Simple Methods, Big Rewards | Volunteer Gardener

– Today I want to share with
you the garden of my friend, Alecia Welbern, in
Gallatin, Tennessee, where annuals are
the order of the day, and almost everything
is grown from seed. Well, Alecia, one of the
unique things about your garden is what you’ve
done with the area outside of your fence line. So how did this idea come
about, and what got you started? – Well, for one thing,
I wanted to mow less, and everybody wanted to
see the inside of my yard, so I thought I’d
bring it outside, so they, as they drive by, they could, I could
share that with them. – They can enjoy it, yeah. Yeah, brings a little
beauty to everybody’s life, even if it’s just in
passing in their car. So you got quite a
mix of things here, and we see a lot of
poppies, bachelor buttons, larkspur,
summer-blooming asters, and then some other things to
pick up later in the season. Does this all just
reseed itself? – [Alecia] Yes, but I have to
make sure not all of it drops. Then we’d have a weedy
mess, so I capture some, so I can put other
places, other gardens, you know, in the
city or wherever. And then pull out
some, compost the rest. – [Troy] Compost the rest. – [Alecia] And then,
as you can see, we’ve got quite a few already. – [Troy] Yeah, the
poppies really are just on their last flowers,
but still lots of blooms, but mostly seed pods now. So once these are
finished and turn brown, you pull all of this out? – Oh, yes. And then I’ll re-cultivate it and get ready to put
out cosmos, zinnias, amaranth, sunflowers. – So another whole layer
of summer-flowering things that then last into the fall. – And you can keep
putting seed out even up to the middle of July. – [Troy] With new seeding
of the summer-loving, heat-loving annuals– – [Alecia] I try not to put
my zinnias out until later because the Japanese beetles
will just decimate them. – Right. So you actually sow your
zinnia seed a little later to avoid the Japanese beetles, and then by the time
the beetles are done, the zinnias are coming up. – Yes, exactly. – So and then you
get blooms from that all the way through the fall? – Yes, and that’s, of
course, when the monarchs are coming through,
migrating and– – So as they’re making
their way back to Mexico, the monarchs are
stopping here for nectar. – Yes, exactly. – So you’ve really got a
lot of pollinator action going on out here. – Yes. – So the garden
really widens out as you get to the
back of your property, and this is… was a piece of land that
really was just sort of let go, and why is that? – Well, it’s a gas easement. You can’t build on it,
you can’t put trees on it, but they don’t mind flowers. – So the pipeline actually
runs through here? The gas line–
– Yes. – actually runs through here? – Yeah, there’s an
old one and a new one. – But you’re not
cultivating deeply, so there’s no reason for–
– No, no. – No worry about
digging anything up or– – No, I don’t even use a shovel. – [Troy] In so many
neighborhoods, an area like this might have just, maybe
two or three times a year it gets bush-hogged,
and the rest of the time it just grows up in nothing. – [Alecia] Exactly, that’s
what used to happen. – You’ve taken advantage
of this opportunity to create something
beautiful in this space. One of the things that you
are incredibly successful with in this garden are
your foxgloves. I don’t know that I’ve
seen stands of foxgloves in Tennessee that are
as good as these are. What’s the secret? – Being consistent about
watering your little seedlings. – [Troy] Okay. So these are biennial. They reseed themselves,
come up as tiny seedlings in the summer– – [Alecia] Very tiny. So that’s a whole
summer of watering. – [Troy] Right, and then
they overwinter as a big– – Rosette.
– Leafy rosette. And then they do this in
the spring and early summer of the following year. – [Alecia] And I
don’t mulch them, ’cause you’re wanting all these
little seedlings to come up. Now in the winter, I’ll put
down, you know all the leaves that come from downtown – [Troy] Mm-hmm. – [Alecia] I’ll take them
and put them in here. They are– – [Troy] But you mulch more
around them than over the top? – [Alecia] Yeah, yeah. I don’t use any hardwood mulch. – [Troy] Any hardwood
mulch, right. – [Alecia] Not at all. – [Troy] Just leaf mulch, which
is breaking down really fast and also helping
improve the soil. – [Alecia] And I let these
sit here and go to seed, and yes, it looks ratty. And then I’ll take a
bucket and cut them off, collect the seed, let some drop. – [Troy] But yeah, if you
don’t let them go to seed, then you don’t have the
next generation coming on. – [Alecia] Exactly. – [Troy] So you have to
put up with a little bit of them going past their prime in order to be able
to regenerate them. One other thing that you have beaten the odds on are growing these lupines. You’ve been
incredibly successful. What do you think is the
key to their success? – [Alecia] Well, this
is an old herb bed, and I actually put sand in it, and it’s pretty well-drained. The ones that I plant here
do better than anywhere else. – [Troy] Okay, so
drainage is key? – [Alecia] Yes,
and I direct-sow. – [Troy] So you grow
these from seed also, and you direct-sow them,
and they’re also biennial, so they’re going to come
up as small seedlings the first year and just grow
into a clump of foliage. – [Alecia] Exactly. – [Troy] Then they’re
gonna overwinter and bloom the following year. So it’s a kind of a two-year
process, a two-season process. – [Alecia] Yeah, and then those
seed pods will turn black. They’ll curl up, and the
whole plant will die. – [Troy] Right, when
it’s done going to seed, the whole plant dies,
and so it’s critical to have that seed to come back. Well, I know all of my
gardening friends would say lupine doesn’t
grow in Tennessee, but this is proof positive
that it absolutely will in just the right spot. Another thing that you grow here that is a little bit unusual
for a lot of Tennessee gardens are these spuria iris,
which are four feet tall in full bloom. They’re really tall, but they’re
strong and stand right up. – [Alecia] Wonderful
in flower arrangements. – [Troy] No special care. Yeah, they are great
in flower arrangements. One of the things about
them in flower arrangements is that they have multiple buds
that will continue opening. – [Alecia] Definitely. – [Troy] Then you’ve
got them paired with some little
lollipop lilies. – [Alecia] Yeah, Asiatics. – [Troy] Which are some of
the Asiatic-type lilies. The copper iris are
really unique too. What a beautiful color. – [Alecia] I found
that at Lowe’s. As a matter of fact,
I went by a nursery, and I said, “Do you
know what this is?” And he didn’t, and then I
looked in my wildflower book, and evidently, it’s
actually native here. – Yeah, in certain areas, usually around stream banks,
rivers, that kind of thing, yeah, we do find some copper
iris native in Tennessee. So this is a beautiful
example of it. They’re very happy here. Well, Alecia, what you’re
doing here is certainly unique, and I just want to thank
you for sharing it with us. (upbeat music) – [Alecia] Well, that’s
what it’s all about, making people happy and sharing. – [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.

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