- [Announcer] This backyard garden is certainly a spectacular site, and it's a pollinator paradise. Julie Berbiglia spotlights many of the specimens found here that support hummingbirds, bees and butterflies. Troy Marden shares some of his favorite trees for fall color, and Sheri Gramer discovers a group of folks who are all about tomatoes. Together, they choose varieties to grow for the season. Then they gather for tasting and evaluation. We'll see what's growing. Come along. This garden provides sufficient food and habitat for a whole host of beneficial insects. - Native gardens can be so beautiful. They're not the limited palette that you might have been thinking. And to prove that to you today, I am visiting in this gorgeous hillside garden tucked behind a house in Nashville. Well, I wanna start here in this beautiful area, where we have purples and blues and some yellows. And we have Donnie Bryan here, who is quite the native plant aficionado. So tell me about this beautiful plant, Donnie. - This is hoary vervain. It's in the verbena family and it blooms from the bottom up. So it has quite a bit more time to go. I've seen the hummingbirds on it. The bees love it. They love it. And this is native petunia. It's the prairie petunia. I also have the Carolina petunia that's up in the woods. So two varieties of that. On the trellis and tower there is our passion vine, which is one of the native state flowers of Tennessee. I love getting that started, and it's already fruiting, I see. And then on down is the section of Partridge peas. And I love this plant because it blooms for so long. It's been blooming now for about five weeks, and it's always full of bees. And I also see the butterflies and hummingbirds all around it. So, these are some of the pollinator favorites here. - And then there's this lovely guy. - Oh, yes. This is slender dayflower. And it's also called white mouth dayflower. And it shouldn't ever be confused with the lookalike called Asiatic dayflower, which has a different leaf placement and a less, a little bit less significant flower. - [Julie] Donnie, you have this beautiful hyssop here, and I know it's not native. So explain to me how it fits into your garden vision. - [Donnie] Okay, yes, Anise hyssop is a native plant. It's not native to Tennessee, but it's used in a lot of pollinator gardens because it's so loved by bees, hummingbirds and butterflies. They all really like Anise hyssop. - [Julie] And then making a really nice color combination here, you've got these different coneflowers. - [Donnie] Yes. The taller is yellow coneflower, also called gray headed coneflower, because when it first comes in, the center of it is a gray, a light gray color, and it finally goes dark. And then lower down front is the Missouri coneflower. And the Missouri coneflower is new to me this year. - [Julie] This sort of floppy bush with the tiny little blooms, I love it. - [Donnie] Yes, this is the American beautyberry bush. And I love this. When everything is gone dormant and leaves are all gone and flowers are gone, there's a spray of red-violet berries that looks like a fireworks exploded. And of course, the birds enjoy those until they're gone. - Well, this has got to be a bird favorite. - I love it. It's one of my favorites. This is a Cardinal flower. It's also called red Lobelia. Hummers love it, because it's a tubular flower, and the bees love it and the butterflies love it. So it's a win, win, win. - So I love all the ferns up here in the woods. And this is a Christmas fern? - It's a Christmas fern. It's called a Christmas fern because it's still pretty and green and lush around Christmastime. So it pretty much stays green most of the winter. Mine came from Monticello. - [Julie] Well, it's absolutely gorgeous. And then, explain about this part that's turning brown. - [Donnie] Oh yes. It's the spores. That's the way it reproduces. And they're on the back of the fern. And so that's what's happening here. It's seeding. And then after these spread, this is going to come on out a little more. - I just love the look, the texture, and the feel of this plant. - Yes. I love it. This is River oats. Some people call it Inland oats. And it's a native sea oats that comes back every year. It spreads rapidly, and it's good for places where other things don't do as well. It'll grow in the sun or in the shade. It's not picky about that. - [Julie] And it is fairly deer-resistant. - [Donnie] Yes, yes it is. And this looks really pretty in dried arrangements when it does dry out, I've hung some of them up and used them in the fall to decorate. - Not all of us have such an amazing backyard area, but we all have little pockets here and there. And you've got this beautiful little pollinator garden right on the street. - Yes. It doesn't take a large space. Any small space will do. I mean, here, I've been able to offer up milkweed. This is swamp milkweed, and this is more of the yellow coneflowers. And I have butterfly weed. This is my first year not to have monarchs, but I haven't given up. They came very late last year. And then this is blanket flower. That's