- [Announcer] Tennessee Environmental Council, helping people care for the environment and offering instructions and seed kits for pollinator gardens that bloom into year-round habitats. More information at tectn.org. - [Announcer] Certain plants provide vital support to pollinators, offering nectar, pollen, shelter, and gathering spots. Marty DeHart showcases a variety of plants that will have your garden buzzing with activity. Annette Schrader visits a gardener who has added an artistic touch to the landscape with homemade hypertufa containers and garden art. Plus Troy finds year-round interest at the home garden of the beloved Flower Lady of Gallatin, come along. Why not plant some pollinator superstars? - Pollinator gardens are super popular these days, with good reason, and they're very needed. I wanted to talk a little bit about different kinds of pollinators and being sure that stuff is planted that services more than the big showy pollinators. This is a mountain mint. But you can see the flowers are tiny. They're in these little congested heads at the top, but the leaves around the flower heads are what are called bracts, and they're covered with this whiteish hair, which makes this silvery green effect which is extremely showy in the garden. I mean, this is a really nice garden plant. One thing about it, I would say, is that it wants to spread. It spreads via stolons, which are a little like root runners, if you will. So don't put it someplace where you want a super controlled plant because you'll be fighting it. But it is a major plant for small pollinators. You'll see this covered up in sweat bees, little flies. They love these little tiny, tiny flowers. You can see there's a little guy right there working the flowers. These are little tiny tubular flowers that are in these congested heads, and the insects just love them. The small pollinators are just as important to us as the big ones. Another native worth thinking about for a pollinator garden is Gaillardia. This one's been blooming for a while. You can see seed heads coming on, but you can also see buds. It's a short-lived perennial and it blooms for a long, long period. It's called Indian blanket or blanket flower. And it's really this beautiful, bright, vivid color, very southwestern looking, to my eye. They're easy to grow, sun loving, very drought tolerant. Both large and small pollinators like these composite blooms. This gorgeous thing is Monarda fistulosa, which is the native commonly found all over Tennessee, bergamot. And it is a wonderful, wonderful pollinator plant. As you can see just by looking at it, it is crawling with bumblebees. And we just had a pipevine swallowtail pass through here too. I've also seen silver-spotted skippers and fritillaries and various other butterflies on it. It's a gorgeous, gorgeous plant. The mintiness of it you can smell in the air as you get near the plant, it's so fragrant. This is a plant that services large pollinators. Notice you're not seeing any little bitty bees or anything on here. That's because the flowers which occur in these circles around these congested heads have long tubes. And the proboscis, basically the tongue, if you will, of the pollinator has to be long enough to reach the end of that flower tube to get the nectar it's after. And that means it has to be a bigger bee or a butterfly. The little guys can't get in there. This specimen here is maybe a shade over five feet tall. They run from four to five feet, typically. They like sun, poor soil. I mean, they are not picky about soil at all. Easy to grow. Like all Menardas, it makes a spreading clump, but it's not as thuggish as some which is spread wildly with big runners all over the place. This one is more constrained and blooms in the height of summer. Gorgeous flowers, I mean the color, the head is this kind of smoky purple with these lovely lavender pink ring of florets around it. And it's just really beautiful. Rudbeckia hirta, which is black-eyed Susan, and you can see this is just a regular wild form right here looking with its black eyes, it comes in several named varieties and this one is called Prairie Sun. Rudbeckia are, once again, great pollinator plants. Butterflies love them and bees. And with all the cone flowers in here, all the little fertile flowers, they service both large and small pollinators. This Prairie Sun is a really beautiful, large flowered variety. These are a little beat up. They've been blooming for quite a while and we had a torrential rain yesterday. This is another one that blooms for a long period of time. It starts in May and continues on until late summer, so you get a lot of color. I really love sort of the gradations. It's almost ombre kind of, from a very light yellow at the tips to a deep golden yellow at the center. And it's a really great plant, easy to grow. All of the black-eyed Susans, which are native to Tennessee, are super easy to grow. They self sow all over the place. I highly recommend them, and pollinators flock to 'em. Echinacea is a