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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.

    Sept. 4 and Sept. 6: Grow Your Own Medicine Chest workshop, a hands-on workshop to learn what herbs to grow and use for bites and stings, poison ivy, colds and other maladies. 6 - 8 p.m. Sept. 4; 10 a.m. – noon Sept. 6. $45 per person. To register and to learn more about other upcoming workshops, visit The Cracked Pot Homestead.

    Sept. 7: The Nashville African Violet Club will meet at 1:45 at Grace United Methodist Church, 2905 N. Mt. Juliet Rd. in Mount Juliet with a program on growing African violets.  For more information, contact Julie at  Julie.mavity@gmail.com or 615-364-8459.

    Sept. 14: The Tennessee Gesneriad Society will meet at 2 p.m. at Cheekwood in Botanic Hall. The program will be a presentation on interesting gesneriads to grow.  To learn more, contact Julie at  Julie.mavity@gmail.com or 615-364-8459.

     Sept 16: Perennial Plant Society meets at Cheekwood’s Botanic Hall. Guest speaker is Randy Hedgepath, state naturalist for Tennessee State Parks, topic is “Identifying Native Plants and Wildflowers.” www.ppsmt.org. Refreshments at  6:30, program at 7, open to the public.

    Sept. 16: Orchid Society of Middle Tennessee meets at Cheekwood’s Botanic Hall with guest speaker Geraldine Powell of Orchid Gallery. http://tnorchid.org/. Refreshments at  6:30, program at 7, open to the public.

    Sept. 18: Lunch & Lecture on “Ordinary Plants with Extraordinary Stories” with guest Carol Reese, ornamental horticulture specialist at UT Extension. Noon – 1 p.m. at Cheekwood. $15 for members, $25 for non-members. www.cheekwood.org.

    Sept. 20: Herb Day – “A Closer Look at Herbs,” sponsored by the Herb Society of Nashville, 8:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. in Cheekwood’s Botanic hall. $47 per person ($42 if you register by Aug. 31); registration is required. Details at www.herbsocietynashville.org.

    Sept. 25: Fall Wildflower Hike at Warner Park Nature Center. Stroll through a meadow with naturalist Deb Beazley to enjoy the array of fall wildflowers, 9 – 11 a.m. Another hike is scheduled Sept. 27, 9 – 11 a.m. Call 352-6299 to register for this adult-level program.

    Sept. 27: Cheekwood Harvest, a six-week festival celebrating fall, opens with activities and specialty programs throughout the gardens, including a display of more than 5,000 autumn-hued chrysanthemums in the Robertson Ellis Color Garden. Complete details and schedule are at www.cheekwood.org.

     

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Prune crape myrtle without committing ‘crape murder’

I have developed my crape myrtles into tree forms. Every year I have to cut back the suckers that grow from the base of the trees at ground level. Is there anything I can do to eliminate the suckers?

Crape myrtleThe suckers that grow from the ground around crape myrtles can be the result of improper pruning. If you top the plants every year (and garden experts sometimes refer to this as “crape murder”) they respond by sending up shoots from the base.

There are many sources for information on pruning crape myrtles, but one good one comes from the Virginia Cooperative Extension of Virginia Tech and Virginia State University. Their suggestion:

Prune crape myrtles as you would any other tree or shrub – by cutting back to a bud, a side branch or a main stem, giving consideration to the ultimate shape of the plant. If you need to cut off only part of a branch, cut above an outward facing bud or side branch. If you need to remove an entire branch, cut just outside the branch collar on the stem, where the branch is attached.

Don’t make random cuts in the middle of a branch or stem. Topping a crape myrtle – or any tree, for that matter – can lead to stem decay and more dead branches. It also encourages the growth of weak shoots at the top of cut stems, which can become top-heavy with flowers and break in a strong wind.

The Virginia Cooperative Extension notes that re-suckering can sometimes by suppressed by applying naphthalene acetic acid after the suckers are pruned. Crape myrtles that are given too much fertilizer may also produce suckers, and have fewer flowers. They advise not to fertilize unless a soil test indicates the need to do so.

The best time to prune crape myrtles has passed for this year. Do the job in late winter or early spring, before new growth begins.

 

This weekend: Beautiful bonsai

bonsai2Bonsai expert Owen Reich invites garden enthusiasts to the Nashville Bonsai Society’s Regional Bonsai Expo July 11 – 13 at Cheekwood Botanical Garden. Reich, Jim Doyle and Young Choe are guest artists, and there will be more than 50 bonsai displays, along with workshops, exhibits and vendors.

The photo above is of a Swamp Rose (Rosa palustris) that Reich collected in Tennessee and trained as a bonsai. “There will be a number of bonsai on display this year created from trees and shrubs native to the United States, as well as high-end bonsai imported from Japan,” he says. The stand in the display was made in Chattanooga by Tom Scott, and the container is a 250 – 300 year-old Chinese container called a Kowatari Shirogochi Pot.

The picture is just a sample of the unique and unusual bonsai on display this weekend. Complete details here.

One Response

  1. This year’s show will be a noteworthy one! People from all over the East Coast and Mid-west will bring tier best bonsai displays for this event. This is not your average side-of-the-road bonsai but true artistic expression via a living media.

    See you there!

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