- [Announcer] A person's home garden tends to become a sentimental space over time. That holds true for our host, Annette Shrader. She calls this her Friendships Garden. Join Tammy Algood on a stroll through Annette's established garden beds. Plus we'll tour a spot that's getting reimagined. Then, Jeff Poppin walks us through one of his large production fields that's covered in green manure crops. He shares which plants he chose and how each contributes to soil health. Join us. Let's find out about the many joys a home garden can bring. - You're in for a real treat today. We're here at the garden of Annette Shrader, my friend, and co-host of this show. Annette, how fun is this, to be in your garden, on your show? - It's my time. Yeah. And I wanna welcome you to what I call my Friendship Gardens. Friendship Gardens, because there's not a plant in here that I either, met a new friend, or an old friend gave me to. So, I'm getting the cold chill bumps to tell you that these are part of my friendships. - [Tammy] I love it, Annette. And that really is what our gardens are, right? - [Annette] It, the person lives on in my garden. - [Tammy] Absolutely. And we are here, right actually beside your driveway. - Yes. - In this beautiful area where you've got Rhododendrons that are stunning. - [Annette] Well, and you know, they have survived here for over 25 years and I originally had five, but things happen. But these two have survived and some years I've had to water them, but I'm very proud of them, because they came from a friend, the Murphy's Garden Center and he's no longer with us. - Well, you know, it's nice because we are in the middle of spring. And so, you kind of get excited about early spring bloomers and then you kind of start anticipating summer. - [Annette] Exactly. - [Tammy] And mid, to late spring things, we kind of overlook sometimes. - [Annette] Right. And we're so excited when we see that first Daffodil. - [Tammy] Yeah, exactly. - [Annette] Or that Snow Drop, you know, or that first Crocus. But in this area, I have various types of Japanese Maple, and I really, starting this border, have a plant that's called a Harry Lauder walking stick. And it probably is a minimum of 25 years old. They're very slow growers. And I've had to relocate it several times, but it's happy where it is now. And I also have the Crimson Queen, Japanese Maples. I have probably three in this one area. - [Tammy] They're just quite stunning, 'cause they're just so different. - [Annette] This is the Butterfly Japanese Maple. Some of these are, you know, what happens over time. - [Tammy] Right. - [Annette] That we forget what the names are, but I've actually successfully grown several in containers that are in this border. Tried to have some flowering things in the border here. And I even have a Peony that was originally in too much shade, but I unfortunately had to lose some trees in the late winter. - [Tammy] Annette, you say that you don't plan your garden, but boy, we've got some pretty purple going on here. - Well, no, you know, I actually have never drawn out on paper. I've never had a list of what I'm gonna put anywhere. This is my Friendship Iris, from my dear friend, Jerry Anderson, this is called Jesse's Song. - [Tammy] This is beautiful. - [Annette] Isn't it beautiful? And so, every time I look at it, it brings her back to me. She passed away at 100 years of age. - [Tammy] Oh! And so, I didn't make any plans for this garden over here either. I have a plan in there that I'm not really liking. It's that variegated Japanese Solomon's Seal. - [Tammy] I see it. - [Annette] It's trying to take over, but it's a good thing because it keeps the ground hog, and the deer out of there. - [Tammy] So, it has a purpose. - [Annette] Exactly. I try to work with what I know some of these critters. - [Tammy] Don't like. - [Annette] Yeah, but don't say 'never.' - [Tammy] Yeah. - [Annette] Yeah. - [Tammy] And Annette, before we leave this area, talk to me about this, because this is stunning. It looks like a weird. - [Annette] It is kind of weird. And you know, someone said, "Well, I was gonna plant one of those, but it's leaning." That's actually typical. This is a Black Dragon Japanese False Cedar. It's kinda eclectic. - [Tammy] Yeah. - [Annette] I suppose is what I would say about it. But typically, that has been here 15 to 20 years. - [Tammy] Wow. And it's obviously very happy as well. - [Annette] And on that note, I've been here 42. - [Tammy] And you're only 43. - [Annette] I know! But now we are standing right here in the shade of, this is a special tree because there was a garden center in Dixon, Tennessee that gave me this in memory of my husband who passed away. But it came with no name. So, it's Lowry's tree. - [Tammy] Oh, I love it. And it's got little blooms on it. - [Annette] Yeah. - [Tammy] That are pink. - [Annette] There's some people don't want plant Japanese Maples 'cause they come up a lot of places. Okay. Now, like, you know, over into the shaded area, I have some special plants