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  • Garden events in Middle Tennessee

    July 5: The Nashville African Violet Club will meet at 2 p.m. at Grace United Methodist Church, 2905 N. Mt. Juliet Rd, Mount Juliet, TN 37122.  For more information, contact Julie at  Julie.mavity@gmail.com  or 615-364-8459.

    July 7: Nashville Rose Society meets at Cheekwood’s Botanic Hall, refreshments and beginners program at 6:30; main program begins at 7 p.m. Open to the public. www.nashvillerosesociety.com.

    July 9: Nashville Public Library Seed Exchange program, “Home Canning in 2015 – Be Safe and Successful,” 6 – 7:30 p.m. at the Green Hills Library. www.library.nashville.org/info/seedexchange.asp.

    July 11: Nashville Public Library Seed Exchange program, “What is Wrong With My Tomato Plants?” 10:30 a.m. – noon at the Main Library Conference Center. www.library.nashville.org/info/seedexchange.asp.

    July 12: The Tennessee Gesneriad Society will meet at 2 p.m. at Cheekwood, in Botanic Hall. The program will be a slide show of the international flower show from the Gesneriad Society convention.  For more info contact Julie at Julie.mavity@gmail.com or 615-364-8459.

    July 18: A Rotten Good Time! at Shelby Bottoms Nature Center. Learn how vegetable scraps from the kitchen garden can be turned into compost to use on plants in the garden. Christie Wiser leads this all-ages program. Call 615-862-8539 or email shelbybottomsnature@nashville.gov to register.

    July 18: Nashville Public Library Seed Exchange program, “Preparing Your Garden for Winter,” 10 – 11 a.m. at the Donelson Library. www.library.nashville.org/info/seedexchange.asp.

    July 18: Nashville Public Library Seed Exchange program, “Gardening with Native Plants with Margie Hunter,” 11 a.m., Goodlettsville Library. www.library.nashville.org/info/seedexchange.asp.

    July 21: Perennial Plant Society meets at Cheekwood’s Botanic Hall. Feature speaker is UT’s Carol Reese; topic is Four Seasons in the Garden, spotlighting seasonal favorites. Refreshments at 6:30 p.m., meeting begins at 7 and is open to all. www.ppsmt.org.

    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.

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Prune crape myrtle without committing ‘crape murder’

I have developed my crape myrtles into tree forms. Every year I have to cut back the suckers that grow from the base of the trees at ground level. Is there anything I can do to eliminate the suckers?

Crape myrtleThe suckers that grow from the ground around crape myrtles can be the result of improper pruning. If you top the plants every year (and garden experts sometimes refer to this as “crape murder”) they respond by sending up shoots from the base.

There are many sources for information on pruning crape myrtles, but one good one comes from the Virginia Cooperative Extension of Virginia Tech and Virginia State University. Their suggestion:

Prune crape myrtles as you would any other tree or shrub – by cutting back to a bud, a side branch or a main stem, giving consideration to the ultimate shape of the plant. If you need to cut off only part of a branch, cut above an outward facing bud or side branch. If you need to remove an entire branch, cut just outside the branch collar on the stem, where the branch is attached.

Don’t make random cuts in the middle of a branch or stem. Topping a crape myrtle – or any tree, for that matter – can lead to stem decay and more dead branches. It also encourages the growth of weak shoots at the top of cut stems, which can become top-heavy with flowers and break in a strong wind.

The Virginia Cooperative Extension notes that re-suckering can sometimes by suppressed by applying naphthalene acetic acid after the suckers are pruned. Crape myrtles that are given too much fertilizer may also produce suckers, and have fewer flowers. They advise not to fertilize unless a soil test indicates the need to do so.

The best time to prune crape myrtles has passed for this year. Do the job in late winter or early spring, before new growth begins.

 

This weekend: Beautiful bonsai

bonsai2Bonsai expert Owen Reich invites garden enthusiasts to the Nashville Bonsai Society’s Regional Bonsai Expo July 11 – 13 at Cheekwood Botanical Garden. Reich, Jim Doyle and Young Choe are guest artists, and there will be more than 50 bonsai displays, along with workshops, exhibits and vendors.

The photo above is of a Swamp Rose (Rosa palustris) that Reich collected in Tennessee and trained as a bonsai. “There will be a number of bonsai on display this year created from trees and shrubs native to the United States, as well as high-end bonsai imported from Japan,” he says. The stand in the display was made in Chattanooga by Tom Scott, and the container is a 250 – 300 year-old Chinese container called a Kowatari Shirogochi Pot.

The picture is just a sample of the unique and unusual bonsai on display this weekend. Complete details here.

One Response

  1. This year’s show will be a noteworthy one! People from all over the East Coast and Mid-west will bring tier best bonsai displays for this event. This is not your average side-of-the-road bonsai but true artistic expression via a living media.

    See you there!

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