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  • Garden events in Middle Tennessee

    bonsai2This weekend: Beautiful bonsai
    The Nashville Bonsai Society’s Regional Bonsai Expo July 11 – 13 at Cheekwood Botanical Garden. Owen Reich, Jim Doyle and Young Choe are guest artists, and there will be more than 50 bonsai displays, along with workshops, exhibits and vendors. Complete details here.

    Every Thursday in July is “Family Night Out” at the gardens at Cheekwood. Bring a blanket and picnic dinner, and enjoy magic shows, puppet shows, live music and more, beginning at 6:30 p.m. July 3, Magic of America Magic Show; July 10, Dennis Scott: Kids Show; July 17, Nashville Puppet Truck presents The Frog Prince; July 24, Nashville Ballet, Degas and the Little Dancer; July 31, Mr. Greg’s Musical Madness. Find the complete schedule at www.cheekwood.org.

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

    July 1 – 5: The Tennessee Gesneriad Society hosts the annual international convention of the Gesneriad Society at the downtown Doubletree by Hilton. A plant sale, with many unusual and rare plants, will be open to the public 9:30 – 11 p.m. July 3, 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. July 4, and 8:30 a.m. – noon and 2:30 – 3 p.m. July 5. The flower show will be open 2:30-6:30 p.m. and 9:15 p.m.-11 p.m. July 4, and 8:30 a.m. – 3 p.m. July 5. Information: http://gesneriadsociety.org.

    July 5 – 6: Introduction to Permaculture workshop with Jennifer Albanese and Cliff Davis of Spiral Ridge Permaculture and co-owners of New Agrarian Design, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. each day at Little House Nashville (www.LittleHouseNashville.com). $125; space is limited. To register: www.spiralridgepermaculture.com.

    July 11: Cheekwood’s Annotations: Authors series welcomes Robert Brandt with his book,Natural Nashville: A Guide to the Greenways and Nature Parks, 6:30 p.m. in Cheekwood’s Sigourney Cheek Literary Garden. The summer-long series of author events is in partnership with Parnassus Books. Details at www.cheekwood.org.

    July 12:Introduction To Permaculture with Dr. Alan Enzo and Ben Bishop of Nashville Permaculture, 10 a.m – 2 p.m. at Bates Nursery & Garden Center, 3810 Whites Creek Pike. This introductory course to a full Permaculture Design Certificate course covers the principles of permaculture design and provides ideas you can try immediately in your home and on your land. $50. Space is limited. To learn more: http://nashvillepermaculture.com.

    July 15: Perennial Plant Society meets at Cheekwood in Botanic Hall. Speaker is Nancy Murphy of the BellGarden at BellevueMiddle School; the topic is soil structure and fertility. Refreshments and plant swap at 6:30, the meeting begins at 7 p.m. and is open to the public. www.ppsmt.org.

    July 24: Warner Park Nature Center presents “Butterflies of Tennessee” with author Rita Venable, 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. 615-352-6299 to register for this adults-only class.

    July 26: Mid-State Iris Club’s annual iris rhizome sale, 8 a.m. – 1 p.m. (or until sold out) at Martin’s Home & Garden, 1020 NW Broad Street in Murfreesboro. All rhizomes marked with variety name, color and price, and prices range from $5 - $15.

    July 30: Harvest the organic garden at Warner Park and create a tasty treat with naturalist Melissa Donahue and Nature Center staff, 10 am. - noon. Registration for this age 6 - 12 activity opens July 15. Call 615-352-6299.

     

     

     

     

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Sowing seeds indoors: get a jump on the season

Question: When is the time to start vegetables and annual flowers indoors to plant outside in spring?

Start seeds indoors soon to plant in the garden this spring.

Start seeds indoors soon to plant in the garden this spring.

The time to start seedlings indoors depends on plants’ individual growth rates and the recommended dates in your area for putting plants in the ground. To figure the seed-starting date, start with the recommended planting time, calculate the plant’s germination and growing time (often noted on the seed package), and count back the required number of weeks to reach the date for starting the seeds.For example, to grow seedlings of a warm-season flower like zinnias in Middle Tennessee (where The Garden Bench calls home), we can plan on putting transplants in the ground after mid-April, the area’s last average frost date. The approximate growing time for zinnia seedlings is about 4-6 weeks, so you can sow zinnia seeds indoors early- to mid-March. Tomato seeds, another warm-weather favorite, can be sown in flats indoors 5 – 7 weeks before it’s time to transplant, so we can plan on starting them early in March.

To start cool-weather vegetables indoors, begin much earlier. For example, some leaf lettuces can be started indoors 4 weeks before the soil outdoors can be worked; bigger, tougher cool-season favorites like broccoli and cauliflower need 5 to 7 weeks to reach transplanting size. Sowing indoors now until the end of January can provide transplants ready to go in the ground at the end of February.

Give the seedlings plenty of light and the recommended moisture as they grow, and harden them off – expose them gradually to outdoor weather – before planting them in the ground.

Thinking of spring?

Spring will be here before you know it. Here are the dates of a few favorite Middle Tennessee events that you can put on your calendar now:

Jan. 21: The Orchid Society of Middle Tennessee meets at Cheekwood botanical Garden. Speaker is Tom Harper, with a presentation on the Mid America Orchid Congress meeting in Dayton. Refreshments at 6:30, meeting at 7 p.m. open to the public.

Feb. 1: The Land Trust for Tennessee’s Glen Leven Farm presents a beekeeping workshop. Beekeeper Trevor Qualls, from Bon Aqua Springs Apiaries, offers an introduction to the fascinating world of honeybees, 10 a.m. – 4:15 p.m., $35. Space is limited. To register, contact Christine Burk at CBurk@landtrusttn.org or 615-308-1711.

Feb. 27 – March 2: Nashville Lawn & Garden Show at the Tennessee State Fairgrounds in Nashville. This year’s theme is “Wine & Roses” and will offer visitors the chance to sample wine from area vineyards.

April 5: Perennial Plant Society’s annual plant sale at the Tennessee State Fairgrounds in Nashville. Doors open at 9 a.m. There will be more than 450 varieties of plants for gardens big and small, plus expert advice on choosing and growing the perfect plant from PPS gardeners. Free admission; parking fee at the Fairgrounds is $5. For more details and a full plant list visit www.ppsmt.org.

April 26: The sixth annual Herb & Craft Fair sponsored by First Unitarian Universalist Church of Nashville. Shop for herb seedlings, heirloom tomatoes and other plants, and a wide selection of handcrafted items: pressed-flower cards, calendars, gift and jewelry items; natural handmade soaps with essential oils and fragrant herbs; Sewn and hand-knit items, sweet breads, herb breads, spice mixes and rubs, herbal vinegars, jams, jellies, chutney and more.

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2 Responses

  1. Gloria, your writing about sowing seeds indoors jolted me into action. I usually don’t sow indoors, although I know it’s a good thing. But as I have a packet of zinnia seeds just waiting, I’l going to do the right thing. Cheers!

    • Lee, one nice thing about sowing indoors is that it gives you something to look forward to on days like today. Flurries are flying again in Middle Tennessee!

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