Monday, April 25, 2016

The Driveway Made In the Shade Gardens

It's really hard to believe it has been a full two years since we made our driveway. Look back at this post to see the changes in just two years. Things are beginning to fill in and settle down after our messy house build in 2014. This is the driveway as you enter the gate. We put about 10 full trucks of gravel of varying sizes on the driveway. That was after we put down a geotextile fabric. I can say that fabric and the careful planning we did for the driveway has really paid off. There are maybe two tiny pot holes we have to work on and the rest is compact and flat and solid. I always get happy when driving on the driveway because I remember a mud road a few short years ago.

The red Japanese maples I transplanted here from Tiger Gardens are doing well. There are six and they are spaced 30 feet apart. They have finally settled in. This year we have noticed damage to the trees from the transplant shock from two years ago. Some of the branches and in one case part of the upper trunk have died. It's rather frustrating for me but to be expected when you dig up huge trees and move them to a new home.
Coming into the gate this beautiful 'Dreamcatcher' Kolkwitzia amabilis by Proven Winners. It is a winner! It is beginning is lovely bloom and I think I may just have to showcase this shrub a bit more in depth because it is indeed a winner. 
Fire pinks (Silene virginica) self seed themselves all over the place out here in the woods. I love the red. They also have a long bloom period.
Looking out toward the little road I have a bench for seating and tons of daffodils and hellebores. It is mighty tricky gardening out here because the deer love all the 'food' I have planted for them. Hellebore leaves get eaten but not the flowers, daffodils are never eaten and so far the gold spirea and red Japanese maples have not been eaten. A buck did decide to rub one of the Japanese maples but I think it will survive.
Japanese roof irises (Iris tectorum) are a great groundcover iris for part shade to shade. They are just beginning their lovely bloom.
Looking toward the road again we see a few textures. The left and right sides of the drive are completely different owing to the different growing conditions and elevations.

Solomon's seal is a keeper. Deer don't bother it and it looks good all season. The variegated kind really adds texture to the driveway.
I have a lot of wildflowers planted on one side of the driveway. Some I transplanted here like the above Green Dragon (Arisaema dracontium). I will have to move this one soon to a better garden closer to the house to join a friend I just purchased. These are lovely shade plants and quite unique. The bloom is just beginning and is covered by a hood. Can you see it tucked in there?

I transplanted a bunch of white trilliums to the driveway area. They are doing wonderfully. Of course the deer love these so I get to enjoy them for about a day. The stem to the left of this flower is evidence of deer nibbling.

One last picture looking toward the field. I never get tired of the play of sunshine on the forest and am fascinated by it each day. We are looking east and the sun is promising us a beautiful day....

in the driveway garden....
Words and Photos Property of In the Garden Blog Team, In the Garden

Friday, April 22, 2016

Vegetable Garden Update April 2016

Good morning! It is iris time in Tennessee (early iris) and since my vegetable garden has a plethora of them surrounding it I thought I'd start with a pretty in this month's vegetable garden post.
Prior to next month's Vegetable Garden post though I really must get some good pictures of all of these irises. These were planted in the fall of 2014. None of these irises bloomed last year but this year promises to be a banner year looking at all of the buds.
Here is a long shot of the four beds and a bit of the outer iris garden.
The southeast bed has just been planted with a bunch of pepper and cherry tomato plants by Mr. Fix-it. I must say him working in the garden is a dream come true for me. I never ever thought I'd see the day he would be digging in the garden but he does. He planted almost all of our new tomato plants and pepper plants. This was because even though I had already planted the tomato plants last month, a frost came and took all but four. It really is my own fault for planting too soon but the bad part is that if I knew a frost was coming I could've covered the plants. I was overconfident and did not pay attention to the weather forecast. A few tomato and pepper plants did survive so it was not a bad frost, but a frost nonetheless. I was prepared to replant if needed, and it was needed. Good thing I've got Mr. Fix-it for that and our average last date of frost has passed so we are safe now! 

There are a few cabbage plants left in this bed that are beginning to go to seed. I am leaving them for the bees as these plants are not causing any issues. The far end also has a bunch of garlic growing that was planted last fall. Once it progresses and is ready for harvest you'll see it up close.
The northeast bed is pretty! The dark red plant is lettuce. We have picked some of it expecting a deliciously fresh salad. All we got was fresh because this lettuce is bitter. It is most likely a soil problem. I'll have to work on that issue. The four rows of potatoes finally showed up too so Mr. Fix-it is happy. Onions and broccoli are also doing well. The spinach we planted has done nothing at all though. That is one reason why I suspect a soil issue in this bed. Note to self, get a soil test ASAP!
There are a bunch of strawberries growing on the little plants; which are greening up nicely. By next month's post we should be picking these lovely strawberries. They were really good last year.
The herb bed is a delight. The pansies are beginning to shine and the herbs all came back.
The southwest bed has not been fully planted yet. It will be planted with vining crops such as cucumbers, watermelons, and gourds soon. The green foliage is left over carrots from last summer. I also added two eggplants to this bed.
The northwest bed is fully planted with tomatoes. We are short several tomato cages and need to fix that very soon. I prefer cages over staking as it is neater and does not require as much pruning of the tomato plants. The green in this bed is leftover carrots from last fall. I must say the cover crop I planted here did a wonderful job. Once it got hot it all died and made a good mulch where spring weeds could not germinate and grow. I will forever use cover crops when time permits. That's about it for the vegetable garden this month. I hope yours is doing well!
Lastly I had to share 'my boys' in the hood. Meet, Cloud (the gray tabby cat on bottom), Smoke (the dark gray cat in the front), and Tiger (the orange tabby that decided to plant himself on top of his two partners). As you can see they are all happy as a pile of cats can be....just like me....

in the garden.....
Words and Photos Property of In the Garden Blog Team, In the Garden