Carter’s Garden Blog

Praying Mantises are AWESOME Beneficial Insects! | Carters Nursery, Pond & Patio | Jackson, Tennessee

Every year around late Summer to early Fall they move in close to the house. I see them all over now … LOTS of Praying Mantis… They are such interesting insects! They are Hunter/Predators and a good omen in and around your home. In fact, I learned from my Grandma Kathleen to bring a few of them in with the plants before frost in the Fall and they will keep the insects down inside your house… I saw this one on the wall by my front door & took this short video.

This one is around 6-7” long. Pretty good size, but there are much larger ones around here.

Remember that Praying Mantis are beneficial insects & wont harm us. They are fun to watch too. They can remain completely motionless for a long while… Maybe forever😊 So don’t think your gonna win a staring contest with these bad boys 😂 I’ve learned that there are a Lot of interesting things to enjoy all around us, we just have to slow down and look around…

Happy Pondering,

Mark Carter
Carter’s Nursery, Pond & Patio
2846 Old Medina Rd.
Jackson, TN 38305
Ph# 731-424-2206

Friday Radio Report | Carters Nursery, Pond & Patio | Jackson, Tennessee (TN)

Great show today with Dan Reaves & Sea Bass – the ‘180 Crew’! 1 word – FUN! Today was a laugh riot! 🙂 Best callers of ANY show around!

The segment started with 2 special guests from USJ – Head Master Stew Hirstein & Senior Student Bailey Norris. They were talking about all the great stuff happening at USJ. Leadership for the future, Strategic planning, Remodeling to update everything to “State of the Art” status! The future looks bright at USJ (University School of Jackson)!

The athletic program at University School of Jackson is a member of TSSAA’s Division II, one of the strongest in the state of Tennessee. USJ’s Middle and Upper Schools currently field 37 teams in 13 different sports. USJ has won State Championships in girls’ soccer, girls’ softball, boys’ baseball, and boys’ tennis. Each year, USJ teams are well represented in regional and state tournament play. Our sports complex and athletic facilities are among the finest in the state.

After their interview we got into some great calls and texts!

Stay Cool with Container Water Gardens! | Carters Nursery, Pond & Patio | Jackson, Tennessee.

  • Next Saturday is our last Summer Seminar of the season. Well, it’s all about staying Cool on a HOT Summer Day… AND – “Container Water Gardening is Cool on the Hottest Day! “Everyone wants a Water Garden”! Many are choosing a Container Water Feature for their home. These are easy to create, Very inexpensive and will fit in most any area. A Container Water Garden will Transform any outdoor space, a patio, deck AND even a room inside of the house with the sound of water! We will look at several different types of Aquatic Containers that you can use, LOTS of beautiful Aquatic Plants, Fountains and even small fish that you can keep in your Container Water Garden.AND we will put one together so you can see how easily it’s done!
    When: Saturday, August 18th. from 9am. till 11pm.
    Where: Carters Nursery, Pond & Patio 2846 Old Medina Rd. Jackson, Tn. 38305
    Please call to register. This class is FREE! Feel free to bring a friend. For more information or to register call Jo or Sandra @ 731-424-2206 or e-mail at . 
  • Yes, it is HOT right now, BUT, it’s about time to start sowing late season veggies like (Carrots, Cauliflower, Lettuce, several greens,etc. AND it’s almost time to start seeding late season Fescue in our lawns.
  • Can I trim my Crepe Myrtles? You can limb them up or lightly trim, but don’t do any major surgery right now.
  • Can I fertilize my shrubs? Be careful! Fall is right around the corner. Any new growth we stimulate needs adequate time to fully harden off before frost and freeze.
  • Whats good for green water in a Koi Pond. I try to stay organic… Beneficial bacteria and enzymes help. Getting the right balance of plants and fish is a game changer too! It’s ALL about balance, filtration & aeration!

I’ve got a busy afternoon ahead of me! Followed by a beautiful Weekend! I hope you all have a great one! 🙂

Happy Pondering!


I’m on with the 180 Crew – Dan Reaves & Sea Bass- every Friday from 9-11am Call in with ALL your gardening and Outdoor Lifestyle questions at 731-423-8101.
OR you can TEXT us at 731-277-5155. Listen LIVE at 101.5 WNWS – FM Talk Radio – on your smart phone using your TuneIn app.!


