OOTS-Mouse Creek

September 3, 2009 Mouse Creek 066 (2)
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.

September 3, 2009 Mouse Creek 028 (2)
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.

September 3, 2009 Mouse Creek 037 (2)
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.

September 3, 2009 Mouse Creek 035 (2)
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.

September 3, 2009 Mouse Creek 039 (2)
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.

September 3, 2009 Mouse Creek 044 (2)
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.

September 3, 2009 Mouse Creek 048 (2)
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!

September 3, 2009 Mouse Creek 073 (2)
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?

September 3, 2009 Mouse Creek 057 (2)
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.

September 3, 2009 Mouse Creek 033 (2)
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.

September 3, 2009 Mouse Creek 072 (2)
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.

September 3, 2009 Mouse Creek 070 (2)
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.

September 3, 2009 Mouse Creek 081 (2)
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.


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35 Responses to OOTS-Mouse Creek

  1. VP says:

    Frances – don’t thanks me, thank you for sharing such a wonderful place with us. Those plantings prove another plus over the big box stores – how much plant care and knowledge the nursery’s owners have. What an inspiring place and having a place dear to your heart close by, you have plenty of excuse to visit often!

    PS I forgot to say – you credit me with far too much techie knowledge over at my place. As you’ve linked to my OOTS post in yours, Blogger automatically adds the linked posts in after the Comments section.

    Sorry to disappoint you!

    Hi VP, no the thanks goes to you for making us aware of the beauty around us! This is the first year that I have avoided the big box in favor of the longer drive to Mouse Creek. It is good for the local economy and gives us a warm fuzzy feeling knowing we are helping support such a worthwhile business. It won’t be there forever, she is even older than I am, is that even possible?, and often speaks of the dismantling of the nursery. That will be a very sad day, so I aim to postpone it as long as possible with cash infusions. πŸ™‚

    That blogger, so smart. Too bad they can’t think up a way to let you answer the comments in the same space like wordpress does. A nice feature.

    • VP says:

      Yes, I like the WordPress reply feature too. I do have a WordPress blog nowadays. A daily photoblog. I chose WP because photos eat up the free account space, so I can keep both blogs going for free a lot longer. My WP blog’s a lot simpler – very few links and widgets there for instance.

      I have to say there’s plus and minus points to both and I feel both come about 50:50. I find myself wincing at WP sometimes, just like I do with Blogger. Having said all that I believe I have the right platform for each blog, because both of them have a quite different style and usage.

      Hi VP, thanks for coming back to set me straight! Glad to hear you have your blogging both ways! I agree that WP and Blogger have their pros and cons. Simple is great, I will have to check out your photoblog. πŸ™‚

      • VP says:

        Hi me again πŸ™‚

        Just to let you know, I’ve now got Mr Linky up and running, so I’ve just added the link to your post here for you.

        AND I forgot to wish you and your readers a most pleasant holiday for Labor Day!

        Thanks VP. I have been out of town and am just now checking in on things. You did wish us a happy labor day on the hypertufa post. I remember your spelling of labor without the U! You are too sweet! πŸ™‚

  2. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    What fun to have such a place near you. I would be delighted to browse through her place. I am proud of you for being so conservative with your purchases. That half iron planter is a keeper. I can think of several places for it. tee hee…

    Hi Lisa, thanks. If you are ever on I-75 do stop and visit her, and ME! πŸ™‚

  3. Sue says:

    I enjoyed this post. I did a similar one this summer. In fact this place reminds me lot of my favorite local nursery. The owners of it have been thinking of selling it so they can retire, too. I don’t want them to, but I don’t blame them, as they put in a lot of hours to keep the place going.

    Hi Sue, thanks. That is one downside of these mom and pop operations, as the owners age there is rarely an enthusiastic younger person to take it over. So much work for not much money. You have to be passionate about it.

  4. I love the first photo Frances … amazing. It was great to visit the garden center with you.

    Thanks for coming along, Linda. The countryside is particularly unspoiled along that route too. I always enjoy the trip, it is not far at all but definitely outside of the city. πŸ™‚

  5. Looks like a great place to go plant shopping! Hmmm… my wheels are turning to see what I can find OOTS.

    Hi Carol, thanks, it is a gem of a nursery, carrying lots of those prairie things I am interested in at the mo. The OOTS is a great meme, we all have something to show no matter how small our towns. πŸ™‚

  6. Fun plantings! I keep meaning to take photos of planters along Main St. in Ann Arbor.

    Thanks Monica. I am sure Ann Arbor has some stunning photo ops! πŸ™‚

  7. Buy local! What a wonderful profile of a delightful nursery. Those containers are really something. Can you put this in your local newspaper?

