Get your garden questions answered and offer suggestions other than regular posting comments. If you want more personal contact or you have more in depth gardening questions and need answers, let Garden Daddy send you on your "Happy Garden Way" by offering you my comments.
Contact your Garden Daddy today:

Thursday, December 31, 2009


HELLO from your Garden Daddy on this last day of 2009! I am dreaming of spring already and looking to have this garden home ready for a healthy and renewed look to the vegetable plot. The garden is in quite a state of slumber just now and I am thinking, planning and working already on the new vegetable area. My mind is full of the not to distant TN Master Gardener intern program just finished this past fall. I miss my fellow interns and the new friendships made there and the outlook to the January 2010 MG monthly meeting in a few days.
Today, being New Years Eve, I can only hope your next year meets your expectations and dreams. I have for many years stopped making any "resolutions" for change, upgrades, etc. I do not see the necessity to try to change the things I have done for years by way of promises I will probably not keep anyway. I DO try to make plans and get my ideas for the year in some order though. So in that, I make plans not resolutions.
I will leave you with this days short comments and tell you to have a safe and happy new year and I look forward to sharing my garden thoughts, activities and the renewed vegetable plot with the first break in this severe cold we are having now. It will be in the "teens" this next week and that will stop a lot of outdoor activity till maybe the first of February. But look for your Garden Daddy every week for some winter gardening advice, pruing schedules, etc. in the coming weeks. I leave you this last day of 2009 some sage words for the gardener in all of us: "There are many tired gardeners but I've seldom met old gardeners. I know many elderly gardeners but the majority are young at heart. Gardening simply does not allow one to be mentally old, because too many hopes and dreams are yet to be realized. The one absolute of gardeners is faith. Regardless of how bad past gardens have been, every gardener believes that next year's will be better. It is easy to age when there is nothing to believe in, nothing to hope for; gardeners, however, simply refuse to grow up."...Allan Armitag

Thursday, December 24, 2009


HELLO & MERRY CHRISTMAS from your Garden Daddy here at the garden home! Well the day is finally here we have waited for. But didn't it happen really fast this year? It seems it was just Labor Day in September and I was heading for Master Gardener classes. Then it was Halloween and the ghost were flying everywhere around the neighborhood. And then it was turkey day and Thanksgiving weekend with "Black Friday". Then I had the LANA Holiday Home Tour weekend and the great time that was, meeting and greeting and welcoming approximately 325 guests into my home.
Now it is Christmas Eve 2009. I had dinner guests last night for a non-traditional dinner of spaghetti with a wonderful Italian sausage sauce that I simmered for over 5-hours as I always do for my pasta sauces, a good cabbage slaw with onion, mayonnaise and lemon juice, black eyed peas cooked with some very-very lean pork tenderloin for seasoning and the "coup d'gras" was the homemade bread with softened butter. Dessert was some glazed apple loaf that came as a gift from a neighbors daughter. I spent the last few days catching up on my usual Holiday baking. 15-loaves of homemade bread, given to every neighbor on my block and behind me not only makes good gifts but the very gift of a loaf of homemade bread to me signals the sharing of our very basic and most human needs and I cherish the smiles when they see me coming every year now and knowing on Christmas morning they are making fresh cinnamon toast or even the odd turkey sandwich with some mayo and mustard, salt & pepper. The gift of basic bread. I have also made some very nice oatmeal cookies loaded with white chocolate chips, walnuts and dried cranberries. I baked my annual holiday peanut butter cookies as well. This is a little "recipe story" My sister-in-law (a.k.a. "life coach") told me last week of a friend of hers who asked for and got a recipe from Neiman-Marcus some time ago and they told her while she eating at their in-store cafe that the price would be $2.50 and she told them to just add it to her luncheon tab on her NM account card. When she got her statement the next month it showed a $250.00 charge on the bill. She called NM and inquired about the "mistake" on her statement. They told her "No, there was NO mistake". They billed her $250.00 for a copy of a recipe for a dessert she had been eating and they made it stick as well. So she decided to share the recipe with everyone on her Christmas card list, enclosing it with her Holiday greetings.
This time of year takes me back in time, not like my brothers speak of so often to the time when we 3-boys lived in North Alabama in our formative years but takes me back to the time I have always thought I SHOULD have lived...I have had thoughts this year of some future Holiday travel for me to go somewhere in England where they relive the Dickens years and experience "A Christmas Carol" recreated. I want to walk the snow lines streets where street vendors are selling their products from carts. Where the town folk are dressed in period style. Where I can see the "prize turkey hanging in the window still"! I will work on that.
I am looking forward now to the new year and to a new gardening season and hopefully by mid March I will be well on my way to the revamping of the vegetable garden and working to get that plot ready for the spring planting and design. I am already thinking and working on mental designs and cannot wait to get the house "undressed" from the Holidays and take time to settle in the rehab'ed sun room and working on that plan this winter.
But I leave you today with many thoughts on my mind but with the following for your pondering as your Christmas Garden Daddy affirmation: "I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach. "...Charles Dickens from "A Christmas Carol"
(BTW: If you click on the tree below it will open in a new window that shows flashing lights on the tree!)

