- [Lauren] On this "Volunteer Gardener," Julie Berbiglia visits, McGruder Community Garden, where neighbors grow healthy food and enjoy learning together. Tammy Algood finds so many wonderful themed gardens, plus a collection of memorabilia that makes each space so special for these ambitious and passionate homeowners. Let's tour a home garden with themed spaces that is likely different than any you've seen before. - We're at an Asian garden that is quite stunning with my friend Sheree Hidalgo. Sheree, this is your baby. - It is, it is. - You've nurtured this from nothing to this. - [Sheree] From nothing to flat land that ran out to the shop, this straight flat land we've moved in a lot of dirt, a lot of trees, pathways, these Japanese maples. - [Tammy] That are perfect for an Asian garden. - [Sheree] It is, it is. And I propagated these, that's one of the, these are my babies, I've pruned them over the years. They're just different shapes of the same tree, but then this is the Acer Japanese maple. And you know, it just provides the covers and the colors that I love as part of this garden. - [Tammy] Well, what I like about this is it's peaceful. - It is. - But it's also active because it's got lots of things going on in the garden. - It does, it does, it does. The pathways make it accessible. And there's a little secret gardens throughout this whole area. So, you know, you can step over the mound. You can see the, and ferns, I love ferns. Obviously you can see 'em hostas, all the color that I try to bring into the gardens. It's peaceful for me. And like you said, it's active because then you can cut over it in front of the pond, over the bridge. And it's just something that I enjoy doing almost every day. Of course you have to with this kind of garden, you have to maintain it. - It's a moving changing garden. - It is, it is. - [Tammy] So you got this great little bridge here, that comes over your pond. - I do. - It, yes, and it's peaceful because you can hear the water moving. And I try to incorporate as many annuals in here to add some color, but the calla lily's seed themselves. - Yeah. - So, you know, those came in without me having to touch 'em. - Aren't those the best kind? - They are, they are. And then last year I kinda played with this. This is one of those white trumpet vines. And he popped up and I thought, well, you know, instead of pulling him out because he doesn't belong here, I just ran him up this little arbor thing, and he will continue to put off white blooms throughout the summer. So part of the design that I like, part of the Asian garden is that I can find some of these random concrete pieces. And we put electric in all of them. So at night there's these random lighting fixtures out here that adds all this subdued lighting, which is, it's very sweet and it's very touching. - [Tammy] Well, Sheree, 'cause you wanna enjoy your yard and garden all the time. - I do. - Not just in the daytime. - Yeah. - Sit in the bench and listen to the water and have coffee or a drink, it's all good. - So let's go over and see how you've also incorporated house plants. - [Sheree] Yes. - [Tammy] You've got ups and downs. - I do, it's dimensional. - And part of your ups and downs incorporates plants that you just kind of plop in place. - I do, I do. - To add some interest. - [Sheree] Part of it is because they won't survive during the winter so I have to move them in. But also because like you said, they provide the flow that I always like to have, the highs and the lows. - [Tammy] And you've even done that with your trellising, to kind of. - Right, right. These of course are natural ferns and the hostas are natural, they're not house plants. But I do, you'll see a lot of house plants over here that I've tried to work into the gardens. - [Tammy] A railroad garden. I don't think I've ever been to a railroad garden. - Well, you have now, you have now. I grew up close to a railroad train, like a half a block from a railroad. And so you'd listen to the sounds of the trains coming through every day and play on the tracks. So I had this vision in my head of what a garden would look like around all of this stuff that I've collected over the years, all the train memorabilia. So it began with just by trying and find the right pieces and moving the land. You know, bringing in enough earth to kinda give it the elevations that I'm looking for, and to be able to incorporate the pond. - [Tammy] I feel like that I'm in an old abandoned station and mother nature's just kind of taking it over beautifully. - [Sheree] It has, and you know, I mean, so next year when you're out here, you're gonna see that I'm changed it. 