- [Narrator] Tammy Algood sees what it means to have it made in the shade, in this peaceful pretty plant filled backyard. Julie Berbiglia discovers ways a homeowner can contribute toward a healthy watershed, by the choices made in lawn care. And Jeff Poppen demonstrates how to propagate new shrubs, from established ones. Come along. shapes, textures, and foliage colors play an important role in a shade garden. - I am in heaven, hosta heaven, Fern heaven Donna Priester heaven. Hello, Donna. I'm so glad you're here with us today, for Volunteer Gardener. And this backyard is a masterpiece. - Oh thank you, Tammy. Welcome, so glad to have you here. - I wanna know how all of this got started, because the work in this is huge. - [Donna] Well, this is a actually still a work in progress, but we started about 18 years ago. And the centerpiece of course to the garden is a huge magnificent chinkapin oak tree, that provides shade to the entire backyard. So we decided, we'll have to go with shade loving plants, shade tolerant plants, and companion plants, that would do well back here in the environment. But we had a slopy area toward the rear and as it would rain sometimes, dirt and erosion would just keep flowing down into the creek. So we decided we wanted to contain that dirt. And so the garden actually began, with a rock wall, that was built into the side of that slope, to provide control for all of that during the heavy rain season. - [Tammy] I love it. - [Donna] And the rocks were kind of hard and didn't look so pretty. Although I love rocks, as you can see. But we decided to put plants in there to soften it up, and to go with a natural setting back here. And hostas of course are plants that thrive and do really well in shade. So that was our plan of choice, to plant between the rocks down there, to sort of soften up, that rock wall that my husband had constructed. - [Tammy] And now you've got quite the... I mean, you've had the favor Donna. - [Donna] Absolutely, absolutely. - [Tammy] And not just hostas, but you've got all kinds of shade loving plants, back here that are thriving. - [Donna] Well, you really do because when you have shade, you're sort of limited in a way as to the flowering capacity of your plants. So what we go for, for interest and for exquisite beauty, is texture, the variation in color of green, never would have imagined there are so many different varieties and shades of just one single color. - [Tammy] Right. - [Donna] Also we found that firms. There's a lot of variety in that. And when you really start looking, and focusing on how you can change the setting, or even the lightness and darkness, in a certain area of your garden, with just the color of the foliage. - [Tammy] Right. - [Donna] We do plant just a few little annuals most of the time, just for a splash of color. Because everybody likes brightness. - [Tammy] Correct. - [Donna] But the texture and the color of the foliage, is what we go for back here in this scars. - [Tammy] So let's start with our ferns, because they obviously are thiving well here, and your maiden hair ferns are beautiful. - [Donna] Oh, thank you. Those are actually my favorite. I love the maiden hairs because, they're so wispy, and light, and a lot of movement and motion in the wind. I love those maiden hairs. Had the five fingers southern maiden hair, that I planted first. And I've heard from other people they're not the easiest plant to grow, but we've had great success with those back here. So I have stands of those in various places. And then a couple of years ago, I discovered this plant which is a Southern a maiden hair variety, but it's called Himalayan. And it grows close to the ground, and it has done well back here too. Sometimes will even remain evergreen in the winter. When all the other ferns have completely died back. - [Tammy] And you've got one other that I truly could not walk past, the ghost fern. - [Donna] Oh my goodness. That is a variety of the Japanese painted fern. And it has a very light, almost frosted look, to the leaf. And that's why they call it the ghost fern. It's very pretty, and because of the lightness, that is in the front, it also plays off light. - [Tammy] Right. - [Donna] And adds a color variation in the garden. We love those. We have a few varieties of the Japanese painted, and one of them actually is the crested which tats out at the end of the front, and that's very interesting, and pretty to look at. - [Tammy] And for a completely different look, you've got lots of Solomon's seal. - [Donna] Lots of Solomon's seal. - [Tammy] So tell me about how that kind of guts started. - Well most people are very familiar with the Solomon seal. That's the kind of average height, maybe a two foot height, and it's very gated. I love the little teardrop bloom, that comes on it in the spring. But what I really like, is that it holds its beauty the whole season, even in our