- [Narrator] This Latin American Ethnobotanical Garden at Vanderbilt University is filled with sages, agaves, exotic plants, and annuals. Julie Berbiglia takes us along on a tour. Jeff Poppen profiles a plant native to South America. The peanut has been important to the American farmer for both a cash crop and for restoring soil health. Tammy Algood has cost conscious and durable structures for the vegetable garden. And Annette Shrader visits a home garden that just may inspire you. Come along. Latin America accounts for about 1/3 of global biological diversity. - Well, we know that Nashville is a very international city but did you know you can come see a Latin American garden right smack in the middle of town? Well, I'm at Vanderbilt University where we have a Latin American studies Ethnobotanical Garden. All right, for those of us that are traveling around and we wanna get to know a little bit more about countries before we go. Plants is a great way. So what kind of countries do you have represented here? - So we represent really from the south-eastern United States all the way down to Paraguay, Uruguay, and Brazil. And so one of the plants that I can tell you about today is this is from Brazil. This is a cassava tree and cassava is one of the most important root crops in the world. In the tropics it's the third most important food staple after rice and corn. So incredibly important. And so the roots of this tree are eaten. This species actually is able to survive here in Nashville in a temperate climate. And so it's not the species that people generally eat of cassava. This species is really inedible but it's very similar to it. And so you would find this in Brazil. - [Julie] Well, this is very familiar to me because it's a beautiful milkweed plant. And what country is it from? - This milkweed plant is native to Mexico. As you can see it also grows very well here and so yeah, people grow these as ornamentals. They grow them to support the Monarch migration. We also have a number of other ornamental plants here in the garden. This species of beautyberry is native to Mexico, grows all the way down to Bolivia, but it's very similar to the one that we have in the Southeast that people grow in their gardens. - So this has the most beautiful leaves. Tell me all about it. - So this is known, this plant is native to Mexico and Central America and it's called yerba santa in those regions. And it contains safrole which you may know is the active ingredient in the Sassafras root that was traditionally used to make root beer. We now know that safrole is a carcinogen but it does supply this very peppery, spicy, anise like tastes that's very delicious. - [Julie] Well, so I noticed a bit of beautiful purple flowering too. - Yes, this is the Mexican petunia and I see this. It grows along the roadside in Mexico in the Yucatan but it also grows here. People use it as an ornamental in their gardens because it grows very well. This is a sterile form. It can become invasive. So that's something to be careful with. - Oh, always a good idea. Now also it looks like you've got hibiscus. - [Avery] Yes, this is the sleeping hibiscus and it has medicinal purposes as well but it has beautiful red flowers. And you will find these in gardens throughout the Southeast of the United States. - [Julie] Well, once again Avery I'm finding a plant that I grow at my house. These beautiful Four O'Clocks. - Yes, Four O'Clocks are native to Peru. So this is one of the plants that we have in the garden that shows the diversity of our Latin American program. And we have a lot of depth in Peru at Vanderbilt. And so the Four O'Clocks are native to Peru which I think many of us don't know. - Had no idea and right next to it I'm seeing leaves from the passion vine. - [Avery] Yes, this is the passionflower. Belongs to the genus Passiflora, our state wildflower. This is a different species. So this is known as the blue passionflower. Unfortunately its fruits are not as tasty as the fruit, as the Maypop fruits which are produced by the passionflower that's native to the Southeast but there is a species that grows in South America. This one is also native to South America that's used in sprout smoothies called Maracuya that's very delicious. - Yum, sounds great. Well, and now we're entering a beautiful sage world. - Yes, so this is our sage section. We have a number of different plants. This is the Hot Lips sage. That's native to Mexico and grows really well as an ornamental here in the Southeast. This is hummingbird sage which you might be familiar with. - [Julie] I see hummingbirds at it at my yard all the time. - [Avery] And that's wonderful. So this plant is native to Paraguay and Uruguay. So Southern South America. This is the blue anise sage which is native to Mexico and is also grown as an ornamental in the Southeast