Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The Spring Wild and Cultivated Flowers in Tiger Way Gardens-One Year Later

It has been more than one year since we purchased our land in Stewart County, so, with a new growing season I thought I'd update you all on the progress. First of all, progress in a garden is always an ongoing thing. Natural gardens and really all gardens change daily. This is so out at the land so these pictures are only a snapshot in time. They vary from vistas to wildflowers to cultivated flowers. The one thing they all have in common is that it is clear Mother Nature is in control because I simply cannot cultivate everything you see--nor do I wish too! 

We start the tour with a beautiful vista down our back hill under a dogwood. This is a rather large hill and the vision is for it to be filled with wildflowers and grasses. This is where the majority of the wildflower seed was planted early this spring. An unexpected result of clearing this hill last spring has allowed a lot of already existing wildflowers to germinate and bloom. Some of them you will see in this post. On the day I took this shot Mr. Fix-it bushogged all of the broomsedge. This will allow even more sun to penetrate to the ground surface so that the wildflower seed that has germinated will get light and will grow.


One of the surprises in the area that was mowed last fall was all of the phlox found growing on the Wildflower Hill. The pinks and purples are delightful.

This is a native wildflower that I actually transplanted to the little pond area by our overhead shelter. It is of course Solomon's Seal (Polygonatum species). This is one perennial I can't get enough of due to its long period of interest and ease of care. Also, thus far the deer have not eaten it! I have several different cultivars of it and also the False Solomon's seal (Smilicina racemosa now apparently changed to Maianthemum racemosum). I have been busy trying to move every bit of it out to the land and I am actually making progress. This clump was moved last year and came back wonderfully.
Another shot of the little clump by the little pond.
These violets were nice bits of color on the Wildflower Hill. I am not sure what type of violets they are so if anyone can positively identify them let me know please. It is probably a woodland violet.
This is the view toward the overhead shelter I call the gazebo. If you will remember the canopy we had over the structure collapsed due to the weight of snow and ice within the last month or so. Mr. Fix-it did an outstanding job of replacing the roof with metal we had leftover from when our garage was built twelve years ago. Yes, I hold on to everything as you never know when you might need it. The metal is all different colors but it works to keep us dry and out of the sun. The gazebo is surrounded on the north and south by a prairie style garden. Behind the gazebo is a small pond and a woodland garden. This is also where the above Solomon's Seal grows. I'll post on the prairie garden later but for now suffice it to say it has growing in it: baptisias, asters, Tartarian asters, compass plant, helianthus, amsonia, salvias coneflowers, cannas, grasses, heucheras, catmint, sedum, veronica, liatris, and daylilies.
Here is an up close picture of the north side of the little gazebo. It looks like the plants are pretty far apart but remember these plants have been here only one year and will quickly fill in.The southern side has about 600 'Sun Disc' daffodils currently blooming in it but the whole area is pretty much natural. The electrical transformers and wiring is scheduled to go in the area so I have not done much with that side.
This is the view on the extreme north side of the prairie garden under the oaks. Here the divider between a cultivated area and the wild area are stepping stones. These heucheras 'Miracle' you see as the chartreuse foliage in the foreground are a truly a miracle. I planted them last spring and never watered them. They kept their foliage all winter long. As this new foliage came in the deer kindly came and ate all of the old foliage. I don't know how that happened but it did. I hope they leave the new foliage alone. These heucheras are a tough, large, and vigorous cultivar of heuchera. I highly recommend it. Also, these can take a lot of direct sun because they get the western sun each afternoon.
Spanish bluebells grow along side some pink Spanish bluebells behind the gazebo by the pond. They were moved while in bloom last spring and barely winked at the move. Firepinks have also joined the chorus in this area and the red of their flowers contrasts nicely with the blue and pinks of the Spanish bluebells.
I am not sure what this little yellow wildflower could be. It is growing sporadically in the field. It is a pretty yellow.
I had transplanted a lot of spiderworts out to the Driveway Garden. Imagine how surprised I was to find spiderworts growing wild on our Wildflower Hill. This type may be Tradescantia subaspera. It prefers moist, acidic soil and that is exactly what we have--even on the hill during certain periods of the year, like spring. This pretty little clump was mowed over by me while I cut the grass, but it seems to have not suffered any major damage. Big sigh of relief.
'Florida Flame' azaleas are blooming. I am loving the azaleas this year and so far the deer have not nibbled on them, tho they have sampled the rhododendrons. I can completely forget about hollies as they are all chewed down to nubs. Darn deer.
This last picture is of another wildflower area in our back corner of the field. The columbo grows here with wild abandon. Many of these American columbos are getting ready to bloom. I love this area as the columbo looks like hostas coming and so prolific are they that the sight is really something. Within another month or so all of these columbo will have gone completely dormant and the summer wildflowers such as butterfly weed, lespedeza, goldenrod, and asters will take over. Also growing on the land but no pictures of them are: ragweed (transplanted and wild), yellow rocket, waterleaf, and many, many more wildflowers yet to be identified....

