Thursday, June 19, 2014

Some Early Summer Flowers

At this time of the year the gardens are lush and full of promise. Oh my goodness-this has been a great year for gardening! Everyone is complaining about the heat but I say bring it on! It has been a very nice season for me so far and not too hot at all in my opinion. I mean, geez, it is mid June already and we who live in the south have to expect heat. Before we know it the winter will be upon us again so let's enjoy the warmth and our gardens while the season is high. Here are some pictures from my current garden called Tiger Gardens.
A beautiful tall pink, striped daylily; cultivar unknown. It's daylily season in Middle Tennessee and yesterday while at my monthly garden lunch buddy get together all six of us said daylilies are our favorite flowers in the garden right at this moment. It is only right I start with one of mine. The three huge beds of daylilies on the farm are slowly beginning their blooms-pictures on them later.
The oakleaf hydrangeas have a long season of interest and actually keep their blooms for more than one year. Right now mine are beginning to turn an attractive pink. This one is on the north side of my home next to a boxwood, and camellia.
Red astilbe and sensitive fern also on the north side of the house is doing quite well. I've never seen astilbes look better in all the years I've been gardening here. These few were accidentally left behind when I moved the other red astilbes to my farm last week.
A mostly shade-part sun garden I call the Greenhouse Garden is looking good despite removing a lot of its plants. These trumpet lilies do quite well in the shade and were a going away gift from a very dear friend who moved away to Michigan a few years ago right about this time. Even tho I still miss her and talk to her on the phone frequently, I can always count on these lovely lilies to remind me of her at this time each year. And I still wish she would move back to Tennessee!
The Rear Shade Garden is overgrown and crowded. Calling it lush would be too kind as it is simply overgrown. I have not moved many plants from this garden. Those large 'Sum and Substance' hostas really need to go soon. This garden is one of my favorite ones and while it is not a difficult thing to move it, the difficulty for me is that I have no shade garden out at the farm. Once the house is complete that will change as most of these plants are destined for the north side of my home. I have visions I tell you.
The new foliage of vernal witch hazel is an eye catcher. This shrub is a must have in all gardens because it blooms in the January-February time frame in my upper Middle Tennessee garden. The slight yellow flowers can put out a powerful scent that in the dead of winter, is very welcomed. I am debating on whether or not I can move this shrub. It has gotten really large in the last few years and I hate to lose it by attempting to move it but who knows what I may tackle later this year.
In the Sunny Perennial Garden a good deal of perennials have made the move. Not much is left but this 'Flame White' phlox and 'Sunny Border Blue' veronica is blooming happily. These are two plants that have made the move but because they spread so fast I still have plenty left here as well as growing on the farm.
Old fashioned hollyhocks bloom despite total disdain from me. While I enjoy these blooms once they begin to fade the plant itself is quickly consumed by rust and flea beetles. I am not a huge fan of these and don't know if I'll find a spot for them in my new garden.
Lastly I show a picture of my magnificent 'Tangerine Beauty' crossvine. This baby is really large and covers a plastic PVC arch. It's main period of bloom was several weeks ago but this particular vine will periodically put on new blooms throughout the entire growing season. The sunny orange is eye catching.....

in the garden.....

Thursdays are Skeeter's day to post but I have it on good authority she is not posting today. I don't think she'll mind that I stick this post in here today. Mr. Fix-it and I are looking forward to visiting with her out on our land this evening. It will be a nice break in the garden...
Words and Photos Property of In the Garden Blog Team, In the Garden

Thursday, June 12, 2014

More Ice Damage (Update)

