looking for tenn gardeners.....

novice_2009(zone 6b)June 25, 2010

I checked out some of the other local forums, and they seem kind of active.

I'm looking for my fellow TN gardeners!!!!

I know it's busy time, but lets talk.

Topics other than plant swaps?

Maybe weather, what you are growing, how's it doing, bugs,

favorite place to get garden stuff, what you've learned gardening, etc., etc.

Looking for TN gardening friends! Let's get this forum going.

Happy gardening,


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Well, I'll talk about how the garden is going this year.

I started a new bed for perennials last year, and last fall I moved all the plants I'd been collecting into it. This year it looks really great! However, I need to do some serious editing and rearranging this fall, so that's mostly what's been on my mind.

We moved into a new house a couple of years ago, so I went from a heavily shaded yard to full sun almost everywhere. I've been having a blast growing all the plants I could never grow in shade. Echinaceas and daylilies seem to be what I have the hardest time passing up.

On the subject of things you have learned and Echinaceas, I just learned that you should not let young Echinacea buds develop the first year so that they can put their energy into establishing roots. Maybe this is true for other perennials too. I'm going to have a hard time disbudding the Hot Papaya Echinacea I just bought!

I'm in Nashville, and I work downtown, so I like to shop at Gardens of Babylon at the Farmer's Market on my lunch hour. Also love Martin's in Murfreesboro...it's kind of a long drive for me, but so worth it for the deals.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2010 at 10:31PM
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cajunchuck(Zone 7)

Hello. Nice to meet y'all and look forward to meeting more. I am near the Jackson, TN area. As of late, we have been putting a lot of time and effort into our vegetable garden. The lack of rain has done its worse to a fair amount of our "seedlings" that were starting to pop up, but the last couple days of afternoon showers has helped all the other established plants.

I just started experimenting with some video documenting since we recently got a new digital camcorder and youtube just makes it way to easy to upload and share with everyone. http://www.youtube.com/user/CJBegnaud is my channel. Just a couple various videos but have a weekly running garden shot. Tomorrow morning, we will be getting out in the yard and doing the weekly video. I have yet to get a bunch of still shots, but that will be in the works. We will also be working on the flowers and other various landscaping goodies in the yard/garden as time passes.

Here is a link that might be useful: Chuck's YouTube channel link

    Bookmark   June 25, 2010 at 10:47PM
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Chuck, enjoyed your videos! Oh, those baby bluebirds...they look so helpless and fragile! We put up a bluebird house and the bluebirds were checking it out pretty heavily, but I think they must have decided it was too close to the house. We had it near a window where we'd be able to see them come and go, but I think they felt it wasn't private enough. So we got some kind of tiny brownish gray birds instead. We need to move it before next spring.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2010 at 7:52AM
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Hi Gretchen,
I have a small perennial garden and a sizable pot ghetto. I am slowly moving toward roses.
I have checked out many, many nurseries and garden centers. I enjoy Hewitt's in Franklin, among others.

Connie, I have recently learned about disbudding echinaceas. It kills me do do that!

Welcome, cajun and Gretchen. This forum does need more action!


    Bookmark   June 26, 2010 at 6:58PM
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I usually nip off buds and/or blooms when I plant. Just feel the plant can devote more energy to developing roots rather than blooming right then. Didn't know there was anything scientific about it. It works for me.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2010 at 9:59PM
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novice_2009(zone 6b)

So glad to see more stuff on our forum!!! Thanks everybody for responding.
Connie, I'm growing echinacea also, that I started from seed last fall. It is the kind native to TN, with flower petals that flex upward. The seedlings aren't growing much.
Maybe they are slow growers? I have them in a raised bed, and realized the didn't have any "TN" soil. So thanks to the many moles in my yard (can't get rid of them), I got some crumbled up clay soil and sprinkled around them. Hope that helps.
The hot weather is slowing down my veggie garden, but it's full of tomato plants, cucumber plants, zucchini, small bean plants and dill.
I got a late start this year!

    Bookmark   June 28, 2010 at 3:20PM
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I am busily potting up roses I've rooted using my mist system and generally watching everything bloom. I am a nut for "found" roses in cemeteries and old homes. I have had a love/hate relationship with the garden since the heat has been so oppressive but forecasts predict more kind weather in the coming week. I'm trying my first veggies this year...one tomato plant and 5 watermelon vines! My to-do list keeps growing with all the things that need dividing this fall! (daylillies and iris to name 2). As my name suggests I like a free-for-all cottage style garden...complete with rusty/peeled paint and quirky garden art. Yes, I am glad to talk about other things besides the plant swap (since I am still planting my stuff from the spring swap!) ha.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2010 at 10:46PM
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Novice, I winter sowed some Echinacea Tennesseensis too this year, and it IS slow! Mine has hardly grown at all in the past two months. It's holding steady at about 4" tall. The Echinacea Purpurea, on the other hand, is going like gangbusters. So are the Tiki Torch seedlings. Go figure!

