- [Narrator] Being on a flower farm is rejuvenating for the soul. Sheri Gramer is loving her visit to Blooming Joy Flower Co. in Christiana, where the flowers come in so many forms and colors. Troy Marden visits American Heritage Trees in Lebanon. Here, each tree is connected to a notable figure in our history. And Annette Shrader is awestruck at the beauty found in all parts of this home landscape in Summertown. Come along. Beautiful vistas, colorful blooms. It all begins with putting the right plant in the right spot. - You are about to enjoy a perennial border with pops of interests tucked in with other structures to give you that beauty from spring into fall and winter. I have to tell you, I remember standing here with you behind the largest Sum and Substance I've ever seen. - [Memra] Thank you. - [Annette] What do you do to it? - [Memra] Well, actually, I don't do anything at all. I don't fertilize, I don't do anything. I do try to water it when it's really hot and dry. I try to give it some extra water, but other than that. - Well, and you've taken this threesome of plants I'll say, it's two, Sum and Substance, but then you have this lugustrum. What is this one? - [Memra] That's Sunshine lugustrum. - [Annette] It's beautiful, and it has that, it echoes that chartreuse color. And then you got some dirt and now you have something else in here. That's gonna last till frost, isn't it? - [Memra] Yes, yes. - [Annette] What are those plants? - [Memra] This is the Dragon's Breath celosia, is that how you say that? - [Annette] Yes. - [Memra] And then the portulaca. - [Annette] And that's a double portulaca? - [Memra] Mm-hmm, there's the yellow and the pink and they're both double. - [Annette] As beautiful as this, I think I can find more beauty. The first thing I see as I come in the driveway, your wonderful Limelights and aren't we blessed that they are starting to bloom now? - [Memra] Yes. - [Annette] Other things are fading in the garden but the hydrangea, the Limelight, is fantastic. Now you've got other plantings over there. What did you choose to go with them? - [Memra] We have the coral drift roses, and they pretty much bloom nonstop all summer in between Japanese beetle bouts. I also have just planted this year some of the Denim 'n Lace Russian sage. And then we have Blue Star juniper, just some of the evergreens. - [Annette] And excuse me, I love that Blue Star juniper. It's very compact and I don't think I've really noticed any spider mite or bagworms, have you? - [Memra] No, it's done very well. And then we've also added the Fire Chief arborvitae and I really, I liked that color because it- - [Annette] I see it. - [Memra] Yeah, it's just a pop of color. - Well, you can't hold me back any longer. I'm going to go see something else in your yard. - All right. - I believe that Memra Surles wanted a border, didn't she? - [Memra] I did. - [Annette] And she wanted perennials. - I had lots of flowers and I needed somewhere to contain them and not necessarily organized so that everything would be in one spot. - Yes, and you know you have good coverage because the more you cover that soil with pretty flowers, the less you have to weed, isn't it? - Right. - Well, and walking along here, I definitely spot so many varieties of plants in here, but today let's look at what we've got going on today. And I like these, the daylilies. Some people call those - - [Memra] lilies. - [Annette] And they're the double ones, but then I see a pop of color that'll be here after these are gone. Now, what have you put in there? - [Memra] Right, those are the, some people call that mandevilla but it's actually a dipladenia and then it has the oregano in front. - [Annette] The Cuban oregano. - [Memra] Yes, and so it's just, I like to add the annuals in with the perennials because with perennials, you've got the blessing of them coming back every year, but they have a shorter bloom time. So I like to add the annuals so that I have a pop of color. - [Annette] Okay. You've stuck another, some coleus in a pot there. - [Memra] Right. - [Annette] Those are beautiful varieties. - I try to take cuttings and overwinter them in my greenhouse and so that I have a great supply and a variety of coleus. - So that's the thing. You got to grow, whether it's January or July. Now tell me about this, this is a cute little object. - Oh, thank you, this is a little garden structure that my husband made for me using old windows. - [Annette] I think you have solar lights in there. - [Memra] I do. And so at night it's got a little glow out here in the garden. - Oh, that's neat. This is glorious. This is a native perennial, isn't it? - Yes, phlox and it's very happy in here. In fact, I've been digging it up and giving some away this year because I have so much. - [Annette] Well, and you know, with this border being six foot wide, you've got some airflow in here and you know, that's what causes some of this powdery mildew it gets on plants. And so not being too dense, that helps. But you know this plant, if you cut it back, it'll probably give you another cycle of blooms, won't it? - [Memra] Yes, it does. - [Annette] And then can't help but notice that you've got a container here. Now, what have you got in