Get your garden questions answered and offer suggestions other than regular posting comments. If you want more personal contact or you have more in depth gardening questions and need answers, let Garden Daddy send you on your "Happy Garden Way" by offering you my comments.
Contact your Garden Daddy today:

Sunday, November 29, 2009


HELLO from your Garden Daddy at the garden home. THIS garden home made today's, Sunday, "Homes Galore" homes section - front page and inside page of our local daily paper, The Jackson Sun! If you will go to the site attached, you can see the photos used in the feature and also the little piece I wrote (I'm in print!) for the tour booklet or at least part of it anyway along with some photo captions the Jackson Sun used on their own from a printed questionnaire I filled in while the shoot was going on. HOW EXCITING! So if you have time and opportunity, please visit the attached site and view this garden home on display. Thanks to all who believed enough I could pull this off and for all the encouragement and support! (Click on todays date, Sunday, November 29, 2009 article)

Thursday, November 26, 2009


HELLO from your Garden Daddy here at the garden home! I could not let this day pass without having a few comments about Thanksgiving and being thankful. Here is a list, partial of course & in NO order, of my "thanksgiving blessings":
Waking up to a wonderful world every day!
My good health.
My family...ALL of US!
My Daughter.
My "Max" (...the sweetest boy ever).
Having my own home.
My daily work(s).
My friends.
The ability to express ourselves without reprisal.
Most of all I am thankful daily for just "being"!
So I leave you this Thanksgiving 2009 with the following thoughts & some history in mind:
Venison for stew and roasting,Oysters in the ashes toasting,Geese done to a turn,Berries (dried) and wild grapes (seeded)Mixed with dough and gently kneaded~What a feast to earn! Indian corn in strange disguises,Ash cakes, hoe cakes (many sizes),Kernels roasted brown...After months of frugal living What a welcome first Thanksgiving There in Plymouth town.
Poem by Aileen Fisher

*The pilgrims didn't use forks; they ate with spoons, knives, and their fingers. They wiped their hands on large cloth napkins which they also used to pick up hot morsels of food.
Salt would have been on the table at the harvest feast, and people would have sprinkled it on their food. Pepper, however, was something that they used for cooking but wasn't available on the table.
In the seventeenth century, a person's social standing determined what he or she ate. The best food was placed next to the most important people. People didn't tend to sample everything that was on the table (as we do today), they just ate what was closest to them.
Serving in the seventeenth century was very different from serving today. People weren't served their meals individually. Foods were served onto the table and then people took the food from the table and ate it. All the servers had to do was move the food from the place where it was cooked onto the table.
Pilgrims didn't eat in courses as we do today. All of the different types of foods were placed on the table at the same time and people ate in any order they chose. Sometimes there were two courses, but each of them would contain both meat dishes, puddings, and sweets.

Thursday, November 19, 2009


HELLO from your Garden Daddy at the garden home! So many have requested to see a shot or two of the garden home decor for the upcoming LANA Holiday Home Tour. So with much pressure to provide such and some tickets already sold and more I have to sell I will give you a small glimpse into the treat you will see here in the garden home for that event! Here is a shot of my bedroom dresser area with twin trees on the sides and a nice picture of my dining table, set for 8 with the 2-doz roses I made up this morning for the two days of photos for both VIP Magazine & our local paper, The Jackson Sun. I worked up some 4-dozen red and 1-dozen white roses this morning as well as a few bunches of large lilies for this picture taking event.
So I leave you with your ongoing daily gardening affirmation: GARDENING: One yard at the time!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


HELLO from your Garden Daddy at the garden home! Yesterday was so bitter-sweet as we closed the last session of the 2009 TN Master Gardener Intern class with everyone feeling both relieved and disappointed it was over for this group. Our last class period was taught by our director and long-time UT Extension agent, Mr. B. W. I have learned to appreciate this man so much and admire his dedication and life of teaching, learning and directing many-many people in our county and in the great State of Tennessee.
The first half of the class covered the area of garden pest. Caterpillars, aphids, misc. other garden pest and their associates. The last half of class was on wildlife damage control as in raccoons, squirrels, rabbits, deer, Ferrel dogs & cats, etc. Then as we disbanded, most of us were saying our goodbyes and making plans to meet up in the near future and there were a few who merely left and those will probably be the ones to NOT see this to the end. Now we have to complete our volunteer hours and our 8-hours of continuing education time. I have about 5.5hrs of my continuing education hours and about 8.75 hours of volunteering hours out of the 40-hours needed for my graduation. I will have some in just after Christmas with the "Chipping of The Greens" which is when the city picks up the left over, thrown out once growing Christmas trees and take to a central location and then use the city equipment and chip the trees up for mulch, etc. That will be several hours I will work and add to my time. I will have my time in by graduation time in February 2010 but in order to graduate then I would need my hours in by the end of 2009. It cannot happen this year but I am well within the time frame and will be finished by March 2010 and can start my next years hours for continuing membership in the MG program and make the later 25-hours go by fast when spring hits and new beds and plantings start and the spring plant sale at WTREC.
Anyway, work continues here at the garden home for the 2009 LANA Holiday Home Tour and I am well on my way to be in good shape and able to maybe enjoy next week and the week after finally. The VIP Magazine will be here tomorrow afternoon for photos and The Jackson Sun will be here on Friday morning at 10 am for their shots as well. All I need is a live tree to cut up for the greens and then I am almost finished and then put a few lights up outside and I am finished except keeping things neat and tidy....neat and tidy! I hope I do not disappoint anyone and it is a good and pretty as I think it is!
I leave you & all my Master Gardener interns today with these sage words: "Each of us must climb our separate mountain To reach at last our own extended view. We can be no more than what we are, Yet that is quite enough for us to do. The world is far too great for comprehension. And so we only know what we can know. But given the abilities we're given, That's still a long and weary way to go. Yet on the way, how beautiful the moments! How good it feels to have some skill or art! How wonderful to pause in awestruck wonder At what must fill the unsuspecting heart!" By William Byrd

