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GardenSMART Episode

Show #46/5007. An Exceptional Gardener That Beautifully Finds A Plant for Every Space

Summary of Show

Display Gardens
DISPLAY GARDENS are effective at showing people what can be done with gardening and also instrumental in getting people excited about getting into gardening. Especially for the younger generation, showing them that this is where tomatoes come from, or shrubs, vines and beans which grow either on long vines or little shrubs and being able to actually interact with something that you have grown that now is going to be the food that ends up on your plate. It is a really neat way for people to experience horticulture.
For More Information Click Here

Evaluating New Plants
Of course at Yew Dell one thing they're known for is EVALUATING PLANTS that often times are not yet in trade. Eric would like for Paul to share some of those with us, some of the ones that Paul is really excited about. Paul starts on one side. The big banana is actually a cold hardy banana. It will actually live in the Indianapolis area. They don't take it in, instead just cut it back.
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Malabar Spinach
The plant on the trellis is MALABAR SPINACH. It's not a true spinach but is edible, the small leaves can be used in soups and that kind of thing. But it's a fantastic annual that comes back from the ground. They don't plant it, actually just thin them out. It's a great color, deep, deep green foliage, the purple stems, small, pink blooms and easy to grow from seed.
For More Information Click Here

Chard
Of course CHARD is just a no brainer. In the fall garden it's just such a brilliant color. Paul believes this is bright lights variety. Its has mixes of yellows, oranges, reds and burgundies. It's just a tough one to beat in a garden.
For More Information Click Here

The Tunnels
Eric also loves THE TUNNELS that Paul has built here. It's a wonderful structure and has Chinese noodle beans on one area. Eric can imagine if they were growing something like cucumbers that they would be easy to harvest as they'd be hanging onto the tunnel. Eric asks Paul to tell us about the structure. It looks like a really simple, fun, easy project for a home gardener? Actually they've grown the dipping gourds and all kinds of other things that work well on this structure. It is as practical and as bare bones as it gets.
For More Information Click Here

Overview Garden
Eric feels the OVERVIEW GARDEN is one of the best views in the house. It overlooks an incredible meadow and, of course, one can see miles out to the mountains. This is a great spot and one of the few actually brand new gardens that has been put in. Most of the garden work here at Yew Dell has been redoing existing gardens but this is garden they did a number of years ago and it's purpose was to display plants in a big, open space and to trial new plants, test new things and display them to the public.
For More Information Click Here

Fall Bloomers
Eric would like to talk about some of the plants they have in this area. There are some WONDERFUL FALL BLOOMS and of course some plants have already passed. Eric would like for Paul to tell us about these plants. One of Paul's favorites is the aromatic asters.
For More Information Click Here

Woody Ornamentals
Lets talk about some of the other WOODY ORNAMENTALS in this area. They have physocarpus and a few hydrangeas as well. They do a lot of cut back shrubs in these summer beds and the dark leaf physocarpus, the nine barks, summer wine is one they love because it's just such a good, durable performer and by cutting them back every year you get this really great, vigorous growth and you get better stem color and better foliage color.
For More Information Click Here

Prairie
Eric would like for Paul to talk a little bit about the PRAIRIE going in. Behind this overlook garden there are four acres that they are just starting to work on now that will turn into a big native pollinator meadow. It will be a mix of grasses, and forbs, tall grasses, short grasses, and flowering plants as well.
For More Information Click Here

Glass Houses
Paul's GLASS HOUSES are a very important part of evaluation on a year round basis. In fact right now they're full of many beautiful succulents that are used mostly for containers around the property. They do grow a lot of mixed containers on the grounds because they have been hugely popular with visitors, as well as staff because they are so easy to maintain.
For More Information Click Here