    YES to that, DP! We try and buy everything possible at locally owned businesses and feel good doing it. Mouse Creek does get some newspaper coverage, they are quite active in the Chamber of Commerce and the college is always mentioned too. Thanks for the idea, it is a good one. πŸ™‚

  8. Rose says:

    What a cool photo of the lotus leaf! A great profile of your favorite nursery, Frances. If I’m ever down that way, I will definitely stop in–and make a side trip to Sunshine Hollow; the names alone would draw me in:) In my early days of gardening, I drooled over pictures of bright flowers in plant catalogs and purchased many of my plants from them. No more! The small little seedlings usually suffer from the ride along the postal route and often have trouble surviving. Not to mention the cost of shipping! I much prefer to see the plants in person in a local nursery, especially a few here that also have knowledgable people to offer some advice about planting and pruning. Buying local is definitely the way to go.

    If you ever find out her secret to keeping those containers so lush, do share!

    Hi Rose, thanks. The catalogs with the pretty pictures lured me in too and many a dime was spent on very poor quality plants. It is so hard to resist those, but I know better now. In fact, that was her motivation to open this nursery, to provide the same plants as those catalogs only nicely sized and grown on for our conditions. She will tell me if something needs more moisture than my hill can offer too. Honesty will bring me back again and again. I do hope you can make it down this way sometime, and you had better stop by and see me too! πŸ™‚

  9. Sweet Bay says:

    Small local nurseries are so worth supporting. Mouse Creek looks like a delightful place. Thank you for the tour and what a great idea for a meme.

    Hi Sweet Bay, I could not agree more. We need to funnel our funds to these types of places, they have a hard time of it when the economy is weak. VP has been hosting this meme for a couple of quarter years already, I am just now having the camera with me when I go out. Do join in the fun! πŸ™‚

  10. tina says:

    What fun! Ruth does have a good eye for container plantings. Those pots are gorgeous!

    Thanks Tina. My photos did not do them justice. It was a rainy day and everything was a little dull. She is very talented and has a loyal customer base. I was surprised those pots were fiberglass, that really helps with the cost and the weight too.

  11. Lola says:

    Love those potted flowers. It sure is nice to have a local nursery to go to. A lot better than the big box store.

    Hi Lola, thanks. We are fortunate to have this nursery and I will keep spending my plant allowance there over any other place. Good thing she has such a sizable inventory. πŸ™‚

  12. Gail says:

    Hi Frances~~The lotus seed pod is fantastic! Other worldly. I love Mouse Creek and look forward to my visit there~ Looks like you’ve picked up a few very fine additions to your garden. Love the Gomphrena, I think that’s the one I have that reseeded in a container. Wow on the verbena Ruth shared It’s lovely and will thrive in Fairegarden gravel; which I think has magic properties. Have a sweet day. gail

    Hi Gail, thanks. I have been thinking how we can get that big planter into my car, then into your car! I am sure Ruth will let you pull some of that verbena out of the gravel too, you should see how much there is of it and she doesn’t sell it in pots. Yet. If the gomphrena self sows I will be ecstatic! πŸ™‚

  13. Joanne says:

    What a treasure of a nursery no wonder you like to support it and what a good excuse to visit regularly and purchase a few plants.

    Hi Joanne, thanks. It is a treasure. She has all the things that will grow well in my area, with a heavy dose of natives too. I am a good and regular customer and consider her my friend. πŸ™‚

  14. Patsi says:

    Fun post !
    Cleaver idea for a meme…tour of a local garden mart/gardens.
    I think you could have stuffed more plants in your car…must be the end of the season. ha

    Hi Patsi, it is a very good idea, thanks to VP of Veg Plotting! About the number of plants, remember that I have been there every week all season. Better for me to get a few at a time and be able to plant them right away. She is open all year, except a couple of weeks in January. There are no end of season sales to get rid of stuff. The plants are always there in the greenhouses. I can see when things emerge in the spring, when they go dormant or if they are evergreen from what is happening at Mouse Creek. Too perfect! πŸ™‚

  15. Diana says:

    Frances — What a lovely nursery — thanks for taking us on the insiders’ tour. I love local nurseries where they know what they have and they carry unique plants to help us expand our horizons. The Indigo Spires Salvia you took home with you is one of my faves.

