Just a few quick photos for now, to show the progress these last few months. See my previous post for more details about the plants featured in my beds this year!
More info & links on all these plants to follow soon. I will find some time next month to write about all the great plants that grew in my garden this year. Also working on a post about my Shade Evergreen garden. I planted it this year, in the super shady front yard.
The summer garden work is over, and this crazy fall heat wave has broken. Now, I have time to catch up on writing about the plants that bloomed for the first time this year.
One of the spectacular native plants I bought at NightSong Native Plant Nursery’s Plant Sale last year, the Giant Purple Coneflower or ‘Echinacea Purpurea’, bloomed from June through August. There were five blooms total, and I recently cut off the dried seed heads to save for planting next year. I planted it in a 6 inch container last year, and am transplanting to in ground location today! (October 12th, 2018)
I found some fascinating info at my favorite wildflower site, US Wildflowers. The photos on this site are fabulous, and this site is an incredible free resource for plant identification.
Also, Southern Living has a great article by Gene B. Bussell on Purple Coneflower, detailing new hybrids being created, along with their uses in the southern garden.
I moved the plant from the container to the in ground location, where it will get good southern sun exposure. I will also be able to see the blooms through the deck railing. I transplanted on October 12th. All the leaves are gone now, but hopefully it will return next spring! I sprinkled one seed head all around the base of the plant, and saved the other four for planting next spring.
The three raised beds have produced more this year than I hoped! I harvested many beans, peppers, and herbs. I will give descriptions & details, with links, for all plants soon. Here are a few photo galleries & brief info for each month from June through August, 2018.
I planted new fall & winter seeds the week of Sept 19. See my previous post for detailed information about the raised bed building process, seed starting, and garden harvests from earlier this year. Also, my next post will feature some of the gorgeous, Georgia native plants that finally bloomed in my garden this year!
I have a few new posts in the works about the new 3rd raised garden bed, and all the plants and herbs I am growing this year. Also, a great post to come soon about the Atlanta Botanical Garden. I was super excited to visit the gardens there for the first time, on May 5th, 2018.
I added a second round of transplants and seeds in early May. Directly sowed more cucumber, bush beans & more tomato seeds. I added my organic, homemade compost from the Earth Machine, mushroom compost, organic pine bark mulch, and native clay soil to both beds.
This year, I have an infestation of what we call tater or pill bugs, (but they have many names). So far, they’ve only munched my cucumber leaves a little. I will leave them alone, as they don’t seem to be doing much harm. They are very interesting creatures, notable for their ability to clean heavy metals from soil.
Another major problem this “winter” is the temps have been a balmy 70 degrees all January.
Solution: Indoor Herb Garden!
I brought them inside despite the crazy warm temps, thinking we would have a freeze months ago, but no. The photo below was just for pretty factor the day I brought the first few inside, just before Thanksgiving. They are now growing on a north facing windowsill (with no direct sun).
Herbs add flavor to all kinds of foods and drinks, and as a bonus are known for their medicinal properties. The parsley below was delicious in this chimichurri steak recipe.
Parsley is not the most flavorful herb, but adds a unique and understated flavor when combined with other ingredients.
I am working on a post about the Garlic and Onions I planted in the raised beds. We use so much of both that I knew I must grow some this year. I am experimenting with winter gardening for the first time in the raised beds. We are fortunate to have many warm months to garden here in Georgia. However, I hope we get a little winter here soon.
Let’s start off the New Year with a remembrance of the brilliant red fireworks of summer’s celebratory blooms. This stunning (and aptly named) Lobelia Cardinalis was a super special find from the Nightsong Native Plant Nursery sale last spring. Most of the pics are from blooming time which was mid August to nearly October.
Blooms just kept opening, marching up the ever growing stalk. I waited a while to transplant into the ground. I brought it home at the end of April, and planted in ground in mid July. Seemed to be growing nicely in the pot , so I waited. I dug a hole a bit deeper and wider than the current container, added some organic compost from my Earth Machine composter, and soil from my organic raised beds to fill the hole. Plentiful watering required during the super drought we had this summer and fall.
The mantis reminded me that there is an entire forest ecosystem at work right here in my own backyard garden. The link above takes you to an amazing paper prepared by Rachel G. Schneider about Georgia’s Forest Ecosystems. The mantis, butterfly, bee, and hummingbird love this plant; so do I, and even the cats (due to increased bird and butterfly activity).
It grew to over 3 feet tall, and I was awed and impressed by this amazing plant. This native to Georgia wildflower grows so well here, and I am thrilled to have in my backyard just under the overhanging shade of the oaks and hickories. It gets mostly full sun, with a touch of late afternoon shade in the worst heat of the summer sun. On some of the blazing hot days, it looked a little wilted in the direct sun, but quickly recovered.
This plant became the center of a flourishing ecosystem, in one season. I’m writing an article about the Tallassee Forest (my extended backyard). This area was sacred & special to the Native Americans, and has an interesting history. Many native plant and animal species thrive here – some only here. I’m so fortunate and excited to be able to experience this great state of Georgia, and to write about the native plants and ecosystems in my area!
Just a few quick photos of the summer harvest from mid July. The organic raised beds are growing & producing nicely, & I’ve only picked off three tomato hornworms-minimal damage!
I will post more details about the garden later. I also have a post in the works about the beautiful gardens at President Andrew Jackson’s home, The Hermitage, which is located in Nashville, TN. I was fortunate to go view the gardens there a few weeks ago.