The Day of the garden tour– Part eight of a series

 I know, I’m late with this final article in the series. I was talking with Patsy Hubbard the other day and she said, “John I hope you know that you must write the final article of the tour series.” I felt like I hadn’t done my homework and I started to tell her that the dog ate it, but the real reason I’m late is that I needed to go to Tennessee and visit with my mother. It was a day or so after her 87th birthday. We planted some calla lily bulbs in her garden and had a nice visit. Here’s a picture of Mom, my brother, Billy, and me on the way to church. Mom has a lovely yard, too. (To see all of the articles in this series, Click Here.

John, Jane, and Billy Schulz

John, Jane, and Billy Schulz

Back to the tour. Lots and lots of people showed up. I was sorry that I didn’t get to visit the other homes on the tour, but I had a really good time visiting with friends and meeting lots of new people. I drank a little tea while sitting under the pergola in the morning but I didn’t get to sit much after that

The mandevilla will reach the top of the trellis in a month.

The mandevilla will reach the top of the trellis in a month.

It was a beautiful day. The clouds added accents to the marvelous view without obscuring it. Here’s the front fountain with the view in the background:

waterfall,flowerbed, and view

waterfall,flowerbed, and view

There are lots of urns around the house. I really loved the shape and beauty of this begonia. What a find.

begonia container at entrance

begonia container at entrance

The rear entrance to the back porch looked inviting. Chipmunks had messed up the plantings the night before and I had to do some really quick fixing.

stone steps to patio

stone steps to patio

I love this view down the front pathway. A lot of people commented on and asked about the Cephalotaxus, (plum yew).

front flagstone pathway

front flagstone pathway

I enjoy putting little container accents here and there as a surprise.

container accents

container accents

Some (but not all) of the roses I had pruned to delay flowering had come back in bloom right on time. I didn’t really get the show I wanted from the roses—but you know what I said in an earlier article—“No guts, no glory.” 

roses blooming just in time

roses blooming just in time

 The sitting area under the trellis was put together by Laurie Hubbard and Ramona Fricks. It was well used as the day went by.

sitting area under trellis

sitting area under trellis

One of the things I like about this garden is the way in which the accent plantings blend in with the grander vistas from the mountain top. I wasn’t the only one who enjoyed it, either.

enjoying the view from the mountain

enjoying the view from the mountain

The man who built this bridge was the inspiration for my novel, Requiem for a Redneck. The book tells about the details involved such a project. RIP, Ottis, you would have been proud.

bridge and fountain

bridge and fountain

All in all, it was a wonderful day. I loved the girl with the umbrella.  

A good time

A good time

To read about Johntheplantman and the rednecks,  As usual, I would just love for you click here to go to Amazon and purchase the ebook edition of my wonderful book, Requiem for a Redneck to go on your Kindle. I have also noticed that Amazon now has a free Kindle app for iphones and tablets. Is that cool or what?   If you want a consultation in your yard in N.W. Georgia, send me an email at wherdepony@bellsouth.net

The tour, part 7

April 28—The garden tour.

 The estate grounds were pristine. The crowd was adequate, and the weather couldn’t have been better. The views from the mountain top were magnificent—It was one of those days when you could see forever.

 I know that a lot of people are looking for an article on the event and there will be one, just not right now. Right now I am shutting down and on my way to the country farm to visit and relax. Please stay in touch.

 For the other articles in the series about preparing for the Junior Service League garden tour, CLICK HERE

Preparing the garden for a tour—part 6 of a series. illustrated

This is part five of a series devoted to getting a garden ready for the Rome, Ga. Junior Service League tour of gardens which will take place on April 28, 2012. To find the other articles of this series, CLICK HERE

There’s less than a week left until the day of the tour. The good news is that last week we started the fun stuff. I went by the greenhouse to check out the dragon wing begonias. They were looking really good, so I loaded some in the truck and took them to the job site.

dragon wing begonias in the greenhouse

dragon wing begonias in the greenhouse

There are a lot of urns to be planted in and around the back patio and pool area. We tried geraniums in these planters for a number of years but found them to be maintenance intensive. I love the dragon wings, though. They are low maintenance and provide dependable color. I planted one of the urns and stood back to admire it.