too. For instance, this one is a Baptisia. This is the native Baptisia. And it comes with a its own special story. It probably was from my mother-in-law, and she, and her neighbor would discuss this plant, and decide who had it first on their fence line. And one day, she was a very fine Christian woman, but one day she turned around and found in her little hand, she clutched a seed pod. I had one seed, and here's the plant. That's the native Baptisia. - [Tammy] That's fantastic. - [Annette] I'm trying to create color with my pots that I have put Coleus in over here. See, I have no flowering plants in that because I want it to echo. If you start with all of my Japanese Maple coming around the drive, then you come to this Coleus, and it's, it continually brings that color even onto the path that we're about to go on. - [Tammy] Yeah, it does guide your eye through the garden. - [Annette] It does. - [Tammy] For sure. You've got Peonies that are. - [Annette] I do. - They're exploding. - And this one is an elegant one. And you know, I've got to preserve my names better because these all were put into the ground with names. And now they're gone. Even though this plant has only been in my garden for two years, and this white one over here also. But then, of course, the pink ones back here, that's your traditional Sarah Bernhardt. - [Tammy] Right. - [Annette] The Herbaceous one. But this Japanese Maple right here, is going to grow taller to kind of echo off some of these taller plants back here. And it will also create me some shade here. - [Tammy] So Annette, what other little surprises do you have hidden in this area of your garden? - [Annette] Well, I have what I consider to be a rare Evergreen Dogwood. And I bought it from that wonderful plantsman Don Shadow, and I've had it probably close to 20 years and it blooms like the Kousa. Chinese Kousa Dogwoods. - [Tammy] Right. - [Annette] I'm very proud of it. - [Tammy] And it blooms when in the? - [Annette] Very soon. Very soon. See, but my. - [Tammy] It's got buds on it. - [Annette] Yes. And my Kousas are already blooming in the back garden. And it'll make a little red fruit too, when it's finished blooming. - You know, it's kind of nice to have things that stagger. - Yeah. - In blooms. So as you finish enjoying something, you've got something else to anticipate. - Yeah. And you know, what I've really created other than a monster, is I've created a garden that I want to focus, I have some older, well matured, established trees, and shrubs. And intermingled into them, I find a place to put my other friends. - Yeah. Always room for more friends. - Exactly. This is my mother's Peony. I helped her plant it. - [Tammy] Aww. - [Annette] I never went to her house 'cause she didn't, when it was in bloom, "Annette, come on, let's go look at the Peony." - [Tammy] Awwww. - [Annette] And some sister or an aunt gave it to her. And then when the home was just a house, I went down, and dug it, and brought it here, and it survived. And it's being divided among some of my nieces, and nephews. Yes, and I have her nestled up underneath my favorite Japanese Maple. This is the Coral Bark. And the leaves aren't coral. But when it's all the leaves are off, and in late winter, and it starts to color up and the bark, and especially the little limbs coming out, turn a coral color. And it's got a beautiful fall color also. - [Tammy] How much fun is that? - I don't know, but I lugged it home from a convention somewhere in a five gallon bucket. - [Tammy] Look at it. - [Annette] And it's a wonderful location for the Hostas. - [Tammy] Your Hostas seem to be the happiest I've ever seen. They love it, obviously. - [Annette] Well then, you know, I really haven't done much for them. - [Tammy] Annette, tell me about this Hosta here, because I'm in love with it. I hope I don't end up with this in my purse. - [Annette] Well, I'll give you some legally if you want it. This is a Hosta called Sea Dream, and I've had it for a number of years and I've have got it sited in several different kind of locations. I even have one over in the front beds that's in lots, and lots of sun. This will get a little bit of sun in here. What's making your eye love this is the chartreuse color. - [Tammy] Yes. - [Annette] Because that color is a, something that will blend a lot. It's a unifying color. - [Tammy] Especially against, - [Annette] With all plants. - [Tammy] all these others that are surrounding it. - [Annette] You could put it in the middle of red and purple that somebody didn't like together, but you could put the chartreuse in there, and it brings them to unity. But I have a little collection of miniature Hostas over here. - [Tammy] Now, those are sweet. - [Annette] With my bird bath. - [Tammy] And do you have a favorite of these? - [Annette] Oh, I think. - [Tammy] Because they're all so cute. Like little Barbie Hostas. - [Annette] The curly fries back here, those are some of my favorites. And then the Blue Mouse Ears. - [Tammy] They're just sweet. - [Annette] They are. And