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Perennial Border Design | Volunteer Gardener

October 10, 2019

– [Troy Marden] When I’m
looking for something to do
in Nashville, I love to come out here to Cheekwood in the heart of the west side of the city. We are in the old part of the garden now that was designed in the late 1920s and early 1930s by Bryant Fleming for the Cheek family as they were building their home here. And he created these magnificent gardens, really, in this area mostly perennials, so things that consistently
come back year after year. And I thought I would
just share some favorites as I wander through the garden. One of them is this beautiful gaillardia. And if you need a plant
that is tough as nails, this is native to west Texas. It grows along the dry, rocky roadsides. It will also grow well
in an irrigated garden, but the best place for this is hot, dry, full sun. And if you have that kind of location and you can’t get anything
else to grow, try gaillardia. This is a variety called
oranges and lemons, there are also some that
come in a deeper red and yellow bi-color,
some that are solid red, solid yellow, but all hot,
summery, sunshine colors. And a really beautiful plant. And then, also in this
garden are some great cannas. I love these black-foliaged cannas with the bright, orangy-red flowers. Great tropical kind of foliage. So many of our perennials all have a leaf that’s kind of the size
and shape of a teaspoon or a grassy leaf, or something
that’s a fine texture. It’s nice to have this big, bold texture to break everything else up. A lot of you may be familiar with a really great plant called butterfly weed that’s a native wildflower
here in Tennessee. This is a tropical version of that plant. This is called Asclepias
curassivica, or blood flower. It’s technically an annual,
but it will re-seed itself, politely, not aggressively,
through the garden. And then, in addition to these big, bold textures of the
cannas and all the foliage and flowers of the perennials, we have these great, ornamental grasses that have been tucked into this garden. This is Miscanthus, probably gracillimus, which is called maiden grass. These thin leaves, the pinkish-tan
flowers coming up here. And the flowering will go on from now until September, October,
even on into late fall. Now I’m up here kind of in the midst of one of the bigger beds
and I stepped up in here because I want you to see the height of this coneflower that is next to me. This Rudbeckia maxima, the large coneflower. This one, actually, is just about done, but there’s one over here to my left, you can see this tall cone in the center and the yellow ray petals,
just like a typical Rudbeckia. But the plant has this large, blue-green foliage down at the base and then shoots us these tall wands of flowers in early-to-mid summer. And actually, as the seed pods form, this is one of the favorite food sources for gold finches in the garden. So if you love attracting wildlife, Rudbeckia maxima is one of the best plants that you can have. And then down here in
front of the Rudbeckia, I wanna point out a plant that is native to Tennessee and very rare. This is the Tennessee coneflower. And you will notice,
without my touching it or doing anything, all of
the flowers are facing east. So if you’re ever lost out
in the wilds of Tennessee and you see Tennessee coneflower blooming, you always know which
direction, at least, is east. This is a fairly rare plant,
fairly rare and unusual. Native to the Cedar
Glade areas of Tennessee. And again, we mentioned
some plants earlier that are good for hot, dry
places like the gaillardia, the blanket flower, this is another one that grows in exactly the
same kinds of locations, hot, dry, rocky. Tough little plant,
you wanna leave some of the flowers to go to seed every year because it’s a little bit short lived and you always want a few
seedlings coming along in the garden to replace
the plant as it begins to die off, three or
four years down the road. And then directly in front of me is one of my favorite perennials of all time. That is Asclepias tuberosa, what is actually called butterfly weed. Bright, brilliant orange in June and July, you’ll see it lighting
up the meadows and fields across the state of Tennessee. And it’s also host to the
monarch butterfly caterpillar, so if you have milkweeds of various kinds, this one included, you will have monarch butterflies in your garden. And the green and yellow
and white striped, black and yellow and white
striped monarch caterpillars. So if you see that caterpillar
eating your foliage of your milkweeds, don’t
pick it off, it’s a good one. One of the great aspects of this garden is the way that it’s laid out in a large, sweeping curve, so as you wander, the path kind of meanders through. The beds are very generous and very wide, which I think a lot of
times, as homeowners, we’re afraid of large scale
and you really shouldn’t be. Yes, it might be a little more work for you to do the maintenance and things, but these wide, generous
beds allow you to have masses of plants that read
well with one another. This is beautiful right
now, in full bloom, but even if there wasn’t a flower, these beds would still be gorgeous because you have all
these wonderful textures. Like this nassella grass and the cannas, and just interesting leaf
textures with grasses and irises, different forms,
different colors of foliage that really carry this
garden through the seasons, even if there’s nothing in bloom. So if you’re out visiting Cheekwood, I would suggest you bring a small notepad and a pencil to take some notes because there is a wide
array of plant material, beautiful flowers in
every corner of the garden and you’re definitely going to want to know what you’ve seen. (upbeat music) – [Narrator] For inspiring garden tours, growing tips and garden projects, visit our website at or on YouTube at The
Volunteer Gardener channel. And like us on Facebook.


  • Reply Good Gardening Videos February 21, 2017 at 4:06 pm

    Excellent! When was it filmed? Troy mentions "now" a couple of times.

  • Reply Good Gardening Videos April 2, 2017 at 12:19 pm

    Good job, Troy! We're promoting this very helpful video, we like it so much.

  • Reply Cynthia Cleland April 7, 2018 at 2:55 am

    Was that the Nassella tussock?

  • Reply Zeljko Trifunovic February 2, 2019 at 2:38 am

    a little more work in a garden that size 😄😂😆
    probably like digging ditches all day

  • Reply Marlise Govan September 8, 2019 at 10:39 pm

    🌾🌸🌳🌱🌺🌿🌻🎋🌼BEAUTIFUL 🦋

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