Tennessee Gardening forum: Countdown to Spring

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Name: Red
Knoxville, TN
Charter ATP Member Region: Tennessee Region: Georgia Garden Art Cat Lover Butterflies
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knoxred
Jan 22, 2011 4:25 PM CST
I'm back. The kids are back in school (at least sporadically, between snow days Glare ) and I've caught up on the un-decorating, housecleaning, restocking the pantry,etc. that always follows the holidays/extended winter break.

Ugh, what a winter we've had. I'm just done with it, and have now mentally moved into a season I like to call "pre-spring" in an effort to save my sanity. It's time to sharpen & clean tools, wintersow seeds, and think about changes I'd like to make in the gardens this year.

How is everybody doing?
Name: Carole
Clarksville, TN (Zone 6b)
Cherish today
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages Plant Identifier I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar
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SongofJoy
Jan 23, 2011 7:12 AM CST
Pre-Spring ... I like that a lot! This winter has been brutal, that's for sure. I don't know how those folks in the northern states do it. Crying

I'm trying to get my hardy Hib seeds soaked and in their little Jiffy pots to germinate. Right now, I'm still hunting around for my motivation. Now where did I leave that???

I did a mid-winter damage assessment on the outdoor plants. Not too bad so far. At least as far as I can tell. But it remains to be seen. EE buried out there under a half foot of leaves and straw mulch with pots on top. We'll see. Hardy musa better be hardy ... same with the crinums and other things that were planted last Fall.

And the planter tubs ... there's always those to wait and watch. Lost the contents of some of those last winter.

Are we having fun yet??? Thumbs down

Think warm thoughts!!! :-)
The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched -- they must be felt with the heart. ~ Helen Keller
Name: Red
Knoxville, TN
Charter ATP Member Region: Tennessee Region: Georgia Garden Art Cat Lover Butterflies
Seed Starter Container Gardener Plant and/or Seed Trader Ferns Irises Bulbs
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knoxred
Jan 23, 2011 9:48 AM CST
I grew up in New England, and barely survived the winters. I moved south to GA immediately after school. The move a few years ago up to Knoxville was as far north as I was willing to go ever again. My pledge to never again own a snow shovel has been broken.

Hopefully our EE's will make it through the winter. I also left mine outside, as I ran out of garage space. The thorough garage cleaning never got done last year, so when frost came I crammed as many plants in as possible and promised to get to the cleaning "later". I've got 2 (definitely not hardy) red bananas in there, as well as a large Alocasia and some hanging baskets of ferns, along with a bunch of smaller stuff. Some things are in there to protect the pots more so than the plants that were in them.

I'm trying to do a little something every day to clear out the garage. The milk jug collection is now outside planted with winter sown seeds, and the hands tools are sharpened/oiled/organized. The hand tools were easy to work on because I could bring them in to the kitchen. I don't forsee bringing in all the long-handled shovels, rakes, etc., so those will have to get cleaned up on the driveway some nice sunny spring day.
Name: Carole
Clarksville, TN (Zone 6b)
Cherish today
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages Plant Identifier I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar
Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Cat Lover Avid Green Pages Reviewer Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Birds
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SongofJoy
Jan 23, 2011 1:03 PM CST
You are making a lot of progress, Red! Congrats! My garage needs to be reorganized completely once the weather warms. We just moved into this house about 18 months ago and a lot of the stuff the movers put in the garage is still right where they set it.

I have a lot of my potted plants under lights in the garage which is downstairs and mostly below-grade. It usually stays at least 50* but has dropped lower this year. I finally brought the coleus upstairs because I thought they were staying too cool and damp and weren't doing well. In the garage I have some EE in pots and also bulbs, succulents, cacti, brugs, ferns and other things right now. But not much room left. Just a little path to walk through. lol. My pots of sedums and yuccas and misc. plants are jammed together under the carport (huddled together for warmth) where I can throw blankets over them. So far, so good with most of those, I think. Only time will tell.

They are calling for snow again tonight. Supposedly just a dusting. Sigh!

