|2013 Southern Living Idea House, Nashville, TN, photo by Laurey W. Glenn|
There is no denying that the home itself - really a collection of buildings, many connected by porches and breezeways - is impressive.
I guess the house is supposed to give visitors ideas to decorate their own home. In this regard, I was impressed in a geeky way by the Lennox wi-fi thermostat. My wife liked the Elsie Swivel Glider Club Chairs and an eye-catching carved wood antelope head. (I knew we were missing something from our home decor!)
As for the gardens, I gotta be honest here and say that there was very little that fired my imagination. I know that the landscape design team employed Southern Living Plants (available at Lowe's and Home Depot), so they were working with sort of a limited palate. (Near as I can tell, the Southern Living collection only includes 8 perennials, for instance.)
Of those perennials, the only one that really caught my eye was a white Agapanthus. I don't know whether these will really endure in the landscape given that Southern Living's own description only rates the plant to zone 8 and we're at the cold end of zone 7 (or the warm end of zone 6 until the most recent USDA zone refresh).
Incidentally, various sources list Agapanthus as being attractive to hummingbirds. Does anyone know if that's the case? I didn't see any hummers on all the plants during my visit, but I doubt the birds would have hung around the party crowd...
There were also some dwarf (5-8 H x 3-4 W) Early Bird crape myrtles that were charming in a modest sort of way. Southern Living claims these crapes start blooming earlier than most and that the bloom season continues for 100-120 days, which would be pretty darn impressive.
|Vitex agnus-castus, Chaste Tree, Monk's Pepper (I think the landscaper branched a bit here, because I couldn't find Vitex in the Southern Living Plant Collection)|
The only plant that made me stop and take a photo was a limbed up Vitex agnus-castus (a.k.a. Chaste Tree or Monk's Pepper). This was also the only plant in the garden where I saw any pollinators (bumble bees, in this case).
|A single bumble bee (I believe) on a Vitex agnus-castus. There were actually two bees that I spotted on this Vitex, but I couldn't get them both in the same photo. They were the only pollinators I saw in the whole garden.|
Just makes me like Vitex that much more.
PS - If you're in the Nashville area and looking for architecture or interior design inspiration, tours of the home cost $12 with various discounts for children, seniors, military and students. A portion of the ticket proceeds reportedly goes to benefit St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.