Skip to main content

Center for Cedar Glade Studies

Gardening in the Glades

The secret to gardening in the glades is to choose plants which are well adapted to the harsh conditions found there. In some places this means plants that can tolerate being submerged in water during the winter, but in all cases it means plants which can tolerate the extreme heat and drought of a glade summer.

By growing plants adapted to your yard’s specific environment, you will reduce the amount of maintenance you must do and create a garden which is not only beautiful but a conversation piece.

What is xeriscaping?Designing gardens which are adapted to drought conditions is a specialty called xeriscaping, developed primarily in the southwest. The University of Las Vegas has a demonstration xeric garden which it presents very well on its website.There is also a free ezine on the subject – xeriscaping gardening news.

A xeriscaping plan for middle Tennessee, clearly has to use different plants from one in Las Vegas or New Mexico. Stones River Battlefield has a small native garden which demonstrates how beautiful such a garden can be.  Photographed in October, the garden is still filled with flowers, butterflies and other insects.

 Late Bloomers in the Glades Garden (October, 2003)

Asters and black-eyed susans


Sedum in front, asters in back and the last coneflower of summer in the middle

While the rarest and most endangered are difficult to find and expensive to buy, there are many native plants which grow well under glade conditions and are easily available. Tennessee Exotic Pest Plant Council provides lists of native plants which are adapted to conditions of east, middle and west Tennessee. Plants adapated to glades would be those that that grow best in full sun, dry conditions (at least part of the year) and basic (as opposed to acidic) soil.

Sources of Plants for Glade Gardens Margie Hunter’s Gardening with Native Plants in Tennessee website gives a great deal of information as well as information on how to get her book and a long list of sources of plants and seeds.

Follow Us!

Contact Us

Middle Tennessee State University
Center for Cedar Glade Studies
Department of Biology 
PO Box 60
Murfreesboro, TN 37132
615.904.8283 (phone for Kim Cleary Sadler)