Dave’s 2011 Garden Project Review

This post is a post I've been dreading.  Mainly because this year has been tough, probably the toughest I've ever had to live through.  My garden projects fell by the wayside.  My projects and ambitions just didn't matter when compared to the situations that the course of life brought us through.  But we're getting through things, day by day.  I don't mean to end the year with a downer post but really I don't think I can write this post any differently. Dad's death took a lot of wind out of my sails and effected my projects and even this garden blog.  Suddenly things that were important to me didn't feel that important.  Stuff was set aside and I even stopped visiting many of the bloggers who I read regularly.  Reading fun and interesting articles about my favorite subject (gardening) suddenly wasn't so fun and interesting and even writing about…

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Merry Christmas!

I would like to wish you and your family a safe and very merry Christmas season! Photos: Nandina berries (top left), eastern red cedar under snow(middle left), blue garden shed (bottom left), happy little bluebird in snow (middle bottom), daffodil coming up in a March snow (bottom right), Our Snow covered house (top right). Coming up after Christmas: 2011 Project Review and 2012 Garden Project Lists!

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A Pretty Seedy Garden

'Autumn Joy' Sedum seed heads persist through winter. This time of year the flowers are mostly faded and few things have retained enough foliage to be markedly interesting.  But those faded flowers have left something behind - seeds!  Seeds can do a few of very cool things: They sustain the plant species for the coming year as new plants are born from the seeds of the previous year. They provide nourishment for all kinds of birds and animals over the long winter season.  (Thankfully here in Tennessee winters are not terribly long. They provide the gardener something fun and interesting to look at when all else fails! It's because of those three reasons that I leave the seed heads alone at the end of the fall, but of those reasons the second one is my favorite.  As you can see the coneflowers are a favorite of the finches, titmice, and…

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No Lexus for This Gardener

I'm sure you've seen the commercial. The one where a couple is in an elevator, then elevator music happens and they recognize it as the theme song to Lexus commercials.  That's when it dawns on the unsuspecting member of the couple that the other one is giving them a Lexus for Christmas.  Those commercials are driving me nuts.  I don't want a Lexus, sure they are nice cars, but I'm much more pratical than that. Here's what I would like the commercial to be selling.  A greenhouse!  It's a practical gift for any gardener that just happens to be a dream gift for them too!  Imagine the cost difference too.  The starting price for the cheapest Lexus is about $33,000.  What kind of greenhouse could you get for $33,000? Hmm...let's take a look at some greenhouses: In the around $1000 range you can find this Snap and Grow greenhouse at…

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A Little Birdwatching

With many gardening activities slowing down and the temperatures dropping (although yesterday the temperature was actually near 70 degrees!) I spend much more time indoors.  Fortunately I can still enjoy the great outdoors by watching the birds stop by to visit the bird feeders.  Here are a few of the visitors who stopped by for breakfast yesterday and the day before! The bluejay in the first picture doesn't stop by often.  He tends to gather food from the ground rather than actually eating from the bird feeder. We have cardinals and chickadees all the time.  Chickadees are pretty neat birds.  They don't seem to mind this gardener being out there with them and neither does their cousin the titmouse. Here's a female cardinal posing for her picture. This little woodpecker has been a frequent guest lately.  Birds love easy to find grub! Here he is again with a white capped…

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Decorating Planters with Branches for Christmas

Here's the situation. I have two pots on my front steps which each house an arrangement of Dusty Miller and cordyline.  The problem is the cordyline is looking a little worse for wear.  It's not supposed to be hardy here in Tennessee but so far it's stayin' alive, stayin' alive despite cold temperatures in the mid to lower 20's. It's also Christmas time and a little festive holiday spirit would be a welcome addition to the front porch area. So here's what I did.  I took cuttings of several large branches of a red twig dogwood, an eastern red cedar (Juniper), and some berries from a nandina.  Then I added the evergreen juniper branches to the soil.  (I had to wet the soil first because the soil in the pot was frozen!)  I arranged the juniper branches to shield the cordyline from view and to offer them a little more…

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The First Snowfall of 2011

Technically my title is completely incorrect!  We did have snow in January and February but this is the first snowfall of the coming winter season.  And technically this isn't even officially winter yet.  I'm just breaking all the rules for this post! I'm going wild! Anyway...yesterday we had a light snowfall.  It was the kind of snow that was so wet that when contact was made with the ground it quickly melted into regular old H20.  What snow coverage we had on the grassy areas didn't last long as the air temps were too warm to maintain the frozen precipitation.  Despite its brevity the snow was pretty! Snow on pot of pak choy. Snow on deck. Snow on chives and blue fescue pot. Snow on pyracantha branch. Almost looks like ice. The backyard with snow. The Blue Garden Shed with snow! Grassy area shielded from snow by a butterfly bush.…

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5 More Plants I Want in Every Garden!

On Monday I posted about 5 Plants I Want in Every Garden.  In case you missed it the post was about plants that should I ever move I will plant again in the new garden.  As several of the commenters pointed out it's hard to just pick five!  So today I'll add four more to my list.  Neither this post, nor the last one list these plants in any order of preference.  Every plant has a purpose and each has its own unique attributes that make it worthwhile in my garden and while I have favorites, I don't have a favorite! So here are five more, maybe these posts will get you through until your mail order garden catalogs arrive! Salvia    Salvia is all over my garden.  The 'Caradonna's in front, 'May Night' by the mailbox, Salvia greggii in the back, Salvia coccinea in the self sowing areas, Salvia…

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5 Plants I Want in Every Garden

Our current garden is still a work in progress, as every garden will ever be, but sometimes I like to think about what my next garden will be like.  We have no immediate plans to move but one day our growing family will need more room in the house (and with two girls probably more bathrooms!). When that day comes there are several plants from my garden that I enjoy so much I will be sure to replant in that new garden. My list for this post isn't all inclusive (or ranked in any way) but here are five plants that I will be sure to get established in any new garden in the future! Catmint (Nepeta x faassenii 'Walker's Low') I like catmint for several reasons. It's a constant bloomer.  It always seems to be one of the first perennials to get going in mid-spring and one of the…

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It’s December, Do You Know What That Means?

Today is December 1st, 2011.  The first day of the last month of the year, do you know what that means? Mockingbird on a Frosty Morning Only 137 days left until our last frost date here in Middle Tennessee!!!  WOOHOO! OK, I sound completely ridiculous here but think about all the stuff that has to get done before that planting date over the winter.  Seed catalogs need drooled over, new plant introductions need perused, seeds for planting in the garden need selected, garden beds need prepared, weeds need weeded, seeds need planted, mulch needs put out, plants need transplanted, hardwood cuttings need to be taken, and there are many, many more things I could list. Here are few things for the Winter Garden To-Do List: Finish moving plants around.  I have a red twig dogwood in a bad spot that needs a new home and several other plants that really…

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