- [Narrator] On this Volunteer Gardener, we'll join Annette Shrader on a stroll through a delightful ornamental garden that pays homage to the large tobacco barn that once stood in this space. Tammy Algood joins Margie Hunter to discuss the attributes of native plants and what makes them a smart choice for the landscape. Plus, Troy Marden showcases perennials that have a proven track record in our climate zone. Join us. Incorporating memory of a bygone era to bring interest and beauty to the garden. - If you can just allow me this moment of true country. I am in a garden that you'll hear no trains, no planes, no lawn mowers. As I walk along these wonderful Althea bushes, we're with Marla Killian and something has already caught my eye. Tell me about this. - Well, Annette, this is all part of my barn garden, and these are actually chimneys that were once on top of the old tobacco barn. And I've taken 'em and planted them with portulaca and some different types of succulents that do well without any water. - And that they flank both sides of what I see above your head that says, "welcome friends". - Annette, welcome to my barn garden. - I feel very welcomed. I'm anxious to see your plants that you've chosen in here. And I know that there's many things tucked inside of this garden and you actually had a footing to go by, but let's just stop right here because there's a centerpiece, this tree. - This tree is called a Scarlet Curls Willow tree. And it was planted when it was just a tiny little start and it has become the centerpiece of the barn garden. - Can I ask you does at any time, does it have a chartreuse or yellow leaf? Oh, I see a little bit of yellow stem. - It sure does. And it makes beautiful cuttings for like arrangements and things like that. So, I like to use things that are in my garden. - If I turn you to your right over here, I see some beautiful plants in here and even some are gone and some are now coming. I like to focus in on your blackberry lily. - [Marla] Yes, those are beautiful. And the butterflies out here love it. I have all different kinds of butterflies that fly in and they love the orange color. It attracts them along with the blanket flowers and they started out to be a red and orange garden. - [Annette] What do you do to rejuvenate for next year? How do you keep this garden looking fresh? - [Marla] What I try to do is I do a little bit of winter sowing and I start some seedlings and tuck in seedlings as they get bigger when I pull out plants that have spent, I will recede those and tuck the old seedlings in the back of the garden and plant the new things up in the front, I'll pull marigolds things that are shorter and put 'em along the very front to bloom. - [Annette] That way it's always pleasant looking. - [Marla] It's an all season. - [Annette] Then look used up. - [Marla] That's true. - [Annette] I think that's really a good thing. - [Marla] And I look at it like this, I plant for nature out here. And so, as one thing comes, another thing leaves. - [Annette] You gotta replace that pollen. - [Marla] That's exactly right. - [Annette] And resting places. - That's right. And places for animals to hide and birds to find seeds and it's year round garden. How it became known as my barn garden was because originally a bigger tobacco barn stood in this place. It was several stories high and it was huge. And a few years ago, my husband and I had to take it down, which made me very sad, but he said, we will use the barn wood in many different ways, like building our little shed and also you can have the rest of it and make barn garden. - [Annette] Okay, so then have you had any issues with the soil for what you've done? - In a roundabout way? Some areas of the garden don't do as well as others. This corner back here, they heated the barn with coal. And so, there's a coal pile-- - Residue, isn't it? - Yes, sprinkled throughout the soil. So, a lot of things don't want to really grow back here. I've planted several shrubs that didn't like the soil. So, last year I sprinkled a larkspur seed back here and it took off just not too long ago. This whole corner was purple. The peony seem to do fine here and the echinacea in the back, - Yeah, the native ones. - have done okay. So, you just plant what works and if it doesn't, you try something else. - [Annette] Okay, and you've used, is this a native monarda? - [Marla] I believe so. I've had this come up and also one that's called limebalm on the other end. And it's about spent too. - [Annette] One of the good things about this garden is that it doesn't really require a lot of your time, does it? - [Marla] No, it doesn't. The most time's been spent working on a path through it. - Well now, that is a variety of Rosemary. That must be very hardy here. - It is. - What do you think it is? - [Marla] I believe it's Arp. - [Annette] That's what I was gonna say. - [Marla] A-R-P, Arp? - [Annette] A-P-R. - So, yes and it loves it. And this soil is also very dry down here probably because it was originally packed down. And so, we kinda work with what we have. And so, that type of Rosemary goes very well in a dry area. Siberian Iris grow well here. A lot of lilies all the way back, I've got strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, I'm working on a lilly bed in the back. There's a lot of day lilies that have just finished blooming. - [Annette] Well, it's obvious that one of the things that does happen with structures in the country and along fence rows that it does produce a tree line. And that tree line comes on on the exterior of these places. And this is just a wonderful utilization of what happened in time. And now for this time, this is a beautiful garden. - [Marla] Thank you. - Whether you've got a small garden or a large yard, native plants can