Warren County’s certified public library manager and certified archivist Brad Walker is also a knowledgeable horticulturist.
Walker is a senior judge in the Gesneriad Society and a member of both the Middle Tennessee and the National Gesneriad Societies. Gesneriads are a large family of mostly tropical plants.
The flower beds around Magness Library reflect Walker’s vision to plant beds with perennials around the exterior of the building at the corner of Main and Chancery streets.
Perennials are plants that do not have to be replanted each year. Although perennials tend to cost more initially, they are a good long-term investment because they return year after year.
Even perennials that don’t have a long lifespan can often be propagated by division or reseeding to perpetuate their population.
Most perennials require less water once established. Planting perennials that are native to your region offers the additional benefit of creating a welcome habitat for pollinators and local wildlife.
The flower bed designs around the library are anchored by shrubbery. If you begin at the right of the main door of the library on Main Street, you will see a Japanese maple which is over 40 years old. Next is a Royal Raspberry butterfly bush and on the corner of Main and Chancery is a Moonglow spirea. The spiraea foliage is yellow with a tint of chartreuse.
The ground between the shrubs is packed with perennials. Watch these flower beds the next two months as these plants emerge. Between the shrubs on Main Street are these perennials: double rudbeckia (black-eyed Susan), blue Russian sage, gaillardia (goblin flower), silver miller (wormwood), Pink Wonder daffodils, and echinacea (coneflower). The echinacea will have a big pink bloom and is a native Tennessee coneflower. There is also the only perennial lantana, the Miss Huff.
At the corner of Main and Chancery streets are yarrow and a flat mat of pink dianthus and Sunray coreopsis. Behind the sign is caryopteris Blue Beard Dark Knight.
Along Chancery Street is dwarf monarda Ice Balls, red veined sorrel, bronze fennel, day lillies, and daffodils. Next are iris with a variegated (striped) leaf, Cuphea ignea (cigar plant). Then an oakleaf hydrangea, Sweet shrub, reblooming azalea, coreopsis Laser Red, dwarf nine bark, Purple Punch balsam, and more cigar plants. At the end of this flower bed is the lavender Kew Red with deep silver foliage. Later in the year its blooms will be bright blue with an orange center.
Next is the flower bed with the parking sign. Currently Jet Fire dwarf daffodils and hyacinths are blooming. By mid-April the bed will be covered with the pink cups of the Missouri primroses, spiderwort and sage. Later in the year Ruby Red coreopsis bursts forth with its deep golden yellow bloom with a red center.
The last flower bed houses the iconic bookworm reading a book with a blue carpet of juniper behind him. This is a memorial to Dr. Mukherji by his wife Chitra. Visitors from Tennessee, other states and nations take pictures with the bookworm and post on Instagram and Facebook and tag Magness Library.
Along with Walker, care of the beds is given by Jeff Anest. As Walker’s plan develops with ground covers, bulbs, and perennials, less maintenance will be required.
To find pictures of the perennial plants in the library flower beds, visit the Horticulture Room in the second floor of the library, a destination unique to Warren County.
Tip of the Month: The last average frost date for this growing zone is April 15.
For questions or feedback contact us at McMinnvilleTN GardenClub@gmail.com
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