I have some thoughts on the landscapes of Nashville, Tennessee, which I visited recently and instantly loved.  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-focused 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.

Gail Eichelberger's wildlife garden in Nashville

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.

Gail Eichelberger's wildlife garden in Nashville

Gail Eichelberger in her wildlife garden in Nashville

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.

Gail Eichelberger in her wildlife garden in Nashville

musicaIn 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.

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.