    Hi Diana, my pleasure to show Mouse Creek to you. Know what they carry is a crucial bit of info isn’t it? I sometimes have specific plants in mind and it saves time combing through the greenhouses to ask Ruth. She always knows if she has it too. Or can suggest something similar that is better for our region, even better! I am hoping the Indigo Spires over winters here, but if it does not, she will have more. It is so garden worthy as to be a fine annual. πŸ™‚

  16. Jen says:

    What a special place – of course I had to click over and see photos of the wedding. No wonder you love to go back. How fun to see a photo of you and Semi- beautiful with or without the flowers!

    Hi Jen, blush, thanks. Semi looked like a vision as she entered the doors of the church on the arm of The Financier. Who could help but tear up? The nursery is a favorite destination for the gas guzzler on many levels. πŸ™‚

  17. Siria says:

    Hi Frances! Looks like you have a very special place to buy plants close by. I love that half iron urn. I think I would have picked that up by now! It won’t be there forever you know. πŸ™‚

    Hi Siria, thanks. You are so funny! I seem to remember that the half urn was more expensive than I felt it should be, as are most of the ornamental non plant items. But the plants are very reasonable. She has had it so long, maybe I can make a deal with her for it. πŸ™‚

  18. Catherine says:

    What a great nursery! I really like the smaller family ones so much better. Is Gomphrena an annual for you? Will it bloom for awhile still? I tried growing some from seed this year but it never came up.

    Hi Catherine, it is a wonderful spot. Gomphrena is annual for us. I started some from seed too, they are in a large container and have done so well I thought more could be added around the hill to take us into fall. They will not winter over, might self sow and were very inexpensive. We have a couple of months before a killing frost here, I hope! πŸ™‚

  19. LindaLunda says:

    WOW… and I love the Lotusphoto :o)!
    I have lotus in Thailand and when IΒ΄v got merried there, in Thailand, we hade lots of them as decoration.
    So they are close to my heart.

    Hi Linda, what a wonderful flower to have for your wedding! They are so exotic and quite hardy here. I should find a way to grow them, if only in a smaller container water garden. πŸ™‚

  20. Phillip says:

    That looks like a great nursery. The container plantings are beautiful. By the way, I have one of those half urns. You need to buy that Frances!

    HA Phillip, you are such an enabler! Next time I go an inquiry will be made. πŸ™‚

  21. Carol says:

    Great Post Frances! So important to support our small local nurseries. As always beautiful photos!

    Thanks Carol. Those small nurseries are usually just barely making it. Our purchases could make a big difference to them. πŸ™‚

  22. Good for you Frances! Support out local nursery and you’ve done a grand job. I like her little garden with the split rail fence around it.

    I want some of that strawberry gomphrena as I love every gomphrena out there.

    I was excited to hear that you had purchased the Pink Spiked Celosia from Monticello! I got some too and can’t wait to plant it next year. So fun that guessed where I was this weekend.

    Thanks Anna. I love all the gomphrenas too, should plant more of them in the containers next year. It was many years ago that we visited and started the seeds. Three houses ago! HA They did well though and I am sure you will have great success. As for guessing where you had been, it helps that I know that area well. Monticello should be on everyone’s must see list. πŸ™‚

  23. Lynn says:

    Thanks for so many beautiful container photos — truly inspiring. Yes, Ruth really does have ‘an eye’!!

    I’ve added the Gomphrena to my want-list for next year. That’s a beautiful one. I was so happy that my purple Gomphrena self-seeded this year because I never had the time to start seedlings.

    There are 2 local family-run nurseries in my area and each has their own strengths. I only buy from them or through mail-order, never the box-stores….the variety, experience, and expertise can only be found in family-run nurseries so that’s where my money is spent. (Posts such as this one prove the point, too!)

