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E-Garden Almanac: Nashvillian Adventures

E-Garden Almanac

The E-Garden Almanac is the push-button, real human journal of Kelly D. Norris. All errors, grammatic grievances, and opinions are that of the author. Kelly is a freelance writer and Master Gardener from southwest Iowa. His passion and obsession with horticulture, plants, and gardening embodies nearly every function of his life. The E-Garden Almanac serves as the web extension of his columns, articles, and lectures.
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Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Nashvillian Adventures

Long fed up with winter in the Midwest, I took leave a few weeks back for Nashville, TN and the PLANT Winter Seminar featuring plantsman extraordinaire Dan Hinkley. I could effuse about how wonderful the weather was, the company, Dan's lecture, my hosts, and all the food, but I'd rather like to inspire your winter weary minds with a few shots of what will surely come in the next few weeks.

Hellebores might as well be called queens of the winter garden, royal as they are this time of year in colors black to white. I've become quite a hellebore snob lately, as has my friend and Nashville-based garden designer Troy Marden. Check out what he just wrote about our favorite winter perennials on his blog. Here are a few favorites taken at Bill Hewitt's nursery where my friend Marty (pictured above) works.

Another cool find at Hewitt's was this new mondo grass from Bluebird Nursery called 'Sparkler' (Ophiopogon japonicus 'Sparkler' PPAF). Look at those rad blue berries! Wow! Definitely need to put my hands on some of these this spring. Harlan Hamernick does it again!

The PLANT seminar was held at the Cheekwood Botanical Gardens and Art Museum. Troy and I skipped lunch and traipsed around the property checking out things like Chimonanthus praecox and Edgeworthia chrysantha (pictured below), plants I'd only read and dreamed about but had never seen. Winter gardens in the Midwest, as many of you know, consist of lots of snow and the remaining seed heads that peak through. Oh and conifers too. That's about it. In Zone 7, a winter garden actually contains blooming plants!

My visit was made ever better by my stay with dear friends Leann and Jay Barron, who also grow a fabulous winter garden. Even in spite of heavy rainfall on the Thursday night of my stay, the garden looked fetching. Hellebores cropped up on the south side of the house. A lovely Spiraea 'Ogon' (pictured below) flowered off the porch. And perhaps best of all, though surely regarded as commonplace by those who can grow them, were the bountiful clusters of red berries hanging from Nandina (pictured below).

On a final non-plant note, if you're ever around Nashville and looking for some great southern cuisine, you should definitely check in on the Loveless Cafe at the Loveless Motel. Fabulous, fattening, and filling southern foods await including fried chicken, country ham, and their world-famous biscuits (pictured below) courtesy of the biscuit queen Carol Fay. Even if you can't make it to the restaurant in-person, you can order their delicious food products online (see link above).


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