Propagation Trays
Eric has noticed some little PROPAGATION TRAYS. That's part of the ongoing education that happens here at Yew Dell with the community. Greenhouses are like closets, it doesn't matter how big they are you fill them with stuff. And it is so much fun propagating these succulents, it is easily done, they multiply really quickly and it's a great thing to be able to do at home because it doesn't take intermittent mist, it doesn't take bottom heat, all it takes is basically a pot of well drained, gravelly, sandy, growing mix, snip off a couple succulent leaves, most of them are very, very easy to root.
For More Information Click Here

The Pavilion
There are so many changes that have occurred at Yew Dell since we were here last and, and in some ways it looks like a completely different place. The PAVILION is one of the latest expansions. Tell us about that. This is a great new facility. Rental events generate important revenue for Yew Dell to keep the doors open and to keep this place operating. What they used to do when people had weddings or big corporate events out here was to utilize the big gravel slab on the ground, rental tents would go up on Thursday or Friday and come down on Monday.
For More Information Click Here

Tropical Plants
And the view they have from the pavilion is the amazing terraced garden. Once again it's a display garden like pretty much any planting at Yew Dell. They have some really fascinating plants that Eric would like for Paul to run through for us. The original plan was this was just going to be a grass hillside for overflow, for blanket seating, for concerts but Paul just couldn't bear to have that much space without plants so they put together a fun mix of plants that includes TROPICALS, it includes hardy shrubs, hardy perennials and pretty much everything they could fit in this space. One that is really showing off now is the salvia leucantha.
For More Information Click Here

Over Wintering Bananas
They do the same with the BANANAS. The bananas will get frosted, they then cut back the tops and literally throw them in empty barrels. They let them sit in the basement all winter until they reach about ninety-eight on the dead plant meter, which means they are almost dead, when they just can't bear to leave them any longer they then pull them up and pot them in the greenhouse.
For More Information Click Here

Late Season Bloomers
There are a couple of other really, REALLY NEAT PLANTS here and some of these are, are past season, a little bit later in the year right now. There is a wonderful astrid that is super packed and it looks like it has the form of a tight sponge. It's a really, really neat plant. It's another one of the fragrant asters, the aster oblongifolius variety in this garden. It is October skies, which is late blooming, a pale blue, kind of sky blue color and it's tough as nails, it makes a very, very sturdy mound, you don't have to worry about pinching.
For More Information Click Here

LINKS:

Yew Dell Botanical Gardens
Yew Dell | Internationally Recognized Center of Gardening

Plant List

Show #46/5007. An Exceptional Gardener That Beautifully Finds A Plant for Every Space

Transcript of Show

In this episode GardenSMART travels to Crestwood Kentucky to visit Yew Dell Gardens an internationally recognized center for gardening, plants and education. Yew Dell Gardens is an amazing garden that places a special emphasis on evaluating the latest plants. Yew Dell was originally the home, gardens and commercial nursery of the late Theodore Klein and his family. Yew Dell now offers the public exceptional display gardens, an ambitious slate of education programs and community events.

Eric is joined by Yew Dell's Executive Director Paul Cappiello. Dr. Cappiello is highly regarded as a lecturer, writer, plant collector, teacher, researcher, garden designer and gardener. He is known internationally for his work on selection, introduction and evaluation of new ornamental plants for the landscape. With Tennessee nurseryman Don Shadow, he co-authored "Dogwoods", the first major book on the genus cornus.

Eric welcomes Paul to the show. Glad to have you here. Eric loves kitchen gardens. DISPLAY GARDENS are effective at showing people what can be done with gardening and also instrumental in getting people excited about getting into gardening. Especially for the younger generation, showing them that this is where tomatoes come from, or shrubs, vines and beans which grow either on long vines or little shrubs and being able to actually interact with something that you have grown that now is going to be the food that ends up on your plate. It is a really neat way for people to experience horticulture. Paul agrees, this is a great spot in the garden, it is right along their main entrance so everyone walks past this area. Being able to throw some things out here and give people an idea where they come from is impactful. In his experience anytime you can get a kid to grow something, they eat it. It doesn't matter what it is. Bring it home from the grocery store, it's not as exciting but if you pull it out of the garden then it's exciting, it's something they've grown. So they've used this space as a place to just demonstrate and show different types of plants, oftentimes plants people wouldn't think about growing in a kitchen garden. But they do want it to be attractive as well as functional. There's really not enough space here to do a huge garden, with a tremendous array of plants, so they sort of try to highlight some fun things here and there. There's a tremendous amount of interest that can be part of a kitchen garden, it's not just all a bunch of shades of green, but there are some really, really neat plants.