pollinator plant that everybody knows about. There are so many varieties of Echinacea out there, coneflower, usually called purple coneflower, that there are quite a few species and they hybridize with each other readily. And that's why there are so many cultivars out there now available. This is one called Cherokee Sunset. And the reason I love it is, not only does it come in this range of gorgeous colors, it's a seed -grown strain. So you get everything from a yellow through these sort of pinks, mauves, and into these gorgeous, deep saturated oranges and reds and rubies. It's a great, great strain. One of the things about Echinacea is that, especially a lot of the modern ones, you put 'em in, they look great, then the next winter you go, "Where'd it go?" the next spring, because it rots out over the winter. They seem to be very touchy about how they winter over. And if it's a wet winter or something, they often rot out. This one does not. In my experience, Cherokee Sunset lasts and the colors are just tropical. They're just gorgeous if you like yummy hot colors, like I do. One thing about pollinator gardens is you don't need a lot of space. You may think you need a vast expansive of bright sunny yard or something, but you don't. A lot of pollinator plants work really well in containers. So even if you have a couple of tomato plants and you wanna put a pollinator plant near 'em, put that mountain mint in a pot nearby tomatoes that are pollinated by small bees, like sweat bees, believe it or not and that mountain mint will draw them like magnets and pollinate your tomatoes really well. Rudbeckia famously do well in pots and many of the other things that I've shown you. So you can have these plants wherever you want no matter what you're setting, unless you're in the deepest of deep shade. So have at it. - I'm quite interested in hypertufa myself, but when I finished talking to Marla Killian, who's already mastered the art of hypertufa and she has also learned how to use it very well with her plant collections and in her gardens, Marla, tell us about what you do here and how you use your hypertufa. - [Marla] A lot of the different plantings I do in hypertufa because hypertufa is porous and different plants love this material. It drains very well. Succulents and cacti look beautiful planted in them and you can make all different kinds of things, all different shapes, all different sizes. - Right, and you know, just as an example, when you look at an object, it's just an object. But once you've got your mind going, what do you look at to be a possible prospect for using to make these molds? - Well, a lot depends on the size. Maybe you've got a certain plant in mind that you'd like to put in a hypertufa pot. It can be as creative as you want it to be. A lot of times, I will use empty containers, things that you may buy at the dollar store, chip bowls. - [Annette] Okay. We've done that, haven't we? Well, what is the plant, this tall plant that you've utilized, this one over here? - [Marla] I believe that's a type of a mother of millions. It puts out little seedlets that fall down into the soil or into the rocks that are below. - [Annette] Yeah, and then I love the square and the plant that you have in it. - [Marla] And that's a type of sedum. And I also have hens and chicks in there. They like to grow very well. - [Annette] There's a cute little fella sitting out front, what is this? - [Marla] That is a gnome, and he is made entirely out of hypertufa. His body is the mixture itself and then I used like a yarn to make his little scarf and an old sock dipped in a hypertufa slurry to form his hat on the top. So you're only limited by your imagination. - [Annette] You also put these, tuck these pots away in the corner of your patios? - [Marla] I tuck them away everywhere in the garden. - [Annette] Yeah, and do you find that you have to do much care of these or do they kinda, because you're using succulence, right? - Right. - You don't really have to worry about the watering and- - [Mala] No, succulents grow great in them, and if they get too much water, they drain very well. - [Annette] What are you holding in your hand, Marla? - Well, it's a heart-shaped succulent arrangement, and it's got a hole in the bottom. I use a candy dish, a plastic candy dish to make it and put little bit of soil in the bottom. Succulents are very good for that 'cause they have very short roots. And then I used a chicken grid on top to make the container drain a little bit better. - I've never seen it in the pink. That is very beautiful. - Thank you. - It's what I would say about that. - Thank you. - Now, look at this little fairy garden. You've created something to bring that up too. What did you do there? - [Marla] Yes, well, trying to think of something that would make great little legs to lift the trough up so that my containers would drain a little more easily. And using yogurt cups filled with hypertufa mix you can make in and lift it lifts your pot up. - [Annette] You know, I'm not into fairy