Wednesday, May 20, 2015

The Beginnings of a New Garden

In my last blog post, I mentioned that a new garden was on the horizon. I am doing the one thing that I said I would never do - Move. After spending years starting a garden from scratch, the home that was to be the retirement home is now not going to be the retirement home. We decided to move from Indiana to a warmer climate. I did not want to go as far as Florida, because it is hot and I could not grow many of my favorite plants that I enjoy in my current zone. We decided on moving to a part of North Carolina that we had visited before and had enjoyed. We started looking for houses and found the house that was perfect for us. I didn't know if it had a garden or not and after some research on the Internet I found some information that said the house had an "English Garden". I was thrilled and when we went to see the house the first thing I did was to go looking for the garden. It was everything I could have wanted in maturity and variety of trees and shrubs. The bones for a great garden were there and I was happy.

 I will need to change my gardening practices some. The garden is on the side of a mountain ridge and it is up and down hill where my current garden is flat land. The zone is different and in a thermal belt which will give me a longer growing season that I don't have in Indiana. In Indiana, I only have squirrels for pest and now I have deer, bear and a few poisonous snakes. My soil in the new garden is also clay, rock and more for acid loving plants than my silt soil along the river in my current garden in Indiana. I now can grow plants that I could not grow in Indiana, but still grow many of my favorite plants in the new garden. Here are a few pictures of the new garden that were taken on the coldest record breaking day in North Carolina this year.

Steps down to the garden.

Some of the new plants that I will be growing and that are in this garden are camellias, azaleas,
crepe myrtles, summersweets, pieris, Oregon grape holly, mountain laurel, Carolina jasmine, rhododendrons, hollies and much more. Each time I see the new garden, I discover new
plants that I was not able to identify on previous visits.

I plan to add a stream bed and pond in the future on the slope going down to the garden and in the lower part of the garden as seen in the picture above. I also would like to add a stairway down the slope to the garden. It will all come with time.

 Did I mention the view from the garden? If you look at the picture above, that's the view.

The garden is now starting to show color.


I look forward to working in the new garden, but I realize that it could be sometime before I can move plants from Indiana to North Carolina. Due to temperature differences, weather and not being able to keep new plants watered, the garden plants will need to stay potted up and in Indiana. That will give me time to design, clean up and weed. Timing will be everything! I currently have multiple plans on how everything will play out and now, I just wait.

Check back for future updates on the move and the new garden. My next post will be on how you prepare to move garden plants for starting a new garden.

Happy Gardening!


Thursday, April 30, 2015

What's New in Water Features

One of my favorite additions to a garden is some type of a water feature. Water features bring in wildlife and they add a peaceful tranquil feel to a garden. I am always taking pictures of water features and here are some new ideas from this years Indianapolis Flower and Patio Show. Enjoy!

Yes, this is made of layers of stained glass. Love the colors!

I hope you enjoyed the photos and that you found an idea that you can use for your garden. Check back for future postings because lots of changes are going on and a new garden is on the horizon. More to come!

Happy Gardening!


Wednesday, March 25, 2015

A Visit to the Indianapolis Flower and Patio Show

I made my annual trip to the Indianapolis Flower and Patio Show this past week. I really enjoyed the show and I found the gardens to be exceptional in design, color and ideas this year. Here are a few pictures of the show that I think you will enjoy.

This fountain was made of pieces of stained glass.

I love this table which was made with a tree stump and a piece of glass. The stump is upside down with the root system supporting the glass.

This was a really beautiful train garden!

A recycled pallet chair.

Lamps turned into a fountain.

I hope you enjoyed the pictures from the Indianapolis Flower and Patio Show.

Happy Gardening!


Tuesday, March 10, 2015

The Flowering Bridge

Recently, I had the opportunity to go down to Lake Lure, North Carolina for a few days of vacation. We had hoped to leave Indianapolis and go south for slightly warmer weather. Instead we arrived on one of the coldest days on record. Even as cold as it was, we still enjoyed ourselves and the beauty of the area with it's mountains.
While we were there, we took a walk across the Lake Lure Flowering Bridge. The gardens were down for the year, but as a gardener it was easy to identify what plants were planted there. The Lake Lure Flowering Bridge is a really cleaver idea. The bridge was built in 1925, but after years of service it was closed in 2011. A group was formed called the "Friends of the Lake Lure Flowering Bridge" and they created a garden on top of the old bridge for the public to enjoy. The garden was made by building raised beds along the length of the 155 foot bridge and planting with shrubs, trees, annuals and perennials.
All of the gardens on the bridge are maintained by volunteers. They have done a wonderful job in reusing a historical bridge, creating something beautiful and making a wonderful garden to visit and enjoy. If you ever go to North Carolina, stop in and smell the flowers on the Lake Lure Flowering Bridge.
Happy Gardening!
If you would like to learn more about the Lake Lure Flowering Bridge go to

