Hemlock Privacy Screen

Here's a picture of our eastern property line. Along the line we placed 4 Canadian hemlocks about 8 feet apart to create a border hedge. The hemlocks will eventually fill together and create a nice soft evergreen screen for that side of the house. I would like to make this area into a woodland corridor connecting the front yard and the backyard with a shady path. When planting the hemlocks I removed the grass in a 3ft area around the plant location. Then I dug the holes a little wider than the root ball and placed them into the holes making sure that the base of the plant remained slightly above the level of the soil. I then put newspaper down over the edges as a biodegradable landscape fabric and covered with a cypress mulch. I don't recommend amending the soil in the hole. That encourages the roots to stay…

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Trees Trees Trees

Trees serve as the backbone of the garden. Trees add structure and height, clean the air, filter water, prevent soil erosion, provide shade and can be a habitat for wildlife. If you have ever sat beneath a maple tree in the heat of summer and enjoyed the cool shade it provided you understand the value of that tree. To me planting a tree is a no brainer, the more the better!It takes time for trees to grow into a well structured specimen with a great canopy so they should be the first plants put into a landscape. You could splurge and buy trees that are already mature but these are expensive and the root ball can be difficult to plant by yourself. Smaller trees can catch up significantly to the larger ones in a couple seasons since those large root balls have to recover for the missing roots that were…

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Holding Strong (Crape Myrtle Fall Color)

These two crepe myrtles are holding strong to their color. Although these bright red and orange beauties are not mine, I did manage to get a couple seedlings from them to plant in my yard. Most people think of crepe myrtles for their summer flowering colors, but these two are evidence that there is more to a myrtle than meets the eye. I only hope that next fall my crepe myrtles can be as bright and colorful on a cold and cloudy Thanksgiving day!

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Blogging about Blogging

So on Wednesday of this coming week I'll have had this blog open for a month. I find it interesting that about two weeks after I start articles all over pop up about garden blogging. Is it something that is catching on? Or is it publicity brought on by the talented folks who have paved the garden blogging way. The first article I noticed was Doug Green's article in the American Horticultural Society's magazine "The American Gardener." It was a very good article about how to start blogging and about some interesting people who blog. This morning in the USA Weekend section of our newspaper another blurb about garden blogging appeared. Each blog site seems to have its own niche. Subjects range from the personal to the informative or even to the political. To most people who are reading this now this probably isn't news. You probably have your own…

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The First Step to Recovery…

The first step to recovery is recognizing that you have a problem. We sure do, its our drainage! We sit below the road in our cul-de-sac and while drainage is generally good for our house, our driveway pools water near the garage. It's mostly just an annoyance. When its rained heavily you have to step through a mud puddle to get into the car, usually it doesn't require scuba gear. I have a plan though: A modified French drain.Along the edge of the driveway I plan to dig a trench, as long as the puddle is wide and deep enough that a perforated drain tube can be placed in it. The drain will then attach to another tube that leads out into the yard through another trench. At the end of the second trench will be a water receiving area partially filled with gravel. Once all the tubes are in…

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War of the Weeds!

The moment I found out what that particularly green feathery weed in my yard was, it was war! RAGWEED! It was everywhere in our yard. The front, the back, the sides, underneath hollies in all the garden beds, and pretty much everywhere else you looked it was there. Like an alien entity overlooking our planet while planning its method of invasion. For several weeks I waged war on the plant with little success. I tried the non-toxic chemical method with vinegar leading the charge. It's odoriferous scent attacked the invading invasive like a salad dressing on fire. Unfortunately it did little more than burn the tips of the leaves. Still the ragweed came on, seeking to ravage more land and destroy more of our faltering fescue lawn. The great arms of ragweed blotted out the sun from the blades of grass causing them to wither and die. Beneath the aliens,…

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Follow Up: Rosemary

The other day I wrote about layering rosemary plants. Layering is the process of propagation where roots are formed by placing the stem of the plant underneath rooting medium (soil) to allow it to root with the support of the parent plant. If you look closely at the picture to the left you can see small roots being formed at the base of the plant. These roots will continue to grow and will eventually be able to support their own plant.Rosemary grows very well outdoors in Tennessee. Yesterday while visiting my parents house for Thanksgiving dinner I took an updated picture of the rosemary. The picture on the left (it's the same one in the layering rosemary post) was taken a year ago and here it is now! Notice how the large rock in the first picture has been devoured by the spreading herb. Like I said, it grows well…

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For Next Year

I know most people have already put their tools away and their beds are ready for winter. It may be too early to even think about next year, but the off season (winter) is planning time for next year. It's time to figure out what worked for the 2007 season and think about what to plant in 2008. The University of Tennessee Gardens website has some great information about annual plants from their 2007 annual plant trials that may help the planning process. They tested the same annuals in Jackson, TN and in Knoxville, TN then rated them for June, July and August. On the site they show the rating for each location on a scale of 1-5 (5 being the best) and gave an average of the two locations. This information is a very good resource for a gardener wanting to find a new annual to put into the…

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