Monday, April 25, 2016

The Driveway Made In the Shade Gardens

It's really hard to believe it has been a full two years since we made our driveway. Look back at this post to see the changes in just two years. Things are beginning to fill in and settle down after our messy house build in 2014. This is the driveway as you enter the gate. We put about 10 full trucks of gravel of varying sizes on the driveway. That was after we put down a geotextile fabric. I can say that fabric and the careful planning we did for the driveway has really paid off. There are maybe two tiny pot holes we have to work on and the rest is compact and flat and solid. I always get happy when driving on the driveway because I remember a mud road a few short years ago.

The red Japanese maples I transplanted here from Tiger Gardens are doing well. There are six and they are spaced 30 feet apart. They have finally settled in. This year we have noticed damage to the trees from the transplant shock from two years ago. Some of the branches and in one case part of the upper trunk have died. It's rather frustrating for me but to be expected when you dig up huge trees and move them to a new home.
Coming into the gate this beautiful 'Dreamcatcher' Kolkwitzia amabilis by Proven Winners. It is a winner! It is beginning is lovely bloom and I think I may just have to showcase this shrub a bit more in depth because it is indeed a winner. 
Fire pinks (Silene virginica) self seed themselves all over the place out here in the woods. I love the red. They also have a long bloom period.
Looking out toward the little road I have a bench for seating and tons of daffodils and hellebores. It is mighty tricky gardening out here because the deer love all the 'food' I have planted for them. Hellebore leaves get eaten but not the flowers, daffodils are never eaten and so far the gold spirea and red Japanese maples have not been eaten. A buck did decide to rub one of the Japanese maples but I think it will survive.
Japanese roof irises (Iris tectorum) are a great groundcover iris for part shade to shade. They are just beginning their lovely bloom.
Looking toward the road again we see a few textures. The left and right sides of the drive are completely different owing to the different growing conditions and elevations.

Solomon's seal is a keeper. Deer don't bother it and it looks good all season. The variegated kind really adds texture to the driveway.
I have a lot of wildflowers planted on one side of the driveway. Some I transplanted here like the above Green Dragon (Arisaema dracontium). I will have to move this one soon to a better garden closer to the house to join a friend I just purchased. These are lovely shade plants and quite unique. The bloom is just beginning and is covered by a hood. Can you see it tucked in there?

I transplanted a bunch of white trilliums to the driveway area. They are doing wonderfully. Of course the deer love these so I get to enjoy them for about a day. The stem to the left of this flower is evidence of deer nibbling.

One last picture looking toward the field. I never get tired of the play of sunshine on the forest and am fascinated by it each day. We are looking east and the sun is promising us a beautiful day....

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

Friday, April 22, 2016

Vegetable Garden Update April 2016

Good morning! It is iris time in Tennessee (early iris) and since my vegetable garden has a plethora of them surrounding it I thought I'd start with a pretty in this month's vegetable garden post.
Prior to next month's Vegetable Garden post though I really must get some good pictures of all of these irises. These were planted in the fall of 2014. None of these irises bloomed last year but this year promises to be a banner year looking at all of the buds.
Here is a long shot of the four beds and a bit of the outer iris garden.
The southeast bed has just been planted with a bunch of pepper and cherry tomato plants by Mr. Fix-it. I must say him working in the garden is a dream come true for me. I never ever thought I'd see the day he would be digging in the garden but he does. He planted almost all of our new tomato plants and pepper plants. This was because even though I had already planted the tomato plants last month, a frost came and took all but four. It really is my own fault for planting too soon but the bad part is that if I knew a frost was coming I could've covered the plants. I was overconfident and did not pay attention to the weather forecast. A few tomato and pepper plants did survive so it was not a bad frost, but a frost nonetheless. I was prepared to replant if needed, and it was needed. Good thing I've got Mr. Fix-it for that and our average last date of frost has passed so we are safe now! 

There are a few cabbage plants left in this bed that are beginning to go to seed. I am leaving them for the bees as these plants are not causing any issues. The far end also has a bunch of garlic growing that was planted last fall. Once it progresses and is ready for harvest you'll see it up close.
The northeast bed is pretty! The dark red plant is lettuce. We have picked some of it expecting a deliciously fresh salad. All we got was fresh because this lettuce is bitter. It is most likely a soil problem. I'll have to work on that issue. The four rows of potatoes finally showed up too so Mr. Fix-it is happy. Onions and broccoli are also doing well. The spinach we planted has done nothing at all though. That is one reason why I suspect a soil issue in this bed. Note to self, get a soil test ASAP!
There are a bunch of strawberries growing on the little plants; which are greening up nicely. By next month's post we should be picking these lovely strawberries. They were really good last year.
The herb bed is a delight. The pansies are beginning to shine and the herbs all came back.
The southwest bed has not been fully planted yet. It will be planted with vining crops such as cucumbers, watermelons, and gourds soon. The green foliage is left over carrots from last summer. I also added two eggplants to this bed.
The northwest bed is fully planted with tomatoes. We are short several tomato cages and need to fix that very soon. I prefer cages over staking as it is neater and does not require as much pruning of the tomato plants. The green in this bed is leftover carrots from last fall. I must say the cover crop I planted here did a wonderful job. Once it got hot it all died and made a good mulch where spring weeds could not germinate and grow. I will forever use cover crops when time permits. That's about it for the vegetable garden this month. I hope yours is doing well!
Lastly I had to share 'my boys' in the hood. Meet, Cloud (the gray tabby cat on bottom), Smoke (the dark gray cat in the front), and Tiger (the orange tabby that decided to plant himself on top of his two partners). As you can see they are all happy as a pile of cats can be....just like me....