as well as in the Southwestern part of the United States. - [Julie] Avery, meet another favorite of mine. Pineapple sage. - [Avery] Pineapple sage. Yes, the leaves smell delicious. It has beautiful red flowers. Unfortunately this one is not in bloom right now. This plant is native to the highlands of Guatemala and Mexico. And finally we have the Mexican bush sage. So this grows wild in the deserts of Northern Mexico and has a number of uses as well. - [Julie] Well, I'm feeling very, very Latin American with my garden now. Okay, well this wins for the scariest, most amazing plant I've seen. - [Avery] Yeah, so this is one of my favorite plants precisely that it looks like some sort of prehistoric thing. It's got spikes on the top and on the bottom of the leaves as you can see here and all throughout its stem. So this plant is the lulo or naranjilla and it is native to Columbia and Ecuador. In fact, the species it's scientific name is Solanum quitoense and so that tells you that its native to the Quito region of Ecuador in that general region of South America. So the fruits as you can see right here, hard little citrusy fruits that when they're mature will be orange colored and they're very delicious. They're used in jams, and jellies, to make liquid-liquor beverages, and so on. - [Julie] These are one of my favorite things to see and you don't really see them enough. They're so beautiful. - [Avery] They are so beautiful and they grow so well here in Tennessee. So this of course is amaranth. It's an incredibly nutritious plant. It's a pseudocereal and so you can eat the grains. It's very similar in many ways to quinoa. Its got a very high protein content. The leaves also are very healthy for you. And this plant was very important in the Aztec culture. So it was collected from the different states throughout the Aztec empire along with beans, corn, and chia as tribute item. - [Julie] Well, one of the things I love to eat is cactus. - [Avery] Yeah, cactus is delicious. So this is our thornless prickly pear. The pads can be eaten. Generally they're cut into strips and they might be marinated or they might be cooked. They're very delicious and very good for you. The fruit of the prickly pear cactus can also eaten. - Also is this wonderful plant easy to grow? - Yes, this one is pretty easy to grow here. It's native to Northern Mexico. And so does very well in the Southeast of the United States. - [Julie] All of these plants look so wonderful and clearly they're things that grow well in our climate. So for all of us that wanna know more about Latin American plants, how can we use you as a resource? - [Avery] We believe that the garden is actually the perfect example of how Latin America can be taught across different disciplines, different subjects of school. And so we do professional development workshops for local educators and we actually have people come from around the country. So if you're interested please reach out to us on our website. The Center for Latin American Studies at Vanderbilt University. And we would be happy to set up a tour for you or let you come. We welcome people to come to the garden anytime and have an interactive experience with the plants. - Well, this has been great and this is so inspiring. And you know, I think we all can come out and travel the world a little bit just by walking through a garden. So next time you're near Vanderbilt, stop by. See what you like. - Peanuts were popularized by the great scientist, George Washington Carver. This nitrogen rich legume was first used in crop rotations to heal the worn out cotton land. But soon farmers had a problem. They had a surplus of peanuts. So Dr. Carver set out to find alternative uses for peanuts. In 1921 he went to Congress and won a standing ovation for his peanut presentation which was only supposed to be 15 minutes but lasted for an hour. He knew all farms need legumes in their crop rotations to improve the soil. By finding uses for peanuts, soy, and other legumes. More of these crops were grown and farms and farmers were better off. Peanuts are grown much the way corn is, same season. We plant them about the middle of May. We like to add a little bit of sulfur, not much in the area where we're planting the peanuts to lower the pH down to about six. I used to grow peanuts in this product great but then when I got my soils with the proper amount of lime for most vegetables, I couldn't get the peanuts to sprout until I read about adding a little sulfur that lowers the pH. So we make a furrow in some well composted soil and we just break the peanuts apart and plant them. Oh, I don't know about three or four to a foot or so. And then later on we'll thin them out to about a foot apart. Simply press them in a little bit and then cover them up. And you're good to go. All you gotta do is keep the weeds