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Saturday, October 31, 2009


Welcome back to Garden Daddy! Thursday, 10/29/2009, our MG intern class had a 3-hour class period on "Vegetable Gardening". I was especially interested in this class and had been looking forward to it for a long time. We had a power-point show via laptop and an experienced Master Gardener who evidently has had quite a vegetable garden background. He was also one of the MG's who attended the UT "winter school" I mentioned in earlier post that agrees to go to the training in exchange agreement to teach classes on the subject for future groups. I am also interested in this a little, very little really. I am not much one for "up in front of groups" but would not mind doing a workshop on something like building compost bins, trellises, etc. The class was full of information regarding certain varieties of the different groups of vegetables for our area, what to plant in spring & fall gardens and some in depth discussion about starting your plants from seeds, transplanting and then "hardening off" to set out then into the garden itself.
I appreciate all the prep time this gentleman took and appreciated his enthusiasm in the whole process of the Master Gardener program. He is a 10-year veteran of the MG program and in that of course with his friendships and learning from others as well in the program has the background to conduct such a class. My hat is off to "Mr. G."!
On to other news here in the garden home. Time is not standing still where I am for the LANA Holiday Home Tour. I am marching on to the 7th & largest and most time consuming tree that is in the living room. After that tree is done I will "dress" the staircase then go ahead and dress the sideboard, buffet, etc. and do everything but set the table. I will wait till a little closer to time to prevent so much dust from accumulating. Oh yes and as soon as fresh trees are available I will get my frasier fir and cut up for the fresh greens for the mantle and front entryway and around the house, etc. When I get the living room finished, & the tree alone takes many-many days to complete, I will be moving to the last room in the half-story upstairs.
That room is currently holding all the boxes I have pulled from attic storage to rummage through all the Christmas goodies to put out and just now is a horrendous mess. But as soon as I can get the last tree up and done up there I can finish it all and then "dress" that bed and room and finish it off and then basically take it a little easier on the rush. Earlier this week I received my official "kick off invitation" for a lite brunch meeting to turn in my historical information, ask questions and the like. Little does the committee know but I have already completely written my entire home tour booklet information. It may not be what they want, but I looked over some from past years and went with my gut instinct. A little long but then some are so short and I wanted to pass on as much history as possible in the space I had.
The weekend of the tour will be quite busy and I am almost looking forward to the "peace that cometh" after the fact! On Friday night, there is the "Lighting of Campbell St Lake with Santa & music usually then followed by a 2-hour candlelight tour of homes. Then on Saturday morning there is a Holiday luncheon for all tour participants then at 1pm till 5pm another tour of homes. Then on Sunday from 1 to 5 pm the Tour of Homes again, followed at 6pm by a reception at Lambuth Memorial Church and then a Candlelight service at the same. I am very excited at it all but often overwhelmed just the same. I am not one for much "spotlight" really but I will not be the one this case this wonderful, old house I call HOME!
So I leave you this Halloween day with the following thoughts: ~ HALLOWEEN ~By Harry Behn "Tonight is the night When dead leaves fly Like witches on switches Across the sky,When elf and sprite Flit through the night On a moony sheen.Tonight is the night When leaves make a sound Like a gnome in his home Under the ground,When spooks and trolls Creep out of holes Mossy and green.Tonight is the night When pumpkins stare Through sheaves and leaves Everywhere,When ghouls and ghost And goblin host Dance round their queen.It's Halloween."

Thursday, October 29, 2009


GREETINGS! I am doing a post to give you a quick look at the new paint with door completion and new house numbers (first time in 3-years to have house #'s) to match the antique copper look of the mailbox and new doorbell. Do not be "real time" this RED is really a beautiful Paprika, brick color along with the chocolate brown, moss green door with the Paprika highlight in the door surround. You can see as well the new, traditional "slate gray" porch paint and steps. I also added reflective house numbers to the curb-side steps up from the sidewalk for ease of location in case of emergency, etc. I used a construction adhesive and some inexpensive 3-D reflective house numbers from my local "big box hardware store", found my center line, added the middle number and worked from there.