JUNE 13, 2013
 A year ago, I brought home a beautiful Oleander plant from the "Giant Plant Sale" (GPS) at nearby McCorkles Nursery.
June 24, 2013
I planted the beauty in my GEORGIA GARDENS and she gave me plenty of pink blooms.
Feb. 13, 2014
Then that awful Ice Storm hit us in February. The Saint is standing in the "Iced Over" garden of the Oleander. And that "Arched" tree remains in that position as of today! We'll get to it at some point if Mother Nature does not first.
June 10, 2014
 I feared the Oleander was a goner. Sigh... But I hung in there and let her be all Spring long.
June 10, 2014
 By NOT rushing to pull her out of the ground, I now have a new Oleander popping up from below! I did not loose her after all. But how many of you would have let this plant be that long without pulling it from the ground? Not me until this year. With that strange Ice Storm, nothing has been on track this year so I just ignored the dead plant and looking at it on June 10th, I found new growth below! I am still holding out hope for my Banana Trees as they have not shown as of today. But that hope is less and less each day.
June 26, 2012
I put this mailbox into place some time ago in hopes a bird would make a home in it. 
Oct. 24, 2013
So far, no bird has nested in it and Not either of the 2 Clematis I have planted by it have taken root. 
Feb. 17, 2014
I am sad to say, the Ice Storm took down a large Pine Limb which landed on top of the mailbox. Yes, that was one brutal Ice Storm to my gardens as well as our woods and trees.
June 6, 2014
 But, we always bounce back. I hammered out the dents and put a fresh coat of paint on the mailbox and changed it up a bit in the process. It is now Blue with Clouds and sporting some Bees instead of the butterfly.

June 6, 2014
 White Yarrow has taken off below the Mailbox, a Lily and few other things have been added to the area as well this year.
June 6, 2014
I am still on the lookout for a Clematis or some other type vine to climb up that Mailbox.
 I have made a Positive from the Ice Storm. Here you see my Vitex flourishing by a new planter.
 I took a few of the logs from the many downed trees we had from the Ice Storm and made a new Planter! By the time the logs rot, the Fringe Bush should be large enough to hold this area on its own. But for now, I shall enjoy my Red and White Petunia by the Vitex or Blue Bush as my parents call it.
 Another Positive, the huge stump from the downed Willow Oak had not shifted at all since Feb.
And we were able to get it back into its upright position! It shall remain "as is" until we feel it is becoming a threat to our driveway.
 The Saint had worked on this stump a bit as it was doing damage to the driveway. He removed a lot of the dirt from the root ball and also cut a lot of the root ball. We had some issues with this stump from the get go.
Our awesome neighbor and his tractor came to assist us with the stumps.
And after a bit of work, this stump was back in place as well. We shall have to do a bit of work on this part of the driveway. Hopefully we will be able to open up this side of our circular driveway soon.
 This past Saturday, The Saint rented a log Splitter and he and I went to work.
 He split the logs while I loaded, hauled and stacked the wood into the wood shed. Wow, that was hard work with high humidity. We put in about 7 hours if not longer.
On Sunday, a neighbor/friend came and split some wood for his wood shed. The Saint assisted him while I rested my achy bones. We still have some logs remaining and shall offer them to another good neighbor of ours. 
Loosing all those trees was sad but they needed to come down or Mother Nature would not have dropped them for us. So I planted a new tree in their honor. Remember me talking about my "Yard Sale" finds a few weeks ago? Well, here was a bargain, a Maple Tree for $5.00! I planted it in the Semi-Formal Garden and hope she will shine some day.
It has taken us some time but we are slowly getting our Yard and Gardens back to normal. That was one Ice Storm that not only us but many are still talking about today. I do not want any MORE ICE DAMAGE, In the Garden...
Note: I am attending the GPS at McCorkle's Nursery today and have won a gift certificate! Hopefully, I can find something to go under the mailbox. 

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

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Confederate Jasmine (Update)

June 2013
 I have talked about the Confederate Jasmine here in my GEORGIA GARDENS in the past. My love for the hardy vine and scent she gives off during the early summer.
June 2013
 Last years blooms were so intoxicating while filling the air with sweet scent. I love this vine as I have never had to give it any attention. No pruning, no water, no nothing. I just sit back and enjoy this plant!
Feb 2014
 This year is a different story though. The Ice Storm of February gave her a punch in the vine! 
Feb 2014
 I feared loosing all 3 of my vines but did hold out hope as I could still see some bright green leaves within. This photo is the same vine as seen in the first photo of this posting. It took the worse hit of all the vines. I assume due to it being a bit more exposed to the elements then the other two. I would say, I lost about 95% of this vine. Sigh...
April 2014
  It is tough pruning vines as they are connected together so a lot of healthy vine may be removed with the damaged vine.
June 2014
 Now is bloom time and they are indeed bouncing back and even have some blooms for me to enjoy!
June 2014
 It will take some time for the one on the right to get back to its once glory but that's okay, I can wait.
June 2014
 I am just happy to have not lost them.
June 2014
 And I know in time, they will once again stand tall and shine in my garden.
June 2014
And a bonus was blooms for me this year as I did not expect any at all. Ah, the Sweet Scent of CONFEDERATE JASMINE, In the Garden...

