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  • Garden events in Middle Tennessee

    July 22: Garden cooking at Warner Park Nature Center. Create a nutritious treat using the bountiful produce from the organic garden, 10 a.m. - noon. Nature Center staff leads this class for kids age 6 – 12. www.nashville.gov/Parks-and-Recreation.aspx.

    Aug. 1-2: Nashville Pond Society’s Parade of Ponds, a tour of water gardens at homes in East Nashville, Inglewood and Madison neighborhoods. Self-guided tours are 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Aug. 1, and noon – 5 p.m. Aug. 2. Tickets are $15 in advance, $20 on-site. www.nashvillepondsociety.org.

    Aug. 2: Nashville Tree Foundation’s Betty Brown Tree Trail and Arboretum community open house and tours, 1 – 5 p.m. at Riverfront Park. The event is in conjunction with the grand opening of the newly developed Riverfront Park and Ascend Amphitheater. Tours of the Tree Trail will be held every 20 minutes; meet Nashville Tree Foundation docents at the Tree Trail trailhead. Learn more at www.nashvilletreefoundation.org.

    Aug. 18: Perennial Plant Society meeting at Cheekwood’s Botanic Hall. Speaker is Shera Owen, topic is “People, Plants and their Stories.” Refreshments at 6:30 p.m., meeting at 7 p.m. open to the public. To learn more: http://www.ppsmt.org

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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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