Friday, April 26, 2013


Vines are great in the garden.  They expand the  garden space by lifting the eyes and soften the hard edges. They can provide a screen or be used as ground covers on steep or eroded areas.  Vines climb by tendrils, by twining or by clinging. The gardener will often train vines that twine or grow long stems on a structure.

Purple hyacinth beans (Lablab purpureus) were planted in the spring at the base of this inexpensive arbor and by mid-summer began to bloom and attract butterflies (picture from August 2011).
tomatoes are vines

English ivy (Hedera helix) climbs by aerial rootlets and so needs no help to cover fences, walls, or trees

Our property came to us with lots of English ivy.  I have gotten rid of much of it over the years, but I have encouraged the growth on our back chain link fence and it has made a wonderful year round green back drop to the gardens.  I am careful to keep it in check and continue to whittle away at the ground area the ivy covers.

Cross Vine (bignonia capreolata) and Carolina Jessamine (Gelsemium sempervirens) share an arbor by my back gate. 

 The native cross vine is really putting on a show right now.
  Cross vine "tangerine beauty" that I put in last summer is covered in blooms.
     The native red honey suckle is a real beauty and attracts hummingbirds. Light regular pruning keeps it blooming throughout the summer (not as heavy blooms). This vine grows very quickly and is easy to train up a hook or pole.

"Ouchita" blackberry is a vertical growing plant, so it might not technically be called a vine, but it does like  something to lean on. (don't we all, from time to time?)

There are some vines that are invasive and you should really steer clear of, such as japanese honeysuckle, wisteria, and autumn clematis.  I think particularly if you have a small lot, as I do, that you have to be careful when you choose vines so that your property is not totally overrun. And you really want to stay away from the vine I wrote about in a previous post.

Virginia creeper appears on its own on the fence here and there.  Never invasive and beautiful leaf color in fall.

These are the vines that I presently have in my gardens.  I haven't been too successful with clematis, but maybe someday I'll figure out the perfect spot for one.

I am joining Tootsie Time for Fertilizer Friday!  Happy gardening dreams!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Wildflower Wednesday: Seeing Stars!

I am joining Gail at Clay and Limestone for Wildflower Wednesday, celebrating native plants!

 As any young child will tell you, a star shape has 5 points. As a kindergarten teacher teaching shape identification,  I  never had to teach the star or the heart shape to any 5 year old.  It seems that those are the 2 shapes kids always pick up first.  My students were always fascinated by the number of flowers that have the star shape.  In my gardens now, I'm seeing lots of stars blooming.

pink oxalis

Star of Bethlehem (or SOB - very invasive)
blue creeping phlox
creeping phlox

phlox pilosa


woodland phlox

amsonia "blue star"

yellow jessamine
cross vine
virginia creeper - not a bloom, but it will certainly be a "star" when it puts on its fall colors
 I hope you're seeing lots of stars in your garden!

Please head over to Clay and Limestone to see some of Gail's wildflowers and check out links to
other garden blogs.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

You've got to see this!

Less than a mile from my house there grows a very strange tree.  
Very tall, very straight, very symmetrical.

I had to stop for a closer look.

Nature is taking over!

  What gave it away? Can you identify the plant that has camouflaged the telephone pole?

Poison ivy! Don't climb THIS tree!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Foliage Follow-up April 2013

Because Spring is more than just blooms, I am joining Pam at Digging in Foliage Follow-up. There are so many different colors in foliage this time of year.  New shoots change over time as they mature.  Here are some of my favorites from my gardens.

Goldflame spirea as it began to leaf out. 

 You can sure tell where it got its name.
That was 10 days ago and below is NOW!  WOW!

 Goldmound spirea is almost yellow.  It seems to glow when the sun spotlights it.

While looking at the new growth tips on the Anthony Waterer spirea, I came across this garden visitor.  I have really been seeing a lot of ladybugs this spring, especially on the spireas.

 As the yellow flowers fade on the epimedium, the new foliage begins to grow.  

 Pestemon husker red - I found 3 of these on clearance last fall. I was on the lookout for them after having seen pictures on several garden blogs.  The foliage is great!

 The bengal tiger cannas are emerging. 

 Red knockout rose has stunning red and green foliage.

The foliage star in my garden in April is the red tipped photinia.

Enjoy your spring and the moderate temperatures.  Hope you all are spending lots of time outdoors!  You don't have to work in a garden to observe and enjoy nature.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day April 2013

I am delighted for the first time to join Carol at May Dreams Gardens for Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day.  Spring has really begun to unfold  here in my garden in West Tennessee (zone 7).   Here are some of the flowers in my yard.

Eastern Redbud

creeping phlox

blue creeping phlox with muscari (grape hyacinths)

carolina jessamine

aquilegia (columbine)

flowering almond

variegated Soloman's Seal

native red honeysuckle - just beginning
still have tulips

more tulips!

azaleas just beginning

homestead verbena just beginning

first iris opened this weekend

woodland phlox

woodland phlox

bridal wreath spirea

Also beginning to bloom are the dogwoods and dianthus.  And I'm really excited to see the start of flower buds on some of my viburnum and hydrangea.  Hope all of you are enjoying your Spring gardens!