'Cause that big plant right there is coming out, is too big. So I mean, mother nature has a way of doing things that you never really expected her to do with some of these plants. So, you know, blueberry bushes, they thrive. My grandkids get out here and they pick blueberries until like they don't want anymore blueberries. And then the blue jays take over. - You've got quite a bit of memorabilia that adds different levels of interest to this garden. So when you first started collecting, did you have this garden in mind? - I did not. What happens is when you have big pieces like this railroad crossing or some of the signs, the lights that flash, you don't have room for it in your house. So, and they're outdoor pieces. - Right. - So, why not build a garden around it? I mean, honestly, and it's been treasurer to my heart being around railroads, that it was easy to design. And I love water, I love the moving water. So it's easier for me to create and design this. And then every year it changes, it modifies itself. You know, Harry and I built this train depot. We sit out there and we have drinks and we have coffee and we just enjoy the sound of nature around us every day. He put in the bubble rock garden and that's so peaceful, and he made it, I mean, we've made it. But he's got the tools to be able to make it, where you hear the water just kind of boiling off of the rocks. So it's, you know, it's whatever you want to do in your garden. That's what I wanted to do in my garden. And it's just been perfect for me to stay busy. - Well anything that brings back memories, of your childhood. - Yes. - Is just wonderful in a garden. - It is. - Because that's where usually most of us as kids first started gardening with our parents. - It's exactly right, and grandparents, yeah. My grandmother's the one that got me started in gardening and I'm thankful for that every day, because it's a passion that I have. - Well, you can tell, it's quite stunning. - Thank you. - And I love the way you've incorporated new and old together. - Yes, it is. - It's beautiful. - [Sheree] A lot of old pieces out here. I've come by some of these railroad pieces by diving into dumpsters because somebody threw something away, and I saw something I recognized in the dumpster sticking out and it's like, that looks like a railroad sign. I think I'm gonna have to go check that out. Can't help it, see it, oh yeah, I think I need to take that home with me. So it's all been good, it all adds to the collection. - It's got a place in your garden, doesn't it? - It does, it does, it does. - Well, I normally have an occasional turtle in my yard, but you have some characters in your yard and garden that are quite different from mine. - I do, you know, and I really, really enjoy my characters. They're one of a kind. No, well, there's thousands across the country probably, but for me they're one of a kind. It was a collection that I started several years ago and my husband, we buy 'em in various conditions. Normally definitely needing restoring. And so he does all the labor intensive work. He does, you know, the striping of his arms and I do some of the detailed work. But you know, it's one of those things that, because of the colors and McDonald's brings back some kind of nostalgic, feeling for me. - Yes. - [Sheree] The first one I ever collected was this Ronald that's over here with the signs, the arch signs. And it just started there. I don't know, you know. - Well it's just fun. - It is fun. - You know, I've never been to a garden where Ronald has greeted me on my entrance to the garden. - That's right, that's right. - Well, like I said, I've got a Ronald's, I've got Ronald junior, I have Ronnie, I have Ron. I mean, I'll just come up with any combination of Ron names and he's out here, he's out here. - I believe it. I believe it. - Yes, yes. - Well, what's nice about it is, is that it's different. - It is different, and that's kind of the bottom line to my gardening is what I enjoy doing. It's, you know, I have the traditional plants that a lot of people have with the bloomers, the perennials, the annuals, I do a lot of that. But a lot of it is just what I enjoy with adding things to the garden for attraction. You know, the old truck, it's a 47 Ford truck that came out of a junkyard. They hauled it up here for me I started decorating around it. So you see the things that I've got attached to the truck now, it's a flower truck basically. It's part of the design in my head 'cause we like old things. - Yes. - [Sheree] And my husband restores and builds old cars and old gas pumps. And we have a bunch of this stuff all the way around the house. It's just something that keeps us actively busy. We enjoy it a lot, we enjoy being around it. So, and our friends enjoy it, our family enjoys it. So, you know, it's something that's, it's a good for all of us. - [Tammy] Well, thank you for letting us come and see your collections. I'm gonna add a S to that because you've got so many of them. It's just been a treasure trove of artifacts from my childhood, and I so appreciate the fun of it. - Me too, yes. - [Both] Good. - And it's great to share it with you and other people enjoy gardening and collecting. - Yeah, you've incorporated them both. It's perfect. - Yes, yes, I think so. I enjoy it. - I am thrilled to be at the CE McGruder Community Garden in North Nashville today. A