Friday, March 28, 2014

(Re)Discover Chattanooga - Ace is the place

There has been a lot of internet negativity in my life lately, (I'm looking at you 2nd Amendment gun nuts with poor reading comprehension skills) so I thought I would share some love on the interwebs today.

I love my Ace.  There is an Ace in Clemson, but it's not the same.  My Ace is better. It is always well staffed by people who want to help you.  And they've helped me a lot.  They have helped me with paint projects, garden projects, plumbing projects, and they even stock my favorite wedding gift. (A glass oil lamp btw. You always need one, but never think to ask.  And they're pretty.)

Ace is a franchise, and it's up to the owners to make their store stand out.  Mine has a Christmas Shoppe, and solid garden center.  They keep all the bagged mulch, soil, soil conditioner, and mushroom compost that my tahoe can carry, and they never complain about loading it for me.  I'm sure they know what's coming when I walk in the door, and they don't make me feel bad about it.  I appreciate that.

Everything they sell is quality stuff without being too expensive, and there are always options depending on how broke I am when I walk in the door. I've gotten everything from garden hoses and gloves, to roofing nails, to fence posts, to the stuff I needed to hook up my ice maker.  They help,  they're nice, and it makes my life a lot easier.

So if you're ever out in East Brainerd, hit up my Ace Hardware on East Brainerd Road.  They rock.

Ace Hardware
8164 E Brainerd Rd
Chattanooga, TN
(423) 892-0112
website | Facebook

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

2014 projects - mark one off the list

Ta-Da!  I now have lattice on my front porch.

This is part privacy screen, and part structure for my Confederate Jasmine to start climbing on.  I grew Confederate Jasmine when I lived in South Carolina, and it tops my list of favorite plants.  It smells amazing, is drought tolerant, and doesn't require much care.  The new growth doesn't love the cold, but once the vine is thick and woody, it gets pretty tough.  It's a fast grower too, which is wonderful, since mine was too young to handle our unusually cold winter this year.

The lattice was about $20 from Home Depot, and it's painted plastic, so I don't have to worry too much about it weathering.  Since it may not be permanent, I hung it on nails with wide heads.  I used roofing nails, but most nails would work.  Pretty simple project, and the price was definitely right.

Cross another one off the list!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

march 2014 bloom day

Is it spring yet?? Every time I get excited about spring, Mother Nature laughs at me and sends more cold weather. I'm over freezing, and near freezing temperatures. OVER IT. I'm ready to work in my yard, and start seeing some flowers.

The good news is that the daffodils and hellebores never disappoint.  These daffodils were here when I moved in.  I have added more, but these are still the first to bloom.  I even found some in the woods this year.

Another surprise this year is the Holly.  I had no idea they bloomed, much less yellow.  Who knew?

The hellebores were the first things I planted when I reached the one year mark in my house (for those of you who don't know, I waited a year before I planted anything), and they are all doing really well after quick trim up. Even the ones that were here, but didn't bloom, are thanking me with blooms for the fertilizer and mulch.

Impatiens will fill the tree stumps in about a month.

Something that I've been dealing with since I moved in, was some extreme pruning of the major plants and shrubs.  Think 60 year old boxwoods cut down to about 18" tall.  Someone cut this spirea back crape myrtle style, and its still trying to recover some shape and fullness.  I think it used to be fountain shaped, now, not so much.  It still smells good though.

Next to the daffodils, my favorite thing about spring in my yard is the vinca minor.  It has free range throughout my yard, so there are purple flowers everywhere.

Last but not least, some of the hyacinths I planted 2 falls ago are coming up again.  They were amazing last year, but this year they don't have very many flowers per stalk.  The first one that came up only has three little flowers.  I'm not sure if it's the cold, or the fact I didn't cut the flowers down, but I'm a little sad they're not as pretty as last year.

I'm posting this as part of Garden Blogger's Bloom Day, hosted by May Dreams Gardens.  It has helped me a ton by encouraging me to document my gardens though the seasons, and has allowed me to see what is blooming all over the world.  If you're interested, check this link for a full list of this month's GBBD posts.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

garden update

Spring 2013
It really does feel like spring in Chattanooga.  The daffodils are blooming, and I finally got out and worked in the yard. (I have the blisters to prove it.)  It may even storm this afternoon.  Garden Bloggers Bloom Day is Saturday the 15th, so I'll save the pictures, but I do want to document what I have done in the yard so far.  Believe it or not these posts are really helpful to look back on.   For example, the fact that I fertilized & mulched my rhododendron last March and it went from one bloom in 2012 to ten in 2013, is a really nice reminder, and motivation, for me to do more of the same this year.

Here are the lists I started with.  I'm doing pretty well on the maintenance, not so much on the projects.

Garden Maintenance
  • Move plants outside.  I kept a few plants in a cold room inside this winter, and I need to start moving them out so they will wake up. (completed 3/7/14, & looking good)
  • Pick up sticks.  Sounds like a small task, but it's not.  I live in the woods, and we've had quite a few storms lately. (completed 3/9/14)
  • Fertilize.  It's time to start thinking about compost and mulch. (roses & boxwoods 3/11/14, lots left to do)
  • Pull up grass.  I'm slowly but surely moving to an all moss lawn.  I just work one section at a time.
  • Trim out dead blackberries, & mow over blackberries outside the fence line.

Spring Projects
  • Build 2 window boxes.
  • Add lattice for my confederate jasmine. (planned for this weekend)
  • Build structure for my morning glories to climb.  I want to do two fixed posts with a twine spiderweb in between.  This will make it easy to just cut down the vines when they die in the fall.
  • A raised bed for vines around a tree.
I've also done a few other things that weren't on my list, but need(ed) to be done.

Additional Maintenance
  • Move extra thick leaf mulch.  When they blew leaves this fall they ended up extra thick on top of my Lily of the Valley & columbines.  Where the columbines have seen sun, they are already coming up, so I thinned out the leaves on top of the rest.  Also, the leaves were super thick around my azalea, it needed room to breathe too. (completed 3/9/14)
  • Weed.  For the most part I mulch thick enough that I don't have to do much weeding.  But I do have monkey grass and ivy that just keep showing up in places I don't need it.
  • Cut back damaged plant growth.  I am devastated that the beautiful snow we had this winter damaged my confederate jasmine.  It wasn't well established, and the new growth did not survive.  I've cut it back to the thicker section at the very bottom, and I'm keeping my fingers crossed! I also had to trim the dead leaves off my hellebores this year.  I don't usually do anything with them, but I trimmed them back, and they are blooming up a storm with a lot of new growth coming in.  These are the only two plants that needed any help though. (completed 3/9/14 & 2/17/14 respectively)
  • Trim the privit.  This is going to be an every year thing.
  • Figure out what to do with the rest of my day lilies.  Quite a few are headed to South Carolina soon, but I need to decide what to do with the rest.
  • Mulch the Rock Garden 
  • Prep beds for spring planting.  This includes homes for my new roses, and my attempt at a cottage style bed. 
  • Trim around evergreens in the woods by the road.  I would like to increase my privacy, so I'm going to encourage the evergreens closest to the road to fill out as much as possible.  It's always a slow process when it comes to tree growth, so I had better get started! (completed 3/15/14)
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