Rededicating the Bird Bath Garden

Our bird bath garden will always be in my mind the bird bath garden, but it has also become something of a memorial garden to our recently deceased feline friend, Amber. I won't go into detail about Amber in this post as I did that back in December but she was a good friend who we were lucky to have known for as long as we did.  She had acute renal failure, which is failure of her kidneys. We knew that her days with us were numbered and already had something in mind for her burial.  The birdbath garden seemed to be a very fitting place for our fallen friend to rest. We buried her very close to the kitty cat statue in the picture below.  Maggie, our neighbor's cat, is sitting fairly close to Amber in the picture. They never really got along as Amber was always territorial and…

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Bradford Pears Breaking Buds

I bet when you read the first three words "Bradford Pears breaking" you immediately though of another kind of breaking. One of the reasons they are on my least favorite ornamental tree list is because the trees frequently break in storms. These trees grow so fast that the wood suffers and they just can't muster the strength to hold out through heavy winds. That being said they can be very attractive, to the point of everyone having two in their front yard as they do in our neighborhood! The builders went crazy with the cheap, easy to plant, fast growing pear trees. If only they knew what they were doing! These trees are even becoming invasive here in Tennessee. But they sure are pretty, so let's plant them anyway. And they stink too, let's plant more! When in bloom their blossoms reek of a rotting flesh smell that seems very…

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Heirloom Vegetable Gardening

A couple weeks ago I was sent a copy of William Woys Weaver's Heirloom Vegetable Gardening from Mother Earth News. I'm always excited to get more information on a favorite subject of mine, vegetables! The book was first published in 1997 and is now available on CD. Unfortunately you don't get the tactile sensation of reading a book on paper but if you can move beyond that and look at the great information available you will indeed learn something! After the foreward by Peter Hatch and an introduction that displays where Mr. Weaver's passion for heirloom vegetables and seeds originated, he begins his book with a section on the kitchen garden which I believe is only becoming more and more relevant today. He talks about the history of the kitchen garden, its Mediterranean ties, and how it came to be what it is.  It's very interesting information if you have…

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A Little Green Roof

Now wouldn't this be cool to have in the yard? No not the gnomes, the green roof! I took this picture last year at the Bloom'N Garden Expo in Williamson County last year. It's a great example of nature and man working together to make something good for both. Green roofs are catching on all over because they help to ease water runoff. I'm not ready to build my shed yet but when I do this is something that I am considering. The green roof consists of several layers designed to prevent water from leaking into the structure and to provide growing material for the plants. Green roofing systems tend to be a little more expensive than conventional roofing systems but the cost equalizes over time. This particular green roof would make a perfect little house for the family pet or could easily be constructed on playhouse for the kids…

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Things to Look Forward To

Spring is coming. Really.Signs of the coming gardening season are beginning to appear all over from the daffodils, tulips, and hyacinths beginning to emerge to the swelling buds on the trees. Very soon warmer weather will begin again and we will be fully emersed in the garden once again. In anticipation of the coming gardening season I thought I'd give you a preview of what may come.All of these images are from April of last year when many of our spring blooming plants were peaking. I can't wait to see my favorite blooming tree the Yoshino Cherry (Prunus yeodensis) in bloom. We now have two of them in our yard along with a third cherry tree from the Arbor Day Foundation. It was supposed to be a Yoshino as well but I have some doubts that they sent me the right tree. I'll know for sure once it blooms. The…

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Seeing Seedlings (Dianthus and Hosta)

Yesterday I gave you a sneak peek at one of my favorite perennials that I decided to try and grow from seed this year, the heuchera! The seeds came from our corner shade garden which contains a small variety of heucheras like 'Palace Purple', 'Mocha', 'Melting Fire', 'Fireworks', and a heucherella named 'Stoplight.' Even in the winter they keep great foliage on display. Most heucheras are vegetatively propagated through division (which I'll be doing this spring) but some come true from seed like 'Palace Purple'. Truthfully I wouldn't mind seeing some unique variations in colors but what ever grows from our open pollinated heucheras will be fun to watch grow.We have several other plants growing in our seed starting area. Here's a look at the progress they have made.In this batch we have dianthus (in the back), some larkspur and some lavender. I really need to begin the transplant process…

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Who Might I be?

I know what this little seedling is, do you?See if you can guess what it is.This perennial does well in almost any setting and is sought after for its foliage, not necessarily its flowers. Although I find the flowers very interesting in a light and airy way. This particular seedling was collected from one of our gardens. If you need another clue observe the shape of the largest leaf.Can you tell me what this little sprout might be?

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This Week in the Garden

I did several little things in the garden this week that weren't worthy of individual posts but when grouped together give me a little something to talk about.  Planted seeds for rudbeckia 'Cappuccino', gaillardia 'Arizona Sun', Verbena bonariensis, mixed heucheras, Panicum virgatum. Constructed a suspended staking system out of fallen poplar branches for our sugar snap peas.  I'll go into greater detail later but here's a quick summary.  I took two large fallen branches from our tulip poplar tree, stripped them of bark, sized them appropriately and screwed them together with deck screws.  Once the peas start coming up I'll tie twine on the cross beam and run the peas up the twine.   Transplanted two cilantro sprouts and two basil sprouts from peat pellets into a pot for the kitchen. Made a few more willow cuttings. Schemed and plotted. Transplanted my red twig dogwood rabbit-cuttings into small individual pots.  The…

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Sedum Signs of Spring

The signs of spring are coming up all over if you know where to look.  In some cases like with the daffodils it's obvious.  Bright yellow flowers and buds are beginning to stand up for us to take notice.  Other plants, like sedums, are beginning to show elements of growth.  On the left is an unnamed sedum that I believe is a Sedum sieboldii, but I can't be sure as it had no name tag.  We bought it along with two 'Stoplight' tiarellas and two 'Ginkgo Craig' Hostas at the Bloom N' Garden Expo last year. Below is a staple in almost everyone's garden, 'Autumn Joy' Sedum.  It's such a carefree plant that it's easy to understand why it thrives in so many gardens.  On the right is how it will appear when it is in bloom.  Each year it gets larger with more blooms and stalks which means more…

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A Few Vegetable Suggestions for the Garden

Yesterday I asked people what varieties of vegetables they would recommend from their own experiences.  My goal is to add a few new vegetables each year just to try something new.  Some vegetables are tried and true and will always be in my garden but there are so many types of vegetables out there that I know I will never get to sample them all.  That's why I asked one of the best resources available to all gardeners, other gardeners! Here's what the gardeners said: TC (The Write Gardener) I have a couple of suggestions for ya; sweet corn - 'Bodacious,' and heirloom tomato - 'Hillbilly' or 'Green Zebra.' If you like sweet corn, and who doesn't, Bodacious is bodaciously sweet! And those two heirloom tomato varieties are delicious also. Neither are as sweet as other varieties, but I don't always like a sweet tomato for sandwich makin. If you…

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