wonderful place where neighbors get together, share how to grow food, enjoy it together. And really just have a wonderful time in this beautiful place. We are so happy to be here with Lathram Berry, who is with the Nashville Food Project. And this is a gorgeous community garden right here in the middle of the neighborhood on, I don't know whose property? - Yeah, so this is Metro Nashville Public Schools property. There are many stakeholders that have their hands in the mix in this space. We've been here since 2014, helping steward it. - [Julie] It's such a beautiful food garden and more and more, we hear all kinds of tales of agriculture. So why is this so important to have in the neighborhood? - [Lathram] Yeah, so this has been a resource for the community since 2009. And it started from a few folks that lived in the neighborhood, they lived two blocks down the street, and was their idea. And so it was their solution to the fact that we are existing in North Nashville, which is a neighborhood experiencing food apartheid. It's a food desert that doesn't have access to land. - [Julie] You're growing some wonderful things. - [Lathram] So right now we have a Three Sisters garden growing with corn beans and squash. We have okra and eggplant, tomatoes. We got three kinds of tomatoes growing. We're trying to use every square inch of space right now. We even have a mushroom patch up front that we're trying some mushrooms and some wood chips. - [Julie] Do you all have individual plots, is it a group? Is it managed, how does this work? - Yeah. So basically at the beginning of the season, we have 25 people that sign up. We're prioritize people that live in this neighborhood of North Nashville, but also everyone deserves access to land. And so we have folks that come from other places too. And they sign up for a workday. So they sign up for one workday a week and then they come work and take home veggies. So it's almost like a work trade with learning and community a part of that. - I imagine that one of the benefits out here is gardeners learning from each other. - Totally, that happens all of the time. We actually have one gardener who's an arborist, nutritionist, dieticians, herbalist. - [Julie] Now all this yummy produce, what happens to it? - [Lathram] Yes, that's a great question. So first and foremost, it goes to the people that are growing it. And so the 25 folks that come here throughout the week, they take that produce home and we share recipes with each other, recipes that our grandmas make and our moms make. We swap those. And then the next step is usually going to support some of the seniors that get commodity food boxes out of the McGruder Center. The McGruder Center actually has a food pantry. So we support that sometimes. And then we also will do a free stand up front because everyone deserves access to food that they want, whether they are contributing to that growing process or not, so we want to share it with everyone that we can. And then last stop, if we ever have leftovers, we'll either take to the community fridge off on Buchanan or we'll take back to our kitchen to incorporate into our meals. - What a fun way to get great food to everybody. Now I wanna talk to some of your gardeners, so let's go meet them. - Sounds great. - [Julie] Coran, I love being out in this garden and I understand you're a certified herbalist? - Yes, I am. - So I want you to tell me about something really cool, I can do with elderberries. - Okay, so, elderberry is one of my favorite herbs. It really helps when it comes to boosting your immune system, getting rid of any cold or fevers, and kinda just strengthening everything inside of the body. One of my favorite things to do with this is kind to mix it with my honey. A lot of the nutrients and toxins from the honey pull out a lot of the products from the elderberry. So it kinda makes the elderberry honey. And I like to use it a lot with some of my other teas. For example, if I'm making a lavender tea to help with sleep and I wanna mix some of my elderberry honey with it, it just, it overall is really healthy for you. And it's actually really delicious. - Oh, this is great, I am going to enjoy my elderberries so much more this year knowing that. - Hmm, oh, good. - John and Margaret Beach, I'm so excited to meet you because I know you're integral to this garden getting started. - Yeah. - So tell me a little bit about how you got started with it. - Yes. - Well, it started off as we as our neighborhood watch program, and we are the street leaders on 25th avenue north. So we'd heard they were gonna do something about this old school building. And so we inquired what was going on, to find out Matthew Walker want to make a resource center out of it. And so Matthew Walker and director Ms. Tracy Henderson met with us in the community and we decided, said, okay, what we will do. And she sat down, made programs up and all, brought all kinda programs into the building. And then went in as advisory council meeting, she said, "You