Of course at Yew Dell one thing they're known for is EVALUATING PLANTS that often times are not yet in trade. Eric would like for Paul to share some of those with us, some of the ones that Paul is really excited about. Paul starts on one side. The big banana is actually a cold hardy banana. It will actually live in the Indianapolis area. They don't take it in, instead just cut it back. They don't even mulch it in the winter. They wait until the frost hits the leaves a little bit, cut it back, clean it up a little bit and in the following spring it just explodes out of the ground and will grow to fifteen, eighteen feet tall. It's just this huge tropical looking thing. They don't get a whole lot of bananas. Every once in a while, if a long enough season, they may get a few but it's just one thing that they can point to as something that can be grown that's a little bit different. Great texture in the garden, you can't beat that tropical look in the garden.

The plant on the trellis is MALABAR SPINACH. It's not a true spinach but is edible, the small leaves can be used in soups and that kind of thing. But it's a fantastic annual that comes back from the ground. They don't plant it, actually just thin them out. It's a great color, deep, deep green foliage, the purple stems, small, pink blooms and easy to grow from seed. A collective seed. It's a really fast grower too, by the fourth of July the trellis is completely covered with the vine, so it's a great one.

The rosemary that's in front is one of the more cold hardy varieties. It has been in the barrel for several years and performed extremely well.

Of course CHARD is just a no brainer. In the fall garden it's just such a brilliant color. Paul believes this is bright lights variety. Its has mixes of yellows, oranges, reds and burgundies. It's just a tough one to beat in a garden. There is so much color variation with the orange, yellow stems, even down to the beautiful beet purple. Additionally it's a wonderful plant to cook, a delicious eater.

The last one, the red okra, they grow this one not to eat, instead for the red pods because it's just such a great color. It's on its way out now but most people don't realize okra is in the hibiscus family. It has great pale yellow hibiscus like blooms and then the big red pods. It's just kind of fun to have. And a really different texture in the garden.

Eric also loves THE TUNNELS that Paul has built here. It's a wonderful structure and has Chinese noodle beans on one area. Eric can imagine if they were growing something like cucumbers that they would be easy to harvest as they'd be hanging onto the tunnel. Eric asks Paul to tell us about the structure. It looks like a really simple, fun, easy project for a home gardener? Actually they've grown the dipping gourds and all kinds of other things that work well on this structure. It is as practical and as bare bones as it gets. It's basic "t" posts that you can get in a number of sizes at any hardware store, then goat fenced panels, rigid fence panels one can buy at any farm supply store. Paul thinks they're four feet tall by about sixteen feet long and are flexible enough that you just bend them over the top and are then just tied together with zip ties. It makes a very simple, a very sturdy trellis and tunnel. You can grow just about anything on it you want, it's tough enough it can handle some weight and works really well. Eric thinks Paul should have trademarked that invention.

