Did you know that Ancient Lore Village has not one, but two accomplished gardeners who lovingly nurture nearly every square foot of our sixty-seven-acre property? Our in-house gardening experts, Sandi Burdick and Hannah Martin, each possess a passion for all things green. In this blog post, Sandi and Hannah will share four secrets for growing a garden that will beautifully, and responsibly, take you away to the splendor of a simpler time.
Select Native Species
Sandi Burdick, wife of Ancient Lore Village’s founder, Tom Boyd, recommends planting native species as a satisfying first step in responsible gardening. “The Village landscapes are abundant with salvias, hardy geraniums, passion flower vines, columbine, and many other native perennials which are in tune with the climate as well as the living creatures who occupy the grounds,” said Sandi. “We also planted viburnums, red buckeyes, fringe trees, and maples, which are shrubs and trees native to East Tennessee.” Other colorful native flowering plants throughout the rural retreat destination include asters, rudbeckia, joe pye weed, and goldenrod.
Use Pesticide Alternatives
Ancient Lore Village’s Grounds and Property Manager, Hannah Martin, practices good Earth stewardship through chemical-free gardening. “Personally, I never use pesticides or herbicides in my gardens. I opt for natural pesticidal soaps, and, for stubborn dangerous weeds like poison ivy, I mix a solution of vinegar and salt with the soap,” she explained. “I plant natives and avoid invasive non-native plants that threaten our local flora. And beyond the garden, I recycle and limit the use of plastics as much as possible.”
Keep the Ecosystem in Mind
Demonstrating Ancient Lore Village’s commitment to the environment, the grounds have been designated by the National Wildlife Federation as a Certified Wildlife Habitat. “Becoming certified actually isn’t difficult to do,” said Sandi, “But it’s very significant.” By providing water sources, food sources, areas of shelter, sustainable gardening practices, and safe places to mate and raise young, the luxury event venue’s gardens have become a haven for birds, insects, and animals. “With plants providing a place for insects to feed and reproduce, and the insects feeding the birds, the ecosystem can sustain itself beautifully,” said Sandi. “And, of course, we’ve provided very good soil to help the plants themselves flourish… sometimes they even grow too quickly!”
Make It a Family Affair
Sustainable gardening isn’t limited to planting and maintenance… it includes teaching the meaningful pastime to future generations. “My first plant was bought for me by my Mammaw when I was just 5 or 6 years old,” said Hannah. “It was a red geranium and I was over the moon. Even now, I plant one every year to remember her by.” Today, gardening for Hannah is therapeutic. “There are moments of absolute peace, and there are moments of pure joy, and there is a lot of pushing my body’s limits. But, the reward is priceless. To stand back and look at what I’ve accomplished, and the beauty I have helped Mother Nature bring forth… it’s like being the Earth’s doula!”
When you wander the grounds of Ancient Lore Village you may see Hannah hard at work, dirt caked firmly under her fingernails, or Sandi staring at a certain spot, envisioning how it will look years from now as the plants spread and flourish. Visit our Knoxville, Tennessee immersive retreat destination to inspire your own green thumb, and experience the magic of our beautiful and responsible gardens for yourself!