Some of the huddled masses. Thumb of 2011-01-23/SongofJoy/eac1b2
Big Grin
The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched -- they must be felt with the heart. ~ Helen Keller
Name: Red
Knoxville, TN
Charter ATP Member Region: Tennessee Region: Georgia Garden Art Cat Lover Butterflies
Seed Starter Container Gardener Plant and/or Seed Trader Ferns Irises Bulbs
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knoxred
Jan 24, 2011 7:00 AM CST
You mean you're supposed to do something with all the boxes? We still have some boxes around the house 3 years later. A lot of them contain important papers, so I can't get rid of them, but I also don't want this stuff cluttering up my current files in the filing cabinet, so there's no place to put them. If I took a few days and went through them, I could whittle the boxes down some, but even cleaning the garage sounds more fun than that.

I have impatiens sprouts!! They are one of the few seeds I still start inside instead of WS, because they are so tender and need a long lead time, and have less stringent lighting requirements. Today I'll get some coleus seeds started.

My garage cleanup item for today is to run all the gardening gloves,hats, and jackets through the wash.
Name: Red
Knoxville, TN
Charter ATP Member Region: Tennessee Region: Georgia Garden Art Cat Lover Butterflies
Seed Starter Container Gardener Plant and/or Seed Trader Ferns Irises Bulbs
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knoxred
Jan 26, 2011 7:17 AM CST
Garage item of the day: washing & stacking some of the smaller pots, which can be brought into the kitchen sink to clean.

I've got coleus seeds started under lights, and will add to my WS containers some today. Most of my perennials have been WS'd already, so this will finish off the perennials I had planned on. Of the 20 or so different varieties, I'm probably most excited about the Echinacea 'Powwow Wild Berry'.

Name: Carole
Clarksville, TN (Zone 6b)
Cherish today
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages Plant Identifier I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar
Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Cat Lover Avid Green Pages Reviewer Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Birds
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SongofJoy
Jan 26, 2011 1:12 PM CST
Good job on your garage. Mine now has bird seed everywhere. I must have 200-300 birds in my back yard right now. We back up to woods. Sheesh. Blinking

I have my hardy Hibiscus seeds soaked and potted and in their little jiffy greenhouse. I've got six varieties of those (hopefully) but since hybrids don't come true from seed, I must wait to see what I actually get. Fun ... and I guess I'm most excited about those. The other things I have coming from seed are lilac, cleome, daturas, prairie petunia, false indigo, 4 o'clocks, globe amaranth, raspberry wine monarda, tall red and blue lobelia, red and yellow verbena, lantana, native american bellflower, gaillardia, hyacinth bean vine, dwarf cockscomb ... and probably some other things I don't remember right now.

That Echinacea sounds beautiful!

3-4" of snow on the ground here. I'm cold. Thumbs down
The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched -- they must be felt with the heart. ~ Helen Keller
Name: Red
Knoxville, TN
Charter ATP Member Region: Tennessee Region: Georgia Garden Art Cat Lover Butterflies
Seed Starter Container Gardener Plant and/or Seed Trader Ferns Irises Bulbs
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knoxred
Jan 27, 2011 1:34 PM CST
Are you starting all your seeds indoors? You must have a lot of seed-starting space for that many varieties.

I realized that part of my garage clutter problem is actually all the supplies on hand for undone projects. So, my garage item today was to finally replace the ratty liners for the hanging fern baskets and replant the ferns with nice fresh soil. Also, I replaced the old potting soil in a few of the pots I brought in. Finishing up that bag of soil means another couple feet of available floor space, and the pots are ready for new plants in the Spring. The best part was that playing in the dirt was such a nice distraction from winter.

Bummer on the bird seed mess. Whatever you do, don't open the door or you'll have a garage full of birds! Rolling on the floor laughing
Name: Red
Knoxville, TN
Charter ATP Member Region: Tennessee Region: Georgia Garden Art Cat Lover Butterflies
Seed Starter Container Gardener Plant and/or Seed Trader Ferns Irises Bulbs
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knoxred
Jan 29, 2011 10:09 AM CST
Yesterday was full of errands and social commitments, so no progress on the Great Garage Cleanout. What I really need is a nice warm day that allows me to pull out a bunch of stuff onto the driveway, clean, and put back everything all neat and organized. But you just know that a nice warm day will have me outside playing in the yard!