out and that can be a little tricky because peanuts have a lot of faith as they're growing. And so you do get some weed issues. So peanuts are a crop that loves to be hilled and they're a South American plant and they like many of the old or new world plants. They like to have hill to grow on. The peanut plant sprouts up and wants to flower immediately. It has little yellow flowers right along the branches. After the flower the peanut does a strange thing. It sends off a little shoot. Well then that shoot dives back into the soil and at the end of the shoot is where the peanuts are formed. So the peanut is actually not a root. A lot of people would think they're a root because they grow underground. But the peanut comes from a fertilized flower. So it's actually a true fruit. We've got to keep the soil loose around them so that they can easily get their shoots into the ground. Peanuts are then harvested simply by pulling them out of the ground. And you can just let them sit like that for a few days to dry out. And then we have to go back through and pull the peanuts off just like that right there. And this is when you're truly working for peanuts. The variety that we're growing here is called Red Mammoth. And it was almost extinct. It's a heirloom variety from a long time ago. Almost a hundred years ago since these have been grown in Tennessee, Tennessee Red Mammoth. They're huge peanuts and there's only a couple of them per shell. When this variety was brought back there were only 70 seeds left and somebody had been saving these and they kept them going. It's really important to keep these old heirloom varieties alive. They have some genetics that plant breeders in the future may rely on to make better peanut varieties. Some of Dr Carver's inventions for peanuts included milk, Worcestershire sauce, punches, oils for cooking or salads, paper, cosmetics, soaps, and wood stains. We don't do any of this though. I like them boiled for a few hours in saltwater or roasted for 20 minutes in the oven. They're pretty darn good just eating fresh out of the garden too. We loosen the soil up with a potato fork and then just pull the peanuts out, kind of shake the dirt off a little bit, flip them over. Look at those babies. Mm-mm-mm. Peanuts are harvested towards the end of the summer, late September, early October. And after we get them off of the vine, we have to dry them out a bit. They store real easily in a, just a basket in the, in your house. The problem with storing peanuts is that everybody loves to eat them. These are actually the seeds that we're gonna plant next spring. So don't eat all of your peanuts. These Tennessee red mammoth peanuts are back in production here at Green Door Gourmet in West Nashville. - Garden support is very important. This concrete wire that I use for tomato cages is fantastic for support, but it's not limited to just tomatoes. What I've done is taken that same concrete wire and I've stretched it out in a length that you can see. Runs about 25 feet and this is to support our corn. We all know that we have storms in the summer and once our corn gets up it can blow over very easily. So what I like to do is run this down the middle of my bed which is three feet by 25 feet. And then just anchor this with sticks so that I've got something to tie the corn too if it starts to blow over. This is a great support, it's less than $10, you can find it just about anywhere, and it will last you for decades. I've been using this for about 15 years and it's still just as fine as the day that I bought it. Another great support system that you can utilize in your vegetable garden are these cattle racks. Now this was actually started to help people grow gourds. You know how heavy gourds are by the time you get ready to harvest them. But then somebody figured out, "Hey, this is just as easy to use for me to grow peas, beans, cucumbers, and it makes any kind of trellising plant, it gives it great support." So what I've done is I bought two of these and I've anchored them together. And then I've arched them over into my beds. Now what this does is it gives you a canopy. So the best part about this is that all summer long I can harvest from inside as the plants are growing up. I can harvest from the outside and it keeps the plant up off the ground. That also resist disease pressure by keeping it up off the ground. You've got good air flow through here. So that also cuts down on any kind of fungus or mold problems that you may have with your plants. And it's just so much easier for your harvest. Again, this is gonna cost you about $20 per panel but I've been using this for 20 years and it's perfect. So again, what you want is support. Don't forget about support but then don't forget about yourself either. You wanna make it easy for you to harvest the good things that you're