- [Lauren] On this "Volunteer Gardner," Matt Kerske takes us along on a backyard renovation project. First up, assess the features and functionality wanted from the space. Then, we join him for a walk through of the yard after the upgrades have been completed. Nice. And Marty DeHart visits with a hellebore hybridizer and marvels at the new traits and colors now available on the market. Plus, Tammy Algood shares a recipe for baked cheese plantains. Join us. Let's see. Smoother walkways, a new deck area for dining, more privacy and pet-friendly, check. - Well, it is another great day in the life of Matt Kerske because I get to walk through another one of my job sites today and talk about some of the issues and challenges that were originally faced. So I'm really excited to talk about some of the areas, so let's get going. So at this particular landscape project we have another situation where the backyard is sloped. That presents a unique challenge for the family that lives here because they're a young family with children and in strollers. And so the solution to try and mitigate these problems with trying to get a lawn mower from the back to the front yard and children and strollers is we're trying to take out all the steps that we have in this backyard walkway. And to do that, we got a, it's kinda demo day and what we were left with to start this project we're kind of reclaimed face bricks that were used on the property for this walkway years ago but yet they're starting to pit, they take on moisture and just it was never really a good product for this type of walkway. So we're gonna go ahead. We've demoed all these bricks and gotten it back down to the base. We're gonna relay a new base of crushed stone and re-lay a type of a brick that is a brick paver that is much more better suited for walkway and moisture to where we don't run into the pitting and cracking. We're gonna be removing the six by six timber steps and we're going to make this nice walkway flush and even with this existing deck surface. We're gonna take out this six by six timber, replace it with a five quarter deck board which is what you see here so that family has a nice, smooth transition. We gonna lay out our string lines and really make sure that we get a nice, smooth walkway going up for them and they don't have any more problems with steps. So with this particular back area the homeowners looking to kind of expand and enhance the whole walkway to the back gate. We have an existing limestone gravel which is good and practical and utilitarian but we're kinda gonna try to up the look of it, maybe enhance this walkway and to do that we're gonna be utilizing these porcelain paver tiles, two foot by two foot from a company called Belgard are really a great product that tends to put a nice finish on walkways and patio surfaces. So what we're gonna do we're gonna remove this limestone gravel here. We're gonna do that nice prep work that I like to talk about going four inches deep with compacted crushed limestone. We're gonna do a little wet mortar finish to kind of sink these tiles right in places so that they never shift and then place the next tile with a three inch joint and then come back in and fill in these joints with what's called a decomposed granite which is a really good product to be using for joints or just patios or walkways themselves. It's kind of a cheaper alternative but we're kinda mixing kind of the cheap and the high end finishes to really create a really lasting high-end type finish for this walkway. I'm really excited to see how it's gonna turn out. So another element that we're gonna be installing here at the property is a large deck and privacy screening area. And you don't see with a lot of these narrow lot line type homes privacy really kind of becomes an issue and that's understandable. And so homeowners look to do everything from evergreen plantings and screenings or decks and fencing and privacy screens. And for this particular project we're gonna be expanding out onto this deck at the same level, maintaining that flush grade. And then coming over here and then coming up with a seven by seven foot louvered, really beautiful fence panel that's gonna act as a privacy screening but still kind of open up the semi-privacy angles towards the top of it to kind of give that open feel. And then we're gonna carry on this privacy fence panel all the way down above this six by six timber retaining wall because the other issue that we have going on is because the previous homeowners wanted to flatten out this space that left some good three to four foot retaining walls in here that pretty much changed the grade. And now you have what was a six foot privacy fence turned into a three foot privacy fence. And the current homeowners have dogs that they're really trying to keep within their yard and they're worried about having them jump over. So we're just gonna carry on that privacy fence about four feet tall, running it all the way to the arborvitaes here and terminating it here. Now we'd also made the consideration to continue this row of our arborvitaes getting