Well, I did it, I disbudded my Echinacea Harvest Moon yesterday. Hard to do!! I also have a rose cutting that I took last fall that has several little buds on it. I had to let one bloom! I saw it this morning. Guess I'll snip off the others.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2010 at 10:39AM
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cajunchuck(Zone 7)

Thanks for the comments.

Connie - I was going to attempt to video them but they are "too old" now - don't want to spook them and have the fledge prematurely. It sounds like the little bird you have in there now are the nuisance bird--house sparrow. They chase off and kill our beautiful baby blue birds (BB) and squak and poop all over our plants & porch. I have been lucky with our babies, but I am also a good BB guardian and help the male and female when they are shopping for a nest box by cleaning out the nest box frequently, until they can chase off the male sparrow. This is our second year with 5 successful batches a once endangered bird! Plus...who hasn't heard the bluebirds of happiness song. =)

I had to scrap my large rose garden project due to lack of attention. We are down to only 2 bushes right now near our gardenias after the snow season we just went through. Oh well...

The garden did enjoy the couple of days of showers, but so did the caterpillars & moths. Spent most of the morning squishing them as they ate my cucumber blossoms and started munching on my tomatoes. Still smushing those rose beetles. Gggrrr. BUT they can't touch my blackberries because they are out of control! Ha! They keep showing up, we'll keep smashing.

So looking forward to this weekend and getting back and finishing up some more yard work. I'm just loving the fresh veggies & fruit! Hopefully getting close to some tomatoes!!! I am ready for a good BLT!

    Bookmark   June 29, 2010 at 9:38PM
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Thought I'd jump in. Relatively new to TN. Living in Jasper. Moved into a house in February with very little plantings and what was there was the wrong thing. So...I've been doing a lot this spring. Taking out Burning Bushes that were used as a foundation shrub in a 3 foot bed between a sidewalk and the house about killed me! But I got a wonderful plan for the beds around the house from Holcomb Gardens in Chattanooga. I also brought my daylilies with me and added them. The design included spreading yew, Encore Azealeas, Twist of Lime Abelia, Guacamole Hostas, Coral Bark Japanese Maple, all new plants that I have never had before. So much fun. Also have an herb bed and a small square foot veggie garden. Will need to add to the veggie garden. Slowing down now with the warmer weather. Can't wait for fall when I can start adding shrubs and trees! June

    Bookmark   June 30, 2010 at 10:30PM
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June, that sounds like so much fun (and so much work!) I really enjoyed redoing the foundation plantings at our new house. I think spreading yew is the most beautiful evergreen there is.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2010 at 12:03PM
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From Tullahoma, my garden is doing OK the early goodies, lettuces, onions, snap peas, potatoes all had a rough start because it turned hot so early. But have been eating away, the snap peas & some lettuces are done, well not quite, the romaine never quits if you can keep some shade on it. I doubt if my taters will be great because they got too tall. Have learned over the years that big tall taters arenÂt great. Eating tomatoes for 3 weeks, have some green ones the size of a softball, my green peppers are OK, must not know how to grow them because they never are great. And then there are the crook neck squash. We have been eating casserole after casserole, hÂm, so good. Wifey fried a bunch and like dummies we ate entirely too much. Old folk need to leave greasy stuff alone. I plant my green beans in August, have learned an easy way to fill up the freezer with them.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2010 at 9:24PM
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novice_2009(zone 6b)

geneo, that was funny.
Connie, I can't believe somebody else planted the Tennessee echinacea!!!!!!!!
I was looking at the listings, and saw that it is rare, and figured if it was native, should be easy to start from seed............
They look like they did in the spring. At this rate I will have echinacea flowers in three or four years? Oh well.
How much sun are yours getting?
I think maybe mine aren't getting enough...
Also doesn't help that they are between two wormwoods....
I read that these are alleopathic?
Anyway...It's cooled off some here. Now if we could get some rain. Every other county has gotten some but us I think.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2010 at 10:59PM
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I started some echinacea from seed last year. Put them in a large pot. Only had plants come up... then this spring, the plants returned after that very cold winter and F I N A L L Y, the flower heads appeared and bloomed for a couple weeks. Now they are all going to seed. Hope to save these seeds and replant in a natural area. Seems they like some shade.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2010 at 2:37PM
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My Tennessee Echinacea are in about half and half shade/sun. They're on the edge of some big trees. About half of them have grown *some* since the spring, and the other half is just about like they were three months ago.