here? - [Memra] This is a Sapphire Indigo clematis. It's not the climbing clematis, it's a bush clematis. - [Annette] Yeah, I see it and I see the bloom over there. - [Memra] Yeah, it's already had one flush of bloom and so it's just, there are several buds. It's about to have it second. - Well, in order to get that second flush of blooms, did you trim it or anything or is it just... - I did trim it, yes. - And I see your phlox likes volunteer in there. - Yes, I got the phlox volunteering everywhere. - That's wonderful. I love plants that want to volunteer. Now, Memra, I know that's a spring flower. - [Memra] It is. It actually bloomed this spring and then I don't know why, but it's giving me a second bloom. - [Annette] That's a beautiful columbine. - [Memra] Yes, I'm very excited for that. - I definitely wouldn't want you to just put one pot of these out there. I love the second one over here and how it starts this part of your border. - Yes. - And right here, that is a magnificent watering can, but I'd rather you talk about that. - [Memra] Well, that is, some people call it a black elephant ears but it's an Alocasia and there's just a subtle difference between the two. Over winter those bulbs actually in a paper sack in my utility room, and then I- - [Annette] Just yank them up, take the dirt off. - [Memra] Just lift them and put them in a paper bag. And then in the spring I put them in dirt and when they start getting some moisture, they start growing. And so I'll have those in the greenhouse for a little while. - [Annette] Okay, what is this? - [Memra] This is a crinum lily. And this actually came from my grandmother's. - [Annette] A pass along then? - [Memra] Yes, years ago. In fact, so many of my plants in here are pass along plants. - [Annette] I love that. - [Memra] I have so many memories of people that have given me the plants. The crinum lilies and they're kind of at the end of their peak, they have been just glorious this year. But anyway, I'm glad there's a few in bloom. - [Annette] What hasn't been glorious this year? - [Memra] Yes, we had so much rain. - I know and then there's that same dipladenia to carry your color down through the border when some of this other color has gone. Well, this has another side to it with different flowers. Let's flip flop. - [Memra] All right. - [Annette] And now we've reached the southern side of this border. - [Memra] Yes, actually the northern side faces the house but the flowers tend to want to follow the sun. - [Annette] Absolutely. - [Memra] So we have access to both sides and I like it. - [Annette] And this beauty I love. - [Memra] Yes, this is Meteor verbena and some people call it lollipop because it has these round balls at the end and this self sows every year. - [Annette] Yeah, just like that Queen Anne's lace, she's so pretty. - [Memra] Yes. - [Annette] I love that in there. - [Memra] I do too. - [Annette] Now I see some contrasts back here. You've achieved that with what is- - [Memra] We have a Black Diamond crepe myrtle and then the yellow vine is a Fiona Sunrise jasmine. - [Annette] And do you keep that- - [Memra] That stayed in the ground. This is its second year. It stayed in the ground last year and came back strong. So I meant to take a cutting last year and I didn't and I was worried, but it made it just fine. - And you know, as I stand here with you, I can't imagine this garden without the vertical structures that you've put in. I love all of these plants but there's something towering above that just gives majestic look to all of this bordering. - I like to add some height instead of just having everything flat. I think it gives visual interest. - Oh yeah, absolutely. Gives it a dimensional look. And then I find some more little cute things over here. There's your, some more of your coleus, but right down here now you don't often see pineapple lilies that you've got there. Do you keep those in the ground? - [Memra] Yes, those have stayed in the ground and along with the bronze fennel that's growing behind it. I like the laciness of the fennel. And then the blooms are a plus for sure. - [Annette] Okay, we're gonna finish this final quadrant right here with some magnificent flowers that are, to me, they signal this summer. So tell us about this lily. - This is called the tree lily, and actually they grow to be about six feet tall and you can see this one wants to lean, but I'm five-four so you can tell. As the blooms open they just keep getting taller and taller. - [Annette] And they smell... - [Memra] And they smell heavenly. - [Annette] That they do. - [Memra] They really, really do. - [Annette] They really do. And then this is, is that Incrediball? - [Memra] That is Annabelle. - [Annette] Oh, she's big. - [Memra] She is, and I'm wondering if she was mislabeled. - [Annette] Well, I don't know. Her side, her location and how, you know, she's got the right exposure. She could get that big. Now here's another pop-up color that you wouldn't have without an annual. - [Memra] Right, the coleus are just so, I really enjoy using those because the Japanese beetles don't like them. - [Annette] That's good to know. - [Memra] So I don't have to use pesticides. - [Annette] Yes, and you've got some