gardens, but I could take that any day. - [Marla] Yes, and they're neat. You can leave them out year round too. - Wow, That's what I was going to say. - Hypertufa's great, it won't break if you cure it properly. - Excuse me, mostly when you plant a hypertufa, you try to find a plant that is winter hardy? - Right. I do. - Correct, okay. Marla, I do think that you have chosen the right plants in this area for starting off. Is that a little hosta? - [Marla] Yes, it's a little Mouse Ears hosta. It's a mini, and it grows really well in those hypertufa pots. - [Annette] Okay, and then it's wonderful to see what you've done for the birds. Now, that's a nice size bowl. What did you use for that? - [Marla] I believe it was just a chip bowl. - [Annette] Okay, yeah. And then it's a little deep for a bird, so you put a rock in there. - That's right, and just last week, I saw a little, a chickadee perched on the side having himself a drink. - And I can wrap this entire little area here where you have fairy gardens and all, and the begonias. Do you find they do well? - [Marla] Yes, begonias seem to do very well in the hypertufa. They don't like their feet wet. So the hypertufa drains well because it is porous and they seem to thrive in that type of a container. - This whole area where you've incorporated the little fairy gardens I see and all the way around the rocks and leading back into here, every bit of this, you were able to create a garden because you had these plants planted somewhere else and you brought 'em all here and congregated them. - That's true. That's true. - And you created a garden. And this looks like you grew it, but they're in an odd shaped pot. What was this? - [Marla] That pot was made using a watermelon cut in half and formed together to form two sections of that pot. - Now, I have to say the creme de la creme for me of your hypertufa is right here. Tell us about that. - [Marla] Okay, well these are hypertufa globes made using a beach ball and balloons of different sizes. And so I make more of a thinner hypertufa and use a yarn to wrap the balls. - [Annette] Like knitting yarn? - Yes, in fact, those are made with very thick yarn. And then, as you pull it through the slurry of hypertufa, you get off the majority of the mix so that it makes it hardened and you wrap it around the ball. - [Annette] And you make this seasonal, don't you? - Yes, in the summer, this is yard art and during the winter at Christmas, before Christmas when I start doing my displays, I use a dowel and I put these graduated balls on top of each other and dress him up with a Santa hat- - You are, are amazing. - and a scarf. And then, in January after Christmas, he becomes a hockey player. So I dress him, we have a little hockey hat that comes down over his head and deck him out with one of my kids' old hockey sticks. - [Annette] Well, you better watch out. There's a hockey team in Nashville that may be looking for some of these. - Well, Annette, I have one more thing I've got to show you. - Just one more? - Just one more. - Okay, let's go. A beautiful hypertufa pot that glorifies this wonderful, what is this thing? - I call him "The Thinker." - Oh! - [Marla] He's thinking about where he's going to plant that next plant. - This is an example of the imagination of Marla, and I've seen it throughout all of your hypertufa things that you have created and in unexpected places. And you definitely have the top of the market on what to do with hypertufa in your garden. And I know that if we don't have new hypertufa fans out there, something is wrong because you definitely show the advantages of being able to use this medium. It's a medium- - Right, it is medium. - [Annette] for planting and use, whether it's even inside or outside your home. And I recommend your techniques to anyone I know. - Well, thank you. - Well, a lot of us wanna put in a little urban gardening, a little urban farming so that we can have something wonderful to eat but we don't have a lot of room, so Matt Kerske at Gardens of Babylon is gonna give us a few tips on things that we can grow that will do both things for us. Well, Matt, we've got a container here. We've got a small raised bed- - That's right. That's right. - and it looks like a lot of herbs. - We got a lot of herbs, a lot of herbs. And herbs are really great to really get started into the world of gardening. We have a lot of customers that just don't really know where to start. But, for me, herbs just aren't really tough. As long as you got a good half a day's worth of sun, six to eight hours, a nice sunny site, almost any kind of herb will do just fine. Pick out some of the herbs that you really like to use a lot in the kitchen. Depending on what your culinary preferences are, there's an herb to kind of get behind it and match it and support it and just have fun with it. And whether you have a bed space, like you said, in the backyard, or even if you just have, you know, a good size pot like this, maybe 16 to 18 inches in width, you can do one, two, even three herbs