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

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Viburnum Snowball Bush

 The Viburnum Snowball Bush is shining bright in my GEORGIA GARDENS. This bush is located in an island planter in the driveway. I have to keep it pruned somewhat due to the island being in front of the boat shed. The saint would like for me to remove that island but he has finally given up on that battle as he knows that will NOT happen. Last season, I did not prune it from the top and just let it go to see what would happen. Look at what happen.
Here is the same bush a few years ago. Which look do you prefer? Pruned to round shape or let it go? I will keep it pruned up from the bottom though to keep snakes from taking refuge under it.
 I am not sure which I prefer just yet. I will give it this summer to see what happens.
 The only problem I see thus far, is a few of the branches are hanging in the pathway of the Saint backing the boat into the shed. They may need to be removed.
 It amazes me how the branches stand tall with that much weight on them. I do not know what type bush this is other then Snowball Viburnum as the previous homeowners planted it.  
 I do nothing other then prune it and add a fresh layer of pine needles as mulch. Each Spring I look forward to the show of this beautiful VIBURNUM SNOWBALL BUSH,
In the Garden...
On a little side note, I have 3 flats of annuals that I would like to get into the soil. Coleus, Pentas, Angelonia Serena, Zennia and Mandevilla to name a few. The weather forecast has possible light frost for the next few days. Mother Nature missed the memo that it is Spring in our neck of the woods. Frost is not normal but could happen. Geez, this gardener is itching to dig in the dirt...

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

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Home Sweet Home

The Azalea's have been beautiful this Spring in my GEORGIA GARDENS. The best I can tell, we are about 2 and half weeks ahead of normal bloom time after a very mild winter.

The front woods are filling in with green leaves making our house just about hidden from the street. To the right, you see our driveway.
 We have 60 Azalea's scattered throughout the woods and garden's of our property. This one is my favorite as it always shines. I feared it would be harmed with our latest tree cuttings. If you go back to the first photo, you will see this bush in the middle just to the right of a tree stump. That was a very tall damaged tree that had to come down. But as you can see, Miss Azalea is just fine.
 I like the red color to this one but the deer always get to it. Can you tell with the missing blooms?
 This makes for a great view as we pull into our driveway. 3 large bushes that greenbrier likes to try and strangle. I have to dig that mess out every year it seems. Just when I think I have won the battle, one tuber seems to escaped me thus, more greenbrier to curse and pull. 
 The lighter pink ones are pretty but wish the planters of the bushes would have chosen a different color.
 I am not that crazy about Pastel colors but do enjoy them mixed in with the brighter pinks.
 The Pine trees and Azaleas compete for space and I like that look.
 The bright Pinks are my favorite.  
 Lucky for me, these Azalea's were all planted by the previous homeowners to this house. They were well established when we move in here 15 years ago. I wonder the age of these beauties.
 The entire street front to our front woods is filled with these large beauties. I wonder if the previous homeowners ever drive past to see them in Spring time in their full glory. I wish I could snap a photo of the entire row of Azalea's but it is impossible. My camera is not that smart nor is the operator of said camera. 
 Lets peek into the Semi-Formal garden. The dogwoods did not do well this spring. They pretty much went to leaf before the blooms could shine. But pretty just the same. Swamp Jasmine Exploded with blooms before the Honeysuckle. 
 The Jasmine is on its way out and the Honeysuckle is just starting to shine.
 The newest Azaleas to my gardens do not bloom simultaneously. Deer nibbling in the Winter when I let my guard down does not help this garden. 
 Aguila is spreading and I am loving it! Not too crazy about all those pine needles falling from the trees above though.
 St. Francis has a nice pathway of Creeping Jenny around him.
 Tina, do you remember picking this plant out for me at McCorkle's? Tangerine Beauty seems to be happy.
 Phlox is starting to really bloom now. I spotted a lot in the Garden Center's today and thought about adding some more as I love this little spring bloomer. Reminds me of my childhood as my grandmother had a huge planter full of phlox.
 I was surprised to find the Fox Tail did not completely die out from our mild winter. Happy treat...
 The Red Knockout Rose is blooming.
 Not all of the Muscari I have planted returned but the few clumps that have, I assume will be fine in years to come. This is the 3rd year for it. Bulbs other then Daffodils do not do well in my gardens.
 The Rock Garden has been under soggy conditions since last August. I feared loosing the Fringe Bush to the left of the little girl statue but it seems to be okay for now.
 Crimson and Clover are filling in and look really nice with the wild purple violets. Mama ducky looks like she needs a coat of white paint though.
 Iris are starting to bloom. Soon there will be iris all over the gardens as I have divided many and scattered them verses keeping them in an iris bed like most people do. Only problem with this method, I must keep the mulch away from the iris and all the beds are mulched.  
This week is Spring Break here in our area as a little tournament called The Masters is in swing (yes, pun there). When most local people escape the hoopla, there is no other place that I want to be then HOME SWEET HOME, In the Garden...

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