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Landscape lecture gets residents thinking spring

If the attendance at last week’s garden lecture at the Jonesborough Visitors Center is any indication, the people of Jonesborough are ready for spring.
Approximately 100 people showed up last Thursday to hear landscape architect Kenneth Soergel’s ‘Designing for Easy Garden Maintenace’ discussion.
Sponsored by the Appalachian Plant Society, the event brought out area gardeners who were eager to hear Soergel’s suggestions for planning their own gardens.
“Low maintenance means different things to different people. What one person hates, another loves to do. I can’t give you one straight rule that will work for everybody but I can give you some suggestions that will help you landscape your garden in a way that will be helpful to everyone,” said Soergel, who earned a bachelor’s degree in Landscape Architecture from Pennsylvania State University, and a master’s in Landscape Architecture from Harvard University.
“As gardeners, we need to think about our gardens as ‘sites,’ that are like pieces of a puzzle that must fit together, not just as plants.”
Soergel urged his listeners to think of their garden spaces as carefully planned arrangements composed of balance, shape, color and design. He suggested gardeners judiciously make plant and tree selections, paying great attention to the ultimate growth patterns of the chosen specimen.
“Think before you plant,” he said showing a photo of what he called ‘hat rack’ trees, their limbs lopped off and standing forlorn. “It is more than shape and design. After a landscape is installed, it isn’t finished. It will keep growing.”
Soergel encouraged gardeners to choose native trees and plants that will reduce pests. He also said to select plants that will grow to the desired size to prevent a need for drastic pruning.
“The wrong tree will eventually require safety pruning and possibly reduction,” he said. “Many trees will need pruning at some point, but that pruning should be done with great care.”
During his lecture, Soergel also discussed mass planting to prevent weed growth and a variety of ground cover options.
For more gardening advice, the University of Tennessee Extension Office will host ‘A Series for Beginner and Hobby Gardeners’ starting today. For a list of topics for the weekly lecture program, which runs through April, see Page 3A.