Handout for April 2010 Neighborhood Garden Tour

Dunleith Garden Tour Eddie & Linda Rhoades 667 Longwood Court

You will notice there is no front lawn, it’s all one big mulch bed. Why should I waste my life cutting grass? Plus lawn mowers are like little cars that burn gas and oil and give off emissions not to mention lawns need other maintenance like watering, fertilizing, edging and raking. Then if you have a lawn service you are really contributing to the pollution of the planet because they spray poisons, not because you have a problem, but to prevent your having a problem. About those little signs they put out, bees and toad frogs can’t read. So when is the last time you saw a honeybee or a toad frog? This garden’s focus is on edible landscaping. Of course there are flowers but notice the cold hardy pineapple guavas, pawpaws, seedless American persimmon, Oriental persimmon, English walnut, mulberries, blueberries, figs, kiwi, pears, pomegranates, two types of cold hardy citrus, Shiitake mushroom logs (notice the clusters of short vertical stumps in back, that’s them), two types of edible fruit dogwood, maypops, muscadines and jujubes. Some of these trees I grafted myself. Others are the very best varieties to be found anywhere. Besides the fruit trees we grow vegetables: usually okra, tomatoes, asparagus, onions, cucumbers, lettuce, collards, squash, zucchini, peppers, herbs, butternut squash, melons and others.
There are a few elements of whimsy and yard art that I try to keep confined to the back yard.
To establish a wildlife habitat I have bird feeders, bird houses, water sources and brush piles. Some of the brush piles also function as compost piles. In the Fall I gather bags of leaves from the neighborhood to use all over the yard for smothering weeds. Since leaves develop lift and blow around I add a sprinkling of pine straw to stop this and for esthetics. You might also notice the rain barrel where I capture rainwater and transfer it to gallon milk jugs. These come in handy during our inevitable dry spells. Some of the plants I grow are more for wildlife than human consumption: chokeberry – aronia arbutifolia, beautyberry – calicarpia Americana, both purple and white, elderberries, poke weed, mayhaw, crossvine for hummingbirds and crabapples. I plan to add heartnuts and a bee hive. I am not so much gardening for show as I am gardening for myself. I don’t grow anything that has to be dug up and taken in to over-winter. I have been a Master Gardener for 30 years. Come visit me on my website at
http://www.bittersweetgardens.com. I also have two CDs released with a gardening song on each.

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