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.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Formal Garden Room, Dixon Gardens (100th Post)

Formal Garden, Dixon Gardens
Yesterday, my father took me to Dixon Gallery and Gardens in celebration of my birthday (you can also read more about Dixon here).. You know how some days are just "perfect", and you know that you will remember that day as special forever? Yesterday was one of those days. It was a mild day, perfectly clear and sunny, and probably the prettiest Spring day in Memphis this year. My father and I walked the entire perimeter of the 17 acres of garden area, and it was breathtaking, and fun to just spend an afternoon with my father.

Of course, I took too many photos (don't we all?), and have chosen my favorites to share with you over the next several days. I hope that you will come to love this special place as I do. It is truly wonderful any time of year, either for its blooms, lush grounds, or well-designed architectural beauty. But, during the first through third weeks in April, it will take your breath away. You may enjoy seeing the larger version of this photo...just click on the photo and then click on "all sizes" and choose the larger size.

This is one of the formal garden rooms, fashioned after French and Italian formal gardens, on the east side of the museum building. This area is planted in clipped boxwood, pink azaleas, an ivy border, and white dogwoods. It is this lush in color in person, and it was lovely sitting on that bench and just taking it in.

Today is my 100th post, and it is hard to believe how quickly that time has passed. Participating in this community is a highlight of each day, and I hope to have many more "anniversaries".

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Nesting Time...

Canadian Goose, Nesting, Memphis Botanic Garden
We saw at least four Canadian geese nesting, including this lovely mother-to-be (and we also were eyed very closely by their protective gander mates) when we visited the Memphis Botanic Garden this past weekend. Hopefully we soon will be taking photos of cute baby goslings. Spring is just full of expectation, isn't it?

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Bridge, Japanese Garden of Tranquility

Bridge, Japanese Garden of Tranquility
This past weekend, we visited the Memphis Botanic Garden, which is beautiful any time of year. This bridge is located in one of our favorite areas of the Botanic Garden, the Japanese Garden of Tranquility.

The Japanese Garden was originally designed by Dr. P.T. Tono of Tokyo in 1965. This garden was redesigned in 1989 by the late Dr. Koichi Kawana, who designed more than a dozen Japanese gardens for botanic gardens around the country. He worked closely with local landscape architect J. Ritchie Smith on this project. Dr. Kawana pioneered the use of native plants in traditional Japanese garden design. You can read more about Dr. Kawana and his work and see a photo of him here. You can also read more about Memphis Botanic Garden's history here.

Do you have a botanic garden to visit nearby?

Monday, April 14, 2008


Wisteria Detail
The wysteria peaked this past weekend, and has been just beautiful! This was one of my mother's favorite spring blooms (she loved anything purple), and we always had fun looking for it to bloom each year.

If you've never smelled wysteria before, it is just heavenly. The aroma reminds me a lot of lilacs, which don't grow too well in our area. Wysteria only blooms for a bit over a week, but it is always such a delight.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, Collierville...One of 1000 Churches

St Andrew's Episcopal, Collierville
St Andrew's Episcopal, Collierville, Detail
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 St. Andrew's Episcopal Church in the Collierville area.

St Andrew's is located on the rear west side of the historic Collierville Town Square. The cornerstone of this lovely Gothic Revival church was laid on April 22, 1890, and the original bell, made in 1891 by by Meneely Bell Co. in New York, is still being used today. The medallions in the stained glass windows, as seen in the detail photo, have red borders and deep blue backgrounds, and are of French origin. All of these stained glass windows were part of the original church construction. As you can see, this property is currently undergoing a bit of is a beautiful, well-maintained historic structure.

Thank you so much for such nice birthday wishes! You helped make my day very special.

Friday, April 11, 2008

My Favorite Spot in Memphis...

Well, this post is a little self-indulgent, but I hope that you will think it's a beautiful place, too. You see, today is my birthday, and since I've earned another number (for which I am very thankful!), I thought it would be fun to share with you my absolute favorite spot in Memphis.

