Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Visiting McMinnville Nurseries and Burgess Falls

Aren't those pansies just joyful? They sing spring! And what does spring sing? Why gardening of course. And gardening is just what folks everywhere are working on this spring. But to tell the truth, our recent visit to McMinnville to see its conglomeration of nurseries and buy plants was planned waaaaay back in the fall.

I was truly honored and pleased Phil and Judie asked me last October to come with them to a favorite nursery of theirs in McMinnville. You see, Phil and Judie are AVID gardeners and spend every minute they can either in the garden or on other craft projects such as knitting. We all enjoy getting together and exploring each other's gardens and of course trading plants. Phil and Judie's garden has a lot of full sun and is a welcomed refuge for all wildlife. Especially welcomed are the birds and butterflies and bees, not so much the deer. I enjoy their garden because it has way more sun than mine, and that means all the plants that kind of languish in my garden, explode in their gardens. Their arbors, herbs, and wildflowers are a treat for all of their neighbors. And! They live in my little town of Woodlawn and are both Master Gardeners and involved in their community gardening programs. A delightful couple all the way around so of course I am in on a trip to McMinnville!

Even though it is technically spring and rain and sunshine are usually abundant in the spring here in Tennessee, today's order of the day was rain! We all came prepared with umbrellas. I personally love rain so no problem for plant shopping at all. McMinnville touts itself as the
'Nursery Capital of the World' due to its perfect weather for growing all sorts of plants. As you can imagine there are tons of nurseries in McMinnville. Not all of these nurseries are open to the public as most are wholesale only, but Mary's Greenhouse (the one we visited) is open to the public in general as well as wholesale.

Mary's Greenhouse has several greenhouses as you can see from the photos above. All plants were organized and healthy. Most all were labeled individually and if not individually, there was usually a sign close by annotating the price and type of the plant. It was really quite fun to see all of the plants and let me tell you-spring was in the air regardless of the rain outside.

Many of the greenhouses sported these types of heaters and smart birds had chosen them as the perfect location to make their nests. We did not find any eggs as yet though but I am sure the owner of this nest was close by chirping "Spring-Tweet-Spring!".

Here is one of the greenhouses with Judie diligently looking at plants holding a flat in her hands. Phil and Judie came for business. They bought many plants. Their garden is fairly new and a bit young so they had lots to buy. I found a bunch of plants too. I was especially happy to get some wildflowers, ferns and a bridal wreath spirea. Mary's Greenhouse is mainly perennials and annuals, trees and shrubs were the exception to the rule but they do have a few.

Here is our cart with some of our goodies. The carts were quite easy to push and the greenhouses easy to traverse. There is a catalog with a map available for patrons. This catalog lists all of the plants and prices. A very convenient feature for serious shoppers. I did not have a specific list (read not organized), but Phil and Judie knew exactly what they wanted and did an excellent job of checking off their list.

After our shopping trip to Mary's Gardens we headed down the road toward Cookeville and Burgess Falls. If you live in Tennessee or close by, do check the link for Burgess Falls. It is has some neat native American history and is a nice state park-that is free for all.

Here we are on the lookout over the Big Falls at Burgess Falls. Judie and Phil said when they last visited Burgess Falls this past October, the falls were a mere a trickle. That was NOT the case today with all the rain the falls were just a raging!

Trilliums and wildflowers were in full bloom and quite happy in the woods.
To reach the falls you must hike a bit. There is a road with access for those not able to hike. I enjoyed the hike but you must watch your footing as this path is on the edge of cliffs.

Here is another view of the Upper Falls from the opposite direction of the picture taken above. There is also a Middle Falls, Lower Falls, and cascades. Some of the cascades passed directly under the trail. It was quite beautiful. The Upper Falls were the biggest and most spectacular but all along the trail there are areas of falls crossing under the path. There was even the ghost of a bridge past that crossed this river. All that remained were the cables and ties all the way across the river-no walking planks. Too eerie! And to think this is all right here in Tennessee!

On the way out of the Burgess Falls State Park I spied some bat houses. I thought they were really cool. There were two and they were mounted about 25 feet up in the air on poles. I did not see evidence of bats roosting in the boxes, but I am sure there are bats nearby so perhaps they will take up residence soon. I personally love the bats in my garden. They come out at dusk each evening and spend a lot of time doing aerial acrobatics over our parking area due to the fluorescent light we have there. This light attracts all sorts of bugs, hence the bats and frogs and toads and birds. It is fun watching them and I bet visitors to Burgess Falls can see bats there as well in the evening.

