Monday, March 6, 2017

Love Those Camellias


Years ago when I lived in Indiana, I purchased two small camellias. They were very pretty and I had great hopes for them. I grew them in pots and then moved them into my greenhouse for winter due to the zone being wrong for them. They did well for several years, but then I lost both of them.

                                                  

When we purchased our new home in North Carolina, I was happy to have several mature camellias  growing in our landscape. Each year around November, December and January they bloom. It is wonderful to have something blooming during that time of the year.

Camellias are shade loving, small shrubs or trees. They come in a wide variety of bloom colors. I have white and pink, but just added yellow and red and I would like to continue to add more to my Japanese garden. Depending on the variety, they bloom in early spring or late fall and winter. Camellias are long lived and have glossy green foliage that stays on the plant. They grow in zones 7 to 10, but there are a few camellias for zone 6. They need slightly acidic soil that is well drained and they need good watering till they are well established. They prefer morning sun and dabbled afternoon sun. If you live in zones 8 to 10, plant in the fall and if you live in zones 6 to 7 plant in the spring. Prune after your camellia blooms. Beware they can have some illness issues like petal blight, leaf gall, bud drop, dieback or tea scale. I currently have one with tea scale and I will need to spray it with a horticultural oil. Even with these few illness issues, they are worth having.



The next big project in my garden will be adding drip irrigation for the rose beds, adding the train track to the train garden and adding a small greenhouse for seed propagation. You may want to check back for updates on these fun projects.

Happy Gardening!

Debbie

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Winter Blooms - The Amaryllis


During the winter, there is that time when people who like to garden start missing flowers in their lives. That need to have something green and growing makes the winter seem shorter if you can grow inside. If you want some blooms back in your life, grow an Amaryllis. Around Christmas they are easy to find in the stores for gift giving and you can pick up some very good deals on them right after Christmas. Many people grow them and after they are done blooming, discard them. Keep that bulb for another year of enjoyment. Here is how you do it.
  1. After the bloom is gone you can remove the bloom stalk. Cut it within an inch of the bulb.
  2. Continue to grow the plant during the spring and summer. Fertilize it with a indoor liquid fertilizer on a regular bases. Your plant will make additional leaves during this time and it will be storing energy back into the bulb. I like to put my Amaryllis outside on the porch in indirect light for the summer.
  3. In late August, start cutting back on water. You will notice that the plants leaves will start turning yellow and die. The bulb will be just fine. Stop all watering. Remove the dead leaves.
  4. Store the dormant bulb in a cool dark place for at least 8 weeks. Your bulb is now resting.
  5. Replant the bulb in fresh potting soil about 5 to 6 weeks from the time you would like to see it bloom again. I like my Amaryllis to bloom in January or February when I am getting tired of snow and cold weather and need some blooms in my life.

6. Start watering again. As the bloom stalk starts to grow you may need to stake it because of the weight of the blooms. Keep the plant in indirect light. As it grows, turn the container to keep the stalk growing straight and not towards the light. In 5 to 8 weeks you will be enjoying your blooms for another year.

If you enjoy growing Amaryllis, start a collection. There are many different bloom colors and types from double blooms to very unusual blooms.

Happy Gardening!

Debbie

I have been out working in the garden and it is exciting to see life coming back to the garden. After last years drought it is nice to know that all that watering was worth it!

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Life is Finally Slowing Down



The last time that I blogged was back in August 2016. With the move from Indiana to North Carolina, I have been busy remodeling the house, working on my North Carolina Master Gardener, volunteering, writing for the magazine and enlarging the garden. Everything has kept me very busy. I am now a North Carolina Master Gardener and I have completed the inside remodeling of the house and I hope that I do not see a paint brush for awhile.

The garden is now three times larger than it was and I have spent the winter doing all of the hardscape. Being from the north, the cold weather of 30 to 40 degrees is wonderful for moving gravel and mulch than the heat of the summer in North Carolina. My next big project is installing drip irrigation in the garden. Due to the summer heat and last years drought, my garden really could use drip irrigation and save me the time of dragging garden hoses around.

Other things that happened during the last few months was that I became a Rose Judge at Biltmore for the International Rose Trials. I really enjoyed myself and I felt very honored to have the opportunity to judge at Biltmore Estate. I will keep you updated on the 2017 Rose Trails. It should be exciting.