in the garden....

We are finally breaking ground on the house so I am very busy working on that, but gardening is never far from my heart. I think that hopefully by the time the house is done most of my gardens will be moved. I've worked more than one year on this process but it is a very time consuming thing and I am not really where I need to be. As it is, it looks like I'll have another winter season to get everything moved before we put our house on the market. This is great news for me because as wonderful as it is having a new house to be, it is ever more so wonderful to have a new garden I create from scratch. I am so excited to have this opportunity! Thanks for following the garden. 
Words and Photos Property of In the Garden Blog Team, In the Garden

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Diverse Island

 I am going to take you back to early April today with our first voyage of the year to our beautiful Georgia Lake. Going under this bridge, I am always on the look out for Osprey as they like to nest on top of the bridge.
Zooming in, I spot the nest but no activity.
 Later with our return back under the bridge, we spot an Osprey on the nest. We see Osprey more often then Bald Eagles but enjoy them both.
 We took advantage of a beautiful day to beach the boat at several different islands in order to do some geocaching. While on this one island, we spotted a goose sitting on a nest.
 She was very quiet and still and we did not spot her as we arrived on the island. We spotted her as we were departing and after snapping a few photos of her from afar, we quietly left the island without disturbing her further.
We spotted many Loons on the lake this day.
We were lucky enough to hear them call out as well! Love that sound.
 I spotted wild Vinca on another island. The leaves were covered with pine pollen.
 The Vinca was just starting to bloom but I so wished this patch of it was in full bloom.
 While walking on the islands, I had on water shoes but the shoes would not protect my piggies from the massive amounts of Pine Pollen that was falling from those tall Georgia Pine Trees.
 Pine Pollen is so large that it is easily seen floating on top of the water at the lake.  
Yes, it was a yellow icky mess. But since this photo was snapped, the rains came and washed all the pollen out and the lake is once again clear! Luckily, this pollen does not affect sinus for people.
 As we beached the boat on an island, I spotted this Lady Bug hanging out enjoying the warm sunshine.
 This was our favorite island we visited this day. It is so diverse in terrain and so neat to explore.
 The pebbles on the beach were so unique and soft to the feet.
 These large rocks were the source of the pebbles as the pebbles crumbled from them. We suspect some type of Soft Slate type stone.
I spotted this large bush in full bloom! Master Gardener Tina, do you know this bush?
 The blooms looked like some sort of Bleeding Heart type bloom. 
 I also spotted Carolina Jessamine blooming on this island.
 Soft pebbles on one side of the island and Red Clay on the other.
Just up from the Red Clay, is this view. I tell you it is one DIVERSE ISLAND, In the Garden...

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

Monday, April 28, 2014

Spring Shrubs

Spring has arrived big time in Middle Tennessee, and despite the storms it has still been a lovely spring! Here are some blooming shrubs that help to make the season bright in my gardens. What's blooming in yours?
White Azalea

This azaleas is one of 20 that was transplanted to the farm. It grows in acid soil in part sun alongside a small vernal pond on a slope. 

Blackhaw Viburnum (Viburnum prunifolium)

The 'Blackhaw' was moved to the farm last fall. It has done extremely well in its new growing conditions that see it near some deciduous trees, yet in some sun, in rocky, organically rich, acid soil. 

