• Mary Ann

Explore hidden backyard gems at Discovery Center’s Secret Garden Tour




Some of Murfreesboro’s most beautiful backyard gems will be on display at the annual Discovery Center Secret Garden Tour, June 4-5. The tours benefit the Discovery Center’s programs.


Tickets and information are available at explorethedc.org/sgt.


TOUR LOCATIONS


Rutherford Master Gardener Community Garden, Lane-Agri Park - 315 John Rice Boulevard, Murfreesboro, TN


The Demonstration Gardens on the campus of the Lane Agri-Center are maintained by the Master Gardeners of Rutherford County, an all volunteer organization of UT/TSU Ag Extension, and partner with the Discovery Center’s Annual Secret Garden Tour. And just as its name implies, these gardens are all about demonstrating various horticultural practices to the public. The Demonstration Gardens are comprised of numerous garden areas, including a Butterfly Garden, Compost Bins, Herb Garden, Mushroom Bed, Small Fruits, Perennial Garden, Rain Garden, and a Vegetable Garden. There is even a Vineyard that is managed in partnership with the MTSU Fermentation Sciences Department. Many of the plants are individually labeled, and there are interpretive and educational signs as well. While this garden is generally open to the public daily, during the Secret Garden Tour representatives of the Master Gardeners will be on hand to talk with visitors about the gardens, plants and horticultural practices. It might be a good idea to bring a pen and paper to make notes as you wander through the Demonstration Gardens.


Janice and Reggie Reeves - 2204 Alydar Run, Murfreesboro, TN


In a process that has taken 10 years, master gardener Reggie Reeves and his wife, Janice, have transformed what was once a hay field into a graceful tree-dappled lawn.


The Reeves place emphasis on native trees, shrubs and flowers to benefit bees, birds and butterflies. You'll find witch hazel, a Shoal Creek chaste tree for bees, spice bush and persimmon for swallowtail butterflies, and Red Buckeye for hummingbirds.


Native flowers such as bee balm, coreopsis, and coneflower are also spread about in beds to provide pollen and seeds. Coralberry and American beautyberry bushes produce berries favored by the birds. Reggie participates in plant swaps to acquire many of the unique plants found throughout the gardens.


The Reeves cultivate an organic garden grown in raised beds. There's a small greenhouse as well as a fruit orchard with berry and grape vines.


A large field behind the home features native wildflowers favored by the bees, birds and butterflies. Reggie mows a walking trail that leads to the banks of Lytle Creek, so bring your walking shoes and enjoy a stroll down to the water.


Margaret and Jim Smith - 3109 St. Johns Drive, Murfreesboro, TN


The beautiful garden of Margaret and Jim Smith welcomes guests with fragrant hydrangea. A small herb garden adds to the aroma with bay, thyme, and golden oregano. Brick pathways lead to the back patio, where pots and urns are filled with an abundance of hostas, heuchera and annuals. These surroundings can be best enjoyed from one of the many benches in the garden.


There are also many statues featured around the garden that the Smiths have collected on their many road trips. Other plants include acuba, clematis, variegated boxwood, azalea, red and green Japanese maple and dogwood. Their garden also features a pollinator garden at the front of the house, with containers, lantanas, and butterfly bushes.


Mardi and Earl Hull - 2120 Londonderry Dr, Murfreesboro, TN


The enchanting garden of Mardi and Earl Hull in the Riverbend neighborhood will be featured on the tour this year and is one not to be missed. Guests are welcomed by beautiful beds of foliage, fountains, and interesting garden statues the couple has collected that back up to the Stones River.


Katherine and Richard Spry - 2414 Spaulding Circle, Murfreesboro, TN


Get ready for unconventional, environmentally friendly, and organic gardening practices of Katherine and Richard Spry!


Visit their blueberry, blackberry, strawberry, and raspberry patches. Admire their fig trees and raised beds of various sizes and shapes where they are growing spinach, kale, onions, garlic, collards, asparagus, peppers, tomatoes, oregano, and pollinator friendly flowers. Learn about their use of reclaimed materials to enhance their gardening.


Learn about the uncut “natural areas” where they are trying to grow native plants. Their bountiful yard is also designated a “Tree Sanctuary” by the Tennessee Urban Forestry Council.


See the rainwater collection system with 5 rain barrels and overflow collection. You will also encounter the compost options in and around the gardens. Wander through Kathryn’s “Tree Stump Gardens” in the shade, the “Peace Pole Garden”, and Richard’s “Pine Stump Gardens” in the bright sunshine. Learn about the edible “weeds” (Philadelphia fleabane, lyreleaf sage, ground-ivy, wild geranium, henbit) growing in the drainage ditch, the lawn, and in the flower gardens.


Check out the collection of electric gardening tools: battery operated hedge trimmers, push mower, riding mower, weed eater, and chainsaw. They use no gas-powered equipment.


Walk through the wildflower meadow on your way to check out the books at the Little Free Library. Then try your luck on the golf course winding through the trees and gardens. The birds, squirrels, and rabbits have found this to be a friendly place to visit also.



About the Discovery Center

The Discovery Center at Murfree Spring is a hands-on, environmental, cultural and educational museum located in the heart of Middle Tennessee. More than 120,000 children and families visit annually, exploring exhibits and participating in programs that promote STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts & math) education. Adjacent to the Center is the protected Murfree Spring wetlands, a natural habitat for a variety of fish, amphibians and birds. Located at 502 S.E. Broad Street in Murfreesboro, TN. For more information, visit www.explorethedc.org or call (615) 890-2300.


Engaging Curious Minds to Fuel the Future.