Thursday, April 30, 2009

Spring Discoveries

A welcome addition to a springtime supper....wild asparagus and morel mushrooms!

Mr. and Mrs. Honker have successfully nested! They scouted out the area for a couple of weeks before establishing residence on the side of the lake nearest our house. In previous years, we have found wild geese nesting on the far side, but, this is the first time to have them so near. This pair seems to not mind us walking near and they are not scared when we drive up the road and find them feeding in the garden. They are still coming off the nest and feeding in our garden, but, now they take turns...where before the nesting, they always came together.

This is the site they have chosen for their nest....just at the edge of the water...and only a few feet from a walking path...directly behind the picnic table in this photo. Guess they wanted a great waterfront view....with all the convenience of easy accessibility!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The sweetest Lily in the field....

This morning I had an email, from a robin post, where several members were giving links to photos of their adorable grandchildren. I remembered these pics I took last summer, in June, when our youngest granddaughter, Lily, visited for the day. She brought along her Mommy, her bff, Saylor, and Saylor's Mommy. The girls were just beginning to walk independently and they toddled all over the place....getting their 'land legs'....having mostly practiced their new found skills inside. What a lovely day outside we all had! We savored watching them explore...and taste most everything they encountered! No worry, we garden without harmful sprays, so there was no chemical danger.....and every part of the daylily plant, from root to bloom is quite edible....the blooms are especially 'tasty'......with a flavor like sweet iceberg lettuce. They can be used in salad .....adds interesting color.
We grow more than 1,000 varieties of daylilies.....and some are quite 'rare' and new, but, none will ever be so sweet and dear as our own Lily....whose full name is Lillian Grace. Her Mom gave her the nickname 'Lily' so she would have her own 'edge' among our 6 grandchildren!
I've added a new Picasa photo link to the right ....with all the photos from our lovely June day.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

An old dog CAN learn new tricks!

Hooray! I have learned how to add a link for my Picasa web I can showcase my daylily photos! There are now 2 links at the top right of my blog; one album for my seedlings (new flowers that have 'been borne' of my hybridizing efforts...and I'm currently evaluating, but not registered ...yet) and one album for photos of registered (with the American Hemerocallis Society) daylily cultivars...these are registered named plants that have been introduced and their hybridizers have made available to the market. All registered/introduced plants start life as someone's seedling.

So, please click on the links and have a look at my daylilies.

Remembering old and dear friends in the garden...the joy of 'pass along' plants!

A walk through my garden finds so many plants that were gifts of friends, old and new, and the 'gifting' enhances so much of my enjoyment of the plants. As I walk by 'Cerise Queen' yarrow...(shown in the above photo) growing in so many spots!....the memory of my Aunt 'Tine, my Daddy's only sister, who so loved everything 'garden'....comes sweetly to a fragrance on the breeze.

A view of sedum 'Autumn Joy' reminds me of Michael, a man of knowledge and many interests (he taught and did research at Vanderbilt University Medical School and is an avid gardener) who welcomed us to Middle Tennessee Daylily Society with this gift.

My first heuchera was a gift from Linda, across town, who is so kind and generous. There is a row of bearded iris from Margaret, a former postal customer, who had many lovely iris and limited space in her retirement village and just needed some of them 'to go to a good home'. There is black columbine from Gladene, 'Dragon's Blood' sedum from Cheryl, a crooked willow taken as a cutting from the old home place where I grew up ....courtesy of my Mom, and all the remnants of my husband's grandmother's planting of lilacs and daffodils 60+ years ago, when she tended some of this land we live on.

Last evening, at our spring daylily society meeting, I got a fragrant, white lilac from Emily, who got it from her husband's Mother's home in Vermont. I will happily choose it a place of honor among the other treasures. Every season brings new beauty and memories of all I've known and shared with these precious 'givers'. .....and as guests come to share the beauty of our garden, I'll grab a pot or bag, and a shovel....and say 'oh, here, you should have a small start of this for your garden'. A garden is truly a living thing!

This is Pilgrim's Choice, a SDB (standard dwarf bearded) iris....a gift last year from my daylily society buddy, Joyce, who has a beautiful garden in Mount Juliet, TN. Her garden is predominately daylily, but, she has incorporated such a variety of other interesting's one of my top favorite places to visit.

Pilgrim's Choice was the second to bloom this season, and it is so pleasing to me situated at the end of my little rock garden. Directly behind it, the new foliage of an old heirloom (hardy) crysanthemun can be seen. It was the gift of a shy elderly neighbor, Cecil, who is no longer walking with us. He came knocking on my door one morning with this plant in a bucket....said it was a piece of his Mama's 'yellow flower' (it is really a bronze) and he wanted me to have some. I had known his Mother....she was quite the vegetable gardener....and it meant so much that he wanted to share with me. Now, walking past the plant, growing and flourishing in my garden, I smile and remember both of them....simple, good, people who once walked this earth....enjoying the feel of the soil in their hands. May they rest in the Peace of God.

This photo is Aurora Sea, a MDB (miniature dwarf beaded) iris. It is the first to bloom in our spring garden. I love it's grows 7" tall and is at the front of a's one of those that must be seen up close....I find so much beauty in it's 'tiny perfection'. I get most of my favorite iris, including this one, from Denise Stewart of Snowpeak Iris in Lebanon, Oregon. Denise is a great gal to order from....I met her originally when she bought a daylily from me on the Lily Auction. I've ordered from her for about 4 years and her plants are so strong and healthy.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Oh, the anticipation of bloom season!

This seedling, also growing in this bed, is from a cross of Rodeo Sweetheart and Grace From Above. I love to remember the blooms as I look over and evaluate the growth and increase of the plants. Every phase of growing these flowers has its own joy!
This seedling, from last year is a cross between Wedding Feast and Mandalay Bay Music.