Florida Flame Azalea

All of the azaleas were moved to the farm a few months ago before the big freeze and ice storm. They are all doing well except one or two, but nothing seems to have slowed down the deciduous azaleas as they are all preparing to bloom. The 'Florida Flame' azalea is a deciduous azalea.

Double Kerria (Kerria japonica 'Pleniflora') 

The kerrias were recently moved alongside the driveway. I dug up one plant and came away with eleven new plants. All but one have survived the transplant and are now blooming. They grow in well draining acid soil under some deciduous trees.

Single Kerria (Kerria japonica)

'Athens' Sweetshrub (Calycanthus floridus 'Athens')

The two sweetshrubs I grow are in full shade in my current garden. I did not have the heart to dig them up while they were in full bloom. Sweetshrubs are easy to grow, very reliable, and drought tolerant. In their current positions the two I grow are next to one another right next to a mature oak tree. These sweetshrubs get no sun, yet they bloom wonderfully. I plan to move them to the farm where they will get some sun alongside the driveway. Sweetshrubs will be fine with more sun as some are found growing in full sun, though I am not so sure I would recommend that you grow them in full sun.

'Raulston' Sweetshrub (X Sinocalycalycanthus raulstonii) 'Hartlage Wine'

'Raulston' sweetshrub is a nice counterpoint to the yellow of 'Athens'.

For me shrubs and trees are the mainstay of my gardens and I so adore them all for their blooms, their differences, their colors, their strength, and their variety....

in the garden....

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

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

A New Bottle Tree in Tiger Way Gardens

There is nothing like a bottle tree to cheer the landscape. I recently installed a new one out on the land in the orchard. I had purchased this hanging bottle tree at the Nashville Lawn and Garden Show last March but had no place to install it--until now. I initially thought I'd hang it from a tree but then remembered I have a powerful arbor (formerly the wisteria arbor in Tiger Gardens but now the grape/kiwi arbor in Tiger Way Gardens) in the orchard that would be a perfect foil for this hanging bottle tree.
A simple chain with a latch was all I needed to hang this bottle tree. I looped the chain around a 2'x6' cross beam and hooked the bottle tree to it. The bottle tree holds 20 bottles but so far it only has 12 on it as I need to bring more out there. I want to make sure it will be safe before I totally fill it up as I am not sure how much it will swing and sway in the winds. But for now it is a lovely little highlight of color hanging out in the orchard. 

The gardens are really shaping up at Tiger Way Gardens and it so comforting to me that I am lucky enough to have the time to slowly move things out there and recreate as many of my current gardens as I possibly can. Bottle trees will be a real big part of that re-creation you can bet!

in the garden....

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

Monday, April 21, 2014

Giveaway Winner!

Hello all! I came home to lots of new flowers blooming. This little snowdrop anemone (Anemone sylvestris) is very pretty right next to the American Columbo. It's a delightful sight in a natural setting such as the area by my driveway.

Today's post is about the winner of the random drawing for a gift from Serenity Health and Home Decor based out of Wisconsin. If you will remember the good folks at Serenity were kind enough to sponsor a giveaway. All you all had to do was comment and wish Skeeter a Happy Birthday. Thank you for those kind wishes to her!

The qualifying number the number generator selected was 12! The lucky winner is Kristen. Kristen, please contact me via email at: so we can get your fire pit out to you....

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

Thursday, April 17, 2014


 Due to Circumstances beyond my control, (Telephone line failure) I was not able to get this posted first thing this morning. But here I am with computer once again working, however, still no telephone. AT&T might not be our service provider much longer if this continues. Grrrrrrr...
Anyway, Comments were made on my Blogiversary Post and Names typed and cut.
 Names folded.
 Names put into the Magic Hat.
 Names tossed about and the Saint picked the winner.
Diana Schmied, YOU ARE THE WINNER of the two gnomes plus a few other surprise treats! Congratulations and Happy Gardening, In the Garden...

