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GardenSMART Episode

Show #44/7005. Gardening And Wildlife

Summary of Show

Leeann’s Story
Eric knows LEEANN has a very interesting and exciting STORY starting in her early days as a child getting interested in plants up to where she is today. He would love for our viewers to hear her story. Well, her adventure with plants began with her childhood. She was born and raised in South Florida and they had plenty of swamps in South Florida for her to play in. Eric wonders - Did your parents let you play in the swamps? It doesn't sound safe. Well they didn't know in the beginning. When her mother found out later, she was horrified. When she was finding plants in the swamp, they were native aquatic plants, they were the local, natives that she fell in love with first. Later on when she opened up an aquatic nursery she realized that people wanted some diversity.
For More Information Click Here

Water Lilies
Eric has already noticed some beautiful LILIES. Let's go take a look at the nursery. He has always been fascinated by aquatic plants and part of that is it's such an indelible part of our experience of being out in nature. As a gardener he feels a water feature is just an obligatory, necessary part of any garden. And, if you have a water feature, you have to have plants in it. Eric just doesn't see how one can have a garden without some form of water, even if it's a bird bath. But a water garden, even the better. Eric comments that Leeann has this beautiful nursery she's built and there's incredible diversity. Talk us through some of the plants here, especially some of the ones that are really unique and special. Leeann explains, it's a small nursery, a boutique nursery. She has a lot of different kinds of marginals. Those are shallow water plants.
For More Information Click Here

Tub Garden
Eric loves Leeann's TUB GARDEN. It is full of aquatic life and joy. It's a place for birds to come and take a sip of water, it provides beauty every day. You can even put a goldfish in there if you want. You don't have to feed them because their job is to eat the mosquito larva and the algae. Eric would like for Leeann to talk about how she put this together. Let’s say one goes to a garden center or comes to visit Leeann and buys the needed supplies. How do we build this? You would want to start with a container that is a minimum of 20 inches in diameter. Bigger is better in this case. It's important that it not have any holes in the bottom. Most of the big box stores sell plenty of containers that do not have holes in the bottom, so they lend themselves easily to water gardening. You want to start with some basics similar to regular pots.
For More Information Click Here

Plants For Containers/Bowls
Eric would like for Leeann to talk a little bit about some of the tropicals and other PLANTS that people can use in these BOWLS. He sees she has a beautiful lotus. There are a bunch of different really, really interesting plants that would be nice companions. People are fascinated by lotus. They have been around for as long as Leeann has been around. If you want to do a tub garden featuring lotus she highly recommends that you plant the lotus down in the bottom of the pot instead of keeping it in a separate pot.
For More Information Click Here

Cannas
Eric comments - as is true of most passionate gardeners, Leeann's interest in plants goes way beyond aquatics. She has done some great work in many, many other categories. Tell us about some of those. For example, this beautiful CANNA is one of Leeann's. This is one of her early on hybrids. She was warned early on, keep it short, the world is changing, you need your breeding program to have smaller and smaller plants. This is a mid-height canna. It is canna marmalade skies and is going to max out at about four feet.
For More Information Click Here

Day Lilies
Eric would like to talk about DAY LILIES a little bit. It too is plant that Leeann is really passionate about. She has done some work in that space as well. Leeann agrees it is a plant she is passionate about, but she's most passionate about good day lilies with good disease resistance and good reblooming. That's so important. She also likes branching.
For More Information Click Here

Wildflower Meadow
Eric and Leeann next visit the WILDFLOWER MEADOW. Eric thinks the natural beauty of a prairie is almost impossible to beat, especially if one has the room to accommodate it in their garden. It's great for pollinators the way it brings all the birds and butterflies, all the nature right next door. Leeann agrees, it's fantastic. Leeann has put in about a year of work on this so far. Next year, it's really going to come into its own. She has a bog salvia, it is a native plant. She has some hoary vervain.
For More Information Click Here