they they're very hard. Hardy is, I guess, the word. - [Tammy] This could be the most spectacular Magnolia ever. And I'm from Mississippi, that's saying a lot. - Okay. Well, you know that they say, "The right plant in the right place." And when I planted this, a Macrophylla Big Leaf Magnolia. Some people call it the Cucumber Magnolia. That's been there over 20 years, but I didn't quite come out far enough from the tree canopy. All of the Oaks that are in there behind it. It does draw attention. And I'm glad I have it. - [Tammy] It's stunning. Annette, how can something so beautiful be so stressful? - [Annette] You know, they say, "In everyone's life, a little rain must fall." Well, in every Gardener's life, you might lose a tree, a tree falls. Before this happened, I had two beautiful trees, a Black Gum, and a Hickory Nut tree. They died. And in January, a tree service came, and cut 'em down. And I knew, and I kept trying to tell them, "Don't step in this spot, don't step in." 'Cause you can't see 'em, but there's something very precious under here. - Right. - So, I knew immediately, that what had been a shade garden, was gonna be full sun. And when you are, if you were here at noon, you would see what I mean. So, I looked at the direction of my sun coming up to the east, behind us, the sitting sun over here to the west. And I decided, a pergola could be my, this is a wait, and see game. This might work and it might not work. But the stumps, one stump is underneath the pergola there with that big pot of Hosta sitting on it. That was the Black Gum tree. And so, I positioned the top of it running north and south. So, it would produce me shade in, running east to west in the afternoon. Some of my foundational plantings, my Mahonias, which are not everyone's favorite, are my friend right now. I have some upright Yews that are actually a full shade or a full sun plant. And my Aucubas, Aucubas are gonna survive it. I have the Hydrangea over on the other side. And again, I have a Aucuba over there. So, what I'm having to do now, is see what this summer is gonna do for me. I've already, you can tell, this is not an old established in the front. I have purchased plants for the sun now. - [Tammy] Right. - [Annette] And I have transplanted a lot of the Hostas that were over into the front of this, into pots. And I'm putting them in other places because a Hosta likes a pot. - [Tammy] And they like shade. And unfortunately, when you lose trees like that, - [Annette] Yeah. - [Tammy] You just changed their whole environment. - [Annette] Yeah. I had a vision this time. - [Tammy] Right. - [Annette] I did plan this. - [Tammy] You had to. - [Annette] I had to. And so, I'm getting chill bumps. I had to know where I was going with this. - [Tammy] Yeah. - [Annette] It wasn't grab a plant and plant it. - [Tammy] Right. - [Annette] So, in the back, I have a wonderful Hosta that's monstrous. he's called Gray Ghost. I have a Victory. He's huge. And so, I'm gonna watch this bed all summer. And when winter comes, I hope I can rest knowing that maybe I made the right decisions. - [Tammy] And Annette, that's what I love about your garden, and thank you for this beautiful tour today, is that it is about friendship and sharing. And you have not only shared your plants with others, but you've shared your plants now, with our viewers, and they're gonna love it. So, thank you for being our hostess today. - That's my greatest desire, to share what I know with those I may never see again. And that's been the blessing of the "Volunteer Gardener" for me. All of those garden paths that I've walked, and there's friends in every one of them. - Absolutely. - And thank you that I had my time. - And your favorite friends were free. - Thank you. - Fig trees are one of the best ornamental and edible trees you can grow in your landscape. I'm here with Jeremy Lekich of Nashville Foodscapes. Tell me all about this fig tree. - Yeah. So, this is about 10 years old, this tree here, and it's on a southern facing brick wall, which is a really good spot for a fig. As much sun as possible and thermal mass, right? So that's a brick wall. That's a stone wall. I mean, really just any wall is enough thermal mass to really keep it going. - [Phillipe] I've had some die back on mine a few years back when it got below zero. But other than that, it's been really tough, which is fun. And you've got some of the fruit right there. - Yeah. They're pollinated by microscopic wasps. So every time you eat a fig, you're eating a bunch of my microscopic wasps, which sounds disgusting, but it's actually incredible. - [Phillipe] Yeah. - [Jeremy] And it means that there's some added protein into the fig. - [Phillipe] Yeah. - [Jeremy] But it's an incredible pollinate. So, all the flowers are inside the fruit. The male parasitic wasps don't ever leave. The females travel outside of the fig, and go to other figs. And go inside, and work with the male wasps inside that fig to pollinate. And then you get this delicious fruit. You're never, you