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

Monday, June 9, 2014

Planting a Pecan Tree-From a Pecan

When we first moved into our current home in 2001 I noticed a lot of pecans in my yard. I thought this was odd because there were no pecan trees in my yard. I looked around and found a large pecan tree in the yard clear across the road. It is quite a prolific pecan tree because every single year I wind up with a lot of pecans and pecan seedlings in my garden.

Well, now that we have the farm Mr. Fix-it and I would love to grow our own food; including pecans. A few months back I placed an order for two grafted pecan trees from Stark Bros. I selected varieties because they are native and because they will pollinate each other and hopefully grow well in my region. The two varieties I purchased are: Stark SureCrop and Starking Sure Giant. Both of these small grafted trees arrived in May and are safely planted on the Back-40.
Our two little grafted pecan trees may begin to bear pecans in 7-10 years so we have some time before we reap the harvest. But, thinking in advance when I found a pecan from my neighbor's tree in my yard last fall I thought I would take it to the land and plant it on the Back-40. I stuck it in the ground about 4" down and placed a metal stake nearby so I would remember where the nut was located and promptly forgot about the pecan.
Hubby was quite cynical that any tree would grow but I could not see why one wouldn't when I remembered how many little pecan trees I have pulled out of my garden at home over the years. About two weeks ago when we were checking our grafted pecan trees we checked out the area by the metal stake and there was the tiny pecan seedling! It had not only sprouted but was about 10" inches tall already! I recently dug it up and moved it to a more central location between the two grafted pecan trees. Upon digging the small tree there was no mistaking this seedling for anything but a pecan tree. I have no idea what cultivar it could be but I do know my neighbor's grandmother planted that tree many years ago in her front yard. It bears pecans each year and I think it may bear even more with two other nearby pecan trees. Only time will tell but for now Mr. Fix-it is a believer in the power of growth of a small little nut....

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

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

The New Crabapple Garden

June 2, 2014
Today we shall talk about a new garden on the land. This one I call the 'Crabapple Garden'.
March 10, 2014

I have been pretty busy with the house build. This week they are working on the framing. It is progressing with a few ups and downs. The gardens are about the same and since my main passion is gardening, I will share some new gardens with you all and the process of installing them. It seems things for me on this blog have changed more from gardening to chores. It has been quite a chore to move my garden but ever so worth it. I get to design, develop, plant, and bring my vision to life on a completely blank slate! That is a dream in and of itself. Funny thing, my tastes are pretty much the same and I am going about things kind just like I have in my old garden; with one big exception-I have tons of plants to choose from and I find I am massing them in larger masses. Today's post in on before and afters of a new garden and I hope to talk you through my design process.

The new garden is one I have dubbed the 'Crabapple Garden'. Of course I had a 'Crabapple Garden' in my old garden so I also had to have one here. Most all of my gardens are anchored by a tree or shrub. This anchor plant gives the garden structure--and shade! I try to choose nice trees for those focal points of new gardens. These trees will be specimen trees that have some great interest. I love crabapples for their year round beauty and interest to wildlife. I do not like that crabapples sucker at times and they can be prone to fireblight and other diseases, but I can overlook that for all of  the good attributes of crabapples. If you are very savvy, you can buy crabapple plants that are resistant to diseases. The one I purchased is supposed to be resistant to common crabapple diseases. As a bonus, I have read that crabapples can be good pollinators for apple trees (both are in the genus Malus, but crabapples are differentiated from apples by the size of the fruit). My fruit orchard is not too far from this little garden. I am first and foremost a shrub and tree lover so it makes sense I include them in my new gardens. Trees are especially important to me because this field where our home is being built has none! We need shade and quickly. While I can't completely fill in the area with trees while the house is being built, I can selectively place some gardens on the property. The Crabapple Garden is a feature garden on the north side of my driveway. To select its location I simply walked to the center spot of the this long section of the driveway, and measured out a large circle. I started this particular garden like I do most all of my gardens-with one only a tree. There will be two other circular gardens in this area also anchored by trees, but since the Crabapple Garden is central, it will be the show garden. I fervently believe that when you start a garden you must start with trees and shrubs first. This is because trees and shrubs take the longest to grow in and make a statement. I planted the 'Callaway' crabapple first then came back later and dug out the sod and turned the soil in preparation for perennials. You can see that stage in progress in the first photo.
March 10, 2014

