Friday, May 30, 2014

A Cottage Garden Stuns All with Its Beauty

As promised here are some more beautiful views in Christy M.'s garden. Views, especially the long shots, are important to me. It is nice to take in the whole garden, take in parts of the garden, and even to take in macro shots of the plants in a garden but for me I want to be wowed by my immediate surroundings. I want texture, color, and beauty. Christy's garden meets all of this and more.
Don't you just love it?
Peonies, weigelia, and irises-what a classic combination that is so beautiful.
More of those views of color, texture, height differences, and defined plants.
Here your eye is drawn past the deutizia to the rose in the distance. Wow.
And the famous beloved garden cottage. This year's color theme in Christy's garden will match this cottage. Look for lots of red and yellow if you tour Christy's garden on June 14th with the Clarksville Montgomery County Master Gardeners.
Penstemon, weigelia, and salvia.
More peonies and long views.
It takes my breath away. This is an old fashioned mock orange shrub. Word of warning, buy mock oranges when in bloom. Buying a mock orange in bloom will not guarantee you get a shrub that smells good but it can at least help. Many of the mock orange shrubs you can buy today do not have the wonderful scent they were known for in our grandparents day.

Finally, one last long shot at the country garden cottage in Christy's garden....

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

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

A Cottage Garden In the Spring

Are you ready for another garden tour? My friend Christy M.'s garden is the garden we will be touring today. Her garden will be featured on the Clarksville Montgomery County Master Gardener tour scheduled for June 14th. If you'd like to see not only Christy's garden but five other beautiful gardens in person contact Karla at the Montgomery County Extension office at (931)648-5725. Tickets are $10 per person and can be purchased right up to tour day. Christy's garden will also be featured on Tennessee Volunteer Gardener so watch for it! Today and Friday you will get a virtual tour by way of my camera so let's go touring. 

Don't you love Christy's garden bed?? The quilt of petunias is growing in well. By the time the tour comes around I bet that quilt will be trailing down the sides of the bed.
Christy does and awesome job of not only combining plant colors but also plant textures. Here is a red, white, and blue color combo.
A sweet little patio in the center of the backyard is a destination spot. Can you see Christy's cute little garden cottage in the back right area of this photo? We shall see it more of it later but know that Christy's style of gardening is cottage gardening. This cottage plays a big role in that style of gardening.
How about a hen and some of her chicks that you need not feed or water? Christy's garden is full of folksy and whimsical garden art.
Salvia and irises as a combo.
A beautiful columbine. There are many special columbines in this garden. This one was one of the best I've ever seen.
It is the time of year that peonies take center stage in the garden. Peonies are right at home in a cottage or perennial garden. No garden should be without peonies.
More of the combos.
Finally, a beautiful vignette displaying what I think are Japanese irises. This garden is full of beautiful views. Come back Friday for more combos and views and some close up of that cottage....

