Garden Photo of the Day

Starting from Scratch

Jeralee Mornhinweg has transformed her blank slate backyard to a relaxing multipurpose garden.

"My garden is in Watkinsville, GA.  After moving here from Upstate NY last year and leaving my 13 year old mature garden behind I had a blank slate.  I wanted a compact garden focal point in my lawn to function as a cutting garden, a vegetable garden, a relaxation spot, and a test garden (because moving from zone 4 to 8 requires a few years of testing!).  Also a requirement were beds that were easy to mow around because it's hot here and the more  time spent fussing on general maintenance is less time  gardening!  I grew most of my annuals from seed under lights and my family and I did all of the work on the build as well. Nothing was hired out. The garden features 14 raised beds with pea stone paths and an arbor entry set off by Sky pencil holly.  As I wait for my Eden rose to grow on the arbor I have heavenly blue morning glories filling the space.  The bed in the center has a water feature on a solar pump with aquatic plants, tadpoles, and five fish.  On each side of the garden I created vine teepees with six foot bamboo and twine and hung old landscape lights inside them like lanterns. The garden is only four months old, but is really taking off and I'm learning much about what does and does not thrive in sunny Georgia!"

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  1. user-7007498 07/05/2016

    Jeralee: Great start on your new garden. Moving from zone 4 to 8 opens up so many gardening possibilities, I am sure it can be overwhelming. I love the raised beds. Hopefully you can get some shade in your backyard. Thanks for sharing your beautiful garden, and good luck.

    1. jeraleemornhinweg 07/05/2016

      We have a corner that is full shade. The garden is full sun from 8 AM until sunset. It does get early morning shade. Next week the garden gets a semi circle paver patio in front of it. We will landscape around the patio so I think eventually there may be a little shade.

  2. frankgreenhalgh 07/05/2016

    Hi there Jeralee- Nice planning, execution (with the help of your family) and progress with your garden created from a blank canvas. Do you plan to plant along the fence line?

    1. jeraleemornhinweg 07/05/2016

      The west side has 5 trellises with young climbing roses. We also moved 20 irises and 9 varieties of day lilies from NY that reside on the base of a hillside. That hill was all weeds last year. I currently have lantana and wave petunia to keep the pine straw in place. But yes.. I will be expanding my perennial collection down the fence line over time.

  3. mainer59 07/05/2016

    So much in such a short time! Tell me about your solar powered water feature. I had a solar powered pump that was hard to turn off/on and then broke after only a season. I'd like to replace it with something that would work.

    1. jeraleemornhinweg 07/05/2016

      Weanas® 8V 2.5W Solar Powered Water Pump Built-in Storage Battery Backup Brushless Submersible Pump .

      The battery backup isn't good for more than a few minutes but I do not need it. I use a turtle shaped spitter with a wide stream as the fountain attachments and pump strength shot the water spray several feet into the air and emptied my two foot wide pond!

      It has a filter sponge, good power and the on/off is on the back of the panel.

  4. diane_lasauce 07/05/2016

    I am considering making the move from central VA to Johns Island, SC and wonder if I could stand the heat/humidity/mosquitoes...I know I would not miss the VA winters, although I would need to bid adieu to my heirloom peonies and daffs...big decisions...Good luck with your tabula rasa!

    1. Cenepk10 07/10/2016

      I couldnt live anywhere without my humidity... I know. It's sick. Great for my hair & skin.

  5. User avater
    meander_michaele 07/05/2016

    Goodness, Jeralee, the Energizer Bunny has nothing on have been in go, go go mode to have accomplished so much so soon! Are those zinnias in the top picture? So bright and happy looking. There are some great public gardens within driving distance for you to help give inspiration and education. One is at the University of Georgia in Athens and another is the Atlanta Botanical Garden. I've enjoyed visiting them both. Good luck making it through your first zone 8 summer

    1. jeraleemornhinweg 07/05/2016

      The top photo shows Whirligig Zinnias. I've been growing them for a decade along with Oklahoma. I clip buckets of them for bouquets for our home and friends. They grow larger here than they did in NY.

  6. wGardens 07/05/2016

    You certainly have accomplished a great deal in a short amount of time! Love those zinnias~ Wonderful to incorporate a water feature, too. Enjoy your new garden! Thanks for sharing.