And you will not believe the next project I have decided I must do. I have been concerned about my refrigerator, often making noises, leaking water from underneath and collecting moisture around the seal. My middle brother suggested I try to replace the seal but after checking with some appliance "experts" again at my local home improvement store where I work part time, found out that one cannot purchase the seal alone WITHOUT the refrigerator to go with it! I remarked to the "expert" I did NOT find that amusing (really it was though). My current fridge is a 15cu.ft unit, so yesterday afternoon, Wednesday, I proceeded to demolish the cabinet above my fridge. I first removed the doors and hardware. Next I made some cuts with my reciprocating saw in what I thought were some key holding spots for supports. Then I proceeded to hammer some of the front trim boards off, then cutting through the corner trim. I only wanted to remove the lower shelving unit, keeping the upper part as an open display to make the cabinet look more customized to fit the situation. So after some additional trimming out, spackling, sanding and painting both last night and up again this morning at 4:30am and working it again, I have made a larger opening to fit a new fridge that I will order today after my Master Gardener intern class. I will have to install an ice maker supply line but I already know how to do that and run it from under the sink connection, through the lower cabinets and behind the stove and over to the new fridge. The unit I have picked out has a 9.9-cu.ft freezer (a side-by-side model) that since I do not have room for a stand alone freezer will give me so much more freezer space for my homegrown vegetables next summer. I gave so much away this summer and when this all comes together like I hope it will, I should have enough space to make much more soup mix, tomato sauce, frozen squash and anything else I can squeeze into my little patch next year after the garden revamp I plan over the winter. I think I can freeze enough both produce and "meat on sale" to keep myself almost all next winter season. Below is after I cut the shelf out and when it was finished, painted and trimmed out again. to grow!
WHEW.....I am almost worn out just thinking about all the projects I have been able to accomplish this year here at the garden home. One of my brothers & I are thinking I should consider moving this house on to another owner and looking for some smaller home with some larger tract of land to spread out my gardening and produce production, adding my long awaited chicken house, HIS GOATS he wants for cheese making, and the chance to move to more open spaces to make "the dream" come true! Only time will tell. Some of my neighbors have suggested bodily harm to me if they see a "FOR SALE" sign go up in my yard.
I must leave you today and head to MG class. So I will give you this as your gardening affirmation for today: "Nature's first green is gold,Her hardest hue to hold,Her early leaf's a flower;But only so an hour.Then leaf subsides to leaf.So Eden sank to grief,So dawn goes down to day.Nothing gold can stay. " by Robert Frost

Monday, October 26, 2009


Greeting from the garden home! I apologize for being so long in talking with you these past few days. I have been extremely busy on the garden home in the preparation for the LANA Holiday Home Tour, another plug of course. I would like to share with you the last class of the Master Gardener intern class. This past Thursday, October 22nd, our class discussion and curriculum was on "tree fruit & home fruit production". When I say "home fruit production" I do not mean the processing after the fact but of the planning, planting and harvesting of your home grown fruits.
I learned more about fruit trees in 3-hours than I ever knew over the past almost 56-years I have been around. It was a very interesting discussion with many questions from our group and much follow up. The slide show was thorough and covered when, where, how and why to prune your fruit trees. I also took about 2-pages of notes on the care and propagation of blueberries. I had special interest in this topic to pass on to my middle brother and sister-in-law (the "life coach") who have several-several plants on their lakeside home property.
On the garden home front, I have completed or almost completed today the painting of the outside of the house or at least all I will have time and opportunity to get done this winter I imagine. Especially before the home tour. But I must say that for me, I have never been so proud of the work I have been able to get done during this process. I often feel like everyday is the last I can go on...I toss and turn at night with fatigue and concern that I will forget something major to get done or repair or replace or just plain wear myself out. But again, and I know the saying, "pride goeth before a fall" is often true, but I am proud of my efforts to date. I have done construction work I never dreamed I could do and repaired things that I did not know I could do. And in that I feel some sense of satisfaction. I would like to say, "THANK YOU" to all of you followers who have believed in me and my efforts to pull this off and for the long time belief that sometimes there are some things that are worth a lot of work and this garden home is showing that belief and the love for this dear, old house and the history that has been lived here. I truly say again, "THANK YOU"!
I will leave you today and until later this week with your ongoing daily gardening affirmation: "GARDENING: ONE YARD AT A TIME!"

