Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Shades of Purple in Your Southern Garden

Image may contain: plant, flower, outdoor and nature
© Dawn Gagnon Photography 2017
Purple flowers
© Dawn Gagnon Photography 2017
Purple Morning Glory
© Dawn Gagnon Photography 2017
Purple flowering vines
© Dawn Gagnon Photography 2017

Carolina Bird Watch: The Carolina Wren

© Dawn Gagnon Photography 2017

If you love to garden, chances are you love nature in general and that includes our lovely winged friends that visit our gardens, always adding lovely tunes and keeping insects in check. Since this blog is about the southern garden I decided it was high time to start sharing with my readers the lovely bird photographs I have taken through the years and also a little information on them as well. Today we will be highlighting quite appropriately, the Carolina Wren.

©Dawn Gagnon Photography 2017
Carolina Wrens can be best identified by their white brow strip located just above their eyes, their long pointed beak and up turned tail. They are typically a warm brown color and quite small. They eat a wide variety of insects and are not particularly skiddish of human beings as I have had them land on my front porch just within several feet of where I am sitting. They tend to fuss a little  but that no doubt is due to the fact they were nesting which they do all summer.
Males and females tend to mate for life and nest in many odd places. Their nests are shaped differently than other birds often having an enclosed structure with a side entrance.
Baby Birds
©Dawn Gagnon Photography 2017

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Yellow in the Garden

Yellow Flowers
© Dawn Gagnon Photography
Gorgeous flowers are everywhere beginning in Spring, and every year I stumble across this lovely flower. The real issue is, I haven't a clue as to what this flower is.  I can't really find a similar image of it on the internet, so for any readers out there, if you know please comment so we can give this little beauty a name? It has an upright growing habit, and actually grows on long cane-like branches. It's leaves make me think of blackberry brambles. Any idea?

Yellow Garden Mums
© Dawn Gagnon Photography 2013

Garden mums aka Chrysanthemums are available are various times of the year and come in a myriad of colors. We see them primarily in the cooler months and they are usually paired with orange and reds for a splash of fall color before winter sets in. These flowers adorn doorsteps and even can be found in pumpkin planters. Either way if your garden needs bright yellow en masse during the cooler months you can hardly go wrong here. They are beautiful.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Keeping those plants alive!!!©Da

Confederate rose blossoms
© Dawn Gagnon Photography 2017

The biggest challenge I find as a gardener in the south is keeping those plants that seem to do so well in Spring alive and thriving through the summer and into the fall. Roses often do a big show in spring, then slowly wind down and this is something that I fight with myself. A few tips I do is I encourage fertilizing, don't quit after one fertilizing and remember they need to be fed. Another thing to do is keep up with the dead heading and occasional pruning. Roses in particular seem to need this on a regular basis. They are in some ways the spoiled child of the garden, needing more attention than most. If you keep up with these little things, your plants in general will fair well, and winter over a lot better too.

Monday, May 13, 2013

3 Easy Care Roses

White and Yellow Lady Banks Rose
White Lady Banks Rose
Now if you have a place with room to grow, lets say an eyesore you'd like to obscure, or an old fence you'd like to cover, the Lady Banks Rose may be a good fit. A vigorouse grower, the Lady Banks Rose, whether its the yellow or white will over you some help. They can cover a sunny corner with lovely miniature double blooms in Spring. Need a perfect climber for an arbor and don't want to wait a long time, then this rose is awesome for that as well. The best feature of a Lady Banks Rose? Disease and pest resistance. The most important thing to do in caring for this rose is to make sure it gets a lot of water in hot weather. Other than that, this one thrives with little assistance.

KnockOut Rose
Knockout rose bud
The Knock Out rose has been around for a while now, and it is a good starter rose for those looking to try their hand at rose growing. While this rose variety is disease resistant and pest resistant, that doesn't mean it can't get diseases or pests. To really get these roses to live up to their name you should water regularly, prune well during the winter, mulch, and feed. Because they can be heavy bloomers they need a good dose of feeding.

