Wednesday, July 30, 2014

They Bloomed--The First Year! Lycoris Squamigera in the Crabapple Garden

They bloomed--the first year!! Do you remember that back in March of this year I was busy digging up my Lycoris squamigera, aka Pink Ladies or Naked Ladies? I dug several hundred and moved them to a new 'Crabapple Garden' out on our land. I had hoped they would bloom this year but did not really have high expectations since it sometimes takes a year or two for lycoris bulbs to settle in. I was quite surprised and delighted to see a good many of the over 200 bulbs I planted in March have bloomed! It was such a delight to go to the land and see the Crabapple Garden alight with the sweet AND fragrant flowers of the Pink Ladies!
I spent a lot of time planning out this little round garden alongside my new driveway and have really liked how it turned out. There is one disclaimer about new gardens though, they change! And they change a lot. Just because it has turned out great this year does not mean it will be the same next year. You must continually maintain gardens by thinning, pruning, and so on. I have no misconceptions that this garden will stay static but for now it is looking great and once the Pink Ladies fill in it should get even better.
I really was not too sure these bulbs would bloom this year because their cousin, the notoriously difficult Lycoris radiata, aka Spider Lilies, is a difficult bulb to get to bulb after transplant. In fact, in my experience it will take several years (3-5) to finally get the Spider Lilies to bloom nicely. I will let you all know how they do as I did transplant a bunch of them to the new land as well.....

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

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

A Visit From My Sister in Florida

Cornus kousa (Korean dogwood) is one of my favorite trees. Can you see why? How about those berries? They will slowly turn reddish pink and will quickly be consumed by birds. I took this picture at Patti's Settlement located in Grand Rivers Kentucky. I love this place and if you are local and have not yet been, there is no time like the present. I had the opportunity to visit Patti's Settlement while my younger sister Joanne was here visiting with her husband, and two granddaughters. They all had a great time. Here are some pictures from our recent visit.
Patti's Settlement is based on an 1880's town. In it are several stores, a wonderful restaurant (Patti's), several gardens, a small zoo, a playground, and gardens. There were a lot of seating areas scattered around to make enjoying the garden absolutely delightful.
Here is Samone, Joanne's oldest grandchild and granddaughter. She is standing next to the largest wind chime I have ever seen. It made a really low and echoing sound when 'chimed.' It is easily taller than Samone and she is ever bit of four feet.
There were flower designs nicely displayed in creative pots. There were also a lot of fruit trees bearing fruit, and lots of hardscaping to make the settlement quite user friendly for all visitors.
I liked this display of trees due to the variety of color and textures. Wow.
In addition to visiting Patti's Settlement we also visited the Golden Pond Planetarium and the Woodland Nature Station located at Land Between the Lakes (LBL).   We here in Middle Tennessee and southern Kentucky are very lucky to have such a beautiful natural recreation area nearby. Each trip I make to LBL always delights me. Here are Samone and her younger cousin Carmen standing in front of an elk at the small museum located in the Planetarium. Also located at LBL is an Elk and Bison Prairie. This prairie is a 700 acre prairie that is very native and beautiful. I can see my Wildflower Hill becoming like this prairie-with time. There is a large herd of elk and bison who call this prairie their home. The cost is a mere $5 to enter the enclosure where you can loop around the paved road as many times as you'd like looking for the elk and bison. On the day we were there we saw several elk but no bison. 700 acres is a pretty big area so there is no guarantee you will see the animals. Even if you don't be sure to notice all of the natural and native vegetation and beautiful prairie plants visited by birds, rabbits, and all sorts of other wildlife and pollinators. You cannot go wrong with visiting Land Between the Lakes as the cost for all attractions is very low and the return immense. While we visited the Woodland Nature Station we saw a show that allowed us to howl to the coyote on display. Do you know he howled back to us??? It was SO cool! Add to that the fact that the momma and daddy red wolves also began howling along with us and you have a wonderful experience that is also a learning experience for families.
On the way to the attractions at LBL be sure to stop and explore Stewart County's historic past as the center of the iron industry in the 1800s by stopping by the Great Furnace. The above picture was taken near the Great Furnace and it shows my sister, her husband Gary, and her two granddaughters (Samone on the left and Carmen on the right). Thanks so much for your wonderful visit Joanne! I look forward to more and one of these days I might make it down your way too....