  7. user-4691082 07/05/2016

    What a creative use of space, Jeralee! My favorite photo is the one of the fish and the moving water! I just want to reach my hand into the photo and pet that little fish...I don't know anyone who grows annuals from seed! I'm impressed! How wide do those sky pencils get? I can't tell how close together they are in the photo. So colorful... Thanks for sharing!

    1. jeraleemornhinweg 07/05/2016

      They will get about 2 feet wide and 6 feet tall and are about 18 inches apart. They are easily pruned to be thinner though.

  8. User avater
    treasuresmom 07/05/2016

    Zinnias are one of my all time favorite summer flower. I have seen more and more gardeners including them in their gardens. Love your garden.

    1. jeraleemornhinweg 07/05/2016

      I love them too. This mostly functions as my annual cutting garden so they will always be my one of my focal plants. I've already found that some just are not resistant enough to humidity to keep next year though. Good news is that my favorites are doing great!

  9. wittyone 07/05/2016

    Wow, you have jumped in with both feet and are running strong. It's good to have a starting point to work from and a plan to guide you. With that great center all in place and growing well I see many new beds and borders in your future. Have fun and enjoy the ride.

  10. user-3565112 07/05/2016

    Jeralee, My mother in law gardened in Duluth Ga. & she had a lot of luck with roses. The soil was brick quality clay & with soil amendments she had a great garden. A lady in Suwanee posted a fantastic conifer garden several mos. ago.
    Good luck with your new garden adventure, Joe

    1. jeraleemornhinweg 07/05/2016

      I'm trying out roses. I have Eden, Iceberg, Sun Flare and Queen Elizabeth in my beds. I also have America, Piñata, Joseph's Coat, and Show Garden in amended native clay on trellises. We have knockouts as well. I lost my roses up north to the winter quite often regardless of their hardiness or our precautions. Our plot just didn't work well for them. I hope I have better success in zone 8!

  11. User avater
    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 07/05/2016

    What a zone change! You have risen to the challenge wisely and I can surely believe your mature garden will be built well from your great start and testing. Those are the prettiest zinnias (in the opening photo) and I love the pink wash in the white lily. Do you know the variety? Kudos!

    1. jeraleemornhinweg 07/05/2016

      The lily was labeled a triumphator.

      1. User avater
        Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 07/05/2016

        Thanks! On my list now.

  12. foxglove12 07/05/2016

    How fun to have a blank slate. Such a pretty color pallet. Would love to see how it progresses. I think you should post periodically so we all can watch. ?

  13. Cenepk10 07/05/2016

    Very nice start !!!! You are 20 miles from
    me & no doubt feel my pain ... No rain here in 7 weeks. Shower clouds make a hard left & blow away :(. Your zinnias look amazing- Gonna be a very pretty mature garden !!! ( Already is ) Can't wait for the updates !!!!

    1. jeraleemornhinweg 07/05/2016

      It's been so dry. Last week's random storms gave my vines feet of growth!

    2. jeraleemornhinweg 07/09/2016

      Just a quick message to tell you that the UGA trial garden is doing an open house today. Good Intel on what might be coming next year! Beautiful show!

      1. Cenepk10 07/09/2016

        Phooey !!! Just now saw this. Thank you so much for sharing that with me !!!!!!!!

  14. User avater
    LindaonWhidbey 07/05/2016

    It's amazing what a little heat can do. The growth that your garden has achieved in such a short time is a testament to that and your skill, of course. That lily is so delicate looking. I'd love to know it's name. The idea of the lanterns inside the vine cage is quite clever. Good job making your new house a home in such a short time.

    1. jeraleemornhinweg 07/05/2016

      It is a triumphator lily.

  15. Cenepk10 07/05/2016

    As God as my witness IT'S RAINING!!!!!!!! Hallelujah

    1. User avater
      meander_michaele 07/05/2016

      I agree...we are recurrently having a sustained downpour that is so needed in my neck of the woods.

  16. clculp1961 07/05/2016

    An amazing oasis! I really like the concept of raised gardens, the water pond, and pea gravel. If You have any extra seeds :) send them my way! Hoping You have a very enjoyable Summer in Your Garden! ~Chris

  17. digginWA 07/08/2016

    Pink and orange are a match made in heaven. I need to wedge some zinnias in somewhere. I appreciate your strategy of filling in the arbor with the annual morning glory while waiting for the climbing rose to mature. It's useful to think of things as temporary and/or moveable while the garden evolves. Thanks for sharing.

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