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

Monday, May 26, 2014

Pawpaw Tree Shelters and Some Spring Bloomers

white milkweed
Today's post is really about pawpaw tree shelters but I could not resist putting in a few pictures of flowers on the land. A lot of these flowers are new to me and if you follow this blog regularly, you will know I am enamored of native wildflowers. We have a lot on the land and nurturing them while keeping the forest at bay has been a delicate balancing act for me. Last year the above white milkweed (Asclepias variegata) was bushogged down just prior to blooming. All this time I actually thought this milkweed was common milkweed. I was delighted when it bloomed to finally identify it as white milkweed, aka redring milkweed after initially misidentifying it as whorled milkweed. This plant is really nothing like whorled milkweed other than the color of the bloom being white. Can you see why it is sometimes called redring milkweed? The red rim around the center of the flowers as shown in the fully opened flower on the above picture is where this common name comes from. This milkweed is a milkweed of open forest area and is not usually found in great quantities so the butterflies sometimes don't find it. When they do, however, there is a lot of nectar for them and the bees. This is a native milkweed that likes rocky, dry, mesic soils. This is exactly what this plant and a few other close by ones get on the farm on the back 40 I affectionately call 'Wildflower Hill'. My little group grows on an east facing slope under a dogwood and oak tree. They are in a perfect spot for viewing and that is just what I do.
We also have some native coreopsis blooming on the farm and boy oh boy is it ever pretty. Not only do the flowers look great but the buds are quite large and distinctive. I believe this native coreopsis to be Lanceleaf coreopsis (Coreopsis lanceolata). If I am wrong please let me know. Like I said, wildflowers are new to me and it has been a steep learning curve since I really don't actively cultivate many wildflowers in my garden. This one is not a flower I planted, but I have allowed it to grow near the gazebo in a somewhat wild area of the new garden.
Now this little beauty is one flower I did plant on the farm into the new Crabapple Garden (post coming next Monday). I was thrilled to see it still continued to grow and bloom despite being dug up and moved. Clematis is one of those easy plants to move that does not overly resent disturbance. I have moved several plants that do resent disturbance. At some point I need to prepare a post on my experiences with moving plants. I've moved thousands now which include: trees, shrubs, bulbs, perennials, grasses, vines, and annuals. Some of the plants have really amazed me with their resilience, while others have really shocked me when at first they seem to be doing well but then they die. This mainly happened to shrubs I moved last fall that were not quite ready for our winter. I tell you one key thing with being successful with moving any plant is to time it right. You can move a hydrangea successfully in spring and early summer but if you wait until late summer or fall don't expect it to make it through the winter. Azaleas, camellias, and a few other plants are like this too. For the most part I try to tailor my move times to the specific plant. There is no one size fits all but clematis can be moved pretty much anytime.
The primary purpose of this post is to talk about tree shelters. I ordered three pawpaw 'trees' last fall from Hidden Springs Nursery in Tennessee. Hidden Springs was one of the nurseries recommended by Kentucky State University's Pawpaw program. I must say I have been delighted with the results! When the little whips arrived last November they looked pretty pitiful. I had little hope they would do well but the one way I could tell they were alive was pretty foolproof for me. Just scratch the bark a bit and look for green. All of mine had green so I planted them as instructed and hoped for the best. 

I had done a lot of research prior to ordering my orchard plants and these new pawpaws were scheduled to go into the orchard. The instructions for planting and the research I found online said to cover the pawpaw seedlings for the first year or two or three to protect them from the sun. It seems pawpaw seedlings do not do well in full sun while young, but once they are mature they will prosper just fine in full sun. This is the reason you see most pawpaw groves in the shade. 

Finding our very own pawpaw grove on our land was a goal of ours and while we hunted very hard for one last year we could not find one. Hence the pawpaw whips purchased for the orchard. Finally this year was the ticket to find a pawpaw grove on our land! The area the grove is in is not only partly shaded, but it is a low area prone to wet periods. which will help with cross pollination of these new cultivated pawpaws. The wild pawpaws do not need any tree shelters but are in a location that will perhaps help out with cross pollination of our cultivated pawpaw seedlings. 

Back to our pawpaw seedlings and how to cover them to protect them from the direct sun. I could not quite figure out how to cover them. It was recommended from several websites to use 'tree shelters'. I am not quite sure what tree shelters might be, and it is pretty hard to buy tree shelters so I created my own. Can you see the bur-lapped boxes in the above picture? Those are my three tree shelters covering my pawpaws (KSU, Overleese, and Sunflower). 