Southern heat. And then in the fall, you actually get a golden fall color to your leaf. And so it was really a plant of choice for us, a great companion to hostas and ferns. Then I found out, there are several varieties to the Solomon's seal. Took me a long time to even come to that knowledge. But once I did, I had to buy like four other varieties of Solomon's seal. I have a tiny, tiny dwarf, and that one is very successful and healthy back here in the garden. I've gotten one that is from China. - [Tammy] Wonderful. - [Donna] They all have a similar bloom pattern in the spring, but the leaves are shaped completely different. And all the other varieties are a solid green color. And none of the rest are variated. - [Tammy] And speaking of spring blooms, you're Lilly of the valley. - [Donna] Oh my goodness. That Lily of the Valley. All of a sudden people love that Lily of the Valley. - [Tammy] It's just sweet, isn't it? - It really is. But what I love about it is the only plant, that I brought from my home in Michigan. And of course, everybody that has any in their yard knows, it readily spreads too. So it's really pretty, I love that little tiny bloom. It's very fragrant, and we cut off those little blooms, and take them in the house and add them to mixed bouquets. So I really love my Lily of the Valley - And you know, I'll tell you, I think that everybody on the planet needs to steal your husband. - [Donna] Oh my goodness. He's amazing. - [Tammy] The fence that he made is so spectacular. That is just from twigs. - [Donna] It is wonderful. My husband is one of the most creative people that I know. He really is. - [Tammy] I know, I believe you. - [Donna] You can just look around this garden, every stone, every paver, every rock you see, he hand put in place. And there's a lot of them. He just decided maybe two years ago, two seasons ago, we were looking actually at a presentation on Nashville Public Television. And it was over in England, and they showed a country garden, and a farmer. And this gentleman had a fence that was made completely out of branches and twigs. And my husband said, "That is awesome, I bet I can make that." And so I'm like, "Yeah, I bet you could too." And he actually did. He took branches as they self pruned off all these trees back here, and he would take the branches as they would fall sometimes, go across the creek, on the other side of our property and pick up branches from over there. The young branches are much more pliable, so they're much easier to construct that fence because it's kind of woven in and out. But he has constructed that fence that has natural motion to it. As you walk back to the rear of the property, I absolutely love it. - [Tammy] And this hosta in this pot... - [Donna] Oh my goodness. - [Tammy] Is spectacular. - [Donna] That is the star of the show. That is a Krossa Regal. Krossa Regal is a tried and true hosta, kind of an old standard hosta been around for a long, long time. We planted that Krossa a Regal in the pot about five years ago. And last year, for some reason, it just exploded in size. This year, it's even a little bit bigger than it was last year. And so I think of all my potted varieties, that's my favorite. - [Tammy] Well, and one that truly caught my eye, was your yellow hosta. That is the sunlover. - [Donna] Oh, yeah. That Sun Power. And Sun Power can take more sun, than most other hostas. Most of your hostas are referred to as shade tolerant. They can take a little bit of morning sun, will be fine for most of them, but they don't like to be in a hot afternoon or evening sun. - [Tammy] Neither do I. - I don't either. That particular hosta, is also shade tolerant, but can take a little bit more sun. It's a limey green color if it's planted in shade, but if you give it more sun than usual, it just turns this bright, bright, lemony, yellow. Beautiful. - It's stunning because you just don't expect to see a hosta with that shading. And Donna, you've named your garden, and I love the name of your garden. Tell us about your garden name. - [Donna] As a member of one of the gardening clubs, I was gonna have my garden on tour one year. And they told me, "You have to give your garden a name." And up to that point, I had not even considered doing that. So I said, "Well, what can I name it?" And then all of a sudden, it just came to me. What this garden is all about. And we named the garden Third Day, as a scriptural reference to Genesis 1:11-13. And if you read that, you'll know exactly why we named this garden Third Day. - [Tammy] And it's perfect for this garden. It's beautiful. You are such a good resource person. So people could look at your garden and go, "Oh my goodness, that would cost me way too much money." But what you've done is you've used what you had. And you've recycled plants, and materials to make it as beautiful as it is. And one of the best recycled things that you got is your