Birds
Eric notes that Leeann is perhaps as passionate about BIRDS as about anything in life. Leeann agrees with that. Eric would like for Leeann to tell us about the wonderful work she's doing with birds right alongside everything that's happening in her garden. Leeann shows us Jack, also known as handsome Jack. Jack is a Harris's hawk. They come from the American southwest desert. They're the only bird of prey that hunt in a pack. Jack comes to Leeann from a breeding facility in Oregon.
For More Information Click Here

Roman Geese
Eric comments we've heard Leeann's ROMAN GEESE talking to us as we've been out in the garden. They're so much fun. And, they have quite the history. They're the oldest breed known to mankind. It is said that they were brought to the people of Rome as a gift by the goddess Juno herself. And they were in fact housed in Juno's sacred temple.
For More Information Click Here

LINKS:

Leeann Shearouse:

Carolina Avian Research And Education
Carolina Avian Research & Education - Carolina Avian Research and Education

Water Gardening
Water Gardening Class - Carolina Avian Research and Education

Cashiers, North Carolina
Home - The Village Green Of Cashiers

Plant List

Show #44/7005. Gardening And Wildlife

Transcript of Show

In this episode GardenSMART visits a special place where gardening and wildlife care are woven together into a beautiful tapestry. Carolina Avian Research and Education gives sanctuary to rare and endangered birds from around the world who have special needs. These birds are lovingly cared for and studied and the resulting knowledge is shared with other avian facilities. Owner Leeann Shearouse is dedicated to providing the best environment for the many species of birds that find a home at CARE. Leeann is also an internationally recognized plant hybridizer, who holds patents on several plants and continues to create superior varieties of water lilies, irises, day lilies and canna lilies. In addition Leeann is a seasoned lecturer who's been on the speaking circuit for over 25 years. CARE's work with these very special birds is funded through plant sales and speaking engagements. Tie it all together and it makes an interesting show.

Eric meets with Leeann to discuss the exciting intersection of gardening and wildlife. Leeann, thanks so much for joining us. What a fascinating place you've built in a few short years. Leeann thanks Eric, she is so glad GardenSMART is visiting.

Eric knows Leeann has a very interesting and exciting story starting in her early days as a child getting interested in plants up to where she is today. He would love for our viewers to hear her story. Well, her adventure with plants began with her childhood. She was born and raised in South Florida and they had plenty of swamps in South Florida for her to play in. Eric wonders - Did your parents let you play in the swamps? It doesn't sound safe. Well they didn't know in the beginning. When her mother found out later, she was horrified. When she was finding plants in the swamp, they were native aquatic plants, they were the local, natives that she fell in love with first. Later on when she opened up an aquatic nursery she realized that people wanted some diversity. They didn't want to come and just buy the native white water lily, for example. She realized that she could crossbreed them and come up with new varieties to sell. So what were some of the more interesting ones that were part of her early breeding work? Well, Osceola, named after the Indian Chief, of course, was one. That was a cross between mexicana and odorata. So through all of that Leeann has been a gardener. Her whole life has led her to where she is today. She also has this beautiful bird sanctuary and a really keen and deep appreciation for the role that nature plays in the garden, which includes inviting wildlife into the garden. Eric thinks that's a wonderful part of her story. Leeann agrees, she couldn't have a life without nature in it and has to have flowers.