in something like this right on your balcony, porch, patio. But really, again, we just have some samplings of some of the really popular ones here in the store. Things like chives grow really, really well. Rosemary is another type of perennial herb and it loves the sun. You have things like oreganos for any kind of spices in the sauce world with noodles or pasta dishes. One of the most popular annual herbs that we have doesn't come back, unfortunately, but it grows pretty much like a weed when you get it planted every springtime. It's basil, and there's just thousands of uses for basil in the kitchen. I just always have a couple of patches in my garden. Things like parsleys, also a great staple in the garden. Parsley is kind of like a biannual. You'll plant it one year and you'll get that year and then the next year out of it. But then, after that, it'll go to seed and be finished with that. And then, of course, in front of here we have a lemon balm, things for either drinks or that can be used with fish dishes. Really, just any kind of herb has so many endless possibilities either for drinks or food . And I really like to see people get started that way 'cause they are just so easy. - Well, let's start potting some of these up with a patio tomato here and I think we're good to go. - Yeah, and that's the thing, with containers like this, you can even get creative with doing vegetables like a tomato. If you're gonna do a tomato in a container this size, you really want to think about doing a determinate type tomato, which only gets roughly two to three feet tall and then branches real heavy and doesn't get really too tall. But say you take a simple tomato like that that's like a bush cherry, mix in oregano with something like that and maybe a basil in the back. And as long as you've got a good sunny spot, that container's gonna flourish. You could be harvesting your tomatoes while you're harvesting your basil and it just all goes together really well. - All right, quick, easy, doesn't take up a lot of room, and will taste really good. - Today, I wanna share with you the garden of my friend Alecia Welbern in Gallatin, Tennessee, where annuals are the order of the day and almost everything is grown from seed. Alecia, one of the unique things about your garden is what you've done with the area outside of your fence line. So how did this idea come about and what got you started? - Well, one thing, I wanted to mow less and everybody wanted to see the inside of my yard, so I thought I'd bring it outside so, you know, as they drive by, I could share that with them. - They can enjoy it, yeah. It brings a little beauty to everybody's life, even if it's just in passing in their car. So you've got quite a mix of things here. And we see a lot of poppies, bachelor buttons, larkspur, summer blooming asters, and then some other things to pick up later in the season. Does this all just reseed itself? - [Alecia] Yes, but I have to make sure not all of it drops, then we'd have a weedy mess. So I capture some so I can put it other places, other gardens, you know, in the city or wherever and then pull out some and compost the rest. - [Troy] Compost the rest. - [Alecia] And then, as you can see, we've got quite a few already. - [Troy] Yeah, the poppies really are just on their last, you know, flowers, but still lots of blooms but mostly seed pods now. So once these are finished and turned brown, you pull all of this out? - Oh, yes, and then I'll re-cultivate it and get ready to put out cosmos, zinnias, amaranth, sunflowers. - So another whole layer of summer flowering things that then last into the fall. - And you can keep putting seed out, you know, even up to the middle of July. - [Troy] With new seeding of the summer-loving, heat-loving annuals- - [Alecia] I try not to put my zinnias out until later because the Japanese beetles will just decimate them. - [Troy] Right, so you actually sow your zinnia seed a little later to avoid the Japanese beetles. And then by the time the beetles are done, the zinnias are coming up. - Yes, exactly. - And then you get blooms from that all the way through the fall? - Yes, and that's, of course, when the monarchs are coming through migrating. - So as they're making their way back to Mexico, the monarchs are stopping here for nectar. - Yes, exactly. - So you've really got a lot of pollinator action going on out here. - Yes. - So the garden really widens out as you get to the back of your property and this was a piece of land that really was just sort of let go, And why is that? - Well, it's a gas easement. You can't build on it, you can't put trees on it, but they don't mind flowers. - So the pipeline actually runs through here, the gas line- - Yes. - actually runs through here? - Yeah, there's an old one and a new one. - But you're not cultivating deeply so there's no no reason for, you know, no worry about digging anything up. - No, I don't even use a shovel. - You know, in so many neighborhoods, an area like this might have just, you know, maybe two or