growing. - You know, oftentimes I hear I just can't garden because there's too much shade or I don't have enough time. I can tell you the gardener that lives here, she has a full time job. She comes home, she weeds, she plants, she plans, and I can't wait to talk to her because perhaps some of the energy that she has found in order to do all of this garden maybe we'll get some of that energy. All right, Pat Bevill. I want you to touch my finger. Let me see if there's electricity there. I can't believe all that I've seen. Right here behind us the first thing I saw when I came up your driveway was this wonderful arbor. Tell me about it. - Well, I saw it on the front of a Southern Living magazine and I loved it and I said, "Jimmy, we could do that." So we went to the farm where he hunts and we cut down limbs, trees, cedar, and we've made the arbor when we got home. - You know, and... - It's one of my favorite things. - And this will last forever. This cedar and it won't rot off at the ground. - It's stuck in concrete so. - It's it. Good choice. And you know it's a wonderful entry way. - Thank you. - Into your garden back there but before we ever even stepped into the garden, I see that you've introduced color just with the use of your chairs. - Mm-hmm. - And your containers and this is a great choice of flowers that you put in here. - [Pat] Thank you. - [Annette] What are those? - This is Ms. Muffin and that is just a, these are, this is Diamond Dust. I think it's called Diamond Dust, Diamond Frost and just in . And I don't know the name of that little purple flower but I loved it. - I think it's called Angelonia. - It's sweet. It looks like a little angel. - It certainly does and, you know, as we look into your garden I'm looking at brick pavers or brick, old brick. - Old brick. - Now how did you come across this and what did, who designed this? - Well, a sweet friend of mine gave me a load of bricks. He didn't want them anymore. He had a second lot and he had brick pads all the way through and I thought that was the neatest thing. So he said we could have all we wanted. - [Annette] Well, and, you know, I noticed that you have different surfaces on your pads. So that, that is really good. It creates interest. And as I walk on this path I can't help but look at the spotlight in how you've repurposed something. - Mm-hmm. - Was this originally a bird bath? - No, no, it never was. My, we went to a concrete place out of Corinth, Mississippi MidSouth concrete and they sold this already painted and everything. He gave me that for my birthday. He's really good about giving me things that I like for the yard for my birthday. - [Annette] You know, which is in June. That will hold water so it's shallow. - It's very shallow. So it dries up quickly. But this has been here three years. This has been here three years. - There's lots of different plant materials in here but I'm looking right now to the lady with her basket. That looks to be like an antique statue. - My mother had four of these. They're called the four seasons. The lady over there and the gentleman here with a fruit and there's another lady and another gentleman there. They're the four seasons. And she's had them over 50 years but when she passed away, my sisters did not really want them. So I got to put them in my garden. My mother was quite a gardener and I would go home and she would fill my trunk up every time I went home and you never missed it out of her yard. And she said the best part about gardening was sharing. - That's right. I agree. Well now I know that you've successfully used up one particular type of Hosta in here. The dark green and with the Lemon Lime. - Actually there's three. There's so sweet. - [Annette] Mm-hmm. - And this blooms a dark, dark purple, this Lemon Lime. I like that. It smells like crazy. And I did that. So we'd have blooms all the way down that trail to his shed. - Right, you know, that's a thing about Hosta. I love... - And they multiply so beautiful. - And they also, that bloom then you can find them that are fragrant well. Let me ask you this about tree canopy. Now this year we've had all this excessive rainfall. Do you find that the coverage and the growth has been extreme or is it pretty much as it was last year? - Pretty much like it was last year. We've lost a lot of limbs and twigs in this yard. Every time the wind blows you find trash all over the yard and we just have to deal with that. It's worth having the shed. - [Annette] I like the way you've involved your husband because he does have an artistic eye I see. I see a lot of garden interest that he has added in the garden. The school desk. - [Pat] Right. He likes to go to estate sales and garage sales and he picks up things I will like. I work at a school. So he picked up the school desk. He picked up one of these old chairs. We both