Sunday, October 18, 2009


HELLO FROM THE GARDEN HOME. On Thursday 10/15/09, the Master Gardener intern class studied "plant propagation" and the many facets that takes on. It was a thoroughly enjoyable class and reinforced some things I already knew and I learned some things I did not know. That has been the purpose of this endeavor for me in that I "THOUGHT" I knew something and even though I did know a little I did not know why what I did was working or not after my own trials, errors, setbacks and successes.
The ladies who taught our group had been in our places only two years ago and they had the opportunity to attend the University of Tennessee "Winter School" year before last. The idea behind that is the UT Ag County Extension offices are so backed up and overused and loaded with farming, timber, local 4-H projects that they needed more help than the employees could be found to fill all the needs of the offices. So UT decided that by using and training "our own" inside the MG program those needs could be met and hopefully educate the public and fill a huge gap in the process. So I will keep my eye out for some "Winter School"classes in the future that I might have interest in like composting, mulching, etc. and see what happens. Winter School is held in Lebanon, TN in the last of Feb. or first part of March every year.
Meanwhile on the home front of the garden home, my middle brother and his lovely wife, who I call my "life coach", were here Friday evening and all day yesterday, Saturday, to help me with some mechanical things in preparation for the LANA Holiday Home Tour, again Dec. 4-6, 2009. Again, sorry for the plug...oh well, sure I must brag, right?!?!?!? As anyone knows who has attempted to both wire and hold and hang a light all with only two hands it is nearly impossible or it is for me anyway. So the both of them were here to give their invaluable assistance in hanging 3-new interior light fixtures and on installing the porch ceiling fan. We also installed a new bathroom faucet and I installed the new kitchen faucet just before they arrived. A new door bell, both buzzer and chimes as they were still getting electricity but not ringing any more, was installed and now I have a working doorbell after 3-years. The buzzer even has a small light in the ringer. I no longer have to depend on the garden home guard dog for notification that someone is here for a visit. I think most of all I am going to enjoy the porch ceiling fan next summer. It is has a "Key West" feel to the style as does my whole exterior really which is what I am really going for. Since leaving Pensacola, FL to move here after 4-hurricanes and 2-tropical storms I still loved it there and wanted to stay but due to the continued storms and the rise in insurance cost it became prohibitive to remain so I did the next best thing and found this Arts & Crafts bungalow that LOOKED like Florida and moved in ASAP. From this point I will try to NOT include any photos of the garden home till after the Holiday Home Tour dates to encourage everyone to attend.
I hope you enjoy hearing about the Madison County Master Gardener intern program and please fee free to visit the UT Ag Research gardens anytime - FREE - here in Jackson, TN. It is located at the West Tennessee Research & Education Center on Airways & the Hwy 45 bypass, with entry on Airways. It is open every day available for tours as well in advance but you are free to "roam at will" and may even sneak a few seeds or pinch off a cutting or two so bring your "plant gathering kit" when you visit. All you turf nuts out there be sure to visit the "turf wagon wheel" posted (with photos) earlier in this site.
I leave you today not only with the temperature here this morning at 33-degrees at 6:30am, but with this thought today: "Thinking of cold weather makes me wonder what I will plant next spring and in dreaming of those first tomato plants sticking up just inches above the soil and dreaming of that first, fresh, crisp tomato sandwich...with salt, pepper and a slice of cheese with mayo....and just put on another layer to keep warm for now!"