Thank you so much my dear friends for taking me along on this wonderful day! I had a great time and am truly honored you included me in your well planned and organized trip. P.S. I've finally got all my purchases planted....

in the garden....

I think I am back from spring break. I got a lot of planting done and will get back on track with blogging too. It was a nice time as the weather was fairly good and I got a lot accomplished. Here's to happy gardening this spring to all my gardening friends!

I will be visiting with some special blogging commenters today at lunch. These friends include: Lola, Nina, Anonymous and a special mystery guest. Isn't blogging wonderful?

Update! Anonymous will not be able to attend our get together today. She and her family just welcomed into the world another little 'Sidekick' last night. We all wish her and the family a hearty Congratulations!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


  1. Sounds like a great outing! Nurseries and a wonderful park. That waterfalls were really wild with recent rainfall. We should be seeing the Mayapples in the woods soon.
    Congrats on the new addition to Anonymous's family.

  2. Sounds like a nice trip, I think I would of spent a bundle at the nursery, spring in the air forces me too! Congrats to anonymous family.

  3. Visiting nurseries and a good hike - two of my favorite activities. Thanks for the trip.

  4. Tina,

    Sounds like a lovely time you all had! Bat houses like butterfly houses do not work, they might be an interest in the garden that is all though.

  5. That sounds like a really good day out.

  6. What a wonderful time you had! As long as it's not freezing cold, there is something special about a rainy spring day-almost magical, expecially if you are plant shopping! Thanks for taking us along...I enjoyed my time shopping for new plants and taking a hike to the beautiful waterfall! :)

  7. Looks like a wonderful time was had by all Tina, in spite of the rain! The falls are beautiful! Thanks you for taking us along on your trip!

    Congratulations to Anonymous on the birth of the new little Sidekick!

  8. Morning all!

    Janet, you are right! Mayapples were in abundance in the park, I haven't seen them in my garden yet but will go look. It was so wonderful seeing all the wildflowers.

    Dawn, Sounds like fabric calls your name-no matter the season:)

    Les, It was most fun and so well planned by my friends-a good time for sure.

    Randy, You are so right. I had heard this of both bat and butterfly houses but thought surely with all the naturalists working here they knew what they were doing. Seems not so, the bats said no thank you.

    PG, Very fun indeed.

    Linda, It was warm and muggy on this day. A wonderful day indeed. And I finally have all acquisitions planted. Now if I could just stop dividing I could finally relax on planting.

    Linda, Thanks! It was most fun and really neat to be around folks in the nursery industry.

    Thanks all to Anonymous! Very exciting news! And to think she commented on here yesterday! What a trooper! Hugs Anonymous if you get a chance to read this.

  9. What a wonderful day! Love the nursery, and the wagons do make it easier to shop we have those at a couple of our nurseries here.

  10. Whoa, Tina! You seem to have had a gala day. I love going out when it rains! How exciting! Especially the trip to waterfall during spring! That's what I call a perfect outing!

  11. We see a lot of McMinville tags on plants sold up here in Illinois.

    I'd love to visit the falls, well worth the hike.

  12. Oh Tina, what a wonderful trip! That nursery was amazing. How organized your friends were too. I know having a young garden means you need to be selective about your purchases as opposed to us with full gardens and we don't really NEED any more plants. HA The falls are knock your socks off beautiful. Those are good shots of them too. Glad you are back. :-)

  13. Hi Tina, I know just what you mean about friends with full sun gardens--my plants also languish in shade! And I too like rain. I never would have guessed those "things" were heaters--and it is smart for birds to build nests there. Sunday I saw a robin dragging the long dried leaf of last year's lilies around! :) I didn't realize you had bats in your garden--that is awesome! What species are they, do you know? We get big and little brown bats here, mostly, though not in my garden. They eat mosquitoes and are so cute. A lot of myths about them. One of my garden talks is on bats. I love them!

  14. What a wonderful outing! Glad you had some time for a break. The falls are amazing! That's a lot of water power!


  15. Darla, Those wagons were a real help and easy to move too.

    Chandramouli, We had mucho fun for sure.

    Marnie, Yes, they tout themselves as the nursery capitol of the world-a really big declaration. Not sure how true it is but the growing conditions here are really good. Best of the north and south I think.

    Frances, Yes, my friends made it all so easy on me. We had a lot of fun and the falls were great. The stones very cool too.

    Hi Monica, Yes, the shade. Sigh. I work with it but it is difficult sometimes. We have tons of bats, not sure the variety but they are quite common here in Tennessee. I love watching them. We can tell their peculiar darting in and out at night. I just know they are quite tiny. I'd love to hear your talk on them.

