Sunday Morning Garden Chat: Cumberland Plateau

From dogged (I lost his original message) commentor HinTN:

Here up next to the Cumberland Plateau in southern middle Tennessee, we are blessed to live between two creeks. The deer are blessed as well, and their population is so out of control that they now make so bold as to come into the yard and munch everything in the garden. Zinnias and Mexican Sunflowers are about the only thing for which they (knocks on wood) don’t have a major taste.

Top pic is the flower garden approaching full bloom.

My zinnias and Mexican sunflowers. This one even has a butterfly in it.

I generally favor red zinnias but this year I took a flyer on yellow and I’m sold. They’ll be in the repertoire for the foreseeable future.

It’s definitely a country house when the “middle” is growed up in grass. This crape myrtle and four o’clock bed greet the newly arriving as they approach the house. The zinnias and kinetic sculpture are to the photographer’s right and the is immediately to the left up the drive.

Here’s a look from the front porch. The zinnia garden is just behind the internet dish. (My goodness is that service slow but it beat the dial-up we had for years. No Comcast out here and certainly no fiber like they’ve got in gig city.)

That’s the plateau rising up across the way. The big green bushy stuff at the end of the ramp is blue sage for hummingbirds on the left and lantana for butterflies on the right. It doesn’t really bloom until the cherry drops its leaves and allows it the full sun it needs to bloom.

What’s going on in your garden(s), this week?

Sunday Morning Garden Chat: Point of Stillness

From inspired gardener & commentor Gelfling 545:

I took this photo at 6 am Monday when I looked out to see if the rain had started. This old boy had run out of the house the night before and this is where I found him, meditating on the transcendent…and fish.


What’s going on in your garden(s), this week?

BJ jackal readership capture — Happy note for everyone touched by the news that Adam Serwer’s cat Butters had gone missing:

Funny how you can get emotional about a companion animal you’ve never met and almost certainly never will meet…

Sunday Morning Garden Chat: End-of-Summer Bounty

From commentor Heartland Liberal:

[Top photo] Varieties of tomatoes, grape and cherry, romas, heirlooms, with yellow habanero peppers and two read Carolina Reapers, which I can attest are weapons of mass destruction grade hot. Scrambled eggs with onion, peppers, and cheese, with a pile of the grape and cheery tomatoes, is a highlight this time of year, as are bacon lettuce and tomato sandwiches. For the latter, we have discovered that adding half an avocado makes a really great sandwich.

Monarch butterfly.

Two male Goldfinches.

Multi-headed sunflower. This picture was taken a couple weeks ago, right now it is even larger with twice as many heads.

The flower garden, primarily zinnias and sunflowers. Attracts hordes of butterflies, hummingbirds, and goldfinches. Watching from the deck has been constant pleasure for almost two months. In foreground is water scarecrow, motion activated to spray and scare of deer. Three more surround the vegetable garden. The deer flee. The raccoons laugh.

Four pumpkin varieties. Started harvesting this week, some vines starting to die, and I wanted to get them before the insects start destroying them. The largest is the Musque de Provence variety, also called the Cinderella Pumpkin. For scale, you can see about half of the 12″ handle of a hammer I put in the wheelbarrow to return to the garage. The other varieties are heirlooms, I bought several different seed varieties to try. A couple of the varieties appear not to have produced, but I have at least four or five more of the Musque de Provence which are still green and growing.

This year the raccoons started ravaging the large tomatoes on the night before I would have started picking them vine ripe. So I started harvesting while still green, and ripening indoors. As a result, we have had several rounds of fried green tomatoes. I have become really good at whipping up fried green tomatoes and breaded southern style fried okra with cornmeal and buttermilk and egg for the dredging. We came originally from Alabama, alas, without a banjo on our knees, but with a life long appreciation for fried okra. Even cold leftovers, it is like candy.


I think this is the last batch of garden pics I’ve got on file. If you sent me pics and they’ve yet to be front-paged, please email me (annelaurie dot bj at gmail dot com) with a reminder. If you’ve been meaning to get around to sending pics, this would be a great time!

What’s going on in your garden(s) this week?

Sunday Garden Chat: Garden Art (with Bonus Yard Varmints)

From desert gardener and intrepid front-pager Cheryl R:

Here are a couple of photos of a covey of metal quail I bought from an artist at a Roseburg arts and crafts show while I was in Oregon.

I am reworking my flowerbeds and plan to plant a trumpet vine behind them. The other side of the wall is a six-foot drop to the driveway. I removed several Russian sage. Nobody told me they send up suckers – ugh! I notice they’re not being sold as widely as they were for a while.

I am pleased with my quail.

What’s going on in your garden(s) this week?


