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  • Garden events in Middle Tennessee

    Now – April 27: Cheekwood in Bloom festival, six weeks of family-friendly activities – garden tours, live music, interactive programs and more – and showcasing 100,000 brilliantly colored tulips set to bloom across the grounds in early April. Complete schedule of activities at cheekwood.org.

    Every Saturday now – May 31: Volunteer to help weed, plant, harvest and care for the Unity in DiversityPeaceGarden, a learning garden on the campus of Scarritt-Bennett designed to cultivate conversations about diversity and sustainability issues, and to foster individual and collective action. 1 – 3 p.m.; bring water, gardening tools and gloves. 1008 19th Ave. So. in Nashville. To learn more about the program, visit www.scarrittbennett.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.

    April 26:MontgomeryCounty Master Gardener Plant Sale, Clarksville Library, 350 Pageant Lane in Clarksville. Hours are 8 – 11:30 a.m. or until sold out.

    May 3: Middle Tennessee Iris Society show at EllingtonAgriculturalCenter’s Ed Jones Auditorium (440 Hogan Rd. in Nashville). Entries admitted 7 a.m. – 10 a.m., judging begins at 10:30 a.m., and the show opens to the public 1:30 – 4:30 p.m. To learn more about MTIS, visit www.middletnirisociety.org.

    May 3: Robertson County Master Gardeners plant sale, 408 North Main Street in Springfield, Tenn., 8 a.m. – 2 p.m. or until all plants are sold. Informational classes will be held throughout the day Details at www.rcmga.org.

    May 10: Middle Tennessee Hosta Society plant sale with more than 300 varieties of hosta, 8:30 a.m. – 2 p.m. at the Maryland Farms YMCA, 5101 Maryland Way in Brentwood. Details and a plant list available at www.mths-hosta.com.

    May 10: Master Gardeners of DavidsonCounty host a cemetery tour at the historic NashvilleCityCemetery, and 10 – 11:30 a.m. Visitors will see the cemetery with plants that would be found there around 1862, and learn about the lives of some of Nashville’s famous citizens. Free and open to the public. To learn more contact the Metro Historical Commission, 862-7970.

    May 10 – Sunflower Café Spring Market,local farmers, nurseries and artisans offering garden plants and items and handcrafted items. Shop, eat and drink 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. 2834 Azalea Place, Berry Hill, Nashville.

    May 17: Master Gardeners of Davidson County Urban Gardening Festival, featuring exhibitors, artisans, vendors and workshops on a wide range of gardening topics. 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. at the DemonstrationGarden at Ellington Agricultural Center, 5201 Marchant Drive. Admission and parking are free. Details at www.mgofdc.org.

    May 17: Backyard Beekeeping at WarnerParkNatureCenter, an introduction to residential beekeeping led by D’ganit Eldar, Melissa Donahue and NatureCenter volunteers, 9 – 11 a.m. Registration (adults only) opens May 2; call (615) 352-6299 to register.

    May 20: Perennial Plant Society of Middle Tennessee meets at Cheekwood’s Botanic Hall. Jason Reeves from UT Jackson Extension will speak on reliable garden plants – perennials and annuals, trees and vines -- that will last for years in your garden. Refreshments at 6:30, program begins at 7. Open to the public.

     

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For great new garden beds, start with the soil

Question: We are building a new house and would like to have flower gardens around it. How and when should we start a new garden?

soilTo start new flower beds, begin with the basics. The first step is to decide where, what shape and how large you want the beds to be, considering design elements, how you plan to use the garden and how the beds fit into your overall landscape plans. That may sound overwhelming, but if you’re a do-it-yourselfer, you can start small and build and expand over time.
Start with the most basic element, the soil. Investing a little effort into it at the beginning ensures that the beds will get off to a good start and get better over the years.

The ground around new construction is often packed down and littered with nails, chunks of cement, wood chips and other building detritus, so start by cleaning up as much as possible. Then take the time to have a soil test done. This will let you know what nutrients the soil contains and what amendments may need to be added for what you are planning to plant. Your county’s extension office can provide the necessary materials and instructions and will test the soil for a small fee.
You may also need to improve the soil’s texture. The best soil for growing most plants is loamy, and holds together somewhat when you squeeze a handful of it, but crumbles easily. You can improve tight-clumped clay soil or loose, sandy soil by working in organic matter, such as compost or peat moss.

The soil improvement phase can be done soon, after the ground is no longer frozen. Later, when it’s time to select plants for the beds, consider the growing conditions (how much sun or shade, whether it’s a wet or dry area, etc.) along with what you like and what fits with your overall plan, your budget, and the time commitment you want to make in terms of watering, deadheading and grooming the beds.

Become familiar with the growth requirements, expected growing height and habits of the plants you plan to use. Consider that some perennials and flowers grown from bulbs may offer shorter bloom times but grow and develop over a period of time, while annuals can offer more quick-growing color, but are gone after one season. With a little planning, you can have flowers in bloom in your beds throughout spring, summer and fall.

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One Response

  1. Thank you so much for your recommendations.

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