Dragon wing begonia in urn

Dragon wing begonia in urn

While I was playing with the flowers, my helpers took on the field behind the pool. This area only gets mowed a few times a year because it is steep and not conducive to any machine other than a weed eater. They sure did a good job.

back field mowed with weedeaters

back field mowed with weedeaters

My job was to get the flower bed concept. I had decided to use a mixed colors of verbena, coleus, and angelonia for the focus bed in front. I laid out the trays of plants and stepped back to get a mental picture of what the beds would look like.

getting a design concept for flower beds

getting a design concept for flower beds

The best way I have found to get a really good looking flower bed planting is to lay each plant out exactly where I want it to be. Then we go back and plant them, being careful to maintain the design.

place-plants-exactly-where-they-will-be-planted.jpg

place-plants-exactly-where-they-will-be-planted.jpg

I used angelonia for something tall and bushy last year as a test and I really liked them. They gave me a bushy, floriferous statement behind lower plants. I highly recommend this plant for full sun.

angelonia my new favorite bedding plant

angelonia my new favorite bedding plant

I found these coleus and I think they will make a statement and give some height to the rear of the garden. I love the color combination.

brilliant coleus for a color statement

brilliant coleus for a color statement

Friday afternoon we carefully planted the flower bed. I like to use lots of time release fertilizer such as Osmocote.

planting-the-flower-bed-as-planned.jpg

planting-the-flower-bed-as-planned.jpg

As we cleaned up from the day’s work, I hooked up my wonderful home made sprinkler to water the plants in. I designed this sprinkler several years ago. It is easy, it works well, and it’s cheap. You will find directions for building the sprinkler if you CLICK HERE (this is the most visited article on my site.)

I’m going to have lots of fun next week– planting more flower beds, trimming and mowing, and tweaking the garden and its special areas.

If you live around Rome, Georgia, get you some tickets and come check out the tour. The information may be found on the Junior Service League of Rome web site

 Here is the information for the tour:

 The Junior Service League of Rome is pleased to announce the first Rome in Bloom Garden Tour and the Twilight Blooms Garden Tour and Party on Saturday, April 28th 2012.
Click Here to See the Gardens on Tour

Click Here to Order Tickets Online

You can also purchase tickets from a Junior Service League Member or at one of the following locations:

Living and Giving
Traditions
Bussey’s
Pineapple Place
Visitors Center / Last Stop Gift Shop
Lavender Mountain

Thank you to all of the above locations for your cooperation and support!!

Click Here for a Rome In Bloom Garden Tour Map

Click here for a printer friendly version of the gardens and maps

The Rome in Bloom Garden Tour is from 10 am to 5 pm and allows you to view six local gardens.  Tickets can be purchased online, from a league member, or at the list of Rome locations below.

The Twilight Blooms Garden Tour and Party is from 5 pm to 7:30 pm and showcases Rose Hill in Historic Downtown Rome.  Tickets are $35 each and can be purchased online or at the list of Rome locations below.

Tickets for both tours are $50 each

Both the Rome In Bloom and Twilight Blooms Garden Tour and Party are rain or shine.  All tours are self guided and you are welcome to view the gardens at your preferred pace.  Gardens can be viewed in any order but please be aware that the natural terrain could be uneven so dress accordingly. 

****************

Thanks for visiting Johntheplantman 

To read about Johntheplantman and the rednecks

As usual, I would just love for you click here to go to Amazon and purchase the ebook edition of my wonderful book, Requiem for a Redneck to go on your Kindle. I have also noticed that Amazon now has a free Kindle app for iphones and tablets. Is that cool or what?

 If you want a consultation with John Schulz in your yard in N.W. Georgia, send me an email at wherdepony@bellsouth.net

Preparing the garden for a tour, part 5 of a series.

 This is part five of a series devoted to getting a garden ready for the Rome, Ga. Junior Service League tour of gardens which will take place on April 28, 2012. To find the other articles of this series, CLICK HERE

 April 15. The season is progressing and we had a bit less than three weeks until the tour. The first thing on the agenda for a Tuesday morning was to take the cover off of the swimming pool. I was afraid to look, but when I did I saw that the water was a nice shade of green, but not as bad as it could have been. I have waited to open the pool until the multitude of wisteria blooms had finished falling.