  16. Cameron-yes! Reminded me a bit of Niagara Falls and it even had the mist.

  17. good morning, It's been busy around here this morning! I have always wanted to shop in McMinnville! it sounds like fun! Wow on the raging falls at Burgess Falls! Beautiful shots! We have had a wet spring...How did your garden survive the freeze last night? I hear another is forecast for tonight! Take care and welcome back. gail

  18. Good morning Gail! I spent a cold last evening covering my 16 J. Maples. Urgh! They are survived no problem. We dodged it since it stayed so cloudy and all. The sheets and burlap are staying on the trees again tonight. I did not worry about anything else. I hate this time of year when I must do this! One of the trees is too too big for me to cover and it was fine. Hopefully tomorrow too. You should go to McMinnville just for the experience. Nursery after nursery and very easy to navigate too.

  19. Tina, Welcome back my friend! This looks like a wonderful adventure you had there! The hike reminds me of the Volksmarches in Germany! I am sure you felt the same while walking the woods.

    Yep, we have bat houses and no bats as of yet. They prefer the attic vents but since new vents in our house, no more bats. :( I enjoyed our bats. We do still see a few of them in the evening from the woods though.

    I am so sorry that Anonymous will not be attending your little get-together today but i do think she has a blessed excuse not to be there! lol Congrats on the new addition to your beautiful family Anonymous and cant wait to see the little guy with my next TN visit!

    Am anxious to see who the mystery guest is also... :)

    Have a good day and happy Garden Talk...

  20. Burgess falls is a great place to visit! A trip to McMinnville would be a dangerous one indeed for the gardener's budget. I need a bat house or two to put up, I love those mosquito eaters!

  21. Sounds like a wonderful day, Tina! It's great to have gardening friends to share and speak your plant lingo with. I also enjoyed your walk to the falls. I've been readig lots of articles about bats and white nose fungus. Wondering if you think your population has been affected at all? Worrisome.

  22. Welcome back Tina and have a great lunch today! How fun to get together with some other great blogger friends. Your trip to McMinnville sounds wonderful to me. I would definitely plan a vacation around visiting a fabulous nursery! Glad you had a good time. Are you rested and ready to do more work in the garden now?!!!!
    PS I've seen bat houses before and wondered if the bats would really use them (the same with butterfly houses. Do you know the answer to that?

  23. Sounds like a wonderful outing! All those greenhouses... drool... lol Burgess Falls is beautiful.

  24. That looks like a lot of fun! Plant shopping is so much more fun with a friend or two! The falls are very pretty, what nice way to spend the day!

  25. Great trip you shared with us all.

    Bats are fun to watch and they sure can eat a lot of bugs which is a good thing also. I don't think the white nose fungus has reached TN yet but has been found as far sought as Virginia and as far north as New Hampshire so it will reach us all in time. Also the bat houses have to be at a certain height off the ground and also have to be facing a certain way. At one time I knew the numbers but it escapes me after all these years but they would rather be in a cave or something like a cave environment.

    Congrats to the new Mommy and the rest of the family also. If you ever find time to read the blogs or e-mail, I sent you an e-card last night. Wish I were there to sunggle with a newborn. Nothing in the world more precious!!!

    I know you ladies will have a great time meeting up today!!!

  26. There is nothing that excites me more than a cart with wheels holding garden goodies!

  27. looks like a wonderful time to get new stuff for the garden and go hiking...how nice.

  28. wunderschön !!! herzliche Grüße von Kathrin

  29. Tina
    Loved your pictures of the falls. We visited there last year right after the state had had some heavy rains and the falls were as you saw them. We have also been to Mary's greenhouse and try to make it an annual trip.

  30. Sounds like a great outing to me, looking at plants is always a treat. ;) That waterfall is fantastic, of course that hiking trail looked a bit steep. Bet you got a nice workout climbing those stairs. Happy to have you back. Can't wait to see who your mystery guest it!

  31. Enjoyed seeing the falls. What a beautiful place! I'm not so sure I'd like those bats around. lol

  32. Just like you said, blogging has certainly taught me a lot more about gardening. Most regular people have never even heard about hellebores, including me, but now I must find some! How did I miss them all these years?

  33. Skeeter, You are too funny! Of course you were the mystery guest! So glad you could join us and what fun with Lola, Nina, and Lola's granddaughter Stephanie! We never did decide who will blog on it. I did the last one-me thinks it is your turn!

    Dave, Don't waste your money on bat houses-I think they are purely for looks, sad but true.

    JGH, I recently read an article on that too. Where they come out of hibernation too early. In fact folks have been requesting cave visitors stay clear so as not to disturb the bats. It is worrisome. Seems it is more up north than down here. I hope it doesn't upset the balance.