yucca. - [Donna] Oh my goodness, that yucca. there are several of them throughout the yard. And that's kind of a contrast to the hostas and all the shade tolerant plants, because yuccas by and large, are desert or sun loving plants. Full sun, all day sun. And we have these plants that have been here now for maybe 10 years, we rescued them from a building that they were tearing down, that I remember from my childhood. These plants are older than I am. I remember them as a little girl, and I would be fascinated with the bloom stock. So when they tore that building down, and they were getting ready to dispose of those plants, my husband and I rescued them, brought them to our property, and now we have shared them with friends and relatives, across the United States actually. - [Tammy] I truly want to just plop myself, in the middle of your garden. Although I don't think I would stay there long, because something would catch my eye... - [Donna] There's always something more to see. - [Tammy] You have truly made this an Oasis, for all kinds of shade loving plants, and for friends that want to come and enjoy the shade. Who doesn't like the shade? - Absolutely. It's so much cooler back here, and it is peaceful. - [Tammy] Yes. - [Donna] It's peaceful. We see something new every day, and we look at each other, and we just laugh because, each day we come out and we see that a plant has changed, or something that wasn't blooming yesterday, is blooming today. And so it's just an adventure, and we are just thrilled and amazed every day, at the miraculous beauty that God has blessed us with back here. - [Tammy] And the Third Day is beautiful. - [Donna] The Third Day. - [Tammy] Donna, thank you for being our guest, and for inviting us into this beautiful castle of a garden. - [Donna] Oh my goodness, thank you - [Tammy] It is lovely. And we have loved being here with you today. - [Donna] Oh, thank you, Tammy. I enjoyed having you. Come back. - [Tammy] I will. - [Donna] All right. - You know, that wonderful space right outside your door. Well, maybe one thing you haven't thought about, is how it is directly connected to one of our wonderful creeks and rivers in Tennessee. And today we're going to talk about how what you do, affects not just what you see outside, but all of our fun, and the whole environment in fact. So we're going to talk to Ryan Jackwood from the Harpeth Conservancy, about something near and dear to your heart, right? - Absolutely. So really the river is kind of connected through what we call a watershed. And the watershed is going to be all the land, that actually when it rains, that water drains to our river. And so how we take care of our land, our yards, is really going to impact the water quality that we see in our rivers, because all of that wash out is eventually going to get there. - Aha those storm drains, those ditches. Yes, yes. Now it all starts to make a lot of sense. Well, let's think about that because, you know we've all seen a lot about your typical lawn maintenance, which involves a lot of chemicals. Is that really necessary? - No, we really try to discourage using fertilizer. Fertilizer contains what we would consider NPK, and that's nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. And yes, those are the kind of building blocks of plant life. But when they're not used up on the land, they make it to our river. And that's where we see excess algae growing. And we can get a lot of problems in our rivers. In addition to that, most of the soils in middle Tennessee are already inundated with phosphorous. And so when you're adding more fertilizer to that, you're just adding excess that's kind of being useless. So we really kind of discourage using fertilizer, and we also really encouraged soil tests on your lawn. Because that's really gonna... That's gonna help you develop a diet for your lawn. And that makes it much healthier than just throwing a bunch of fertilizer out there and hoping for the best. I think we also really kind of want to change the mindset a little bit about having this like very uniform, green lawn, that is one species of grass, and nothing else is growing there. And it's okay to have a little diversity, and to have some native plants and stuff. And so instead of worrying about a herbicide, that's, you know, you're targeting trying to kill those things, you know maybe it's okay to let some of them grow. - All right. So what are some of the benefits of letting my yard go a little bit wild? I mean, I still want it sort of green. If I let it go a little wild? - Diversity is one of the things that we really preach in kind of having a natural habitat. And so having different types of plants, and different species of plants, really kind of, they make the soil healthier, they make the whole kind of, we could call it your yard environment. You know, it's going to make those things a lot healthier, and provide