This is "Europa and the Bull", which can be found at the rear of the South Lawn at Dixon Gallery and Gardens. I will be showing more beautiful detail in the coming's stunning! Here is some information about it, found here on the Dixon website:

Europa and the Bull, located as a focal point in the south vista from the Gallery, is an 18th century marble group from Grimston Park, Tadcaster, York. It was bought in 1962 when the entire contents of the castle and gardens were auctioned. Greek mythology tells the story of how Zeus, transforming himself into a white bull, carries off the maiden Europa, daughter of the Phoenician king, Agenor (or Phoenix in some versions). He swims with her to Crete where she becomes the mother of Minos, Rhadamanthus, and Sarpedon.

I googled Grimston Park, and look here to see what I found for sale....Grimston Park, the original home of this magnificent marble sculpture! It's a very lovely residence, but a bit pricey...even for my birthday...

edited to add...Jim asked if I had shared which number birthday this is? :) Of course not! ;) But, I will say that the sculpture was acquired at approximately the same time as my birth, which is actually neat considering how I adore it.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Pink Azalea

Pink Azalea
I thought you might enjoy seeing a pretty pink azalea after the pink dogwood to change the size to a larger photo to see even more detail (by clicking on "all sizes" and then choosing the larger size) . We found this beauty at Dixon Gallery & Gardens last weekend. I'm hoping that the azaleas may be fully-blossomed this weekend.

The past few days have been long workdays, and I'm looking forward to catching up with everyone tonight and tomorrow!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Pink Dogwood

Pink Dogwood
I took this photo in our garden yesterday. When you really study them, dogwood flowers look almost like delicate sculpture, don't they?

Can you see the little fellow on the back of one of the petals? I didn't notice him until I viewed the photo on the largest size on Flickr. Feel free to click on the photo and view it in the larger size in my Flickr account if you would like a closer view.

Are you having a good week so far? This weekend is supposed to be sunny and in the 60s after some stormy weather tomorrow...perfect photo weather, don't you think? What are your weekend plans?

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Sunny Yellow Tulips...

Yellow Tulips
At the Botanic Garden, I couldn't look at these without smiling! I hope that they bring a smile to your face, too!

Happy Spring!

Monday, April 7, 2008

Hedgemoor Classic

Hedgemoor Residence
Hedgemoor Residence 2
This lovely classic home is in the Hedgemoor neighborhood of east Memphis, near Walnut Grove and Goodlett and across from the Galloway Golf Course. This is one of our favorite neighborhoods for both the architecture and the beautiful gardens.

This beautiful residence is also the childhood home of fellow blogger Auto Ethnographer...I hope that you enjoyed seeing these photos as much as I did visiting the neighborhood and taking them.

Thanks so much to all of you for the good wishes on the NCAA Championship was a close one, and a heartbreaker! I hope that my voice returns before work tomorrow...

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Go Tigers Go!

The University of Memphis Tigers basketball team made it to the Final Four in San Antonio, defeating UCLA on Saturday, and will be playing for the NCAA National Championship tonight (televised on the CBS network). Everywhere you look, this is what you see....people showing their spirit, and sporting their Tiger blue. I thought that the little girl above in her cheerleader attire looked especially excited about her Tigers' accomplishments.
There is so much excitement in the city, and everyone you meet is talking about "the game" with high hopes. The Tigers had an NCAA record season this year with only one loss, and spent quite a bit of time at #1 on national polls. They have made three Final Four appearances, in 1973, 1985, and 2008.
The players on this team play unselfishly, seem to really like each other, and under the direction of Coach John Calipari, seem to be really having fun no matter how competitive the game or opponent.
Regardless of the outcome tonight, this season has been an exhilarating one, and a delight to watch. It has been both fun and unifying for the students, fans, and for the citizens of Memphis. We love you, Tigers!
Go Tigers Go!

Idlewild Presbyterian, One of 1000 Churches

Idlewild, Union Street View 2
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 Idlewild Presbyterian Church.