know, they're microscopic, so you don't see them. But that's why you don't see these big, beautiful blooms on a fig tree. - [Phillipe] Right. - [Jeremy] Because they're all inside the fruit. - [Phillipe] Right. They just start off as these little kind of miniature figs, and just kind of grow from there. - [Jeremy] Yep, yep. And there's this little hole at the very bottom that you see. And you can see it on this one too. That's where the microscopic wasp travel in and out. - [Phillipe] Very cool. Well, one of the best trees, as far as ornamental and edible, that I think we can grow in this area. - [Jeremy] Absolutely. My favorite variety, I've tested a lot of different varieties. The one that seems to be the best is Chicago Hardy. Because it fruits on first year growth. - [Phillipe] Wow, yeah. - [Jeremy] Which makes a big difference. Because as many people who have figs know, they will die back, right? Especially in a hard winter. And so if we have Chicago Hardy, the first year growth starts producing figs right away, which makes it so that even in a hard year where the fig dies back, you still get good fruit set. - [Phillipe] What's the pruning kind of techniques you use on these? - [Jeremy] Yeah so, figs are almost always, at least here, gonna die back some in the winter. So I usually wait until early spring and to determine where it, how much has died back. And then I cut it right above. Right kind of where it's dead and where it's alive. - Okay. - And you can do that by scratching the branch here, and you can see how it's green underneath, that's the cambium layer. - [Phillipe] Okay. - [Jeremy] So if you ever want to determine whether the fig tree branch is dead or alive, you can do little scratches up and down it to determine where it's dead and where it's alive. If it's dead, it'll be brown underneath. - [Phillipe] Cool. Yeah. So a nice compact ornamental edible tree. - [Jeremy] Yeah. - [Phillipe] Don't forget about Fig trees. - Today I'm gonna introduce you to the concept of green manures. The word manure, back in the olden days, meant fertilizer. Because manure was the only fertilizer. This was so much so that when artificial fertilizers came in, they called 'em artificial manures. But they never used them without real manure. It wasn't until they started using artificial fertilizers without manure, that they had all the problems that they caused by lowering fertility. So, we are going to show you this field of Rye Grain. And I wanna be sure, you know, that I'm not talking about Perennial Rye grass. So this is the Rye Grain that you would make Rye bread out of. And it's sown in the fall, anywhere between, you know, the end of August all the way up through the middle of November. But green manure crops are always grown as a mixture with some other crops. They're not usually grown alone. So in this case, we have Austrian peas. The peas are a legume. And add nitrogen from the air, along with carbon and oxygen. And the Rye Grain helps to break up the soil. This was a field of tomatoes. We pulled the cages off in October, and roughed the ground up a little bit, and simply broadcast the seed over the field. And then, in a small garden, you would just rake it in a little bit to cover the seed. You don't have to do anything else. And you get this beautiful amount of organic material. This is a beautiful patch of Crimson Clover. So this field was a potato field last year. And after we harvested in July, the end of July, I made rows, and planted beans. So there's time for a fall crop of beans after the potatoes. And of course, beans are a legume, which add a valuable nutrient to the soil. We like to grow these Black Coco Turtle beans. And we love to grow Taylor's Dwarf Horticultural bean. When that's quite a mouthful, so we just call 'em October beans because that's when they get harvested. After the last cultivation of the beans, I intersowed with the green manure crop. Again, we used a mixture. This time I had Buckwheat, Turnips, and the Crimson Clover seed. And I broad casted over the field, and then worked in with a harrow. In a garden, you would just sprinkle it on your garden bed, and rake it in. The buckwheat comes up real quickly in the fall, and makes a white carpet of flowers. But it's killed by the frost. Buckwheat is an amazing plant in that it can use limestone, and make the calcium available for the next crop, lots better than other crops can do. So, when we put limestone on our fields, we're just sprinkling a rock dust on the fields. Most plants can't use that, but Buckwheat can liberate the calcium from this and have it available for the next crop. Clovers and other legumes have to have available calcium to thrive well. After the buckwheat is gone, the field turns into turnip. And it's just covered in a turnip crop. Turnips are the yellow flowers. You can see a few of these yellow flowers left over. Most of the turnips were harvested, and given to our CSA members. Turnips work with another very important element. And that is sulfur. So sulfur is a catalyst in