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  • Garden events in Middle Tennessee

    April 4: Wildflower Week at Beaman Park. Tree hike, 10 a.m. - noon; Wild Food display, 11 a.m. - 1 p.m.; wildflower hike, 2 - 4 p.m; wildflower photo exhibit reception, 5 - 6:30 p.m.; Full Moon hike, 6 - 8 pm. Beaman Park Nature Center, 5911 Old Hickory Blvd. in Ashland City.

    April 10: Join naturalist Deb Beazley on a Wildflower Walk, 9 a.m. - noon, to enjoy the spring wildflowers in bloom around Warner Park Nature Center. A wildflower walk is also planned for April 15 with Kim Bailey. Call 615-352-6299 to register for these adults-only events.

    April 10-11: Howe Wild Weekend, featuring a cocktail supper April 10 with Amy Stewart, author of The Drunken Botanist; box lunch and lecture with Stewart and Wicked Plants April 11, and native plant sale of spring-blooming wildflowers, shrubs, vines and small trees, 9:30 a.m. until all the plants are sold. Sponsored by the Garden Club of Nashville to benefit the Howe Garden at Cheekwood. Details at www.gcnashville.org.

    April 10 – 12: Trails & Trilliums festival at the Monteagle Sunday School Assembly in Monteagle, Tenn. The event includes outdoor family activities and guided hikes, workshops, garden tour, music, art and vendors, and the keynote address by Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods. Complete details at www.trailsandtrilliums.org.

    April 11:  Middle Tennessee Perennial Plant Society’s annual plant sale, 9 a.m. – noon (or until the plants sell out) at the Tennessee State Fairgrounds. More than 450 varieties of perennials, shrubs, roses, vines and annuals chosen to thrive in Tennessee gardens. Free admission; the Fairgrounds has a $5 parking fee. A complete list of plants is at www.ppsmt.org.

    April 11: Celebrate spring and Japanese culture at the Nashville Cherry Blossom Festival. The event begins with a 2.5-mile walk at 9 a.m.; festival opens 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. at Nashville Public Square with exhibitors, entertainment, artists, food, marketplace. Sponsored by the Japan-America Society of Tennessee. Details at http://nashvillecherryblossomfestival.org/

    April 12: The Tennessee Gesneriad Society will meet at 2 p.m. at Cheekwood’s Botanic Hall. The program will be a propagation workshop, and all attending will leave with a box of cuttings and information about propagation and care. The program is free and open to the public. Information: email Julie.mavity@gmail.com or call 615-364-8459.

    April 17: Join naturalist John Michael Cassidy for an all-ages Wildflower Hike, 9 – 10:30 a.m. at Shelby Bottoms Nature Center. The leisurely walk to look at wildflowers will be followed by a snack at the Nature Center. Call 615-862-8539 to register.

    April 18: Herb Society of Nashville herb sale, featuring dozens of types of herbs for sale, along with a selection of heirloom tomato, pepper, eggplant and kale plants, handmade pottery herb markers by Roy Overcast, information from The Compost Man, shopping assistants and more. 9 a.m. – 2 p.m., Tennessee State Fairgrounds. Free admission; the Fairgrounds has a $5 parking fee. Find a list of plants for sale at www.herbsocietynashville.org.

    April 24: Nashville Tree Foundation’s High Tree Party will honor the winners of this year’s Big Old Tree Contest, highlighting Davidson County’s oldest and largest trees, 4 p.m. at Cheekwood Botanical Garden and Museum of Art. Details at www.nashvilletreefoundation.org.

    April 25: First Unitarian Universalist Church of Nashville Herb & Craft Fair, selling annual and perennial herbs, heirloom tomato plants and native plants plus handmade craft items, specialty items, handmade pressed flower art and jewelry, natural soaps, yeast breads, spice mixes, jams, jellies and other items. 9 a.m. - 3 p.m., 1808 Woodmont Blvd. Details at www.firstuunashville.org/herbfair.

    May 3: Mid-State Iris Association annual Iris Show, 1:30 - 5 p.m., Franklin Synergy Bank, 1 East College Street, Murfreesboro, TN. Free admission.

    May 16: The Master Gardeners of Davidson County’s 5th annual Urban Gardening Festival at Ellington Agricultural Center. The free community event is designed to educate and engage visitors with garden demonstrations and exhibitors and vendors from throughout the greater Nashville area.

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Thin those overgrown glads

QUESTION: I have a bed of gladiolus in my condo courtyard. The plants have grown so thick that they look crowded and messy, falling over each other. I know I need to thin them out, but when? And how?

glads redGladiolus grows from a tender corm, and in cold climates, garden experts suggest digging up the corms in the fall and storing them over the winter. In Middle Tennessee, I doubt that many gardeners go to the trouble. Winters here are just not that cold, and the glads pop up with no problem in the spring.

But you can still dig them up in the fall for the purpose of thinning them out. Whether you’re lifting them out for winter protection or for thinning, the University of Tennessee   Extension suggests digging them up on a bright, sunny day in the fall, after the foliage dies back but before a heavy frost. Cut the foliage flush with the corms and dry them outdoors during the day, but move them to a warmer, well-ventilated area to continue drying.

After a week or two, the old corms should separate from newly produced corms; gently pry them apart and discard the old one, along with any that are diseased or scarred. Dry them in a warm place for a few more days, and when they are cured, store them in a cool, well-ventilated area through the winter.

Next spring, put the corms back in the ground. You only get one flowering stem per corm, but you can stagger the planting over several weeks to have a succession of blooms – the Extension office suggests planting at two-week intervals, beginning in late April or May and ending no later than 60 days before the first frost to provide flowers from about mid-summer and into the fall. Plant corms 4 to 6 inches deep. Taller varieties may need to be staked as they grow to prevent the top-heavy flowers from toppling.

In the garden this month

In August, your kitchen garden can provide an abundance of fresh veggies. Find ideas for all that zucchini, that basket full of okra, all those tomates, plus summer garden tips and tasks in the August Garden Calendar at Tennessean.com.

Garden events in Middle Tennessee

August 10: The undisputed star of the summer garden has its own celebration. The annual Tomato Art Fest, hosted by Art and Invention Gallery, is a day-long party (10 a.m. – 10 p.m.) full of art, entertainment, and family-friendly events in the Five-Points area in East Nashville. http://tomatoartfest.com.

August 15: Lunch and Lecture at Cheekwood: “Beyond Green: Colorful Foliage in the Garden.” Sue Hamilton, director of the UT Gardens, shows how to use plants with colorful foliage to provide year-round impact in your garden. Noon – 1 p.m.; $25 for non-members. www.cheekwood.org/Education  to register.

August 16:  Make a batch of fresh salsa to enjoy at Summer Salsa Creations at WarnerParkNatureCenter, 5:30 – 7 p.m. Naturalist Melissa Donahue leads this all-ages workshop, starting with fresh tomatoes from the NatureCenter garden – or bring your own. Call 352-6299 to register. Registration opens Aug. 2.

August 20: Julie Berbiglia of NPT’s Volunteer Gardener is the speaker at this month’s Perennial Plant Society of Middle Tennessee meeting at Cheekwood’s Botanic Hall. Her topic: “Water Conservation.” Refreshments at 6:30, meeting at 7 p.m. The public is invited. www.ppsmt.org.

August 22: Hosta hybridizer Bob Solburg of Green Hill Farm in Franklinton, N.C. is the speaker at this month’s meeting of the Middle Tennessee Hosta Society at Cheekwood. The meet-and-greet begins at 6:30, meeting at 7 p.m., and Solburg will have plants for sale. www.mths-hosta.com.

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