a prairie plant, that is probably in the lower 48 states now because it ends up in a lot of wildflower seeds. - What you have done here, Donnie, I know, has been such a pleasure to you, and to everybody who sees it. - Yes, it's been very rewarding. I follow the motto of the Wild Ones group, that says, "Healing the Earth one yard at a time." - Wow. Well, know what? All of us can have these kind of wonderful experiences like Donnie does every day. We can have butterflies and bees and birds and other little wildlife running through our gardens. It's just a matter of picking out the kind of things that they want, as well as the kind of things you want. And you, too, can have a beautiful wildlife paradise. - You know, when the summer heat finally breaks, and we start to get cooler fall weather, I always start thinking about fall color in the garden and in the bigger landscape. Here in middle Tennessee, where I live, of course, we have lots of hills, lots of trees. And most of our state really is pretty heavily forested and we get great fall color in a lot of locations. So, I was thinking about, as I was walking through Bates Nursery this morning, trees for fall color and good varieties to plant in your home landscapes. One of my favorites is this October Glory maple that's right here behind me. These are just beginning to color up, but within the next two to three weeks, they will turn beautiful, brilliant, crimson red, and they will hold this color for at least six weeks, and sometimes almost two months. Usually by the middle to end of October, they're in full color. Sometimes they'll still be in full leaf and full color Thanksgiving, and even on into the first week of December. One of our native trees that is really great for fall color and spring blooms is the dogwood. Right here, we have several nice specimens. Again, beginning to come into some fall color. You can see that they've already set their flower buds for next spring. Over the course, again, of the next two to three weeks here in mid-October, these will turn just deep, ruby red and hang onto that color for maybe as long as a month before they drop their leaves. Autumn Blaze maple is actually a hybrid maple between red maple and silver maple. And you can see here that it is starting to get its red fall color. But if I turn this leaf over, you'll see the silver backside of the silver maple influence on this. The nice thing about this tree is it has the strength of a red maple. It doesn't break up as easily in the wind as the silver maples do. But it has the growth rate more of a silver maple. So in a good year, you'll get sometimes three or four feet of growth out of this. And again, really nice fall color. Same goes for sweetgum. And this particular variety, you can see, is very tall and skinny. And this is a cultivar called Slender Silhouette. Now a regular sweetgum is going to become a large shade tree. It's also going to get gorgeous red, orange, and yellow combination fall color. Slender Silhouette will get the same fall color, but if you have a place that's a little bit tighter in the yard, next to a driveway or something, this is a really nice option for a smaller space, because it will grow 20 or 30 feet tall and only about six to eight feet wide. It will just be a column of green during the summer and a column of red, orange, and yellow in the fall. Another favorite native of mine is the black gum, and this wildfire black gum was chosen particularly for its fall color. Black gum is one of our toughest native trees. It will grow in almost any conditions. Where you find it in the wild, a lot of times, it's in very dry locations. It will also take a little bit more moisture. A nice, fast-growing tree once it's established, but again, good and sturdy. And on some of these newer selections, like wildfire and some of the others, really spectacular fall color, brilliant, brilliant red, and again, chosen for the length of time that it holds onto those red leaves. So if you're looking for fall color in your landscape, in your garden, if you need some good shade trees that will give you some color in the fall, these are all great choices. The dogwood, a little smaller, more ornamental choice, Japanese maples would be the same way. So there are a lot of options out there, and I'm sure you'll be able to find something that brings beauty to your yard. - When I heard there was a tomato club in my area, I had to come check it out. We're in Smyrna, Tennessee, where they're growing these test tomatoes. We're standing in a high-yielding tomato patch at the home of Sam and Kay Clark. Hey guys. - Hello! - Can you tell me what you got going on here? - We have some tomatoes that were in a club that we're part of. Jennifer and Jeff Harvey started the club, and we've been just kind of, well, we've been members for five years. - Is that a spinoff of another garden club? - No, no. It is just several couples got together. We have about 15 people in total that have gotten together and just like to share tomatoes, as far as the response we've gotten in terms of, if we like the tomato, if we don't like