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The Family Plot — May 15, 2014


Hi, I’m Chris Cooper. Welcome to “The Family Plot:
Gardening in the Mid-South.” Thanks for joining us. Strawberry Plains Audubon Center
is one of Mississippi’s finest natural and historic treasures
with 3,000 acres of hardwood forest, wetlands and
native grasslands. They also provide inspiration
and education to people who want to take conservation
action at home with native plants
in landscaping. And that’s what we’re
talking about today, how we can use native plants to
transform our landscapes in to beautiful, inviting
sanctuaries for birds, butterflies and
other forms of wildlife. We’re also gonna give you a
great idea for getting your kids involved in gardening. All of that and more
is coming up next on “The Family Plot:
Gardening in the Mid-South.” So stay with us. (female announcer)
This is a production
of WKNO-Memphis. Production funding for “The Family Plot:
Gardening in the Mid-South” is provided by Good Winds
Landscape and Garden Center in Germantown since
1943 and continuing to offer its plants for successful gardening
with seven greenhouses and three acres of plants plus
comprehensive landscape services.. [soft music]
♪♪♪ [theme music]
♪♪♪ Hi, welcome
to “The Family Plot.” I’m Chris Cooper. Joining me today from Strawberry
Plains Audubon Center is Kristin Lamberson and Mitch Robinson. And we also have Tim
Roberts here today. Tim is an extension agent
right here in Shelby County. Thanks for joining me. Thank you. Alright, well good. Now Ms. Kristin, what is
Strawberry Plains Audubon Center and what do you do there? And Mitch, what do
you do there as well? So we’re gonna start
with you, Ms. Kristin. Alright, well my title is
interpretive garden specialist. Basically, that means that I
didn’t go to school for this. I kind of learned,
learned on the fly. But what I do there in a nut
shell is I grow and promote the use of native plants
through outreach programs, education and
actually hands in the dirt. (Chris)
Okay. Mitch? So I’m the conservation
education manager which is a variety of things. But I coordinate a lot of
our programming and facilitate different things
through Kristin, as well as Chad Pope
who’s our land manager. But a better idea of what
Strawberry Plains is.. We’re part of the
National Audubon Society. We’re over 3,000 acres of land
that used to be an intensive cotton and
agricultural cultivation. So we’ve kind of naturally
gone back to what the landscape should be. We provide
educational programming. We’re also a demonstration
site for a variety of different habitats, of things that
people can do on their home. We have the Coldwater
Prescribed Burn Association, which is the first land owner
run Prescribed Burn Association in the Southeast. And then Kristin’s native plant
and nursery is maybe the only place around the Memphis
area where you can actually get native plants for
attracting wildlife. How about that, Kristin? Alright, well since you
have those native plants, why native plants anyway? Well it’s, you know.. We’ve always heard that they’re
good for wildlife or they’re more situated for water
or the soil that we have. But the most important thing is
that it’s our support system for wildlife from the ground up. So we know that the native
plants evolved with the wildlife and the insects and
that insect connection. And so they’re taking the
nutrients from the earth and the sun and passing it on to the
insect realm of the food chain. And then everybody eats that. And from Audobon’s stand
point, if we have birds, 96% of the birds rely on insects
for their diet here in the United States, especially right
now when they’re breeding and feeding their young. (Chris)
Okay. (Kristin)
And those native plants is the
base of that support system so much more than
exotics most of the time, especially caterpillars
and things like that. A lot of nutrients
in that caterpillars. It’s the food chain
base of the food chain. (Chris)
Okay. It’s always an interesting
conversation about natives versus non-natives. So can we use non-native
plants in our landscape? How do you feel about that? Yeah, by all
means, especially if, you know, you have your favorite
hand-me-down or heirloom. I just think you
want to watch it, you know, what’s going to give
you more bang for your buck. You know, make sure you have
some of the host plants for the butterflies and the oak trees. And most importantly, I think
you just make sure that that non-native isn’t gonna
take over the world. You know just make sure it’s
not invasive and that the birds aren’t eating it and pooping
it out all over where they’re flying. So yeah, by all means. It’s not an either or. It’s what can support that
bigger system most sufficiently. (Chris)
Okay. We just want to make sure it
doesn’t take over the world. I like that. Starting locally
