Mulching The Vegetable Garden

The vegetable garden is growing "like a weed", in fact its growing a few of them too! I'm really pleased with the progress of most of the garden so far. There are a couple beds that need some attention but I have almost all the beds mulched with a hardwood mulch to keep most of the weeds at bay and moisture in the soil. Mulching your garden will save you all kinds of time and aggravation over the course of the summer. If you don't do it now, you will wish you did! I was tempted to go with pine needles this year but never got around to gathering some. Any organic mulch will work. Organic mulches break down over time and gradually improve the soil which for me makes them vastly superior to plastic mulches and gravel mulches. The only downside is you have to replace them when they…

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What Would A Tennessee Garden Be Without…

Orange! The orange standouts are new to flowering this year although some were planted last year in anticipation of a showy display. Daylilies of course come in all kinds of colors. This one has a little orange in the center while remaining mostly yellow and was picked up at the plant swap last year. The Asiatic lily was a recent purchase, my wife loved the color, and because it's a plant I liked it too! (I should be more discerning shouldn't I?) The butterfly weed is a joint favorite of ours around our joint since it looks great and attracts butterflies, hence the name. Monarchs are especially fond of milkweed and butterfly weed is a esteemed member of that lucky family. It does seem a shame to call it a weed though! The last two shots are of the same poppy. This was another pick made by my wife. She…

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Squash : Pick Early Pick Often

In a couple days I hope to be picking some of our first squash from the garden. Squash is one of those prolific plants that will produce for long periods of time as long as you do the right thing to it help it along. It likes to be picked on repeatedly. In fact squash peters out when the fruits are allowed to grow on the plant without picking. It's best picked when it is 4-6 inches long - definitely don't let it grow to monstrous proportions! Even if you can't use the squash right away it's best to picked anyway just to keep your plant producing. Throwing a squash away (I would hate to do this!) is better than letting the plant go since it will completely shut down production. Other things to worry about are squash bugs and squash vine borers. The squash bugs can be prevented by…

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The Corner Shade Garden Through Time

The evolution of a garden is an interesting thing to look back at from time to time. For this month's Gardening Gone Wild Garden Design Workshop: Made in the Shade I thought I would take a look back at where my corner shade garden was and where it is now. Here it is last year before most of the work was done to it.  I removed the large ugly frost damaged bush from the back corner which left the corner bare.  Then I spent some time weeding the strawberry plants throughout the year. Those things are still coming back. In the garden went heucheras and hostas.  Eventually I added an oak leaf hydrangea. The plants gradually grew, as plants are known to do, and I added a natural stone pathway through the garden for the gas meter reader person. I thought that for the meter reader's convenience and the safety of…

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An Inexpensive Homemade Tomato Cage

Here is an inexpensive little project I'm working on that hopefully will work to hold a tomato plant. This homemade tomato cage is made from the pliable branches of a sycamore tree my neighbor limbed up. I offered to take the branches to dump in a pit in the backyard and mentioned I might use a few of the branches for cages. The cage itself isn't complete since I still have two more branches to add that will cross from corner to corner.  Once I put those on I'll tie them at the center point and at each corner. I may add one more branch vertically along the stem of the tomato plant as a stake then attach it to the others. Afterward I'll just add a few more branches along the outsides as needed to hold in that feisty tomato plant! Total cost of this project was $0 and…

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Stopping to Smell the Daylilies

Stopping to smell the daylilies may get you a mild to severe case of nasal pollenitis. Symptoms include a dusty yellow-orange substance that can be found on the surfaces of the nose, possible sneezing and runny eyes, as well as a possible case of severe giggles.

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Cabbage Loopers on Hollyhocks

Well it had to happen. More insects have attacked the plants in my garden. My second year hollyhocks are the lastest victims of an insect known as the cabbage looper. Eventhough their name is cabbage looper that doesn't mean they will stop there. They like all sorts plants in the crucifer group like broccoli, collards, kale, and cauliflower as well as other vegetables in the cucurbit family. (For a more complete list visit the Univeristy of Florida's Entomology page on Cabbage Loopers) Now this little green worm may not seem like much when you look at him but when you consider that he can eat up to three times his weight each day and that he usually tags along with 300-600 newly hatched larvae of his closest friends the damage can be decimating. This is how they start, munching on the juicy green foliage of the host plant. In this…

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Framed

Through the diamond shaped hanging frames of the Arbor I spied a daylily and a salvia in the front garden. The blooming of the daylilies has begun!  Arbor voting is still in progress!

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A Garden Remodel: The Fence Garden

Several years ago we began to create a garden along the fence at my parents home.  As you can see in the first two pictures there was very little there. A birch tree was planted along the fence to eventually create some shade. On the right are two apple trees that died and were removed since this picture was taken.   Here is the view looking toward the house. These pictures were taken in 2006. Annie and Sophie are making their first appearance on the blog! Annie is the chocolate lab and Sophie is the standard poodle.   This is how the garden looked before my recent remodel. Over the last couple years several trees and shrubs were added like a Yoshino cherry, Kwanzan cherry, Japanese dappled willow, red twig dogwood, and a couple bird's nest spruces. The concrete blocks in the picture were moved from another location in the…

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Ponytail Grass (Nassella tenuissima, Stipa tenuissima)

Ornamental grasses are definitely something special to add to the landscape. They add texture, height, and a much needed contrast to flowering plants and wide leaved foliage plants. Ponytail grass (Nassella tenuissima) is a great ornamental grass to choose for many gardens. It goes by several common names like Mexican Feather Grass, Silky Thread Grass, and the aforementioned pony tail grass. It's a beautiful grass planted next to hardscape areas especially around rocks. Recently I revamped my parents fence garden using some plants I purchased for Mother's Day as well as some that were preexisting in the landscape. The ponytail grass was one that they purchased last year but didn't have a location for it. They overwintered it in the garden until I moved it for them into the newly remodeled garden (I'll show you tomorrow)!  When ponytail grass is backlit by the sunlight it looks fantastic as it billows…

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