many biological activities. It means that if it's present those things happen and if sulfur's not present, it doesn't happen. So we have to have sulfur in our soils, and the turnips work with the sulfur. Now earthworms really love sulfur. And a lot of times when we pull up a turnip, there'll be earthworms on the turnip. We love growing turnips or their cousins, Dikon radish. And these, then thrive in the fall after the frost. But before winter. During the winter there's not much happening. But then in the spring, boom, up comes the Crimson Clover ready to do its thing. And so, it grows all March and April. And now at the end of April, it's just beginning to flower. Here you can see some of the Crimson Clover flowers. And this is when we would, gonna mow it, and turn it back into the soil. Wow, look at those worms. Yeah. So you can sort of see the crumbly nature of the soil. There's an old potato from last year's potato crop right there. You see that little white thing right there? On that root here, that little white thing is actual nitrogen. And this is a nitrogen from the air that comes into the soil through the legume crops. And it is the best nitrogen for growing your crops. Gardeners really want to have this kind of nitrogen. It really makes for good soils. Makes for really good crops. This is the best and most natural way to get that valuable nitrogen into your garden. Here we have the tail end of a beautiful and bountiful kale crop. The Kale collards were sewn at the end of August, August 27th, in this case, Dutifully hoed and harvested. And then in the late October, the last cultivation with the tractors, I intersowed wheat, rye, and peas. So these crops then grow up as a green manure crop, but they don't interfere at all with the crop of kale. There are many reasons to grow a green manure crop. They're also called cover crops because they keep the ground covered. So, instead of this field being bare all winter, it's had these plants growing on it. Well, these plants were all sequestering carbon, oxygen, hydrogen, and nitrogen from the atmosphere and bringing it into the soil. Remember that a plant is made up of those four elements to the extent of about 95% of it. So, they're really important to have these things in our soil, in an available form for our crop. So there's another reason to grow cover crops. And that is if this field was bare, those nutrients would wash away. By having the cover crops growing here, all of the extra nutrients from the compost that we put on when we were growing our tomatoes, and potatoes, and beans, and kale, and such. That is all saved because the clover, and peas, and rye suck it up, and it doesn't wash away and leech out. So we're preserving those nutrients to help our next crops. An obvious benefit of green manure crops is the sheer mass of organic material that we're gonna be plowing back into this garden. It'll be in the matter of tons. And of course, organic matter is the heart of organic gardening. Another benefit to growing cover crops is all of the beautiful things that are happening invisibly under the soil. So again, we can dig up a little bit of these crops and see what it looks like here. Wow. Well here's, look what I found. This is Vetch. This is another legume that we plant in here with the rye. Both the Vetch and the peas are climbing plants. They like to climb with these little tendrils that they have, and they climb up the rye stalks. So one thing that we love about rye is the massive amount of roots that it has. And those roots then finally divide the soil and make all these little fine crumbs. And so, when the soil is crumbly, it's easier for the plant roots to get in through it. The nutrients are more available, and maybe most importantly, it drains excess moisture during wet weather, but holds moisture when the weather turns dry. So all of these benefits come from a very small investment in these tiny seeds. Green manure cover crops also attract beneficial insects. And lastly, there's another reason that I love to grow cover crop, because they're simply just so pretty to look at. - [Announcer] For inspiring garden tours, growing tips, and garden projects, visit our website at volunteergardener.org, or on YouTube at the "Volunteer Gardner" channel and like us on Facebook.
July 21, 2022
Season 31 | Episode 01
A person's garden can become a sentimental space over time. That holds true for our host Annette Shrader. Join Tammy Algood on a stroll of Annette's Friendships Garden, filled with plants connected to family and friends over time. Jeff Poppen walks us through his large production field that's covered in green manure crops. We'll learn what he plants and how each contributes to soil health.
Watch Clips from this Episode
Over time, a person's garden becomes a sentimental space. That certainly holds true for host Annette Shrader's garden. It is brimming with plants that symbolize friendships. Co-host Tammy Algood leads us on a stroll through well-established beds, plus a spot that is getting re-imagined.