the tomato. And we've ordered in several tomatoes that we would not normally have gotten. We order 'em through mail order, that kind of thing. And in December, we'll order out the tomatoes, everybody gets mailed a little packet, and then we'll grow seedlings. Probably about March, April, March, sometime in there, we'll exchange the seedlings at a nice little potluck lunch, and then we will grow 'em over the course of the summer. And then late July, typically when all of 'em are coming in real well, we'll get together and then have another little social gathering. And we'll rate the tomatoes as to if we liked them, did not like 'em, that kind of thing. - Are all the members growing the same group of tomatoes, so you can do comparisons of how they did? - Right. - Okay, I gotcha now. - Everybody grows the same tomatoes. Some people have gardens like this. Some people have just a condo, with a few pots that they'll grow 'em in. And so it's a variety of people, in terms of who are members. - [Sheri] Well, I can't wait to see what we've got going on down this patch. And so you've got some, or found some real winners and some real losers, huh? - Yeah, exactly. We have one of the classifications is, does it taste earthy? That means it's terrible. - [Sheri] Okay. All right. - It's code for terrible. But we have some really good ones we've tried out, some striped Romas, among others, that we really, really like. And we've also continued to keep our heirloom tomatoes passed down from generations, in our particular family, anyway. And we've been doing this since we were kids, as far as growing tomatoes. You grew up with a garden, you just kind of stayed with a garden. - [Sheri] So one of my favorite aromas is tomatoes, plants, the plants. I love the pungent smell, always have. What are we standing in front of here right now? - This is a Riesentraube throb. It's one that we gathered through the tomato club itself. And it's proved to be a nice tomato. - I noticed that they kind of grow in a cluster, almost like you'd see at the grocery store, as opposed to an individual longer branch. - [Sam] Right, you can pick these up at Publix. - [Sheri] I doubt it. I doubt it. - Yes, they're very nice. They're very nice. - Great. - Great for BLTs. - Okay, one of my favorite things. All right, let's go see what else you've got in this row. - Okay. - This is a Speckled Roma. And you can see, it looks like a regular Roma, only down here on the bottom, you can see there's some stripes on it. Whatever, I'll pick this one off right here. This looks like this right here. And they're very, very nice. We've really enjoyed these. - [Sheri] That's actually very pretty. - It is a pretty tomato. - [Sheri] Is the fruit red or is it yellow? - [Sam] It's a combination. - [Sheri] Okay. - [Sam] The stripes are yellow and the fruit itself is red. - [Sheri] Tell me about your process of planting tomatoes. Do you, how early are you planting your plants? - [Sam] We planted these, what? - [Kay] May. - [Sam] May, June, around in there. - [Sheri] Okay. - [Sam] And she has a little something she does to 'em. She puts some nitrogenous, uh- - [Kay] I put Epsom salt. - [Sam] Epsom salt in 'em. And what- - [Kay] Aspirin. - [Sheri] In the ground? - [Sam] In the ground, with the tomato, and kinda stir that around, so that roots don't make contact with it. - [Sheri] Okay. - And then one thing that people don't do a lot of times, that is well, this right here, if this was a tomato plant itself, you would turn around and pop these off, the extras off, - [Sheri] Correct. and plant the whole tomato as deep as you can, because it grows. Tomato's one of those plants that will propagate roots all up and down. You see these little furry stickers on the side? That will actually become a root. - [Sheri] So it makes it stronger in the ground, if you plant it deep. - Exactly, and it makes it where it's more apt to survive a dry spell, that kind of thing. - [Sheri] Fertilization, what are you using? - Just your basic 10-10-10. - [Sheri] And I noticed you use your grass clippings. - Right. The grass clippings, we use those because it holds moisture, you can walk in the garden year round, no problem. And at the end of the year, I'll take the tomatoes up and the cages up, and then turn around and till the whole thing under. And this soil wasn't that good when we first moved here, and over the time, we've made it what it is. It's gotten real fertile. - [Sheri] All right, let's go up the patch here and see what else we can find. I see where this tomato gets its name. What is it called? - [Sam] Champagne bubbles. - It's such a cute, cute tomato plant. I love the size. It's almost between a cherry tomato and a regular tomato. - [Sam] And it's real nice, because you can just take the tomato and drop it on a salad, that kind of thing. We're anxious to actually start eating on this one. We haven't done any, they hadn't ripened yet. And as a result, we haven't been able to eat any of the tomatoes. But- - [Sheri] Do you consider this yellow ripe, then, down there? - [Kay] Yes, we do. - [Sheri] Okay. - [Sam] Oh yeah. Those are