
 Pink, Purple and White Hyacinth blooming along with Grape Hyacinth and Narcissus! Where is the Easter Bunny?
 This view shows a happy Spring planter full of color...
The Wild Plum Trees are full of blossoms.
 Ever purchase one of something then regret not picking up more?
I so regret not purchasing more of these beautiful Red Fringe Plants. I just love the vibrant red of this beauty.
And of course, dandelion has appeared as well.
 As I started preparing this Posting, it was 47 degrees outside and the heater was on inside. By afternoon, I was out push mowing the Rye Grass while wearing shorts with the windows to the house open! Is it WINTER OR SPRING, In the Garden...

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