Today, I'm going to get out and do a yard assessment. The ground is less squishy than it has been in weeks, so it's go time.
Name: Carole
Clarksville, TN (Zone 6b)
Cherish today
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages Plant Identifier I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar
Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Cat Lover Avid Green Pages Reviewer Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Birds
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SongofJoy
Jan 31, 2011 6:39 AM CST
I hear that ... I've got lots of yard art projects and others in my garage taking up space. My work bench is too covered up in stuff and I've got to get that cleaned off again so I can actually have some space to work. Blinking

My dining room is the makeshift gh and plant nursery at the moment. As much as I love plants, it is beginning to get on my nerves a bit. I am using the little Jiffy greenhouses this year. My hardy Hibs are starting to sprout so that is exciting! Some of those seeds mentioned above will go directly in the ground in March or April so not all germinated indoors.

How did your plant assessment go? The weather has been so lovely here the past two days!! I hope you all got good weather too. Thumbs up

Soooo ... I cut down or pulled old stalks, stems and seed heads I had left for the birds, cleaned beds, dug plugs of blue ornamental grass and potted them for swaps, cleaned up sedum pots, blew away leaves, cleaned off the deck. Had sore muscles the next day but I didn't mind that at all. Just being outside again!!! Hurray!

I found two clumps of daffodils coming up in the backyard already. The snow was good insulation, no doubt. Harbingers of Spring!!! I don't recall what they are as I bought several pots of spent daffs for .50 each at Walmart last year. Hurray! Thumbs up Thumb of 2011-01-31/SongofJoy/bccec6
The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched -- they must be felt with the heart. ~ Helen Keller
Name: Red
Knoxville, TN
Charter ATP Member Region: Tennessee Region: Georgia Garden Art Cat Lover Butterflies
Seed Starter Container Gardener Plant and/or Seed Trader Ferns Irises Bulbs
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knoxred
Feb 1, 2011 7:07 AM CST
Congrats on the Hibiscus sprouts! Hurray!

You just had to mention the workbench, didn't ya? Rolling my eyes. I clean it off constantly, but it is the only decent horizontal surface in there, and it invites clutter. My only garage item accomplished over the last few days was to bring the mower in for its spring service. (Note: anyone in the Knoxville area - Mayo is having its early equipment service special.) That freed up some floor space, if only temporarily.

It sounds like you got a good jump on your spring cleanup and the first sore muscles of the year! I got to play in the yard Sunday afternoon and most of yesterday. Just general cleanup of leaves and loose stalks, several bags worth. It's early yet, with plenty more hard freezes to come, so the only thing I really cut back was the ornamental grasses, although I'm desperate to severely prune back roses, crape myrtles, butterfly bushes and all the scruffy perennials. The grasses were well past the point of "interesting winter structure" and cutting them down now means not chasing the broken stalks all around the yard for the next few weeks. We used to live across the street from someone with a huge stand of pampas grass, and she never cut it back, ever. In late winter the old stalks would shatter and get blown all around the neighborhood.

Most of the visible plants are in decent shape, although winter weary. There's new growth at the base of some perennials. Maybe the plants know something about spring's arrival that we don't. It was a good chance to check out the "bones" of the yard and to appreciate the bark of the Sango Kaku Japanese maple and the redtwig dogwood. There are a couple of bedlines that need to be fixed where the mulch sloshed over onto the grass, and the mulch needs replenishing in several areas, but overall not bad.
Name: Carole
Clarksville, TN (Zone 6b)
Cherish today
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages Plant Identifier I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar
Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Cat Lover Avid Green Pages Reviewer Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Birds
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SongofJoy
Feb 3, 2011 4:40 AM CST
Yah, that workbench=clutter magnet is an issue for me too. In fact, my entire garage definitely has to finally get organized this Spring. I keep telling myself that. I haven't done much with it since moving in except stick more stuff in there, and it has gotten to where it's bugging even me now. Sad But you are inspiring me!

