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  • Garden events in Middle Tennessee

    Now - Sept. 7: Andy Warhol’s Flowers exhibit at Cheekwood. Nearly a dozen screen prints from the artist’s original Flowers series, paintings, studio photographs and more. Information: www.cheekwood.org.

    Aug. 14 & Aug. 16: Cindy Shapton, the Cracked Pot Gardener workshop on Edible Organic Container Gardening, a hands-on workshop to learn to grow a container kitchen garden. Aug. 14, 6 – 8 p.m.; Aug. 16, 10 a.m. – noon. $45 per person. Register and learn more about other upcoming workshops at The Cracked Pot Homestead.

    Aug. 19: Carol Reese, of UT Gardens in Jackson, Tenn., is the guest speaker at this month’s Perennial Plant Society meeting. Topic is “Just Do It!” focusing on garden ideas and how to refresh older gardens. Refreshments at 6:30, meeting begins at 7 and the public is invited. Details at www.ppsmt.org.

    Aug. 19 & Aug. 23: Cindy Shapton, the Cracked Pot Gardener workshop on Tomatoes – Canning, Drying and Freezing, a hands-on workshop to learn about preserving tomatoes. Each workshop is 10 a.m. – noon. $45 per person.Tap here to register and to learn more about other upcoming workshops at The Cracked Pot Homestead.

    Aug. 21: Lunch & Lecture: Easy Gardens for the South, featuring author Harvey Cotton who describes the plants that are key in creating a successful, sustainable garden. Noon – 1 p.m., Cheekwood’s Potter Room. Tickets $15 for Cheekwood members, $25 for non-members. Details at www.cheekwood.org.

    Aug 21 & Aug. 26: Cindy Shapton, the Cracked Pot Gardener workshop All about Teas, a hands-on workshop. Aug. 21, 6 – 8 p.m.; Aug. 26, 10 a.m. – noon. $45 per person. Tap here to register and to learn more about other upcoming workshops at The Cracked Pot Homestead.

    Aug. 23: Organic Gardening 101. Visit the garden with naturalist Deb Beazley and learn the basics of how to start and grow your own garden at home. 9 – 11 a.m. Call 615-352-6299 to register for this adult level program.

    Aug. 28: Middle Tennessee Hosta Society meeting features hosta hybridizer Bob Solberg, whose topic, “Back to Basics, A Hosta Fact Sheet” is useful for beginners and experts. 6:30 p.m., Cheekwood’s Potter Room. Open to the public. Information on the Middle Tennessee Hosta Society is at www.mths-hosta.com.

    Aug. 28 & Sept. 2: Cindy Shapton, the Cracked Pot Gardener Pesto Party workshop, a hands-on workshop to learn to make original pesto and variations. Aug. 28, 6 – 8 p.m.; Sept. 2, 10 a.m. – noon. $45 per person. Tap here to register and to learn more about other upcoming workshops at The Cracked Pot Homestead.

     

     

     

     

     

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Banish the Bradford pear

QUESTION: When should Bradford pear trees be pruned? Is now a good time? How far back should you prune them?

Bradford pear trees are the first to flower in spring, but they are not a good choice for landscape trees.

I’ll answer the last question first, and echo the thoughts of many landscape and forestry experts who believe that these trees should get just one pruning cut – about an inch above the ground.

Seriously, Bradford pears (Pyrus calleryana Bradford’) are not good landscape trees, no matter how lovely they are this time of year. They live fast and die young – a 25-year-old Bradford pear is probably near the end of its life. Because their heavy limbs grow at narrow angles, they tend to split apart. And because they shoot up so quickly and easily, this import from China has been placed on alert as a possible threat by the Tennessee Exotic Pest Plant Council. So, is it time to reconsider?

But back to the question: It’s good to prune trees in late winter, while they’re still dormant. As you are no doubt aware if you’re in Middle Tennessee, “late winter” now seems to mean the same as “spring,” and most things are no longer dormant. So if you need to prune, do it now, before the tree leafs out fully and you can still see the branch structure easily.

Really, though, wouldn’t you rather have something else? Landscape professionals suggest a couple of good native alternatives to the Bradford pear: downy serviceberry (Amelanchier arboria), which has white flowers in spring, dark green foliage in summer and red berries in the fall; and Fringe tree (Chionanthus virginicus), white flowers, green leaves, small blue-black fruit enjoyed by birds in the fall.

Either would be better than a Bradford pear, guaranteed.

 

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