 

The pool needs a bit of attention

The pool needs a bit of attention

 

Then, there was another issue in the form of some Schipp’s laurels that had been declining over a period of several years. I have worked on them for quite some time and they have just not responded. Time for them to go.

 

funky looking laurels need to go

funky looking laurels need to go

 

And we went to work. I waited until the end of the week to check items off my prodigious list. Here is the progress report:

 

 

The flower beds are all cleaned and furnished with fresh pine straw. They are now ready to plant but it is still a bit early to plant tender flowers in North Georgia, so I will wait until the final week before the tour.

 

flower beds with pine straw ready to plant

flower beds with pine straw ready to plant

 

I enjoyed the nice shapes of the plantings at the driveway entrance

 

well shaped plants at parking entrance

well shaped plants at parking entrance

 

 

We have worked for years shaping some dwarf yaupons as an entrance for a part of the front walkway. I’m very happy with the way they are looking now.

 

shaped yaupon holly for pathway border

shaped yaupon holly for pathway border

 

I still have a bit of work to do on the pool, but it’s starting to look good. We will get the water crystal clear next week.

 

A couple of days later the pool water looks good

A couple of days later the pool water looks good

 

I have been enjoying this rhododendron on the back brick pathway. I’m sure the blooms will be gone before the tour, but I am reminded of one of my favorite poems by Edna St. Vincent Millay:

“My candle burns at both ends,

It will not last the night.

But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends

It gives a lovely light.”

 

rhododendron on back brick pathway

rhododendron on back brick pathway

 

I am happy to see that the knockout roses are putting out new flower buds. My boldness in cutting the early buds just may pay off. I hope so.

 

knockout rosebuds on new growth

knockout rosebuds on new growth

 

I have replaced the straggly laurels with some very nice hydrangeas. I think it looks a lot better. I am much happier about this area now.

 

I planted hydrangeas to replace the funky looking laurels

I planted hydrangeas to replace the funky looking laurels

 

The buds on the Annabelle hydrangeas are developing nicely. I do think we will have at least some hydrangea flowers for the tour.

 

It looks like at least some of the hydrangeas will hit the deadline.

It looks like at least some of the hydrangeas will hit the deadline.

 

 

We have tended to the large weeping cherry and I dearly love the way it frames the view of the valley.

 

I love the way the weeping cherry frames the view from the mountain

I love the way the weeping cherry frames the view from the mountain

 

 

We’re right on schedule. It has been a most wonderful spring, hasn’t it?

To see a previous article about this lovely landscape garden, CLICK HERE

To read about Johntheplantman and the rednecks, 

As usual, I would just love for you click here to go to Amazon and purchase the ebook edition of my wonderful book, Requiem for a Redneck to go on your Kindle. I have also noticed that Amazon now has a free Kindle app for iphones and tablets. Is that cool or what?

 

If you want a consultation with John Schulz in your yard in N.W. Georgia, send me an email at wherdepony@bellsouth.net

Preventing inch worm damage on Knockout roses and watching the garden develop

Getting ready for the garden tour—part four

Last Tuesday morning, I was sitting on the porch eating my peach yogurt, drinking green tea, and watching the lovely spring day develop when the phone rang. I looked at the caller i.d. Yep, I had been expecting the call.

“Hello?”

“They’re here,” the female voice replied.

I said, “Ok, I’m on it, thanks a lot.”

She answered, “No problem, glad to help. Good luck with your mission.”

 I had asked Jennifer to watch out for signs of inch worms because she lives down by the river and they show up there first. Last year there had been a bumper crop of inch worms and they had eaten up everything in sight right at the end of April. I thought they might be early on account of the mild weather this year, and I was right. I have been pampering a group of roses on the mountain to have them ready for the Rome, Georgia Junior Service League’s garden tour on April 28 and I sure didn’t want the inch worms to eat up the leaves and flower buds. I finished breakfast and got in the truck. When I reached the job site I found that I was just in time.

inch worm damage on knockout roses

inch worm damage on knockout roses

The damage was minimal but I could tell they had started. I saw a little hole here and another there. The caterpillars seem to come out at night and eat away the leaves. They only stay around a few days before making a cocoon and going into the next stage of their life. But they sure can eat during those few days. I got out my killer liquid sevin and the spray can.

spray inch worms with liquid sevin

spray inch worms with liquid sevin

A good dose was applied to the rose leaves, over and under. I also went around and took care of the Japanese maples and hydrangeas

Spray to cover the tops and bottoms of leaves

Spray to cover the tops and bottoms of leaves

As a reward for myself for a job well done, I went for a walk through the garden to see what was going on and to guess what would be in bloom for the garden tour. I first noticed the plant that we call “English dogwood” which, I think is really a mock orange. If you know the variety, please leave a comment.