Lady in Red salvia. - [Memra] Yes, and then this is Mahogany Splendor hibiscus and I love the foliage on it. Everyone thinks it's a Japanese maple, but it's not. - [Annette] Well, we just can't help but come right to this little hydrangea. - [Memra] Yes, and this is Bobo. - [Annette] Bobo? - [Memra] Yes. - [Annette] He's about to outgrow his place too. - [Memra] He is, he is. I don't know, they're just incredibly happy here. - [Annette] As I stand here with you, Memra, I want to tell you that to see what you've accomplished, because you are a true gardener. You put the work and the labor in it and you have lots of knowledge. And you have created a thing of beauty, not just for spring and summer. You continued your growing through the whole year. And to me that takes a lot of expertise. And I thank you that you've shared this with us. - [Memra] Well, it was very nice. I enjoyed sharing it. - [Annette] Well, it's absolutely beautiful. - [Memra] Thank you. - We've talked about a lot of trees on "Volunteer Gardener" over the years, but I'm not sure that we've ever talked specifically about historic trees and the stories that go with them. Today, I am with Tom Hunter and he and his wife, Phyllis, have a company called American Heritage Trees. They're just outside of Nashville. And Tom, tell me how you got into this business and how this all came to be. - Well, we were about ready to retire a few years ago and decided to come back and take on our family farm. It's been in our family for over 200 years. - Right. - [Tom] We wanted a project that we felt like was really worthy and meant something. And we got on this idea of growing historic trees. We formed a 501 partnership, a nonprofit, and we set about to form partnerships with historic sites across the country. So we have about 20 of those partnerships now, and we grow about 30 different kinds of species of trees. - So I know each tree that you have available has a story that goes with it. - Well most, not all, but most of the trees that we have are, their mothers are 250 to 300 years old. So they all have a lot of history and they all have a story. This one on my left is a yellow buckeye from Mount Vernon. - [Troy] Okay. - [Tom] So George Washington was riding his horse and going through, he was a surveyor, this was in 1784. He came upon this yellow buckeye tree. He loved it. He gathered buckeyes, put them in his saddlebag, took them back to Mount Vernon. And this is a direct descendant of that tree. - So that first one over there, yeah. - This is a redbud from Mount Vernon as well. It's, you know, redbuds don't live all that long. - [Troy] Right. - [Tom] This one is part of a cluster of redbuds that has been from the original group. - [Troy] Okay. - [Tom] So we love this tree. - [Troy] Right. - Let's see, behind me is a red maple from Walden Pond in Massachusetts. So this was near the cabin that Henry David Thoreau stayed in, wrote his famous book and came to be the father of the modern day conservation movement. So we partner with the Walden Woods Project and grow this tree. And I should add that a percent of sales, every sale goes back to the home site. - Oh, that's great. - Yeah. - So they're benefiting from this also. - They are, and we encourage site visits to see the mother trees, it's really good. This is a burr oak, Mark Twain burr oak from Hannibal, Missouri. - Okay. - It's also known as the Liberty tree in Missouri, classified as is one of their bicentennial Liberty trees. This is a Alvin York Dogwood from Pall Mall, Tennessee. - [Troy] All right. - So Sergeant York and his sons planted this tree at their, in front of their house there in Pall Mall. - So these are descendants of, all of these trees that you're selling are descendants of the originals. And you grow them either by seed- - Or cutting. - Or by cuttings. - Yeah. - And then offer them up, pot them up different sizes and then eventually offer them for sale. - We try to replenish the supply every season so that we've got small ones coming on should people want to buy, you know, smaller trees. We also grow them out to 15 and 20 feet versions. - Right. So these are seedlings that you've started in these flats and then they get potted up into a little bit bigger pot. - [Tom] Right. - And this is actually a southern magnolia that has a special story behind it. - That's right. - And tell me about that. - Well this is from Helen Keller's home in Tuscumbia, Alabama. - Okay. - And they were, I like to say they were born earlier this spring. So these are just about six or eight weeks old. - [Troy] Okay, perfect. And we can see along here that you've got a variety of different seedlings coming along. - This is the Alvin York Tulip Poplar from Pall mall, Tennessee. Of course, that's our state tree, he was our state hero. This is a good thing. These are, this is a good example of early, early, these just popped out about a week ago. - Yeah. - These are red maples- - It's their first set of true leaves. - From Walden Pond. So that's- - So this the way we start. - This is how they start. - Right, perfect. - Over here, we've got redbuds from Mount Vernon. These are American sycamores from what we call the moon tree, its mother went to the moon on Apollo 