make it better. We have the expert in the field with us today to educate us on native plants. And Margie, you have written the perfect book on native plants for Tennessee. So, we are privileged to have you talk to us today about it. Let's start with the definition, what are native plants? - Native plants have evolved in this space. So, they have all these adaptations to our geology, our soil, our climate, to the wildlife that's here and to the other plants to themselves. And so, as a result of these adaptations through evolution, they are able to form a functioning community, kind of an ecological system, if you will. And that confers all kinds of benefits to the gardener when he or she can tap into that community functioning. One of the best things to do is to go to your local nursery. They often sell native plants in addition to non-natives that are favorites in our gardens. So, start with your local nurseryman and see what native plants they're carrying. You can go to local parks for example, to see what plants are growing naturally in your area as well and then begin to research those. There are many books that talk about native plants from a regional perspective, as well as narrowing it down to say, the state level, for example. And in addition to that, there are some wonderful gardening groups that are committed to native plant gardening. There are three such chapters of wild ones and wild ones is a national organization. But there are three chapters of it here in Tennessee. So, those are excellent resources to learn more, not only about the native plants in your area, but also how to garden with the many kinds of questions you might have about using them in the garden. - [Tammy] I'm a huge proponent of learning and then doing. Let's talk about you get a native plant. A lot of people think, well, it's native. It's gonna be great. It's not gonna need any care. It's not gonna need anything. I can just dig a hole and stick it in there. Is that correct? - No, that is not correct. There's no a plant in the world. I don't think that you can just dig a hole and stick it in there and walk away and it's gonna be fine. You're gonna have to care for it some. And it's the same thing with natives, the same process, the same research that any gardener would use when they're bringing plants into their yard, what kind of conditions does it favor? What kind of conditions does my yard have and do those two match? And if they don't, how can I tweak it, maybe to bring this one in and make things a little little better for it. So, those same thought processes and research are gonna have to go into native plants as well. They are not universal in terms of just being able to plop 'em in the ground and they'll be fine. But at the same time, because of that evolutionary advantage that they have, you may be able to utilize them in areas where it gets drier and conserve resources by not having to water as often, because they are native because they have developed the community type approach to working together as a unit, they will attract wildlife. So, you get pollination services and you also get pest control services with them. The more wildlife that come in they're going to eat and be eaten. So, you get kind of mother nature coming in and beginning to use your garden for her benefits as well. So, that's always great. And what that means is, is that you can either significantly reduce or even eliminate the need for chemical interventions, like pesticide, for example. There are a small number of non-native plants that have a tendency to become invasive in Tennessee. And so, those are the ones you wanna watch out for. But the majority of the plants that we garden with are not, they're not gonna be a problem. And the two work together beautifully, they're all plants and they're all native somewhere. It's just a matter of where are they native. Plants are not any different from the fact that there's something that you can bring into the garden other than where did they come from. And is there a way that can be advantageous to you or could that also be a problem for you, in the instance of things that might prove to be invasive? And there's a great website to learn about the invasive species, the Tennessee Invasive Plant Council, has the website, tnipc.org. And they have a full list of plants that have been identified as invasive species in the state that you can avoid. Many of them are plants you wouldn't wanna use anyway. And so, in addition to being able to identify ones that you would want to perhaps avoid, or if you have them to remove from your garden, also, there are resources on native species, especially good ones as substitutes for some of these invasive plants that people might like to garden with. - And talk to me about soil, because that's such an important part of that community. Do you have to do things to your soil in particular that will help native plants? - Well, course native plants evolved with the geology and the soil that's here. They helped to create the soils that are here. And so, there's a natural affinity there, but depending upon your yard, depending upon when it was built and what the contractors did to the landscape there, when they were building your house, you may need to make some amendments to the soil. But the best thing to do is to build a healthy soil. It's not a matter of feeding your plants by sprinkling 10, 10, 10 fertilizer everywhere. That's actually the way to damage your soil and then make it so that your plants rely on that all the time. You're having to feed them. If you build a healthy soil where you've got bacteria and fungi and all the little micro invertebrates that are in the soil, working to break down the nutrients and make them available for the plants, a healthy soil will feed your