Saturday, April 25, 2009

Where did Spring go?

Last week, it was 71 degrees on Saturday and 67 (with rain) on Sunday. Yesterday, it got up to 87 degrees; today, with a bit of bad luck, it could make it up to 90 - not good at all!

On Earth Day (April 22), I bought a few plants at the Gwinnett Tech plant sale, including a Plactranthus variety I had never seen before, or even heard of. It was not labeled; one horticulture person told me it was "Australian", another said "Argentinian". Oh, well! I've pinched out two shoots and placed them in water, expecting them to root. The main plant is in a larger container on my patio. I'll take a picture and post it before long. Other plants from the sale - salvias and lavenders - await planting in my garden.

This morning, the Hoschton Farmers' Market kicked off its 2009 season and I bought a few plants there are well. If anyone local is reading this . . . . . I will pay up to $2 for a plant I like and am willing to go as "high" as $3 for a "must have" - beyond $3? Probably not, this year. On the way home, I stopped at the Braselton Antiques & Gardening Festival and did not buy a thing. The nearly identical geranium I had just bought in Hoschton for $3 (a very pretty pink!), was $6 in Braselton. Uh, no - thank you! I tried to find some Calibrachoa ("Million Bells"), but saw only hanging baskets of them, which did not interest me. One more stop: a local plant nursery. They had the perfect Calibrachoa: $1.49 each. I bought 3 of them.

Observation from this Master Gardener: the Hoschton Farmers' Market (every Saturday from 8:30 AM till noon or so) has plants for gardeners who want to grow stuff, the Braselton Antiques & Gardening Festival (an annual event) had plants for people who want to have a 'ready-made' garden, and the local nursery had a little of each. The $20 Tea Olive continues to play in my mind. If our temps go a bit down again - say, maybe low 70s - I may just go and get one!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

I have just had my first article accepted by and it is about . . . . gardening!

Go take a look at it, browse the SelfGrowth site and make good use of all it has to offer.

Happy gardening!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Angelonia is back!

Last year, the best annual in my garden was an Angelonia. For this season, I was determined that I would not be interested in any other annuals until I had found some Angelonia. Today - success! I went to the Forsyth County Master Gardener plant sale in Cumming, where they had lots of them, grown, I gathered, by "No Longer Bound", a drug and alcohol rehab center in the area. Great plants - if I had had more money with me, I might have bought more than 3. I also bought a new Salvia (officinalis aurea), of which I will post a picture as soon as it's a little bigger.

Joe-Pye Weed

When I bought that first gardening book, Georgia Gardener's Guide, by Erica Glasener and Walter Reeves, and started to make a list of the plants for the garden at my new house, Joe-Pye Weed, which until then I had never even heard of, was high on my list. Here it is, in mid-April 2009, coming back for its 4th year in my landscape. This plant, once it pops through the ground, is so vigerous that one can almost see it grow!
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Friday, April 17, 2009

Water in the Lake

Trust me, Lake Lanier looks fine! I crossed it twice today and the evidence is clear: the lake’s water level has been significantly improved by the spring rains. North Georgia rivers and streams are bubbling along nicely, filled to their banks, and the fishing is good all over the area. Or, at least there are plenty of attempts; results were not verified.

It was a pleasant drive through the mountains today, with brown mares and black cows in the fields, small farmhouses and old barns, rusty farm implements and an occasional cluster of Confederate flags. Tourist season has returned to the North Georgia mountains; Blue Ridge’s restaurants were doing a brisk business, Blairsville and Cleveland had traffic jams on the squares around their respective Courthouses, and Dahlonega was full of shoppers on this pretty Friday afternoon.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Yard of the Month - Yes!

In my fifth year of gardening in the country - gardening anywhere, really! - recognition has come my way. In a sub-division of nearly 700 houses, it's very difficult to pick a winner (I know - I used to be on the committee) and I would, personally, have a hard time declaring my garden the "best" this April, but I must say that all those years of early morning tilling, amending, planting and nourishing are beginning to show results. This corner of my garden is an example of what can be done with an empty plot of land, where most homeowners would be happy with a field of turf. The original border I had dug stopped at the end of the railroad ties. Then, my neighbor enclosed her yard with a white fence - for me an invitation to add another border! Today, underneath the YoM sign is a clump of Iris beginning to reach for the sun. On the right is a Sedum, with a Daisy to its left and another Sedum above it. Right above the sign is a Nandina that has grown enormously in just two years, and to the left above it an unidentified shrub that reached my garden as a hitchhiker in a gallon pot that contained another shrub, a few years ago. I had no idea then what it was (still don't), but the 6-incher is now an 8-footer and a most welcome presence in my garden. It provides shelter to a 3-year old Sage; a third Sedum, to its left, completes this micro landscape.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Lithodora diffusa

This Lithodora is a pretty, early bloomer in my garden. Small when acquired, in a 4" pot, it is now several feet across and makes a nice splash of color in early spring. More often used as a ground cover, I have this one as a single specimen, close to some Daylilies and Azaleas.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Viburnum Carlesii

Another sign of spring! I had been afraid that this Viburnum Carlesii had become a victim of Tuesday night's freeze, but apart from the leaves, which have not quite unfurled, looking a little ratty, it seems to be in good shape. Certainly a lovely flower in April, and the shrub is full of bud clusters. Another week, and you'll see it from miles away! O.K. - so, not 'miles", but certainly 'yards'!

Thyme in Bloom

After two very cold days, it's beginning to warm up again; today I spotted a Thyme in my garden that is bursting into bloom - a welcome indication that we will still have a spring this year.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Another Year, Another Freeze

It was not as bad this year as in 2007, but last night's freeze was just as unwelcome. It did cause damage to some of my plants, including a new Pineapple Sage (prematurely planted - what can I say?) and a dwarf Crape Myrtle, even though they were covered up, but most seem to have made it through just fine. One reason is that the temperature was just a few degrees below freezing (two years ago, it went down into the teens), and the other is that, March not having been as mild (read: "warm") as it was in 2007, not as much growth had taken place. So, minimal damage, from what I can see this afternoon. The best news is that there is not another freeze in the forecast - time to go and buy tomato plants!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Plants, Poems and Peace

Cheryle and Ray Maddox have 5 acres of peaceful loveliness in rural Northeast Georgia. As they were clearing the land of the property they bought 28 years ago, they found stones, and stones, and more stones - tons of them. They were all hauled up the gentle slopes, towards the house, where they were used to help terrace several ribbons of planting space, where Cheryle's herbs and writings now provide grace and beauty. Ray has installed raised beds farther down, where he grows onions, carrots, lettuce and other produce. Starting on April 25, the Maddoxes will be at the Hoschton Farmers' Market every Saturday with their wares, starting with the herbs.

Cheryle says she has no training as a writer, but writes "from the heart", with divine inspiration. In addition to incorporating her own words and biblical quotes on stones and tablets in her garden, she also publishes books, calendars and greeting cards. No web site, but if you come to the Hoschton Farmers' Market, you will meet her!