Monday, November 16, 2009


HELLO from Garden Daddy at the garden home! I apologize for not spending time with you this week as time is looming for the LANA Holiday Home Tour and there is much to do. Meetings, cleaning, cleaning and more cleaning are getting this garden home in shape finally. As of yesterday, Sunday, 11/15/09, I am FINALLY in a good place here. I got the dining table set and ready for vignette shots when necessary. Almost all I really have left in a big way is to obtain a fresh-cut Christmas tree, or for you newbies....a "holiday" tree, to cut up for use of the greens around the entryway, mantle, staircase, etc. uses around this garden home. So maybe I can spend a little more time with you in the coming weeks.
Last week was this Garden Daddy's birthday and my daughter and her Mother took me to lunch and then shopping! I have lost so much weight this whole year, in a good way finally...not yo-yo'ing, that I needed some new clothes and I got some outfits to wear not only during the home tour but on past that. Really, just a birthday pitch, right?
But really last week was all about the Master Gardeners. We met on Tuesday & Thursday last week and on Thursday we had two class studies. The first part was on disease management, taught by our director, and the second part was bird identification, taught by Mr. TS, a long time Master Gardener and avid bird watcher. This gentleman brought us slides he set up that coincided with a tape he made of the same bird calls. It was very interesting in both classes as we learned about viruses, molds, galls, etc. and then had the enjoyment of hearing and visually seeing many birds that are local to our area.
With only one more Master Gardener class to go for tomorrow, Tuesday, I cannot believe the entire 45-hour class time is over. Now all I have to do is finish my volunteerism and next Feb. 2011, I will actually graduate. There are two guys in our group that have not only finished their volunteer hours but have also finished their 8-additional hours of continuing education. Most of us are not able to do that due to other obligations, work, etc.
I am finishing this on Tuesday morning as I head out the door to work this morning at 3:20am. I hope everyone is sleeping tightly and warmly. I heard Monday from The VIP Magazine & our local paper, The Jackson Sun, setting up times late this week for their photo spreads on my house for the home tour coverage. I understand that one of those articles will feature only my home and one other out of the 10 that are on the tour. I feel really honored to have this happen at this time. I have never been one to be in the limelight but more behind the scenes sort of person really, saving this writing site. But as my middle brother told me yesterday, "...just pretend you are a leaf in a stream, and just enjoy the ride".
So I leave you gardeners with this thought in mind today, my LAST Master Gardener intern class: "Not because of victories I sing, having none, but for the common sunshine, the breeze, the largess of the spring. Not for victory but for the day's work done as well as I was able; not for a seat upon the dais but at the common table." Charles Reznikoff

Monday, November 9, 2009


Hello from your GARDEN DADDY here at the garden home. The weekend I finally got the vegetable garden cleaned off and removed the large, tired, worn out tomato vines. I also got my dahlia tubers dug and ready to put into some dry peat and stored in the home basement. I use my basement, though crude and mostly room for the water heater and heat/cooling unit only, as a plant storage area. I currently have banana trees, elephant ears of several varieties, my recently acquired amaryllis bulbs and some other plants to hole over this winter. The basement stays about 50-degrees or so during the winter as it is about 7-ft under grade. This takes advantage of the natural thermals that below ground offers and it takes full advantage of any service equipment that is running and giving off any heat as well.

