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  • Upcoming Garden Events

    Sept. 30: The Nashville Herb Society presents Through the Garden Gate: A Glimpse of Edwardian England, 8 a.m. – 3 p.m. at Cheekwood Botanic Hall. Celebrate the gardens, foods and flowers that delighted Downton Abby family and friends at the turn of the 20th century. The event begins with a hearty Edwardian breakfast, followed by three speakers: Marta McDowell on Beatrix Potter’s Gardening Life; Geraldine A. Laufer on Tussie Mussie – Victorian art of expressing yourself in the language of flowers; and Terry White, The English Garden event florist . Registration includes breakfast, box lunch in the garden with music, English tea and cookies. To learn more or to register, visit www.herbsocietynashvlle.org.

    Tips & tasks – August

    Water lawns and garden beds early in the morning to allow foliage plenty of time to dry before nightfall.

    Container gardens will benefit from a light application of all-purpose fertilizer.

    If petunias have grown long and shaggy, cut them back and give them a dose of fertilizer. They should bloom again quickly.

    If squirrels and birds go after your ripe tomatoes, pick them while they are still green and allow them to turn red indoors. For best quality, don’t store fresh tomatoes in the refrigerator.

    Make sure spring-planted trees and shrubs get plenty of water during hot weather.

    Keep cutting the spent flowers of annuals so they will continue to bloom into the fall.

    To conserve soil moisture during hot weather, replenish mulch in annual and perennial beds as necessary.

    Begin planning a fall garden. Spinach, lettuces, radishes and other fall crops will mature when the weather turns cool.

    Begin clean-up of summer vegetable beds. Remove any decayed or dying foliage to prevent diseases from taking hold.

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Clearing up clematis confusion

QUESTION: I am looking for a white, late-blooming clematis. What can you tell me about it? – Franny

Sweet autumn clematis.

You are probably describing the late-summer-blooming vine that is either sweet autumn clematis or the vine commonly called virgin’s bower. They are both deciduous vines, look similar, and bloom about the same time, but there’s a difference.

Clematis terniflora, the sweet autumn clematis, is a vine that is native to Japan. Here’s what the Southern Living Garden Book says about it: “Tall and vigorous (some would say rampant)…Self-sows readily; can become a pest.” They admit it makes a good privacy screen with its “billowy masses of 1-inch wide, fragrant, creamy white flowers in late summer, fall.”

Digging deeper, I found it listed as a “lesser threat” (as opposed to a “severe” or “significant threat”) by the Tennessee Exotic Pest Plant Council, which lists invasive plants. Not long ago, a friend who has it in her garden told me it is covering up other shrubs in the garden, and she will have to pull it up. Consider yourself warned.

© 2002 Steve Baskauf http://bioimages.vanderbilt.edu

Virgin's bower

The vine called virgin’s bower is C. virginiana, and it’s native to the eastern U.S. It’s described as having “bright green foliage; profuse show of sweetly fragrant, 1¼ inch white blossoms in 3 to 6-inch long clusters in late summer, fall.” It also goes by the common name “devil’s darning needles.” It may also self-seed and could get out of hand if you don’t pay attention, but at least it’s not labeled an invasive pest.

The sweet autumn clematis is likely the most readily available in nurseries and garden centers; to find virgin’s bower, you may have to look for nurseries that specialize in native species. Here are three in theNashville area:

Growild, a wholesale nursery in Fairview that welcomes retail customers by appointment (http://www.growildinc.com/); Nashville Natives, which provides plants for sale at Whole Foods and Gardens of Babylon (http://www.nashvillenatives.com/); and Moore & Moore Garden Center, a retail nursery at 8216 Highway 100 (http://www.mooreandmoore.com/)

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