English dogwood or mock orange?  (or are both correct?)

English dogwood or mock orange? (or are both correct?)

and here is a close up of the flower:English dogwood/mock orange flower

I stopped to admire the first open flower on the rhododendron by the fountain.

first rhododendron flower this year

first rhododendron flower this year

The hosta has really come out in the last week. I hope the deer don’t get to it.

hosta early spring

hosta early spring

I was really tickled to see the development of the flower buds on the Nikko blue hydrangeas. They just might make it for the show.

Nikko hydrangea ready to bloom

Nikko hydrangea ready to bloom

And the oak leaf hydrangeas have really done some growing. Here is a picture of the working flower buds.

Oakleaf hydrangea early flower bud

Oakleaf hydrangea early flower bud

I now have three weeks left until the tour. This coming week I will open the pool and we will do all of the last minute pruning and put down a hundred or so bales of pine straw.

Next week will be the “big mow” in which we cut about ten acres of hillside grass.

And then the final week will be to get the fountains clean and working, plant the flower beds and urns, and fix everything that ain’t been fixed.

Will John the plant man make it?  Time will tell.

 To read part one of this series, Click Here

For part two of the series, Click Here

And Click Here for part three

 To see a previous article about this lovely landscape garden, CLICK HERE

To read about Johntheplantman and the rednecks, 

As usual, I would just love for you click here to go to Amazon and purchase the ebook edition of my wonderful book, Requiem for a Redneck to go on your Kindle. I have also noticed that Amazon now has a free Kindle app for iphones and tablets. Is that cool or what?

 

If you want a consultation with John Schulz in your yard in N.W. Georgia, send me an email at wherdepony@bellsouth.net

Preparing the garden for an early spring event. Part three of a series.

According to WordPress, this is my one hundredth article. Yay.

 Oops, I’m going to have to do something about the Knockout roses or they will bloom too early. The Rome, Georgia Junior Service League Garden Tour is scheduled for April 28. I’m in pretty good shape with getting things ready for the tour. On March 28, I took a walk through the garden to see if I was missing anything. I’m glad I did, too, because I noticed that the Knockout roses were covered with flower buds. I want these plants to be in bloom for the affair and it looked like the first flush of flowers would come too early.

 

knockout roses starting to bloom too early for the event

knockout roses starting to bloom too early for the event

 

 

I know from experience that these roses will put out a big flush of flowers and then rest before blooming again. I was afraid that this would mean no flowers for the tour. That just would not do. I thought about it for a while and then decided that it was time for what I call “No Guts, No Glory.”

 No Guts No Glory means that if you think you need to do something, but are not quite sure, then you go ahead and do it and take a chance. This usually means that if your idea doesn’t work you are a piece of trash but if it does work you get to be a hero.

 

cutting flower bud to delay blooms

cutting flower bud to delay blooms

 

 

I decided to cut all of the flower buds from the roses and see if a fresh bloom will show up at just the right time. So we went through the yard and cut off every flower bud from every rose plant. Will it work? I sure do hope so. The buds were cut off exactly one month before the event. The plants now look like this:

 

knockout rose with flower buds removed to delay blooming

knockout rose with flower buds removed to delay blooming

 

As I walked around I noticed a couple of things going on that would be gone before the tour so I took a few pictures. Here’s something nice going on with a pieris at the back porch entrance:

 

porch entrance-early spring with pieris

porch entrance-early spring with pieris

 

And I loved this picture of a palmatum Japanese maple with azaleas and spirea in the background:

 

Palmatum Japanese maple with azaleas in the background

Palmatum Japanese maple with azaleas in the background

 

The front entrance looks well tended and inviting

 

Well shaped plants at the entrance

Well shaped plants at the entrance

 

 

Stay in touch. Will John the plant man get everything done in time? Will the roses bloom just at the last minute? We’ll see.