The shelters look really weird and seem out of place in the orchard but are vitally necessary. I made my shelters from some old pepper cages I had on hand and covered them with burlap I had saved from other plants. The burlap allows rain and some filtered light to get to the plants but protects the plants from the direct rays of the sun. I hoped the shelters would work to aid the pawpaw seedlings but I had no idea if the pawpaws even made it through the winter since pawpaws leaf out late. I really have not had the time to check on the pawpaws until recently. Looking in those shelters just was not a priority for me but Mr. Fix-it peeked under the cover and look what he discovered!
The pawpaw seedlings are doing quite well. All three have leafed out and have put on a lot of growth since the growing season started. While it appears this one is being chomped by some pest, I have not had the time to investigate what it could be or how to treat it. I was just excited to see that the pawpaws leafed out and are doing fantastically. This is more than what I can say about some of my orchard trees that were planted as whips the same time as these pawpaws. Every one of the whips (14 total) have leafed out but some have leafed out better than others. I'll prepare a post on the orchard one day. The orchard has been a dream of my husband's because he believes in growing his own food. Of course in our case I do the growing; he does the picking. Me on the other hand, I know how difficult growing fruit trees can be so I was not as enthused with the orchard idea though it has been a fun experience. I think once the fruits start coming in we'll really be having fun. This year we will only be picking muscadine grapes and blueberries but hey, it's a start. And for now those pawpaw seedlings are looking great and I look forward to picking some fruit from them in a few years. I think by next year I will have to raise the height of the tree shelter to accommodate the growth of the pawpaw seedlings but for now I must say the pawpaw experiment has been an awesome time....

in the garden....

On today's Memorial Day I think of all the brave men and women who have fought for our freedom, but mostly I think of those in my family who have paid the ultimate sacrifice to ensure our country stays free. Take a moment today to give thanks, if only silently, for all you have in life. I will be doing the the garden...

I made a mistake when I watermarked all of the photos on this post and several more that will be posted this week. I forgot to change the url to the correct one for this blog. Rather than remove these, reload the correct ones, and re-tag everything I have decided to leave them as they are. It is not like the watermark really stops folks from lifting photos anyhow as I have so often found but in case you, loyal reader and never a person who lifts the photographs from here, was wondering now you know why. That url on these is one that leads to my private blog about my home build. I will not be sharing that publicly with anyone but did watermark the photos.  
Words and Photos Property of In the Garden Blog Team, In the Garden

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Community Yard Sale

 The County in which I reside here in GEORGIA, had a Community Wide Yard Sale. This sale was located at our Fair Grounds. Since the Fair Grounds are across the street from where we live, we just had to drop by to check it out. I came home with a few things for the garden.
 This plastic birdbath which fooled me into thinking it was iron, was a mere $5.00.
 This decorative piece still had the price on it of $15.99 from the store in which it was purchased. I gave $5.00 for it. The Clay pipe was a dollar as was the tin wall basket! 
 I gave $3.00 for this little table. It is not in the best shape but I can reuse the frame and make my own top for it.  
These two iron stakes will have a vine growing on them some day. $2.00 each. And the iron chair was $3.00!
 Even though all my purchases were bargains, this was the bargain of the day for me. One single dollar brought this Gnome home!
A fresh coat of patio paint and now the toads in my garden have a new place to call home! I have one more grand bargain but I failed to snap a photo of it today. I shall save that treat for another day so stay tuned... The Saint and I were very pleased with the COMMUNITY YARD SALE, In the Garden...