Sunday, December 13, 2009


HELLO from your Garden Daddy and welcome back to the garden home! I apologize for my not being with you for many days. I have been very wrapped up with the now finished and very successful 2009 LANA Holiday Home Tour and the aftermath of that as well as hosting a few friends over on several occasions this past week. The house has never looked better and with much publicity before, during and after this tour I have not only been on the phone almost constantly but have been consulted for ideas, etc. from this garden home. I will share a photo from VIP Magazine that a professional photographer took one day here recently for the tour article on my home. This is looking down from the staircase over the living/dining area toward the front entry and porch, showing the table centerpiece of 3-dozen red roses.
But I am back and hopefully with only 12 days till Christmas Day and about 18 days till New Years I am counting on things rapidly returning to normal here and taking down the holiday madness here inside and out and getting on with my winter gardening and the preparation for the spring planting and revamping of my vegetable garden and some slight rehabs to the shade garden as well. I anxiously await the end of this holiday season more than usual I imagine due to the fact I have been dealing with it almost nonstop since about the 3rd week of August really and it is really time for it to be done and over with. I usually want it to last longer but not this year. I want to get my sun room undress with holiday fashions and get it in use for my much longed for reading & tea room this winter. And then just enjoy the fruits of my long, hard labor this past fall and just spend some time finally enjoying my home and doing it alone without all the rush, crowds and extensions of holiday fair that I have shared this year with so many people.
Okay, enough complaining about NOT having enough alone/down time right? So on with gardening for this time of year. For those of you who are avid gardeners you already know that one must mulch in this season, especially those tender perennials that need their "feet"kept warm. I cannot stress this enough. Pile it high-high-high on those tropicals you are trying to hold over and pray it works here in our unusual Zone 7 (really, Jackson, TN is in an unusual place here in Tennessee...we are almost at times Zone 8 during the summer and often end up a Zone 6 in winter).
Anyway, I will leave you today with this seasonal thought in mind: Remembering the "first gift of Christmas" was neither wrapped up with a bow nor trimmed with bright shiny tinsel nor decorated with candles and was dressed in rough, hand weaved cloth, laying on prickly hay and was crying for HIS Mother. A divine night, before the break of a new and glorious 'morn. Remembering the first gift of Christmas...(tmm)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


HELLO from your Garden Daddy at the garden home! Today in the neighborhood we had a city-wide "sweep" where city officials come down each street & alley and look at yards, homes, alleyways and side streets looking for homes in disrepair, neglected yards, vehicles on blocks/abandoned, etc. I introduced myself to 3 of the gentlemen who were roaming the area and talked to them about some issues as I see them in this area. They were happy to have some insight from local homeowners, and since I am our newly assigned L.A.N.A. block captain I felt it was important to meet these guys doing this "sweep" and give and get input. Both things took place as I had wanted it to.
I was able to take a few minutes, a VERY FEW minutes, and get outside today and at least look at my garden in the back of my house. I have so many plans for that area but with everything going on for the next few weeks, almost until Christmas day itself, all I had opportunity to do was just take a look and do about 5-minutes of pine straw raking. I have 6-large, very old pine trees in my back yard lined up like little tin soldiers. They are old and tall and sway when the wind blows but I love the straw they leave in the fall for the great natural mulch it makes and the shade they provide for my azaleas and ferns in my deep shade garden. Plus they make a good line in the break in between my neighbor and myself, blocking our roof views somewhat.
I am working on the final preparations for the L.A.N.A. Holiday Home Tour this coming weekend and when it is over I plan to sleep late the days I do not have to work next week and then prepare for the holidays to arrive with gift wrapping and some light baking and making my own holiday one of peace and quiet for awhile.
Till our next time together I want to leave you with the following gardening affirmation:
"For me, gardening is a form of prayer. Most people have an awareness of life and death, but few have an an awareness of life, death, and life again. Gardeners do though. " by Kaya McLaren