and going globally, yeah. Okay, well let’s talk about
the top five native plants that attract hummingbirds. Okay? Well my favorite.. There’s quite a few native
hummingbird pollinator plants. But I have one right here. This is a woodland plant called
Spigelia marilandica or Indian pink. And it’s a hummingbird
pollinated woodland plant. Often, it will bloom twice,
especially after the first bloom if you cut it back. And then it will come back
and hummingbirds use it. Hummingbird pollinated
plant for woodlands. A lot of people think
that you have shade, you can’t have plants
that attract hummingbirds or butterflies. And that’s simply not true. Another great plant
that’s my favorite is beebalm, the Monarda Didyma,
the red one, Oswego tea. Native honeysuckle,
the coral honeysuckle, Lonicera
sempervirens is blooming now. The just finished
blooming Red buckeye, Aesculus pavia. Really important shrubby tree to
have here when the hummingbirds are first working their way
because they’re blooming and heralds their arrival. A lot of bang for
their buck too in there. And I think that was.. Cardinal flower,
Lobelia cardinalis. More of a wetland
edge wetland plant. Blooms in mid-summer and
hummingbirds and butterflies all over it. So those are the
top ones for me. But there’s a few more. But those are pretty easy
to come by in nurseries and certainly our
nursery carries them. Listen to the passion. Yeah, yeah. So you do have a
plant sale coming up. Do you want to tell us
about the plant sale and Mitch, you jump in whenever you
want to tell us something, too, about the
plant sale as well? (Kristin)
Sure! It’s the May 16th and 17th,
which is a Friday and Saturday, 9:00 through 4:00 on those days. We’re actually
working with that nursery. We have two big plant
sales now, one in the spring, one in the fall. We’re working on that nursery to
get it up to snuff so that it’s open to the public
all season long. Right now we have issues
with armadillo holes and people breaking their ankles
that are going along. So we want to get that issue
figured out and those plants will be available. (Chris)
Okay. Mitch, would you like
to add anything to that? Coming out and just seeing the
grounds at Strawberry Plains, you know we have an
Antebellum house on site. It doesn’t have the typical
landscaping that you would assume with an old
house like that. And so to see how you can do
landscaping with natives that’s both beautiful but
still somewhat kept. You know we’ve kind of had these
transitioned areas between the wildlands and then the areas
closer to what we call our main campus, are a
little more manicured. And so it’s not the perfect
demonstration but it’s very unique and it kind of adds to
what makes strawberry plains a little bit exceptional. And why the name
Strawberry Plains? I’ve always wondered that. Well the first family to
actually move to the property back in the 1830s after
Chickasaw Indians moved to Oklahoma from the
Treaty of Pontotoc. The Davis family came
from the east coast. And the story is that when
Mrs. Davis came on the property, there were wild strawberries
all throughout the woodlands. So before they took all of that
timber down and put it in to cotton, they decided that would
be the name of the property. Anything you want
to add to that? That’s pretty good. It’s a keeper. Let’s mention the
date, you know, for that plant sale again. (Kristin)
May 16th and 17th. That’s a Friday and Saturday. (Chris)
You have a website or something? (Mitch)
Yeah, it’s.. strawberryplains-dot-
audubon-dot-org. We also have a Facebook page. Search Strawberry
Plains on Facebook. All of our events are
posted on our website, all of our programs. We’ll have summer programs for
kids this year most Fridays of the summer. We do a Young Naturals program. So it should be fun. Now and you do most
of those programs? (Mitch)
Yeah, I do. And we even bring in experts. We have a naturals program going
on right now that is for 10 weeks. It’s every Friday. And we bring in experts
from the extension service, professors from
University of Mississippi, from Mississippi State. We even have just local experts
that have specialties in spiders or we even had someone come
out from the National Weather Service. So it’s a real cool program
for people that may not have a science background to get an
in-depth understanding of kind of how natural systems work. And you get to do it at a
place like Strawberry Plains. Well it sounds like y’all
have a real good time out there. (Kristin)
Yeah, we do. We’re pretty blessed. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Not too bad. Can’t you tell it, Tim? And we love to laugh. I mean it’s important
to laugh and enjoy. Well good. Thanks, Kristin. Thanks, Mitch. (Chris)
There are a number of
gardening events going on in the next couple of weeks. Here are just a few