Someone on the perennial forum said they got a few blooms on their winter-sown Echinaceas the first year. I'm wait-ing...I wish they would so I can see what is going to be worth keeping!

    Bookmark   July 6, 2010 at 6:35PM
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Chuck... checked out your video. Got a great vegi garden going. What's the blue barrel you got suspended from a couple trees? And your mystery tomato is a Roma. Romas are good for canning, stewing, cooking. All will come ripe at the same time. But if you don't want to do all that much, just put 'em in a salad or slice 'em up a put 'em on a pizza.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2010 at 10:56AM
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Chris_in_the_Valley(z7 MD)

Well drat! Had no clue about disbudding coneflowers. Recently moved back to Tennessee from Maryland and read how echinacea was great in this clay soil so I started seeds this winter (result: 2 itty bitty plants made it to the garden and no need at all to disbud) and bought 3 of the new 'Pow Wow Wild Berry' echinacea at the UT Gardens plant sale this spring. Only one of those has a bloom and a bumble bee and a butterfly are fighting over rights to live on it. Three more buds are growing and, frankly, I really don't want to nip them off. Think if I water it daily in this heat it will develop nice roots? Gorgeous neon pink color. These are planted about a yard from an Ice Plant (groundcover) with the very same flower color. What do you think about two species of the exact same color planted together? I tried monarda and cardinal lobelia together one year and the reds clashed something awful. These pinks don't clash, but I'm thinking it wouldn't make for a good garden design. But it is so tempting to try!

    Bookmark   July 8, 2010 at 4:41PM
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Coming back from our first visit to the UT Gardens, Knoxville. Saw several ideas for our veggie garden that we want to try. Starting with a vertical trellis of framed out hog wire. I think since we are going to continue our garden and enlarge it, we will make this more permanent structure. We like going vertical on as many things as possible and I think it will be very effective.

Also very excited to finally find Hyacinth Bean seeds at Mast General. Never found any at the nurseries around Chattanooga.

Does anyone think I can still start the Hyacinth Beans this late and get to the pod stage so I can save seeds for next year? How about the Moonflower seeds I bought?

We're also working on a Rain Barrel. Need to change the plastic fitting for faucet as it leaks. Going to switch to a full flow faucet and metal fitting. Hope it helps with the water bill!

    Bookmark   July 11, 2010 at 3:47PM
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Hey yall.
I've been gardening in this wonderful Tennessee clay soil since about 1996. Lived here all my life though.
I wanted to post a few pics of some things I'm growing. Sorry about the quality.
The coneflower pic is an older one but I've been growing them for a long time now. They like full sun and I usually get great germination. First year plants get between 3 and 5 inches here and bloom the second year. Last year I collected about 3 five gallon buckets of coneflower heads to share with other people. I'm hoping to do the same this year also. I have about 60 Amorphophallus konjac plants that need homes. I want to take them to the MTPS this Fall and give them away along with all of the other seed I'm collecting from my yard. I use to give them away on the Seed Exchange but that became a hassle and took up to much of my time. The vegetable garden is doing well this year. I've picked 20 squash and 5 tomatoes this week. Will have to start making pickles soon. I picked 48 cucumbers Thursday and 41 more today. Well I better go. Hope everyone has a great week.

Echinacea tennesseensis

Stargazer lily


Dracunculus vulgaris

Amorphophallus konjac

Walking Fern




Okra and Peppers


    Bookmark   July 11, 2010 at 6:46PM
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I have had my hands in the dirt since I was a little girl - but Chattanooga weather doesn't hold a candle to Nashville weather - this place is brutal. We got just a few showers from the floods you all experienced this summer. And since late May - we have had little to no rain. My plants that were struggling a few weeks after the swap are still peaked - but the ones that took off after I got them home are growing so quickly! It has been a real joy watching all of these plants that so many of you have shared with me to help us get our garden restarted.
I have had a few baby hummingbirds that have decided to call my garden home - they are tons of fun to watch. And big fuzzy bumble bees - oh my - they are a curious bunch.
Now that the heat is coming on strong - we have reached temps over 100 here this past week - I am looking at starting some new veggies and herbs in a few weeks to take advantage of our long fall season. Anyone else looking at starting some fall veggies and herbs?

