Wednesday, February 20, 2013

2013 garden plans

It's a little late to be writing 2013 lists, but I've started getting garden catalogs, so it's time to start planning.  Last year I patiently watched my yard naturally progress through the seasons, with little help from me other than some general housekeeping in areas that I knew needed it.

This year I want to jump in feet first, and here is what I have planned so far.

find a better place for tomatoes

My tomatoes were a fail last year.  They just did not get enough sun to produce like I would have liked.  This year I would like to take advantage of the one sunny spot by my garage for tomatoes.  I might end up with containers in different spots, to see which ones do the best.  I'll use the raised bed the tomatoes were in last year for peppers, squash, and herbs.

make some window boxes

I have one window box, and I'd like to have more to match.  The hardest part will be finding the brackets, my mom thinks they were custom cut.  I'll try to start with the back of the house and work my way around.

find a home for my Confederate Jasmine

This is one of my favorite plants, and I haven't decided exactly where I want to put it.  It will either be a raised bed near my garage, or beside my porch.  It smells wonderful, so the important part is to place it where I can actually smell it.

tackle some of the ivy in the woods

I've won the battle with the ivy around my house, but the woods are a whole different story.  Quite a few trees are covered, and my detached garage seems like the next target.

map out my yard 

I don't have a good scale drawing, and that would go a long way in to keeping myself organized and sharing what I'm doing with you.  I'm thinking a combination of something drawn by hand, and google maps with certain gardens getting detailed drawings and plan lists.

focus on 2 or 3 beds

I'm not going to go crazy, but these are some areas that either need a lot of attention, or I think I can actually make things grow!
  • The bed on the south end of my house.  I put down some cardboard and mulch here last year.  I'm hoping it has decomposed enough that I can start planting here.  This will be the beginnings of my first attempt at a cottage garden.
  • The 'kitchen' garden.  This area is a mess.  The dirt is crazy hard, and all that is growing here are some iris's that didn't even bloom last year.  This bed needs the same dig it up, add some compost, and top it off with mulch treatment that my rock garden got last year.
  • The rock wall on the south side of my house.  This was formerly home to a bunch of ivy.  I planted some bulbs here in the fall (more on that some other time), and I'd like to add in some day lilies and some more color.

Friday, February 15, 2013

february bloom day 2013

Hello everybody!  Today is the 15th of the month, which means it's Garden Blogger's Bloom Day.  Every month, on the 15th, Carol over at May Dreams Gardens hosts this event, and it gives bloggers all over the world a chance to show off what is blooming in their world at that particular moment.  I love reading new blogs, and seeing all the pictures.  I've found other blogs in my region, or with similar growing conditions, and I've gotten some great ideas for plants to put in my yard.  My favorites have been grouped together in the bundle you see on the right had side of this page.

The best part about bloom day for me is being able to catalog my yard.  If you're new to my blog, I moved into my Great Grandmother's cottage house just over a year ago with the plan of watching nature take it's course for a year without planting anything new.  I wanted to learn about my new yard and what my growing conditions were before I went crazy putting plants in the ground.  Bloom day has been great for me, because I can go back and see what things looked like at different times of the year, and plan my gardens accordingly.  I can also look back and see how far I've come, which is not a bad feeling either.  Last February was my first bloom day post at from my new house, and it's nice to see some familiar blooms, and my first additions to the gardens.

It felt like the blooms were coming early this year, but it looks like everything is on par with last year.  My daffodils are coming up, and the bushes near my spare bedroom are blooming.


The Vinca Minor is a little early though.  It showed it's first flower yesterday!

One of the best things I did last year was amend the soil in the beds beside my driveway.  I added mushroom compost & mulch, and this year I have mystery tulips coming up by my back door... in an area that was completely bare last year!

November marked 1 year in my house, and the first things that I planted were hostas and hellbores.  Like so many other areas around my house, the rock garden had been neglected for at least 20 years.  The soil was hard and dry, and nothing was growing here.  With my mom's help, we broke up the soil about 8 inches deep, then mixed in mushroom compost, topped it with much, and added additional rock edging to keep everything in place.  It was a lot of work to do it 'right', but the pass along hellebores are happier than I've ever seen them!

Thanks for stopping by today!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

my favorite use of twitter - #HOTNOW

So this is a little random, but yesterday was Fat Tuesday, and I didn't eat a single donut or dessert.  I'm not sure I can (or want to) hold out again today.

