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Friday, October 29, 2010

More Fall Color! (Fall Color Project 2010)

It's been a week since my last Fall Color Project Update and the colors are only getting more colorful as we go!

Charlotte told me about her Fall Color Project post last Friday with some very rich and colorful fall favorites. In fact the plants she has pictured are some of my personal favorites! Japanese maples and pyracantha are two of the highlights and the color is nothing short of amazing!

TC the Write Gardener is showing us the power of technology! Specifically the power of his iPhone to bring fall colors to the rest of the world. With phones and cameras integrated together no longer is there any excuse to not photograph the best fall color nearby! TC shows that you had better have your camera at the ready for those fall photos!

VP's Fall Color Post shows us the beauty of fall that can be captured within a single leaf. The veining coloration of this single maple leaf reflects within its own heart the image of the tree it once hung on.

Shirley in Edmonton gives us fall color enmass in her post! She takes us to scenic bridges, to the gardens around the city, and to her own home for some gorgeous fall color.Aspen, oak, maple, buckeye, and all kinds of plants are highlighting Edmonton in fall splendor!

Janet at the Queen of Seaford has done a great job of highlighting each colorful tree near her. For each tree she put together an awesome collage of fall foliage. Dogwoods, sassafras, and other fall favorites are brightening up the South Carolina landscape!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

3 Years!

It's amazing when you go back and think about time and how quickly it flies by. Earlier we were listening to the "90's" station on the cable TV music station and I realized that even though the 90's didn't seem that long ago 1996 was actually 14 years ago! Yep time flies fast just like 3 years of writing this garden blog. In early October of 2007 I stumbled across an article in the paper about garden blogging. The article mentioned and interviewed folks like Doug Green and Hanna of This Garden is Illegal and I thought it might be a neat way to share my garden experiences. You see I knew my family was tired of hearing me yammer on and on endlessly about plants and garden ideas. The blog became the perfect route for expressing my gardening passion. It was the way I began to share my projects, my ideas, and my experiences in the garden.

My first post left a lot to be desired. I was getting my feet wet, trying to learn about the whole garden blog thing. How to do it, what people enjoy seeing, commenting, meeting other bloggers, and finding my "voice." It's changed a lot since then. The garden has changed a lot since then too. The yard and garden was void of any meaningful plant material when I began but through obsessive plant propagation, discount rack shopping, plant swaps, and occasional splurges has become somewhat of a jungle - and I mean that in a good way! Perhaps eclectic cottage garden is more of what I mean whatever the case I've enjoyed putting it together.

The work is never done. When I was setting up the garden tour our garden club had in the spring a gardener I was visiting told me that her garden "was a work in progress." And I thought "that's a interesting phrase." Everyone who has any experience in gardening soon realizes that every garden will always be "a work in progress." My garden most assuredly is a work in progress. If you're a new gardener you need to understand that gardening is a constant hobby - it never ends, it always changes, it takes work, it takes dedication, and it's worth every moment you spend doing it! And if you're an experienced gardener...well, you already knew that!

Thank you to everyone who has followed or is following The Home Garden over the years. To my blogging friends I really wish I could visit more often - time is a precious commodity that seems to get more valuable and more rare as life progresses. I haven't been able to visit your blogs as much as I'd like to, maybe in the offseason (does even that exist?) I can look back at what everyone did over the summer and catch up a bit. There is a good reason why or really three good reasons why I haven't been visiting your blogs as much as I used to:
Reason 1
Reason 2
Reason 3

The oldest is off to her first year of school, my second daughter turns 3 later in November, and the new guy around here does require a little attention! Balancing the children (figuratively of course, I would hurt myself otherwise!), life, the garden and the garden blog is a little challenging at times. When I look back at the over 1300 posts I have here on the garden blog I think that maybe I can ease up a little in the blogging area. Maybe just a little...

What will the future here at The Home Garden bring? More projects for sure, more gardening, more pictures, more propagation experiments, more of everything I've already been doing I suppose! In the garden project category the garden fence is on my radar big time. After being constantly frustrated by deer this year a fence is a high priority. For propagation I'd like to try more shrubs, trees, ornamental grasses, root cuttings, and if I feel really adventurous - grafting! We'll see how it goes. I'm famous in my family for putting too much on my plate!

I hope you've enjoyed The Home Garden and that in some way my experiences have helped you in your garden.  I appreciate every moment of time you spend reading about my thoughts and experiences and truly could not keep writing without someone to write to. Will I still be blogging in one year? In two? In another three? Well ... there's only one way to find out!

Thanks again!


Salvia farinacea ('Blue Bedder')

I've said repeatedly that I'm a fan of salvias. It's no wonder since they bloom prolifically, are easy to care for, and attract pollinators right and left. One salvia in my garden (among many) that I've accumulated is the 'Blue Bedder' Salvia farinacea. It's not reliably hardy to my zone according to many sources. Typically they are hardy to a zone 7 but last winter was not very typical and still the Salvia farinacea came through the winter happily.