For some reason the cold weather has gotten to me a bit this year. I had projects lined up for the winter but sort of got into hibernation mode or something. Blinking I think it has just been so cold and snowy for so long. I'm definitely solar-powered. Big Grin

I have several Hib sprouts that are up and going strong and the rest haven't done a lot yet. I can see several getting ready to poke through. The seeds were all given to me by other people so I'm hoping they are mostly viable. I want about 8-10 to plant out along the property line with a neighbor and I'm hoping for some to come true from seed so I'll have some color. But I do love white too ... especially on a hot summer day. I just like Hibs period. Thumbs up

Sounds like your yard has come through the winter well. Mine too as far as I can tell right now. I'm waiting to see about my EE, hardy musa, and crinum that I planted last Fall. I think the crinum will be fine since those are such hardy buggers. I have my fingers crossed for the others ... especially the things that were newly planted last year and this is their first winter. I'm hoping the Farmers' Almanac is correct and there will only be one period of snow this month and we're done for the year. None would be just fine too. Enough already. Angry

Do you grow many houseplants?Thumb of 2011-02-03/SongofJoy/ac3464
The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched -- they must be felt with the heart. ~ Helen Keller
Name: Red
Knoxville, TN
Charter ATP Member Region: Tennessee Region: Georgia Garden Art Cat Lover Butterflies
Seed Starter Container Gardener Plant and/or Seed Trader Ferns Irises Bulbs
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knoxred
Feb 4, 2011 12:31 PM CST
Solar powered - I like that! Hilarious! Between the Farmers Almanac and the groundhog, we're guaranteed an early spring, right? Right? Oh, please say yes. Lie to me if you have to.

I can't really do houseplants, as they become cat food. And then cat barf. Angry

I hear you about the hibernating mode. A lot of the project clutter is paint & painting supplies & wood moulding that have been sitting here for months, but it's hard to paint a room when you're huddled under a blanket! Plus, I just plain don't feel like it. 16' pieces of moulding just don't tuck neatly into the corner until you're ready to work with them.

Name: Red
Knoxville, TN
Charter ATP Member Region: Tennessee Region: Georgia Garden Art Cat Lover Butterflies
Seed Starter Container Gardener Plant and/or Seed Trader Ferns Irises Bulbs
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knoxred
Feb 8, 2011 9:25 AM CST
I've got new growth on several of my roses. I'm also seeing a lot more bird activity this week. Maybe spring really is coming!
Name: Carole
Clarksville, TN (Zone 6b)
Cherish today
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages Plant Identifier I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar
Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Cat Lover Avid Green Pages Reviewer Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Birds
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SongofJoy
Feb 8, 2011 11:54 AM CST
Hi over there, Red,
Well, we have 5" of new snow and ice out there now with another storm on the way tomorrow that they predict will bring another 2"-4" by tomorrow night. Sheesh! Crying They did say that it could be up to around 70 here by the end of next week!! Could that be true??? I don't know whether to believe it or not. It would be soooo wonderful if this would be the end of our cold weather and we have an early Spring. Thumbs up I am the eternal optimist.

Did you get snow? I hope not.

I am still in a bit of a malaise or have a bad case of cabin fever since we've been cooped up for so long. Don't seem too motivated to do much of anything inside. Itching to get outside!!

BUT ... this sedum is certainly off and running. Hurray! Thumb of 2011-02-08/SongofJoy/1b7391
The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched -- they must be felt with the heart. ~ Helen Keller
Name: Red
Knoxville, TN
Charter ATP Member Region: Tennessee Region: Georgia Garden Art Cat Lover Butterflies
Seed Starter Container Gardener Plant and/or Seed Trader Ferns Irises Bulbs
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knoxred
Feb 9, 2011 7:19 AM CST
Ack! You said the "s" word! We're expected to get a little bit tonight, but I'm hoping they're wrong again. Weather predictions here for the valley are notoriously unreliable. Tricky geography or something makes prediction very difficult.

I love that sedum picture. It's such a sign of hope. One of my favorite garden chores is cleaning up all the perennials in late winter and finding new growth. The beds look empty, yet so full of potential. My favorite spring sign has to be the emerging tubes of hosta pushing up through the ground. The bright green, tender, perfect leaves with no slug holes....

I'm going to the Dogwood Arts Home & Garden Show (downtown Knoxville) this weekend to get a much needed gardening fix. In past years I had really good intentions, yet never made it there. This is the year - I've already bought my ticket.