    Hi Lynn, thanks. Ruth is a wonder and creative as all get out. I love to shop at the local places for everything possible. Our town is so small that the big box places are sometimes the only place to find needed items, unfortunately. Gomphrena has turned out to be a perfect annual here, very drought tolerant. I do hope it will self sow. πŸ™‚

  24. Anna says:

    Looks like a gem of a nursery Frances. I think that I would be a regular would that it were nearer πŸ™‚

    Hi Anna, thanks. Those who know and love plants would flock to this place, she has an amazing selection and knows every single plant intimately. A true treasure. πŸ™‚

  25. Thank you for bringing the plight of a small nusery owner to the ears of so many! Having worked for a small garden centre in the past, you get very tired of customers coming in and telling you how “that plant is cheaper at Home Depot”, or “it is bigger at “Lowes”. Then they have the nerve to ask you how to take care of it, they cannot get any kind of knowledgeable service at these big box stores. They are not even embarrassed when I used to reply “the reason our plants are a little more expensive, is the owner hires knowledgeable staff, and must pay them more”.
    They still will go down the street to purchase! Excuse my “garden rant”, it is very frustrating.
    On a more pleasant note, I wonder if you are a secret Canadian? I noticed that you ended one of your sentences with eh!

    Hi Deborah, thanks. I agree with all you say, these small operations have it tough. Most of the customers to Mouse Creek come with the intent of supporting a local business, not shopping for bargains. She is far off the beaten path but well known among the gardening population far and wide in this area. Knowledgeable doesn’t even scratch the surface, she is encyclopedic. Secret Canadian, HA! If you could hear me speak you would not think that. We do have very close and dear friends who are Canadians however. I find a well placed EH very useful. πŸ™‚

  26. Blossom says:

    In the 4th picture, I think you mentioned purple Gomphrena – I guess it’s the same one my mom used to have in her garden a very long time ago. So long I was only a child that time. I’ve never seen the plant after that until I visited your blog today. Wow … I’m glad I drop by here today. Thanks.

    Hi Blossom, that is so cool! Gomphrena is an old fashioned plant I suppose. Nothing new or trendy there, just a good reliable annual with lots of color and very drought tolerant. So happy to bring pleasant memories. πŸ™‚

  27. Lythrum says:

    Have you ever looked into growing a bowl lotus Frances? I grew a full sized lotus in a container in my NC garden. Now I have a ‘Chawan Basu’ bowl lotus that takes up a lot less room. I grow it in a seperate basin from my pond, because lotuses are heavy feeders and need lots of fertilizer.

    Hi Lythrum, thanks for that suggestion. I do have a smaller container that would be perfect for a lotus. I like the sound of the smaller one too. The flowers, leaves and seed heads are breathtaking. That leaf would make a great leaf casting too. πŸ™‚

  28. autumnbelle says:

    Frances, your lotus seed pod caught my attention this time. We used to buy these pods, break open them and eat the seeds. When the seeds are too small to be eaten, it tends to be hollow, so we will press it on our foreheads so that it makes a pop sound. The young seeds are sweet and tasty while the older seeds are bitter. If we open up the seed and remove the shoots inside, the flesh tastes just as nice. I wonder if you have heard about it before?

    Wow Autumnbelle, you are such a good source of information, thanks! I have barely heard of the lotus plant at all, let alone anything about it like what you eat from it. I can imagine you putting the seeds to your foreheads too. So interesting. Maybe if we get a plant to grow here we will try that with the seeds. πŸ™‚

  29. Thanks for taking a look at my crowded yard area. The problem is that the magnolia is already two stories tall- and might even belong to my neighbor- I think its the one item that MUST stay. The smaller arborvitae and two cypress trees, or the Chinese maple between them are really my choices.

    Hi Jill. I wondered about the ownership of the trees. If the magnolia has to stay, I would remove all the other things to give it room. There are much better evergreens than that arborvitae, more of a mounding shape would be better than the cone IMHO. πŸ™‚

    • thanks for your input! I’ll probably watch them crowd each other one more winter and then give somebody/s the hack! It would be so nice to have someone like you to come see it all. My eye for potential isn’t very good; I either like what I see or I don’t.

      My pleasure, Jill. It is hard to tell anything from just a photo anyway. It does seem like the rest are small enough to tackle fairly easily. With trees and shrubs, you need to know the mature size to know if they should be removed.

  30. Inspiring post, Frances. Thanks for the wish-we-could-be-there tour. And thanks to VP for the meme. I’ll check it out.

    Thanks Helen. I really like this meme too. Makes us open our eyes to the beauty in our localities, it’s there if we just look for it. πŸ™‚

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