that might interest you. [theme music]
♪♪♪ Alright, Tim. Let’s talk Plant Camp. (Chris)
What do you want us to know? We have Plant Camp coming up. It’s going to be June
9th through the 13th. It is for eight to 12-year-olds. And it will be from 9:00 am
until noon every day Monday through Friday. And Plant Camp is just where the
students can come out to learn how to plant and
learn about plants. Because plant is
not only a verb, it’s also a noun. So we want to make sure
that everybody knows that. It is $35 per student for the
whole week and that includes everything they’ll bring home,
as well as a snack every day. We try to have our snack that
revolves around the theme for that day. Our theme for this year
is dirt made my lunch. (Chris)
I like that! So we’re gonna talk a lot about
the different parts of that because each day will
have it’s own theme. Soil is the first day. And we have a special
guest coming that day. We have Sammie the soil that’s
gonna be with us that day. So the youth will be able
to meet Sammie the soil. We’ll talk a lot about soil and
we’ll have activities that go along with soil. And one day is
going to be seeds. So we’re going to get to
harvest the Agricircle that day. So the students will be able to
take home some of the produce that we’ve grown there at
Agricenter on the Agricircle as well as we’ve got a
special guest that day. We have the Bee Whisperer coming
in that’s going to talk about bees. We’re going to
get see a beehive. So they’ll talk a
little about bees as well. And the Bee Whisperer will be
with us and he’s gonna take us up and show us a hive
and talk to us about bees. So we’ll go on with fruits
one day as well as plants. We’ll get to
plant the Agricircle. So not only will they
take back stuff home, but they will plant something
that’s going to be growing all throughout the
summer in to the fall. And they’ll be able to bring
their families back and show them what they were able
to plant for that day. Do you have any
example of what they made? (Tim)
I do. I have some really
great volunteers. The Master Gardeners
do a fantastic job. And I have one that prepackages
all of what we’re gonna make. We make something
in wood every year. And of course we have
our trusty hammers. And yes, they get
to use hammers. And they get to build
things like the nice box. And not only do
they get to build it, but we’ll decorate it as well
as — and I’m gonna use some of Kristin’s plants. Sometimes we plant seeds in it. Sometimes we have other things
to plant because not everything we plant is a seed. And we want to make sure that
students know that other things can be planted not
necessarily just from seed. (Chris)
Okay, and that’s one of the
activities that you guys will be doing. (Tim)
That’s one of the activities. We have all kinds of
activities planned. We start planning early. We want to make it interesting
for all the youth as well as a time to learn about
plants and how to plant. Lots and lots of different
things that go along with plants. (Chris)
Good. (Kristin)
What’s the age
limit on that again? I want to meet Mr. Soil! [cross-talk] It’s eight to
12-year-olds. But we do allow
volunteers to come and join us. (Chris)
You just missed it. (Kristin)
I know, a couple of years! Lots of our volunteers say they
think they learn as much as the youth do and have as much fun
just watching them sometimes. We have lots of people
that come out and help. We really have a great week. (Chris)
Okay. Now let me ask you this. Can you tell us what the
kids will be planting? What they will be planting? (Chris)
Yeah, at the Agricircle. On the Agricircle? We will be
planting cotton, corn, soy beans and sunflowers. Those are some of the things
that we grow there at Agricenter every year. Of course the sunflowers.. we do
not harvest the sunflowers at Agricenter. We do those for the wildlife. But it’s something that
Agricenter’s known for. So we want to plant things
that we do there at Agricenter. (Chris)
Okay. So the kids actually get a
chance to get their hands dirty? This is what Plant Camp
is pretty much all about. That’s exactly right. We’ll be getting in to the soil
and learning how to harvest and what parts to harvest and eat
to take home as well as how to plant. And we’ll talk about depth of
seed and how to cover it and make sure it’s
watered, all of that. What about Friday’s activity? Do you have anything that you’re
going to be doing on Friday as the week winds up? And of course “Dirt
Made My Lunch” is a song. So we’ll be learning the song. We’ll be doing the song for the
parents at the end of the week. All of the youth will
get a t-shirt as well. We’ll take some pictures. We’ll, of course, have our song. Do you want to give us a
rendition of the song? (Tim)
No, that’s alright. We’ll save that for later. Yes, yes. Oh, man. Okay! Are y’all doing
