Some of Murfreesboro’s most beautiful backyard gems will take the spotlight this weekend at the 30th Discovery Center Secret Garden Tour and Secret Garden Party.
In honor of the Discovery Center Museum’s 35th anniversary, the weekend begins with “A Golden Evening in the Gardens of Versailles” on Friday, June 3 at 7pm at the home of Sharon and Dr. Murali Kolli in Northwoods Cove. There will be a live auction, open bar, music and catering by Five Senses. The cost is $100 per person. Buy online at explorethedc.org/events/sgp.
The Secret Garden Tour will be held at four area gardens on Saturday, June 4 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and Sunday, June 5 from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Tickets for the tour are $10 per person and can be purchased online at explorethedc.org/events/sgt2022.
Here’s a look at the enchanting gardens on the tour.
A river flows through it
On the edge of the Stones River in the Riverbend subdivision, Mardi and Earl Hull, 2120 Londonderry Drive, have created a charming backyard with leafy beds, fountains and interesting garden statues.
When the Hulls moved into their home in Riverbend, there was very little landscaping and behind their home was a dense forest. Over the years they have expanded it including a stone path leading to the banks of the river where Earl Hull does a bit of fishing from time to time.
The Rutherford Master Gardener Community Garden, Lane-Agri Park, 315 John Rice Blvd.
Members of the Master Gardeners of Rutherford County, an all-volunteer organization of the UT/TSU Ag Extension, will be on site at the demonstration gardens. There are several areas of interest including a butterfly garden, compost bins, an herb garden, a mushroom patch, small fruits, perennials, a rain garden and a vegetable garden. There’s even a vineyard managed in partnership with MTSU’s Department of Fermentation Science.
A native habitat
Janice and Reggie Reeves, 2204 Alydar Run
In a process that took 10 years, master gardener Reggie Reeves and his wife Janice Reeves transformed what was once a hayfield into a tree-dotted lawn.
The Reeves value native trees, shrubs and flowers for the benefit of 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 scattered in beds to provide pollen and seeds. Coralberry and American beautyberry bushes produce berries that are preferred by the birds. Reggie participates in plant swaps to acquire many of the unique plants found in the gardens.
The Reeves maintain an organic garden grown in raised beds. There is a small greenhouse as well as an orchard with berry and grape vines.
A large field behind the house features native wildflowers favored by bees, birds and butterflies. Reggie mows a trail that leads to the banks of Lytle Creek, so bring your walking shoes and enjoy a stroll down to the water.
Katherine and Richard Spry, 2414 Spaulding Circle
Katherine and Richard Spry’s home employs unconventional, eco-friendly and organic gardening practices.
Visit their blueberry, blackberry, strawberry and raspberry fields. Admire fig trees and raised beds of various sizes and shapes growing spinach, kale, onions, garlic, cabbage, asparagus, peppers, tomatoes, oregano and pollinator-friendly flowers. Learn more about using reclaimed materials to improve your gardening.
The couple will also talk about the “uncut” areas of their property where they’re trying to grow native plants. Her lush garden is also referred to as a “Tree Sanctuary” by the Tennessee Urban Forestry Council.
Visitors can also learn about the rainwater collection system with five rain barrels and an overflow collection. Find out more about composting options you can implement in your own garden.
You can also wander through the shady Tree Stump Garden, the Peace Pole Garden and the sunny Pine Stump Garden. Get an impromptu education on edible weeds such as Philadelphia fleabane, lyre sage, ground ivy, wild geranium, and henbit growing in the drainage ditch, lawn, and flower gardens.
You will also find a collection of electric gardening tools: battery-powered hedge trimmers, push mowers, ride-on mowers, weed eaters and chainsaws. They do not use gas-powered devices.
On the way back to borrow books from the Small Free Library, you can stroll through the wildflower meadow and then try your luck on the golf course that meanders through the trees and gardens. You may even encounter some of the indigenous people such as birds, squirrels and rabbits.
Discovery Center Benefits
Proceeds benefit the Discovery Center, 502 SE Broad St., an interactive science museum featuring interactive exhibits, educational programs and outdoor experiences at the adjacent Murfree Spring Wetland and Boardwalk.
The Discovery Center, now in its 35th year, was founded as Rutherford County’s Children’s Museum Corporation in 1986 after an extensive grassroots campaign orchestrated by young parents that resulted in the purchase of a building and the creation of exhibits and programs. Thousands of families have enjoyed interactive learning and play since its inception.
Visit explorethedc.org to learn more about admission, exhibits and programs or call 615-890-2300.
Reach reporter Nancy DeGennaro at email@example.com. Stay up to date with restaurant news by joining Good Eats in ‘Boro (and beyond) on Facebook and following Murfreesboro Eats on TikTok.