plants and give you healthy plants. And so, healthy plants are able to resist diseases and pests better. And so, a good gardener rather than worrying about feeding plants needs to concentrate on building a healthy soil, utilizing leaves and clippings and weeds through composting and things of that nature are the best things to do. - It's the foundation of your garden. - It is absolutely. - You know we think about native plants and immediately think about flowers, but trees, shrubs are also native plants. Do you have some favorites? - I do have some favorites. And before I get into listing actual species, I would like to recommend that with a native garden, if you wanna take full advantage of that evolutionary community effect, the more native plants you can bring in the better. And so, I sometimes like to compare it to your house and land as such, you've got the land, you've got the house foundation, walls, roof, you've got the major rooms, you've got big furniture in those rooms. All of that should be your native plants. - Got it. - And so, some of the non-native species would things where you wanna bring in extra color, extra texture, extra form, things like that, something different and unusual. It's more the accent pieces. So, the more native plants you can bring in. And I like to think of it in terms of diversity and three types of diversity, diversity of species, diversity of forms, so trees, shrubs, fines, just what you were mentioning. And then diversity in terms of the seasonality, so that you have something throughout the seasons as well, which is what all gardeners look for in their garden, to have full seasons represented there. So, but that's particularly important with the native plants because of that community attraction. And you get that going, it's the old adage build it and they will come. And so, you get the full advantage to what mother nature has to offer and can take those benefits that come along with that kind of community. So, if you're looking at individuals in particular, you can't go wrong with any of our Oaks. First of all, they live anywhere from decades to centuries. And so, they are so wildlife friendly. So, any of our Oaks are great to consider. One of my favorites is the hophornbeam, American hophornbeam, Ostrya Virginiana. It's a smaller tree, it's actually an under storey tree, but it grows well in the open as well. And so, it stays short more like the 20 to 30, 35 foot range of growing in the open. It has a beautiful bark and these wonderful hop light clusters of seeds that the cardinals absolutely adore. It's very strong wooded. So, the increasing storms that we're having here, whether it's ice storms are windstorms, it's gonna hold up better to those than some other trees that might break and split. So, those would be good trees. - We're sitting in an area garden, that's got a lot of native plants and you can just hear the wildlife beaming. - Oh yeah. - It just seems to be a happier place because you've made it friendly for the wildlife to come. - Absolutely, absolutely. There's a wonderful book that many gardeners, particularly those of native plants love to cite. Doug Tallamy, Dr. Doug Tallamy as an entomologist and wildlife biologist in Delaware, I believe. And he wrote a book "Bringing nature home". And he talks about the use of native plants and how it will bring in insects. And of course, gardeners usually go, oh, insects. I don't want things eating my plants, but at the same time you bring in the birds because baby birds need those insects, the protein in order to grow and develop and get their feathers. So, each little trophic level of feeding will bring in another trophic level of feeding and everything stays in balance as a result of that. You strike this balance in nature. That's really really wonderful. And native plants are the foundation for that. - [Tammy] I love your analogy of that. And I particularly love that this is something that the average gardener can start small and build up and just in incorporate a few things or go big. - Go big, either way. And if you start small, you often start adding more and more by the time it's over you've gone big . - That's true. We don't stay small, do we? - No, no, it's not in our DNA. - Margie, you are a treasure trove of information. And I feel like you have helped us enormously with this, and I really appreciate your book as well. So, thank you for your passion for native flowers and plants. And thank you particularly, that you've zoomed in on Tennessee. We appreciate it. - Oh, you're more than welcome. It's been my privilege, thank you. - I'm always looking for spectacular plants for my shade garden, but my space is becoming more limited. So, I'm come down to the UT Gardens in Jackson. In just a minute, we'll meet up with Jason Reeves. Who's gonna show us some spectacular plants like this Gold Leaf Forsythia. Well, Jason, thanks for being with us this morning. And the first thing I wanna talk talk about are these hydrangea which are really heavily butted up. Tell me a little bit about these. - This is endless summer, the original and all the endless summer, including other cultivar, such as Dooley and Penny Mac will flower on new growth, but they really need to be fed after they've froze back to the ground. And so, that's what I've done to this one. - Okay, so these were frozen this winter, we've had a really cold winter. So, this died all the way back to the ground. - [Jason] Absolutely, down to the ground and we cut it all back. And then I came in shortly after with just some just general purpose, triple 15, fertilized and sprinkled around it. And you see the end result. - Well, one of the things you guys have a number of here in the gardens are some of these new varieties of Heucheras. And I know every year there