know, other resource center have a community garden, would y'all be interested in?" And said, "Well, we might." She said, "I'ma inquire about it." And she found out what the situation was and how to set one up. And we had an for advisory council meeting. We said, "Okay, we'll go with it." And then she said, "Well, how we gonna?" I said, "I don't nothing about no garden." And so we had a lady that taught economics at McGavock High School. And, oh, she said, "Well, I know some people at TSU "probably could help you all on this." And sure, she contacted them. And they came over and we sat down and talked. And they came out and plowed that field up out there, almost over the half of the field, and marked it off for us and showed us how to plant seeds, etcetera cetera, and how to water it. And said, "It's in y'all's hands so y'all take care of it." But we didn't have no tools. So Ms. Henderson found some money and said, "Well, we need some tools "but we need somebody to go get 'em." So I had old truck, I said, "I'll go get 'em." So went out to, I believe it's Loews, way out on Nolensville road. And, I could a pull a boy out that way somewhere, and we loaded up, and brought all the tools here. You name it, picks, you name whatever the shovels and all that. And we all got out there and started working and weeding the garden and everything. And a tremendous crop began to grow. And we been to harvest the crops. And we would take and set inside the center there. And as people come to the center on programs and things, we have bags there, if they wanted one, they could take it. And also the community that was in the community could not make it, elder people, we would bag up stuff and carry then and they could not come to the center. The Nashville Food Project came in and began to help us. And we had two, I think, two directions since then that came in and showed us how to plant, and help the garden move forward. And look at it now, we see it's beautiful. And our people asking, what can they do? You know, to come down. A lady other day asked how she could involved. And I told her just check in often and sign up. I'm really pleased with it, I'm happy. And what it ever since it started, my wife and I, we just been working along with everybody they sent in here. And everybody seems to fall in love with us and look after us when we come down. We both in our 80s now, so everybody's looking out for us, but we still involved in, yes siree. - [Julie] What a fun, fun place. Now I can't help but ask, Margaret, what is your favorite vegetable or fruit outta the garden? - Just everything, I love everything in here. I'm gonna be naming all the vegetables in the garden. 'Cause I'm actually from the country so that's we had, you know, we grew the garden in the country. So it was wonderful to be able to just come and pick and get these vegetables, and I cook 'em and he eats them. - Right, yeah, so. - Yes, it's beautiful to have it, you know, to have it here in our community. - [John] We love to come down to work in here and we meet new people and we enjoy. So our goal is just keep doing what we can, just keep this garden prosperous. - It's mid-September, the dog days of summer are passed and the weather has finally cooled off just a little bit. It's much more comfortable to be out in the garden. And this is a great time of year to divide some of your heartier perennials like hostas and daylilies. So let's get to digging. So this hosta, as much as I like it has actually grown so large now that it's taking over a pretty good bit of the path by the end of the summer. So I thought today, I would show you how to dig and divide a big hosta like this one, which we can get two or three plants out of probably. And all you really have to do is get it out of the ground. And we're going to divide it actually with this shovel, but I'm gonna show you how to find a spot here where there's sort of a natural break in the plant. And inevitably, we will probably lose a few eyes here and there. But you can kind of dig through here, we'll lose a few leaves. And see where there's sort of a natural break between different pieces of the clump. And really all you're going to do is once you've gotten your shovel situated in there, is give it a good cut and you'll have to do this two or three times. You'll see that I didn't choose to cut the foliage back before I did this, because I actually wanna leave at least some of the foliage intact. Okay, so we divided the plant in half first to make it a little more easy to move. And now I have divided it in half again. So I've actually gotten four plants out of one. This is a hosta called Gold Standard. It's an older variety, but very vigorous and has performed extremely well in the garden, which is why it's gotten so large that I've had to divide it now. So these could go straight into the garden just the way they are, just plant them back, back to the same dirt level that they were in the ground before. All of these cut marks will heal and actually form new