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  • Garden events in Middle Tennessee

    Jan. 29: Organic Gardening. Discuss topics such as composting, seed starting, planting dates, soil preparation, insects and more with naturalist Deb Beazley, 9 – 10:30 a.m. at Warner Park Nature Center. Call 615-352-6299 to register for this class for ages 13 and up.

    Feb. 6: Birds in the Backyard. Learn about feeders and native landscaping that will attract birds to your garden, led by Vera Vollbrecht, 11 a.m. – noon at Warner Park Nature Center.  Call 615-352-6299 to register for this all-ages class.

    Feb. 12: Planting the seed. Vegetables have begun sprouting in the greenhouse. Naturalist Heather Gallagher leads a class about gardening in winter or age 3 – 5, 10 – 11 a.m. or 1 – 2 p.m. at Warner Park Nature Center. Call 615-352-6299 to register.

    March 3 - 6: Nashville Lawn & Garden Show, live gardens, free lectures, demonstrations, vendor marketplace, floral design gallery at the Fairgrounds Nashville. Information at www.nashvillelawnandgardenshow.com.

    March 18-19: The Garden Party, garden lectures, vendor booths, demonstration, floral arrangements, exhibit of garden and nature-relate art, Friday and Saturday, with a family-friendly garden party event Friday evening, 7 – 11 p.m. featuring music by the band Dixiana, food and non-alcoholic beverages available for purchase. The event will be at the Lane Agri-Park Community Center, 315 John R. Rice Blvd. in Murfreesboro. Tickets are $6 for the daytime event, tickets for the Friday night event are $8; children 13 and under admitted free with a paying adult ticket. To learn more: www.BoroGardenParty.com and www.facebook.com/BoroGardenParty.

    April 9: Perennial Plant Society sale -- one of Nashville's top gardening events hosted by the Perennial Plant Society of Middle Tennessee. More than 450 varieties of shrubs, roses, vines, perennials and annuals, plus garden experts on hand to offer advice. Sale at the Tennessee State Fairgrounds opens at 9 a.m. - noon or until plants run out (arrive early!).

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The trouble with winter creeper

QUESTION: A vine with dark green, oval leaves and thick woody stems is growing up through the middle of my shrubs. It seems to grow all year. What a nuisance! How can I get rid of it?

Winter creeper euonymus grows in sun or shade, can cover slopes, fences, trees, and is hard to get rid of once it's established.

It sounds like you are describing winter creeper euonymus, an evergreen that can sprawl along the ground (or on slopes, where it can help control erosion) or it can climb and attach itself to trees, walls and other surfaces with aerial roots.

You may see it described as “tough” or “aggressive,” and come to understand that to mean you’ll have a hard time getting rid of it. Indeed, it’s a non-native invasive plant, brought here from  the other side of the world in the early part of the last century. The Tennessee Exotic Pest Plant Council lists it as a “lesser threat,” but a threat nonetheless.

Cutting it down, pulling it out and digging it up are the best ways to begin the attack on winter creeper. Where digging doesn’t work, try cutting it back and applying glyphosate herbicide (such as Roundup) as a 2-percent solution (8 ounces per 3-gallon mix) in water to the stump that’s left. You’ll have to keep doing this, and you’ll have to be careful not to get the herbicide on the surrounding plants.

After the vine has been removed, the best way to keep it from returning is to keep an eye on the area and pull up individual seedlings as soon as you see them.

Small space, big harvests

Is that really possible? Maybe, and there’s a new book in the Complete Idiot’s Guide series that’s here to help. The book is The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Small-Space Gardening, and the author, Chris McLaughlin, provides quite a bit of good information on how to make the most of whatever plots or pots you have available. It’s published by Alpha Books; the price printed on the book is $19.95; at the Web site idiotsguides.com it’s listed as now $12.97.

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