Jeopardy again this year? I always like to go
to Friday’s, you know, event because it’s Jeopardy. Yes because what we do is we
bring back questions that some of the students have had or
some things we’ve talked about. We split the group up and we’ll
have a little fun competition with the different groups. And we’ll have some fantastic
prizes that go along with that. And just reiterate some of the
things that they have learned all week. (Chris)
Okay. And you find that the
kids have a good time? They have a good time because
we have youth coming back every year plus we have some of our
former Plant Camp campers that come back to be some of
our youth volunteers. They like it so much that I have
had one that went all through. They graduated from Plant Camp. Now this will be their third
year to come back as a youth volunteer. (Chris)
Okay. And lastly, applications —
Where do we get the applications for Plant Camp? (Tim)
Applications can be found
on the Shelby County website. That’s at
Shelby-dot-Tennessee-dot-edu. (Chris)
Okay. (Tim)
And across the orange
bar, it says Plant Camp. It’s a drop down
menu, then click on it. Get the application
and just mail that in. (Chris)
Okay. Now is there a limit? We do have a limit of
30 campers every year. So be sure and get your
application in quickly so there is a spot for you. And we do have a few
spots that are still left. A few spots that
are left, Kristin. Can I borrow your laptop? [laughter] Thanks for that
good information. It’s definitely good to get
the kids involved in gardening. And we appreciate that. Here’s our Q and
A session, okay? And today is all viewer e-mails. This is good. Our first question is from Pat. I have two large oak trees in my
yard with no grass under either. I know the trees pull the water
away from the plants and shade prevents many
things from growing. I don’t want ivy. Is there any kind of grass
or cover crop I can use? I need something for the back
that will hold up under a large dog trampling on it. I even thought of Kudzu. That’s a horrible
though but I’m desperate. So you have
a comment for that? And I’ll share mine. Yeah, you know, I
was like yeah, yeah, yeah. And then she got to the dog. And I’m like eh. Yeah, and it’s gonna be tough. So all these plants
actually, the oak thing, all these plants are
shade woodland plants. So I think a
woodland under those oaks, you know, there’s hundreds
of plants that do shade. Shrubs and herbacious layer. The dog thing kind of
throws another crimp in to it. Although these guys, these three
I think would actually hold up to that. But even wood violets, the
native wood violet.. really tough as nails plant. It’s blooming now, has those
beautiful heart-shaped leaves. And yes, you can
walk, trample, mow. They hold up. Also, it’s a host plant. Well the wood violets, just the
ones that a lot of people dig out of their yard. You know the little
purple, just regular violets. Regular violets, wild violets. Yeah, and their the host
plant for fritillary butterfly. And often the fritillary
butterfly will stay on there throughout the winter. So you don’t want
to get rid of it. And every part of the
wood violet is edible, the flower. So that’s a good one. And then there’s a
native salvia Lyreleaf sage. The basil foliage
almost looks like an Ajuga. But right now, you’ll have
the stalk that comes up with a salvia like flower
that’s this color. And so once after that
blooms and you cut it back, you’ll have that. So those two mixed would
actually be really pretty and handle all the dogs too. Yeah, the dog really kind
of throws a wrench in to it. I was thinking this. Let the dogs have their path. We’re talking about
a large oak tree. How about mulch it? You can just mulch it. And then under those
large trees if you want to, hydrangeas. You could do oak
leaf hydrangeas. (Kristin)
Yeah! (Chris)
If you want
something that’s real tough, autumn ferns would be
kind of tough in that area. You have any others? I have some autumn ferns under
some of my oak trees because I have large oak trees and it’s
just hard to get grass to grow. I’ve tried that so we’re trying
other things like the mulch and planting some other things that
take a lot of shade under that. And I’m glad Pat knew that,
that you couldn’t grow the grass under the tree. So, alright. Here’s our second
viewer question. She writes, “We tilled up an
area in the yard that had never “been used for garden space
and there were hundreds of grub “worms in the soil. “How do we get rid of them?” They tried Granular Sevin. They tried Insecticide liquid. And they are still
seeing live grubs. They need help. Now go ahead Kristin. I’m gonna let
you jump in there. I’ll come right behind you. Well, so that
question, there was.. There didn’t seem to
be an issue with them. It was just the
fact they were there. (Chris)
