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Your USDA Hardiness Zone

Featured Articles!

Perennial Planning 101

Creating a 100 percent pure perennial bed can be quite a daunting task. The thought of planning a flowerbed that provides interest from spring until fall is enough to have the most seasoned landscape designers running for the hills. With this simple plan, you can dip your toes into the wonderful world of perennials without creating a panic.

>> read “Perennial Planning 101”       #Colorful   #Flowers   #Perennials
Plants Need Their Rest Too

This is about the time of year I start getting inquiries from local media about why leaves turn colors in the fall. What they really want to know is the exact week of peak color to inform the leaf-peepers. I usually respond that the plants are preparing to enter dormancy and peak color depends on prevailing weather conditions and is often unpredictable.

But what exactly is dormancy and why is it crucial to plants? Like explaining why leaves change color, the answer is not straightforward and “depends,” which is not the answer most people want to hear. I’ll attempt to explain in layman’s terms an interesting facet of a plant’s life.

>> read “Plants Need Their Rest Too”       #Colorful   #Fall   #Orange   #Trees
Aprils Remembered

As I was scanning my photo library, considering the many garden plants I could write about for this article, I came across a file of photos, all taken during the month of April – not all in the same year, but all in April – gardens ranging from Jackson, Miss., to Louisville, Ky. It reminded me just how abundant the garden is this time of year. This is the season when gardening seems effortless. Well, almost. The weeds are as high-spirited as the annuals and perennials, so diligence in their control is necessary; but still, the garden is lush and growing rapidly, and the vibrant green of spring radiates from its very heart. There is a certain pristine quality about all of the plants emerging fresh and new.

>> read “Aprils Remembered”       #Colorful   #Flowers   #Spring
Dahlias for Smiles, Not for Show
You don’t have to be ‘serious’ to grow dahlias

My grandfather’s neighbor grew dahlias – giant things, with huge, coarse leaves. Their stems were trussed to stout bamboo poles, held captive to protect the hope of a flower. He’d pinch out most of the flower buds, trampling them into the ground, squeezing the plant’s energy into one tremendous effort of bloom. I don't grow these dahlias.

>> read “Dahlias for Smiles, Not for Show”       #Colorful   #Flowers   #Ornamentals
A Wonderland of Color
Add some color to that bland winter landscape

Adding color to your garden in winter can be a challenge. For many gardeners, barren beds are something we learn to live with until spring. After all, our winters can be harsh with temperatures frequently dipping below freezing. Most flowering plants do not survive in these conditions. However, there are some that flourish, and even thrive, in cooler temperatures. Brightening a winter garden doesn’t have to be difficult, you just need to pick the right plants for your conditions.

>> read “A Wonderland of Color”       #Colorful   #Flowers   #Winter
Everything About Azaleas

Azaleas are more than a harbinger of spring. All across the Southeast, masses of red, white, pink and purple azaleas boldly proclaim that the season has arrived. Many people think azaleas come in just four colors, and some may even criticize their use as commonplace. Discriminating gardeners know better. This article cannot possibly discuss everything about azaleas, but it may foster an appreciation for their amazing diversity while providing some practical advice.

All azaleas are really rhododendrons, and fall into two general categories: evergreen or deciduous. Evergreen azaleas are very common in American gardens but they are not native plants. They all originated in western Asia, primarily Japan and China. North America is home to 17 native azalea species and they are all deciduous shrubs. Surprisingly, most are native to the Southeast! Admired in Europe since the 1800s, they have been woefully underrepresented in our gardens.

>> read “Everything About Azaleas”       #Colorful   #Flowers   #Plant Profile
Designing with Ornamental Grasses
for Showy, Year-Round Intrigue and Ease

Whether you’re planning a new landscape or rejuvenating an established one, ornamental grasses can add surprising pizzazz. They are dynamic, versatile and carefree in ways that few other plants can match. Widely known as the stars of autumn with their showy, long-lasting plumes, they can provide almost year-round interest. These grasses not only bring structure to the landscape, but sound and movement as well ...

>> read “Designing with Ornamental Grasses”       #Colorful   #Ornamental Grass
The Underappreciated Biennial

Fans of perennial flowers admire both their longevity in the garden and their capabilities. Where they once planted a daylily, by division, they can have three or more clumps in a few years. Fans of annuals tout their quick results and their lengthy bloom period. Pop in your six-pack and, if it isn’t blooming already, it soon will be – and will bloom for months on end. No wonder biennials are the Rodney Dangerfields of the flower world ...

>> read “The Underappreciated Biennial”       #Blue   #Colorful   #Flowers   #Orange   #Purple   #Yellow
‘Appalachian Red’ Redbud

The eastern redbud has long been a staple for southern gardeners and when the delicate flowers fill the forest edges, warmer weather is just a whisper away. While the eastern redbud’s popularity remains strong, there have been a host of newcomers hitting the streets in the last few years. One of my personal favorites is Cercis canadensis ‘Appalachian Red’ or the Appalachian red redbud.

>> read “‘Appalachian Red’ Redbud”       #Colorful   #Plant Profile   #Trees
Persian shield
A stunning foliage plant from the Victorian era.

Persian shield is a stunning foliage plant that once you grow it, you’ll want it in your garden every year. Native to Burma (Myanmar), it was a popular plant during the Victorian era and is regaining popularity after the University of Georgia reintroduced it a few years ago. This plant loves heat and humidity and doesn’t start growing well until days start to get warmer.

>> read “Persian shield”       #Colorful   #Plant Profile