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Sunday, March 22, 2015

Springtime in the Garden (Photos)

Spring is here and the garden is most certainly coming alive! Unfortunately some freezing temperatures are in the forecast for later in the week here in Tennessee. Here's a quick look at what you will find in my garden at the moment!

Purple leaf plum and forsythia

I trimmed the forsythia back after it bloomed last year into more of a small shrub. They can get very large if you let them grow. Forsythias are an easy plant to propagate if you want more of them. Just take a cutting 4-5 inches long and place it in a pot of soil and keep moist. There is no need for rooting hormone to propagate forsythias!

I planted these 'Jonquil' daffodils in the fall. Daffodils are such and easy bulb to grow that everyone should have a few planted! They are as deer proof as anything gets.

I have tons of cilantro growing everywhere. I let it self-sow. It's great for attracting beneficial insects when it blooms so it is to your benefit to let a couple of them bolt. The seeds (AKA coriander) can be ground and used as a seasoning.

The hellebores are in bloom. They are another beauty that is left alone by deer and rabbits.

Our peaches and plums are beginning to bloom. The cold temperatures may create some issues for the blooms. I would much rather them wait to bloom until after the chance of freezing is over but they are as eager as everyone else is for spring.

How is spring coming along in your garden? 

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Planting Azaleas from Monrovia

Today was a fantastic day to be outdoors, and of course for most of the time being outdoors means I'm planting something! Today I planted three azaleas into one of my gardens courtesy of Monrovia. Monrovia gave me an opportunity to try out these 'Savannah Sunset' azaleas in my garden. 'Savannah Sunset' is a part of Monrovia's Bloom N' Again collection of repeat blooming azaleas. They will bloom in the spring then produce more blooms in the fall!

When planting any plant the location is very important. Azaleas generally prefer a part sun location with an acidic soil. If your soil isn't acidic you can amend with a soil acidifier for hydrangeas or blueberries.

As you can see I situated my azaleas in the back yard near my blue shed. The soil here is very rich and the shade produce by the trees nearby should create the right location for the azaleas.

When planting azaleas make sure that the top of the root crown is slightly above the soil level. You don't want to bury the crown and accidentally produce rot or fungal diseases.

'Savannah Sunset' gets about 3-4 feet tall and wide. I have them spaced so that they grow together into a small hedge between two crape myrtles trees. The azaleas will produce flowers in the spring then will become a backdrop for perennials that I will plant later in front of them. Any suggestions?

The next step will be to add a layer of mulch. Pine needles are an excellent choice for around acid loving plants but I'll be going with something more readily available - leaves! I have a large pile of leaves that I will use to mulch around the azaleas in this garden. They will break down and nourish the soil while still keeping moisture in and around the plants,

3 Steps to Add a Flowering Shrub to the Garden
  1. Choose the right location
  2. Plant the plant correctly. 
  3. Mulch properly.
Look here to see what other Monrovia plants might be great for your garden: Monrovia Plants. I'm excited to see how these new azaleas perform in my garden!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Spring IS Coming

Despite what the weather may lead us to believe Spring will arrive soon. Maybe it will help us believe it if we repeat that phrase: Spring will arrive soon! (Repeat as needed) It's March and during March we can expect a number of tumultuous and turbulent weather systems that will toy with our psyche. Have faith gardeners because spring and the gardening season will be here soon, but before Spring arrives there are a number of things that gardeners can to to prepare for the busiest time of the year!
Yoshino Cherry in Bloom

Pre-spring is a GREAT time to mulch. A GREAT time! Why? Because it is cool and easy to work without getting overheated. Mulch will hold weeds seeds back from germinating and keep moisture in the soil. I know I have mentioned mulch many times over the years but it is a GREAT thing to do! Choose a biodegradable mulch for your gardens. These will break down over time but will improve the soil fertility and structure as they decay. It's always a GREAT time to mulch!

Evaluate your garden tools. If you are like me (feel free to admit it if you are) you might have gotten lazy in the fall when it got cold outside. You might have forgotten or neglected to clean, sharpen, or maintain your garden tools. If so give them some TLC this spring. A sharp shovel is an awesome tool, a dull one will have you muttering words under your breath not fit for children's ears while trying to plant your spring garden.

Turn the compost. Your compost bin probably hasn't been too active while the weather has been cool. Give it a good turn to let some oxygen inside so the microbes can wake back up and get busy making "gardener's gold!" Let those microbes breathe!

Do some last minute pruning! Remember if it blooms in spring leave it alone except for necessary corrective cuts. If it blooms in summer it will flower on new growth (in most cases) and you should be fine to cut it back to a more manageable garden specimen! Try to never cut more than a third of a plant back at a time. If there is dead wood you can prune it out anytime of the year. Branches that cross against each other and rub against the trunks are prime candidates for pruning out.

If you haven't already get those seeds started! Now is the perfect time for starting seeds like peppers and tomatoes indoors. Cool season crops can be started outside now or prestarted indoors and transplanted outside. Try using some kind of biodegradable planting pot. Toilet paper rolls can be a great (and cheap) way to start seeds.

Evaluate the garden. Chances are there were things you didn't like about your garden last year. Maybe a plant didn't grow well or as expected. Maybe the summer bulbs your planted last spring never made it. There could be a lot of way to improve your garden this year so see what went wrong last season and figure out how to address it before things get growing.

Improve the soil! Work in a good layer of compost to the vegetable garden or anywhere else that may need it.

Spring is on its way! You can believe it, it always gets here. So get ready now and you will have less to do later!

For a FREE copy of my landscaping guide for home sellers click here:
If you are considering putting your home on the market this spring it could come in handy!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Nashville Lawn & Garden Show 2015: Wine Festival

26th Annual Nashville Lawn & Garden Show 2015

Nashville Lawn & Garden Show Announces Wine Festival
Wine Festival occurs on Saturday, March 7 during the 4-day Show 

Nashville, TN – The Nashville Lawn and Garden Show will partner with the Tennessee Farm Winegrowers Alliance to present a one-day-only Wine Festival during its traditional four-day Show at the Tennessee State Fairgrounds.  The Show will incorporate locally produced wine from more than a dozen of the state’s most celebrated wineries on Saturday, March 7.  

Wine Festival wrist bands will be available inside the Nashville Lawn & Garden Show.  Each wrist band will allow the purchaser to enjoy wine tastings, a complimentary wine glass, and have the opportunity to purchase wine produced in the Volunteer State.

Wine Festival Details:
WHAT:  Wine Festival at the Nashville Lawn & Garden Show
WHEN:  Saturday, March 7  - 12:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
WHERE: Tennessee State Fairgrounds, Nashville
COST:  $12 wrist band, in addition to admission to the Nashville Lawn & Garden Show (Tickets to the Nashville Lawn & Garden Show are $10 for adults or $9 for seniors 65 and older.)
TICKETS:  will be at
www.NashvilleLawnandGardenShow.com and also available on site.

Note that the Wine Festival will be located near the rear of the garden building, in an area separated from the gardens.  ID’s will be checked and anyone entering the Wine Festival area must present a valid photo ID, age 21 and older.

The Nashville Lawn and Garden Show runs Thursday, March 5 through Sunday, March 8, at the Tennessee State Fairgrounds.  The Show attracts more than 18,000 people annually from around the mid-south region and is one of the largest gardening events in the southeast. All events are indoors. For additional information, call the Nashville Lawn & Garden Show office at 615-876-7680 or visit

For additional information: Deborah Varallo 615-367-5200 ext. 14, or deb@varallopr.com