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

Monday, May 19, 2014

The Prairie/Rock Garden is Taking Shape

I have been spending a lot of time out at the land as we build our home. As such, I spend a good deal of my time near this Prairie/Rock Garden I built last summer. I am so happy I put it in so that I can enjoy its beauty because it is a spot of tranquilness in all the wildness of our land. By tranquil I mean it is 'cultivated'. Those of you with wild gardens will understand my need for cultivation. Sometimes wild is great (I love it too!) but sometimes wild is just-wild and not really a garden at all. Well, this side of the garden area is finally looking like a garden. The above view is looking west and shows the sloping land fairly well. Our house is going to be built to the right of this picture up on the hill in the field. Behind me is the 'Wildflower Hill'.
Here we are looking north from the gazebo. I have spent some time weeding here by pulling mainly wild garlic from the bed. Other than that the mulch and newspapers has helped to make this a true garden bed and not just an area with some perennials. We have in this bed: amsonias, baptisias, asters, Tartarian asters, helianthus, catmint, salvias, daylilies, liatris, compass plants, Japanese anemones, Culver's Root, obedient plant, geraniums, spirareas, gladiolus, creeping phlox, sundrops primrose, coreopsis, hyssop, and heucheras.
The cultivated area of this garden bed is divided by stepping stones. Here we step over the stepping stone path to the wild area next to a vernal pond. I have not planted anything in this area due to the native wildflowers such as hawkweed (blooming yellow flowers), American Columbo, and others. Tree roots also tend to get in the way. I did however plant about 20 azaleas in this area and I am happy to report they are doing well and bloomed this year.
Looking down from the top of the hill and the front of the bed we see this is a rather large bed area and while it does not have much color right now, there is some foliage. Including the old ratty foliage of tulips. I wish tulips would just fade away gently like Virginia bluebells tend to do.
I planted two 'Glow Girl' spiraeas sent to me by Proven Winners last spring. These spiraeas are doing really well and the chartreuse foliage looks great in this bed because it provides a bit of excitement.

One last picture of is 'Lemon Drops' Oenothera primrose. These were given to me by my friend Angie and I am happy to report they are doing awesomely in the Prairie/Rock Garden....

in the garden....

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

Friday, May 16, 2014

My Friend Angie's Garden

Garden tours are hot and heavy for me this time of the year and I love to share them with you all so here is one of my favorite gardener's garden--Angie. Many of you know Angie as she is a kind spirit with a gentle, loving, and giving heart and has an awesome Facebook page. She is a very special friend who cheers me when I am down and supports me no matter what. Her kindness during rough times for me will never be forgotten. I have many friends and I am very fortunate to have them as no matter how many beautiful flowers I have, none can really be personal and cheer me the way my friends can--so thank you to Angie and all my friends who choose to be kind and share a word of encouragement or two.
Angie is not, I repeat, not a plant collector. She is by far a designer with an eye toward beauty, practicality, endurance. She plants plants that do well and look good. Her garden always has something in bloom and when one perennial is done, there is another waiting in the wings to take its place. That being said it would appear that Angie is a plant collector because when she finds a plant she likes she has a lot of them. Irises are a favorite for Angie but simply because of their beauty, charm, and their ability to look good (with some maintenance) even when out of bloom.
This time of the year irises shine in Angie's garden.
Japanese peonies (single) are another favorite of Angie's. She likes them because they do not droop like the heavy double peonies favored by so many (including me). How smart is that? For sentimental reasons I will always gravitate to the double peonies but I do have a lot of these Japanese peonies and like them too. Check out how Angie has effectively used the hundreds she has in her garden. Massing is the name of the game in Angie's garden. You all do know to design a good garden you should mass the plants right? Onesies and twosies just don't work. Always try to plant in groups of three, fives, sevens, etc. Using one of something should be reserved for a specimen plant. These might include things like trees, shrubs, a prime perennial like baptisia, or even a peony--if there is a good structure of garden flowers around the specimen to highlight the oneness of it all.
Irises in Angie's garden are used to great advantage in their own bed. Irises need excellent drainage and need space. Planting irises in a bed all of their own makes sense and allows for ease of maintenance as all plants have the same requirements.
Here Angie under planted an evergreen spruce with her Japanese peonies.
The backyard of Angie's house is nearly all garden. She uses paths, art, and plants to great advantage to create beauty, functionality and seasonal delights.
Siberian irises are quite a focal point in Angie's garden.
A concrete path through the garden.
More peonies backed by bonsai evergreens. 
A true red peony--'Red Charm'. Love it!
Angie herself. The sweetest flower in her garden.
Views of the front perennial beds. How lucky are these neighbors to have such a good gardener next door to them?
Japanese peony.
Phlox, 'Rolly's Favorite' silene, and a path in the garden.

More phlox and Japanese peonies....

in Angie's Garden....

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