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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 – September

    Cut the dead tops of coneflowers, but leave enough for goldfinches to enjoy the seeds.

    Plant cool-weather vegetables for a fall crop: spinach, mustard and turnip greens, radishes, leaf lettuce.

    Start a new lawn of cool-season grass, such as fescue, or refurbish or repair establish lawns.

    Don’t let the soil of newly planted grass dry out. New grass needs about an inch of water per week.

    It’s still warm, so continue to water and weed garden beds as needed.

    Remove dead foliage, spent flowers and other garden debris; replenish mulch as needed.

    Continue to harvest produce, which may be getting a boost now from slightly cooler weather. Keep watering sage, rosemary and other perennial herbs so they’ll be in good shape to get through winter.

    Prepare to bring houseplants back indoors: remove dead leaves, scrub soil from the sides of the pots, treat for insects. Bring tropical plants in before nighttime temperatures dip to 55 degrees.

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Peonies may suffer in wet weather

QUESTION: Some years our peonies bloom beautifully for several weeks, but sometimes the buds die before they open, or black spots develop on some of the plants and the leaves curl and die. Can you tell me what I’m doing wrong?

Peonies may develop botrytis, a fungal blight, in cool, wet weather.

Peonies may develop botrytis, a fungal blight, in cool, wet weather.

Sometimes it’s not anything you’re doing wrong. You may be able to blame the peony’s problem on the weather. Wet, cool weather provides perfect conditions for a fungal disease called botrytis, or gray mold.
Extension agents note that botrytis flourishes on a lot of plants this time of year if there is not enough sunshine and a lot of wet weather. There is a specific fungus, Botrytis paeoniae, that infects only peonies.
The blight can infect the young shoots as they emerge early in spring, and can infect buds or flowers at any stage. On plants that are in bud, the buds may swell but will die before they open. The infection can move into the stem and cause spots and discoloration. If the infection is severe, the leaves will turn brown and die back prematurely.
Good garden practices can help keep Botrytis from damaging the peonies. Inspect the plants and remove any parts covered in gray mold; place them in a bag to be discarded (don’t put them in the compost). Do this on a day when the weather is dry to avoid spreading the fungus. In the fall, clean up dead foliage and debris, cut the peony stalks at ground level and discard the debris to reduce the chance of the fungus spores returning the following spring.

May Garden  Calendar

May is planting time in Middle Tennessee. Food or flowers? Why not both? See the May Landscape & Garden Calendar in The  Tennessean for five ornamental and edible plants for your landscape.
Garden events in Middle Tennessee
May 4
Carmen Johnston, a Garden Lifestyle Expert for Southern Living Plant Collection, will host a session on spring-inspired ideas using the Southern Living Plant Collection Designer Series container gardens. The event starts at 10:30 a.m. at Home Depot on Moore’s Lane in Brentwood.
May 10
National Public Gardens Day at Cheekwood, celebrating public gardens and Cheekwood’s role in promoting environmental stewardship, plant conservation and community education. Live music in the Herb Garden 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.; guided garden tours on the hour. Special presentation with Cheekwood president Jane Offenbach at 1 p.m. Learn how to receive free admission at http://www.nationalpublicgardensday.org. More info at http://www.cheekwood.org.
May 11: Spring Festival & Plant Sale presented by the Wilson County Master Gardener Association. Guest speakers, demonstrations, food and concessions, gift baskets, crafts, gifts; flower garden and arboretum tours by tram. 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. at the James E. Ward Agricultural Center at Wilson County Fairgrounds in Lebanon, Tenn. Free admission and free parking.
May 11
Middle Tennessee Hosta Society sale, dozens of hosta varieties available. Sale opens at 8 a.m. at the Maryland Farms YMCA in Brentwood.
May 11
Robertson County Master Gardeners plant sale, 8 a.m. – 1 p.m. (rain or shine), County Extension Plaza, 408 North Main St. (corner of North Main & 5th Ave.), Springfield, Tenn. For information: http://www.rcmga.org.
May 11: Wilson County Master Gardeners Spring Festival & Plant Sale, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. at the James E. Ward Agricultural Center, Wilson County Fairgrounds in Lebanon, Tenn. Speakers, demonstrations, food and concessions, crafts, gifts; garden and arboretum tram tours. Free admission and parking. http://wcmastergardener.org.
May 21: Perennial Plant Society of Middle Tennessee meets at Cheekwood’s Botanic Hall. Speaker is Jimmy Williams from Paris, Tenn, on “The Perennial Border from February through December.” Refreshments at 6:30, meeting at 7 p.m.
May 23: Middle Tennessee Hosta Society meets at Cheekwood’s Potter Room, 7 p.m. Featured speaker is Jason Rives, owner of Petals From the Past in Jemison. Ala.; topic is “Incorporating Antique Roses into the Hosta garden.”

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