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Sunday, January 31, 2010


HELLO again from your Garden Daddy here at the garden home! I would like to share some photos of a "winter visitor" that made a stop here at the garden home this weekend. I was so pleased to have him visit, wearing his straw hat with the Caribbean colored banding. It take me back to the "islands, Maan". Hope you enjoy and as always remember your daily gardening affirmation: "GARDENING: ONE YARD AT A TIME!"

Saturday, January 30, 2010


HELLO from your Garden Daddy here at the garden home! Well, what can I say other than, "BRRRRRR"! Deep winter with an 11" snowfall has enveloped this garden home in a drift of white, ice glazed snow this week. Starting Thursday evening, Jackson, TN has been enveloped in a deep freeze with first a freezing rain shower, then sleet then the addition of some 11-inches of snow followed by a light coating of additional freezing rain and sleet. My little garden guard dog, "Max", was having trouble making his daily trips into the back yard for his "fertilization projects" as the snow was so far up on his body that he was almost buried up to his back. Our morning walk was delayed until I could get the snow shovel and deicer out and make some paths down the sidewalk to the street level. Then I got the pup and we made a large circle around the neighborhood and he found satisfaction!
After our morning constitutional for "Max", I proceeded to clear off my truck and warm it up and deice the entire thing in case of emergencies of neighbors, etc. I have been chosen as my neighborhood association block captain and felt obligated to check on the conditions of the elderly and folks that might be in need in my area. I cleared a few sidewalks for some of my seniors and chatted with neighbors and made sure everyone on "my watch" was safe and OK. Then upon finishing clearing my sidewalks, etc., here at the garden home, I proceeded to a hot shower and a hot tea.
When I woke up early this morning I turned on the television and caught part of the 90-day weather outlook on "AG DAY". It appears that our area of the country will see below average temps for the next 90-day period. I had been predicting the same, in part from The University of Tennessee information I received this past fall during my Master Gardener intern course, that we were in for a long, colder than usual winter but had been scoffed at by both friend and foe alike. But it now appears I was right in line with my UT comrades. This of course will delay some plantings for the spring veggie patch but might give us a milder summer in return which I will gladly swap anytime. My plans are still on paper for the revamped veggie patch and the back yard in general but there is enough time to implement the theory to practical application in the mean time.
I will leave you today with some photos of our lovely snow and these words for your winterized pleasure and your gardening affirmation: "Winter is on my head, but eternal spring is in my heart." Victor Hugo

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


HELLO from your Garden Daddy here at the garden home! Can you believe the speed that this first month of 2010 has shot on by. We are in the last week of this month and everyone already talking about Valentine's Day and Easter holidays along with spring break already. As for the energy here at the garden home, this month has been dedicated to clearing the house of the holiday decor and getting it stored back in the upstairs and attic space. I still have to move a bit into the attic it self and out of the 1/2-story "upper room" but at least the downstairs is completely Christmas free at this time as well as the exterior of this garden home. Whew - finally it is back to normal in here and I have been able to redecorate for normal living.
I have almost made a firm decision to NOT do all the holiday decorating I normally do next season and do a bit more on the outside since I will not be on the home tour for at least another 5+ years anyway and that way more of my neighborhood can enjoy seeing some ideas I have been developing since tearing down the decor for storage. I will still have the main living-dining room dressed to the hilt but will tone down and not even decorate most other rooms I think this next year.
As for now, this place in time, I am working every so often when we get a bright, warmish, sunny day like today for instance, to do a few things outside to keep this old place in some sort of respectability and keep the "curb appeal" at peak on a daily basis. Once one has set so high a standard as far as yard maintenance is concerned it is almost impossible to let ones guard down. This garden home has won yard awards for the past three (3) years since moving here and now the neighborhood (and my "fans" as it were) has come to expect that little extra zing on a regular basis. I had an old friend from Bolivar, TN visit me during the recent holiday home tour and she reminded me of something she always taught me and reminds me of: "Ninety-five percent of the people do ninety-five percent of the work, but the remaining five percent of the work that makes something a perfect 100% will make all the difference in the world. And you Mike make up that five percent". That always made me feel wonderful, especially coming from this mentor and friend but I never believed enough in myself to feel that 5% was in my make up!
Today I picked up branches, raked up some leaves back into the beds they are mulching and over-wintering in to cover the roots of my wonderful hydrangeas and other tender plants. I burned some of the branches and other paper trash in my chiminea on the back deck. I always add my ashes into the vegetable bed in the spring when I add my other nutrients before planting. I also dumped out some pots that had some now frozen palms, etc. in them and added that into my compost bays. I took the garden home guard dog for several walks today for him to enjoy the sun as well and we met some new neighbors on the next block down. We also visited a neighbor who had surgery on Monday morning as well. I added some artificial greenery to some urns out on the front porch to add some freshness to the front entry and basically spent the day in the yard and just doing winter maintenance and upkeep.
I will soon be adding the new picket fencing to the vegetable garden site and preparing the soil there to accept the addition of lime and other additives needed for summer production. Remember...lime (calcium) MUST be added 3 to 4 months in advance of planting your veggies in order for the lime pellets to be dissolved and build up in the soil.
With this thought I will leave you today and send you off into your warm, safe and winter hibernation time in your own garden home with our ongoing gardening affirmation: "GARDENING: ONE YARD AT A TIME!"