Sunday, February 15, 2015

It's a Sweet Shrub - Carolina allspice

About seven years ago, I planted two Carolina allspice shrubs in my garden. I had seen this shrub in another garden and really liked the unusual looking flowers that appeared in summer. Carolina allspice or Calycanthus floridus is a deciduous shrub that grows about 6 to 9 feet tall and  wide. It grows in zones 4 to 9 and it produces beautiful purple-red flowers that smell very fragrant and spicy. The blooms appear from April to July. The shrub has dark green leaves that are slightly rough to the touch.
Calycanthus or Carolina allspice is a Southeastern United States native shrub that prefers a sunny location in the garden but can tolerate part shade. It is a low maintenance plant that can survive in clay soil, has no serious insect or disease issues and the deer will leave it alone. It makes a great specimen plant around patio or entrance doors, due to the wonderful fragrant smell of the flowers that smell like a combination of pineapple, strawberry or banana. This shrub also goes by several different common names such as sweet bubby, sweet Betsy, spicebush, strawberry-bush and sweetshrub. What do I think about this shrub? It's a sweet shrub for the garden!

Happy Gardening!


Thursday, January 22, 2015

Growing Bearded Iris in the Garden

One of my favorite spring blooming plants is the Bearded Iris. It is easy to grow and produces lots of beautiful flowers to enjoy. The iris has a thick fleshy root called a "rhizome". When you purchase an iris, it will be planted in a container and growing or you can purchase it in a plastic bag where you have just the rhizome. The rhizome will be clipped of roots, leaves and has been cleaned. If you purchase it in a bag, feel the rhizome to make sure that it is not soft or dried out. Once you have your iris rhizome, plant it in well drained soil and in a sunny spot in your garden. If you prepare your garden bed for planting iris, make sure that the soil has been turned to a depth of 10 inches and prepare the bed several weeks ahead of planting. When you plant your rhizome, plant it close to the soil surface and if you are planting multiple rhizomes allow at least a foot in between each one. Bone meal and a fertilizer that is low in nitrogen works great for iris.
When your iris blooms, you will have flowers that are 6 to 8 inches in size and that are wonderful for cutting and enjoying inside the home. The flowers come in many colors from orange, purple, yellow, blue, black, white, red and all kinds of mixed colors. They bloom in late spring to early summer in zones 3-9 with the average height of 12 to 14 inches.
In about 2 to 3 years you may need to divide your rhizomes which should be done about 1 to 2 months after blooming. When you divide your iris, remove dead areas and replant the fresh hard rhizomes. Always look for insect damage to the rhizome and treat if necessary. 
If you grow beardless iris, Siberian or Japanese iris, they will have slightly different cultural needs than the bearded iris. What the difference? Check back on future post and you can find out more on growing iris in the garden.
Happy Gardening!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Fothergilla for the Garden

This Dwarf Fothergilla or Fothergilla gardenia stays small in size for the garden.
Here is a shrub that I added to my garden several years ago. It was small when I planted it, but over the years it has grown and this past year bloomed. Dwarf Fothergilla or Fothergilla gardenia is a small round shrub that is slow growing to about 3 to 4 feet tall with a slightly wider spread than height. It is easy to care for and the only pruning you will need to do will be to remove damaged or dead limbs. It blooms in April with these very fragrant, unusual looking flowers. After it blooms the leaves stay green until they turn to beautiful shades of yellow, orange and red.

Fothergilla can grow in sun or partial shade. It grows in zones 5-9 and is deer resistant. It is a North America native and is related to the Witch Hazel family. It does require weekly watering if in dry conditions. It is a deciduous shrub that was named after John Fothergill, an English physician. There are lots of different varieties of Fothergilla in the nursery trade that range in many different sizes for the garden. It is a plant worth taking a look at for the seasonal interest that it can give your garden.

Happy Gardening!