Another exciting event that happened in November and lasted nearly a month, was the Party Rock Fire here in Lake Lure, North Carolina. We had to leave our home for 11 days when the fires approached our neighborhood. It was very scary and I hope that I never see another fire again. The cost was 7.8 million to put it out and a month of smoke.

Here are a few pictures that I took of the fire.









Now that I have everything complete with the house, I can now enjoy gardening, volunteering and writing again. Check back for more at Garden Thyme with the Creative Gardener.

Happy Gardening!

Debbie

Sunday, August 7, 2016

The Art of Bonsai


I recently posted that I had visited the North Carolina Arboretum. My favorite part of the Arboretum was seeing the Bonsai Collection. I find the art of creating a tree to miniature, recreating a miniature landscape and caring for that tree for generations to be very interesting. Here are just some of the bonsai trees in the North Carolina Arboretum collection. I hope you find them as beautiful as I did.

For those of you who are new to the term Bonsai, it translates to tree-in-a-pot. It is an art form of creating a miniature tree that would in nature be full size. Bonsai started in China then moved to Japan and other countries. When their are several trees in a container, miniature landscape or nature scene, it is called Penjing or "landscape in a tray". You will see examples of both in the pictures.














If you are ever in North Carolina, stop by the North Carolina Arboretum and spend the day. You will enjoy it.

Happy Gardening!

Debbie

I just returned from a short trip to Florida. On the way back home we stopped at a bonsai store and guess who returned home with a small bonsai? Me! I have got the bonsai bug for more!!!!

Sunday, July 17, 2016

A Visit to The North Carolina Arboretum


This week I had the opportunity to visit The North Carolina Arboretum. If you are ever in Asheville, North Carolina, you should stop by and visit. The gardens are very nice and you can spend about two hours looking around the gardens. Some of the areas in the Arboretum that you will want to see are the Quilt Garden, National Native Azalea Collection, Heritage Garden, Stream Garden, Bonsai Garden and several other gardens. My favorites were the Bonsai Garden and the Quilt Garden. The Arboretum has many pieces of very nice art work throughout the gardens to enjoy.

Here is a  photo tour of The North Carolina Arboretum for you to enjoy.



I really like this shed with the green roof, rain barrel and rain chain.






One of my favorite gardens was the Bonsai Garden. They have a beautiful collection of Bonsai trees in a Japanese inspired garden.


Frederick Law Olmsted




This was my other favorite garden. This is the Quilt Garden and if you look you will see that each bed is a butterfly created from plants. Do you see the butterflies?


The gardens have some very beautiful gates and arbors that were designed by many different artist.



That is the tour of The North Carolina Arboretum and I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. Check back for a post on the Bonsai collection at The North Carolina Arboretum. The collection was beautiful!

Happy Gardening!
Debbie



Saturday, June 25, 2016

Critters, Drought and Gardening

Deer damage to a hosta plant.
Gardening this year has been interesting. I have been spending time working on the hardscape and planting additional plants to fill out the garden. I had great expectations for the garden this year and I hoped I would see blooms and good growth, but Mother Nature has not been helping.

The area that I live in is a thermal belt with cooler summers and warmer winters and normally 56 inches of rain per year. That works out to be 1 inch plus per week. Not this year. Spring did not bring lots of rain and my plants did not grow as tall as they should have. We are now in a moderate drought and each day they forecast rain, but it just does not come. The temperature and humidity is really high and it is not pleasant to be outside. I have been watering to keep the garden alive.

The deer have found my garden and one deer did lots of damage to hostas, lilies, roses, hydrangeas and containers of annuals. I am now spraying the garden to keep the deer out. The pictures show the deer damage to my plants.

Deer damage to my container and oakleaf hydrangea.


No lilies this year!

Deer damage to my rose garden.


I was very happy that my tomatoes were doing very well. They are located in containers on the second floor deck. I have squirrels who has found the tomatoes and they have been eating on them.

Squirrel damage
Then came the tomato hornworms. They found the tomatoes and have been feasting on the vines.

Tomato hornworms

A very large tomato hornworm enjoying my heirloom tomatoes. This hornworm is about 5 inches long.

This is what tomato hornworms do to your tomato vines.

I am trying to have a positive attitude about the garden. I know during drought, that animals need food and my garden provided that. I know that if I keep watering the garden, it will survive and that there is always next year for those blooms.

I am now spraying the plants to keep the deer away and it seems to be working. I am using a product that is all natural called Deer Out.  The hornworms are another story. They are hand picked and given a toss down the mountain!

Happy Gardening!

Debbie