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Summer Stars of My 'Dog Days' Garden

By SongofJoy
August 31, 2011

The move from California to Tennessee brought with it a change in plant selections and gardening techniques. What grows well there frequently does not grow here at all. The most prominent plant diseases and pests in the two locations can also differ quite markedly. Starting over has been a real challenge.

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Name: Sandi
Austin, Tx (Zone 8b)
Texas Gardening
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Bubbles
Aug 30, 2011 7:25 PM CST
I was really feeling sorry for you having to leave your previous garden until I saw your present plant list! Wow, you have a lot that has survived the heat of summer. Beautiful stuff. Great informative article. I'll be coming to get some of your plants one of these days (probably under cover of darkness).
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
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RickCorey
Aug 30, 2011 8:55 PM CST
Great point! Build on success.

>> I began to find quite a few plants that were virtually uneaten or at least had the appearance of being mostly whole

You reminded me of something I stumbled into out of necessity, not really through design. I moved to the Pacific coast of WA and started gardening 3-4 years ago. Here, slugs eat almost everything I plant. Often, right down to the gorund, overnight.

Then some pretty, small white flowers survived, from a seed mix, and I didn't know what they were. Finally, I realized that slugs can't like them, so i looked for lists of slug-proof plants, and quickly found that they most be Alyssum.

Siberian Wallflowers became center stage in one bed the smae way: by surviving!

Thank you for reminding me that this is not just necessity, it's smart!

And thanks for helping the plants make it sink into my thick head: do what works!

After trying for years to grow what looks pretty on a seed packet, I'm going to rememebr to grow something that CAN live in my yard!

Why is it that simple things are hard to learn?

Name: Becky (Boo)
Phoenix, AZ 85022
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Boopaints
Aug 30, 2011 10:13 PM CST
Hurray! Tee, you have a wonderful attitude and a lot of gardener determination! That is one of the prettiest Persian Shield I've ever seen and the variegated plant (??I can't recall it's name) it gorgeous!

I loved reading about your new adventure and would like to share this with you:

Every story has an end ... but in life, every end has a new beginning

It's kind of my slogan for the season I am in right now. Big Grin
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Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
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valleylynn
Aug 30, 2011 11:15 PM CST
Tee your article really touch me. It was so well written that it made me feel what you must have been feeling.
I loved your wonderful photos of your dog day summer plants. Now I must go out tomorrow morning and look around my garden.
Thank you so much for an uplifting/encouraging article.
Name: Carole
Clarksville, TN (Zone 6b)
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SongofJoy
Aug 31, 2011 5:03 AM CST
Thank you for the kind comments. I thought the same thing when I looked at that list. Then when I look at the yard, I wonder where it all is?? Blinking Looks so sparse compared to my last one. (Maybe Sandi was here??) But I really am enjoying the challenge of a new climate zone ... most of the time. What I don't enjoy is all the roots from 45 year old trees. Sheesh. So what plants actually do thrive when planted in tree roots? Big Grin

Rick Corey, I appreciated the "pretty on a seed packet" comment. Hardest gardening lesson to learn for me was that pictures seldom translate into my garden. Just doesn't seem to look quite the same, does it? I should probably just plant the seed packets. Shrug! BTW, my Siberian Wallflowers quickly went pfffft this year. Big Grin

So true, Becky. So true. Thumbs up

Lynn, my photography isn't professional, but I do enjoy seeing what people have in their yards. Yours appears to be beautiful, I must say. 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: Brenda
Dolores, Colorado
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bsavage
Aug 31, 2011 8:43 AM CST
Tee, I can soooo relate to your story, as you may know I too had to give up my gardens in AZ and start over here in Colorado. What a change! But, like you, I am learning as I go. Isn't life grand... and BTW, learning helps keep us young! p.s. I have to say that most times I am encouraged by how most things want to live! Sometimes it just takes me figuring out what it needs...
Name: Carole
Clarksville, TN (Zone 6b)
Cherish today
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SongofJoy
Aug 31, 2011 9:08 AM CST
That's so true, Brenda. It doesn't even have to be moving across country or to another state. Sometimes it's a local move that forces us to give up a beloved garden.