Eric feels the OVERVIEW GARDEN is one of the best views in the house. It overlooks an incredible meadow and, of course, one can see miles out to the mountains. This is a great spot and one of the few actually brand new gardens that has been put in. Most of the garden work here at Yew Dell has been redoing existing gardens but this is garden they did a number of years ago and it's purpose was to display plants in a big, open space and to trial new plants, test new things and display them to the public. A trial garden is so important from the standpoint of introducing people to what works in a natural setting. Eric feels Paul has gone to some significant effort to also make a trial garden look beautiful, something that has a designed look. Many trial gardens are rows of plants that are all the same, you know, genus or species. But Paul has really integrated these perennials and woody ornamentals into these beds, so it is a very enjoyable experience. Paul always says they design gardens backwards at Yew Dell. Rather than coming up with a design and going out looking for plants for that design, they start with the plants because their whole mission is collecting and evaluating. They come up with a big group of plants that they want to evaluate, then sit down and say okay now how do we make this look good. He thinks it's the way people garden at home. By that he means you never look at a plant and don't buy it because you don't have room for it, you buy it and bring it home and then you figure out where to put it.

Eric would like to talk about some of the plants they have in this area. There are some WONDERFUL FALL BLOOMS and of course some plants have already passed. Eric would like for Paul to tell us about these plants. One of Paul's favorites is the aromatic asters. It is locally native aster, it blooms September and October. There are varieties that are deep pinks and lavender blues. The thing he likes about them, they don't need to be pinched or cut back. They are really sturdy, compact plants that hold well all season and then they give you this great blast in the fall when everything else is starting to look tired.

Radon is a favorite. They are big fans of callicarpa, amethyst fruit in the fall. It's just sort of a good, dependable herbal plant all summer long. It blooms on new growth so you can cut it back if you want and it comes out, it flowers, it fruits and it gives you great color really August into and after Thanksgiving. That's one that they get a lot of use out of here. A great native plant and also it attracts birds. So you get the wildlife impact.

This garden really serves a lot of purposes, not just a display and evaluation of plants but they have a big hummingbird festival in the summer. And some of the plants out here are good hummingbird plants like some of the herbaceous hibiscus. They attract hummingbirds all through the season and do very well. One of their favorites for texture is the fine leaf amsonias herbriculati. It is a very popular one, although a ridiculous mouth full of a plant name, but it's a little finer texture than the straight species, has fantastic bright gold fall color and has nice pale blue flowers in the spring. It does extremely well here. This is very shallow soil. A heavy clay soil over limestone so it is a tough soil but all of the plants out here are really durable.

Lets talk about some of the other WOODY ORNAMENTALS in this area. They have physocarpus and a few hydrangeas as well. They do a lot of cut back shrubs in these summer beds and the dark leaf physocarpus, the nine barks, summer wine is one they love because it's just such a good, durable performer and by cutting them back every year you get this really great, vigorous growth and you get better stem color and better foliage color. And then with the hydrangeas, of course annabelle has been around forever, it is a great new wood bloomer so you can cut that one back to the ground. Then on the far left Paul loves the lespedeza, the woody bush clovers. They are tough, if you can't grow lespedeza, you must have a brown thumb, it could be time to put in a tennis court. It's a tough one. Makes a three to five foot tall shrub that is a bit wider in one growing season and blooms in September but looks great all season long. Beautiful pink flowers, blue-ish foliage, it is tough to beat.

Eric would like for Paul to talk a little bit about the PRAIRIE going in. Behind this overlook garden there are four acres that they are just starting to work on now that will turn into a big native pollinator meadow. It will be a mix of grasses, and forbs, tall grasses, short grasses, and flowering plants as well. It's really just something that they can use both as a beautiful display because up here in the overlook you'll have four acres of this beautiful flowering and grass meadow in front but it will also be great for supporting local pollinator nations. They have honeybees, they keep hives
here, but other native pollinators as well. Eric likes it, we've got to come back and see it, in maybe another year or two and it will be perfect.