This is the church of which I was a member when I was a little girl, and I dearly loved attending there. I went to Vacation Bible School and Sunday School, and also attended Kindergarten there. You can see why I developed my love of church and gothic architecture...and also stained glass and slate floors, deep and rich pipe organ music, and lovely church bells that cause many people in Midtown Memphis to stop for a moment and just listen.
Idlewild Steeple
Idlewild Presbyterian was built in 1926 and was designed by prominent Memphis architects Charles Pfiel and George Awsumb. It was built in the English Gothic style, using stone from Arkansas, Vermont, Massachusetts and Tennessee. The main entrance is also stone, with panels depicting characters and symbols of sacred history. The interior includes massive stone piers and hand-hewn arches and trusses, and is fashioned after Lincoln Cathedral in England.
Idlewild Cloistered Walk
Idlewild Courtyard 2
Idlewild Sanctuary Entrance Full
If you would like to see more photos of this beautiful church, including some photos of the lovely detail in this church, you can visit my "church blog" here.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Flowering Dogwood...

Memphis Botanic Garden---Dogwood Tree
Isn't this dogwood magnificent? This is one of my favorite flowering trees during each Spring in Memphis.

I hope that you're having a great weekend so far. This is a busy one for us with family activities, but I am looking forward to taking a little time for some blog-visiting, too!

Friday, April 4, 2008

In Memory...

40th Anniversary Commemoration
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
January 15, 1929-April 4, 1968

"I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character."

Martin Luther King, Jr.
"I Have a Dream" delivered August 28 1963, at the Lincoln Memorial,
Washington D.C.

Edited to add: A few of my Flickr photos were requested by a Canadian photo site...if you would like to see more photos from around the nation related to Dr. King's Day, please click here.

Dr King Memorial, Lorraine Motel
(Please click on the image above...Blogger is cutting off the right-hand portion of this photo)
Images from the Lorraine Motel/National Civil Rights Museum...

Memorial at the site of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King...
Lorraine Memorial, view 2
The older, original Hotel building of the Lorraine...
Lorraine Hotel
Another view of the memorial site. The interior of the room has been left exactly as it was the day of the assassination.
Lorraine Motel Memorial
The Lorraine, Motel side...
Lorraine Motel
Lorraine Motel Sign
The gate (incorporating one of his famous quotes) that leads to the gift shop and building from which James Earl Ray committed the assassination.
Lorraine Motel Gate
"I may not get there with you, but I want you to know that we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land."

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Mountaintop speech, April 3, 1968, Memphis

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Rev. Jesse Jackson, National Civil Rights Museum

Rev. Jesse Jackson, 40th Anniv. Memorial Dr Martin Luther King
Rev. Jesse Jackson, 40th Anniv. Memorial Dr Martin Luther King 2
My DH and I took our son to see the Mississippi River at flood stage, and then stopped by the National Civil Rights Museum before heading home. Tomorrow is the 40th Anniversary commemoration of Dr Martin Luther King, Jr, and there is quite a bit of preparation and activity at the Museum, originally the Lorraine Hotel (the site of his assassination 40 years ago tomorrow). BTW, today is the 40th anniversary of Dr. King's famous "I've Been to the Mountaintop" speech, delivered April 3 1968, at Mason Temple (Church of God in Christ Headquarters), in Memphis, Tennessee.

When we arrived at the museum, Rev. Jesse Jackson was standing in front of the museum, greeting a few people before going inside the building. My son and I considered walking up to meet him, but he was only outside for a minute or two. The gentleman to the left in the photo seemed very interested in what we were doing...we think he may have been a bodyguard.
All of the major national and international news outlets (CNN, BBC, NBC, etc) were there today (photo above), and will be televising portions of the activities from the museum grounds tomorrow.

Clickable links are in bold color script.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Cherry Trees In All Their Glory

Memphis Botanic Garden---Cherry Trees
The cherry trees in full blossom just outside of the Memphis Botanic doesn't get much prettier than this! (Be sure to click on this one to see the entire width of the photo).