planted down for that, for the screening, but we were running into problems with the stairs and we were running into the common sense problem of maybe the dog might still run through the arborvitaes and still cause a problem and maybe jump over. So we're gonna go safe and do the four foot privacy screen. So along with the hardscaping and the deck that we have planned for this project, you know, overall this again might be about a three to four week project. The planting plan is gonna be going in at the very end of it all. And that was a another unique solution that we had to find for the homeowner. Whereas they had a young family, a young child and animals that kind of like to chew on things and that's, you know, to be on the safe side we wanted to choose some plantings that were low in toxicity to no toxicity whatsoever. And so we really had to make some choices that were going to be a lot more family and dog friendly. Really excited to see the choices that we came up with. You don't have to sacrifice beauty or form or function. You just have to kind of do some due diligence on your research to come up with a winning formula. So one of the elements of the project that I'm incredibly thrilled about the way everything came out is the use of these two foot by two foot porcelain pavers on the job that we went ahead and filled in the joints with the decomposed granite chip. This type of design technique has really been coming around in the States for the last couple of years. Really excited to use it on a job. Homeowners are incredibly thrilled with the way everything came out. We wanted something that would graze in the blues to kind of pick up some of the paver brick that we used on the job site as well. One of the challenges here was the old walkway was made out of surface bricks that use for building. They were not for paving. So we had to come back in, demo out all those old bricks. They were a tripping hazard. And what you see is beautiful walkway, where we came back in added a nice four inch crushed stone limestone base to all of this, and then went ahead and laid in our paver brick. This particular variety is called courtyard colonial. And then just went ahead and added polymeric sand. in the joints. Ran a nice compactor over everything. This paver walkway is not going anywhere anytime soon, probably even outlast the house which is what we really tried to do when we build our hardscapes. So one of the challenges that this new family had was a stroller for the young one and a lawnmower that they're transferring to and from the back and front yard. So what doesn't work well with those two are steps. So we had to come in eliminate a threshold step right here up to the brick walkway. Made it flush with the deck existing deck surface. And then we added a ramp onto this newly installed beautiful outdoor deck; an entertaining space that we coupled onto the existing deck. We came back in and installed a seven foot louvered privacy screen on to it to really kind of add a little separation from the neighbors. Added a whole ton of square footage space and for dining and relaxing out on the side area here. And then we continued this screening over all the way. You know, different screenings can be made either out of hardscaping fence material or out of natural boundaries. The role of arborvitaes stopped, but we had a little bit of a fear from dogs jumping over that fence. So we just continued on this privacy screening all the way over. Everything turned out great. When you move into a new house there's going to be some things that need to change to suit your family's specific needs. It's true for the outside of the house as well as the inside. In this instance we were able to add quite a bit more deck space for entertaining and enjoying the outdoors. We also were able to add accessibility with the hardscape, add separation from the neighbors and keep the family dog on the right side of the fence. With the right choice of materials and attention to detail in the installation, this outdoor space will be enjoyed for the life of the home. - All right, so you're sitting outside enjoying a wonderful afternoon, having a picnic or just sitting socializing. And you know what? Those pesky bees and wasps are bothering you. I've got a quick tip for you. Just take a fresh lemon, cut it in half. And we're just gonna poke about 10 or so cloves into that lemon. And you know what? The bees, wasps and hornets, they do not like the aroma and they will stay away. - It's a beautiful early spring morning in the woods west of Nashville. And behind me, you can see the spectacular view of thousands of hellebores and that's what we're gonna talk about today. This is really a cool place and you are gonna love what you're seeing. I'm here today with Joe Woodard, who is a hellebore breeder and grower obviously, and is actually known worldwide for the hellebores that he breeds and brings into the world. And Joe, thank you so much for having us here today. It's terrific. - Thanks for coming. - [Marty] There are a lot of hellebores available now but that wasn't always the case. I