Monday, October 27, 2008

Picking the Perfect Pumpkin...

More fun at Tom's Farm...we had so many pumpkins to choose from, but I thought that my guys chose some nice ones for our front porch (last photo).

I hope that you're having lovely fall days where you are, too! (Edited to, I need to change my width settings, don't I? Blogger is cutting off my hosted photos...).

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Cotton Harvest Time

This is the time of year when cotton is harvested here, and you can often smell the cotton seed oil aroma before you even see the field (I like that smell). It looks almost like a dusting of snow, doesn't it?
My late uncle was a "cotton man", so the yearly cotton crop has a special place with my family. These fields are just outside Collierville, near Rossville.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Tom's Farm, Rossville...

Located in Rossville, just outside the Collierville and Piperton area, Tom's Farm has long been our favorite destination for choosing our pumpkins, gourds, and Indian corn each Fall season. You can find their address and contact information here (be sure to check out the aerial view of the corn maze!).
We first bought pumpkins from this family years ago when they hosted their "pumpkin patch" at their country home, and this has become such a popular destination for people in this area that they had to move to their current larger location. Now, they also have hay rides and a huge corn maze that are enjoyed by children and adults alike. It is definitely worth the drive, and makes an afternoon adventure out of finding the perfect pumpkin!
You can also find quite a few wonderful spots for taking Fall photos there, and I'll be sharing more of this picturesque and fun place (and also the pumpkins that we chose this year) later this week.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Preview...Horses For A Cause, Courtesy of Glenda/Mid-South

All of our beautiful photos today are courtesy of a sweet friend and regular reader, Glenda/Mid-South. I recently put out a call for someone to share photos of the beautiful horses that had been placed around the Germantown area for the past several months, and she enthusiastically and graciously agreed to share the photos she had taken of them.
Didn't she do a wonderful job capturing these horses in all their glory? The horses are the creations of local artists and were placed around the Germantown Charity Horse Show arena in June, and later around the city of Germantown after the Germantown Charity Horse Show had ended.
Some citizens expressed wishes that they might become permanent additions to the city...everyone has enjoyed their presence so much. They are being auctioned for charity this weekend, and I'm so glad that Glenda captured their beauty in her photos so that we can remember and enjoy them any time we wish.
My observant and thoughtful husband noticed that the horses had been displayed one last time at Saddle Creek Mall in Germantown this weekend. We took photos of each horse yesterday, and my father went with us. I think that he enjoyed them as much as we did, and we took some photos of him by one of the horses, too. He took my sister and niece to see them today, and they enjoyed seeing them, also.
I will be sharing photos of each of the 20 artists' horses, including photos of the detail of their beautiful work, occasionally over the next few weeks, and I hope that you will enjoy seeing them as much as we have in this area.
Once again, thank you so much to our friend Glenda for her great eye and generosity, and this great preview of some of the horses commissioned for this charity auction. We so enjoyed your photos!!
I hope that you're having a great weekend!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Fall Display, Collierville Town Square

Fall Corn, Collierville Square

If you are near the Memphis area during the fall season, be sure to drop by the Collierville Town Square. The city employees do a wonderful job decorating the entire charming historic area each year, and it will certainly get you into the fall spirit. I will be sharing more photos of the Town Square area soon.

Once again, thank you so much for the kind messages! I didn't realize that CityDailyPhoto had added me back onto their link pages, and it is so nice to see everyone again! Work is overwhelming this week, and I will try to catch up on my correspondence in just a few days.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Fall at the Agricenter Farmer's Market



I think that this is my favorite time of year, and we always look forward to choosing colorful mums and pumpkins for decorating our yard and porch. The Farmer's Market at the Agricenter has lots to choose from this season!

Do you enjoy fall, too? What's your favorite thing about this season?

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Old Barn, Spring Creek Ranch Golf Club...and a favor...


Thanks to those of you who wrote me for such a warm welcome back! I have a new job which takes a bit of time each week, but I hope to be blogging as regularly as possible. I enjoy sharing the Memphis area with you, and I'm glad that you enjoy seeing it, too!