    Kathleen, Hello and thanks! I truly do not think butterfly or bat houses work. There are so many natural areas that they much more prefer. I think these things are merely for looks for the gardener as I've yet to see one single bat or butterfly house occupied. They are pretty cool though.

    Sweet Bay, It was really fun seeing all these greenhouses-quite steamy and smelling very much of the dirt I love.

    Catherine, Yes shopping with friends is most fun. We can convince each other what to buy. They got me to buy a Mexican bush sage and I convinced them to buy the kerria. Will be fun to see how they both turn out.

    Mom, We had the best time at lunch today! Lola is so much fun and her granddaughter wonderful! Nina updated us on her dad and told us of some landscaping projects she is doing-very busy she is! I am hoping Lola and her granddaughter will stop by since they practically by my house on their travels. I can see some plants going home with them. Skeeter and I saw the beautiful baby boy. Anonymous is doing fine-that perky lady!! I wish I had her energy. I think maybe Skeeter will post on the meeting at some point. Lola will head back to Florida on Saturday I think then she'll be on here once again.

    Brenda, Yes but then we have to plant the darned things! lol

    Marmee, It was quite a day!

    Kathrin, Reminded me a bit of Deutschland and volksmarching-I miss it SO much!

    Sue Ellen, Hello and welcome! I hope you got lots of good buys at Mary's. The falls were so very nice-loud too! I'm glad you have experienced it too-Tennessee is a cool state all in all.

    Racquel, Workouts are just what I need after a long winter. Sigh. Gotta get out there and garden to get back in shape but the hike was a good workout too.

    Dot, The bats are actually our friends. They eat SO many pesky bugs! And have never bothered us. I think we may be a bit big for their tastes?:)

    Hi Robin, I hope you are fine in Ohio with all those wildflowers popping out everywhere. Don't stress on new plants and the hellebores. Every year it is something new the nursery industry comes out with. I first heard of hellebores about five years ago. The gardening magazines were singing their praises and I have to admit, I tend to jump on that bandwagon. They are great plants in the garden. Soon you'll be awash in them and will be able to share with others. Something I think we all aspire to.

    Hey all-don't forget about Skeeter's give a way. Go comment on her post if you haven't already! Even if you are new to the blog and not a person who normally comments-NOW is the time as everyone has the same chance of getting it and we hope they'll have a nice cup of coffee thinking of blogging friends.

  34. Oh, you lucky gal! All that lovely hiking. If I lived in TN, I'm afraid gardening would take a back seat--at least this time of year and in the fall. Can't wait to see what you planted.

  35. Oh, take me with you next time! I love visiting new nurseries! And the falls are beautiful. Sounds like a perfect day.

  36. W2W, Gardening and hiking are a nice mix. I think my ideal would be a mountain side retreat with wildflowers and trails! That might work.

    Robin, If you ever get to Tennessee-look me up and I'll take you to some nurseries no problem!

  37. Tina, you're making me homesick here! I think I'll see where Burgess Falls is in relation to Nashville---maybe I can work it in somehow next time I'm down. And yes, I'd heard that McMinnville was a nursery Mecca, so it was fun to tag along, at least virtually, and see for myself!

  38. OFB, Hello! And welcome to our little blog. I saw you visited Tennessee a while back. It's a pretty nice state as you know. Burgess Falls is near Cookeville-so definitely doable from Nashville. My friends and I traveled from the Clarksville area and it wasn't a bad trip at all. Especially on back roads when everything was in bloom. The quince are magnificent this year. You enjoy spring in PA-I know it is just as lovely!

  39. To spend a day with Judi & Phil along with all the planting possibilites is pure heaven. Tina I am so jealous. From the nursery to the falls and all that was in between what a treat. I hope to someday come along for the grand tour. Judi has been my best friend for over 35 years. She is pure joy mixed with the wonders of Mother Earth. How lucky all of us are !

  40. heh tina, it was great having you along with us. the only bad part of the day was finding out that angelinos pizza in cookville was closed down. there is 9 nurseries at last count in mcminnville that will sell retail so there is plenty to chose from. though i don't think you need more than one. will have to plan another trip next year so start saving your plant money, philnjudie

  41. Hi Anonymous (Judie's best friend), We had a super great day and yes, Judie is exactly as you described her. What a very nice thing to say. We'll look forward to you coming along next year!

    Phil and Judie, You guys are so sweet! I had a good time and am saving my money-ha-we'll see what hubby says. Angelino's pizza was a disappointment I agree. But getting all the goodies made up for it. I planted the last of my purchases today. You guys have a great gardening day!