Eric has already noticed some beautiful LILIES. Let's go take a look at the nursery. He has always been fascinated by aquatic plants and part of that is it's such an indelible part of our experience of being out in nature. As a gardener he feels a water feature is just an obligatory, necessary part of any garden. And, if you have a water feature, you have to have plants in it. Eric just doesn't see how one can have a garden without some form of water, even if it's a bird bath. But a water garden, even the better. Eric comments that Leeann has this beautiful nursery she's built and there's incredible diversity. Talk us through some of the plants here, especially some of the ones that are really unique and special. Leeann explains, it's a small nursery, a boutique nursery. She has a lot of different kinds of marginals. Those are shallow water plants. They're in the area of the pond that has anywhere from two to three inches over the top of the pot. Some are native and some are not. Some of them flower and some of them have beautiful foliage. And she has magnificent water lilies that come in all colors, shapes and sizes. She grows hardy and tropical lilies, day-blooming and night-blooming. Eric would like talk a little bit about the water lilies specifically. When someone buys these from Leeann's nursery and transports them to their garden, how does she recommend those being used or planted? What's the best way to ensure their success? Great question. If you buy a water lily from Leeann, it's going to be pre-potted and ready to just take home and set in your pond. No worry about potting it up because they can be a little difficult and intimidating for people that haven't done it before. Do you recommend leaving them in the container once they're installed in the water garden, or are there ever reasons to actually plant them in the pond? Leeann recommends keeping them in the pot because most aquatic plants sooner or later are going to become a little bit rambunctious, shall we say, and they may need a little bring me back moment. They need a little discipline. So once a year or once every two years, take them out and cut them back and repot them, then put them back in the pot. Is there any other care and maintenance we need to consider for water lilies? Most aquatic plants want a good amount of sun. She knows a lot of people feel they want their pond to be in the shade because they're worried about algae. Truly, if you have your water garden planted with the right kind and the right amount of plants, you really won't have an algae problem. With that being said, algae is a part of the environment and it shouldn't be feared if you have a little bit of algae in your pond.

If one only has a small deck or a little patio, can one still grow aquatic plants? Absolutely. There are some pond plants that are semi dwarf and some that are actually dwarf. In the last few decades, gardeners, especially plant breeders have been making selections that really work well for small spaces. Part of that is just that so many people in America only have a little patio or a small deck, but they all want a garden. So what to do? It may seem that water gardening is unapproachable if all you have is a very small space. It's not true though. There are amazing things that one can do in just a very small container.

Eric loves Leeann's TUB GARDEN. It is full of aquatic life and joy. It's a place for birds to come and take a sip of water, it provides beauty every day. You can even put a goldfish in there if you want. You don't have to feed them because their job is to eat the mosquito larva and the algae. Eric would like for Leeann to talk about how she put this together. Let’s say one goes to a garden center or comes to visit Leeann and buys the needed supplies. How do we build this? You would want to start with a container that is a minimum of 20 inches in diameter. Bigger is better in this case. It's important that it not have any holes in the bottom. Most of the big box stores sell plenty of containers that do not have holes in the bottom, so they lend themselves easily to water gardening. You want to start with some basics similar to regular pots. You want to have some height in the background, something shorter mid-ground then something even shorter in the foreground, maybe even plants that are flowing out. Eric wants to know what are some good plant suggestions? If we're just getting started, going to make our first aquatic bowl, what would Leeann recommend? What are particularly good selections for this kind of aquaculture? For this particular tub garden, Leeann chose a dwarf Cyperus or umbrella palm. It is in the background and it's been placed with a taro, which is what they use to make soy. This is an imperial taro and they look lovely together. And they provide some dimension to the pot. The next thing Leeann did was put in the smallest water lily in the world. The name of it is Helvola. It is a very, very old variety, several hundred years old. Comes from Germany. Then she wanted to put in a floater. This is water hyacinth. Eric loves that plant. It has roots that hang down and filters the water. It also blooms during the summer. Then one of the most important things that you're going to want to add to your tub garden is some kind of a piece of wood. It not only looks terrific, but it's there to save the life of a bird that might accidentally fall in when taking a sip of water. Any kind of piece of wood that will fit in there nicely and give the little bird something to grab onto so that it can safely get out of the tub garden will work. Are there any considerations with regards to anything else that's in the bowl or the water that we use? Do you recommend only using rainwater or is tap water fine? Tap water is fine as long as you let it age for two or three days before you put plants or fish in. If you don't want to put fish in there and you're worried about having mosquitoes, there's a product called Bacillus thuringiensis that will actually kill the larva, and it's safe for birds and pets if they drink out of it.

