Some of Murfreesboro’s finest backyard gems will be brought to light during the 30th Annual Discovery Center Secret Garden Tour and Secret Garden Party this weekend.
In honor of the Discovery Center museum’s 35th anniversary, the weekend kicks off with “A Golden Evening in the Gardens of Versailles” at 7 p.m. on Friday, June 3, at Sharon and Dr. Murali Kolli’s home in Northwoods Cove. There will be a live auction, open bar, music and catering by Five Senses. The cost is $100 per person. Shop online at explorethedc.org/events/sgp.
The Secret Garden Tour runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, June 4 and from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, June 5 at four area gardens. Tickets for the tour are $10 per person and can be purchased online at explorethedc.org/events/sgt2022.
Here is an overview of the enchanting gardens of the visit.
A river crosses it
Along the River Stones in the Riverbend housing estate, Mardi and Earl Hull, 2120 Londonderry Drive, have created an enchanting backyard that features foliage beds, fountains and interesting garden statues.
When the Hulls moved to their home in Riverbend, there was very little landscaping and behind their home was dense woodland. Over the years they have added a stone path to it which leads to the edge of the river, where Earl Hull does a bit of angling from time to time.
The Rutherford Master Gardener Community Garden, Lane-Agri Park, 315 John Rice Blvd.
Members of the Master Gardeners of Rutherford County, an all-volunteer organization of UT/TSU Ag Extension, will be present in the demonstration gardens. There are several areas of interest including a butterfly garden, compost bins, herb garden, mushroom bed, berries, perennials, rain garden and vegetable patch. There’s even a vineyard that’s run in partnership with MTSU’s fermentation science department.
A natural habitat
Janice and Reggie Reeves, 2204 Alydar Run
In a process that took 10 years, master gardener Reggie Reeves and his wife, Janice Reeves, transformed what was once a hay field into a tree-speckled lawn.
Wardens emphasize native trees, shrubs and flowers for the benefit of bees, birds and butterflies. Here you’ll find Witch Hazel, Shoal Creek Chasteberry for bees, Spice Bush and Persimmon for swallowtail butterflies, and Red Buckeye for hummingbirds.
Native flowers such as lemon balm, coreopsis, and coneflower are also strewn across the beds to provide pollen and seeds. Coralberry and American Beautyberry bushes produce berries that are popular with birds. Reggie participates in plant exchanges to acquire many unique plants found in the gardens.
The Reeves cultivate an organic garden grown in raised beds. There is a small greenhouse as well as an orchard with berries and vines.
A large field behind the house is home to native wildflowers loved by bees, birds and butterflies. Reggie mows a footpath that leads to the banks of Lytle Creek, so bring your walking shoes and hike down to the water.
Katherine and Richard Spry, 2414 Spaulding Circle
Unconventional, eco-friendly and organic gardening practices are at play in Katherine and Richard Spry’s home.
Visit their plots of blueberries, blackberries, strawberries and raspberries. Admire fig trees and raised beds of various sizes and shapes where spinach, kale, onions, garlic, cabbage, asparagus, peppers, tomatoes, oregano and flowers grow favorable to pollinators. Learn about their use of salvaged materials to enhance their gardening.
The couple will also talk about the “uncut” areas of their property where they try to grow native plants. Their lush garden is also designated a “tree sanctuary” by the Tennessee Urban Forestry Council.
Visitors can also learn about the rainwater collection system which includes five rain barrels and an overflow collection. Learn about the composting options you can implement in your own garden.
You can also stroll through the shaded Tree Stump Garden, the Peace Pole Garden and the sunny Pine Stump Garden. Get impromptu training on edible weeds like Philadelphia fleabane, lyre leaf sage, ground ivy, wild geranium and henbit that grow in the drainage ditch, lawn and in flower gardens.
You will also find a collection of electric gardening tools: battery-powered hedge trimmers, push mowers, riding mowers, weeders and chainsaws. They don’t use any gas-powered equipment.
On the way back to check out books at the Little Free Library post, you can stroll through the wildflower meadow, then try your luck on the golf course that winds through the trees and gardens. You might even encounter some of the native inhabitants like birds, squirrels and rabbits.
Benefits of the Discovery Center
Proceeds go to the Discovery Center, 502 SE Broad St., an interactive science museum that offers interactive exhibits, educational programs and outdoor experiences at the adjacent Murfree Spring wetland and boardwalk.
Now in its 35th year, the Discovery Center was established in 1986 as the Children’s Museum Corporation of Rutherford County after a massive grassroots campaign orchestrated by young parents led to the purchase of a building and the creation exhibitions and programs. Thousands of families have enjoyed interactive learning and play since its inception.
Visit explorethedc.org for more information on admission, exhibits, and programs, or call 615-890-2300.
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