The Corner Shade Garden

One of my favorite little garden spots is the shade garden. It's nestled into a little corner created by the layout of our house. When I began gardening here I knew I wanted a shade garden somewhere but our options were extremely limited. Most of the yard was full sun back then, but that's changing. It's a slow process, adding trees and waiting for them to grow, so until I could cultivate some really good shade spots the corner shade garden was the best option. It gets morning sun and afternoon shade which is just right for most shade loving plants. Plants in the Corner Shade GardenOak Leaf Hydrangea Hosta 'Ginkgo Craig' Hosta 'Patriot' Hosta 'Unkown' - I have at least 3 varieties of Hosta 'Unkown'! Heuchera 'Silver Scrolls' Heuchera 'Palace Purple' Heuchera 'Midnight Rose' Heuchera 'Fireworks' Heuchera 'Mocha' Heucherella 'Stoplight' Hydrangea 'Lady in Red' Astilbe Japanese Painted Fern The central focal point of this garden is the oak leaf hydrangea.…

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6 New Plants in My Garden

I'm a sucker for cheap perennials - annuals too for that matter. If I go to a nursery I look first at the shrubs and trees just to look - to see what they have. Then I hang out and hover over the perennials, herbs, and even the annuals. I gravitate to the cheap prices marked on perennials and annuals that will grow to nearly full size in one season. Those 4 inch pots are like a magnet for this gardener! Today my attention was caught by six little plants that I'm pretty excited about: Coleus 'Rustic Orange', Ornamental Pepper 'Black Pearl', Catnip, Pineapple Sage, Salvia 'Mystic Spires', and Cinnamon Basil. The coolest of the bunch (in my opinion) is the coleus. The leaves are an orange shade with burgundy hues mixed in. This coleus seems to glow in the light. I'll be propagating more 'Rustic Orange' coleus using the…

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New Plants in the Garden

Today I made a couple stops for some new plants on my way home from the dentist appointment that was really supposed to be next week. I guess with everything going on lately my head has been spinning and I just got mixed up. Or maybe I'm just getting old? Whatever the case the perfect remedy for a spinning head is to work in the garden and today I did just that. I added several new plants that I've never tried before but have wonderful reputations. Unfortunately the camera never made it to the garden so you will have to use your imagination. I'll highlight them soon on their own but here's the list of what I added. The one's with the asterisk are brand new in my garden. Dusty Miller - Senecio cineraria Coleus - Solenostemon Petunia - Petunia hybrida Sweet Potato Vine - Ipomoea batatas Persian Shield* -…

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Thrifty Gardening Tips: Think Small Plants

Here is Part 4 in The Home Garden's series of posts about how to garden on a budget.Often when people go to the plant nursery they look around and see what they can get for that immediate impact in their landscape. They see larger more established plants and can easily see how they will fit in their garden. If these same people just stop and look around they might find a smaller and cheaper alternative! If you think smaller plants you will not only save money but sometimes you will end up with just as good of a plant just as fast.Plants at nurseries come in all sizes from tiny little 2 inch pots to large gallon pots capable of holding fairly large trees. In general the larger a plant is the more mature and expensive it is. Smaller plants have a great advantage over the larger ones: the root…

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Nandina domestica (Heavenly Bamboo)

Nandina domestica, otherwise known as 'Heavenly Bamboo', can be an interesting plant to put in your landscape but you may want to think twice before doing so. I'll explain why in a minute but first let me tell you why so many people like it. It retains its leaves year round, it has bright red berries that are fantastic for winter color and feeding the birds, and its foliage looks very interesting with its red shades and elegantly shaped leaves. If given enough sunlight the leaves will turn bright red. It grows very well in Tennessee and the south and seems drought tolerant. There are even dwarf versions of it. What's not to like?I have to be honest about this plant, I've never been a big fan of nandinas. For one simple reason, they seem to be way over planted. You can go anywhere in our town and find a…

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Native Substitutes for Exotic and Invasive Plants

Today while browsing I checked the Tennessee Exotic Pest Plant Council's website and found some very useful information for home gardeners. But first let me tell you why I was looking for it. I saw a post discussing Allan Armitage's view of native plants over at Garden Rant. To sum it up in three words: diversity is good! In my opinion as long as you don't invite invasive species to your yard that will take over the country (i.e. kudzu) then having a diverse ecology in your landscape is a good idea. After reading that post I began to wonder about alternatives for exotic invasive plants. Natives tend to be hardier than exotic plants since they developed in the region and typically are more drought, disease, and pest resistant. While diversity is good there may be some good native alternatives for your landscape. The TNEPPC has some great resources available…

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What were they thinking?

I had to drive our cat Amber to the vet today to get some tests done on her. She has kidney renal failure and we have to periodically see how her blood is. She's been doing really good but has lost her appetite recently. While I was up in town I thought I'd drive around a few minutes to see what new developments had popped up. Shopping centers and housing developments are popping up all over the place in our area. I noticed in between one residential area and a shopping center there was a plant creating a great screen. In fact this plant could probably grow 20 feet high or more creating a very good sound barrier as well as the visual screen it was intended to be. Only one problem...it's Bamboo! Bamboo can send runners out all over and can quickly tack over an area. Putting it as…

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