Wild and Carpet Roses
Rose hedge
One of the best choices for a rose is a wild rose. Now if you're lucky enough to live close to the country where wild roses tend to grow on road sides and abandoned homesteads, then you need not do anything but grab a shovel and dig one up. Wild roses are strong, resilient and can take drought, disease and pests on the chin and comeback fighting. However, if you don't live anywhere like that there are awesome varieties that are just like the beautiful pink wild roses that we've talked about, the Carpet Rose. Carpet roses offer all the vigor and rampant blooming that wild roses offer and are virtually carefree. If you have a fence that needs personality, or a boring spot in your yard the lovely Carpet rose will not let you down. Perfect for those who don't want to have to do a lot of work with roses.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Gerbera Daisy Mouse Pad

 If you love gardening as much as I do, then you may be like me and love to not only garden but fill your home with garden treasures. Why should all the beauty be outside? I love to bring the garden in with my photography and also love to share my love with my readers too. If you love gerbera daisies, there are a lot of gifts I have for you, check out the link below.


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Fast growing trees for your zone 8 or warmer garden

River birch tree trunkThe Riverbirch
Now the River Birch doesn't offer flowers, but it does offer one advantage over many trees, it can grow 2-3 feet a year. If you purchase a River Birch that is already 5 feet or taller you may end up with a nice shade tree of 15 feet in no time. The River Birch is an interesting specimen in your yard for other reasons as well with its distinctive peeling bark. It adapts well to many soil types and is wind and ice resistant. This is good news even for those in zone 8, as there is the odd ice storm on occasion and windy months as well. Also beneficial to the homeowner, this tree is drought tolerant which is always an issue  in zones 8 and warmer.

Sweetbay Magnolia also known as Magnolia Virginiana
Can be found growing in many forests throughout the south. Unlike the large Magnolia Grandiflora, Sweetbay Magnolia offers you all of the lovely benefits without the long wait. Sweetbay Magnolia grows in stalks from the ground up and offer quick shade. One benefit in addition to their fast growing, and lovely scented blossoms is that you can easily take this plant and create many plants from its base.
These lovely trees/shrubs like an acidic soil, full sun to part shade and are extremely disease and pest resistant. They can grow up to 20' in height and 20' feet wide if you don't thin and separate the new shoots that come up. These shoots make new trees when transplanted which makes this a great investment for your zone 8 or warmer garden. The scent of the smaller blossoms is intoxicating in the evening especially. For those living in zones 5-9 the Sweetbay offers exotic and lush privacy.

Lombardy Poplars
Lombardy Poplars (Photo credit: wallygrom)
Lombardy Poplar
These trees are fast growing, up to 5 feet a year, tall and column shaped. They reach a mature height of up to 60 feet and can be a great way to create a soft barrier between properties, or used to block unpleasant views like a busy road. They thrive in zones 4 through 8. Lombardy Poplars also are a great windbreak as well and are relatively inexpensive. They prefer a loamy soil with good drainage and a location that has full sun to do their very best growth wise.
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Friday, March 1, 2013

Roses and their care


Roses are some of the most beautiful and loved garden favorites in the history of gardening. They require some care to really enjoy their true beauty. It is always a good idea to do a little research on which roses will do the best for you in your zoning area and garden. Another important aspect you must factor in with deciding to grow roses is, what kind of a gardener are you? Are you just starting out? Do you have experience with growing roses? Do you have the time and resources it requires to grow a wide variety of roses? These are very important factors to consider before diving into the gardening world of roses. Here's a few articles that will help you make some of these decisions.

Rose pruning

How to correctly prune your roses

Roses are a beautiful addition to any garden but they do require some maintenance to keep them looking beautiful. In the south our roses start giving us beautiful color a little earlier so knowing the proper time and way to prune them is key to having a great show of color. Proper pruning and dead heading your roses is one part of the maintenance that must be done every season. Here are some basic steps to follow for pruning your roses. See the link at the bottom of this article for information on rose pruning.