The first thing I planted in the garden after the crabapple was about 100 Lycoris squamigera, aka Naked or Pink Lady bulbs. These happened to be in the green when I started this garden and I thought they would be a good edger for this garden. Normally I would plant the Naked Ladies in a bit of shade but I think they will be okay in this rather exposed location. Time will tell. Eventually the crabapple will provide some shade but for now the bulbs will be on their own. I hope they all bloom this summer but I honestly don't expect them too. I double planted these bulbs and think they will make a show when in bloom and in early spring. Because these bulbs go dormant in late spring there will be a period of ratty looking foliage. That is okay for my sensibilities but some other gardeners might not like the ratty looking stage so that should be considered. I have planned to cover this foliage and the subsequent bare spots by planting Allium senescens var. Glaucum as an edger on top of the Naked Lady bulbs. The foliage of the alliums will stay short and will slowly spread. As a bonus these alliums will be in bloom the same time as the Naked Ladies, and the colors will look good together. I am not particularly fond of alliums but this one has to be my favorite. It is short and does not self seed but is easily divided. A gardening friend gave me my start over ten years ago and in all these years it has plugged along in my garden. I think here in this full sun location will we see the swirling alliums come into their own. An additional groundcover type perennial I companion planted with the Naked Ladies is Mouse Ears coreopsis and perennial geraniums. Both of these perennials are in bloom right now and will not interfere with the Naked Ladies.
March 10, 2014

At this point the garden is still looking really bare. I decided a needed a plan for this garden so I went home and pulled out my handy 1/4" graph paper. I drew out the dimensions of this perfect circle with the Callaway crabapple in the center and the Naked Lady bulbs in the outer two feet of it. I then divided the circle into quadrants and selected what perennials I thought would do best in this garden and what perennials I wanted to see daily. Those perennials wound up being: peonies (3), 'Autumn Joy' sedum (5), miniature roses (3), shasta daisies (5 clumps), I underplanted all with groundcover perennial geraniums, 'Mouse Ears' coreopsis, and edged the entire garden with swirling alliums as I stated above. I also decided to add a bird house with a climbing clematis. 

May 19, 2014

This is the result two months later. The peonies in this garden did not bloom but they will be fine by next year as the foliage came in nicely. The sedum, geraniums, shasta daisies, miniature roses, and all the perennials are doing outstanding. I did plant a clematis along the 4x4 behind the Callaway crabapple and it is in bloom! It is the clematis in the first photo. This despite being dug up only one month ago. The foliage of the Naked Ladies is starting its downward spiral. Actually, it is almost done with its ratty stage and the foliage is nearly gone. Soon the foliage will completely disappear and the Naked Ladies will be forgotten about until this summer sometime around early August when they should bloom. 

June 2, 2014

 To cover up the bare spots where the Naked Ladies were planted I planted 'Mouse Ears' coreopsis and swirling alliums (Allium senescens var Glaucum). The above shot shows the Mouse ears in bloom. The swirling alliums are the small tuft of foliage on the outer edge. This tuft of foliage will grow in nicely and most likely will bloom along with the naked ladies that are planted in this area as well.
June 2, 2014

I will post updates as they happen in this garden. The above picture shows the garden as it is today (or rather two days ago). Our house is starting to take shape in the background so you can kind of get some orientation to the site. The orchard is to the left of the camera. 

One of the great things about blogging is I can follow the progress and see the changes in the gardens. I think the changes are one of the best things of gardening and I marvel at each change. This garden has served as a divider in our field; which is where most of the workers and even myself wind up parking as work on the house continues. At some point I will be working some more gardens in this area but because this garden is so close to the driveway I knew it would not be in harm's way while the house is being built....

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