Warren County Certified Public Library Manager and Certified Archivist Brad Walker is also a skilled horticulturist.
Walker is a senior judge of the Gesneriad Society and a member of the Middle Tennessee Societies and the National Gesneriad Societies. The Gesneriaceae are a large family of mainly tropical plants.
The flower beds around Magness Library reflect Walker’s vision of planting perennial flower beds around the exterior of the building at the corner of Main and Chancery streets.
Perennials are plants that do not need to be replanted every year. Although perennials tend to cost more upfront, they are a good long-term investment because they come back year after year.
Even perennials that don’t have a long lifespan can often be propagated by division or reseeding to perpetuate their population.
Most perennials require less water once established. Planting perennials native to your area has the added benefit of creating a welcoming habitat for pollinators and local wildlife.
The flowerbed designs around the library are anchored by shrubs. If you start to the right of the library’s main door on Main Street, you’ll see a Japanese maple tree that’s over 40 years old. Next is a Royal Raspberry Butterfly Bush and on the corner of Main and Chancery is a Moonglow Spirea. The foliage of spirea is yellow with a chartreuse tint.
The ground between the shrubs is filled with perennials. Watch these flowerbeds for the next two months as these plants emerge. Between the Main Street shrubs are these perennials: Double Coneflower (Black-Eyed Susan), Blue Russian Sage, Gaillardia (Goblin Flower), Silver Meuniere (Wormwood), Pink Wonder Daffodils and Echinacea (echinacea). Echinacea will have a large pink bloom and is a native Tennessee echinacea. There is also the only perennial lantana, the Miss Huff.
At the corner of Main and Chancery streets there is yarrow and a flat carpet of pink dianthus and sunray coreopsis. Behind the panel is the Blue Beard Dark Knight caryopteris.
Along Chancery Street are dwarf monarda ice balls, red-veined sorrel, bronze fennel, daylilies and daffodils. Next is the iris with a variegated (striped) leaf, Cuphea ignea (cigar plant). Then an Oakleaf Hydrangea, Sweet Shrub, Reflowering Azalea, Laser Red Coreopsis, Dwarf Bark Nine, Balsam Purple Punch, and other Cigar Plants. At the end of this flower bed is lavender Kew Red with deep silver foliage. Later in the year, its flowers will be bright blue with an orange center.
Next is the flower bed with the parking sign. Currently, daffodils and dwarf Jet Fire hyacinths are blooming. In mid-April, the bed will be covered with the pink cups of Missouri primroses, spiderwort, and sage. Later in the year, the Ruby Red coreopsis bursts forth with its deep golden yellow bloom with a red center.
The last flower bed is home to the iconic bookworm reading a book with a blue juniper rug behind him. This is a memorial to Dr Mukherji by his wife Chitra. Visitors from Tennessee, other states and nations are taking photos with the bookworm and posting them to Instagram and Facebook and tagging Magness Library.
With Walker, care of the beds is entrusted to Jeff Anest. As Walker’s plan grows with ground covers, bulbs and perennials, less maintenance will be required.
To find photos of the perennials in the library’s flower beds, visit the Horticulture Room on the second floor of the library, a unique destination in Warren County.
Tip of the month: The average last frost date for this growing zone is April 15.
For questions or comments, contact us at McMinnvilleTN [email protected]
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