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

Monday, April 14, 2014

Dog Tooth Violets 'Pagoda'

The dog tooth violets (Erythronium species) in my garden are in full bloom and boy oh boy, I love these wildflowers! Imagine a large area covered by these beautiful little yellow blooms. The cultivar I grow is 'Pagoda' and I have read where 'Pagoda' is one of the showiest dog tooth violets so I am quite happy with my purchase of about 65 bulbs two years ago from John Scheepers bulbs. These bulbs are not as expensive as many other wildflowers tend to be, so don't hesitate to purchase some. They are most rewarding and very easy to grow. I have (had) mine in a shaded area under a vernal witch hazel which is next to a mature oak tree. The bulbs did not mind the dryness or the full shade or the tree roots. I recently dug them all up and moved them to my new land. Their new location is right next to our driveway in what will definitely be a spring/wildflower/bulb garden. The area I planted them is under a Japanese maple 'Bloodgood' right next to some Stinking hellebores (Helleborus foetidus) and the dog tooth violets came through the move wonderfully.
Have you ever thought about the bulbs of these little violets, that are not in the violet family at all? Why do you suppose they call them both dog tooth violets and trout lilies? The trout lily part is pretty easy. The leaves are mottled and sometimes striped and resemble a trout. They are really quite beautiful. My 'Pagoda' dog tooth violets have some mottling on the foliage but in this particular cultivar the mottling is not as pronounced as in other cultivars. 

The reason these wildflowers are called 'dog tooth' is very simple and plain to me as I looked at the bulbs when I dug them up in preparation for transplanting. The bulbs and the little offsets actually do look like a dog's tooth! A large canine tooth with some smaller teeth around it. The stem grows from the tip of the canine tooth so the above bulbs are actually pictured upside down from how they grow. Isn't that pretty cool?
The yellow flowers look great with the blue of the scilla in the woodland garden!
In the garden I have found that in the two years since I planted these bulbs they have been easy to care for. I was quite concerned about moving them, but I needn't have worried because when I dug the bulbs I found they were quite easy to dig. It may be that after a few more years the bulbs may grow deeper but in my case the bulbs were all within about 4-5" of the soil surface. Other than untangling them from daffodils and tree roots I had no trouble digging and separating these bulbs, tho I did try to leave them in the existing soil they were in. In many cases I did not separate any of the little bulbs.
Here are most of the freshly dug bulbs in a tray and in pots in my wheelbarrow awaiting transport to the farm. These bulbs, like most bulbs, should be planted right away. I planted mine the same day I dug them and was fortunate that the very next day a rain came and watered them all into the rocky ground. These wildflowers, unlike many wildflowers, did not even wilt upon being dug. That is encouraging to this gardener! Soon I suspect all of these bulbs will go dormant and I'll forget about them until next year when they slowly emerge from the ground. 

The area I planted them in is quite different from where I took them from but it is still a similar area to how the bulbs grow naturally in the wild. You see, my driveway soil is quite rocky and a bit gravelly, and is very acid in nature. The area is also mostly shaded in the summer surrounded by deciduous trees such as shagbark hickories, locusts, oaks, ash, and elms. In the winter and early spring when these bulbs are growing sunlight does come in nicely. I think once these bulbs settle in they will be fine and hopefully spread themselves around this 250 foot section of our driveway. 
I have separated the 'cultivated' wildflower area from the wild area along the driveway by some fallen tree trunks. The fescue grass was planted as a groundcover last fall after we cleared all the trash from this area. Clearing the trash was a good thing but we unfortunately cleared a lot of organic material that will slowly replace itself over the years. It is important dog tooth violets have organic matter and a good cover of fallen leaves so I am slowly mulching the driveway area with leaves. I think the fescue grass will eventually die out as the wildflowers and leaves and nature takes over. This is a good thing as I have no intention of mowing this area in the woods due to its rocky nature. There is a row of six Japanese maples, including the one in the foreground right next to the dog tooth violets. Between the maples are some shrubs like St. John's wort, kerria, and azaleas. In front of these shrubs; which serve as a boundary; are the wildflowers and bulbs and hellebores. So far all are doing well....

in the woodland garden....

I'll be on vacation visiting sunny Florida this week so I am extending the giveaway until next Monday from this Friday. I will do the drawing Sunday evening and post the winner on Monday. Sorry for any inconvenience. If you have not already commented on my giveaway post or on Skeeter's please do so now!
Words and Photos Property of In the Garden Blog Team, In the Garden