are more and more Heucheras that are added to the market, but what are some of the ones that you have had good luck with here? - [Jason] This is princess silver, and we've had it in the garden for about three years now. And when you say new, I kind of lump things in the last four or five, six years, we've had it in the garden for a couple years for me to actually be able to recommend it. And this princess of silver is certainly showing out. - Well, and that's exactly the kind of thing, I'm looking for too, to come to the UT Garden here at Jackson or any of the other locations, it's an opportunity for me and everybody to see plants that have been growing in the ground for three or four years and know how some of these newer varieties are going to perform in the garden before we plant 'em ourselves. - Absolutely, that's what we're here for. As I said, my space is kind of limited in my own garden. So, I don't wanna plant a whole bunch of things that I don't know are going to thrive. So, you also have a really interesting Fern down here by your feet. And it's one that I don't see very often. - [Jason] Yeah, I don't see the Japanese beach Fern offered for sale, but it's worth seeking out. Very drought tolerant once established in the shade garden. And I love the different contrast in the texture and the foliage and the tips on it are so a lighter green where it's darker down in. - So, it's a great texture in the garden and a little color variation. Even though it's a variation on green, I think many times we forget that green is a color too, and there's always something interesting that you can do with textures and things. One other group of plants that I'm really fascinated about by are these pulmonarias that have the funny spotted and variegated leaves. I just think they're so interesting in the shade garden, even when they're not in bloom. But do you have any tips or tricks for which pulmonarias do well here in the south? - Well, there's definitely some that do better than others. And those that have the species longifolia meaning long slender leaf are much better suited for heat and humidity of the south. And there's cultivars like Diana Clare and Trevi fountain that do really well. So, seek those out with that species or hybrids of that species. - [Troy] Of longifolia. - [Jason] Correct. - [Troy] And one thing I like about the new Heucheras or Coral Bells is that we've got this beautiful colored foliage in a lot of the new ones, which ones have you had great luck with here? - [Jason] You're looking at solar power and I really like it for that gold foliage with a little bit of kinda burgundy strip that it has to it with a lot of them I think they appreciate just a little bit of morning sun, and this gets just a bit here, but keeps it colorful. We're gonna look at Delta down in a few minutes, which is also a really nice one. So, that bright foliage, yellow, with a little bit of burgundy or red kinda adds a nice contrast to the foliage. - [Troy] Yeah, and especially in the shade garden where flowers aren't always a prominent thing. It's nice to have with our hostas and our Heucheras and other plants to get some color into the shade garden by using colored foliage. - [Jason] Absolutely, most of our shade loving plants, or perennials are spring blooming. And once they're finished, you really wanna concentrate on that beautiful foliage that has throughout the summer. - You've also trialed a number of hostas down here. And this one obviously has done very well. Cathedral Windows. - That's right, yeah it's done really well for us and multiplied fairly rapidly for a large leaf hosta. - Right, and these Cathedral Windows came out of a plant a few years ago called guacamole. And guacamole is a great plant for the south and almost everything that's come out of it fried green tomatoes and fried bananas, and this one Cathedral Windows. And the thing that I've loved about it in my own garden is that it bulk up really quickly where a lot of those big hostas are slow. - [Jason] So yeah, this would be its third spring. And from a one gallon pot they probably just had two or three plants in it. So, it has grown really fast. - [Troy] So, and this is almost three foot to maybe almost four foot wide clump now just in a few seasons time. So, where sometimes those old fashioned blue hostas, those big ones can take five or six years sometimes here in the south to really bulk up and get big. These do it in a hurry and give you some real presence in the shade garden. All right, I've known you long enough and been on enough shopping trips with you to know that you love this plant. So, tell us about this. - I do, this is Edgeworthia, also known as paper blue. I've tried to collect all the different cultivars of it. It's in the Daphne family, which we all know Daphne can be difficult to grow, but the Edgeworth do quite well for us. - Okay, so what happens? obviously it has beautiful green leaves and I kind of like that it has that broad foliage and almost sort of rodent dandling-like. - [Jason] It is that that large leaf is really nice contrast in the shade garden. And I like the way when it rains, the water actually beats up on the foliage, but really it comes into its glory in late January, early February when it flowers. Now the flower buds actually form in the fall, and the hang on the plant all winter long and then begin to turn up just slightly in late winter and begin to bloom. - [Troy] So, it's one of those late winter flowering plants that gives us some interest in a time of year when there's not a whole lot else going on in our gardens. - Correct, it is fragrant as well. And then when the leaves fall off in the fall, you have the course textures of course stem and kind of a little bit of red cast to it, what's added interest during the