Brads Garden in Smithville, TN
Hello, my name is Brad and I grow a lot of plants, wildflowers, annuals, bulbs, perennials, but mostly gesneriads.  Gesneriads are a large family of mostly tropical and sub-tropical
plants, including
Seemannia, Saintpaulia (African Violets), Achimenes, Nematanthus (Goldfish Vine), Aeschynanthus (Lipstick Vine), Streptocarpus (Cape Primrose), and Sinningia
(Florist Gloxinia).  

I mostly grow and hybridize in the family
Sinningia, they are fascinating plants from the size of a quarter to 4 foot tall, most fall between.  I have been growing native plants for over 30
years now and have a few really nice ones, so be sure to look at the pictures.  Recently, I have started collecting some of the Impatiens and Begonia species, they are very unusual
and not what most people recognize, as I get more pictures I will be adding details about them.
Above - The first blooms from my seedling Columnea ('Sunfire' x 'Aladinn's Flame'), originally I had a multitude of seedling, but most succumb to
various problems over the last 5 years.  I have three survivors, almost identical , semi upright growth, that is  deep burgundy red as new growth,
turning medium green with red tints on the edges.  All three were put in small hanging baskets and hung on my front porch this year, lo and
behold suddenly after 5 long years they covered themselves in bloom.  They have the more upright, heavy growth of 'Sunfire', but the blooms
and leaves are straight from 'Aladinn's Flame'.  Also, they root easily, my cats decided one was low enough to sleep in, imagine walking out of the
front door and a 7 pound cat laying on the hybrid in a 4" hanging basket, 5 feet off the ground!
Above - Lily of the NIle (Agapanthus)  bought these from Daylily Nursery at the
Nashville Lawn & Garden Show many years ago.  They bloom with a couple of
umbels of amazing sky blue flowers, but the plants are only a couple of feet
tall.  I grow them in a 20 inch pot and have them beside my front porch.
Above - Nematanthys jolyanus variant (I have the name written down
somewhere) - order the seed for this plant several years ago from Mauro
Peixoto, it took a couple of years to become large enought to bloom.  It goes
through a bloom cycle for 3 months and then growth for a couple of months.  It
looks like
N. tessmanni in pictures, but side by side they don't look that much
alike.  The blooms on this have a maroon calyx and striping on the bloom that
matches.  Medium sized and easy to grow.
Above - Saintpaulia confusa 'Mathers', the blooms are blue, it has stayed relatively small for me, about the same size as my semi-miniatures.  I bought this little beauty at the 2016
Tennessee Gesneriad Show and S. ionanatha, put them on wicks and they grow very well.  I also have about 20 semi-miniatures on wicks, that for the most part do well.
©Brad Walker, January 1, 2018
Above - Sinningia 'Rebecca Margarita' ('Iris Walker x 'Cherry Delight') One of my hybrids, easy to
grow, stays very compact, root easily and fully double.  Named after a dear friend of mine.
Above - Asclepias 'Hello Yellow' I have this lovely plant  growing about 4 feet
from the wild orange form, together they are breathtaking.  It blooms about 2
weeks earlier than the wild
Asclepias tuberosa, with a bright yellow that is
extremely eyecatching.
Above - Columnea 'ABG' seedling - Carol Ann brought this back from the Atlanta Botanical Gardens (ABG) while volunteering there, she had it in one of our show at Cheekwood  
several years ago and gave me a piece.  It has become one of my favorite
columneas, this year it has covered itself in tiny blooms, sometimes as many as a hundred orange blooms
from bright burgundy red calyxes that match the color on the bottom side of the leaves.  You have to be below this plant to really enjoy the show.  It grows easily and sets seed that are
fertile and produce seedling identical to the plant, but alas nothing close to an identity.  I grow it in a ten inch hanging basket, it has developed about a 5 foot spread.
Above - Codonanthe devosiana ? - Bought this at a Tennessee Gesneriad Society
checking all the references I could find suggest it is devosiana, but will never be sure.  It
is a beautiful little plant that trails and has abundant little white flowers blushed with
CAbove - Codonanthe devosiana devosiana at work and other than . ? - Bought this at

