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  • Garden events in Middle Tennessee

    March 20 – 22, 2015: The Orchid Society of Middle Tennessee will host the Mid-America Orchid Congress, “Orchids in Rhythm,” at the Franklin Marriott Cool Springs in Franklin, TN. The show will have more than 20 displays with 500 or more blooming orchids. Vendors will have a wide variety of blooming orchids for sale. The show and sale are free to the public. www.orchidsinrhythm.org.

    March 21 – April 26: Cheekwood in Bloom, a six-week festival celebrating spring with garden demonstrations, live music, arts, family activities, entertainment and more at Cheekwood Botanical Gardens and Museum of Art. Complete details at www.cheekwood.org.

    March 28: Introduction to Foodscapes and Permaculture Design, presented by Nashville Foodscapes, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. Cost of the workshop is $25. To register, click here or email jeremy@nashvillefoodscapes.com

    March 29: A Journey Through the Permaculture Design Process, presented by Nashville Foodscapes, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. Cost of the workshop is $50. (Recommended that participants are familiar with Permaculture design, or take intro class on March 28). To register, click here or email jeremy@nashvillefoodscapes.com

    April 2 - 4: Wildflower Week at Beaman Park. April 2, wildflower hike, 10 a.m. - noon; April 4, 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. Call to register, 615-862-8580. Beaman Park Nature Center, 5911 Old Hickory Blvd., Ashland City, TN.

    April 11: The Middle Tennessee Perennial Plant Society’s annual plant sale is scheduled 9 a.m. – noon (or until the plants sell out) at the Tennessee State Fairgrounds. The sale will feature more than 450 varieties of perennials, shrubs, roses, vines and annuals chosen to thrive in Tennessee gardens. A complete list of plants is at www.ppsmt.org (click the “Plant Sale” tab).

    April 18: Herb Society of Nashville herb sale, Tennessee State Fairgrounds. Find a list of plants for sale here.

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

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

    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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For great new garden beds, start with the soil

Question: We are building a new house and would like to have flower gardens around it. How and when should we start a new garden?

soilTo start new flower beds, begin with the basics. The first step is to decide where, what shape and how large you want the beds to be, considering design elements, how you plan to use the garden and how the beds fit into your overall landscape plans. That may sound overwhelming, but if you’re a do-it-yourselfer, you can start small and build and expand over time.
Start with the most basic element, the soil. Investing a little effort into it at the beginning ensures that the beds will get off to a good start and get better over the years.

The ground around new construction is often packed down and littered with nails, chunks of cement, wood chips and other building detritus, so start by cleaning up as much as possible. Then take the time to have a soil test done. This will let you know what nutrients the soil contains and what amendments may need to be added for what you are planning to plant. Your county’s extension office can provide the necessary materials and instructions and will test the soil for a small fee.
You may also need to improve the soil’s texture. The best soil for growing most plants is loamy, and holds together somewhat when you squeeze a handful of it, but crumbles easily. You can improve tight-clumped clay soil or loose, sandy soil by working in organic matter, such as compost or peat moss.

The soil improvement phase can be done soon, after the ground is no longer frozen. Later, when it’s time to select plants for the beds, consider the growing conditions (how much sun or shade, whether it’s a wet or dry area, etc.) along with what you like and what fits with your overall plan, your budget, and the time commitment you want to make in terms of watering, deadheading and grooming the beds.

Become familiar with the growth requirements, expected growing height and habits of the plants you plan to use. Consider that some perennials and flowers grown from bulbs may offer shorter bloom times but grow and develop over a period of time, while annuals can offer more quick-growing color, but are gone after one season. With a little planning, you can have flowers in bloom in your beds throughout spring, summer and fall.

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One Response

  1. Thank you so much for your recommendations.

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