I propagated the original two plants from seed and have since added more in the garden through cuttings (different salvia but same method). Both methods work fine but I do tend to enjoy taking the cuttings a little bit more! 

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Vegetable Garden Clean Up for Fall

This weekend I partially accomplished one of the major garden chores of the fall The Fall Vegetable Garden Cleanup! There's a second section of the vegetable garden that needs cleaned up still but I really wanted to leave the tomatoes alone for now so that maybe, just maybe they could ripen up a few more before the end of the season. They've already survived a couple of minor frosts in my backyard but I think we might be without frosts for another week (keeping my fingers crossed!) and we may have enough time to squeeze out a few more red ripe tomatoes.

The bulk of my time was spent in the raised beds in the picture below (more on raised beds here). The long bed on the left (4'x8') was completely engulfed in Bermuda grass as was the smaller one (3'x4') toward the front of the picture. These beds are untreated pine in their third year and are really starting to show some wear.  I planted two rows of garlic in the small front bed along with some lettuce and chard in between. I will need a screen to prevent the deer from eating away the greens but I doubt they will like the garlic very much! The second small bed was planted with more garlic of a different variety. The other beds we weeded, hoed up to remove all traces of Bermuda grass roots (as best as possible anyway since that task is nearly impossible), then covered with leaves that I gathered up with my push mower with the bag attachment - I love that bag!

The leaves will serve as a mulch over the winter and should help add organic content to the soil as they break down. I may come back later this week and plant a cover crop like clover to help fix more nitrogen into the soil. I need to gather some manure and add it to the compost bin to cure over the winter to help nourish my raised beds for gardening in 2011.

These beds are being protected from the deer. In this bed are a few small summer squash plants that most likely won't produce anything at this point. This raised bed also contains a bunch of cilantro seedlings. We're big fans of that herb around here! The pepper bed in the back was also cleaned up but I didn't cover with the leaf mulch.

The back section of the garden housed my tomato plants this year. It's still a complete mess. The vines have gone everywhere and the deer have nibbled every branch. There are still tomatoes being produced on the inside of the plants and maybe they will ripen up a little more - it all depends on the weather!

Here's a look at a couple green ones. My daughters went harvesting tomatoes today from the "Tomato Orchard" as they called it. Both green and red tomatoes found they way into their baskets. Some we'll let ripen while others will no doubt become fried green tomatoes!

The cherry tomatoes are always the most prolific tomato producers in my garden. You just can't stop them! This plant was a volunteer that I moved next to the garden fence. The artemisia in front of it may have offered a shield form the nibbling deer.

After the beds were cleaned up I planted 2 varieties of garlic, two varieties of Romaine lettuce, chard, and red onions. I have my deer protection plan ready to go - once they germinate!

What's growing in your garden?

***Never burn your leaves - They are too valuable to waste!***

Friday, October 22, 2010

The Colors are Rolling In! (Fall Color Project 2010)

Welcome to another Fall Color Project Post! The leaves are changing faster as we progress through one of my favorite seasons which means we get to see more fall color from our blogging friends and neighbors!

Last Friday an Obsessive Neurotic Gardener (aren't we all? ;)) put up a post with some beautiful scenery. Could pictures of fall that include covered bridges and red barns not be perfect for the season? The colors up in New Jersey are beginning to show!

Tina at In the Garden joined the project with a post that included oak leaf hydrangeas, hickory trees, and berries! Sometimes people focus on the foliage and forget about the other colors of fall in the berries and drupes.

Back up in the Northeast again we can visit Nyack Backyard with a post that offers a lot more color fun! JGH's post is very handy for anyone who lives in the area and wants to go leaf gawking. Suggested leaf viewing locations are linked to within the post - very handy info!

Fall in Kentucky is experiencing the same sort of drought those of us here in Tennessee have been dealing with in 2010. Despite the drought you should see the blazing maples Shawn Ann has! Fiery red colors in the trees lead to a lot of fun for a little one on the ground!

Poetry and pictures await you at Nancy's blog, Leaping Greenly! THere she has shining reds and golds mixed with a bit of Emily Dickenson. That's a pretty good combination!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Fall Color in the Tree Line

One of the locations in our yard that has the most fall color is the back tree line. We don't have much in the way of mature trees throughout the rest of the yard but the back tree line makes up for it in the way of sassafras, walnut, maples and assorted other trees. One day this area will house a shade garden full of lush variegated green hosta foliage - AKA Deer Buffet! Here's a look at some of the fall color in the trees!

Sassafras Trunks and Leaves

The back tree line as you look down the property line. The line extends back and to the left about 10-15 feet past the edge of the yard.

A look through the trees at a giant maple - unfortunately on another person's property!

More trees and a birdhouse I built from a fence board.

I really enjoy taking photographs that use the sun.

A shot from the house of the sassafras trees.

