Real Gardens

Gardenblogger garden is a stand-out in Nashville

As promised, here’s some show and tell from my recent trip to Nashville, starting with a very cool exhibit by British glass artist Bruce Munro at Cheekwood Garden.

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And Cheekwood’s scarecrows were lots of fun.  Too bad it was 38 degrees when my group was there to see it all and picnic on the grounds.  (The toddlers took the cold in stride.  Their grandparents and yours truly were all “We’ll meet you in the heated visitors center.”)

But let’s move on to the landscaping of Nashville, a city I’m crazy about.  I could even imagine living there, but wow, I’ve never seen so many tortured shrubs in my life.  Below are some representative shots of actual homes for sale in Nashville’s Belle Mead neighborhood, which if you watch the TV show “Nashville” you already know is the country club part of town.  Acres and acres of perfectly tended lawn, and the aforementioned tortured shrubs.

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In stark contrast to typical Nashville front yards (and really, front yards across Suburbia, U.S.A.) is the crazy-beautiful-alive front garden of gardenblogger Gail Eichelberger.  Gail’s critter-focussed blog Clay and Limestone hadn’t really prepared me for the wild-and-crazy gorgeousness and in-your-face differentness of it, compared to her neighbors.  Granted her neighborhood isn’t quite as grand as Belle Mead, but still her neighbors follow the script and Gail’s front yard is a shocker.  Or to my eyes, a welcome relief.

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Locally, Gail’s garden is referred to as the one with the bottle tree.  In the next shot you can see the road and across it, a typical front yard.

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Here’s Gail is showing me how she protected some blooming Salvias from the recent frost, in hopes of having something in bloom to show a visiting gardener.  I assured her that we’ve all said something like “You should have seen the garden last week!  Or next week!”

Notice on the right her fabulous screened-in porch overlooking all this botanical glory.  Click here for better views of it and from it.

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In addition to a huge assortment of plants, many of them natives, Gail’s garden includes bird feeders and homes, and this fun contraption that she made herself.  It was intended to house mason bees but due to insufficient sun in that spot, has become home to an assortment of other insects, like spiders.  But like all wildlife are welcome in Gail’s garden here – except for chipmunks, which must be really destructive to have earned Gail’s ill will toward those cutest of critters.musica

After a tour of her garden and breakfast prepared by her awesome husband, Gail showed me some of the sights of Nashville, including one that’s been met with less than universal praise, to say the least.  Art critics and religious prudes are united in their disdain for the group statue of nudes that occupies a prominent spot on Music Row.

Thanks for everything, Gail!  You can bet I’ll be coming back to see you and your crazy-beautiful garden again, the sooner the better.

Sculpture photo credit.

Posted by on November 1, 2013 at 10:09 am, in the category Real Gardens.
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10 Responses to “Gardenblogger garden is a stand-out in Nashville”

  1. Gail says:

    Susan, If only you had come this weekend, the garden was dressed in fall colors and the bumbles were back visiting the Ex-asters! Thank you for your kind words about Clay and Limestone, it’s a labor of love for native plants and critters. In my defense, less someone remove my wildlife certification, no chipmunks are ever harmed, unless of course, their feelings get hurt when I yell at them. HA, they are unfeeling and destructive critters, far more than the much maligned squirrel. You are welcome to visit anytime. It was a treat to spend time visiting with you and to have a sympathetic ear as we traveled around the lawn obsessed city! You should be here in Nashville on a summer day when the lawn crews are mowing and blowing from 7am on! gail

  2. Layanee says:

    I have yet to see this naturalist’s garden in person but I do love her Wildflower Wednesday posts and her blog in general which is always packed with great information. Don’t fight the site is a good landscaping/gardening concept and Gail does it with style. You are lucky to have had the chance to visit. Now, when are you coming to New England? :)

  3. Laura Bell says:

    Ahhh, Gail’s garden reminds me of my Mom’s – shaded or sunny, every corner brimmed with color & life. Homes for bugs, and birds, and even the squirrels (which she both fed and cursed). Flowerpots & windchimes & seats and delightful disorder.

    And every yard around following the script of military-cut lawn, a few tightly-controlled foundation plantings, with maybe an azalea or hydrangea for color.

    What’s the deal with the statue? I mean, what’s the name, what does it represent? I generally don’t have an issue with naked statues. But having grown up not too far from Nashville, I have a general grasp on how conservative folks in the South tend to be. Cities are less so than rural areas, but even so, I can see it would have caused an uproar. Frankly, I think it looks celebratory, joyful.

  4. Cindy, MCOK says:

    I’ve been fortunate enough to spend time in Gail’s garden and to admire it from the serenity of the screened porch. She’s a tireless champion of pollinators and her garden is a joy to behold!

  5. You were so lucky to see it Susan. I’m glad you two had a wonderful visit. We have a lot of torture in Oklahoma too. You should come here sometime. Ha!~~Dee

  6. VJ says:

    The link to the blog entry on the screened-in porch is priceless. A good porch is my favorite room in any home. Very neighborly, a lovely transition from in-doors to the beloved garden – and the way people survived the heat before A/C drove most people inside. Most suburban homes were designed with garages instead of porches in front – car culture replaces rambling greetings & conversations. Not a good swap.
    Thankfully my home has a porch, albeit a much smaller one than Gail’s. However, it allows me to enjoy connections with my neighbors, my garden and all the creatures who move through the ecosystem around my home. May porches return to home design everywhere!

  7. Ivette Soler Ivette Soler says:

    Oh. My. God.
    The difference between those vast, empty expanses of lawn vs the beautiful, wild abandon of Gail’s front yard says it ALL.
    I am on the side of FUN and LIFE and PLAY! Give me that garden RIGHT NOW!!!
    How very life-affirming!

  8. Of Gardens says:

    LONG LIVE the individual!

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