Wednesday, September 18, 2013

A Visit to a Special Garden in Portland Tennessee: The Schneider Garden

 Driveway leading you to the house.
Boy do I have a treat for readers of this blog! A wonderful garden tour in the garden of both an artist, and a plant collector. The combination is quite a unique combination and can, at times, become overwhelming. Then at other times (such as this one), can be so amazing you just want to take 157 pictures and try to post them all. Yup, that is what I did this past Saturday when Farmer Fix-it and I traveled all the way from our northwest Middle Tennessee home to Portland Tennessee. The trip was worth it as the day was wonderfully cool with bright sunshine, and the company found at Paul and Dot Schneider's garden was even better!
 The plantings alongside a busy highway.
Being a member of the Perennial Plant Society of Middle Tennessee (PPSMT) has its benefits. I have been a member of this wonderful society for about eight years now and not only am I a member, I am the editor of the quarterly ten page newsletter, administrator of their FaceBook page, and have even been privileged to speak to this esteemed plant society just this past year! Speaking to them was never ever on my agenda and wow, was I honored because sometimes local plant people can wait ten years to speak to our group! Another little known benefit of being a member of the PPSMT is the fact that we members get the opportunity to tour fabulous gardens in the Middle Tennessee area. I must confess, this was only my second garden tour and I know I miss an awful lot of great garden tours. I really wish I could see them all but the travel time and distance is a bit much for me. 
A xeric garden with specimen plants growing in scree. 
 It just so happened that I have known Paul for several years having met him at the PPSMT meetings. Paul is a plant collector of several kinds of plants. Included in his collection are: xeric plants, conifers, and bamboo! You shall see some of them in this post and the following three posts I have prepared to showcase this garden. So, Farmer Fix-it and I took the day off from working on our land to go on a date day-garden touring! We had an awesome day too. Many thanks to Paul and Dot for opening their home and garden to the members of the PPSMT. And as a side note, many thanks to all people who open their gardens to tours. This is not always an easy or desirable thing to do and takes a lot of work!
A very unique feature of Paul and Dot's garden is the number of sculptures throughout the garden. Sculptures start right outside along the roadside and lead on up to the house and all around the house. Sculptures are made from not only natural elements such as the above rock sculpture, but from many man made items. It is clear Paul has a great eye for art and beauty.
This particular sculpture contains no less than 92 bowling balls! It was one of two bowling ball pyramids to be found in this garden. You'll see the other one in a later post. These pictures are in no particular order--they were mainly uploaded as we saw the views in the garden. I like to think I could be organized and group pictures of sculptures together in one post, the bamboo in another, and so on, but there were just so many things to see and so many pictures to sort that I gave up sorting photographs.
Here is another bowling ball sculpture. Note the natural and man made elements in this joining of earth, wood, and stone.
Yet another beautiful sculpture. The artwork in this garden was SO amazing! It was amazing not only for its beauty but for how it all fit into the garden. The artwork was one with the garden. This is a rare thing in many gardens where artwork can overwhelm a garden. Not so in the Schneider garden. 
Earth, wood, and stone again. How cool is this?? The brilliant use of the dead trees on the property was quite clever. It was almost as if Paul had planned it all out ahead of time.
I had to show the winterberries. Everyone was taken with these and I asked Farmer Fix-it what they were. That is another note, most all of the plants were labeled in an easy to read fashion. Farmer Fix-it (the non gardener) said holly. How smart was he? This was before he looked at the sign and let me tell you, knowing any plants was a change for Farmer Fix-it. This particular winterberry was 'Red Sprite' with a pollinator of 'Jim Dandy' in the center of the grouping. It was a brilliant display.
We finish up this post with another tree trunk that is sprouting some plant pots containing some unique specimens. Paul and Dot's garden is a mixture of sun and shade. Can you see the large windmill palm in the background to the right? This fella likes the sun and is in a sheltered spot on the southern side of the house. It is quite a large specimen for a palm--in Middle Tennessee!

There are three more posts on this wonderful garden so come on back and check them out!

in the garden....
Words and Photos Property of In the Garden Blog Team, In the Garden


  1. Can't wait to see the rest of the garden. What a nice date.

  2. Great garden and it must have been a real treat to see in real life.


  3. Wow, a palm in Tennessee! I wish I had such imagination with dead trees and the such on our land. Love the art work and cant wait for the next posting....

  4. I wonder how they protect those bromeliads in Tennessee's winters. Can't find a search button but a long time ago one of your landscaping job designs featured coneflowers. I was so taken with them that I bought seeds. This was the first summer they bloomed and oh did they ever attract bees and butterflies. I did not know, at the time, that I was indiscriminately picking up seed packets hither and yon, some orignals and some "improved." Nor did I know they would cross-pollinate with each other. Found that I liked the improved better and will start all over again with new seeds and fob off the old plants on unsuspecting non-garden friends.

  5. My favorite sculpture gardens include both art and gorgeous plantings. How much fun to see a private home with one! Nice to have you back to blogging too.

  6. What a beautiful post. I love those images. Many thanks.

    Greetings from London.

  7. It really takes an artist's eye to see the possibilities in a a dead tree trunk and turn them into sculptures like these--love them! I have part of a tree trunk that's been sitting out in back for some time waiting for me to get inspired on how to use it in the garden:)

  8. I will never see a bowling ball again without wondering how I can get some in my garden.