They were there, right. I wouldn’t worry about it. If they’re not eating anything
or they’re not doing anything, they’re not eating your plants
or doing anything negative, I wouldn’t worry about it. There are critters, you know. The more diverse your landscape,
the more you’re gonna have those natural predators and
those things that eat it. So by that question, if
they’re not harming anything, I would walk away. Just go and lie in your
hammock or something. Take a deep breath
and let it out, yeah. Okay, my thing is this. So that area was
probably a lawn area. They said it’s
never been used before. So the lawn area is gonna have a
pretty high population of grubs. Now we’re talking
about vegetable gardens. So U-T Extension does not
recommend any insecticides for a home vegetable garden. This is what I would do. Just turn the soil
over a couple of times, you know, expose the grubs. And you let the birds get them. Good answer! I mean that’s
what I would do. Because there’s nothing
that you could spray in there. So yeah, just
turn them over. Let the birds come
and do their thing. Mother Nature
has it together. And just watch your
plants and kind of know, okay, if the leaves
turn a certain way, if they’re drooping,
we know it’s not water. Then that’s when you start
being a little more concerned. But turning it over, that’s
the best thing you could do. You can just let
Mother Nature take over. Alright, here’s
our next question. It’s from Kevin He writes, “I
bought some bales of wheat straw to use as mulch. “And I noticed some of them had
a blank fungus growing on them. “Can this be harmful to my
yard or my vegetable garden?” I’ll pass on that one. Probably not. It’s probably not
going to be anything. There might have been some
diseases there when it was wheat. But once it’s dry, you’re not
gonna have any problems with it. There’s nothing to
worry about here. I mean simply what’s happening
is the fungus is growing on decaying organic material. That’s all it’s doing. The wheat bale was wet
so it’s just growing there. At the end of the day, it’s
called nutrient recycling. That’s what it is and fungus
thrive in that environment of nutrient recycling. So that’s what it is. Go ahead and use
the wheat straw. It’ll dry up. Like Tim said,
you’ll be just fine. And speaking of mulch, do
you guys use mulch much out in Strawberry Plains? When I do, I
really love pine straw. It’s just because it’s so
easy and it decays quickly. But we try to have a
lot of plant cover. And so that, you know. We just let everything come
in and grow close together. And we don’t have to
worry about it so much. Let’s get to this
last question quickly. It’s from Cindy
up in Millington. Okay? I have hostas in my yard
and they are all full sun. By July 4th, the
leaves are curled, brown and burnt. Is there anything I
can do to prevent this? (Kristin)
Well put them in shade. Cindy, put
them in shade! They are shade loving plants. They can deal with some morning
sun but by the time we get to the end of the day,
they don’t want that, you know, extreme
heat, you know, from the sun. Shade loving plants. And Chris, isn’t it amazing when
you look at the evolution of plants and stuff? All the plants that like shade
are — really relish shade and do well in shade. They have those big leaves to
capture the little sun that’s there. You have the emeralds that are
taking advantage of that open canopy and stuff. And sometimes by just looking
at the structure of the plant, you can kind of dictate
where it’s going to go. (Chris)
I agree, agree. Big leaves, beautiful leaves. Because hostas are
known for their leaves. But yeah, get them in shade
because the sun will burn them up. Trust me, I know. It’s happened to me. I know this
by experience. Tim, did you have
something to add to that? Okay. You can
put them.. If you dig them up,
put them in a pot. Put them under the
canopy of your.. Yes, your big old tree. Something like that. (Chris)
Okay. Because they’re
not gonna do much. Thank you
guys for that. Remember we love
to hear from you. Send us a letter of an e-mail
with your gardening questions. Send your e-mail to
Familyplot-at-wkno-dot-org. The mailing
address is Family Plot, 7151 Cherry Farms road
Cordova, Tennessee 38016. You can also follow us
on Facebook and Twitter. That’s all we
have time for today. Thanks for watching. I’m Chris Cooper. Be sure to join
us next time for.. “The Family Plot:
Gardening in the Mid-South.” Be safe! [theme music]
♪♪♪ (female announcer)
Production funding for “The Family Plot: Gardening in
the Mid-South” is provided by Good Winds Landscape and Garden
Center in Germantown since 1943 and continuing to offer its
plants for successful gardening with seven greenhouses and
three acres of plants plus comprehensive
landscape services.. CLOSED CAPTIONING
PROVIDED BY WKNO-MEMPHIS.

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