mean, hellebores had been around for a long time. You people may have grown Linton roses in the past but Linton roses are, and they're still around, yes. - Oh yes. I mean, that's the common name for much of what we see here. - Yes. But in the old days they were just across of two or three species maybe. - For the most part. And then what happened is they take those hybrids and start hybridizing with hybrids and hybridizing with hybrids. - [Marty] So it gets more and more complicated, the genealogy. A lot of people had hellebores that made tons of babies down on the ground or every year around the plant. Now in modern days often you see hellebores that don't make babies is. - Yeah. And it's a huge genus with lots of species. And so some of them you can cross and make babies and then those babies may not be fertile. - [Marty] Okay. It's like a mule. - Like a mule. - Yeah. - Exactly. - Yeah, okay. So basically you can cross them but you can't make babies with them. So if you're have hellebores in your yard and you're not getting any babies, that's why. Let's just walk and look at some of these gorgeous plants and talk about what you're going for with the breeding and what modern breeding has done. For example, in here I'm seeing beautiful double. Look at that. - [Joe] Yeah. Those are called doubles because there's an extra row or multiple rows of what people would think of as petals. And so people love those. - [Marty] I can see why. I'm also seeing the old school hellebores hung their heads, so to speak. You know, I mean, it's a delightful habit that nodding flower habit, and I'm seeing it a lot here but I'm also seeing some that are more upright like this white. It's holding its head up straight at you, it's flower. - Yeah, I mean, part of the intimate thing is you reach down and you lift up. But on the other hand, we wanna see the flower. And so to breed for more outfacing flowers is one of the goals of a lot of people and I also select for that trait. - [Marty] I can see, I can understand that very well. And the variety of colors is amazing. And, not only just colors but patterns. But you've got some that are near black. - [Joe] Yeah, they come in almost every color imaginable. Now some of the colors are not what you might call true. It's hard to create a pure red, for example. - [Marty] Right. They're sort of rosy pinkish- - Exactly. The pigment is like a magenta. - Yeah. - And so, but otherwise it's virtually every color you can imagine; white, yellow, green you know, violet, purple, almost black, as you said. - Yes and as you said, yellow which is something that's a kind of a recent development, am I right? - Yeah, the most yellow you can get has been created actually by a mutation. - Oh. - And then you select and breed with those plants- - Sure. - And you can get it in other colors such as I have whites that turn yellow and I have pinks that turn yellow. - So, oh, I'm just loving. And not only do you have different colors but you have patterns like this pickety where you have the little rim of color around the outside edge of every petal. It's just- - Oh, exactly. I love the patterns. - I do too! - Sometimes there's a central sort of star or a red center. - Oh yeah that's- - That's fun. You lift them up and see what's in there. - [Marty] Isn't that just adorable? I notice a lot of variants in the flower size too. I mean, some of them are quite large and some of them are very diminutive like this little green guy with a low, with his pattern in the middle of the petals, like a little spotty pattern. - Absolutely. And that is actually a hybrid, but it's first generation from a wild plant and they're very, very small. And this is actually larger than the parent size which is probably somewhere a little bit between a quarter and a nickel. - [Marty] Oh my gosh. So these have truly been bred up from what you'd find in the wild. Of course, most of these are being hybrids that make sense. But... I notice a lot of variation in the way the foliage appears also some of it's kind of palm, some of it's highly divided. - For example, here is a typical leave form. - Yeah, that's what you're used to. - If you look at the divisions they're kind of broad. - Yeah. - [Joe] Here's more divisions - [Marty] Oh and that one's splitting, it's like bifurcate or trifurcate. - [Joe] And then this one was the other extreme. - [Marty] Look at that. - [Joe] So you can see just in these three spots, the broad leaf, the intermediate and the very finely divided leaf forms. - Oh wow. So you can find different colors of hellebores with these different leaf forms? - You can. In the wild the leaf forms are, the divided leaf forms are all green or purple but through hybridization you can create any color. - Wow. It's just beautiful. I love the pure whites too. They're just so, so gorgeous. And this one, oh, the little nectaries, the little chartreusey ones in there. That's that little rim right around here, the bees visit those. That's beautiful. This one has a nice low habit too. It's much, it's a lower than a lot of them. Joe, this is a really interesting collection and I know these