Friday, December 28, 2012

My Favorite Neighborhood Store -- Tractor Supply

Several years ago a Tractor Supply Co. was built at Thomas Crossroads close to my house (I could walk through the woods, if I was inclined in less than ten minutes). Charles E. Schmitt founded the store in 1938 mainly to serve farmers and ranchers, but with over 7 decades (74 years), customers grew to include small farmers, businesses, novice gardeners, pet owners (any kind), and anyone needing all types of tools, fencing, clothing and footwear, hardware, truck accessories, supplies for livestock, equines, dogs and cats, even more, just too much to name.

I had never heard of a Tractor Supply Company, yet it didn't take long for me to realize, it was a lot of stores wrapped into one. And it is always an experience for me to visit, whether I just browsed or bought anything.

Most garden tools are available in the garden section.

Pick your favorite color of the watering cans.

Gloves are not a problem for any job.

The hat rack holds garden and cowboy hats.

You may meet an animal lover with her teacup friend.

The store stocks dog and cat food supplies, too, all year for my four legged kids; Tia, Todd, Sunny Boy and Mr. Basil like the dry and canned varieties.

I love the variety of metal tubs and buckets.

I also like the smiles and good customer service.

I noticed this famous cowboy next to some of the gift shelves.

When I was growing up we had a black and white pinto like this horse named "Thunder" (but without the rockers).

As, I checked out I got more smiles and more good customer service from two check-out clerks.

If a Tractor Supply Co. is not close to visit, you can browse on line at TRACTORSUPPLY.COM or order by phone at 1-877-718-6750 (There is also a Blue Book Catalog).
Until next time......
Happy Gardening 2012!
Posted by Wilma Smith

Friday, December 21, 2012

All I Want for Christmas is a Mud Puddle

This year what I really wished for Christmas was rain, lots of rain and during the week before Christmas 2012, I got my wish! The drought in our area of Coweta County has been devastating this year. Not only for gardens and yards, but for trees and shrubs, even wildlife that rely on wild flowers, berries and water in local ponds, streams, and ditches that fill with such. 

So, instead of two front teeth, I wished for mud puddles because I knew, if we had those, we would have had several inches of rain.

Rain brightens any landscape, especially plants in a garden. The next few photos are of our garden and the update for this month. Above are bok choy blooms. We'll cut them, dry them and save the seeds to plant in spring. I was excited to see plenty of honey bees doing their thing, as two years ago, we didn't see many

Even with the drought, our broccoli is heading with florets.

Some people don't like the earthy flavor of turnips, but I love these "Purple Tops," boiled, mashed and add butter, like potatoes.

We've had several meals of collards and even gave a neighbor a mess for their Thanksgiving dinner.

Lettuce loves the cool weather and especially the rain.

Our strawberries will produce next spring. They turned a beautiful green with the rain.

We still need lots of rain to fill up the pond, so we can use it next year to water the garden.


Merry Christmas to you, your family and hope all your wishes come true this holiday season! 
I hope rain falls on your garden endeavors and leaves a mud puddle for you!!
Until Next Time.......
Happy Gardening 2012!
Posted by Wilma Smith

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Forcing Bulbs Indoors for Holiday Color

I've enjoyed the gift of color by forcing Amaryllis bulbs to bloom indoors prior to Christmas and throughout the winter season for the last several years. This project can be fun for children, as well as, any adult who loves a little dirt under their nails.

This bulbous, trumpet flower was cultivated in the eighteenth century and it's origin and genus disputed from 1938 until 1987 when the "International Botanical Congress" declared Amaryllis belladonna, as the Hippeastrum genus originating from South Africa. The other contender was found in South America. Who knew the Amaryllis could have waged such a political plant cliff, similar to the financial cliff in our Congress today!

Due to the controversy and confusion, Carl Linngleus gave all these plants the common name "Amaryllis" in 1753. Making this "family" or "genus" as the bulb found in most kits sold for Christmas gifts and forced blooming during winter months.

I found this variety on sale at Tractor Supply, as you can see above for $4.99. Most cost $10 to $12 dollars and that's still a good price for the beauty, enjoyment and color lasting throughout most of the winter months. Although outdoor Amaryllis, naturally range in pinks and purples, these hybrid bulbs packaged for forced blooms may be bought in pink, salmon, white, apricot, rose and of course, deep reds, like scarlet. Their flowers can be found in single or double blooms with solids or striped colors of four to six circular patterns.

Kits will include the bulb, a rich, loamy soil and a pot for easy planting, basic for forcing any bulb. Plant it with the bottom covered in dirt (1/4 to 1/3 inch) most pots should be two or three inches larger in diameter than the bulb and allow adequate drainage to prevent rotting in standing water. I don't like this cheap pot, but it does OK for this illustration.