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

Friday, July 18, 2014

The Year of the Bottles at Summer Celebration-UT Jackson Part II

Part II of our trip to the University of Tennessee's Annual Summer Celebration sees a LOT more bottles and garden art. Let's start with these strings of wine bottles hanging from a tree limb.
How about a huge bottle tree? I think this bottle tree was made from an old cedar tree. I too have a cedar bottle tree in my garden and I love it. I can honestly say the cedar holds up pretty well to the weight of the bottles but with time, the branches will slowly become flexible and will tilt down to the ground following the pull of gravity. This can make a problem for moisture getting into the bottles and the bottles falling off from the tree. You should plan for this happen and help to prevent it by choosing thick sturdy branches to place your bottles on. These branches should be distinctly upright in their habit. If you need more places to hang bottles then I have found long lag bolts drilled into the tree work well and don't sag.
Rolls of barbed wire can be beautiful when displayed in a garden. It is that timeless theme of circles with the added benefit of the new 'in' theme called 'rust in a garden'.
How about this mailbox fitted into a cedar tree? Mr. Fix-it and I are trying to decide what kind of mailbox we can put on our rather isolated country road in order to protect it from hooliganism. This idea might work! I believe this mailbox was left over from a previous Summer Celebration where the theme involved mailboxes. Mailboxes in a garden are a great idea!
Now we are coming to some specifics. Anyone who lives or visits Tennessee during this time of the year will be introduced to fireflies. It is a major but simple pleasure of Tennessee summers and I made sure to introduce my sister and her family to Tennessee's fireflies on her recent visit here to Tiger Gardens. I was super excited to see not only fireflies but dragonflies highlighted at Summer Celebration and to show my sister's two young granddaughters the sparkly Tennessee evening thanks to fireflies.
These fireflies were made by taking small bottles and filling the bottles with shiny ribbon (from the gift wrap section of your local department store) and adding some wings made of wire wrapped around another wire frame. The effect when these small bottles are hung in a tree is that the bottles appear to glow and cannot be mistaken for anything but fireflies. These were splendid! If you make some make lots because they look best en masse.
In the same bed and display area as the fireflies were these dragonflies made from a spherical piece of metal with four wine bottles attached. The whole thing was then mounted to a pole and placed in the garden. What a creative way to display wine bottles! Dragonflies are also a mainstay of Tennessee and most appropriate to this year's Summer Celebration....

in the garden....

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

Monday, July 14, 2014

The Year of the Bottles at Summer Celebration UT Jackson-Part I

How about a little fun with bottles today? No! I am not talking bottles full of spirits so please give up that thought! The bottles I will share and have fun with are empty bottles poised in a garden so as to bring lots of delight to all who see-no artificial 'celebratory' spirits required to have fun!
Last Thursday I had the pleasure of traveling all the way to Jackson Tennessee to participate in the University of Tennessee's Summer Celebration in honor of gardening. UT Jackson is a research facility that trials many plants. Some of the plants are displayed in lovely gardens such as the one above. All plants are labeled and displayed in a beautiful way so as to delight onlookers and make us all go running for our cameras, pens, and paper so as to take notes.
What distinguishes UT Jackson gardens from perhaps some other gardens are all of the lovely adornments. Can you say junk? Junk is right up my alley and I happen to think junk in the right situation is a win-win scenario for all. I mean think about it. This old boxspring (I have several on my property thanks to thoughtless people who prefer to dump on others' property) was saved from the landfill and is now used to bring a smile to onlookers faces. Not to mention it is a great trellis for vines to grow upon. Now if I could only secure those boxsprings on my land from the years of weeds growing up through them-but that is another story. Don't you love the bottles attached to the posts holding up this boxspring? I have also seen boxsprings like this displayed horizontally hanging from say a gazebo. Woven into the springs will be miniature lights so as to give a starry effect to wherever the boxspring is hung. It is a delightful sight!
Now these gears are too much fun in the garden. For some reason almost everyone is drawn to circles in life and in nature. The endlessness of them is tempered by the pointed triangle they are displayed upon. What a nice focal point!
This has to be one of my favorite displays. It was quite different than the usual bottle tree. Here we have wine bottles strung upon cables which are then hung between saw blades that were secured to a cental 4"x4". Sweet!
As my dear friend (Irene) and I walked around we kept finding really neat displays. This garden area near the buildings was one you really had to look at in order to see all of the neat bottle art in it. I will show close ups of the 'fireflies' hanging in the tree and dragonflies taking flight on a later post. You will be amazed at them. I know I was and plan to make some very own fireflies and dragonflies of my own.
I'll finish this post with a picture of my friend Irene and I. (I am the white haired lady on the left). This is the second year for Irene and I traveling to Summer Celebration together and we had a great time and bought lots of super good cultivars and hard to find plants. We swap years for driving and I tell you the drive with a friend makes the time pass by so much more quickly. We are standing in front of the grand 'bottle wall' at the gardens. There is a close up of the bottles in the first picture of this post. This display was probably one of the largest in the gardens and certainly the most grand during this 'Year of the Bottles'.....

in the garden....