---> Check out this new cubit! Two Tennessee ladies have joined forces to bring us a new book cubit, The Reading Room. See what everybody's reading to get them through the winter.
Name: Carole
Clarksville, TN (Zone 6b)
Cherish today
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages Plant Identifier I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar
Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Cat Lover Avid Green Pages Reviewer Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Birds
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SongofJoy
Feb 11, 2011 12:16 PM CST
We ended up with about 9 inches of s--- from the two storms. It was 6 degrees this morning but now it's up to 35 and the snow is melting. It should be in the 50's and 60's soon and for most of the week. Yippeeee....... can you hear me shouting clear over there in east TN?? Hilarious!

After my last inspection, I had thought most of my plants and container things were probably fine, but now that the temps have dropped that low, I will have to wait to see about some of them again. :-(

Lucky you to have a nice gardening show to attend this weekend. Sounds great! I'm envious. I could use a garden "fix" right now. I think I'm way past due. You'll have to tell us all about it, please.

I can't wait to get outside this week and work in the yard and walk ... I've felt like a hermit or recluse or something. Hope this is the end of the frigid cold weather and the s--- and ice for the rest of this winter and Spring.

Our small deck is usually the last thing to melt off since it's wood and elevated from the ground. I had just cleaned it before the last two s--- storms. Well, as soon as I can see it again, I guess I'll clean it again. Big Grin
The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched -- they must be felt with the heart. ~ Helen Keller
Name: Red
Knoxville, TN
Charter ATP Member Region: Tennessee Region: Georgia Garden Art Cat Lover Butterflies
Seed Starter Container Gardener Plant and/or Seed Trader Ferns Irises Bulbs
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knoxred
Feb 11, 2011 12:38 PM CST
Holy cow, 9 inches? Thank you for wringing all the s--- out of the storm systems before they moved further east. Big Grin
We got away with a light dusting here.

We have the same issue with our deck. I take it as a personal affront that I still have to look out and see s--- on the deck long after the ground is clear. Here's a fun trick to use when the s--- has just come down and is still fresh and fluffy - blow off your deck with a leaf blower! It works beautifully, except on really heavy wet s---, and does a nice job getting all the railings and spindles clear. It's very satisfying to make the s--- go away and get to play with your yard tools at the same time.

I've been trolling all the nurseries and big box stores, looking for my gardening fix. One of the area Home Depots (Kingston Pike/Cedar Bluff, for the locals) had 1 gallon 'Filigree Lace' Japanese maples on clearance for $5.97. So, yes, one followed me home. Just don't ask any silly questions like where I'm going to plant it!

Here's a show near you... http://cubits.org/tngardens/db/localplantevents/view/86260/
Name: Carole
Clarksville, TN (Zone 6b)
Cherish today
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages Plant Identifier I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar
Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Cat Lover Avid Green Pages Reviewer Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Birds
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SongofJoy
Feb 11, 2011 5:15 PM CST
So where are you going to plant it??? Blinking

Unfortunately our first snow was wet and heavy and then froze into solid ice. It brought the white pine limbs all the way down to the ground it was so heavy. But the second snow was soft so it might blow. I'll try that and it least it would expose the heavy icy stuff to the sun tomorrow to melt. I had some Ice Melt but for the life of me I can't find it. Perhaps I used it last winter. Confused

I'm heading out to the stores soon to see what's new. Our closest Kmart still has some of the old plants they didn't sell last year ... and they aren't on sale. They look terrible and some have spider mites, it appears. Thumbs down

Have fun at the show!! Like you wouldn't. Rolling on the floor laughing
The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched -- they must be felt with the heart. ~ Helen Keller
Name: Red
Knoxville, TN
Charter ATP Member Region: Tennessee Region: Georgia Garden Art Cat Lover Butterflies
Seed Starter Container Gardener Plant and/or Seed Trader Ferns Irises Bulbs
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knoxred
Feb 12, 2011 2:46 PM CST
Just got back from the show and a side trip to Stanley's Greenhouse. After I sort through my notes, I'll get some more events posted and load up all the pictures from the show.

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