just about ready down there. - [Sheri] Okay. And the fruit's yellow on the inside, I'm assuming? - [Sam] Right. - [Sheri] So, go ahead. - [Sam] And it's low acid. - [Sheri] Oh, okay. - [Sam] Which is nice. - [Sheri] And I see some soaker hoses throughout. So you under-the-plant water and not overhead water, correct? - [Sam] Right, under-the-plant soak, that way, you don't lose a lot of the moisture from the sun, and that kind of thing. This is the first year we've actually used this soaker hose in here. We knew we were gonna be going, we just got back from a trip to Niagara Falls. We were gonna be gone, so I figured I needed to do something to keep the plants watered during that timeframe. We don't normally water our garden, but the grass takes care of it. - Do your friends / club members come out and help you at all in the garden? - No. Every member does their own thing. - Okay. - Some of 'em, we have some members that actually live in condos. - Okay. - And they'll turn around and grow theirs in pots, that kind of thing. And so it's a variety of people. We have some others that have gardens similar to this right here. And it's just one of those things where everybody contributes their own thing to it. - [Sheri] Are the results available for anybody to check out? And, if so, where would they go to find that? - We're not online. We're kind of a little small club, that kind of thing. - [Sam] Okay. - We do a little Facebook back-and-forth, that kind of thing. Just keeping up with the club members. But for the most part, it's just, I don't wanna say, it's not private, being that we'd love to have anybody join the club that wants to, but we're just a little friendly get-together and an opportunity to eat. - [Sheri] All right. Let's see what else we have up here. What is this beauty called? - [Sam] Gobstopper. It's another one that we picked up through the club this year, we're trying out. The tomatoes, as you see, are yellow down here, and they're just starting to come in. And that's late July, so, we planted 'em, all these tomatoes were planted at the same time. Some of 'em come have a longer growing season than others. - Is this classified as a cherry tomato, then? - I would think it would be. You can see the size. It's kind of a cherry tomato. And a lot of the club tomatoes are, in fact, cherry tomatoes, that kind of thing, salad tomatoes. - [Sheri] And then I wanted to mention, too, you got a little companion planting going on here. I see some marigolds between some of your tomatoes. - [Sam] That helps cut down on insects. - [Kay] Aphids. - [Sam] Aphids and things of that nature. And it smells the garden up. They're nice, very nice. - What else? What's what's the next one there? - This one right here, we have to keep these little on here. - [Sheri] I think that's a clever way to keep track of the names and varieties of your plants in the garden. - This is a little clothespin, , I believe is what it's called. And it is another in the classification of a cherry tomato. And, - This is pretty prolific. Look at all the buds coming up here. - Oh, this one right here is gonna, we'll have all the salad tomatoes we want. - In addition to the tomato club's tomatoes, you're also growing quite a good selection of heirloom tomatoes. - Yes, these are some tomato seeds that were passed down through the generations in our family. And these are some German pinks right here. And we save the seeds from the best tomatoes and then we'll turn around and plant them. - [Sheri] You said that you planted these a little bit later. About how later? - [Sam] Approximately about, probably about four weeks later? - [Kay] Yes. - [Sam] So they're about four weeks behind. That way we can get tomatoes throughout the season. Some of these tomatoes will probably be pulled up, thrown away, and then these right here will be right in their prime at that same time. - [Sheri] Look at the size of the tomatoes on this. Is this German pink? - [Sam] It is. We love this one. Again, these are just planted earlier than the ones we saw earlier. And this is further along. The fruit on this is one slice per BLT. - [Sheri] That looks delicious. - That does a great job. We love this tomato right here. We've grown it for years. Well, again, passed down through the generations. It's just one that, it's been a real solid tomato for us, disease-resistant. It just does a real good job for us. - [Sheri] Well, I wanna tell you, thank you very much for sharing your knowledge of tomatoes. - Thank you. Pleasure to have you. - For some reason, flower arranging can be very intimidating for the homeowner. I'm gonna give you a couple of tips and tricks to utilize the flowers that are around your house. And a few things that you could pick up at a local grocery store. This is an orchid that I picked up for less than $10. These little hair clips and things, I like to remove those, just 'cause I think they're kind of tacky. I'm gonna kind of spruce this up and make it more of like a $100 orchid than a $10 orchid. So just taking these sticks out, and you can see the stems, they pretty much still stand up. So you don't