Above - Nematanthus 'Champagne Crim' second blooming in 4 years.  This is a large plant, the small one here is
about 3 feet across and a baby.  One of the reasons I need a larger greenhouse The blooms are about 2.5 inches
in length on a long calyx as you can see in the second picture.  I have several of the larger
nematanthus, but have
to keep them trimmed back so close, they won't bloom..
Above - Sinningia Noid - this pretty plant is a noid, probably has at least eumorpha,
conspicua, one of the semi-miniatures and possibly several other species growing on
the benches during the summer.  It stays very compact, the flower is compressed like
conspicua and has a light scent of lemons during the evening.  The purple could be
coming from
Above -  Beardtongue - Penstemon species - one of the natives plants
from up the road.  It seeds itself around the yard and I just move them or
give them away.  People are always surprised that we have plants this
beautiful growing on  the side of the road.
Above - Drymonia uninerva is a large plant with thick stems and has small white flowers that appear on the
stems.  When I got this plant it was only stems that were firm and with a greenish tint, imagine my surprise
when it bloomed before it started putting on leaves.  The plant itself is actually quite eye-catching more for
its imposing stature than the bloom.  Apparently, the plants produce copious amounts of nectar as I
couldn't keep the ants of the blooms.  It was given to me by Carol Ann Bonner.
December 30, 2017
Site is being renovated - being updated weekly until finished.
2017 has been a hard year for me, lost my mother and work has increased dramatically.  Also constructing a new
15 foot by 15 foot greenhouse, so my hanging baskets have more headroom and adding a couple of larger
aquariums.  As of today, December 30, 2017 I have the frame covered in plastic, wood stove and working on the
roof, hoping to move plants next weekend.
Above - 14703 (sinningia hirsuta x bragae {was sp. 'Ibitioca']) The hybrid that shocked me horribly, when the seedlings
came up they looked like
hirsuta, so I didn't pay a lot of attention to them. A year or two later I was potting some misc.
seedling cups out to make space and planted these and moved them to the greenhouse.  Imagine my surprise when they
took off, quickly lengthening theirs leaves and losing some of the hairiness, then the incredible purple blooms, just total
shock.  I have had a couple of these wonderful surprises over the years, but this was definitely the best.  There are 3
identical seedlings with no variance that is noticeable and they stay compact (in a 2.5 inch pot).
Above - Achimenes flava - bright yellow
little species achimenes,  
Above -Balloon Flower (Platycodon) -  This is an interesting version of
the old fashioned balloon flower, about 3.5 to 4 feet tall  with bright
white flowers that blue fantasy markings, the blooms are about 4
inches across.  The parent plants are in my front yard, a deep blue
and a snow white about 3 feet tall each.  This seedling was the only
one with the fantasy markings and the only one I kept.  
Above - Epiphyllium 'Grand Empress' or 'German Empress' the name seems interchangeable.  One of my new obsessions, the orchid cactus, large blooms in many different colors.  So far
I have limited myself to only 5 different plants, but when they bloom I want more!!
Above - Achimenes 'Camille Brozzoni'  - this achimenes will literally
smother itself in small lavender blooms.  I bought this one in 2016 at the
Tennessee Gesneriad Show.  I planted a couple of pots this year and
they are amazing plants that everyone should be growing, easy, colorful,
and bright.
Above - Achimenes antirrhina - one of the species with long bright red and yellow/orange blooms.  
Easy to grow.
Above - Huernia zebrina - bought this little plant at the 2015 lawn and garden show in Nashville, TN.  I have since
bought 4 other different members of the family.  Cool little plants that take up little space with interesting growth
and ease of care, blooms sparingly, but when it does, you will notice!
Above - Black Swallowtail on lantana 'Miss Huff' - I plant the lantanas for the butterflies and bees and because they smell wonderful.  I like to grow many plants that have ornamental value,
but also smell good, bronze fennel being one, turns out that it is also one of the alternat food sources for Black Swallowtails and for the last two years I have had caterpillars that changed
to butterflies!  In the second picture is one of the early forms, it later changes to the green form in the next picture ending with the chrysalis in the last picture on my miniature geranium.
Above - The bees also get into the act, I have bees all over the yard , starting in early spring all the way
through fall.  I don't swat or bother them and they leave me alone as well.  The only thing they do that
bothers me is they cut holes in the top of my
seemannia and achimene blooms to get to the nectar.
Above - Spigelia marilandica - Indian Pink - Showstopper, period.  One of the most beautiful plants you can grow.  It has
medium dark leaves with red upright flowers that open to bright yellow stars.  These are wildflowers here, this clump actually
had spread from the woods into the yard, were it has become a large patch about 4 feet across.  People have finally started
noticing them and several nurseries are carrying the.
Above - Calycanthus floridus - 'Sweet Bubby' - native
shrub related to magnolias.  It  grows to about 8 feet
and in the spring will cover itself with these small
flowers that smell wonderful.
Above - Achimenes 'India' - Large flat faced achimenes with a deep,
rich blue.  It is a good dependable variety.
Top - Columnea 'Aladinn's Flame' pollen parent -deep red trailing plant
with dark foliage.  Lost this plant to a cold spell a couple of years ago.
upright foliage and narrow leaves.  The shape of the bloom and netting
on the bloom came from this plant, also more upright growth pattern.
Above - Moss Rose (Portulaca) - one of the seed
mixes, I really enjoy these little plants again.  They

years, but give great color and are heat and
drought tolerant.  They also come in a striking
range of colors.
Above - Aeschynanthus grown from a cutting.  As we were cleaning the
room at Cheekwood after a Tennessee Gesneriad Society show,  I saw
some stems in the trash can and took them, they turned out to be this
plant and A.'Big Apple'.  I think this is A. 'Fireworks', but can't be sure, it
was in the show that year.
Above - Nematanthus nervosa? labeled by the original grower as 'Black
Magic'.  Pretty plant that makes a nice basket, dark leaves and pendant
blooms that are pink with an orange yellow tip.  Grows rapidly and blooms
Above -  Eucodonia andrieuxii 'Cathy' - I have grown this little plant for several
years, grows in the same conditions as the achimenes.  It stays smaller with little
bright purple and white flowers.  Easy to grow and reproduces rhizomes like
Above -  White Bergamot - Monarda sp. - another native, grows in the
woods on my property.  Smells of pineapple, only about a foot tall, with a
loose spreading habit.  I have two patches in the yard and love them.

Adiantum beautiful little fern that can take dry spells and high temperatures like a champ.