White Ash (Fraxinus americana)

The answer to today's Name that Seed is the White Ash! The White Ash is a dioecious deciduous shade tree that grows to nearly 80 feet tall. Dioecious means that individual trees (or plants) are either male or female and not both, very similar to hollies. Last week I featured the Persimmon in a Name that Seed post which is another dioecious tree. The flowers remain somewhat inconspicuous due to their lack of petals. The wind plays an important role in the reproduction process for ash trees. Pollination occurs in the spring via the wind and in the fall the samaras rely on the wind for transport. (Samaras are the winged seeds produced by many plants like ash and maples). The samaras are capable of traveling great distances on the wind to germinate new trees wherever they land. Fun Facts from the Field Guide: If you like baseball you should…

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Seed Sunday: Name that Seed

I'm starting a new theme for Sundays that will last through winter until Spring time after all the seeds have been planted. Seed Sundays will be all about seeds! Seed planning, plotting, planting, and any other seed related subject that can be thought of and written about. You're welcome to join in if you wish to talk about your seeds. Maybe together we can dream of spring while the garden is sleeping! To start Seed Sundays here is a little game of Name that Seed. Last week's Name That Seed was correctly identified by several bloggers (Gail, TC, and Kim) as being the seeds of a persimmon tree. Today take a look at these samaras and try to guess what tree they might be from. Here's one quick clue: the tree produces large amounts of samaras that mature in fall and disperse in winter. Can you Name that Seed? If…

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Gumdrop the Snowman and Other Snow Fun

Though I have not told her, I have officially named my wife's snowman Gumdrop. You will see why when you look at the picture! The snow was dry and hard to pack. At least it was for a while, later in the day it melted some and snowmen of various shapes and sizes appeared through out the land as if they were heralding the coming of Frosty the Snowman himself on TV last night. So without further adieu here's Gumdrop!Sledding was the other event of the morning. I pieced together a short slideshow of one sled ride. The Mother and Daughters Ride, enjoy! Here's one of me and the girls on the slopes. The "sled" was the top of a plastic storage container. Since we don't get regular snow we don't have a "real" sled. It may not be pretty but it was fun!Check out tomorrow's post for Seed Sundays!

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Snow Day Dawning

It was a moment of pure beauty early this morning. We awoke to find the landscape covered in snow and with a winter wonderland waiting before us. I was out just before dawn to catch the sunrise and take some pictures in a setting that I very rarely get to photograph. I'm especially pleased with the first picture. It's a large evergreen on one corner of our house covered in snow. It helps to shade my corner shade garden. The next few photographs follow the progression of the sunrise from our back porch. We're lucky to have a view of the rising sun year round from our backyard. Enjoy the pictures! Later in the day we went sledding and my wife built a snowman. I'll try to share some of those pictures tomorrow!

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First Snowfall in Tennessee

For the last part of my Winter Garden series I have a special treat planned. I arranged for snow to fall upon Middle Tennessee so I could illustrate how great a winter garden looks! OK, of course I'm joking but snow is very cool to look at on the garden (please forgive the pun). The weather forecast called for chances of freezing precipitation but we didn't expect to have nearly 2 inches. For you northern gardeners who might be reading this and thinking "2 inches, what's the big deal?" Tennessee just doesn't get much snow. When we do it's not usually in December. Enough talk, let's look at snow! On this silent night you would drive up to our yard and the first thing that might catch your attention is the snow covered Bradford pear tree in the front.  While I'm not proud of the pear (bad tree to plant)…

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Designing the Winter Garden: All Planted…for now!

I managed to plant all the plants for my new winter garden on what was a warm December day. With temperatures in the 50's it was somewhat pleasant, which is about the best you can expected from December in Tennessee. You're probably wondering which plan I decided to go with, the Symmetrical Plan or the Asymmetrical Plan. The answer was neither! Inspiration struck over the weekend and a new idea formed. I added another kind of plant that, while it won't provide winter color, will give us a burst of blooms in the spring. The goal of a winter garden should be to provide year round color from a variety of sources which is hopefully what I've accomplished, after all winter is only one of four seasons. In the picture to the right you can see what the area looked like just before I planted.  The Yoshino Cherry is standing…

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Seeds of the Persimmon

For those of you who took a stab at the Name that Seed post they were seeds from a Common Persimmon (Diospyros virginiana)! In the fall you can see these fruit trees laden with orange pulpy fruit. According to my Field Guide to Trees from the National Audubon Society persimmon trees grow up to 70 feet tall with and thrive in dry uplands, roadsides, fields, clearings and mixed forests which sounds like our Tennessee countryside. The Indians would dry the fruits and save them like prunes. The genus name is a derivative of greek and means "Fruit of the God Zeus." Apparently someone really liked them! At my in-laws house there is a tall persimmon tree just off the driveway which makes it perfect for seed collecting. The fruits fall to the ground and dry up on the driveway leaving behind the little seeds. Persimmon seeds need a period of…

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Name that Seed

Here's a new take on the name that plant challenge, Name that Seed! See if you can guess what plant these seeds came from and what they could grow to be. Each seed is slightly larger than 1/2 an inch in length and ovular in shape. The one clue that I'll give you is that it came from a type of fruit tree. Good luck guessing!I'll continue with the Designing the Winter Garden series this week. Don't forget to post your winter garden concept!

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Designing the Winter Garden: What would you do?

OK, here's your chance!  Your weekend assignment is to come up with a garden/landscape plan that would fit a roughly 6' by 10' area that incorporates as many elements of the winter garden as you wish.  There are no rules or guidelines to follow, just do something that you think will look great and show it off!  Do your best to put it on paper and blog on by Monday December 8, 2008 and I'll add links to your blogs into this post.  Don't worry if your drawing skills aren't what you think they should be, a simple outline would be enough to show everyone what you have in mind.  If you don't have a blog tell us about your ideas or send a picture to thehomegarden@gmail.com and I'll add it to this post.  This should be fun so get out your pencils and paper, markers or even crayons (we…

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Designing the Winter Garden: An Asymmetrical Plan

Here is the second of the two hand drawn sketches of my winter garden layout. The first one was symmetrical. This layout uses mostly the same plants just puts them in different places. One addition to this plan is a miscanthus that I originally planted in the Japanese Maple garden. It was only placed there temporarily until a better spot came open. In this plan I put the rosemary on the left with the red twig dogwoods down in front. The Bird's nest spruces are in the back and the cotoneasters are in front and in back of the Yoshino cherry. The Schip laurels aren't pictured in this layout either. Like I mentioned in yesterday's post this is just a sketch and I may or may not stick with it. Sometimes inspiration strikes when you're planting and the plan goes out the window! The big advantage in this plan is…

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