Eric would like for Leeann to talk a little bit about some of the tropicals and other PLANTS that people can use in these BOWLS. He sees she has a beautiful lotus. There are a bunch of different really, really interesting plants that would be nice companions. People are fascinated by lotus. They have been around for as long as Leeann has been around. If you want to do a tub garden featuring lotus she highly recommends that you plant the lotus down in the bottom of the pot instead of keeping it in a separate pot. The lotus behind them is in a tub and in a pot. Does Leeann use soil for the base? Is there a particular media that she likes? Leeann does, she has a formula for that. She wants to start in the very bottom with about four inches of good, heavy topsoil. Then put in about two inches of white or yellow sand on top of that. You want to wet it, and then you want to take your lotus tuber and push it down through the white sand and put a small stone on top of it to hold it in place. Then very slowly raise the water level to just over the top of the tuber. Then as the lotus grows, every week raise the water level until you get to the top. Eric wonders - Once our planter's done, is it set it and forget it? It really is. The only thing is if you're living in zone six or colder, you're going to need to bring that tub in for the winter because it's so small that it can actually freeze all the way through. Even though the pond plants that we're talking about are winter-hardy, they won't survive in a block of ice.

Eric comments - as is true of most passionate gardeners, Leeann's interest in plants goes way beyond aquatics. She has done some great work in many, many other categories. Tell us about some of those. For example, this beautiful CANNA is one of Leeann's. This is one of her early on hybrids. She was warned early on, keep it short, the world is changing, you need your breeding program to have smaller and smaller plants. This is a mid-height canna. It is canna marmalade skies and is going to max out at about four feet. Eric totally agrees the world of breeding is certainly going in that direction and has been for some time. It's not even a trend, it's just the way it is now. As people have smaller and smaller lots and homes, they still want to be able to enjoy a canna, but can't really accommodate one of those giant ones that our grandmothers used to have. Leeann comments that the other thing we need to do with cannas is to keep them more confined. For instance, there's one she named Hussy, and she is a hussy. She runs all over the garden. You never know where she's going to end up. But then we have blushing bride it stays very much in a nice, round, compact circle. Marmalade skies has a lot of brown built into the flower and it helps with the fading because it's out in the full sun. It's also self-cleaning. And that's a great feature. Certain plants hold on to the petals just a little too long, that’s not the best garden feature. So if they come self-cleaning, it’s certainly a bonus.

Eric would like to talk about DAY LILIES a little bit. It too is plant that Leeann is really passionate about. She has done some work in that space as well. Leeann agrees it is a plant she is passionate about, but she's most passionate about good day lilies with good disease resistance and good reblooming. That's so important. She also likes branching. She's obsessed with day lilies that have branches coming off of the main stock. Eric Johnson agrees that is a great feature. You just get so much more flower power and also structurally in the garden, it's just a better look.

So as a plant breeder, there must be many other things Leeann has in her back pocket, other plants she's worked on over the years. Tell us about some of them? Leeann doesn’t even know where to start. She's never dabbled with food crops. She is strictly ornamental and aquaculture and landscape plants. She has done some annuals, but mostly, wants to be into the perennials. People love perennials. They want the big investment to pay off and perennials last for years. Eric is excited to see what Leeann will come up with in the years to come and really, really appreciates all the passion she has put behind these great plants that she's basically gifted to the industry. It's great to see.