buds underground, and next spring they'll come back up just like they were. I don't have a place quite ready yet for these in the garden, so I'm going to pot them. Now I use a potting mix, I kinda blend my own. I buy several things and blend it together for a couple of reasons. This is Pro Mix, which you can buy in big 3 and 1/2 or 3.8 cubic foot bales at your garden centers. But Pro Mix, number one is kind of expensive. And number two, tends to stay wetter than I really like for a potting mix to stay. So what I do is take my Pro Mix and I blend it at about 50, 50 by volume with soil conditioner or pine fines. So this is very coarse and very gritty. And that opens the other potting mix up just a little bit more. It makes it drain better. And especially in the winter, if I'm over wintering things in pots outdoors, drainage is really essential. You don't want the bottom of the two or three inches of the pot, to sit and just be constantly wet. Now, the other thing that I have here is a little bit of fertilizer. This is an organic fertilizer, it's a dry granule and the nutrient content is fairly low. It's a 3, 5, 7, so only 3% nitrogen. We don't wanna force anything to really grow this time of year, but I do want to feed the roots as they're getting reestablished. So I blend these three things together about 50 50 on the potting mix and the pine fines. And then in a tub this size, which is about a 10 or 12 gallon nursery container, I put about two cups of the fertilizer in, and I blend it all thoroughly with a shovel from top to bottom and make sure that it's really well stirred. So all we have to do now is fill our pot about a third full. We'll take our hosta division, be a little much there, place it down in the pot, it may not be perfectly centered but that's okay for what I'm doing here. And you'll notice that I actually have it setting a little bit deep down in the pot. As I fill in around this, I want to make sure that everywhere I cut is covered. Because is this hostas settles back into its new home into this pot and begins to root out, I want that crown to be protected from the elements. It's also important since this hosta may over winter in a pot outdoors, that that crown be covered so that we don't incur freeze damage during the winter months. So all I'm going to do, it's not going to be perfectly straight up and down, that's okay. Because all of this foliage as soon as we have a frost is going to be gone anyway. So as easy as it is to divide hostas, it's also just as easy to do daylilies. This is a large clump that is in an area that I'm getting ready to redo. So I need to move these plants out of the way. And basically all you have to do just like with the hosta, is get this out of the ground. And I wouldn't have to divide this plant. It is a large plant, but it's a variety that I like. And it's one that I wouldn't mind having more of. So this is an opportunity for me to make more plants out of this one. But it could go back in the ground just like this, and just be allowed to be a big mature clump of daylilies. So we're doing the same thing, looking for sort of a natural division within the plant. We're just gonna keep pushing on the shovel until it goes through. May need a little help from a foot. But, you're basically just going to divide like that, one plant quickly becomes two. And then if you want to go even further, on this one I don't think I will. I have two nice sized divisions here. But if you wanted to go further, you actually could just come right through here with the shovel again and divide this into quarters. And you'd actually end up with four plants. So if you're looking for some things to do in the garden on one of these nice fall days, dividing and transplanting of some of your toughest perennials like hostas, daylilies, peonies, iris, all of those old garden stalwarts. They can all be dug and divided this time of year with no ill effects. And in fact, getting them reestablished in the fall often is better than trying to do your division and your transplanting in the spring, when they're getting ready to try to grow early. So you can make many out of one and fill your garden with beautiful things. - [Lauren] 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.
September 01, 2022
Season 31 | Episode 04
On this Volunteer Gardener, Julie Berbiglia visits McGruder community garden where neighbors grow healthy food, and enjoy learning together. Tammy Algood finds so many wonderful themed gardens, plus a collection of memorabilia that makes each space special for the pair of ambitious, passionate homeowners. Troy Marden demonstrates how to divide some hardy perennials.
Watch Clips from this Episode
Pretty garden with a personal touch
There are so many wonderful themed garden spaces to see in the landscape of a couple of ambitious, creative and passionate homeowners. There's an Asian garden, a Railroad garden, and a couple of vintage areas featuring antique gas pumps, a beloved old truck, and Ronald McDonald pieces from yesteryear.