After potting your Amaryllis, place it in a window with good, but not direct sunlight and water only when the dirt on top feels dry. Never allow water to stand in the container, as it will rot the bulb.

Believe it or not, these bulbs can be planted outdoors in our climate, after the danger of frost. Keep the flower stalk on the plant until it dies and turns yellow, acclimate the bulb in shade or indirect sunlight. This resting period allows the nutrition of the flower stem to energize the bulb for next year's blooming. Amazingly, a little bright sun, after resting helps the bulb transition to outdoor living.

Mr. Basil, our garden cat at first seemed interested in this earthy project.

It wasn't long before he found a sunny spot in the grass to chill out.

I'll keep you udated on the "Red Lion" variety of this year's Amaryllis blooming on my windowsills with photos and hope you share yours with me!

Most any bulbs you favor can be forced to bloom during winter months and transplanted to your yard in spring. So, no doubt that's a for any gardener.

Until next time....

Happy Gardening 2012!

Posted by Wilma Smith

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Declaring December 12th - Sister's Day!

I got a new calender in the mail for 2013, after looking through it, I noticed there were lots of holidays to celebrate like President's Day, All Saint's Day, Secretary's Day, Mother's Day, Father's Day, etc. and etc. But no, Sister's or Brother's Day and since I don't have any brothers, only two sisters, I'm declaring December 12th, "Sister's Day." I hope they enjoy these photos I picked for them and the twelve days of Christmas poem.

On the first day of Christmas, I thought my sisters true, some foxgloves looking at you,

On the second day of Christmas a Kahlanche too...da da ta da....just for my sisters two

On the third day of Christmas the pink verbena grew, like flowers my sisters, always knew

On the fourth day of Christmas the false pear bloomed so sweet, like my sisters, dreams oh yes what a special treat

On the fifth day of Christmas the lily's smiled in the rays, just like my sisters in their on sunny ways


On the sixth day of Christmas, the kitten combed his whiskers, he tickled me and especially, my two sisters

On the seventh day of Christmas, the Cannas Lily's red, kept all the memories of our childhood in my sisters head

On the eighth day of Christmas, we picked the garden's fruit, my sisters dressed in their overalls and their garden boots
On the ninth day of Christmas the snowball, so white and pure, reminded them of an angel and halos, of that I am sure
On the tenth day of Christmas, the rose moss was very bright, my sisters liked the colors and thought them out of sight 
On the eleventh day of Christmas, the house plants kept so well, left my sisters speechless and told me, they looked so swell
On the twelveth day of Christmas the zinnina helped the bees, and all us three sister fell and prayed upon our knees
We prayed as sisters should, we prayed as sisters might, regardless where we find ourselves, we'll love and pray for each other every single night. 

Merry Christmas to all sisters and brothers. Celebrate December 12th as your Sister's or Brother's Holiday!
Until next time.....
Happy Gardening 2012!
Posted byWilma Smith

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Private Moments with Santa South

Did you ever wonder what Santa Claus does on his day off? Well, I found out when I visited Santa South at his workshop this past week. Although, I wasn't in the Christmas mode prior to the visit, I was singing "Jingle Bells" before I left the shop!
I found him with his granddaughter, Jay, doing what Santa does best, reading "Twas the Night Before Christmas." 
Jay was having fun playing with toys in front of the fireplace. 
Santa has several Christmas trees decorated in his shop as you can see above. 
I sneaked into his office and took pictures when he wasn't looking. 
Santa South has his coat ready to slip into anytime before or on Christmas Eve when he delivers the toys he's made in his shop. 
Santa South has a "Santa Clause" degree. 
The workshop is filled with toys and fun things to do for even a kid like me! 
I caught Jay and Santa having fun enjoying a toy Santa built made like the mouse trap game. 
Elves keep the shop clean and stand by until Santa South needs their help.
Oh what fun riding on the big rocking horse!
Maybe it was the grin, or the twinkle in his eye, but when I left Santa's shop, I was in the Christmas mode and realized Santa South was Santa Claus all year long.
Santa South's shop is located at 3072 Highway 154, Newnan, Ga. 30265. Check out his website at or call 678-340-5193 for a photo appointment at Santa's shop or visit to your home or business.
Also, please donate a new toy for a boy or girl of any age and "celebrate the season of giving", as Santa South has a toy drop-off  at his shop to help unfortunate children.
Thanks for any toy donations!
Until next time........
Happy Gardening 2012!
Posted by Wilma Smith