Isn't it wonderful that things do try to help us along by wanting to live. ♥ I need all the help I can get. Smiling
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: Vicki
North Carolina
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vic
Aug 31, 2011 9:42 AM CST
Wonderful story Tee Thumbs up

It reminds me of the saying back in the 70's was it?? Bloom Where You Are Planted Big Grin

Group hug
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
Aug 31, 2011 12:43 PM CST
Yes, I remember that one. Rolling my eyes. I just read a wonderful quote in the current edition of Country Living:

A place belongs forever to whoever claims it hardest ... wrenches it from itself, shapes it, renders it, loves it so radically that he remakes it in his image.
~ Joan Didion

I think I get that. Smiling
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: Vicki
North Carolina
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vic
Aug 31, 2011 1:08 PM CST
Oh, I love that.... Thumbs up Thumbs up
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
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RickCorey
Aug 31, 2011 6:48 PM CST
Thanks, Tee. I always save my seed packets, so that, after the slugs eat all the seedlings, i can still look and tell myself what it WOULD have looked like.

>> BTW, my Siberian Wallflowers quickly went pfffft this year

Wow! Those are almost the only thing that comes back and spreads whether I want it or not. Every climate and soil has its own favorite plants.

OK, and English Ivy.

And those four kinds of ever-invasive weeds.

Name: Carole
Clarksville, TN (Zone 6b)
Cherish today
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SongofJoy
Sep 1, 2011 3:42 AM CST
I was surprised at the Wallflowers too, but we've had a scorching and dry summer. And I think they also got shaded out by other things. Sad
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: Larry Rettig
South Amana, IA (Zone 5a)
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LarryR
Sep 1, 2011 10:35 AM CST
What a great, uplifting story, Tee!

Here is a tip I'll be submitting to Trish that might work for you, if you're having problems gardening under trees: Buy several bags of potting soil and position them to your liking under the tree. Slit holes in the bags for the plants. Plant them and then cover the whole thing with mulch. Nobody will ever know!
Gardener was the label imprinted on me when the souls were handed out and so be it. --Margaret Roach (Thank you, Sharon!) Notes from the Garden: Articles of interest on all aspects of gardening
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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
Sep 1, 2011 10:55 AM CST
Larry, that is a fantastic tip! Why didn't I think of it? I'm going to do it asap. I really didn't want any more pots right now so your tip should work perfectly for my situation here. Thank you.
Thumbs up Hurray! Thumbs up
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: Sharon
Calvert City, KY (Zone 7a)
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Sharon
Sep 1, 2011 11:09 AM CST
Absolutely great tip, Larry!!!
Wow. And duh. Why didn't i think of that?
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Name: Alice
Saint Helena Island, SC (Zone 9a)
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ardesia
Sep 1, 2011 11:24 AM CST
I live in a southeastern coastal community with many new retirees relocating to the area. At our local Master Gardeners booth at the Farmers Market, the most commonly asked questions always begin with "We have just moved here from ____, just fill in the blank, and we don't know what grows here." I love your idea for making a list. I usually suggest people drive around their neighborhood and note what is doing well and the conditions under which it is growing.

I love Larry's suggestion too but I would add - be sure to keep those bags a good 3' from the trunk of your older trees, you don't want to cover the root flare.
Minds are like parachutes; they work better when they are open.
[Last edited by ardesia - Sep 2, 2011 12:13 PM (+)]
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Name: Vicki
North Carolina
Forum moderator Charter ATP Member I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I sent a postcard to Randy! Region: United States of America
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vic
Sep 1, 2011 11:25 AM CST
Smacking hand on forehead! What a GREAT idea! Thumbs up
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
Sep 1, 2011 11:40 AM CST
Thanks, Alice, I'll keep that in mind.

Me too, Vicki. I've even planted things directly in bags of soil so I have no excuse. Why I never thought of covering them with something like mulch ... well, now I will. Thumbs up
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: Brenda
Dolores, Colorado
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bsavage
Sep 1, 2011 1:55 PM CST
Brilliant, Larry!
Name: Larry Rettig
South Amana, IA (Zone 5a)
Charter ATP Member Tip Photographer I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Cottage Gardener Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Composter
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LarryR
Sep 1, 2011 11:28 PM CST
Thanks, all. I forgot to add that you do need to make some drainage holes in the bottoms of the bags.
Gardener was the label imprinted on me when the souls were handed out and so be it. --Margaret Roach (Thank you, Sharon!) Notes from the Garden: Articles of interest on all aspects of gardening
Cottage-in-the-Meadow Gardens: Come on in and take the tour! Check out the photos!

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