are all your creations, all your breeding here. Tell me about this group. - [Joe] Well, one thing you can see is there's a great variety in size. They're actually all the same age. And so you can see a dramatic difference in growth- - Wait, whoa. So this one is the same age as this one? - [Joe] Exactly. And you can see a tremendous difference. - Yeah no doubt. - The other difference is this one has pristine leaves in the winter. The leaves actually are produced in fall on this plant and spring so it produces two sets of leaves. And the one below it, you see there's no leaves present. That's because I cut off the old foliage from last spring. - [Marty] One of the things, one of the only knocks against hellebore traditional Linton roses is that the end of the winter, the old foliage looks really tatty. And before it pushes out the new stuff and so you tend to cut that off as it's putting the flowers up. But you're saying this one, this is what made it through the winter. - Absolutely. And it looks perfect. - Wow. No doubt. - So I think that's an interesting feature and it's one that I've breed for. It only comes from one species from Southern Italy and so I've used that one extensively to create these beautiful winter leaves. - [Marty] I would say that's a big advance. - And then the flowers stalks actually push up through the leaves, which creates kind of a dramatic effect. - [Marty] And they're, but they're nicely above the leaf canopy. so they really show. - Yes. - [Marty] Yeah, they're well presented. This is beautiful. Do you have it in, oh, look at that. You can see, it's just starting to set seed. Those are little seed pods forming. That's pretty amazing. Does it come in a variety of colors or is it mostly- - Yes, I have many colors with this trait? I tend to focus on the pastel and lighter colors because the species itself is green. - Oh okay. - And so I don't wanna introduce them red to the green. - Yes, right. 'Cause that would, yeah. - It creates- - Mud, yeah. Yeah, it makes brown flowers. - Not always but sometimes. - [Marty] So, oh, now this doesn't have that breeding. Is that what you're saying? - It actually does. - Okay, but this is a younger one. - It's the same age. - Same age, okay. - [Joe] That particular plant was grown in intense competition. - Oh. - [Joe] And so it's a little bit stunted. - [Marty] He didn't have the same, but I can see that look at that beautiful flower.. - [Joe] So you can see that color- - Yes. - [Joe] It also has a green ancestor, which is kind of odd. - [Marty] Oh, and you were talking about the stars in the middle. Look at that. Oh my gosh, that's beautiful. - [Joe] And also very outfacing. - Yes, it is. It presents itself really in a great way. And this flower form, oh, with that ruffle! That's, what it, is that anemone form? Is what they call it? - Some people call it anemone form. Most people including me call it a semi doubles. - [Marty] Semi double. Okay. So it's like a little petal. It's like the nectaries have gotten confused. - Yeah exactly. It no longer produces nectar but it creates a beautiful little ruffly thing inside. - [Marty] Wow, it does indeed. It looks like a Elizabethan collar or something. That's really amazing. So you're saying you can get on a third year plant, how fast before they bloom? I mean in terms of you grow them all from seed, I know. So- - I can get them one to three years, but most of them two to three years. We're looking at third year plants here. - This is a three-year-old plant. - Yes ma'am. - Okay. As is, but that's huge for a three-year-old plant. - It is.` And this one here that the yellows with that kind of gold gene, - Hmm mm. - [Joe] They're notorious for being slow. - Yeah. - But that's a very vigorous plant to have that gene. - Yeah, that looks great. Joe, I can't leave without talking about what I can only think of as your goth hellebores. Look at these things they're almost black. There's such a dark, dusky color. - They are. And you know, they're best appreciated up close. Like, you can't see them as well as something like a white from far away. - Right, they have no carrying power. - But they're absolutely unique I think. I mean not many flowers have that color. - [Marty] No, it's a definitely somber but so striking. And what I also like as the foliage also has this deep, deep somber green color to it. - [Joe] It does, when it first comes out, some of them are also dark like the flowers and then as it ages, it turns to green so the plant can create energy for itself. - [Marty] Well, those are pretty spectacular. And I know what you mean. It wouldn't have any carrying power from across the yard. It would just disappear into the background but up close by a stepper or doorway, wow, what a spectacular plant. - Very cool. - [Marty] Yeah. So Joe, I'm sure a lot of people are gonna have a lot of questions about your fascinating plants. How can they get in touch with you? - [Joe] Well, you can go to helleboreplants.com and on the page at the bottom there's a contact form that you can fill out and it will shoot me an email. - Oh cool. Excellent. That's great