This is one of my 'seedling' beds....daylily seedlings are 2-3 years old from germination. In the background of the photo is the little 'flower house' my husband has made from a metal framing that formerly was a dog kennel. It is mostly a 'cold frame'....but, if needed, we can heat it with a portable heater to keep the temp up to an exceptable level. I have all my daylily seedlings, grown from last summer's efforts, growing in 20 oz. Styrofoam cups in there now. I will plant them out at the first of May. We also start some garden plants in the little house.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Springtime on the mountain.

We found bluebells all along the mountain road....these plants have such beautiful green leaves...almost prettier than the flower! They are growing mingled with wild larkspur...which was not blooming...just beginning to bud. Together they make a nice combination planting ....the bluebell with its paler lavender flower and smooth leaves and the larkspur with its 'teethy' leaves and deep purple flower.

Trout fishing time!

Trout Lily was in full bloom....this flower covered the hillside. It's a small flower and must be viewed up close to really can drive by and only see the green plant from the road. The legend says that the native Indians who lived in our mountains long ago named this flower because its bloom was the seasonal signal that it was the time for trout fishing...also some have said its spots resemble the speckles on the sides of the trout.

Turkey tracks.

On the road up the mountain we saw three wild turkey hens. They were crossing in front of us and we were able to watch two of them for a little actually crossed back and forth twice....before they picked and scratched their way up the hillside. They should begin nesting soon. My husband is a 'turkey hunter', but he usually just goes into the woods and watches them! They are really fasinating birds....perhaps ole Ben Franklin should have prevailed and gotten them adopted as our national bird.

A mountain top afternoon

My husband and I spent the afternoon, after church and a quick lunch, wildflowering on a mountain side near our home. This mountain is the highest peak in our county and is home to most of the species of wildflowers that grow in our eastern end of Tennessee. It was a bit early in the season to see some blooms, but we just needed to see how the season is progressing and it was a lovely, sunny day. This photo is a view from near the top of the mountain .....looking down to farmland below.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

A flea market treasure!

This large 'hen' with her 'chicks' gathered round is a recent addition to the little rock garden in front of the ornamental grass area. I bought it from a lady at our local flea market.....she had several that she'd taken from her garden and was selling them in small brown bags....along with her other 'treasures'. The flea market has an increasing number of people selling various plants....looking for plant 'finds' is my main interest in going addition to looking through the animal area!

Primrose and bluebells.

The bluebells, also native to our area, are just beginning to bloom. That's a hardy primrose in the background. The top photo is an upclose of the primrose.....a really vigorous grower here.

My favorite heuchera, 'Carmel', is the largest in our has been growing there about 3 seasons. This one stays nice all winter...even in snow! I love the variety of color in the heucheras.....and they make a nice contrast the hostas planted near them. The hostas are just beginning to make their appearance for the season.

This is Wild Ginger....note its unique brown bloom the bottom of the plant...right on the ground. The bloom can be overlooked...especially in a natural setting like our wildflower bed near the lake....where we let the oak leaves fall and naturally cover the plants. The Wild Ginger is just barely emerging today in that garden. This plant in the photo above is one that was moved last year to the shade garden to grow along the heucheras and hostas. It is farther along in its spring growth and we can enjoy its blooms there.

The first trillium to bloom in our little 'woodland' wildflower area near the lake. This is the Large Flowered White trillium....its blooms are pure white when first blooming and then they change to pink before fading away. When we first identified this one on the mountain, we thought we had found two different varieties....instead of just one, with flowers in varying stages of bloom.

The bleeding heart is so beautiful thankful it survived the freeze we had at the beginning of this week....our temps were down to 26 F for two nights. The high wind and moisture, in the form of snow, probably helped to prevent damage.

The photo at top is of Crested Dwarf Iris and Foamflower, both collected from the woods near our home. The Crested Dwarf Iris has just come up this week and present its beautiful blue-lavender flowers in about 2 weeks. The Foamflower (coral bells) is budded to bloom. We are so blessed to have most of the native plants and wildflowers of the Smoky Mountains growing here on our Cumberland Plateau also.

The native Buckeye tree is in bud and will bloom in a few days. It has been in our garden about 10 years now....a gift from an elderly friend, now deceased. It was a small 10 inch sprout from her tree, which she had collected from a nearby mountain. It has produced a couple of buckeyes the past two prehaps it is reaching maturity. The photo on top is an close up view of its buds.

Garden visitors.

Early this morning, when it was still misty, I caught a glimpse of 'Mr. & Mrs. Honker' strolling in the front garden, having a few tasty bites. They have been on our lake for about 3 weeks now....waking us with their loud honking near daybreak....we don't need an alarm! We are hoping they will successfully nest's been several years since we've seen any young ones hatch there....seems visiting fishermen...always disturb their efforts.

I took this photo out the front door, from inside the glass, so as to not alarm them. When I first saw them, 'Mr' was standing like a sentry on duty, guarding 'Mrs' while she had a nibble. We've noticed how protective he is.....this leads us to believe they may already have established a nest and laid eggs. I thought of the old saying I heard, as a child,from my Grandmother when she was 'put out' with someone...'he/she doesn't have the sense God gave a goose'.....and I always thought it meant geese didn't have good sense, but, I think it was a commentary on just how much sense God did give to a contrast to the less than sensible person she referred to. Geese mate for life and both worry together to raise their young....pretty sensible all around!

Springtime! A time for new beginnings!

Springtime! A season for new beginnings....the garden is awakening....birds are busying nesting....and I am starting to chronicle some of my garden experiences in a new way. I've enjoyed viewing other gardens through the blogs of their keepers, so I'm inspired to begin to share mine.