Tuesday, July 7, 2009

A Summer Celebration!

Today is Outdoor Wednesday at A Southern Daydreamer hosted by Susan. Make sure to visit her blog, say hello to Susan, and check out all the other participants.

I realize that most of you are a long way from Jackson, Tennessee, but if you happen to be within driving distance, I strongly recommend that you make plans to attend the University of Tennessee Summer Celebration Lawn and Garden Show.

Each year, the event draws thousands of visitors eager to soak up creative horticultural tips and peruse the dazzling garden displays that seem to grow more elaborate each year.

The 20th Annual Summer Celebration kicks off at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, July 9, at the West Tennessee AgResearch and Education Center. Dozens of plant and garden experts will be on hand, presenting information on topics that range from "Layer Cake Gardening" to "Roses that Rock Your World."

The Center is a tremendous asset to gardeners in the extended community. There’s a kitchen garden display area,

trials with different types of grasses for creating beautiful, healthy lawns,

and a daylily area.

Generally every plant is labeled to guide landscape designers in making the best choices for new plantings. Unfortunately (and sadly) visitors sometimes steal the labels rather than coming prepared with paper and pen!
The theme at this year's Summer Celebration is "Sedums and Succulents." These are plants that can withstand the heat, love sunlight, but require little watering. With their unique textures and colors, these plants will be artfully featured throughout the gardens.

I spent some time this past weekend walking around the grounds photographing whatever caught my eye. I spoke with Jason Reeves, the ornamental horticulturalist who masterminds the imaginative displays that are always highlights of the “Celebration.” He’s the fellow driving the “mule” in the snapshot below.

Jason told me he’d be adding lots of “surprises” to the kitchen display before the day of the event. I thought it was already impressive!

I especially enjoyed the inverted satellite dishes filled with sedums, the ornamental grasses, the old kitchen appliances used to “bake” pans of sedums, and the hut with a roof covered in growing, thriving succulents.

One of my favorite features of the gardens is the no-spray rose program. The staff plants dozens and dozens of new varieties each year. Visitors to the Center can see what happens when the roses are left to their own devices. There’s absolutely no spraying with chemicals and no “dead-heading.” It’s a wonderful opportunity to “try before you buy!”

If there are similar programs and events in your area I’d love to hear about them!

Hope you enjoy the pictures as much as I enjoyed taking them for you!!!


  1. I would be absolutely content all day wandering & meandering all about the gardens there. I love how they took everyday basic items & turned them in to art for the gardens to view. Lots of good ideas and so many different variety's of flowers & succulents.

  2. WOW! Very creative! I love the "Mattress Spring" trellis and the wagon! I'm only 7 hours away...I can make it! ;)

  3. What beautiful gardens and such interesting things woven within! Thanks for sharing such a pretty walk!

  4. Gorgeous gardens. I really got a kick out of the bed spring used as a trellis. So many lovely flowers and plants. What a treat. Hugs, Marty

  5. Bill, this is SO amazing! What a delightful post filled with delightful whimsy. I used to have a chair like the one with the plant in the seat, but I am so amused by the matress springs AND that sink with the dishes. How fun! I want to hurry and type this so I can go back and peruse everything.

    BUT... you absolutely MUST tie this post into Outdoor Wednesday. It's perfect for that. Go to my blog and look at my post there. It will have a link to Susan's blog. She hasn't put up Mr. Linky yet, but that should be going up some time tonight.

    I'm so glad you are blogging with us. And obviouslly a lot of other people are, too. Great job!


    Sheila :-)

  6. hi Bill....coming over by way of Rhoda's......LOVE this post and look forward to reading more of your blog. I love the ideas used in this garden!!!


  7. What a beautiful garden tour! Some really great ideas here, I especially love the little garden in the old wagon. What a fun day you had. Thanks for sharing these. Kathy

  8. What beautiful gardens and so many unique ideas, Thank you for taking us on this tour.I enjoyed it so much.


  9. Wow!! Look at those...are they daylillies with the fancy edges..they are beautiful

  10. Bill, my gosh what a wonderful post. Thanks for sharing. I love the plate and the cup in the one sick planter, that is precious, it gave me the perfect idea of what to do with our old sink. The bikes were interesting. They must have been left behind from students past. The succulents look wonderful for Tennessee weather. I am so impressed. I have signed up to follow your BLOG. You are going to take us to many interesting places. Please stop by and say hi. I would love for you to follow my BLOG as well. Country Hugs, Sherry

  11. So many weird and wonderful pieces in the gardens. I wouldn't want to be the one who has to pull the vines out of the bed springs at the end of the season. I was just at a daylily farm and saw some like you have here. They are so beautiful and although the tags were all still there I was too distracted and didn't write anything down.

