GARDEN SPOTLIGHT Danny and Jenny Billings grow creative gardens decorated with fun, quirky and rustic items
Danny and Jenny Billings (Q and A filled out by Jenny.) We live 11 miles north of Gainesville.
Describe your garden:
Our garden is 30 feet wide and 90 feet long. We started out growing vegetables in tires. It took so much watering to keep up with them! I then planted flowers (marigolds, etc.) and herbs (sage, lemon balm and two kinds of mints), just for looks. This year Danny planted onions in the tires, and they produced very well.
We added arches made from wire panels (we’ve cut back at least four panels) for cucumbers and tomatoes. I trained both to go over the arch. Tomatoes planted by standing wire panels grew so tall I had to keep clipping the tops. We have peppers by the standing wire panels now. Danny planted squash under wire arches this year.
We have a watering system that Danny fixed with PVC pipe and hoses. This happened when I came in on day, very hot and tired. It had not rained in a while. My soaker hoses were busted. I said to Danny, “God won’t send me any rain, and the devil keeps messing with my soaker hoses!”
They are under the hay mulch.
How long have you been gardening?
We’ve been gardening for 22 years here. We gardened some when we lived at Caney Mountain [Conservation Area] but nothing like we do now. Danny says he is influenced by almost everyone he talks to. He asks many questions.
Favorite thing to grow?
I don’t have a favorite thing to grow. I just want it to look good.....no weeds! We eat a lot of fresh vegetables and share with family and friends. We don’t sell any of them.
Favorite/least favorite part of gardening?
My favorite part of gardening is watching plants grow and produce. My least favorite is weeds! We do mulch very heavily with hay these days, and that takes care of most of the weeds. We also mulch because of so many rocks (can’t plow rocks).
Tips or tricks?
Danny digs a 1-foot-by-2-foot hole and puts dried cow patties in the bottom and then adds the plants. I cheat because I don’t like to dig! Ha!
Tales from the garden?
Here’s an interesting story: I don’t remember what year it was, but I went to the garden and saw where the dog had been digging in this one spot. I saw an unusual-looking root I hadn’t seen before sticking straight up out of the smooth dirt. I had Danny come out and look. He was curious too. He started digging and pulled out an armadillo that had been completely upside down. The “root” was his tail. Danny threw him out of the garden, thinking he was dead. He wasn’t! He started moving! That’s the only “root” we’ve found!