plants and flowers for pollinators and bees. And that's going to help, you know, with the insect life, and with just the environment in general. - Well, it sounds like a real change in mindset here. - It can be. Small steps and you know maybe it's just a little landscaping thing, or maybe it's just, you know, a little thing that you have in front of your yard that it's, you know we add some diversity to, but it can certainly be a good thing. - Well, you know, sometimes in the spring I look at my yard, and I see all these beautiful Violet's, and the yellow, and other colors, and I go up and realize there are Danny Lyons and other things, and it sort of makes me happy though. - Absolutely, yeah. It's nice that those things, oftentimes will just come in naturally. - What about other plants that I choose, are they're really great plants that I can choose for being, especially if I'm near a river or something? - We really would encourage native grasses, particularly native grass that is kind of on the buffer between your yard and maybe you live next to a river. They do really great at basically picking up any excess nutrients that we want to maybe prevent from getting into our water, since they grow really fast. So that will be some of them. I think there's a lot of woody vegetation that would also work well, that would you know. And we just kind of really, our big thing is trying to stay native as best as we can. - All right, so native plants make a lot of sense. I imagine you don't want anything really invasive in there. So one other thing that I have noticed is, this right here with all this erosion, going down into the river, this looks like a problem to me. - Yeah, so this would be one of the things that we see erosion and all over the place. And we would really want to keep more of a buffer here. And if you notice, you know, we see some trees around here, and we like to say, like to think that we at least want three trees in width from the river as a good kind of buffer, and way to kind of prevent the soil from falling into the river, and flowing downstream, and getting spots like this. - Wow, well I have heard that our soil sediment is the biggest pollutant in our rivers. - It's one of the biggest, absolutely. I think nutrients are up there as well. Nutrients and bacteria, but certainly sediment. And one of the reasons that, is those three are kind of tied together because both nutrients and bacteria are attached to sediment. So when we lose sediment oftentimes we're losing those things too into the river. - Yeah, it's all stuff to be aware of. Now for my neighbors that like to really mow a lot, 'cause probably 'cause they're fertilizing a lot. So they're mowing a lot. And so it drives me crazy, when they blow all their grass clippings and leaves, into the road. - Yes, we would really encourage that you can actually leave the grass clippings on your yard after you mow. And it acts as kind of like a natural fertilizer. They'll break down, they'll get back into the soil, so you're kind of recycling the nutrients that you already have on your yard. And that's really great. Blowing it into the road is then gonna, it's gonna wash down to the road, into a storm drain, and then show up in the river, and then, that's really not great either for river health and wildlife. - Other things that homeowners do. Let me see here. Oh, working on their cars, really close to a storm drain. I think I'm getting the feeling here that none of this is going to go well. - Yeah, I mean, we obviously would want to try to prevent as much pollution going into the storm drains as we can. I mean, those essentially can go right to the river, and so, you know, if you're using chemicals on your car, you know, a lot of that soap, we don't want to see, you know soap will oftentimes has phosphorus in it. And so that phosphorus is one of the nutrients that's getting into our rivers and causing problems. So, you know, if you've got to wash your car, maybe no phosphate soaps, might be the way to go, but yeah, that can be problematic as well. - So in terms of taking care of a lawn, now, I personally just don't like to mow very much, but I know some people like to mow a lot. So do you have any sort of really good tips for people that maybe want to be a little more natural? - If we're talking about soil health. In general, the more we let a plant grow, it's going to put down roots further. And so if we let the grass grow maybe an extra week, we can have then our typical kind of mowing cycle, the root structure is going to be a lot better in your yard and for the grass. And so that's going to help the soils be hardier, be healthier, and really kind of be more stable. - Well, Ryan, this has been most informative. I'm happy to know that being a little lazy with the lawn is going to help the river here. So thank you so much for joining me. - [Ryan] Thank you so much for having me. - [Julie] So