Disease Resistant roses

The Knock Out Rose
There is one flower that is quite a challenge in most gardens, even in the south, and that is roses. High temperatures, drought, and humid nights, often prove to be the enemy when growing roses. Finding one that is a good fit for your yard is important. The Knockout Rose may the one of the best to meet this challenge. This is a great rose to ease into the rose gardening experience, especially for novice gardeners that are just beginning to get their hands dirty. See the link below for a full write up on the great qualities of the Knockout Rose.

Rose Garden Festival
If you love touring rose gardens around the country and love to participate in festival activity, there is a wonderful opportunity annually to visit Orangeburg, South Carolina's Edisto Memorial Gardens which hosts some of the most beautiful rose specimens in the world. This festival is held annually and there is a website to visit in the link below if you'd love to come to the Edisto Memorial Annual Festival of Roses in 2013.

Links on Roses

Friday, October 5, 2012

Gardeners Photograph your hard work

Dogwood tree and blossoms

You toil and toil to propagate a lovely garden, but do you photograph your hard work? It is imperative that the world see your creative side as well. A gardeners hands and eye for beauty and composition are not unlike any artist or professional photographer.

Vivid pink Azaleas
Vivid pink Azaleas (Photo credit: Dawn Gagnon)

Grab your cameras and commemorate your accomplishments. If you have some you'd like to share with this site please let me know through a comment and I will happy to help you display your talent and your artistry through the lens of your camera. Remember, a picture speaks a thousand words.. :)
Red blossoms on a branch
Red blossoms on a branch (Photo credit: Dawn Gagnon)

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Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Flowers All Year Calendar 2013

For sale, 2013 Calendar, lovely flowers all year long, not just in Spring and Summer Calendar. Makes a wonderful and thoughtful gift for Mom, Grandma, Aunts, and Sister.
Flowers All Year 2013 Calendar
Flowers All Year 2013 Calendar by DawnellasDesigns

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Awesome and easy greenhouses

A greenhouse

A greenhouse (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you love gardening you're probably the type that would love to have your own greenhouse. Whether you love starting your own seeds or you need a designated space to work in, greenhouses are great places to do what you love best. Here are some great new ones currently out there in the market.

1. Gardman R687 4-Tier Mini Greenhouse
small indoor greenhouse
What I love about this is it is great for those working with limited space. I can see this being used indoors, on a back porch or even in a sun room.  Super handy, super cute and under $40.00 Click on the image to check this one out.

2. Spring Gardener Gable Greenhouse
This green house is portable, inexpensive and great solution for those who do container gardening especially when there is an early frost and you need to protect your hanging baskets and container plants. At a cost of under $200.00 it can be a great green house for those just starting out with gardening.  Click on the image to check it out.

3. Greenhouse 15'x7'x7' Arch LARGE Green Garden Hot House

Now this green house is definitely for the no frills gardener that has a big garden and needs the extra space to start those seedlings off early. With measurements of 15'X7'X7' it's big enough to house a lot of plants especially if you make good use of the vertical space this one allows for. This one is inexpensive to at under $130.00 click on the image to check it out.

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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Growing bigger tomatoes

A scanned red tomato, along with leaves and fl...A scanned red tomato, along with leaves and flowers. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you would like huge tomato plants you may be missing out on this handy little tip. Those living in the South know that having a large root base and plenty of warm sun and water produce big healthy tomato plants. Here's a great tip if you buy your tomatoes already started.