  12. Beautiful flowers/plants, and some interesting garden architecture. :) I have never been. Thanks for sharing.

  13. I love the art in this garden. It makes it so unique and gives it such personality. Thanks for sharing!

  14. Recycling into the garden is a great idea. I love it all, but the succulent hut is my favorite! Now where I'd put that ladder…

    Thanks for joining us for OW, I look forward to more postings from you.

  15. Hello Bill, Gosh what an amazing place you took us to today, that's why Outdoor Wednesday is my fave time of the week, I could wander through all the tours all week lol, those lillies are stunning and I love all the garden art, happy OW, Kathy.

  16. That looks like a great place to visit! Love the creative use of the bed spring!
    I have all I can do to keep the deer from eating my lilies and vegetables, roses, etc..!

  17. Howdy
    Happy Outdoor Wednesday to you .
    What a fabulous place to spend time .
    Thank you for sharing all the amazing photos .
    Each one was a true delight .
    Have a great week.
    Happy Trails

  18. These gardens are amazing! I love the creative use of different elements, such as the bed springs, the chair, the old wagon and the cup and saucer. Thanks for the wonderful tour!


  19. Those pictures are amazing. I love all the interesting and unusual vessels they incorporated.

    I had a planting in an old chair in my old garden. It was lovely until the elements and years of exposure took it's toll and it fell apart. It was very sweet for a while.

    Thanks for stopping my my blog. I always love new visitors.


  20. Hello Bill,
    Thanks for coming by to visit. I looked up the zones for Crepe Myrtle and they may grow in Washington where PERBS lives.
    I would have loved to attend this exhibit you have displayed. Unfortunately, I had already made plans to go to Memphis on Friday and meet my Honey Bear. We are going to spend the weekend north of there. A couple of years ago, we spent a weekend in Jackson at one of the B&Bs near Union College. We did a walking tour and enjoyed seeing some of the architecture there. I would really like to keep this Festival in mind for next year.
    I visited our Botanical Garden today with Daughter and grandchildren. I love it there. Before my move to Memphis, I volunteered there. Now that I've moved back, I have to start doing that again. It is an impressive place in any season.
    Thanks for sharing the photos. I especially like the ones using recycled materials.
    Mama Bear

  21. Oh MY GOODNESS!!!!!!!!!!!!! I would love to visit that awesome display of outdoor beauty combined with masterminds of creative art.
    Just the picture show you posted was a treat ~ Eye Candy. Thanks SO much for sharing.
    Loved it. Great Stuff.
    I'll visit again!

  22. One frame is lovelier or more interesting than the next. Your pictures are fabulous. Have a great day.

  23. I love the whimsical displays here, Bill! Thanks for sharing!

  24. Oh I love the "found objects" gardening! The bikes, chairs -- even the dishpan! Such fun. A house near us has a fence of bicycles -- very clever. Love the bedspring trellis, too. Thanks for the tour!

  25. All I can say is Wow!!! I am absolutely intrigued by all the photos you posted! What a wonderful way to spend a day enjoying this beautiful garden. Thank you for sharing with us.

  26. Hi Bill. Thanks for stopping bu my blog. I will definitely be checking into your suggestions.
    What gorgeous pix! I was awed at some of them! My daughter lives in Rogersville TN, are you near that?

    Hope you visit again and we can exchange links.

  27. And I wanted to add "thank you for signing up as a follower of my blog" I will sign up to follow your blog as well.

  28. I loved this post! What great ideas! Love the mattress, the gazebo, just everything! I have had an old chair found at the thrift shop stored in my garage for the past year because I wanted to make it into a planter but haven't come up with the chicken wire needed for the "seat" to put the plants in; however, the one you showed used burlap for the "seat"--how easy is that! I'm going to tack some burlap on it today, put in my plants, & voila!-my chair will be done! Thanks for the inspiration! Patti