Spring Creek Ranch Golf Club, which was designed by Jack Nicklaus, was formerly a cattle ranch by the same name. Some of the recently-developed residential streets surrounding the club are named after the bulls that resided here when it was ranch land. This is one of the old barns remaining on the Spring Creek Ranch property, and I'm not sure that preserving the barn structures is on their long-term plan. I wanted to have a photo to serve as a record of this property's history, and I thought that the barn looked especially pretty with the goldenrod (and ragweed...achoo!) in full bloom.

And now for the favor! Do any of you have any photos of the artists' life-size horses that have been around the Germantown area since the Germantown Charity Horse Show? We came back from the MS State/Vanderbilt football game tonight and passed through Germantown, and they're gone! We were going to take photos of them on Sunday and Tuesday this week, when we had some extra time to visit each site, and share them here. SO disappointing! If any of you have photos (of the horses, of anything else in the Memphis area) that you'd like to share here, I'd be glad to post them and credit you for the photo. If you do, please leave a message here. Thanks!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Goldenrod, Spring Creek Ranch

Goldenrod, Spring Creek Ranch

Goldenrod found blooming this past week on the naturalized property of Spring Creek Ranch Golf Club on Collierville-Arlington Road. Yes, I know that some consider it to be a weed, at best a wildflower...but no matter its classification, it's an awfully pretty one!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Magnolia Blossom Time

This has always been one of my favorite times of the year in Memphis. This is the season when everything is so green, it's still not too humid and hot to get out in the middle of the day, school is just about to get out for the summer, and the magnolias are in bloom. Aaaahhhh...

My father and I took a ride through some of his favorite areas of town today, and we stopped for a little while in Chickasaw Gardens. A visitor left a message a week or so ago speaking of missing the magnolias, especially the ones surrounding Chickasaw Gardens Lake and lining some of the streets in that area (this photo was taken with you in mind). We found this magnolia bloom on a tree just by the lake in early afternoon, and we thought that the lighting was perfect. I wish that you could smell this flower; it's a sweet, lemony scent that's unmistakeable, and smells heavenly when there is a warm breeze.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Japanese Garden of Tranquility

Another view of one of my favorite places, the Japanese Garden of Tranquility at Memphis Botanical Garden.

I am still under the weather and just not quite feeling up to my energetic self, so I will be unable to post on a daily basis for a time. I will still be posting as I am able, and as always, I appreciate your stopping by!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Railroad, Collierville

Railroad tracks in historic Collierville, just to the south of the Collierville Town Square.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Feeding the Koi...

Feeding the Koi is a favorite activity for visitors to the Memphis Botanic Garden. The lake in the Japanese Garden of Tranquility is brimming with Koi, who enjoy this activity even more than the visitors, as you can see in the second photo.
Thank you so much for the warm wishes and nice messages! xo

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

A bit under the weather...but at least there are pretty garden photos to share!

Hello! I've been away from the computer for several days, so I figured I owed you a few photos in this post. This is the Tennessee Bicentennial Iris Garden at the Memphis Botanic Garden. It was the first garden at the Memphis Botanical Garden, and the plantings are primarily the results of donations from the personal collection of a Memphis family. The sculpture in the center of the fountain is the Iris Goddess (first photo above). Most of these irises bloom in mid-to-late April, but some also bloom in late autumn.
Chris left me a message asking if I'm ok...thanks so much for thinking of me, Chris! Actually, I have been under the weather healthwise. During a routine health screening, my blood pressure was abnormally high (family curse, I think), and we've been working this week on adjusting medications, etc, for that. Right now, it's actually too low, which saps every bit of energy you have. Not whining here...I'm very thankful that it's a fairly easily controlled condition. I just wanted to let you know why I may be a bit hit-n-miss with posting or visiting for a short time.
I hope that everything is wonderful with you!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Iris Bloom

My father and I visited the Memphis Botanic Garden last week, and were delighted to find the iris garden in full bloom. The Iris Garden is quite large, and centered around a fountain with a gorgeous statue in the middle. I will try to share a few photos of this beautiful spot in the next few days.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

The babies are here!...and so is a new blogging friend!