Paul's GLASS HOUSES are a very important part of evaluation on a year round basis. In fact right now they're full of many beautiful succulents that are used mostly for containers around the property. They do grow a lot of mixed containers on the grounds because they have been hugely popular with visitors, as well as staff because they are so easy to maintain. The use tropical succulents, everything from agaves to excavarias and various cactus types. They go so long without any water. Some summers they barely even water them but they are available in such amazing colors. There are red, burgundies, blues, greens and yellows. One can make some fantastic mixed containers. These are containers that will still be alive when you come home from summer vacation because they can handle those tough conditions. And there is so much amazing breeding work that is going on in this field and these are super durable plants, so working them into our home gardens makes a lot of sense. Many of these will be around for years and years and years. Even the ones that are more short lived come in incredible variations of colors. And many are beautiful in bloom too and work in a lot of different ways. They over winter them here and then take them outside and actually plant them in the ground for the summer. Some they put out in containers and when you mix these colors and these textures with beautiful, colorful, glazed containers you produce some fantastic compositions. They provide a lot of flexibility in the garden. You get a lot of bang for something that doesn't take a whole lot of maintenance.

Eric wonders what are some of the ones that Paul is most excited about. Paul loves the agaves because they are just so much fun. Texturally they are amazing. Plants like agave jaws are super. With their gigantic spines they are just completely different. They love the agave hybrids with the mangavia hybrids. There are red spotted forms, there are blue foliage forms and when they go to flower and send up that huge spike it's just something that is so dramatic in the garden it's just really fun to play with.

Eric has noticed some little PROPAGATION TRAYS. That's part of the ongoing education that happens here at Yew Dell with the community. Greenhouses are like closets, it doesn't matter how big they are you fill them with stuff. And it is so much fun propagating these succulents, it is easily done, they multiply really quickly and it's a great thing to be able to do at home because it doesn't take intermittent mist, it doesn't take bottom heat, all it takes is basically a pot of well drained, gravelly, sandy, growing mix, snip off a couple succulent leaves, most of them are very, very easy to root. It's fun to do at home, it's an exciting thing for any gardener, of any age, particularly new gardeners, those just learning, to propagate a plant. But especially this category of plant is not that difficult to take a little cutting and start a new plant. In fact if you want to build a population of that plant you can have thirty more, that then end up in another part of the garden. It's a lot of fun and you know, as gardeners we are all inherently cheap, we want to make more of the plants we have and we want to do it as economically as possible. There is something just completely different about growing a plant that you propagated yourself. Whether it's an oak from an acorn or a from a leaf cutting, it's just something that is special about gardening, to do it yourself from scratch.

There are so many changes that have occurred at Yew Dell since we were here last and, and in some ways it looks like a completely different place. The PAVILION is one of the latest expansions. Tell us about that. This is a great new facility. Rental events generate important revenue for Yew Dell to keep the doors open and to keep this place operating. What they used to do when people had weddings or big corporate events out here was to utilize the big gravel slab on the ground, rental tents would go up on Thursday or Friday and come down on Monday. It was a lot of wear and tear on the ground and a lot of wear and tear on the staff so they decided to go ahead and build a permanent structure. They worked with a great architectural firm in town, they've worked with them on all of their architectural projects, they are just incredibly creative and come up with things that fit in Yew Dell. They wanted something different thus built this structure that's got a permanent cover, it's got lighting and fans and power as well as roll down fabric sides. It just makes life easier for people having events, it makes life much easier for the Yew Dell staff as well.

And the view they have from the pavilion is the amazing terraced garden. Once again it's a display garden like pretty much any planting at Yew Dell. They have some really fascinating plants that Eric would like for Paul to run through for us. The original plan was this was just going to be a grass hillside for overflow, for blanket seating, for concerts but Paul just couldn't bear to have that much space without plants so they put together a fun mix of plants that includes TROPICALS, it includes hardy shrubs, hardy perennials and pretty much everything they could fit in this space. One that is really showing off now is the salvia leucantha. For Yew Dell it really is not reliably cold hardy, it's really more of an annual. They take cuttings, bring them into the greenhouse and propagate it for next year but the nice, bright, silvery-green foliage all summer is outstanding. Nothing eats it and then the intense purple blooms really start at the end of August, first of September. That is great because obviously, that time of year things are starting to get tired in the garden. So to have something that really jumps out is outstanding.