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


HELLO FROM YOUR GARDEN DADDY! I would like to share with you the intern session we had yesterday. It started out with "soil water", then we went to composting, which of course I really enjoyed but was rushed through due to time allotment. Then we learned about fertilizer, waster gardening (NOT bogs) and rain barrels.
I am interested in the rain barrel aspect as well as the composting. I have the composting aspect down pretty well if you are a regular follower. I have instructions as well as a photo of the one I built this summer lower on this site. But I have not really a problem but well I have NO gutters on this garden home. I understand that was pretty standard on Arts & Crafts homes. So I had already done some investigating into the use of rain barrels for garden watering. There are many-many websites on the subject and many opinions and advice-givers on the right and wrong way to do this project. But really is there any wrong way anyway as what is right for one is not for another. And being the rogue (sorry, Sara Palin) gardener and mostly doing it "MY WAY" (sorry again, Elvis) anyway, I find that when I really think of a thing long enough I find what is best for ME, MYSELF & I.
I will also share, with permission, my youngest brother's vision for his near-future home which includes the capture of rain run off as his entire water use source. His extraordinary vision of his earth ship, or as I call it "the MOTHER SHIP", is to build with recycled building materials gathered or as his website calls it "GLEANED" from building sites, dumpster diving, roadside throwaways and the like. His website,, and his wonderful sense of recycling and re-use of discarded materials not only saves so much money but look at what we as Master Gardeners who love the earth and soil (not DIRT, but SOIL!) could save from our local landfills by doing our own gleaning of our backyards, gardens and neighborhood trash sites. Like my 3-bay compost bin was made from 7-recycled, reclaimed shipping pallets that were going to be otherwise discarded. I have added another shot of it here due to the class yesterday and someone might want a new idea of what I did. I am very proud of the finished product and will be happy to help anyone build theirs if needed or give what pointers I can. I am very passionate about using compost in my garden home and sharing the idea(s) with others.
I will leave you today with the following idea in mind: What if you put your extra vegetables from YOUR garden home to good use and do "pre-gleaning" next summer and provide some fresh vegetables for our local soup kitchen, The RIFA Soup Kitchen? Look for chances to give your food to others. Or give anything you no longer want or need to others for their gleaning. Like donations of leftover materials to the Habitat Re-Store, etc. Give to get - to get the feeling like your leftovers and needless surplus are put to very good use.

Monday, October 12, 2009


HELLO FROM THE GARDEN HOME! I would like to catch you up to date on the happenings in the MG program. First of all, last Thursday was this Garden Daddy's turn to bring the food for the program and I am attaching a photo of my "spread" I provided. It seemed to be a pretty good hit and I made the table complete with an arrangement in a ceramic pumpkin which included a lovely burgundy millet, some orange New Zealand sedge, some curly willow (corkscrew willow) and some mixed blooms and buds of some reddish-orange and pale butter yellow/white dahlias. The best part about this "living arrangement" was that I grew everything in the container. Everything was not grown in the pumpkin but the plants came from here in the garden home.

The class program for 10/08/09 was on "Gardening With Herbaceous Ornamentals". We ran quickly over approximately (+/-) 159 slides regarding different herbaceous ornamentals. We discussed the difference in annuals, perennials, biennials & "tender perennials". I am learning so much I did not know and thought I did. Our various instructors have been both qualified and informative and I appreciate the time, experience, dedication and knowledge being shared with myself and I know many others feel the same way.
One thing about being associated with so many gardeners is the PLANT SWAPS...everyone seems to have plants to share and it has me thinking several things. I either need another house (haha!!) or sell this one and buy another with more land in the country with one, two or up to 5 acres that I can expand my new gardening ideas and knowledge. One good thing about the upgrades on this garden home is the fact that I would be able to sell better and faster now than before this major work I have been doing in preparation for the LANA Holiday Home Tour, December 4-6, 2009. Sorry for the plug! Yes, I see I need more space and I have plans in mind now for the complete reworking of my vegetable area of my garden. I have come up with a good design for a completely fenced in area with a nice Gothic fence surround and gate down by the compost bin. But I definitely need more room. So if anyone of you followers want to buy a c.1922-23 Arts & Crafts home let me know or to swap small house and acreage for in-town living.
So, I leave you this day with the rehab & redressing of my sun room finished, which if I ever get the home tour behind me I will thoroughly enjoy soon I hope. It looks like one should have a good pot of hot tea and shortbread there and a good gardening book. And I leave you with today's garden thoughts: "As the sun fades deep on the horizon and the birds are heading South and I see pumpkins adorning 'lawnscapes' where bales of hay and mums abound...I think of my youth and days on the farm in N. Alabama and of the red mule and wagons of hay and stalks of dried corn and the potato harvest. And then just smile...& remember!"