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


HELLO from your Garden Daddy here at the garden home! After many-many days of below freezing and even below ZERO temps here in Jackson, TN. we are in more normal, moderate and wet days, even above normal temps now. It has been at 60-degrees for the past 2-days and above to 61. Normal would be in the 40's to 50's. So you can see what I have mentioned in the past about Jackson being in weird Zones 6-8 combination here.
I have returned all the Christmas and holiday decor to storage in the attic and have added banners to the porch as my neighborhood association has adopted the holiday season of "Carnival" or "Mardi Gras" here in my part of town as our official association holiday! So I have festooned the porch with banners in colors of green, gold, purple and red in honor of this time of year to again participate and show support of my neighborhood.
I have been the receiver of a gleaning project of some picket fence panels for the wonderful price of just going to get them from the property where they are stored, along with enough 4" x 4" post to set them with. I am implementing my revamped garden plan and instead of using some temporary fencing I re-install every year to keep "Max" from chasing his squirrels into the garden and tearing up young plants or spoiling my garden areas with his daily "yard art", I am going to make a permanent separation between the turf areas and the veggie patch. I have already asked my middle brother, who is a wonderful wood burning/carving artist, to make me a nice sign for the gate that says something about "GARDEN DADDY'S HOME" or something along those lines. I also plan to put some kind of arch or some kind of main entrance that will be eye-catching as well as usable vertical gardening space at the entrance. I am working on the rest of the plan as time and weather will allow. I know that often in February, just after Valentine's Day, we often have some very mild weather and that is less than a month away now so I hope by mid or late February I have the fence laid out and some real idea and solid plans put to test/use for the newly designed vegetable garden here in the garden home.
But with mostly rain and wet and cold here that is my thought for you today. Keep your eyes on the mail for those garden and seed catalogs and start your list now to get supplies ordered early or mid February, no later than early March. I have decided this year to NOT make any mail orders for seeds or plants but to either buy locally or at least in my own area or at least my own state of Tennessee. Also, you veggie gardeners be sure to remember that any calcium you need to add to your garden in the way of lime needs to be worked into your garden soil or at least applied to the area some 3-4 months in advance. Most lime comes in a pelleted form and it takes several months for it to break down into a usable, soluble compound that can be taken up by your future tomatoes, eggplants, etc. So really February is none too early make this application with those ideas in mind. You know that often what is known as "blossom end rot" especially on tomatoes is caused mainly from a LACK of calcium (lime). Other causes are there but this is the most prevalent.
So I leave you this day with your gardening affirmation in mind and hope you stay warm and dry and dream of your blooms and fruits in the near future: "If you want to be happy for a lifetime, plant a garden!"...Anonymous

Friday, January 1, 2010


HAPPY NEW YEAR from your Garden Daddy here at the garden home! I cannot let the morning pass without saying that to you all. I will attempt to get out this morning and start removing the exterior decorations from the porch, shrubs and front yard and look to getting the organizers/totes down from the attic starting in the morning. I will go ahead and undress the dining table and remove the extension leaves to give more room to stair access for my many many trips to the 2nd floor storage. It is very cold here, about 27-degrees and I am just on the top side of a really bad chest infection with terrible laryngitis and sore throat so we will see.
I just want to say how much I have appreciated all that have followed this site in 2009 and hope you will look forward to this new year and a new gardening season that will follow soon. I plan some additional concrete castings of some leaves, etc., to enlarge and make a pathway off the main sidewalk around the side of the house on the driveway side this spring, using the tools and knowledge I learned during my intern classes and make this garden home more inviting and more of a conversation piece in the neighborhood and in preparation for making this also into a "teaching" garden for tours, etc., in the future. Many plans, many ideas and much to do - I guess that will be my "resolution" for this year.
I leave you this first day of 2010 with our original & ongoing gardening affirmation in mind: "GARDENING: One yard at a time!"