Native plants have evolved in a region with adaptations to the geology, climate, soil, wildlife, and the other plants. Therefore, a key to successful ornamental gardening would be to include a high percentage of native trees, shrubs and perennials. Tammy Algood discusses the attributes of natives with Margie Hunter, author of 'Gardening with Native Plants of Tennessee: The Spirit of Place'.
There are parks full of Chinese privet and bush honeysuckle. But not so long ago, gardeners bought these plants at garden centers assuming they would be good for the home landscape. Now they are deemed invasive, and harmful to the ecology. As gardeners, we want to be good stewards of the land, but what does that entail? How much should it limit plant choices? Must we only plant natives?
Marty DeHart tours Rally Farms, the first Nashville-based urban hydroponic farm utilizing a recycled insulated shipping container to grow produce hydroponically. Their specialties are culinary herbs and leafy greens. That includes lettuce in both mini and full-head varieties, arugula, mustard greens, and kale.
Environmentally conscientious gardeners should strive to grow a range of late-flowering nectar plants to provide insects with energy to migrate, or build them up for winter hibernation. Rita Venable, author of Butterflies of Tennessee, joins Marty DeHart to discuss top-performers such as goldenrod and New England aster.
Julie Berbiglia tours a new community garden on the grounds of St. John AME Church in Nashville TN. The church was working toward creating a commercial kitchen, but circumstances changed. In 2020, a tornado took out the church building, and then 2 weeks later the COVID protocols were established. Partnerships were formed, the plan pivoted in scope, and now the community has an inspiring and bountiful garden. All those in the neighborhood are invited to participate in its plantings and harvest.
Tammy Algood visits the community garden near downtown Nashville known as Farm in the City. Established in 2010 by Metro Development and Housing Agency, it offers more than 50 raised beds that are open to residents of the J. Henry Hale Apartments as well as the greater community. While this spot didn't start with good soil, there is a concentrated effort to build good soil which supports a food forest and orchard.