winter as well. - Yeah, I really like it in my garden, in the wintertime as much as I do in the summer because it's got that stemy sort of architectural appearance that just makes it really interesting. - Absolutely, and speaking of winter, it's a plant that kinda marginal if we have a real cold winter, if we get outta zebra. So, it's really best spring or early summer plant to get it well established. - While it's warm. - Absolutely, before we get a cold winter. - So, planting the spring, keep it pretty well watered probably that first season. And then it should be well enough established that in a normal winter, it will be fine. - Absolutely. - [[Troy] So, not all shade is created equally. What do you take into consideration when you're finding locations for plants in the garden here? - Pretty much all plants, including shade plants benefit from some sunlight. And it's really best to have morning sun because it's not as intense. So, three or four hours of morning sun is ideal, almost all shade plants especially a blooming or flowering shade plant. - Right, but even plants like our hostas that we grow mostly for foliage, a lot of the ferns, even though some of them will grow in pretty deep shade, you're probably going to get more growth and some faster growth out of plants if they have just a little bit of sun during the day. - Absolutely, so here, this Annabelle hydrangea, Which is getting about three hours a morning sun, and you can see how it's butted up. So, in dense shade, you would still have flowers, but not as many flowers. - Right, and one thing that I noticed and you said, this gets about three hours of morning sun. Now my Annabelles at my home garden are out in almost full sun. And I noticed that the flowers on this plant are a little bit smaller, but there are more of them. - Yes. - Whereas on my plants, the flowers are bigger, but not necessarily quite as many of them. So, you get a little bit of a trade off, but just as big a show. - Absolutely. - It just varies a little bit in the size of the flowers. - One thing to keep in mind with a plant that likes some shade, but you're giving it more sun is it's maybe require more water if it's in at the sunnier location, but you also have to keep in mind if it's near tree roots, it's also require more water. So, there's a lot that plays into placement of a plant. - [Jason] And most of us who do garden in the shade are gardening amongst the tree roots. That's why we have a shade garden is because there are big trees associated with it. Sometimes it might be the shade of a building, but you do have to those tree roots into account. And how close to the tree you are, may require more watering or less watering depending on that distance and how many roots you're planting for it. - Absolutely, and the top of the tree, it's a lot harder to grow a plant under a river birch or a maple than it is an Oak tree because the maple and river birch have shallow roots. Whereas the Oak tree tends to go deep. - Deep roots, sure. Well, Jason promised you Delta Dawn, and here she is, this is a spectacular Heuchera. - [Jason] It is, and you can see how it really brightens up a dark spot under this Ace of Hearts red bud, and really brings your attention to the spot in the garden. - [Troy] It does, and the leaves on this one are particularly large and really showy. And I noticed this one doesn't have as many blooms on it as some of them do, but is that a good thing or a bad thing? - [Jason] Well, it all depends how you look at it, but yeah, this one doesn't have very many flowers and the ones that are there are sort of a lime green that blend in with the foliage. But look at the foliage. I mean, you're really growing it for that foliage. And some of those leaves are bigger than your hands. So, really adds a different texture. - [Troy] This truly is like many of our hosts, a foliage plant. - [Jason] Absolutely. - Well, thank you, Jason, for letting us come down and visit today. I know I always enjoy coming down here and visiting at the UT Gardens. When can people come. - The gardens here up and I like to dart year round and for you to come out and look and see what's doing well here and take that information back home and apply it to your landscape. - All right, and there's always something going on here, whether it's just the gardens for you to wander through or an event. And for a list of those events, you can visit our website, volunteergardener.org. - [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 12, 2022
Season 30 | Episode 19
Annette Shrader enjoys a stroll in an ornamental garden that pays homage to the tobacco barn that once occupied the space. Tammy Algood and Margie Hunter discuss the attributes of native plants. Including a high percentage of natives means less maintenance after planting. Troy Marden showcases perennials that have a proven track record in Tennessee climate zones.
Watch Clips from this Episode
Barn Garden – an homage to the past
Annette Shrader tours a unique home garden in rural Tennessee. The tobacco barn once stood at the front of the property. That footprint of the barn is now home to a garden filled with shrubs, perennials, trees and annuals. The selections were made that would allow wildlife to hide, birds to nest, and pollinators to find support. Relics of the past are also incorporated, which illustrate the bygone era.
Native Plants in the Home Landscape
Native plants have evolved in a region with adaptations to the geology, climate, soil, wildlife, and the other plants. Therefore, a key to successful ornamental gardening would be to include a high percentage of native trees, shrubs and perennials. Tammy Algood discusses the attributes of natives with Margie Hunter, author of 'Gardening with Native Plants of Tennessee: The Spirit of Place'.