The hillside Sheffield pink mum is actually a garden plant which is unlike the pot mums, the yellows and the oranges that people buy by the millions this time of year and dies shortly after you put it in the ground. The Sheffield mum over winters and comes back every year, it doesn't need to be pinched back, it holds up really well and in the fall they get beautiful pink blooms that are fragrant and attract all kinds of pollinators.

One thing that Paul likes to do in this border is to have a kind of repeated tropical theme. He likes the contrast of the big, beautiful tropical leaves of the cannas, and the bananas against the more fine foliage. As well the fun colors that are going on here are very pleasing. Eric loves what Paul is doing with the cannas and loves the foliage and texture. The dark foliage cannas are perfect for that. They are so tough and durable, they make such an impact. In their climate, in Louisville, they pretty much have to dig the cannas at the end of the season if you want to have them come back reliably the next year. They always say if you want to predict a terribly cold winter leave your cannas in the ground and you know it will get cold and you'll lose them all. If you dig them you will have a nice, warm winter and you say - well we could have left them. But they do dig them every year. They are pretty easy to over winter, they wait until a frost hits their tops and then cut them back, dig them out, and really just bare root the fleshy underground portion. They let them sit on a bench for a week or two just to dry out, then just throw them in a barrel in the basement of the office through much of the winter. Then maybe in February pot them up in the greenhouse and get them started so that they're a reasonable size come the next spring.

They do the same with the BANANAS. The bananas will get frosted, they then cut back the tops and literally throw them in empty barrels. They let them sit in the basement all winter until they reach about ninety-eight on the dead plant meter, which means they are almost dead, when they just can't bear to leave them any longer they then pull them up and pot them in the greenhouse. They do that for a couple reasons. One is that by doing that you get rid of a lot of the pests that are trying to over winter in all those little spots here and there, but the other is, quite honestly, it just saves a lot of time and labor. They don't have to keep them growing in the greenhouse all through the winter and by starting them sometime in February they really get going and they get a nice start for the spring.

There are a couple of other really, REALLY NEAT PLANTS here and some of these are, are past season, a little bit later in the year right now. There is a wonderful astrid that is super packed and it looks like it has the form of a tight sponge. It's a really, really neat plant. It's another one of the fragrant asters, the aster oblongifolius variety in this garden. It is October skies, which is late blooming, a pale blue, kind of sky blue color and it's tough as nails, it makes a very, very sturdy mound, you don't have to worry about pinching. A lot of the tall astrid's get kind of black foliage and nasty on the bottom and these are just tough and nice, green foliage right to the base and really require very little maintenance, they do extremely well here. The other plant that has finished flowering now and a great one is the day lily, the name is autumn minaret and it is like a six to seven and a half foot tall day lily. When you plant them in a big mass it really makes a dramatic statement. As an individual flower it is kind of small but with their tall, wiry stems, this whole garden just sort of seems to move when the breeze blows and it's one that they love in big masses.

Eric opines that Paul and his crew have done an amazing job of making Yew Dell a very useful trial garden but importantly a beautiful display and public garden. Spending the day with a world-renowned horticulturist who finds and evaluates the next generation of great plants is a treat. Every time Eric has visited, every single year one can feel the maturity of the garden, he feels the garden is getting better and better. This is really a complicated type of gardening but a very enjoyable one. Paul says they garden here the way they do at home. They never have an empty space that they don't find a plant for and it's always fun just trying something new. If it works, great, they tell everybody about it and if it doesn't work, well, they get to see it. Eric thanks Paul, we've had an amazing day, thank you so much for sharing your knowledge with us. Paul thanks Eric and GardenSMART for visiting, he always enjoys the experience and spending time together.

LINKS:

Yew Dell Botanical Gardens
Yew Dell | Internationally Recognized Center of Gardening

Plant List

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