Chickadee Ready for A Closeup

This little chickadee was seen on my back deck going after some birdseed.  It's always fun to watch the chickadees fly around. They seem fearless and will often just land a few feet way while I'm working in the garden. I didn't participate in the Great Backyard Bird Count last weekend but I think next year I'll jump in and count some feathered friends.

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Winter’s Light: Shadow Play

The Gardening Gone Wild photo contest for February is all about Winter Light. The picture below is my entry which I took from our upstairs window out across the yard. I'm calling it Shadow Play, you can probably figure out why! The shadows of the ice covered trees are dancing across the backyard and the children's playset creating an unusual landscape for us here in Tennessee. To the left is a birch and ornamental grasses while below and slightly off center is the birdbath garden.

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Perennials Around the Vegetable Garden

This time of year when the weather is inhospitable I take a look back through the pictures I've taken and informally review the previous year. That's one great advantage when you blog, you have a record of most things and photographs of almost everything else! Here's a picture from September just outside our vegetable garden. In the fuzzy foreground is a butterfly bush I made from cuttings a while back. Just past the butterfly bush is a mistflower which is almost hiding a 'Black and Blue' salvia. The splotches of red in the back are zinnias. Zinnias are such easy growers to include in the garden and they attract butterflies by the bazillions. I gather some seed every year and spread the seed out the following spring after danger of frost has past. Then I pretty much leave them to grow on their own.

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Encased in Ice (Tennessee Snow Storm of 2010)

They were right! There, let it be said that the weather predictors and prognosticators said we were going to have snow and we did. Unfortunately the manner of snow and the amount of snow differed from what the forecast originally said (which was 2-3 inches at one point). Currently we have between 4-6 inches of snow with a nice smooth layer of ice on top just to make things interesting! The ice isn’t good for getting around town and we’ve been stuck at home (nothing new since we are boring people and don’t do much anyway) watching the snow fall. What the ice is good for though is pretty cool (sorry for the pun). Sledding was the main attraction of the day with our slope in the backyard becoming a valuable asset. Several neighbors joined us outside on the hill at various times to ride down my version of the…

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Great Home Gardens: An Italian Garden

A few weeks ago an email came in my box asking me a question about propagating irises. I answered the question then received a picture of the questioning gardener’s garden. To say that I was impressed would be an understatement. Climbing roses mixed with many varieties of perennials create a living painting in Ennio’s backyard. And did I mention that it’s in Venice, Italy? Isn’t that the amazing thing about the world we live in today – we can visit any garden anywhere a camera has been without even leaving the room! But I have to say that being in the garden would be much better than just gawking at the pictures but today I’ll do the next best thing to being there, I’ll show you Ennio’s photos of his Italian garden and we can gawk together. He’s been gardening for 13 years and the photos you are about to…

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Drive-By Shootings – With Ice

The other day when I went to pick up my bricks for the greenhouse flooring the temperatures were still at or around freezing. I had my camera along for the ride and took a couple shots of the ice structures that were along Highway 840 here in Middle TN. I've always found the ice sculptures that appear alongside the cliff faces to be very fascinating. Maybe it's the fact that water can find so many ways to move through solid rock that makes it so awesome. There aren't many more powerful natural forces out there. Taking pictures at 70 MPH doesn't exactly make for a great shot. My advice - don't move for better pictures.  This drive by picture was taken in our neighborhood next to the community lake. I've never seen the lake frozen until this year but 9-10 days of freezing temperatures will do that. Relief is on…

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Our “Massive” January Snowfall

As usual the weather forecasters just couldn't nail our weather forecast. Several days ago they began hyping the massive snowfall of 1-3 inches that was on its way. The forecast at one point even predicted 2-4 inches! OK I know you northern gardeners are saying "massive snowfall?" Please keep in mind that everything is relative and a massive for Tennessee would be a micro-snowfall for the northern states but in fact can affect us much more significantly. Schools close on the mere threat of snow threat because it isn't fiscally worthwhile to invest in snow plows. I grew up in Western Pennsylvania and remember snowstorms that involved 1-2 feet and sometimes more. There have only been handful of really big snowfalls here in TN since I've lived here (like 1993! 2 feet in March) but even the meager snows can visually impact the garden in a spectacular way. Here in…

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The Salvias of May in My Front Garden

Lately I've been looking back at all the pictures I took over 2009 like in my last post (the picture of rudbeckias.) Soon I'll be talking about seeds and getting ready in earnest for 2010 gardening but I find that glancing back at the previous year's pictures helps to guide me when it comes to the seed catalogs. I stumbled across this picture of our front sidewalk garden area. Actually the shot was taken from the sidewalk and across the garden toward the side yard but it gives a good impression of what it looks like in May. The irises are blooming under the pear tree while the salvia is lining the sidewalk in purple flower stalks. The salvia is spaced out with other plants in between but the perspective of this picture makes it seem like it is one big mass planting (which might just give me some ideas!).…

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A December Sunrise

To me it has always seemed that winter makes up for the lack of color in the skies of the sunrise.  What do you think? Are the colors of the sunrises and sunsets a substitute for the flowers and foliage of the spring, summer and fall?

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