  • If you purchase tomato plants that are already about 8 to 12 inches tall, strip all the leaves except for a few off of the top. Every leaf you remove will form a root which will create a huge root system on a young plant. The bigger the root system, the bigger the plant, the more tomatoes you'll yield.
  • On a raised bed dig a hole big enough to accommodate your tomato plant. Remove your plant from its container and if the plant is root bound loosen by hand the roots at the base. 
  • If you want to ensure better root production, you can apply rooting hormone to your plant prior to placing into the ground. 
  •  Lay your tomato plant down sideways, yes, side ways and cover with a few inches of soil and compost leaving an inch or two below the cluster of top foliage. Do not bury too deep the warmth from the sun and quick absorption of water will help promote root production faster.
  • At the neck of the plant just below the cluster of leaves at the top, wrap a 3-4 inch piece of newspaper around the plant. This will protect the plant from pests since it is the only part exposed.This will help prevent tomato cut worms from feasting on your newly planted tomato bush. 
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Monday, June 18, 2012

How to attract more butterflies to your garden

Orange Butterfly
© Dawn Gagnon Photography 2013

Butterflies are lovely little garden visitors that help pollinate your flowers and vegetables. Attracting them to your garden is easy if you plant plenty of flowers they love and follow a few simple tips. South Carolina is home to many varieties of wild flowers and butterflies. See this list below to attract them to your garden.
  1. Avoid using too much pesticides. Even though we love butterflies they are an insect and as such are vulnerable to the same pesticides all insects are. Use natural and organic means of pest control when possible and be mindful of those that kill caterpillars.

  2. Plant flowering shrubs, trees and vegetables in groups to help bees and butterflies pollinate easily. This also creates a grand impact visually as well.

  3. Allow for some naturally blooming wild areas in your garden. While you may not think it an attractive area of the garden, you can always add to a wild section of a yard by adding additional wild flowers to it. Butterflies in particular need an undisturbed area to make nests for a butterfly friendly environment to flourish. If needed, add butterfly houses to your garden area.

  4. Flowers that produce great quantities of nectar are more likely to have your garden teaming with butterflies. Flowers such as Peacock Butterfly Bush, Coreopsis, Asters, Phlox and many others are especially attractive to butterflies.

  5. Have a decorative dish with damp, water logged soil in the garden. Be sure to keep it damp with water as butterflies will drink from this. They do not drink from standing water.

  6. Lovely rocks and garden sculptures in the garden make ideal places for butterflies to rest. An added bonus to attracting butterflies is that in most cases the same things attract hummingbirds as well.
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Friday, May 25, 2012

How to build a bird feeder/plant hanger

bird feeder plant hanger

Getting the most out of your focal point requires a little imagination and ingenuity. Adding function to an otherwise decorative item makes it even more valuable. Birds will love this beautiful feeding station, and you'll love how lovely this plant hanger is for a focal point in the yard.

Items you'll need:

* 1 rounded shovel
* 1 level
* 1 metal bird feeder, we used a lantern style
* 1 4X4 pressure treated post
* 1 bag of ready mix cement
* Phillips head screw driver
* 4-6 plant hangers with their hardware for attaching to post
* 1 pint of paint (optional and your color choice, stain can also be an option)
* 4-6 hanging flower baskets
* birdseed

Pick a spot in your yard or garden that you want to be a focal point. Make sure you have easy access to it though, because you will need to fill the bird feeder on occasion.

Dig a hole 2 feet deep into the ground. Place two feet of your post or more if you like it lower, into the ground. Pack some dirt around the sides to stabilize and have someone hold it for you. Make sure to use your level on all sides so that it is perfectly straight.

Add one bag of Ready mix cement into the hole.

Fill the hole with water. Let the post set for 5-6 hours. Once cement hardens, cover the hole completely with any remaining dirt.

Now attach your Lantern style bird feeder to the top by drilling holes and securing with the screws that come with your bird feeder.

Paint or stain your post in any color you desire and allow to dry. This time will vary depending on weather conditions/humidity..etc.

Once your post is dry, you are now ready to attach your plant hangers. I put mine at varying levels to showcase the hanging baskets that I wanted.
This is a long term beautiful focal point for any area of your yard that needs a little something extra.

