Friday, January 25, 2013

The Beauty of Ice

 Mother Nature is being downright cruel here in middle Tennessee. One day the sun will shine, the temperature will rise and the plants will begin leafing out and sticking their heads towards the blue sky. The next day we wake up to a garden covered in poor plants. I'm sure they will be fine, but it's just cruel!!

From my windows everything looked so different covered in ice, so I decided to brave the elements and take some pictures. Crunch, crunch, crunch beneath my shoes, then slip, slip, slip....I had to be careful. 

Look what I found...a winter wonderland!


 Icicles hanging from the top of the pergola.

 One of our tiki torches. We won't be using this for a while!

 One of the Pin Oaks. The ice didn't bother Rascal at all.

 The bird houses look cold on the outside, but I bet they're cozy inside!

 The chairs look like they have tassels hanging on them.

 The Crossvine on it's arbor.

 Russian Sage...each stem is encapsulated in ice.

 Poor Mockingbirds..their apples are frozen.

 The Leyland Cypress branches are heavy with ice.

 I thought this was a great shot...can you find all four birds? Three Cardinals... a female on the fence at left and two males on the feeder, and an Eastern Towhee on the right fence.

 My daffodils are trying so hard to bloom!

Spiraea (Goldflame) reminds me of an ice sculpture.

 Japanese Privet

 Watch out little fairy or you'll slip right off that rock!

 The gate looks so pretty with it's "greenery" and icicles.


I hope you enjoyed my winter wonderland. What's the weather like in your garden?

Words and photos property of Christy's Cottage Wildlife Garden.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Garden Chores...Fall or Spring?

 Every gardener knows there are always chores to do in the garden...trimming, weeding and mulching to name just a few. There is always something to keep us busy, and if you're like me you love every minute of it!  Here are just a few of my gardening chores

Some of my fall chores include:

 Pulling all of the old leaves off of my daylilies. This keeps "critters" out of the clumps.

 Trim off all old Blanket Flower foliage. Blanket Flowers grow very well in my garden and I have several types. As you can see they are evergreen.

 All Siberian Iris get a "crew cut".

 I cut down the old foliage off the Black Eyed Susans and the Coneflowers. However, I do leave some of the seed heads for the birds.

 The Shasta Daisies are cut back.

 The Asters are cut down to the ground. This one "English Countryside" is already growing back. In fact, it has spread so much that I will be digging out side clumps and sharing them with gardening friends in spring.

And of course the Iris. Believe it or not I removed all the dead leaves in fall. It is important to do this twice a year to help prevent diseases and pests. After the spring clean-up I will cut the leaves in a fan shape. I never remember how many Iris and Daylilies I have until I start trimming them....I have a lot of them!!

Some plants I don't trim until spring because I think they provide winter interest.
These include:


Bee Balm

Some plants I don't trim until spring because the old growth helps protect the crowns of the new growth. These include:


 Catmint...This one already has quite a bit of new growth.


 Another Salvia...(I have several different types). You can see the new growth on this one.

Russian Sage. This will be cut down to about three inches in spring.

Spring chores include:

 Giving the Crepe Myrtles a nice trim and removing the spent flowers. Since they bloom on new wood this will increase the summer's flower production.

Trimming the Butterfly Bushes to about two - three feet. This will promote strong new growth for good flowering.

These are just a few of my chores. Once spring arrives I will begin spending 5-6 hours a day, 5-7 days a week in my garden. Have a mentioned that I LOVE gardening! 

Happy Gardening!

Words and Photos Property of Christy's Cottage Wildlife Garden.


Friday, January 18, 2013

Signs of Spring!!

Today was the first day we've seen the sun in quite a while! We've had so much rain, sleet and ice that my yard is just wet and mushy. I was so excited to see and feel the sun that I went out in search of signs of spring. The signs were there, I just had to look closely to find them. Here's what I found.....

 The daffodils in this area are always the first to bloom. They are almost ready to make their appearance!

The Clove Currant is starting to get buds. When these open they will be yellow and have the wonderful fragrance of cloves.
My spring blooming Camellia has had buds for quite a while. It is between two Azaleas and when they're all blooming it's just beautiful!

 The Dianthus is starting to bloom. Since these are low I plant them along the paths.

 This is my "Nikko Blue" Hydrangea. I'm always learning new things about gardening. In this case it was that this plant blooms on old wood. Now that I've learned this lesson I'm getting some really pretty blooms!

I have several Peonies in the garden. (It's practically a law that you must have Peonies in a cottage garden!) All of their 'eyes' are looking for spring!

New growth on one of my Carpet Roses.

Here you see some of my Violas, some new growth on one of the Veronicas and Poppy and Larkspur seedlings.

One of my favorite evergreen vines, Carolina Jessamine, has a flower peeking out from the leaves.

Flowers are starting to open on some of the Viburnums.

My Caryopteris has new growth. This bush has amazing blue flowers!

One of my many Oriental Lilies. Even they are excited about spring...poking their heads up waiting for the right time!

The picture above and the next three pictures show some of the Poppy and Larkspur seedlings coming up. I will have quite a job thinning these when they get a little bigger.


Look closely and I bet you'll see signs of spring in your garden.

Happy Gardening!

Words and Photos Property of Christy's Cottage Wildlife Garden.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

I REALLY Do Have Flowers In My Garden!

Starting a blog in winter can be a challenge because I don't have any pretty flowers to show you. However I was so excited to start my blog and to "meet" others who are as passionate about gardening as I am, that I couldn't wait until spring. On this post I thought I'd show you some pictures of my garden taken in 2012. We enlarged our gardens this past fall and have plans to increase them again in spring, so I will have so much to show you this year! I did not put a caption under the pictures, so if you have a question about anything you see, please ask me and I'll be happy to answer you!! I hope you enjoy!!

I am so looking forward to spring so I can share more of my garden with you.

Happy Gardening!

Words and Photos Property of Christy's Cottage Wildlife Garden