news. Well, I just wanna thank you so much for having us out here today. It's just been such a treat. - Thanks for coming. - Oh, sure. My pleasure. - Always good to see ya. - Great to see you too. - Everybody needs to put a little spice and different things into their menus and maybe you don't bop plantains in the supermarket, but you should. Now that is the correct pronunciation. A lot of people will call these plantains. They're also called cooking bananas. They're very different from bananas though and let me just kinda show you the difference. You're familiar of course with a regular banana that peels pretty easily and has a very nice soft flesh. Well, the plantain is in the same family and like I said it is called a cooking banana, but you're gonna notice that these green ones, you need to peel them. So that doesn't peel back like a regular banana does, you just need to get your paring knife and cut and get that peel off of there. Just like that. So it looks like a banana, but texture wise, it's very firm. So there's a big texture difference between this. And the reason we call it a cooking banana is because of this firm texture. So you need to cook this before you can eat it unlike the banana that you can eat raw. So what we're gonna do with these is we're just gonna go ahead and peel off this outer skin. There's two different types that you can buy. You can buy some that are already yellow looking just like a banana. And those are great. Those are kind of a little more ripe than these are. These green ones are my favorites to cook with because they're a little more dense in texture. And I like the flavor of them. So after we've discarded all of this skin that we've just cut off here. What we're going to do is put these on a baking sheet that we've just lightly greased and we're going to brush these with some melted butter. So just take the butter, brush them over the top. You don't have to brush them over on the bottom end because we've greased the baking sheet. And notice that this is a baking sheet with the rim. So you'll need to make sure that you've got one with the rim for this. Oh, we got a little problem right there. That's okay. It will bake just fine. And then these are going to go into a preheated oven and we've preheated our oven to 400 degrees. And we're going to bake these for about 30 minutes. Now, while that's going on we're going to make a hot cilantro drizzle. So I've got tons of it already harvested from my garden that I'm gonna add stems in all to your food processor. Just a good bunch of it really. You don't have to go crazy. And then we're going to add some garlic. And I grew garlic for the first time this year too. You don't have to mince it, but I'm going to in here to just kind of speed up the process a little bit. If the garlic cloves are big, just use it too if they're not, you might want to use like three or so. So we're gonna add the fresh garlic to that. We're gonna add some salt. Then I've got some hot peppers that I have seeded and chopped that we're gonna add to that. The juice of one lime, which is about two tablespoons of lime juice, a fourth of a cup of water. And then we've got some shallots. I like shallots because they're a milder form of onion. If you really want an onion flavor to that you could use a stronger onion or even a yellow onion that's sweet for that. Okay, now what we're going to do is process this in your food processor. And you can see it's pretty liquid. And then we're gonna set this aside for the plantains to bake. In the meantime, you can use any kind of cheese you want for this. You can use mozzarella, you can use Monterey Jack. I like both actually, but to add just a little bit more heat to this, we're gonna be utilizing some sliced Monterey Jack cheese. If you want it a little milder, use mozzarella. Okay, so here's what the plantains look like after they come out of the oven. So you can see what we've done here. I bake them for 30 minutes and then I went in and flipped them over and baked them another 15 minutes in the oven. So after that, you're just gonna come in with your paring knife and we're just gonna make a little bit of slit. They're cool enough to handle. And split those open and we're gonna add our cheese to that. So make sure you have a good thin slice for this so you can get it down in there easily. So we're gonna put these back into the oven so that we can evenly melt this cheese. So you have baked cheese plantains with the hot cilantro drizzle. This can be an appetizer or a side dish. - [Lauren] For inspiring garden tours, growing tips and garden projects visit our website at volunteergardner.org or on YouTube at the Volunteer Gardner channel. And like us on Facebook.
July 01, 2021
Season 30 | Episode 01
Matt Kerske takes us along on a backyard renovation project. First up, assess the features and functionality from the space. Then, we join him for a walk through of the yard after upgrades. Marty DeHart visits with a hellebore hybridizer and marvels at the new traits and colors now available on the market. Tammy Algood shares an appetizer recipe featuring plantains.