TN Executive Residence: Garden Tour | Volunteer Gardener

(cheerful music) – Just a few miles
south of Nashville is the Tennessee Residence. And in 2011, they finished
renovations on the house. Through the Tennessee
Residence Foundation, they expanded out
into the gardens, and updated some of
the historic gardens and added some new gardens. And we’re gonna go take
a look at some of those. We’re here in one of the
original historic gardens. I’m here with Sarah Lowe, the Tennessee Residence
horticulturist. Thanks for having me out today. – Oh, I’m so glad you’re
here today Phillipe. – Yeah.
– Thanks for coming and checking everything out, that’s in peak bloom
right now with springtime. – Yeah, it’s wonderful. So this is one of the
original gardens to the house. – That’s right. This is the Tennessee Residence, it was built in 1929 to 1931, and where we’re right now
is the historic garden, which is original to the site, when the Wills
family lived here. It became the
Tennessee Residence and home to our
governors in 1949, when it was bought by the state. – [Phillipe] So like the
fountain and everything was original to the house?
– The fountain and the lily pond, this
bone, this space is original. It has gone through a major
landscape renovation plan, which was part of Mrs.
Haslam’s initiative when she arrived here
at the Residence, was to restore the landscape. So she set out on a
plan to revitalize it, renovate it, and
put it all together so it’d be one beautiful space for all of our visitors and
guests to the Residence to see. This is a very formal element, it’s kinda that direct access
into the house, view wise, and then it kinda then
opens up to the sides. The Residence was
originally named Far Hills by the Wills family, just because all of the views
of all of the rolling hills that you could see
in the landscape. – Yeah, and it’s nice
I see three gates that lead you in
different directions, – Right.
– away from the house. It’s kind of a
great starting point when you’re entering
the gardens. This is a really nice,
comfortable little quaint space. – [Sarah] It’s one of
my favorite spots here at the Tennessee Residence. Just a beautiful little spot, part of the original
historic gardens. The Wills family were
big iris hybridizers here in Nashville. So we have several
of their irises here, Nashborough, Natchez Trace,
just to name a couple that are planted in the garden, as well as a lot of
other perennials. Daylilies, the irises,
coneflowers, gaura, just all sorts of fun things just come alive in this
garden during the summertime. – Yes, so it’s real
dormant during the winter, but in the summer
it really fills in. – It sure does fill in. It’s just exploding with color. So we have violas kinda
scattered through it right now, just to kinda have
that pop of color. – And I love this kind
of rough and tumble wall that’s along the edge here, filled with some sedums,
and violas and things. – [Sarah] Yeah,
that’s my favorite little moment kind
of in this garden. Kinda really sets
it in and frames it. Just kind of with the neat
things we’ve been tucking in. – Nice, yeah. And it’s also,
everything is so formal, and then you have this kind
of rough and tumble wall – Yeah.
– That kind of makes it a little more comfortable. – Right, just a
little more whimsy. – Yeah, yeah.
– Feels like a garden. – Speaking of whimsy, there was a, it
looked like a little secret garden over there. – Yes, there is a Secret
Garden over there. So would you like
to come see it? – Yeah, I’d love to go peek in there.
– All right, let’s go look. – So this is definitely The
Secret Garden I see here. – Yes, this is
The Secret Garden, a really cool, neat
little garden room, all enclosed by yews. It was inspired by the
book, “The Secret Garden”, and just really a neat space. – [Phillipe] Yeah, and
I definitely noticed
the four statues in the corners.
– Yep, the four statues in the corners
are, were original to when the Wills
family lived here. Through the landscape
renovation process, they were kinda scattered
all over the property, and they actually found them all and then put them all together to anchor the four corners
here in the garden. They are Spring,
Summer, and Fall. So they represent
our four seasons. – [Phillipe] Oh very nice, yeah. Kind of an overview
of everything. – [Sarah] Yes. – And I also have to ask you
about this really cool door, with the little hole at
the bottom, what’s that? – [Sarah] That’s the
little mouse hole. So that kind of invites
our friendly little friends into the garden, just
kind of adding that element of whimsy into
this garden as well. – [Phillipe] Yeah,
all are welcome. – [Sarah] All are welcome. – Very cool. And looking back
through the door, I mean that view of
the house from here is just breathtaking. – Now, it’s one of
my favorite views. Just kinda captures
everything that’s here at the Tennessee Residence. And of the Tennessee Garden. – [Phillipe] So this
is a pretty huge vegetable cutting
garden you got here. – It’s a beautiful garden. It’s, a lot of our visitors to the Tennessee Residence
love coming here. This is our Kitchen
and Cutting Garden. So it’s just a neat place,
that’s, the kitchen part of it is all the fruits and
vegetables that we have growing here in the garden. Everything that we
grow here is harvested and used inside the
kitchen in the Residence for all the guests that come. And it’s the cutting
garden because everything that’s
growing in here, perennials, we
use as cut flowers to make arrangements
for our guests inside the Residence as well. So that’s our
– Very nice. – Kitchen and Cutting Garden.