I want you to think about enjoying your wonderful rivers, that we have here in Tennessee. And as you're thinking about where you might go on a river adventure, I want you to remember, that the health of that river, starts with you, and with your front yard, and everything that you do. - As the weather warms in spring, to the sound of the birds and the bees, gardeners can warm up to their work. It's still too early to plant vegetables, but we can propagate berries. The first thing we do, is we get the beds ready for where we're going to plant them. We've composted this field, and plowed it. And this is where the new raspberry patch is going to be. And we're going to grow vegetables, around the raspberries to keep the grass, and stuff like that out. The berries are propagated, different ways. Blackberries, and black cap raspberries, are what we call tip layers. A Blackberry plant, will grow up out of the ground and make a long cane. The cane will then fall back to the ground, and reroute. That's a new plant. We can take pruning sheers, and prune it off. We'll clip the Berry off right there, and then dig up the plant. See how the new little shoot is ready? That little shoot there, will grow up, and make another Blackberry plant. Red raspberries on the other hand, are propagated from suckers. Let's go down and dig some. This raspberry patch has been here for several years, and raspberries come up from their roots. They tend to get overcrowded. So every now and then, we go in, and we thin them out a little bit and get plants to start our new raspberry patches. All we need to be careful for is not to break off our new shoot. We want to have a good shoot, and some roots. I'm gonna prune them a little bit before I plant them. And I like to prune the roots, make it a nice clean cut. We want to get him on the ground as soon as possible, 'cause the plant out of the soil, is like a fish out of water. We don't want these roots to dry out anymore than the necessary, just to get them from the field, into the ground. So I'm going to put them here in the shade, we're going to plant these all right away. Raspberries come in and ever bearing type, and a spring bearing type. We have had trouble with the spring bearing types, because of the Japanese beetles. So we grow heritage, which is an ever bearing type. It can be moaned down in the winter, it'll send up shoots in the spring, but it doesn't make berries until August and September, after the Japanese beetles are gone. Our spring bearing raspberries, were getting demolished by those Japanese beetles. So we're just going to put the plant in the soil here, maybe put a couple of handfuls of some good battling them compost, around the plant. Then we're going to sprinkle some water, pour a little water in it. Put a little dry soil on top, and make sure it's firmed in real good by putting the dry soil on top. It keeps the ground from forming a crust. We never water something without covering it back up. Okay, onto the next one. Blueberries are planted in a very sunny location, that has well-drained soil. We dig a hole, and we set the plant in the hole, at the same depth that it was in the pot. Blueberries are shallow, we don't want to get them too deep, but we don't want to have them up above the soil level either. Then we'll take some compost, and put compost around the roots, and then blueberries getting something that none of our other plantings get. They get sulfur, which is an element that is very acidic. It lowers the soil pH. Unlike lime, which raises the soil pH. Blueberries are like azaleas and rhododendrons, they have to have an acid soil, something around 5.5 pH. So we're going to add about a cup of sulfur, around our newly planted berries. The last thing we do to plant the blueberries, is put some wood chip mulch on them. Wood chips are also acidic, but you'll notice how rotten these wood ships are. I don't use any fresh wood shifts, only ones that are well rotted, and black. Although it's too early in the spring, to do much with our vegetables, we can relieve our spring fever, by working with fruit crops. Planting berries now will give us lots of fruit, not only for the many folks that will come out and enjoy the blueberries, and raspberries, and blackberries, but also we'll have some many happy customers, with the birds and the bees. - [Narrator] For inspiring garden tours, growing tips, and garden projects, visit our website @volunteergardner.org. Or on YouTube at the Volunteer Gardener channel, and like us on Facebook.
April 15, 2021
Season 29 | Episode 13
On this episode of Nashville Public Television's Volunteer Gardener, Tammy Algood tours a backyard shade garden brimming with hosta, ferns and groundcovers. Julie Berbiglia examines the ways a homeowner contributes to the watershed and eventually the waterways. Jeff Poppen demonstrates how to propagate new berry shrubs from established ones.