three times a year it gets bush hogged and the rest of the time it just grows up in nothing. - Exactly, that's what was happening. - You've taken advantage of this opportunity to create something beautiful in this space. One of the things that you are incredibly successful with in this garden are your foxgloves. I don't know that I've seen stands of foxgloves in Tennessee that are as good as these are. What's the secret? - Being consistent about watering your little seedlings. - So these are biennial. - Yes. - [Troy] They reseed themselves, come up as tiny seedlings in the summer. - Very tiny. - Yeah. - [Alecia] So that's a whole summer of watering. - [Troy] Right, and then they overwinter as a big, leafy rosette. - Rosette, yeah. - [Troy] And then they do this in the spring and early summer of the following year. - [Alecia] And I don't mulch 'em 'cause you're wanting all these little seedlings, you know, to come up. Now, in the winter I'll put down, you know, all the leaves that come from downtown, I'll take 'em and put 'em in here. - [Troy] But you mulch more around them than over the top? - [Alecia] Yeah, I don't use any hardwood mulch. - [Troy] Any hardwood mulch, right. - Not at all. - Just leaf mulch, which is breaking down really fast and also, you know, helping improve the soil. - [Alecia] And I'll let these sit here and go to seed. And, yes, it looks ratty and then I'll take a bucket and cut 'em off and collect the seed and let some drop. - [Troy] But, yeah, if you don't let them go to seed, then you don't have the the next generation coming on. So you have to put up with a little bit of, you know, of them going past their prime in order to be able to regenerate them. So one other thing that you have beaten the odds on are growing these lupines. You've been incredibly successful. What do you think is the key to their success? - [Alecia] Well, this is an old herb bed, and I actually put sand in it and it's pretty well drained. The ones that I plant here do better than anywhere else. - [Troy] Okay, so drainage is key. - [Alecia] Yes, and I direct sow. - [Troy] So you grow these from seed also and you direct sow them. And they're also biennial, so they're going to come up as small seedlings the first year and just grow into a clump of foliage. - Exactly. - [Troy] Then ,they're gonna overwinter and bloom the following year. So it's a kind of a two-year process, a two-season process. - Yeah, and then those seeds pods will turn black, they'll curl up and the whole plant will die. - [Troy] Right, when it's done going to seed, the whole plant dies and so it's critical to have that seed to come back. Well, I know all of my gardening friends would say lupine doesn't grow in Tennessee, but this is proof positive that it absolutely will in just the right spot. Another thing that you grow here that is a little bit unusual for a lot of Tennessee gardens are these spuria iris, which are four feet tall in full bloom. They're really tall, but they're strong and stand right up. - [Alecia] Wonderful in flower arrangements. - [Troy] No special care. Yeah, they are great in flower arrangements. One of the things about them in flower arrangements is that they have multiple buds that will continue opening. - Definitely. - [Troy] And then you've got them paired with some little lollipop lilies. - Yeah, Asiatics. - Which are some of the Asiatic type lilies. The copper iris are really unique too. What a beautiful color. - [Alecia] I found that at Lowe's. As a matter of fact, I went by the nursery and I said, "Do you know what this is?" And he didn't. And then I looked in my wildflower book and, evidently, it's actually native here. - Yeah, in certain areas, usually around stream banks, rivers, that kind of thing, yeah. We do find some copper iris native in Tennessee. So this is a beautiful example of it. They're very happy here. Well, Alicia, what you're doing here is certainly unique and I just want to thank you for sharing it with us. - [Alecia] Well, that's what it's all about, making people happy and sharing. - [Announcer] Tennessee Environmental Council, helping people care for the environment and offering instructions and seed kits for pollinator gardens that bloom into year round habitats. More information at tectn.org.
April 13, 2023
Season 31 | Episode 14
Plants can provide vital support to pollinators by offering nectar, pollen, shelter and gathering spots. Marty DeHart showcases some that will have your garden buzzing with activity. Annette Shrader visits a gardener who has added an artistic touch to the landscape with homemade hypertufa containers, and more. Troy Marden finds year-round interest in the home garden of the beloved 'Flower Lady'.
Watch Clips from this Episode
Garden Art Craft: Hypertufa
Hypertufa is a mix of readily available concrete and other elements that is lightweight, easy to work with, and can be molded. Annette Shrader introduces us to an imaginative gardener, and craftsperson, who has created a notable collection of hypertufa containers and art pieces.