like the old chairs but they're kind of nasty looking. So he took the handles off and he painted them bright primary colors. I asked him for several colors and it just adds a lot of color to the yard when nothing else is blooming right now. - As I walk along I did see other plants that I recognized but I'm looking right here. This is a particularly nice, a Hosta right here. What is this. - [Pat] A Wide Brim I think. - [Annette] Wide Brim. Well, it is definitely, you know, it comes up and greets you. - [Pat] Mm-hmm. - [Annette] I notice you have many hummingbird feeders. - [Pat] We do. We love the hummingbirds. We watch them all the time. - [Annette] Well, what type of formula do you feed them? - [Pat] Well, I used to go by what they say in the books, four to one but a friend of mine had hundreds of hummingbirds in her yard and she uses two to one. - [Annette] Two to one? - [Pat] Two to one, so I started doing that and they come in. - Well, I know that there's another nice Hosta that looks as if it could be... - That is one of my favorites back here, Midwest magic. - That is beautiful. - Mm-hmm. - And then directly behind it there's what appears to be a bird bath but I think you can tribe that. What is the ? - [Pat] My son brought me part of a fountain. It has a hole in it so it drains and I bought a square . I turned it upside down and use it as a bench. - [Annette] Is that a concrete planter? - [Pat] Concrete planter. - [Annette] Well, it looks like one piece. - [Pat] Mm-hmm. - I like to be able to walk into this area because I feel like I'm going where no one's ever been before. - It's a secret path. - I know it is but, you know, the first thing I see and that I'm interested in is the color of these Azaleas. And I know that our seasons this year have been messed up. You know, they're a little bit behind. - [Pat] Right. - [Annette] But now this is the typical blooming time for... - [Pat] It is. It's a Gumpo Azalea and it blooms this time every year. 1st of June and both of these are Gumpos. And I like them because they bloom later. - Give me a number of plants that you find that are tried and true in this shaded area. - Well, this tree for one it does beautifully. It's a green laceleaf maple, Japanese maple. And I love it. Ferns do well. All kinds of Hostas as you can see. - [Annette] Yes, what is this? - [Pat] That is a garden orchid. It's fuchsia color. When it blooms it's just a bouquet of blooms. - [Annette] That's the wild orchid. Now this is a Spurrier, isn't it? - [Pat] It is a Spurrier. And sometimes that does real well back here and sometimes it gets moldy but this year it's perfect. - [Annette] Well, that's interesting because we've had more precipitation. - [Pat] I don't know why but... - [Annette] And also I see that you have the spring flowers in here. I see what's left of maybe gray and your daffodils detail in here. - [Pat] These are a little with... - [Annette] Like the English blueberries. - [Pat] Right. - [Annette] And I did see you have aucubas and you have the Annabel Hydrangeas. And clematises do beautifully back here. That thing was loaded this year. And so in your estimation it really doesn't receive anything considered full. - [Pat] No. - [Annette] Only dabbled shade. - [Pat] Right. - So Pat in this acre, the front yard you have multiple things. - I do. - Let's see. You have a sacred garden that's special to you. I know you have a very big specimen of Sum and Substance. - Sum and Substance. You have a biblical garden. - I do. - You have statues and one thing in particular that I noted was a Great Dane. And you have beautiful calla that I've never seen before. - [Pat] Giant white one. - [Annette] So how many daylilies do you have? - [Pat] I have over 800 daylilies, varieties. They're all color, shapes and forms. They come round and ruffled and laid back, rolled back and triangular and all different shapes. So I have quite a collection. I love them. - [Annette] So now we know how Pat conserves her energy. She has a golf cart. It also has headlights on it. So when you see her coming don't get in the way. She's got her tools, she's got headlights. So she can stay out here as long as she has to. Bye Pat. I've had a wonderful visit. Thank you. - [Narrator] For inspiring garden tours, growing tips, and garden projects visit our website at volunteergardener.org or on YouTube at the Volunteer Gardener channel. And like us on Facebook.
May 06, 2021
Season 29 | Episode 15
On this episode of Nashville Public Television's Volunteer Gardener, Julie Berbiglia sees the familiar and the not so familiar in the Latin American garden at Vanderbilt University. Jeff Poppen details how to grow peanuts. Tammy Algood shows off cost-effective and long-lasting plant supports in her vegetable garden. Annette Shrader tours a home garden featuring a hosta and a daylily collection.