Eric and Leeann next visit the WILDFLOWER MEADOW. Eric thinks the natural beauty of a prairie is almost impossible to beat, especially if one has the room to accommodate it in their garden. It's great for pollinators the way it brings all the birds and butterflies, all the nature right next door. Leeann agrees, it's fantastic. Leeann has put in about a year of work on this so far. Next year, it's really going to come into its own. She has a bog salvia, it is a native plant. She has some hoary vervain. She has some sunflowers, some rudbeckia or black-eyed Susan. Right now, those are the dominant plants. Through the season, which begins in late winter, there is about a two-week window where everything changes in the wildflower meadow. It's just remarkable to watch it go through the different phases. Many gardeners when they get into their garden want to prune back all of those finished seed heads. We don't want to do that in the meadow. Presently we see a lot of rudbeckias that have finished blooming and they are finishing the formation of seeds that are inside the seed heads. This is a crucial time for a wildflower garden because those seeds are what's going to feed wildlife through the winter and keep them around your property. As the birds get in there they eat away at the seeds and they always kick a few off and that starts new plants. It's just a wonderful way of keeping the prairie happy and healthy and that's the way it would exist in the wild, these seeds get spread out and the things that are the most successful end up dominating the prairie. But you always end up with a great diversity if you let it go to seed, plus provide food for the wildlife and just see what happens. It will evolve with your space. For the most part, once it's established, it's pretty self-sustaining. Leeann agrees, she goes through every week or so and when she spots some invasive species that has snuck in she pulls them out and gets rid of them. But generally, it's pretty low maintenance. After the birds have ravaged the seed heads she will come through with mowers and just mow it down to the ground and then life will begin all over again in the spring.

Eric notes that Leeann is perhaps as passionate about BIRDS as about anything in life. Leeann agrees with that. Eric would like for Leeann to tell us about the wonderful work she's doing with birds right alongside everything that's happening in her garden. Leeann shows us Jack, also known as handsome Jack. Jack is a Harris's hawk. They come from the American southwest desert. They're the only bird of prey that hunt in a pack. Jack comes to Leeann from a breeding facility in Oregon. He had an accident there and lost an eye and they thought that he would be better off somewhere else. Leeann specializes here in accepting birds that have limitations. As long as they can live a happy life and be free of pain, they're usually going to be welcome here. Leeann is a master falconer. That's the class that the government assigned to her. She does hunt with Jack. They go out in the fall and winter and hunt. Jack likes to get rabbits and squirrels. Because they don't have a pack here for him Leeann is his pack member. Eric thinks that's awesome. What are some of the other birds that she has in her flock? Well, she has a waterfowl exhibit where she has ducks from all over the world. She has many, many birds from many different countries. In fact, she has birds from every continent in the world, except Antarctica. Eric wonders - So a penguin soon? No, she doesn’t keep fish eaters. They're too stinky.

Eric comments we've heard Leeann's ROMAN GEESE talking to us as we've been out in the garden. They're so much fun. And, they have quite the history. They're the oldest breed known to mankind. It is said that they were brought to the people of Rome as a gift by the goddess Juno herself. And they were in fact housed in Juno's sacred temple. Now, Roman soldiers were party boys. One night, they drank way too much wine and they were passed out drunk all over the city of Rome. In came some invading armies and they were going to take over Rome. The Roman soldiers didn't even wake up. But the geese, the Roman geese, heard them and they ran to the Roman soldiers and woke them up and they're credited for saving Rome.

It’s not often that we get an inside look into the world of rare birds from the vantage point of a renowned plant breeder. What a special treat. Eric thanks Leeann, what a fun day. There's so much to see here. We've learned so much about plants, and in a garden show, it's not often that we get to learn a lot about birds too. So an amazing marriage of two passions. What a great day, Leeann. Thank you so much. Leeann agrees, absolutely. Thanks to GardenSMART for visiting.

LINKS:

Leeann Shearouse:

Carolina Avian Research And Education
Carolina Avian Research & Education - Carolina Avian Research and Education

Water Gardening
Water Gardening Class - Carolina Avian Research and Education

Cashiers, North Carolina
Home - The Village Green Of Cashiers

Plant List


   
 
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