The faire VP of Veg Plotting has asked garden bloggers around the world to open their eyes to the local beauty offered in their villages, cities and towns and report back about what strikes their fancy. She calls this meme OOTS, Out On The Street. Click here to find out more. On the weekly visit to our local treasure, Mouse Creek Nursery, the plantings there caught our attention. Like the lotus seed pod in the water garden section. I would love to grow lotus in my pond, but alas, it is much too small for such a large plant. Cool, though.
A deliberate effort is made to support this small family run nursery. The big box store does a large percentage of the plant selling business around these parts, due in part to its central location and offering of building supplies, not to mention excessive advertising. For my dollar, Mouse Creek offers so much more in the way of hard to find perennials and is open all year. Not that I need any more plants, but adding to the collection is a big part of the gardening hobby for me and owner Ruth Baumgardner has such a large variety from which to choose. There is a sentimental reason we love to make this drive out into the countryside. Offspring Semi was married in the little historic church that sits at the back of the property. Click here to read more about the nursery and church.
Scattered about the grounds that hold eighteen packed to the gills greenhouses are various container plantings. These showcase the offerings of interesting annuals and perennials sold here and help give shoppers some inspiration for their own containers. Two types of coleus are overflowing in the above image.
This large concrete pot is planted with a mix of Sedum ‘Matrona’ and purple Gomphrena with some white vinca and coleus barely peeking out. And looky at those concrete balls, too cool. But more money can be spent on plants since we know how to make our own. Click here to learn for yourself.
This half of a metal urn has drawn my attention every time I visit. One of these days a conversation about its price might be had with the owner.
These three half whiskey barrels that rest along the gravel driveway into this nursery are full to capacity with coleus, gomphrena and purple heart. The potting soil mixture must be magic for all of her containers are so lush and luscious. We need to find out the secret recipe. Yes, I will share it if learned.
Just barely visible in the photo before is this groundcover in the gravel of sweet autumn clematis that is out of control. Growing along with the fragrant white runaway is Verbena polaris that she dug up along the roadside many years ago. A couple of pieces were pulled from the gravel and shared for free. They were planted near our gravel paths and will be watched for hardiness and vigor. Thanks, Ruth!
The eighteen greenhouses stuffed with prize plants are sorted by type. Hostas, grasses, sun, shade, vines, shrubs and tropicals make up the inventory. There are annuals grown from seed or root cuttings from mother plants in heated propagation houses. Only the tropicals greenhouse gets supplemental heat during the winter. This allow us to tell what will be in bloom when and what it should look like in our own garden by the appearance of those grown here. Quite a difference from catalogs with misleading macro shots of the bloom only, not the whole plant, eh?
These ornamental peppers are really eye catching. Next visit might see some of these come to the Fairegarden for some jazzing up of the containers as fall finds its way to southeast Tennessee. The seeds could be saved to start a few of our own too.
After the big spring avalanche of customers filling the parking lot, late summer finds few plant buyers here. Ruth usually walks around with me to chat about plants and whatnot if she is not busy elsewhere. This day she had some annuals set out to do some container plantings for the local college.
She gamely let me photograph her as she planted up the fiberglass pots that will decorate the campus, provided by the college. She works in one of the newest buildings on site, a workspace with heat and airconditioning. Looks like a table and chairs and refrigerator make it more human friendly as well. The table where she is working is actually a cart attached to a small tractor. The heavy pots can be driven where needed without unnecessary lifting. Such a good idea.
Here is one done. She really has the eye to put these together. What a luxury to pick from so many plants to make these up too. I should bring my containers here and let her plant them in spring, the smaller lighter ones anyway. This is a big part of her business too, aside from the selling of plants. That planting mix could be used too. Sounds like this is a done deal.
Some plants did hop into the gas guzzler while I visited with Ruth. For the curious: A flat of Gomphrena ‘Strawberry Fields’, Amsonia tabernaemontana, two of these to join the one previously purchased, Deschampsia caespitosa, three of these, Salvia ‘Indigo Spires’, one to join another already bought, Aster, Symphyotrichum dumosus ‘Snow Mound’, one of these.
We want to thank VP for allowing us to show how our friend Ruth helps to brighten this small southern town with thoughtful and creative plantings in public spaces. Her plants are well represented in the Fairegarden too. This nursery has played a big part in the variety of plants we grow. Affordable and accessible with a knowledgable owner makes this local nursery priceless. If you ever find yourself traveling on interstate highway 75 between Knoxville and Chattanooga, take exit 42 and follow the signs to see this very special nursery.