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  • Upcoming Garden Events in Middle Tennessee

    March 1 – 4: Nashville Lawn & Garden Show, Fairgrounds Nashville: The annual all-indoors garden event that features live garden displays, lectures, vendors, floral designs and special programming Wine Festival featuring Tennessee wines is Saturday (March 3), noon – 5 p.m. For more information on the events and the complete lecture schedule, visit www.nashvillelawnandgardenshow.com.

    April 7: Perennial Plant Sale hosted by the Perennial Plant Society of Middle Tennessee annual Perennial Plant Sale at The Fairgrounds Nashville. Find newly released and hard-to-find perennials along with a wide range of tried and tested varieties, all from top local nurseries. The sale opens at 9 a.m. and usually sells out by early afternoon. For more information, visit www.ppsmtn.org.

    April 14: Herb & Plant Sale hosted by The Herb Society of 9 a.m. – 2 p.m., at The Fairgrounds Nashville Sports Arena building. The sale offers common and rare varieties of herbs and heirloom vegetables and handmade pottery and herb markers by artist Roy Overcast for sale. For more information and a list of available plants, visit www.herbsocietynashville.org.

    April 21: Herb & Craft Fair hosted by First Unitarian Universalist Church of Nashville, 1808 Woodmont Blvd., 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. Top quality perennial and annual herbs, heirloom tomato plants, native and companion plants, along with food and craft items reflecting an interest in the homemade and homegrown: fresh homemade sweet and yeast breads, spice mixes, barbecue sauces, jams and jellies; knitted and sewn items, homes for birds and bees, and art, jewelry and more made from pressed flowers. Visit www.thefuun.org.

    May 12: Hosta sale hosted by the Middle Tennessee Hosta. Proceeds from the sale support the club’s activities. More information about the MTHS is at www.mths-hosta.com.

    May 19: Urban Gardening Festival, hosted by Master Gardeners of Davidson County, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. (rain or shine) at the Master Gardeners’ Demonstration Garden at Ellington Agricultural Center (5201 Marchant Drive in Nashville). The free event includes information about a variety of gardening methods and techniques, local artisans, exhibiters, growers and more. For information, visit www.mgofdc.org/ugf.

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Shrubs for shade

We’d like to plant shrubs at the back of our lot in an area that, unfortunately, doesn’t get full sun. Can you suggest evergreen shrubs that will do well in the shade?

To grow to their target height and remain full, most evergreen shrubs need some sun, but there are several that can get by with less. Here are a few suggestions:

Aucuba (Aucuba japonica): Aucuba looks more delicate than it is. The broadleaf evergreen is also known as spotted laurel because of its shiny foliage, which resembles laurel leaves. Aucuba’s white- or gold-flecked foliage stands out, and because it grows well in partial to full shade, can help brighten shady corners of a landscape. It can also grow in containers on a patio or deck, and as a houseplant indoors. Outdoors, some sources say it’s hardy in USDA zones 7 – 9; others say zones 6 – 11. (Middle Tennessee, home of The Garden Bench, is in zone 7a.)

Photo: Missouri Botanical Garden

Cherry laurel (Prunus caroliniana): This broadleaf evergreen can be used as a clipped hedge, or used as a tall screen that may grow to 20 feet tall. It can also be trained as a tree. It produces small white blooms in late winter and early spring, and black berries in the fall (which can be messy when they fall on pavement). Descriptions of the shrub note that this shrub produces lots of seedlings, which can mean that over time you may have more cherry laurel than you wished for. But it’s a shrub that grows in sun, tolerates shade, and can even weather drought without damage.

Photo: Missouri Botanical Garden

Yaupon holly (Ilex vomitoria): This is not one of the hollies with stiff, spiky leaves but a softer, friendlier broadleaf evergreen that enjoys part shade to full sun. It’s native to the southern U.S. and grows in almost any soil. Small white flowers bloom in spring, and red berries appear in the fall. It can be grown as a hedge or screen, or shaped into a topiary. Some of the popular selections include ‘Bordeaux,’ which grows 3-4 feet high and wide; ‘Nana,’ which is a dwarf yaupon, and ‘Scarlet’s Peak,’ which can grow to 20 feet tall but only 3 feet wide.

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