necessarily need those stakes themselves. Remove this pot, kind of loosen up the roots themselves too. Be really careful on the orchids, 'cause when you break the roots, just kind of massage it out of the pot. If you snap them, they're gonna die. So if you just kind of wiggle it a little, it'll pop right out. Putting a little moss in there first, for the bottom. So we've covered all the roots with moss, as you can see. Some care on this is don't overwater it, just a little, keep it a little moist. It's kind of created a little atmosphere of its own, so you don't need to water it excessively. The orchid should live longer in this, too. And also don't have it in any direct sunlight, that's gonna hurt it. So it'll be a really good houseplant. Some alternatives for an orchid would be a bromeliad, or any low-light plant, like a begonia or a philodendron vine or something, works really well in this kind of environment. You don't always need a vase to have a nice, cool, fresh flower arrangement. One really interesting variation on that is just utilizing a piece of wood and some moss. This is just a thick piece of bark that came off an old tree, and just kind of stuffing some live moss in some of the crevices to create a little more depth and texture to it. And a few flowers, like sunflowers and Gerbera daisies, can just be placed on there, around it. These are flowers that do really well with no water, too. Sunflowers, Gerbera daisies, Eryngium, or thistles. Something like this would last a few days on a tabletop. Sunflowers are a great thing that can be grown at home or bought at most grocery stores, as well. They make fantastic cut flowers. They have a very long life. Dahlias are grown a lot around here as well. And they have a very long vase life, really big flowers. These are some kind of vessels that you might find around the house that you might not think of, typically. A pie pan right here, kind of an old dish, and then just a simple cereal bowl with a blue color. And I would float flowers in these and that would be really easy. So, what you're gonna want to do is get real close to the flower head and cut off right there and then simply just drop it in the water. So, dahlias are a really great cut flower as well. They have a wide variety of colors and the flowers are just spectacular. You really only need one in a vase. Something clear like that is really nice. Or if you put it in something blue, you kind of have a more exciting, contrasting color. It really only needs one flower per bowl. A good-sized container for a dahlia, since they're large flowers, is something six inches or larger. And you don't want anything really tall, either. You want it kind of, maybe three to four inches off the table. A very simplistic, modern approach is to use just one type of flower and a really kind of angular vase. And then a really neat, interesting, unexpected element like gears. These are just bicycle gears that I've cleaned up and gotten the oil off of. You'd wanna spray them with a clear coat as well, so they don't rust in the water, but I'm just gonna simply put a few of these orchid sprays kind of at an angle in the water. These are Dendrobium orchids, they're just simple and clean and pretty and white. And then you're gonna wanna drop these gears kind of around it. Kind of space them apart, so they're not all on top of each other, like so. Very simple. This should last up to a month or so. Orchids last a really long time in water. This is what I call, let the flowers do the work. Something as simple as a bunch of roses massed together is really easy and beautiful. This is something anyone can do. Just kind of cutting them real short and putting 'em in vase. So the most important thing is just to try. You might be surprised at what a beautiful creation you can come up with. - [Announcer] For inspiring garden tours, growing tips, and garden projects, visit our website at www.VolunteerGardener.org or on YouTube at the Volunteer Gardener channel, and like us on Facebook.
October 06, 2022
Season 31 | Episode 09
We tour a backyard garden that's certainly pretty to behold, but it's also a pollinator paradise. We look at many of the plants in this palette. We share a few of our favorite trees for brilliant and long-lasting fall color. A couple of growers show us the varieties growing in their tomato patch and tell us about their unique tomato club. Plus some simple, fresh cut arrangement ideas.
Watch Clips from this Episode
Pollinator and Wildlife Friendly Home Landscape
We tour a home landscape that is certainly spectacular to look at, but it's also a pollinator paradise. This gardener enjoys choosing native plants that will support their need for food and habitat. Hummingbirds, bees and butterflies are common sites in this garden.
Tennessee Tomato Club
We visit with a couple who are part of a grassroots group that call themselves the Tennessee Tomato Club. Members get together during the winter to cull seed catalogs and decide what they'll be growing for the coming tomato season. We visit their large tomato patch to see how those selections are producing.