Since there is a Krispy Kreme donut in my future, I thought I'd share one of my favorite twitter gems,  @KKHotLight. You can tweet #HOTNOW + your zip code, and @KKHotLight will tell you if there is a Hot Now sign lit up near you.

There may not be a donut in my jump-in-the-car-right-now immediate future, but I'm not ashamed to admit that moment is coming.

If you're not on twitter, Krispy Kreme has other ways to keep up with the Hot Now Light in real time in the form of apps, search pages, and a desktop widget.

Click here for the website, not my blurry shrunken screen capture

It's like they know that sign pulls cars into the parking lot.

Friday, February 8, 2013

(Re)Discover Chattanooga - Community Pie

I love new restaurants.  I love the energy and the passion for food that comes with opening a new restaurant.

One of Chattanooga's newest restaurants is Communnity Pie.  It is owned by the same people who have Taco Mamacita and Urban Stack, two of Chattanooga's best casual dining experiences.

Much has been said about how the owners traveled to Italy to learn the traditional way to prepare Neopolaton style pizza.  Many people have been impressed with the beautiful oven the pizza's are cooked in.  The kid in me was excited about the homemade gelato...even in the middle of winter!

Beautiful Oven Picture courtesy of Community Pie

Before I get to the food, I want to take a minute to talk about my first impression of Community Pie as you walk in the door and to your table.

The space is open & classy without being stuffy.  It's decorated in Navy Blue, warm tones, and white trim.  In no way does it look like a little sailor boy's bedroom.  There are big u-shaped leather booths perfect for gathering around a pizza, tufted bar stools, painted advertizement style murals on the brick walls, funky lighting, and beautiful ceilings.

Community Pie has paid attention to the details in the menu too.  Both the food and drink menu are simple, well thought out, and interesting.  I love a good drink menu, and this one is pretty awesome.  They did a great job identifying with a broad range of potential customers. You've got everything from PBR to Italian beers, a hard cider selection (!!!), Chattanooga Whiskey, and wine by the bottle & by the glass.

Beautiful Bar picture courtesy of Community Pie

But what about the food??

It was good!  Our waiter was fantastic, (I could write a whole post about him, and how he came to Chattanooga) and he educated us about the fact that Neopolaton pizza is supposed to have a warm gooey center that is best eaten with a fork.  Who knew? (I'll give you a hint, not me.)

We had caprese toasts as an appetizer, and our table had the Sweet Fig & Pork Confit pizzas.  The caprese toasts were great, plenty of diced tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, a great balsamic, and fresh basil. Not surprisingly our conversation quickly turned to summer.

Beautiful Toast Picture courtesy of Community Pie

Our pizzas accidentally paired well together, the Sweet Fig a nice balance to the no joke peppers on the Pork Confit pie.  The pizzas are are good size (12" I think) and can be shared or ordered individually.

Sweet Fig
Pork Confit

After the meal came the gelato....and after seeing this picture on facebook, it was something I was very much looking forward too!

Beautiful menu picture courtesy of Community Pie
We tried the Milk & Honey, and the Salted Caramel.  Both flavors were great, and I've got my eye open for when the Hot Chocolate rotates back onto the menu.

The gelato is made by Milk & Honey, a local sister company to Community Pie.  The owners were trained in Italy on making gelato, just like they were trained on the pizza.  The gelato is not quite perfect yet, but it's really good, and I love that they're experimenting with flavors.  It's one of those things that's good now, and you know that it's only going to get better.

I really enjoyed Community Pie, and I have a feeling it is going to find its way into my regular rotation of dinner spots!

UPDATE:  I went back to Community Pie 2/15/13 and the mint chocolate gelato is fantastic.  They're always changing out the gelato flavors, so keep an eye out on their Facebook page for the next time mint chocolate comes around.  We also had the specialty pizza, the Superhero, and it was great too. 

Community Pie
850 Market Street, Chattanooga TN 37405

Hours: Sunday-Thursday 11am-10pm
Friday and Saturday 11am-11pm
Website | Facebook | @CommunityPie 
Community Pie on Urbanspoon

Thanks to Community Pie for letting me use their logo and some of their pictures.  As you know, my iPhone can only do so much.
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