When I posted recently about the nesting Canadian Geese in this post, several of you asked for me to please update you when the babies arrived. Well, this weekend we spied this lovely goose family enjoying a family outing on Chickasaw Gardens lake. Definitely an "awwww" moment for DH and me, and I hope for you, too.
I also want to introduce you to a blogging friend of mine, Pat, who is an excellent photographer, and an even sweeter and most genuine friend. I have known her through her personal/homemaking blog, Back Porch Musings, for over a year, and now she has a new photo blog. She took that gorgeous lily photo above. You can find her photo blog, Snapshots from the Back Porch, here. Every visit to Pat's blog is a delight, and I am always inspired by her beautiful photos, and I think that you will enjoy them, also. When I have a few more minutes, I will be adding her link to my sidebar. Please stop by and enjoy her beautiful photography, and welcome her to the photo blogging community.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

A photo? Why, yes, of course...

We stopped by the annual Collierville festival, "Fair on the Square", for some traditional spring fun with lots of food, talent acts, arts and crafts, and of course, lots of animals.

When we stopped to take a photo of this mule hitch team, the mule on the left was looking right at me, and the one on the right was looking the other way. As soon as he spied my camera, he leaned his head in and posed, perfectly. Every time I raised my camera, he did the same thing...what a pro! Is this not a sweet pair? They are 20 and 21 years old respectively, and the sweetest animals you could meet.

This weekend has been very busy, but fun...I hope that yours has been the same!

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Spring Creek, Spring Creek Ranch Golf Club

Spring Creek, Spring Creek Ranch Golf Club

This is Spring Creek, for which Spring Creek Ranch Golf Club is named. This Jack Nicklaus-designed course opened in 1999, and is rumored to be the possible future home course for the annual Stanford-St Jude golf tournament.

This course is also a member of the Aububon Conservation Reserve with 330 acres used for wetlands and a natural habitat and ecosystem for wildlife.

Spring Creek Ranch was once a very large cattle farm, and the course design (by Jack Nicklaus) has made wonderful use of the natural beauty of this land.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Oaklawn Garden Residence

This is the Oaklawn Garden residence, built in 1854.
In this area, homes of this vintage are often painted white or cream. I think that green suits this residence, allowing it to remain in harmony with the gardens which Mr. and Mrs. Cloyes generously share with visitors.
Please do click on the photos for a more detailed view.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

May Theme Day: (Dwindling) Numbers

They don't make 'em like this anymore (as the railroad caboose is now found in very limited numbers)...but you can find this Norfolk and Western Caboose (1944) anytime in Harry Cloyes' collection of Germantown artifacts at his home, Oaklawn Garden. He and his wife, Becky, generously open their garden and vast collection for the public to enjoy each day, and have bequeathed their home and garden to Germantown (just outside the Memphis city limits) for future generations to enjoy. I will share a photo of the Cloyes' home, built in 1854, tomorrow. You can see why this garden was a favorite spot for my boys to visit...Mr. Cloyes' collection of railroad, municipal, and military artifacts delights both little boys and grown-up boys alike.
For those of you who asked about the jail building in yesterday's photo, yes, it truly was the original jail building for the Germantown area.
Please click on the photo to see a detailed view (railroad car numbers included). And please visit these other wonderful CDP blogs, listed on the CDP Theme Day Page here to view their contributions to today's Theme Day.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Reservation For One...

This is the original jail for the Germantown community, which can be seen at Oaklawn Garden, the home of Harry and Becky Cloyes. You can see photos of Mr. Cloyes here.

The Cloyes are lifelong Germantown residents, and for years have graciously opened their gardens to those who enjoy seeing their beautiful azaleas and other plantings, and also their extensive collection of Germantown artifacts. They still live in the lovely home on the property (built in 1854...I'll show you that soon), and have generously bequeathed their home and land to the city so that future generations can continue to enjoy this very special place.

