First Daffodils of 2017

Every year in the garden is different. Sometimes it's warmer than normal, sometimes colder. We may have more rain than usual or we may be in a drought. All of these factors affect how the plants grow, what comes up, and when they make their first appearance. One special event I like to notate each year on this garden blog is the flowering of the first daffodils of the year. It's exciting to see flowers begin to bloom after a drab and dreary winter season. Daffodils tend to be one of the first flowers of the year to flower in my garden. In addition to daffodils we'll see Winter Blooming Jasmine and other winter to spring blooming flowers begin to make their appearance. I've also seen foliage of iris and hyacinth beginning to emerge. Watching the progression of winter to spring is one of the most exciting parts of gardening!…

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Crossed Branches and Pruning

When pruning shrubs and trees there are certain characteristics you need to look for to determine where to cut, how to cut, when to cut, or even what to cut. It's like a good mystery movie with the who, what, when, and where! One very important thing to watch out for is crossed branches (this would be a who). Crossed branches are branches that have grown into a position where the bark rubs against the bark of another branch or trunk. Crossed branches can rub when the wind blows gradually scraping away the bark and causing damage. If left long enough the branches will gradually merge together possibly making the form of the plant look a little less desirable. The other day when out in the garden I took a short video that demonstrated what it looks like when branches cross. It happens fairly frequently and even more so with…

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Garden Update for 2017

If you're reading this now you may be wondering why it's been so long since my last post. Well, today I thought I'd use this post to give you an update on why my posting has diminished over the last year and where I see it going over the long term. For many years gardening has been my obsession, my goal, and my dream to do professionally in some manner. The way I always envisioned my garden "job" (quotes because gardening just doesn't seem like work to me!) is to be a nursery owner. I began Blue Shed Gardens with the idea that I would grow it from a small backyard/farmers market nursery with vegetable and herb plants to one day expand into my dream nursery on a large piece of land. I wanted to take that piece of land and create a nursery that wasn't just a storefront and…

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Troy-Bilt CORE Review – String and Hedge Trimmers

Over the years I've had the pleasure to test out products from Troy-Bilt. Overall I've been very impressed with the quality and the power that they have produced for lawn equipment. Five years later years I still zip around and mow my 1.5 acre yard with the RZT (0 Turn Mower) and have really enjoyed that fact that I never have to mix gas with my current Troy-Bilt weed eater. Soon I'll be going to the vegetable garden to turn it under (or around) with the vertical axis tiller very soon for the fall. All of those products have been great! A few weeks ago they asked me to test something new: The Troy-Bilt CORE line of lawn and garden products. I've always been a bit skeptical about electric/battery powered tools since the gasoline versions always seem to have more power, however that opinion was before I tested the string…

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Growing Buckeye from Seed (Aesculus pavia)

A couple years ago I bought a fantastic native plant at a local native plant nursery. It was a red buckeye (Aesculus pavia) and is great for attracting everyone's favorite tiny garden visitor, the hummingbird. The flower clusters are red (you probably expected that from the name: red buckeye) and tubular. The red buckeye grows best in partial shade as an understory tree. I planted ours near the shed in an area that receives shade most of the day. It had some blooms this year and I discovered today it had produced four ripe seeds to plant this fall. Which of course meant I now had to try growing buckeye from seed! Growing buckeye from seed: I've been watching the seeds form over the summer. Today the seed pods were splitting to reveal light brown seeds almost the size of a golf ball. The outer coating was smooth and shiny.…

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A Trip to Cheekwood Botanical Gardens in Nashville, TN

Recently our family made a visit to the Cheekwood Botanical Gardens in Nashville, TN. If you have never taken the opportunity to visit you should. The gardens are filled with a wonderful display of annuals, perennials, and themed gardens. Currently they have various playhouses on display with multiple themes like trains and foreign countries. We happened to be visiting with other homeschool families and our children were able to take part in lectures on butterflies and wildflowers and even learned about book binding. It was a hot August day but the kids all enjoyed walking through the gardens and taking part in the events Cheekwood was offering. I hope you enjoy looking at the slideshow of pictures from Cheekwood Botanical Garden! My daughter says Hi! To plan out your visit to Cheekwood visit their website for info. Save Save Save

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Planting in Teak Wood Planters!

A while back Teak Closeouts sent me several samples to try out and see if I could use in the garden. They carry a really neat line of products that general come from overstock teak wood products and sell it at better prices.  They also have other products made from teak root which can be very interesting when used for gardening applications! I turned most of the products they sent me into planters for the garden. Teak is a very sturdy and rot resistant wood which is why it has a lot of uses in the garden. Putting these together gave me another great excuse to buy plants for the garden! One can never have enough rosemary, so I planted a rosemary into this little container. Rosemary is a great plant for the kitchen and we now have it conveniently on a table just outside the patio door. A large…

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Gilmour Watering Products

I want to take a moment to tell you about some other products that were sent to me recently for my garden.I fully intended to run these products through the garden wringer but the funny thing about this season is that I haven't watered the garden since early JUNE! We've had regular rainfall coming through and so I haven't needed to use these Gilmour Products yet, but I'm pretty exited to try them and wanted to tell you about them. Gilmour sent me a spray nozzle, their Flexogen® Hose, and three hose attachments to try. The Gilmour Flexogen® hose they sent me is a 50ft garden hose that is kink resistant. I know that one of the most annoying things about watering plants is when you stretch out the hose then have it kink all the way at the other end of the hose and have to walk back to…

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Fiskars Hatchet and Billhook Review

It isn't often I have a product to test in my garden where I actually say "Holy crap, this is awesome!" when no one else is around. Really. Products that good are really hard to come by because I'm fairly picky. A few weeks ago I was sent two items from Fiskars to try out. For disclaimer purposes I was not paid to try these tools out but was sent the tools to keep and use. The two tools Fiskars sent me were the Hatchet and the Billhook.               I was pretty excited to try out the hatchet. After all it's an ax and what isn't cool about that? I went around the garden eliminating weedy saplings at the root crown everywhere. It easily took out hackberry, Bradford pear seedlings, tulip poplar seedlings, and anything else I ran across. I tried it out on…

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A Look Around the May Garden

May is always a great time for the garden. Plants and flowers generally look great this time of year. The weather is beginning to warm but the oncoming heat of summer hasn't bleached out the beauty of the flowers and foliage. Many things are happening around the garden and here's a few images from my Tennessee garden at the end of May. Let's start today's tour with a few of the daylilies. This daylily is 'New Clown Face'. Hemermocallis fulva from the 'Space Coast' series of daylilies More blooms coming soon! Daylilies are one of those nearly trouble free plants. They are great for first time hybridizers as the flower parts are easily accessible! They really enjoy full sun so if you have a garden with very few trees they will do great for you! The hostas are doing really great this year too. Below are three hosta varieties in…

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