Friday, July 18, 2014

The Year of the Bottles at Summer Celebration-UT Jackson Part II

Part II of our trip to the University of Tennessee's Annual Summer Celebration sees a LOT more bottles and garden art. Let's start with these strings of wine bottles hanging from a tree limb.
How about a huge bottle tree? I think this bottle tree was made from an old cedar tree. I too have a cedar bottle tree in my garden and I love it. I can honestly say the cedar holds up pretty well to the weight of the bottles but with time, the branches will slowly become flexible and will tilt down to the ground following the pull of gravity. This can make a problem for moisture getting into the bottles and the bottles falling off from the tree. You should plan for this happen and help to prevent it by choosing thick sturdy branches to place your bottles on. These branches should be distinctly upright in their habit. If you need more places to hang bottles then I have found long lag bolts drilled into the tree work well and don't sag.
Rolls of barbed wire can be beautiful when displayed in a garden. It is that timeless theme of circles with the added benefit of the new 'in' theme called 'rust in a garden'.
How about this mailbox fitted into a cedar tree? Mr. Fix-it and I are trying to decide what kind of mailbox we can put on our rather isolated country road in order to protect it from hooliganism. This idea might work! I believe this mailbox was left over from a previous Summer Celebration where the theme involved mailboxes. Mailboxes in a garden are a great idea!
Now we are coming to some specifics. Anyone who lives or visits Tennessee during this time of the year will be introduced to fireflies. It is a major but simple pleasure of Tennessee summers and I made sure to introduce my sister and her family to Tennessee's fireflies on her recent visit here to Tiger Gardens. I was super excited to see not only fireflies but dragonflies highlighted at Summer Celebration and to show my sister's two young granddaughters the sparkly Tennessee evening thanks to fireflies.
These fireflies were made by taking small bottles and filling the bottles with shiny ribbon (from the gift wrap section of your local department store) and adding some wings made of wire wrapped around another wire frame. The effect when these small bottles are hung in a tree is that the bottles appear to glow and cannot be mistaken for anything but fireflies. These were splendid! If you make some make lots because they look best en masse.
In the same bed and display area as the fireflies were these dragonflies made from a spherical piece of metal with four wine bottles attached. The whole thing was then mounted to a pole and placed in the garden. What a creative way to display wine bottles! Dragonflies are also a mainstay of Tennessee and most appropriate to this year's Summer Celebration....

in the garden....

Words and Photos Property of In the Garden Blog Team, In the Garden

Monday, July 14, 2014

The Year of the Bottles at Summer Celebration UT Jackson-Part I

How about a little fun with bottles today? No! I am not talking bottles full of spirits so please give up that thought! The bottles I will share and have fun with are empty bottles poised in a garden so as to bring lots of delight to all who see-no artificial 'celebratory' spirits required to have fun!
Last Thursday I had the pleasure of traveling all the way to Jackson Tennessee to participate in the University of Tennessee's Summer Celebration in honor of gardening. UT Jackson is a research facility that trials many plants. Some of the plants are displayed in lovely gardens such as the one above. All plants are labeled and displayed in a beautiful way so as to delight onlookers and make us all go running for our cameras, pens, and paper so as to take notes.
What distinguishes UT Jackson gardens from perhaps some other gardens are all of the lovely adornments. Can you say junk? Junk is right up my alley and I happen to think junk in the right situation is a win-win scenario for all. I mean think about it. This old boxspring (I have several on my property thanks to thoughtless people who prefer to dump on others' property) was saved from the landfill and is now used to bring a smile to onlookers faces. Not to mention it is a great trellis for vines to grow upon. Now if I could only secure those boxsprings on my land from the years of weeds growing up through them-but that is another story. Don't you love the bottles attached to the posts holding up this boxspring? I have also seen boxsprings like this displayed horizontally hanging from say a gazebo. Woven into the springs will be miniature lights so as to give a starry effect to wherever the boxspring is hung. It is a delightful sight!
Now these gears are too much fun in the garden. For some reason almost everyone is drawn to circles in life and in nature. The endlessness of them is tempered by the pointed triangle they are displayed upon. What a nice focal point!
This has to be one of my favorite displays. It was quite different than the usual bottle tree. Here we have wine bottles strung upon cables which are then hung between saw blades that were secured to a cental 4"x4". Sweet!
As my dear friend (Irene) and I walked around we kept finding really neat displays. This garden area near the buildings was one you really had to look at in order to see all of the neat bottle art in it. I will show close ups of the 'fireflies' hanging in the tree and dragonflies taking flight on a later post. You will be amazed at them. I know I was and plan to make some very own fireflies and dragonflies of my own.
I'll finish this post with a picture of my friend Irene and I. (I am the white haired lady on the left). This is the second year for Irene and I traveling to Summer Celebration together and we had a great time and bought lots of super good cultivars and hard to find plants. We swap years for driving and I tell you the drive with a friend makes the time pass by so much more quickly. We are standing in front of the grand 'bottle wall' at the gardens. There is a close up of the bottles in the first picture of this post. This display was probably one of the largest in the gardens and certainly the most grand during this 'Year of the Bottles'.....

in the garden....

Look for a part II to this trip later this week.
Words and Photos Property of In the Garden Blog Team, In the Garden

Friday, July 11, 2014

Early Summer Wildflowers from Wildflower Hill

Wildflowers are in full bloom out on Wildflower Hill so I thought I would share some with you all today. Verbena bonariensis (aka jumping verbena) never fails to bring in the butterflies and pollinators.
Partridge pea (Cassia fasciculata) is a great native wildflower that is also a super wildlife and pollinator attractor. This partridge pea was a part of the wildflower seed I set out when I frost seeded in the early spring.  I am most happy to see some of the seed took well!
shaggy rosinweed
Shaggy rosinweed (Silphium Mohrii) is one of my new favorite wildflowers. I actually purchased this as a plant from a local native plant nursery. Since moving it out to the property it has really stood tall and proud. The flowers are a sweet pale yellow that hold up to all sorts of summer heat and drought.
Shaggy rosinweed might be known for its 'shaggy' appearance as evidenced here by the close of the hairs all along the stem and leaves. These hairs really help the plant to stand out and to stand up to the sun's heat.
Here is a long shot of the shaggy rosinweed in situ in the wildflower field.
This native butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa) took a big hit due to the backhoe coming and in and digging up the area in which the butterfly weed grows. I was most thankful to see it at least bounce back a bit.
Queen Anne's lace (Daucus carota) is not a native wildflower but one that has happily naturalized all across Wildflower Hill. It is a cheery and very prolific wildflower.
Brown eyed Susan's grow wild on Wildflower Hill with no help whatsoever from me.
This sweet little wildflower is about 18-24" tall and I cannot identify it. Does anyone know what it could be?

Woodland sunflower. These grow in abundance!

Finally we close with Rose Gentian, aka Sabatia angularis....

in the garden....on Wildflower Hill.

Growing conditions for all of these wildflowers are acidic soil (pH of 5.4), full to part sun, clay to rocky soil, dry to mesic habitat on sloping land. You might notice all of these pictures have lots of other 'plants' in them-mainly the areas look weedy. Wildflower areas are, by their nature, weedy. We are maintaining our wildflower areas by bushhogging once per year. This is the only Year 1 for wildflowers so as the years progress, we shall see how the areas improve or devolve.

Words and Photos Property of In the Garden Blog Team, In the Garden