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Highway medians intended to imitate creek bed

During this time of year my e-mail and telephone are full of questions about the beautiful blue flowers blooming in the median of Highway 11E through Jonesborough.
Planted in the median about three years ago as part of a larger landscaping plan for the highway, the median is in bloom or color most of the year.
The switch grass currently is being removed because it is too tall. It is being replaced with other grasses, growing shorter so motorists can see across the median.
Other plants that bloom throughout the year in the medians are tall bearded iris, daylilies, penstemon, and a variety of grasses. Also included are redbud, and dogwood trees.
Although attractive, some question the amount of grass included in the plan, going so far as to ask, “Do we really need that much grass?”
The plan is intended to imitate a creek bed with rocks and flowers to make an attractive entrance into Jonesborough. Almost everyone agrees it is attractive.
Years ago, workers and directors of the Parks and Recreation Department undertook a project to plant crepe myrtles, iris, and daylilies, along with dogwood and redbud trees in the median.
Because Jonesborough depends heavily on volunteer labor to accomplish many tasks, it is important that everyone pitch in for the common good.
This is one of the few small towns across the United States where the town boards, such as Tree and Townscape, are depended on to do much of the beautification work. This is an admirable and commendable group effort to keep Jonesborough beautiful.
Likewise, Kingsport has done the same with groups, including Master Gardeners, donating time and energy to make the area a beautiful place to spend time with their families.
Kingsport has crepe myrtles, butterfly gardens and other perennial flower beds that make a bike ride or walk a pleasant experience.
Now we have beautiful grasses, rocks, and perennials including asters that add beautiful blue fall color to delight motorists each time they drive the highway.
There are several colors of asters — magenta, white, purple, pink, deep blue, sky blue and deep pink.
I always recommend calling nurseries and plantsmen to find who carries these plants locally. It is more fun to deal with real people we know than with a nonentity on the Internet.
Happy gardening!
Jeanne Cope is a Garden Writer and UT Lifetime Master Gardener. Check her out at or e-mail her at [email protected]