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


HELLO FROM THE GARDEN HOME! I would like to share some happenings in the Certified Master Gardeners program to date. Last week we had two classes. Tuesday we worked on "woody ornamentals" & Thursday we studied "lawn management". I am learning so much I did not realize I DID NOT KNOW and hopefully can put to good use in the future. Both classes were interesting but being a "turf zealot" I really enjoyed the lawn management time spent. After the classroom/book session, we let out and reconvened out at WTREC at the "Turf Wagon Wheel" for a look at different turf grasses and how well they grow in our area. By far, the "Bermuda's" are the real #1 here in the Mid South. But it just so happens that the Jackson, TN area is in a zone all alone. It appears we are in an area that has some special circumstances as far as weather is concerned and the temps we experience. We are often out of the norm for our area and now I know why. My favorite of all though is the "Zoysia" varieties. But this garden home has a large stand of "Centipede" in the front and it is doing very-very well here in our Zone #7!
Then I had the opportunity to attend a seminar on "orchids: dividing & re-potting" on Saturday at the pavilion at WTREC. Approximately 8 folks attended and I REALLY learned about orchids, growing, KILLING THEM, and the such. I have never grown orchids but sure might now that I am not afraid of them now and know they are tougher than I thought. I asked a lot of questions and had an enjoyable time as well. Three of us men stayed after the seminar and looked at some seed pods around the area we were in and I brought a few seed pods home. Two of us plan to meet soon there and do a "seed gathering day" for some special varieties we are interested in for our home gardens. I have seen some I would truly like to add to this garden home. And I have already shared some special "orchid-type" lilies and some cosmos seeds with some of the ladies in my group as well as some of the "California fuchsia" I have that is a lovely yellow, trumpet bloom shaped semi-shade plant.

I would like to say I appreciate your patience while I am working here at the garden home on the physical structure. Things are a little slow in the actual garden, except that I have much I really need to be doing but I am on a schedule just now to get a certain amount of work done in a certain time and MUST be completed on time and done well!
So I will leave you today and let you think on this fall poem called "Autumn Color": Jack Frost paints a portrait of beauty With colors so vivid and bright; It's framed with a purple misty haze And draped in a frosty night. Big, fat, bright orange pumpkins Nestle snugly among shocks of corn; Leaves flutter silently earthward; Ice sparkles like glass in the dawn. The nuts drop softly upon the ground, Leaves fall and hide them there; Squirrels work away industriously, Their winter store to prepare. A pale harvest moon sails serenely Across a star-studded sky, And smiles on a world full of color Since Jack Frost has just passed by.~unknown~


HELLO FROM THE GARDEN HOME! I want to update my followers on the finished floor today before I do a post on the Master Gardeners. I am showing some shots of the additional floor damage on the exterior wall in my office/guest room. And also the finished product of which I am very proud as it was quite an undertaking. So have a good day and look for a later posting on the doings of the MG's on an update later today.

Monday, October 5, 2009


I would like to apologize for my absence for a few days. After finishing the flooring rehab here at the garden home and trying over the weekend to reconnect my Internet system my cable connection has been out. Evidently I (SORRY!) pulled the cable too hard when reworking the junction box to go behind the new trim & I pulled the connection wires loose in the box internally. SO SORRY!
But now the floor is finished and things are slowly going back into place little by little and cleaning has begun and furniture placement being changed to prepare for the first Christmas trees to go up in the house. But I am really excited at the enjoyment being had by all in the intern class of the Master Gardeners. And also the added training and monthly MG meetings I have been attending. I have photos to add for your pleasure about things and happenings with the group.
I also have some updates for you around the garden here as well. Time is out for this posting and I must get to other business for now. But I will be back with you tomorrow and have some photos for everyone to see and stories about the happenings with my Master Gardener classes.
So as always just remember your daily gardening affirmation: "GARDENING: ONE YARD AT A TIME!"