I will be posting another artifact in Mr. Cloyes' collection tomorrow, for Theme Day.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Water Lily

Water Lily, Memphis Botanic Garden.

Some day soon I'll show you other places around town, but this time of year our area gardens are just too pretty to ignore.

White Clematis...

Clematis vine, Dixon Gardens.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Cordova Baptist Church...One of 1000 Churches

Memphis is often called "The City of 1000 Churches" or the "City of Churches". There are many beautiful places of worship in Memphis, and one of those is Cordova Baptist Church.

I tried to find out more about the history of this lovely church, but the history link on their site seems to be down and there is little other information to be found. This church is located in the older/historic area of Cordova, a small village (at that time east of Memphis) that was founded in 1835. This area was renowned for its flowers and the town motto was "Farms, Flowers and Fellowship". It was also a whistle stop for the busy St Louis, Nashville and Chattanooga railroads.

Most of Cordova has been annexed by the City of Memphis, but fortunately (thus far) the historic area is still much like the charming whistle stop town of years ago.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Garden Visitor

When my father was visiting the other day, he noticed this beautiful visitor to my garden...thank goodness my camera was right inside the door (and that my daddy has an eye for detail)! Isn't he pretty?

I hope that you're enjoying a pretty Spring where you live, and are having a great weekend.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Mid-Century Modern Residence, Hedgemoor

This is the Mid-Century Modern home (across from Auto Ethnographer's childhood home) that Auto Ethnographer mentioned in a comment in reply to this post. The architecture of this home is unique and quite pretty, and an interesting and lovely contrast to the very traditional architecture found throughout the Hedgemoor neighborhood. I thought that the comment (below) said more about this home than I possibly could:

"...Our more elderly neighbors across the street had been art collectors and dealers. Everyone in the neighborhood called their house "the hotel," because it was a mid-century modern with an elevator and amazing swimming pool. They had lavish grown-up parties (probably fund-raisers), the comings and goings of which we all watched in awe. The people we bought our house from were the Thorntons. I am pretty sure they were the original builders. They would be as happy as I am to see that so much of the original grounds and house have been preserved. Thanks again for bringing back all these wonderful childhood memories!!"
I'm sorry that I've been MIA a bit this past week. Sensing that it is time for a change and some growth, I turned in my resignation letter yesterday at work (my place of employment since 1984, having held my current position for eight years), and have been interviewing for two different, exciting opportunities. In addition to that, my older son has been interviewing for two jobs in another city, and is very excited about his opportunities, also (of course, his mama still has to get used to that idea...). Nothing like mixing things up a bit, huh? :)
I hope that your week has been a good one!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Earth Day, 2008.........Going Green at the Dixon