14. And the astronaut, Stuart Roosa, that took them, planted the mother tree at the Mississippi State University. It's right outside the football stadium, you'll see it. - Very good. - These are also, these are still in the seed tray, baby moon trees. This is the Helen Keller water oak. And then these are sweet gum from Mount Vernon, George Washington, Mount Vernon. - So this special little dogwood actually has an Amelia Earhart connection. - That's right, this is from her home in Kansas. So we go two trees from there. This is the dogwood and they were just started this year. So they're coming along nicely. And on this side we have some more of them, but over here are the sugar maples from Amelia Earhart. - [Troy] Okay. - So they're still in the seed tray. We've got a few that have been moved up. We've got a lot of work to do on these to pot them up. - Right, well, Amelia Earhart, she was a Kansas girl and that's my home state. - Oh really? - I've been in Tennessee a very long time, but that's- - Well, I love that Amelia Earhart saga. - Yeah. - And this is a great tribute to her. - Well, we want to thank you so much for letting us come out. - My pleasure. - I think it's a great thing that, you know, here you have come back to the family farm and taken a little different angle with agriculture here, but we really appreciate you and Phyllis letting us come out and be a part of this and- - [Tom] Well, we're happy to do that. - [Troy] Thank you. - [Tom] Thank you. - We have a treat for you today. We're in Christiana, Tennessee at Blooming Joy Flower Farm. We're looking at some beautiful flowers here. - Yeah, so I actually planted a lot of these plants just last spring. During the pandemic, when we all had to stay home, I got to work planting over 1,000 perennials here in my gardens and building it out. So this is actually one of my favorite areas on my farm right now because the alcea or hollyhocks are blooming. So they are biennials, and so last year they were just big, green, beautiful foliage. But this year I am seeing the fruits of my labor and they are blooming right now. This particular variety is from the Halo series. It is called lavender and I purposely planted it really close to one of my favorite roses. This particular rose is called Easy on the Eyes. Now this particular rose is about three years old now. I did, this was one of the first plants I planted when we moved into our house, after we built it. And I love how the purples are really colliding into each other, and I just think it makes it look gorgeous. - [Sheri] Kara, we're all familiar with phlox but this is a new one for you. Tell us about it. - Yeah, so this is a fairly new phlox hybrid. It actually blooms a couple of weeks sooner than tall garden phlox does. This particular variety is called Fashionably Early Crystal and it's quickly become one of my favorite varieties. So I actually just planted the plant last spring. This is three plants right here, and it has quickly exploded. I use this one a lot as a cut flower. And this year each plant had at least 30 stems on it for me, which is a lot. So this flower is actually it's on its way out right now, as you can see, but around Mother's Day, it looked like white clouds blooming. It was just absolutely gorgeous. - Was this as, is this as fragrant as the other phlox? - It is not, it is just slightly fragrant. No, it does not have like an overpowering, beautiful scent like normal phlox. But this plant is very vigorous, I am finding. It's really spreading which is fine if you had that in certain areas, but just make sure that if you plant a plant like this, that you're being mindful of what you have planted near it because I think this is going to- - [Sheri] And let's talk about this. - Okay, this is also another very favorite plant of mine. This one is called Onyx and Pearls penstemon and it is actually almost done flowering. You can see some tiny little flowers right here. And our honeybees absolutely loved it. Oh, they loved it this year. But one of my very favorite things about this plant is after it flowers, the stems turn into pods, just like this. And I actually cut these pods and I use them in my flower arrangements, I use them in boutonnieres. I used them in my fresh Christmas wreaths that I made last year, they were really great. - [Sheri] Kara, what's this pretty little white pom pom-y flower? - [Kara] That is called Peter Cottontail achillea. It really resembles baby's breath to me, but it is a lot better in my opinion. I love it's nice long stems and it's got a really full but small circular head to it that really adds a great pop in bouquets. - [Sheri] We're standing in your favorite garden on your property, and what do you call this garden? - I call this the barnyard garden because it is right in front of all of our barnyard animals. - And this is beautiful. Tell us about this. - So this is called a Blue Glitter eryngium. Anytime I share this plant, people are like, what is it? So it is actually a thistle flower, never dreamed I'd grow a thistle as a cut flower, but it's actually quite popular in the floral design world. Other people call it Sea Holly as well. But what I use it for is it's actually great in wedding bouquets, but it