To read part one of this series, Click Here

For part two of the series, Click Here

 To see a previous article about this lovely landscape garden, CLICK HERE

To read about Johntheplantman and the rednecks,

As usual, I would just love for you click here to go to Amazon and purchase the ebook edition of my wonderful book, Requiem for a Redneck to go on your Kindle. I have also noticed that Amazon now has a free Kindle app for iphones and tablets. Is that cool or what?

 

If you want a consultation in your yard in N.W. Georgia, send me an email at wherdepony@bellsouth.net

Preparing the garden for an early spring event. Part two of a series.

 The Rome, Georgtia Junior Service League tour of gardens will happen on April 28, 2012. We’ve been preparing the yard for the event for a while. Click here to see part one of the series. Dekie and I drove up to check out the progress on March 20, the first day of spring. We were delighted with all of the early flowers and the new growth to be found everywhere we looked. Heading up the long drive to the top of the mountain, we enjoyed the dogwoods.

A plethora of dogwoods

A plethora of dogwoods

I know what you are saying after that picture caption, but I figure that a writer only gets to use the word “plethora” once every two months and it’s my turn. I stopped to take a picture of the dogwood and an iris bed with the house in the distance.

Dogwood and iris frame the distant house

Dogwood and iris frame the distant house

The wisteria was in full bloom. I’m sure the wisteria will kill that big tree one day, but Patsy doesn’t seem to mind–she loves that plant– so we just try to keep it under control as best we can.

A grand wisteria shows off with flowers in early spring

A grand wisteria shows off with flowers in early spring

The viburnum by the front entrance was showing off. Of course, it will be only solid green for the tour.

Viburnum at front entrance

Viburnum at front entrance

I noticed the hostas poking their pretty leaves out of the ground. They will be beautiful for the end of April. I wonder, given the warm weather lately, if the hydrangeas will be in bloom for the event. It would be nice if they were.

The hostas are waking from their winter slumber

The hostas are waking from their winter slumber

The beautiful dissectum Japanese maple at the front door had been growing way out over the steps. I had pruned it away from the steps earlier and I’m happy with the results.

The beautiful Japanese maple has been pruned away from the entrance

The beautiful Japanese maple has been pruned away from the entrance

The beds along the extensive pathways have been cleaned of all winter debris and stray weeds. They are ready for pine straw which will be applied as soon as the current pollen drop is over with. I love the little hints of the mountain view as I walk through the garden.

Beds along the pathways are now nice and clean

Beds along the pathways are now nice and clean

The ivy on the house has been nicely trimmed. We have to trim this planting two or three times a year.

Ivy nicely trimmed

Ivy nicely trimmed

The box stores with their nurseries take advantage of the nice March days to offer unknowing customers annual flowering plants even though it is way too early to plant them. Sometimes I think they are taking advantage of customers who don’t know any better. Well, this year I am going to take advantage of the box stores. I got a load of begonias from Lowe’s and took them to the greenhouse. I will grow them out to nice healthy plants to be put in the beds the week before the garden tour. I’m afraid there will be a shortage of nice plants at that time and I want to be sure that I have what I need. We gathered up all sorts of 4 inch pots and prepared them. I bought small plants in 6 packs and will grow them out.

pots laid out for bedding plants

pots laid out for bedding plants

I am using Pro Mix for the plantings. This is one of the best potting mediums available. I could save money by mixing peat moss, vermiculite, and perlite to get the same thing, but I don’t really have the time.

Pro Mix is a premium potting soil

Pro Mix is a premium potting soil

Here are the begonias ready to take off and grow. I will give them a good drink of Miracle Grow 20-20-20 plant food and spray them well with a good fungicide. I’ll show you the difference in a follow up article a couple of weeks or so from now.

begonias in larger pots ready to grow and thrive

begonias in larger pots ready to grow and thrive

Stay in touch with johntheplantman for further developments in preparing the mountain garden for the April tour.