Look for a part II to this trip later this week.
Words and Photos Property of In the Garden Blog Team, In the Garden

Friday, July 11, 2014

Early Summer Wildflowers from Wildflower Hill

Wildflowers are in full bloom out on Wildflower Hill so I thought I would share some with you all today. Verbena bonariensis (aka jumping verbena) never fails to bring in the butterflies and pollinators.
Partridge pea (Cassia fasciculata) is a great native wildflower that is also a super wildlife and pollinator attractor. This partridge pea was a part of the wildflower seed I set out when I frost seeded in the early spring.  I am most happy to see some of the seed took well!
shaggy rosinweed
Shaggy rosinweed (Silphium Mohrii) is one of my new favorite wildflowers. I actually purchased this as a plant from a local native plant nursery. Since moving it out to the property it has really stood tall and proud. The flowers are a sweet pale yellow that hold up to all sorts of summer heat and drought.
Shaggy rosinweed might be known for its 'shaggy' appearance as evidenced here by the close of the hairs all along the stem and leaves. These hairs really help the plant to stand out and to stand up to the sun's heat.
Here is a long shot of the shaggy rosinweed in situ in the wildflower field.
This native butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa) took a big hit due to the backhoe coming and in and digging up the area in which the butterfly weed grows. I was most thankful to see it at least bounce back a bit.
Queen Anne's lace (Daucus carota) is not a native wildflower but one that has happily naturalized all across Wildflower Hill. It is a cheery and very prolific wildflower.
Brown eyed Susan's grow wild on Wildflower Hill with no help whatsoever from me.
This sweet little wildflower is about 18-24" tall and I cannot identify it. Does anyone know what it could be?

Woodland sunflower. These grow in abundance!

Finally we close with Rose Gentian, aka Sabatia angularis....

in the garden....on Wildflower Hill.

Growing conditions for all of these wildflowers are acidic soil (pH of 5.4), full to part sun, clay to rocky soil, dry to mesic habitat on sloping land. You might notice all of these pictures have lots of other 'plants' in them-mainly the areas look weedy. Wildflower areas are, by their nature, weedy. We are maintaining our wildflower areas by bushhogging once per year. This is the only Year 1 for wildflowers so as the years progress, we shall see how the areas improve or devolve.

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

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

'White Diamond' Hydrangea Paniculata: A Finely Cut 'Diamond' For Sure

Good morning! Are you looking for diamonds? How about 'white diamonds' that grow in the garden? This little gem is one of my 'White Diamond' Hydrangea paniculata that grows in my new gardens and it is quite a gem indeed. Let me share some information about it so you too can have some splendid 'white diamonds'.
This hydrangea, like all paniculata hydrangeas, tolerates sun fairly well. In fact, my two are growing in full sun and have had no supplemental watering this summer. Unlike most paniculata hydrangeas though, this particular cultivar is a fairly compact hydrangea that has beefy leaves and strong stems. It is reported to grow to only about 4-8' tall and wide versus 10-12' tall and wide for most paniculata hydrangeas. This works well if you like paniculata hydrangeas because this particular hydrangea will not overwhelm a perennial or shrub border like most paniculatas tend to do.
I planted my two 'White Diamond' hydrangeas in a shrub border along the driveway. They are a middle of the border plant behind 'Raspberry Profusion' abelia and right in front of some plume grass. So far the hydrangeas and abelias are working well but I am not so sure the grass will work since it is much too tall for this bed, but that is another post. This bed was all planted last fall (with the exception of the grasses which were moved last spring) when I moved all of these plants out to the new gardens. Everything has thrived in their new surroundings-with no supplemental watering.
In fact, the hydrangeas-all of them not just the paniculata types--but also the macrophyllas, arborescens, and quercifolias--are all doing fantastically well. I will be preparing a post on several more paniculata cultivar hydrangeas so look for it soon. Cultivars to be profiled are: 'Vanilla Strawberry', 'Pinky Winky', 'Quickfire', 'Phantom', 'Limelight', 'Pink Diamond', 'Tardiva', and finally 'Great Star'. Can you tell I like hydrangeas? The paniculata hydrangeas are very easy to grow and reward the gardener with lots of blooms. The only problem they have is there are so many of them a gardener doesn't always know where to begin! To make things easy for me all of my paniculatas with the exception of 'White Diamond' are in one long bed. This will make comparisons of blooms and bloom times much easier. Most of the above cultivars are in bud now so once they all bloom I'll be back with those hydrangeas but don't forget this little gem 'White Diamond'.
There is something else I also love this time of the year and it is daylilies! I have a lot of daylilies in the orchard area and I am so happy to see all the colors. It is a rainbow to my eyes and each day I am in awe of all the colors. Coming from a mostly shade garden the change in plants brought on by full sun is astounding! I have to say thank you to all of my friends and family who have ever given a daylily and there are many of you-they are all here....

shining in the garden....with 'White Diamonds'.....
Words and Photos Property of In the Garden Blog Team, In the Garden