If I can just get up an hour early and get out in the garden at least once a week I’m a happier person.

Benefit # 2 is a happier garden. (It likes to be tended.)

Here are 4 chores I tackled and completed early on the morning of July 15th.

I sprayed the weeds in the walk and drive way with a homemade mixture of 1/2 gallon white vinegar, 1 cup of Epson salts, and a little bit (1/8 of a cup) of blue dawn dish washing liquid. While this mix won’t kill poison ivy, it gets most grass and weeds, and it’s much safer than Roundup to use around our dog-child.


I picked and watered the tomato plants which need almost daily care this time of year. The cherry and plum tomatoes will be slow roasted and frozen. As for the rest–’mater sandwich anyone???


I collected the seeds from my favorite blue larkspur by cutting the dried pods and dropping them head down into a paper sack. The sack will sit on a shady porch, air-drying the seed until fall when I’ll rake them in the garden for next year’s spring blooms.


Finally, I stuck some coleus cuttings my sister had shared. These colorful plants are easy to root and the perfect foil for fall flowers and leaves. More on the process in my next post.

So what’s going on in your garden???

Everyone needs to grow a plant that their grandmother grew–


This tiger lily, (Lilium tigrinum)–which traveled from my grandmother’s Kentucky home to my parents’ North Carolina home to my sister’s Virginia home and back to me in Wake County NC– is mine.


Like a lot of my favorite plants it has a story that connects to people I know (or knew) and loved.

What about you? What plants from family and childhood do you grow?

This photo makes me feel absolutely RICH. Lined up in and around my little homemade cold frame turned screen frame are all the plants waiting for a place in the garden.

Why so many? Because heat is hard on flowers. Blooms come and go very quickly in the South.


For example: These larkspur and Dianthus will be in the compost pile in a week, leaving a big hole in the middle of my main flower garden.


There’s a tall Rudbeccia growing behind them, and an annual called Manaos Beauty in front, but those blooms are still many weeks away.

So some fast-growing seedlings from the screen frame will go into the hole. Flowering tobacco, and Celosia Flamingo Purple are two of my favorites.


I also like to use colorful foliage to keep the flower garden interesting between bursts of blooms. These are Chocolate Cherry Cannas.


Bengal Tiger Canna is another great favorite in my flower beds. Note the mix of perennials, annuals, vines (like this clematis) and shrubs in this photo. Layering keeps the garden interesting.


I use pots for color, too. I’m going to put a tall ever-blooming Penta in this container which is on a stand over the bloomed out Black Gamecock Iris.


I’ll post more photos as the garden evolves. And I’ll keep you posted on the plants in my screen frame.

Every garden needs a little nursery like this where plants can wait in in the wings.


This spot where I make and keep cuttings, tend biennials for next Spring and pot up plants to share in the Fall. It’s a happening place.


So what’s going on in your gardens???

Eat your heart out co-blogger Melissa (who declared that the tomato war was “ON” in her last post).


Well, your plants may be tall, but I have baby tomatoes–and lots of them.

Growing my plants in pots in the driveway–our sunniest spot–gives them a leg up. The roots warm up earlier, the white garage doors reflect light.


I do have to water almost every day when the weather is hot, but that’s OK. This little driveway veg garden pays me back in tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, herbs, leeks. New this year–corn.


Yea, corn. We may not get a large crop from these three plants growing in a barrel planter, but we’re enjoying them already.


I like the corn, announced my husband, an old Tennessee farm boy. It’s tasseling–a good sign.

So how does your garden grow?

I know it isn’t very nice or southern to brag, but my tomato plants are kicking butt! They are almost 4 feet tall already and I see at least a dozen or more blooms.

Tomato Wars

Don’t be #jelly! My tomato plants are about 4 feet tall and growing strong.

I am officially starting a war….a Tomato War.

How are your tomato plants?

Show me what you got!

A long-time gardener and a passionate beginner share the dirt on their NC gardens-

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