 To see a previous article about this lovely landscape garden, CLICK HERE

To read about Johntheplantman and the rednecks

As usual, I would just love for you click here to go to Amazon and purchase the ebook edition of my wonderful book, Requiem for a Redneck to go on your Kindle. I have also noticed that Amazon now has a free Kindle app for iphones and tablets. Is that cool or what?

If you want a consultation in your yard in N.W. Georgia, send me an email at wherdepony@bellsouth.net

 Happy Gardening!!

The illustrated guide to rooting begonia cuttings

 I’m going to need a lot of nice flowering plants. The Junior Service League garden tour is scheduled for April 28 and all of the urns and flower beds will have to look really good. I usually don’t even start the planting until the first of May because of the variable weather patterns in the North Georgia hills. Patsy’s going to love this.

I love dragon wing begonias for pots or flower beds

I love dragon wing begonias for pots or flower beds

I have access to a greenhouse, however. Due to health and other issues, I haven’t used the greenhouse for the last couple of years but when I found out about the garden tour last October, I decided to clean up the greenhouse and to save a lot of Dragon Wing begonias that would have ordinarily gone to the trash pile. As we changed out annual color last year, I saved a number of the begonias and potted them up to use this spring. Last week (march 7), they looked like this: (if you are following these instructions at home, you don’t need a greenhouse, just a warm, well-lit area)

begonias saved from last year

begonias saved from last year

The situation is multi-faceted. I need about thirty really nice plants to plant in the urns around the pools and at doorways. I also need quite a few smaller plants to use in extensive flower bed plantings. My strategy will be to get the plants ready in the greenhouse and to do the planting at the last minute. The job is to clean up and prune the existing plants so that they will grow out big and to make some new ones. The two jobs go well together. We start with some careful cutting.

Pruning and taking begonia cuttings.

Pruning and taking begonia cuttings.

I am cutting as a pruning process that will make the plant branch out and shape right, but I am also looking for just the right size of tips to root for new plants. A desirable tip will look like this:

begonia tip suitable for rooting

begonia tip suitable for rooting

To prepare the tip for rooting, pinch off any blooms and a lower leaf or two.

begonia tip prepared for cutting

begonia tip prepared for cutting

A rooting hormone is not a necessity, the cuttings will root without it, but using the hormone will provide quicker, healthier results. The main ingredient that I search the label for is “indole 3 butyric acid.” This is a growth hormone and it may be found in liquid or powdered formulations. I found it at a garden center.

rooting hormone gives good results

rooting hormone gives good results

We dip the cutting in the powder to coat the fresh cut end.

dip the cutting in the hormone powder and wiggle it around a bit.

dip the cutting in the hormone powder and wiggle it around a bit.

The cuttings are then stuck in moist potting soil. I used Hyponex moisture control potting soil this time, but any other high quality preparation will do. You can actually use clean sand and get really good results.

Stick the cuttings in a tray of high quality potting soil or clean sand

Stick the cuttings in a tray of high quality potting soil or clean sand

I like to use nursery flats to stick the cuttings in. I get 40 to 50 cuttings per tray. A flower pot will work well if you are only doing a few cuttings.

A nursery tray works best for cuttings, but a flower pot will do.

A nursery tray works best for cuttings, but a flower pot will do.

As we take cuttings for new plants, we also clean any old stems and bad leaves from the larger plants. I want to encourage the new spring growth to come from the bottom of the plant. This will give much better shape and durability.

cleaning and pruning last year's begonias

cleaning and pruning last year’s begonias

After sticking a number of cuttings in the rooting medium, I use a gentle spray of water to wash the soil in around the base of the plants and to wet the leaves.

water the cuttings to settle the soil and wet the leaves

water the cuttings to settle the soil and wet the leaves

.The cuttings are fully prepared at this time. They should be placed in a bright location-but not in full sun. I suggest misting the plants lightly once or twice a day. Be careful not to over water them, though. Misting works best in the morning. The leaves should be dry at night to reduce the incidence of fungal infections. The rooted cuttings should be ready for pots in two or three weeks.

The plants that we will grow out for specimens have now been totally cleaned and they look like this:

clean begonias ready to grow out for spring planting

clean begonias ready to grow out for spring planting

You can use this method for rooting cuttings with many different plants. Geraniums, begonias, impatiens, and many more plants will respond readily.