Mark Carter
Carter’s Nursery, Pond & Patio
2846 Old Medina Rd.
Jackson, Tn. 38305
Ph# 731-424-2206

Attracting Birds and Butterflies to your Garden

Ornamental Gardening and ‘Backyard Living’ are at an all time high in popularity. It seems that everyone wants to get ‘outside’ and enjoy the simpler pleasures. Nothing is better to me than sitting in my backyard by my water garden and watching the birds and butterflies at play. Many different types of birds visit my garden on any given day and in the summertime the butterflies abound! They eat, play, nest and bathe… and in the process my family and I get to enjoy the gifts of nature.

Zebra Swallowtail nectaring on Milkweed.

Zebra Swallowtail nectaring on Milkweed.

Living and Working with Mother Nature

Like ALL living things, these beneficial creatures need certain basic things to live and prosper. This basic list is simple – food, water, shelter & places to raise young.

If you provide these things, you will see your new friends moving in almost overnight.

I want to walk you through a few simple things that you can do right away to increase the number of birds and butterflies in your landscape.

– Plant some native Trees, Shrubs and Flowers. Using the right plants will provide places for shelter, nesting and food & will add beauty to your landscape! The great thing is, many of the plants that shelter and feed the birds and butterflies are native plants. Most of these natives are long lived, drought hardy and insect and disease resistant.

  Here are a few Low Maintenance Plant ideas for your landscape that the Birds and Butterflies will LOVE :

Washington Hawthorn
Staghorn Sumac
E. Red Cedar
Flowering Dogwood
Bald Cyprus
Perennials and Shrubs
Jo Pye Weed
Butterfly Bush
Butterfly Milkweed
Bee Balm
English Lavender
American Holly

– Put in a Water Feature. Water is the ‘Stuff of Life’! We must ALL have water to live. Your water feature can be as simple as a bird bath or as large as a custom Pondless Waterfall, Water Garden or Rainwater Harvesting Feature. The main thing to remember is birds like shallow water for bathing and drinking (2″ to 4″). Think about your overall Landscape Design and get some water in the mix!

Your kids will really engage with a Water Garden.

Your kids will really engage with a Water Garden.

– Put up some Feeders. Putting up a few feeders will almost immediately draw in some new visitors. Platform feeder are great for black oil sunflower seeds, fruit, bread, nuts and more. Tube feeders and socks are great for Black Thistle ( A Finches Favorite). A large hopper type feeder is great for general feeding and can be filled every few days with an inexpensive song bird mix. Suet feeders are great and you can hang or mount them almost anywhere. AND don’t forget the Hummingbirds! In the Spring and Summer season I have 6 Hummingbird feeders going constantly. I have to fill them everyday ! There are even Butterfly feeders that you can put nectar and fresh fruit in to attract and feed butterflies.
Spread your feeders out a bit around your outdoor living/viewing area. It will give you multiple viewing opportunities and it will give the birds a bit of room to move around. I have over a dozen feeders up at any given time and I just LOVE them!

– Put up some Bird and Butterfly Houses. Some birds require housing to get their attention! Bluebirds and Martins are at the top of the list. Not only do these birds require housing, they are real particular on the placement, color and construction of these houses.

– Martins like to be on a high pole ( 10′ to 20′ high ) in an open area, with no high trees within 40′ to 60′ from the their house! They like their houses painted White too!

– Bluebirds like to be 4′ to 5′ above the ground with a 1 ½” hole for a door! They also like open areas within view of their perch for easy hunting and feeding.

If you get it right, you will be blessed with some AWESOME birds that will eat their weight in insects and will thrill you daily with their beauty and grace.
 And don’t’ forget the Butterflies! A butterfly house makes for a great conversation piece and is a really unique addition to your garden.

– Think Green !

Want to help your environment and make your little critters healthier and happier? Think Organic! Pesticides and other garden chemicals are VERY harmful to Birds and Beneficial Insects! It’s not easy being green, BUT it’s not that hard either. Try to use some organic alternatives like Neem Oil, Insecticidal Soap, Dormant Oil and Non-Chemical fertilizers. You will notice a difference in the quality of your garden AND in the quality of your life! I guarantee it!

You Can Do It !

Enjoying the abundance of nature is Awesome and it’s not all that difficult! In fact, if you do some of these things you will see an immediate increase in the number of birds, Butterflies and beneficial insects in your landscape. These beneficial creatures will make your flowers more beautiful, your vegetables more productive and your Life more Abundant !

Here’s to the ‘Life Abundant’ !

Mark Carter