also dries just like this when I cut it from the plant and it's great in boutonnieres. - [Sheri] While you were talking about dried flowers, over your shoulder you have quite a few different varieties that you use for fresh and then you let some of it dry you were telling me? - [Kara] Yes, so I am growing statice and strawflower, which are excellent for drying. - [Sheri] And you're doing annual statice, or do you grow particular colors because you want to use it in particular things, or you just get a package of mixed and let it go? - [Kara] So this year I decided to just get a mix. And in my mix this year there's a lot of yellow, purple and just a little bit of white growing for the statice. For my strawflower, I'm growing a beautiful blush rose color. - [Sheri] Why are your flowers all planted pleasing to the eye and not in straight rows like traditional flower farmers do? - [Kara] So when I started in 2018, I thought that's what I was supposed to do was plants straight rows everywhere. But I just discovered over time that that just didn't inspire me quite as much as the garden design does. What I really love to do with the cut flowers I grow is design with them. A lot of flower farmers cut them and they wholesale them out. I don't really do that. I actually create custom designs with all mine. So I figured out planting them in a garden fashion really inspires me to go out there and create, just seeing all the different plants mingled together. - [Sheri] So as your barnyard garden evolved, what was your first shrubs, right here? - Yes, so the very first thing that I planted in the barnyard garden about two years ago were these Limelight hydrangeas. I wanted to have a big statement piece against our fence that we actually installed as well. And so the Limelight hydrangeas went in mixed with, there were daffodils in between them, but they are done for the year. And next I knew that I also wanted another statement piece to stagger in between all of the Limelight hydrangeas too. So I have added all of these gorgeous perennial hibiscus. - [Sheri] Good for summer color too. - Excellent. So I really don't use the perennial hibiscus as a cut flower, they don't really hold up quite as well. And so what I mainly use these for is to look great all summer because once they start blooming, they are so prolific and keep blooming until our first frost. Another statement piece that I have in this garden are all of the garden roses that I have throughout here. And one of my very favorite garden roses is this Olivia Rose Austin garden rose right here. Is very prolific, it gets very big. It's a favorite one to use in my arrangements. - [Sheri] Do I see lettuce in here as well? - [Kara] I do. I have a very small, cool season vegetable patch. I've got broccoli and I've got lettuce. I have got cabbage all in there. This is my favorite garden to be in. So I wanted to plant it in here mixed with my flowers because I just love being in here. - [Sheri] So you do annual season here also, Kara? - I do. So since this section right here is just a year old, my goal with this section is to actually have it all grow into each other and be lush and full. But that also means that I also still have some open space, which means some weeds can grow and I am trying to avoid all of that. So I actually interplant a lot of annual seeds in here. Like I've got a beautiful cosmo plant coming up that I started from seed. I also have different types of cut flower sunflowers in here. I love to use the ProCut series, the yellows, the plums, and the white knights. And then I also planted zinnias in here, definitely a summer staple flower. - Well, we've moved to another garden again, and the hollyhocks are performing and showing really pretty for us. And I see you have some annual seeds down here and this is going to be part of your cutting garden? - Yeah, so I actually interplanted zinnias right in front of all of these beautiful hollyhocks right here to give me, you know, something great to look at once the hollyhocks die down. - And you were saying, this is just, you have a sunflower cutting garden as well? - I do. - Okay. And what is your favorite fresh cut? - My favorite fresh cut flower, it probably to be phlox. - [Sheri] Okay, all right. - Because of the nice clusters, it's pretty big and full and really fills out a vase arrangement and it has a nice scent to it. - Well Kara, I want to tell you, thank you, it's been wonderful today. - Yeah, thank you. - We got to enjoy quite a few gardens and quite a few different varieties of flowers. It's been wonderful, thank you for sharing. - [Kara] Thank you for having me. - [Narrator] For inspiring garden tours, growing tips and garden projects, visit our website at volunteergardner.org or on YouTube at the Volunteer Gardener channel and like us on Facebook.
September 16, 2021
Season 30 | Episode 09
Sheri Gramer enjoys a visit to the fields of a flower farmer in Christiana TN. She learns that how she grows inspires her cut floral creations. Troy Marden visits American Heritage Trees in Lebanon where each tree is connected to a notable person or event in our nation's past. Annette Shrader is awe-struck at the beauty she finds in a home landscape in Summertown.