And for those among us who have ever been frustrated by the indigenous wildlife’s ‘landscape redecoration’, a bonus story from the Toronto Star“Toronto built a better green bin and — oops — maybe a smarter raccoon”:

In January, as the city of Toronto rolled out its final fleet of new raccoon-resistant green bins, Suzanne MacDonald was flooded with emails from citizens fretting about the fate of the masked bandits known for pillaging our food waste.

The worried residents wrote to MacDonald, an animal behaviourist and known raccoon sympathizer, because they hadn’t seen the creatures creeping through their backyards lately, and were beginning to wonder: Where are they? Are they starving to death? Have they been forced to relocate in search of nourishment? What have we done to the raccoons?

Designed with a special raccoon-resistant lock, Toronto’s new organic waste bins, which the city began distributing to great fanfare in 2016, were perhaps the greatest human effort in what we like to call our “war” against the raccoons. The animals had been effortlessly pillaging our first-generation green bins for more than a decade, leaving morning messes for us to scrape from our driveways and sidewalks. The city’s search for a new-and-improved bin had identified animal resistance, “especially for raccoons,” as a top priority.

The $31-million contract gave us roughly half a million bins, a decade of maintenance and a promise: that raccoons would have great difficulty penetrating the clever new receptacles. City politicians called the bins “raccoon-proof.” The bin maker — and MacDonald, who ran field tests on the prototypes — used the term “raccoon-resistant” because, well, you just never know…

Twelve months before the rollout of the new bins in Toronto’s west end, MacDonald had started logging the body mass index of raccoons killed in traffic. “Very glamorous work,” she called it. Her goal was to find out whether the loss of a steady food source would make our famously fat raccoons leaner.

MacDonald said I was welcome to join her for the next weigh-in. I put the appointment in my calendar: “Measuring dead raccoons.”

Over several months, I followed MacDonald’s research, expecting to learn how raccoons were adapting to life without green bins. But as a long winter melted into spring, things got weird, and my simple inquiry turned into an accidental investigation. A viral video with a curious backstory and suspicious activity in my own laneway shifted my focus from whether the green bins were starving the raccoons, to whether the animals had found a way, once again, to outsmart us…

Sunday Morning Garden Chat: Expect the Unexpected

I managed to mislay these photos, from the beginning of July — sorry! From commentor Lapassionara:

These are under the category “well, I didn’t see that coming.”

There is a bed in front of the house that is supposed to be for some shrubs, eventually, but I have been fighting weeds there, so have been using it as an annual bed in the meantime. In 2015, I planted purple wave petunias. They did not thrive, so I chose to go in another direction. Last summer I planted 3 cleome. They were the branching type, and as the summer progressed, they got so tall that I had to stake them.

This spring, before annual planting season, the bed was wall to wall cleome seedlings, along with a few wave petunia plants. I thinned clumps of seedlings, or so I thought, but when I returned from my vacation (over 3 weeks), I found a cleome forest happily blooming [top photo].

The other surprise was the “bush sunflower” plants. They were 2 inches high when I left, and now they are way too big for the space I chose for them.

I am debating whether to try to transplant them. Suggestions are welcomed.

This weekend is the anniversary of Hurricane Harvey, which helps put this Summer of Weather Weirdness in perspective. At least Hawaii seems to have avoided the worst predictions for Tropical Storm Lane — “merely” four feet of rain. I hope all the Islander jackals are safe from the torrents!

What’s going on in your garden(s) this week?

Sunday Morning Garden Chat: Feng Shui

A follow-up to last week’s photos from ace photographer / commentor Ozark Hillbilly:

Forgot the Feng Shui character.

This, believe it or not, is stone, a piece of Potosi Dolomite I found on my land. It reminds me of a Chinese character (writing that is) and I like to think it is a blessing of Peace and Love on our 12.5 acres.

Bonus, some pics that didn’t make it into the first photo-essay:

Here north of Boston, the ongoing HHH (hot, hazy, humid) weather means we’re *still* getting very few ripe tomatoes, and the cherry tomatoes are flowering madly but not setting fruit. Those few ruby / garnet / burgundy / golden jewels have been cherished, though!

New variety for us, this year: a hybrid from Burpee called Italian Ice. Even the Spousal Unit, not usually a fan of low-acid tomatoes, was pleasantly surprised that these guys have ‘real tomato flavor’… and they’ve been ripening up while my perennial heirloom favorite White Currants sulk.

What’s going on in your garden(s) this week?

Sunday Morning Garden Chat: This Year’s Project…

… from indefatigable gardener & photographer Ozark Hillbilly:

This year’s main gardening project started last year just before the Eclipse, when I tore up the old worn out flagstone path with a skidloader.

The skidloader had a 6’wide bucket. The new concrete sidewalk being only 3′-6” wide, that left me with 2′-6″ to play with. So I did.

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