I am still stunned that counting tomorrow, Tuesday, 11/10/09, we have only 3 Master Gardener intern classes remaining. This has been a wonderful experience and I have made at least in my mind some possible life-long friends in this. Everyone says this intern group seems different from others in that we seem to stick together, often meeting spouses and family, and getting closer than in other years. I think our little group has been longing for this fellowship and friendship and we have found each other in this process. I am so thankful for my new friends and the fact I found them on my own and that we share so very much in common. Some are more experienced, others learning daily as am I. Either way, we are a true group that has become fast friends and hopefully for the long term. I wish us all well, happy gardening and many-many blooms to grow!
I will again update you on the 2009 LANA Holiday Home Tour as time is rapidly drawing toward that end. I am at my own wits end as this approaches. I seem to be gaining ground but still not ready to relax and enjoy and evidently will not ever be. Our Saturday kick off meeting was informative and helpful but did not calm my nerves to know about 350-450 people will file through my home to see ME...not just my decorations but all the love and affection I have given this place and all the sweat and tears and frustration that has gone on with it. True tears that is, on the fact I feel so inadequate to do this type of work and often wish I had inherited more of my Dad's abilities. But I did find out that I am not afraid to tackle any project. Just tear it out and all I can do is either fix it myself, which is much cheaper-maybe even better, or hire someone to FIX my mistakes. Either way, it is working out all OK. But I must get more fine-tuning done shortly as there will be photos taken between Nov. 15-20 and I need some inside and out tuned up which there is a good bit already done. Now if I can get the living room ready and the table set and that will be a good effort toward winding it all down and maybe then enjoying it. I have 3-blinds to hang upstairs, some few curtains, dress that bed and finish detailing that room, pictures, etc., and then maybe I can slow it down till time to put out fresh greens during Thanksgiving week. I am tiring just thinking about it.
So, I leave you today with our ongoing gardening affirmation: "GARDENING: ONE YARD AT A TIME!"

Friday, November 6, 2009


Hello from your Garden Daddy here at the garden home! On Tuesday, 11/05/2009, the Master Gardener Intern class had a full 3-hours on "attracting backyard/large plot wildlife". Our 2-speaker spots were filled by first our MG intern director/coordinator with a power point presentation and the 2nd half was with a hands-on and sample display by a long time MG and MG Board Member who brought feeders, pole skirts, bird houses, seed varieties and many other samples of home made and "bought" items for our visual enlightenment. I know I enjoyed this class very much and I know my middle brother would have not only had a blast but could have easily "TAUGHT" this class as well. He is someone I look to for vast information in this area and for critter/bird identification as well. He & his wife are well versed in this topic and I treat them like royalty in this area!
With only 3-more MG classes to go (has it really almost come and gone?) some in our group have suggested we remain in close contact on a monthly work day meeting out at WTREC with Mr. Jason Reeves, horticulturist and well known & talented plant/garden enthusiast. I do not know if that will pan out but the thought that we have connected so strongly is something I had hoped would happen as an added benefit on this course. I do not know many people here in Jackson, mostly the folks I work with really, and I had wondered if it were possible to make new friends here in this way. I have met 100+ other Master Gardeners who are already finished with internship and on the road for a lifetime love of gardening and community garden service and teaching. This is where this is all heading for us educate the public, build community through gardening and to make lifelong friends with like minds for a love of the land and the soil, not dirt, but soil remember?
On to the update of the garden home prep for the 2009 LANA Holiday Home Tour, Dec. 4-6, 2009 - another plug of course! I just want to say Thank You to my youngest brother who stopped by Tuesday afternoon to take some excess furniture items off my hands for the "AMAZING GRACE MISSION", located in Westmoreland, TN. He is the executive director and "all hands on deck" man behind this effort in Sumner County, TN. Within the last two weeks, largely due to his efforts, this food bank, clothing hand-out and furniture gathering effort gave out approximately 10,000-lbs of food in one day. I know he is proud and confident that much good is being done in his community. Now I can get the last room, the 1/2-story upstairs, prepped and decorated, etc. for the tour. The new refrigerator arrived on schedule on Tuesday and boy is it ever roomy. I have never had a brand new refrigerator before and at 56-y/o (on Tuesday 11/10 actually - sorry, another plug right) this is a real treat. With a 9.9-cu.ft. freezer, it looks so empty till next summer when I will fill it with summer squash, tomato soup/sauce mix and eggplant. The freezer is also a great place to store your garden seeds, excess and new, that need the "cold" to help the seeds germinate the next year or to just hold them long-term till planting becomes more timely. Just put in "zipper" freezer bags and you are good to go.

My plan for next year here at the garden home is to completely revamp the entire veggie patch and move into not seeing how many plants can I possibly sustain in the space but to get the biggest bang out of a few more types of vegetables that can and will freeze easily. This year I had 37 tomato plants which was way to many and again it got so ridiculous I was starting to "espalier" the vines onto the temporary fence panels I erected for supports. For those gardeners who are not familiar with that term it means "the horticultural technique of training trees through pruning and grafting in order to create formal "two-dimensional" or single plane patterns by the branches of the tree". Go to: & see many examples of this technique.
This opens a whole other discussion I will not go into here but you can search for this on any "engine" and learn more. But I hope to have a real (!) teaching garden, open for private tours, within 2-3 years from now. I am making plans to use my yard for some public education by way of the Master Gardeners ideals in that area, with tours for the new and upcoming interns in the future. Of course again, that is 2-3 years away. Knowing myself I will be ready before that self imposed deadline of course. So keep your eyes to your Garden Daddy for updates and more gardening news.
I leave you with this gardening affirmation for this week: "I cannot endure to waste anything as precious as autumn sunshine by staying in the house. So I spend almost all the daylight hours in the open air.- Nathaniel Hawthorne