    Bookmark   July 11, 2010 at 8:05PM
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Enjoyed the photos, Jim. Please put my name on an Amorphophallus konjac and some echin tennesseis seeds for the MTPS. I'll post what I have later.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2010 at 10:58PM
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Chris_in_the_Valley(z7 MD)

Junebug, do tell about the rain barrel! Did you build it yourself? Out of what? Links?

I planted moonflower seeds one year in Maryland and was vastly disappointed they didn't grow. Forgot about them and the next year they grew like gangbusters - all up the arborvitae that towered over the garage.

Jim, I see where Amorphophallus konjac gets its name. Shudder! Do like your Tennessee Coneflower, however.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2010 at 8:11PM
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Chris ITV, "WE" are making a rain barrel, in other words, my hubby is the one sawing and constructing. I found several web sites and a brochure from the Upper TN River Roundtable. We modified from all. Was able to get a barrel from where I work. Hubby worked on the first one this evening connecting it to a drain pipe off the house. However, got the wrong size fitting for something so will have to go back to Lowe's and switch. Getting close though. I will attempt to paint the white plastic barrel so it blends into the landscape. If this works out we'll add another.

Regarding the MTPS, do I have to bring something to get something? How does it work? Where do I find the details?

    Bookmark   July 12, 2010 at 11:27PM
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Below is the link to the MTPS site. Looks like we still have the spring date up. The fall swap is in October (I'm not sure if we have decided on a date yet).

Basically, you bring whole plants, divisions of plants, seedlings, seeds, and/or any garden-related items such as books, tools, ornaments, etc. One of our members, Sandy, usually brings goat poo (I was lucky enough to get some of this at the last swap).

You can either arrange pre-trades here in the weeks before the swap (we have a thread going with tentative pre-trades and wish lists now: "Please Bring to the Fall Swap," or you can just bring all your plants and trade once you get there. Some people like to see what they're trading for. I find it less hectic to arrange pre-trades, so that's what I like to do. It's up to the person.

Remember to label your plants. You often go home with so many things, there's no way you could remember what they all are without labels!

There is also a potluck lunch after the swap. Bring a dish with enough to feed your family, and a way to keep it hot or cool for several hours until lunch. Last time the lunch was in a covered pavilion which had electrical outlets, so some people brought crock pots.

It's a really fun time - I think a lot of us start looking forward to the next one before we're even home from the first one. LOL!

Here is a link that might be useful: MTPS Web site

    Bookmark   July 13, 2010 at 9:55AM
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Junebug - the spring swap was my first one and I had very little to offer in the way of plants. I took what I had, and took a few garden decorations, and some garden related handmade jewelry. I did had several pre-trades worked out when I left for the swap - and many of those were a "welcome to the group" offering.

Might I add here - they were in the form of cuttings, seeds, baby plants, and even full grown plants. The rest of my trades happened at the swap - and I came home with far more than I took. Everyone that was there made me feel welcome and all were there to offer advice and whatever they brought to send home with others so they may enjoy some of those garden treasures. Come and bring some food for lunch - gather what little you may have to offer - and you will be rewarded with good conversation and some true garden treasures.

And yes, I agree with Connie - I am ready for the fall swap already and it's still months away.


    Bookmark   July 14, 2010 at 11:07PM
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I just wanted to say I am hoping August goes by quickly. Pretty tired of the 100 degree weather. Ok, now that I've got that off my chest, I must admit I should use the month of August to rest up for Alllllll the things I want to do this fall. Veggie garden has a few tomatoes still going, bird house gourds are doing well, and a few peppers left. Went ahead with a few seeds of the Hyacinth Beans and Moon Flowers and they are just coming up. Will see how much they grow before the frost gets them. Also planted sunflowers late in season and they are about to start blooming. The rain barrel has been a success. I'm amazed how quickly it can be filled up with the afternoon showers we've been having. Need to get started on the second one...another thing I can do in August. How's it going with everyone else???

    Bookmark   August 8, 2010 at 10:37PM
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I agree with everyone about this unbearable heat. If it weren't for the crape myrtles, my Knox County yard would have very little color these days.

I need some advice. I planted three one-gallon pots of false indigo four years ago in a landscape bed. Now the plants are HUGE! Reaching for five feet tall and over three feet wide. Does anyone have any luck with pruning them? When and how much to cut? I love the flowers and the foliage but they are outgrowing their welcome here.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2010 at 4:49PM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)


Baptisia australis (Blue Wild Indigo), if that's what you have, is definitely prunable. Best time is after flowering (now should be fine). You can cut back to about half height. You may want to consider dividing it later. You can always bring the excess to the East Tennessee Plant Swap.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2010 at 10:06PM
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