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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 – August

    Water lawns and garden beds early in the morning to allow foliage plenty of time to dry before nightfall.

    Container gardens will benefit from a light application of all-purpose fertilizer.

    If petunias have grown long and shaggy, cut them back and give them a dose of fertilizer. They should bloom again quickly.

    If squirrels and birds go after your ripe tomatoes, pick them while they are still green and allow them to turn red indoors. For best quality, don’t store fresh tomatoes in the refrigerator.

    Make sure spring-planted trees and shrubs get plenty of water during hot weather.

    Keep cutting the spent flowers of annuals so they will continue to bloom into the fall.

    To conserve soil moisture during hot weather, replenish mulch in annual and perennial beds as necessary.

    Begin planning a fall garden. Spinach, lettuces, radishes and other fall crops will mature when the weather turns cool.

    Begin clean-up of summer vegetable beds. Remove any decayed or dying foliage to prevent diseases from taking hold.

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About this site

Gloria Ballard

Ten years ago, when I was an assistant features editor at The Tennessean, I had the chance to start a weekly column about my hobby, gardening. I called it The Garden Club, and wrote that it was “a place for readers who enjoy gardening to share questions and answers, tips and other items of interest.”

I’m a freelance writer now, still a gardener (Middle Tennessee, USDA Hardiness Zone 7a), and still writing a garden column, though it only runs once a month in The Tennessean as a garden calendar.

But gardeners always have something to learn and something to share, so I’m inviting readers to come to The Garden Bench to find answers, discuss problems and share success stories and information.  I’ll post weekly, as many questions, answers and comments as time allows.

As I told readers back then, gardening is my hobby; my background is in journalism, not horticulture. But there are plenty of horticultural experts in Middle Tennessee, and I call on them, and reach out to the vast stores of information in books and on the internet, to answer your questions, and some of mine, too.

So if you have questions, just ask. I’ll try to find the answers. E-mail me at gloria.ballard@comcast.net.

(And if you want to see what’s happening in my back yard, click over to my garden journal, Turning Toward the Sun.)

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