Summer Projects

Since summer has now officially come and gone and I only started this site a week ago (give or take a day or two), I thought I would share an easy project that I did this summer from another old wooden palette. Originally I was going to turn it into a compost bin, but after using the palette laying on the ground for potting plants a new idea came to mind. I gathered some other scrap lumber and sanded them down real good. Then put them together to make a potting bench. After it was all pieced together I got a small can of cedar colored wood stain and stained the bench. It won't last forever but its a pretty good use of scrap wood.Here are some views of the potting bench.

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First Freeze and Winterizing

Tonight the weather people are expecting our first hard freeze in Tennessee. It will then officially end the growing season! This is not entirely true though. The plants are still growing roots. Plants planted now will grow strong root systems though the winter and should have great foliar growth in the spring.Good IdeasRemove all hoses from the nozzles to prevent pipes from cracking. Any water left in the nozzle could be damaging so its best not to take chances!Time to clean garden tools and get organized so that everything will be ready to go in the spring. Clean and sharpen shovels, pruners and other tools and also perform any lawn mower maintenance needed.Put excess leaves in the compost bin. NEVER throw out or burn leaves! Put them in the bin or mulch them with your mower into the grass. Composted leaves are some of the best sources of organic material…

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Fall Colors

Fall in Tennessee is known for its wonderful color displays. We have a variety of trees both of deciduous and evergreen trees that usually make spectacular displays of colors. Unfortunately these trees have suffered with the drought this past year and have not fully shown their colors. Here are some pictures of past autumn colors in the Smokey Mountains. We used to make fall pilgrimages to a place called Cades Cove. It's a great place for a hike or a picnic and is nestled in the Tennessee side of the mountains. Some of the pictures are taken from the top of Clingman's Dome, another great stop in the Smokies.

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Helpful Gardening Hints: Weed Slaying!

An ecologically safe and easy to use weed killer is simply water! Just boil it in your teapot and water the troublesome weed with some scalding hot water. It is non-selective so anything it touches it could kill. It's effective against most weeds but they may need a second treatment. Be sure to target the root and stem area. Just hitting the leaves will only damage the leaves and the plant could come back. This is best used as a spot treatment.

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Helpful Gardening Hints: Newspaper

If you are tired of hauling your old newspapers to the dump or recycling there are a couple good uses of it for around the house. First its important to note that newspaper is biodegradable and most of the inks are soy based so there will be no harm to the environment. In fact the newspaper should add to the organic content of the soil.Idea #1Use the newspapers to make paper pots. The pots are biodegradable and relatively easy to make. First gather your newspapers and an appropriately sized can. A soda can or vegetable can will work fine. Whatever size can you choose will determine the size of your pot. Then tear a suitable size strip of newspaper lengthwise. Next lay the can on the newspaper so that long strip of the newspaper will wrap around the rounded parts of the can. Be sure to let some newspaper hang…

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Discount Plants!

I have been known to surf through the local big box home improvement store garden center for discount plants. I found all sorts of mums earlier in the fall for $0.50 each. All they needed was a little trimming and dead heading and they were good as new.I've found Viburnums and Russian Sage this way also!Today I found a 10-12 foot tall weeping willow for $15. Marked down over $20 from its original price. All it needed was a little dead wood pruning and its good as new!Usually the stores don't want to take the time to care for ailing plants so they discount it to try to get rid of it. That's where a gardener who is patient enough to nurse the plants back to health can get a great advantage. :)

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Rustic Birdbath

I like to reuse things as much as possible, so I took an old post from an old wooden palette, sanded it and gave it a cedar stain. I left some of the darker marks on it so that it would maintain that rustic look. Then I fastened a copper birdbath that we had and put it into the ground. Around it I planted some Irises for spring, a butterfly bush behind it and two coneflowers, one on each side. Its a perfect setting for the birds and butterflies. This is another picture from September.

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Spider Web

One morning back in September there was a heavy dew that illuminated this web on one of our potted lemon trees. We thought it was pretty cool so we took a picture of it!

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Our House in Spring 2007

Here is our house in early spring. We took this picture soon after we bought it. There isn't much that can be said of the landscaping at this point. It was basically a blank slate to work with. There were two Japanese hollies in front of the garage that died due to the frost and one large Nandina that is thriving now. It's the plant in between the two windows on the right. In front of the porch are some other hollies that are recovering but haven't made it to 100% yet. As for other plantings the house only had two Bradford Pears planted in the front like almost every other house in the subdivision.Bradford pears are pretty to look at in the spring with the flowers but are very odoriferous. Not to mention they have very weak wood and will easily split in strong winds. I don't recommend planting…

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