The Fall Color Project is in full swing so take a look tomorrow to see how many participants have had fall color this week!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Garden Chores - The Sequel

In my last post I mentioned 5 garden chores I have on my to-do list. If it were only five items I would have it easy! As usual there is an endless supply of garden chores to do this time of year and here are a few more.

  1. Deal with the leaves - Most of the leaves are still hanging on the trees awaiting the final color changes of fall or the storm that will end it all. Once they fall I like to mow them over with my push mower and either mulch areas of the garden with the shredded leaves or put them in the old compost bin. Check out Kylee's recent post for more good info on taking care of the leaves.
  2. Paint the garden shed...again - The first coat of paint is on and we've adjusted to the color transformation. Initially I had some doubts about the color but I think I like it now. Because I had those initial doubts I didn't place a second coat of paint on it just in case I wanted to change it. I still have some prep work to do around the windows and doors before I can paint them.
  3. Finish the shed plant bench - The bench is partially complete - enough for one 8'x30" shelf and the underside to hold plants. The 4'x32" shelf needs finished.
  4. Insulate the shed - I have some more leftover insulation that needs to go into the eaves. I'll cut it into 15"x10" pieces and stuff it in the small spaces to better insulate along the inside of the fascia board. The rest of the ceiling will have to wait until next year. I've thought about using the foil backed foam insulation for its reflective qualities. More light is always a good thing in a garden shed!
  5. Plant daffodils! Who wouldn't want more deer proof, squirrel proof (well mostly), and vole (yes vole not mole, but maybe that too) proof bulbs? Daffodils are perfect to plant in and around other bulb plants that deer do like to add a little protection if deer are an issue.
  6. Save seeds! One of the easiest ways to save money on next gardening season!
  7. Miscellaneous other projects - just to keep you coming back I have several more things I want to get done over the next few months. Some little, some a little more than little - you'll see!
Sheffield Mum

Monday, October 18, 2010

5 Garden Chores I Need To Do

This time of year I'm always overwhelmed by the massive amount of work that needs done in the garden. This blog sometimes helps me to keep organized when I put together a list of those garden things to do.

5 Fall Garden Chores I Need to Do in My Garden

  1. Clean up the vegetable garden. It's overgrown from too many weeds, too many tomatoes, and too many strawberries! I also need to attempt another sowing of spinach and lettuce. The dry weather wasn't very cooperative...
  2. Plant Garlic. Fall is the time to plant garlic and ever year I've said I'm going to get it done this year! Well guess what...I said that again so we'll see!
  3. Transplant: Strawberries, tulip poplars, and redbuds. I have a redbud that popped up in a patch of ragwort. I tried to remove it last year and thought I killed it...I thought wrong. It's back like an Arnold Schwarzenegger action flick. Redbeds are notoriously hard to transplant because of their deep tap roots - better wish me luck on that one!
  4. Plant Plants: Oak Leaf hydrangea, several other hydrangeas, viburnums, salvias, and a few others. I still need to get a hold of an 'Otto Luyken' Laurel to complete my foundation plantings in the front garden.
  5. Dig up and move gladiolas. I have gladiolas all over the place and while they are pretty when in bloom they flop over and land on the ground like an opossum in headlights. They also have a ton of offsets from every corm. I'm thinking of trying a mass planting of all he collect corms somewhere...

There's much more to do especially when you consider the garden shed. Although on that front I did manage to get another shelf section covered with wire mesh this afternoon. I also covered a window with plastic and caulked some more to increase the heat retention. I also put my first plants inside! It's come a long way since I started, and to think it's only taken a year! (Please note the sarcasm ;))

What's on your garden to-do list?

Saturday, October 16, 2010

A Day Late But Not A Flower Short for Bloom Day

Unfortunately I'm a day late on Bloom Day but I'm definitely not a bloom short! Yesterday I posted the Fall Color Project Post for the week. Be sure to take plenty of photos for your Fall Color Project 2010 Post!

On with the blooms!

Yellow Pansies - still need planted...

Pink annual Salvia coccinnea

Purple Coneflowers - a little washed out.

Mystic Spires Salvia - I like to plant this one every year.

Purple Wave Petunias - a nice discount rack find!

Red Achillea - most likely 'Paprika'

Red Flowered Gaillardia with a little yellow on the petals

Red Mums with a side order of 'Oranges and Lemons' Gaillardia

Pineapple sage - bloomin' strong

Red mums and red salvia - do you think I like salvia?

Red Zinnia grown from seed - it's definitely time to begin collecting seeds!

Salvia farinacea next to the blue garden shed! Yep I like salvia!

'Walker's Low' Catmint - a reliable nearly no care, deer resistant, and rabbit resistant favorite of mine! And it propagates easily too!

Sheffield Pink Mums! A new addition to the garden from a spring plant swap. I will be propagating many more of these in the spring!
Thanks for stopping by for Bloom Day!

Go visit Carol to see what's blooming in other backyards!