 I hope you enjoyed the article. I’ll bet you will also enjoy my novel

As usual, I would just love for you click here to go to Amazon and purchase the ebook edition of my wonderful book, Requiem for a Redneck to go on your Kindle. I have also noticed that Amazon now has a free Kindle app for iphones and tablets. Is that cool or what?

Preparing the garden for an early spring event. part one of a series

March 1, 2012: The phone rang right after lunch. “John,” Patsy said, “Don’t forget about the Junior Service League tour of gardens in April.” I replied that I had not forgotten and that we were on the same page.  I have been working on the yard on the mountain for probably thirty years and it is one of my favorite places to visit and work. I pictured the grand weeping cherry tree silhouetted against the late winter sky.

weeping cherry, silhouetted in the winter sky

weeping cherry, silhouetted in the winter sky

The tour of gardens is scheduled here in Rome, Georgia for April 28, which is early enough in the North Georgia season to warrant some creative thinking. I realized that I had two months to put on a show. It was time to start. A wise old gardener had once told me, “Son, in your business, timing is everything.” I listened.

March 2: We loaded cutters, blowers, rakes, tarps, and other useful implements into the truck and headed out. The driveway is a bit over a half a mile long and as I reached the final curve heading for the house, I grinned at the daffodils that I remembered planting in my much younger days.

daffodils on the hillside

daffodils on the hillside

After parking the work truck, I grabbed my notebook and trusty camera and went for a walk. I found a couple of delightful surprises as I passed a rock garden:

a surprise in the rock garden

a surprise in the rock garden

I found a nice jasmine and nandina combination

I found a nice jasmine and nandina combination

I figured that the first thing was to clean out all of the winter debris from the flower and shrub beds.

Time to clean the flower beds and get ready for spring flowers

Time to clean the flower beds and get ready for spring flowers

I had pruned the knockout roses in December, but I wasn’t happy with the way the ivy had crept in. Late winter is a wonderful time to take care of such as this.

Late winter is a good time to control unwanted ivy

Late winter is a good time to control unwanted ivy

On down the walkway I found some beautiful Lenten roses showing off under a tree. The grouping is backed up with perennial ferns which had browned out through the winter. We would trim the dead fronds and hope that the ferns reappear before the event.

Lenten rose in the late winter garden, N. Georgia

Lenten rose in the late winter garden, N. Georgia

I decided that it was time for me to deadhead the Annabelle hydrangeas and shape them a bit so that they will bloom in a tiered pattern. I doubt that they will be in bloom for the event, but the foliage will be lovely and, one never knows.

Time to shape the Annabelle hydrangeas and get rid of those old flower heads

Time to shape the Annabelle hydrangeas and get rid of those old flower heads

We started to work. The ivy is removed from the knockout roses and I am pondering as to whether or not they need a bit more work. I’ll bet we can count on some blooms here.I’ll feed them next week. The bed looks much better.

Ivy gone from under the roses. I'll have to remember to stay on top of it.

Ivy gone from under the roses. I’ll have to remember to stay on top of it.

I have pruned the hydrangeas so that they will make a mound leaning back toward the house. They don’t look like much now, but they will be beautiful in just a few weeks.

Hydrangeas after deadheading. They look like a bunch of sticks, but just wait.

Hydrangeas after deadheading. They look like a bunch of sticks, but just wait.

We continued deep cleaning the beds. I like this job because it gives such an immediate feeling of satisfaction when viewing the finished project.

deep cleaning the flower and shrub beds

deep cleaning the flower and shrub beds

Almost to the end of the upper front walk, we stop for a late lunch break. The cleaning and pruning is going well and we finish by the end of the day.

deep cleaning the flower and shrub beds

deep cleaning the flower and shrub beds

My notebook is full of ideas on how I will have flowers in bloom and accent plantings ready for the tour. Remember, timing is everything.

This series will include a number of articles in sequence. If you would like to receive them by email, subscribe in the box which is located in the upper right sidebar or click “follow.”

To see a previous article about this lovely landscape garden, CLICK HERE

As usual, I would just love for you click here to go to Amazon and purchase the ebook edition of my wonderful book, Requiem for a Redneck to go on your Kindle. I have also noticed that Amazon now has a free Kindle app for iphones and tablets. Is that cool or what?

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