Please note:

* Bird seed will fall into your hanging baskets so keep an eye on the grass that sprouts in your baskets.
* You can also hang wind chimes and birdhouses from this post just primarily for decorative looks.
* Try planting a climbing rose at the base, or a Mandevilla vine to train up the post for an even more dramatic effect.
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Thursday, May 10, 2012

Weed remedies that use no poison

DandelionDandelion (Photo credit: Dawn Gagnon)

If you're like me, you really hate to use any chemical in your yard. You never know what kind of an impact it can have on your lawn, other plants, pets or even ground water. If there are gentler ways to rid ourselves of weeds, I am all for it. Here's a few suggestions:

1. Pour hot - near boiling water on the weed- This is an effective way to kill single isolated instances of weeds in your yard.

2. Pour a mixture of 1 part lemon juice to one part hot water on the weed.

3. Use salt mixed with hot water. Once cooled and salt has become diluted add to a spray bottle and spray entire weed with the solution. The ratio is 1/2 cup salt to 3 cups water.

4. Fill spray bottle with ordinary white household vinegar and spray weeds thoroughly.

5. As a weed preventative, some have had success using corn gluten meal. It is supposed to stop the weed seeds from germinating.

6. For really difficult weeds try a stronger vinegar solution currently called Weed Pharm. See Amazon link below. It actually has 20% more acetic acid than your regular household vinegar and is still safe for use.

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Friday, April 27, 2012

How to correctly prune your rose bushes

Josephs Coat Rose
Josephs Coat Rose (Photo credit: Dawn Gagnon)

Roses are a beautiful addition to any garden but they do require some maintenance to keep them looking beautiful. Proper pruning and dead heading your roses is one part of the maintenance that must be done every season.

1. Prune your rose in early spring and once all danger of frost has past.

2. Make sure you have clean, sharp by-pass pruners and thick gloves. Some roses like the Joseph Coat are extremely thorny and can really cause a lot of damage to your hands and arms.

3. During the growing season, prune roses by looking for the first set of five leaves where you'll see a leaf bud. Prune just above this bud at a 45 degree angle that will assure the new growth will grow outward from the plant and not inward. This can be done as you dead head your roses.

4. Remove all dead and dying wood and any spindly canes that are less than the diameter of a pencil. Also look for sucker growth. These are canes that shoot out from the base of your plant under the main bud union. The main bud union is where all the main canes of the rose bush emerge from. Anything growing and shooting out from under this is a sucker and should be removed completely.

5. If you have a problem with cane borers, it is suggested that you can cover fresh pruning cuts with basic white school glue to prevent infestation.

6. Once roses go dormant for the year and have been exposed to several hard frosts, cut the rose down to one third of its original size and only leave three to four healthy canes for best results. Add a thick layer of fresh mulch.
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Thursday, March 29, 2012

DIY network's newest “Dirtiest Landscaping” sweepstakes is here

Back yard

If you love watching any of the great shows on the DIY network, be sure to enter their latest sweepstakes. The details of this latest sweepstakes are the winner receives $50,000.00 cash to create the backyard of your fantasies. With a grand prize of $50,000.00 and other giveaways, it is hard to resist entering this sweepstakes.

If you have a landscape that is in dire need of help, this sweepstakes can be the chance of a lifetime to finally get everything you ever dreamed of for a back yard oasis. Your own little slice of paradise. Just think of what you can do with the sum of $50,000.00 to create your perfect yard. Maybe all your yard is missing is a swimming pool, or perhaps you have one that would be beautiful flanked with palm trees and gorgeous tropical flowers and landscaping. The possibilities are endless.

Those who enter will also be eligible for six additional prizes of Sears gift cards in the amount of $1000.00. The Sears gift cards will be given away weekly so if you want to enter you may enter once a day through May 4th, at 5 pm eastern standard time.

To enter simply click on this link: DIY Network Dirtiest Landscape Sweepstakes Entry Form
For more on home improvements see: Dawns Decorating Solutions.
For more on gardening see: The Southern Garden

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