View of the Dixon Gardens South Lawn from behind "Europa and the Bull" (which I first showed you here).
The photo just above (courtesy of the Memphis newspaper The Commercial Appeal) shows Horticulture director Dale Skaggs (left) and Bobby Rice, a landscape gardener at the Dixon, using a steam generator to kill pathogens and weed seeds in soil.
As today is Earth Day, I thought that you might be glad to know that even this large and beautiful garden space, Dixon Gardens, is adopting greener methods of landscaping and gardening. This article, by Commercial Appeal garden reporter Christing Arpe Gang, appeared in The Commercial Appeal on February 29, and has made me enjoy my visits to Dixon Gardens even more:
"Those who don't take the time to stroll in the gardens get to see cut examples of the plants artfully arranged and placed in the gallery by members of the Memphis Garden Club.
The garden is being renovated to make it more environmentally friendly, as well as beautiful.
"We want to promote sustainability and greenness at the Dixon," said Dale Skaggs, director of horticulture.
The project includes improving drainage in the mixed perennial border, installing a new irrigation system and steam-sterilizing the soil in the planting beds.
After having soil samples analyzed, Skaggs discovered that years of using synthetic fertilizers created a nutrient imbalance in the soil.
"We had almost toxic levels of phosphorus," he said.
Starting this year, soil fertility will be improved with the addition of nitrogen-rich organic products, such as cottonseed meal and blood meal.
The Dixon gardening staff is also installing a new drip irrigation system. It replaces a system that sprayed water on the leaves and stems of plants, which set up an environment ideal for fungal diseases. The new system emits water at the base of the plant, where it can quickly soak down into the root zone.
"This will keep us from having to spray fungicides," Skaggs said.
Drainage will be improved in the mixed perennial bed by adding French drains and raising the beds a few inches above ground level.
The most dramatic new tool in the move toward sustainability is the use of a portable steamer for sterilizing soil and compost.
The portable Steam-Flo Steam Generator is connected to several porous hoses that are placed on top of gently tilled soil in a planting bed. The hoses are covered with a heat-resistant tarp before the steaming begins. In about 15 minutes, the soil reaches 180 degrees, high enough to kill pathogens and weed seeds in the soil.
"Sterilizing allows us to start planting with a clean slate," Skaggs said.
The not-so-good outcome is the steam also kills earthworms and beneficial microorganisms that make soil the healthy, living environment plants need to prosper. A teaspoon of good garden soil will contain as many as a billion invisible bacteria and fungus threads.
To remedy that situation, garden staffer Lowell Lott is preparing compost teas teeming with microorganisms to add back to the soil.
Commercial products that contain microorganisms will also be added to the soil.
Microorganisms are essential to soil health in every garden.
To boost the level of these invisible but very important creatures in your garden, you can learn how to make compost tea at a workshop at the Dixon at 10 a.m. March 13.
Each participant will receive a five-gallon bucket, an aquarium pump, ingredients and recipes for making an aerated compost tea, the kind that promotes the growth of microorganisms. Lott, a retired chemist, is teaching the class.
The steamer is also being used to sterilize leaf mold made every year by composting the huge volume of leaves collected in the woodland areas at the Dixon.
Leaf mold is a key ingredient in the potting soil mix made at the Dixon and is also an organic soil amendment.
Previously the Dixon sterilized leaf mold in a small-batch "cooker" that used a lot of electricity.
Most commercial potting soils and composts available in retail garden centers are also sterilized before they are bagged and sold.
All of the work in the cutting garden is expected to be completed in time for spring planting, so there will be lots of flowers for the arrangements inside the gallery and for visitors to enjoy outdoors."
In our family we recycle, keep our thermostat set very low during the winter and higher (with ceiling fans) during the summer, and consolidate trips in our cars as much as possible. Also, when planting in the South, considerations about watering and heat-tolerance are very important, so we try to use native plants in our garden. One of my favorite recent finds is the coco-brick, or "coir". These fibers, found on the outside of coconuts, would usually be a waste product in coconut processing, but are available now as a moisture-retentive soil additive, and are a great alternative to peat. I find the brick form to be easy to use....the brick is soaked in a bucket of water for a few minutes until it turns into a mass of fluffy fibers, and then you just mix handfuls of the fiber in with your potting mix. I have found that it works better for retaining moisture (without souring the soil) than any other additive, at least in our region. You can read more about coir here.

What are your favorite earth-friendly practices?

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Walkways, Dixon Gardens

Terraced Walkway, Dixon Gardens
Walkways at Dixon are one of the most important elements in the gardens. Not only do they make walking easier around the perimeter of the South Lawn (especially in inclement weather), but they also beckon you to each separate garden room and little hidden places featuring seasonal plantings, an antique bench, or statuary. Some walks are curved and some are straight, and usually are constructed of brick or pea gravel.

Above and below are the terraced brick walkways joining the first garden room I showed you, and the one I will share after this. In the photo above you can see the restored, 19th century cast iron fountain that is the focal point in the distance (please enlarge this photo for a better view).

I hope that you are enjoying a nice weekend. We are spending time with my father today, and then I'm looking forward to catching up with each of you.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Dixon Gardens, South Lawn

Dixon, South Lawn View From Entrance Walk
This is the first view of the expansive South Lawn of the gardens that you see after you first enter the gardens from the main entrance. My father says that it reminds him of Augusta National Golf Club during the Masters Tournament.