– Yeah. I have to comment on
this amazing statue
in the center, too. – [Sarah] Yes, at the
heart of the garden is our Sundial Armillary. It was designed and
created by Tim Matherson from the Tennessee
Metal Museum in Memphis. So it’s just a
really neat piece. We really engage school
groups with this piece, between it being a sundial,
and how you tell time, to it also incorporates in
all of the state symbols from the state of Tennessee. So it’s always fun
to quiz people, to see if they know the state
bird that is the mockingbird, and the state tree
is the tulip poplar. We’ve got the eastern
box turtle on it, which is our state
reptile, and of course we have three red
tomatoes, which are, three of them are red for
the east, middle, and west part of our state, and of course the tomato is our state fruit. – [Phillipe] And as far as kid
groups and school groups go, they can be really
involved here, right? – [Sarah] Right, we do a
great field trip program here at the Residence,
so kids will come and have a tour
of the Residence, and then they get to
come out in the garden. So we have an activity
for them to do in the garden when they come, usually they get their
hands dirty in some way, either harvesting vegetables
or planting seeds, or planting a plant,
so they always have something to do in the garden when they come.
– Yeah, great. Very cool. Is this some of
the rows they did? – [Sarah] Yes, they planted
some carrots for us last fall. – [Phillipe] Yeah,
let’s go look at those. So this is cool, y’all
even label what school planted what and when.
– Right, I do, just to also keeps track
of when we planted things, what they are, but it also
just gives recognition to the different
schools that were here. So a lotta the
different school groups get to see what other
school groups did, and then get to enjoy
what everybody’s done. And so then, this group
was planted in the fall, these carrots, and then
they’ll be harvested, if they’re ready, in May, by another school group
when they come through. So it’s kinda the quiet
time in the garden. In the next week or two we’ll
get all the tomatoes planted, corn started, eggplant, so
it’ll really transition. This whole garden will look
different in a couple weeks, when everything starts growing. – And some of the
warm vegetables, do y’all start those in
the greenhouse over here? – Yes, we do start some
of them in the greenhouse. So it’s a neat spot. – [Phillipe] I
see a lot of trees around the edge, and bushes. Are those some things that– – Right, we have also
fruit in the garden. It’s just not vegetables,
’cause we’ve got some fig trees, we also have blueberries,
blackberries, in the garden, because
a lot of our groups with the school groups
don’t necessarily have seen things
growing in a garden. – Right.
– So for them to see what a blackberry grows on, – Yeah.
– You know, they’re always amazed by that. – [Phillipe] So I bet this
is a really popular place for groups to meet in. – Yes, this is our greenhouse. So we will welcome our
field trip groups in here. Some groups will come in, plant
plants in pots to take home. We’ll also set up all
the tables in here, where they’ll shell the peas. So we try to get
the groups in here. Plus so many kids, also have not seen a greenhouse before. So they love to come
and see what we have growing inside the greenhouse. – Right.
– So we do have some seeds that we have started, some cuttings of
some other plants, and then we just have
some plants on display, just so they can see
the different plants that we have growing
here in the greenhouse. – Yeah, and lots of fun texture and things.
– There’s lots of fun textures, colors, we just try to have something
fun for them to see, that they’ll remember when they, – Yeah.
– their visit here. – [Phillipe] So if
someone wants to visit, how do they go about doing that? – [Sarah] All they have to do, you can Google
Tennessee Residence, or you can go to, and you can get all
the information about
visiting out here. You can sign up for
a historical tour, which is mainly
inside the Residence, or you can sign up
for a field trip. – [Phillipe] It is
a place not to miss. – [Sarah] Thank you for coming. – [Phillipe] Yeah,
thank you so much for having us out, Sarah. (gentle music) – [Narrator] For
inspiring garden tours, growing tips, and
garden projects, visit our website at, or on YouTube at the
Volunteer Gardener channel. And like us on Facebook. (guitar strums)

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