The Leaflet
~ April 2022 ~
Did you know...
There seems to be a tradition amongst gardeners that you should never say "thank you" when receiving cuttings or plants. The superstition holds that a plant will die if you thank the giving party. Some die-hard traditional gardeners still hold to this tradition and politely say something like, "I'll take care of it for you until it blooms." The less traditional gardeners believe that it is an old wives' tale best forgotten. What do you say?
Thank you to...
Master Rosarian Ron Daniels, president of Nashville Rose Society, Cheekwood Rose Education Garden, and Belmont Mansion Rose Garden who visited the March meeting of Robertson County Master Gardener
Association to present "Secrets to Growing Beautiful Roses." His vast knowledge was so appreciated by our members, as were the numerous door prizes he donated!
Thank you, Ron! 
Perennial Plant Sale
by Kathy Doss
It was Christmas in April! That's how the Perennial Plant Society of Middle Tennessee's annual plant sale felt.
I was motivated to attend the plant sale by a desire to renew my flower garden. I have 3 beautiful oak trees on the east side of my yard that are flourishing, but as they spread their limbs the diminishing sunlight has meant a lackluster show of blooms for many of my perennials. I needed some flowers that require less sun.
The Perennial Plant Society's annual plant sale looked like an opportune way to transition my full-sun garden to a partial-shade garden. I did my homework. First, I found a copy of plants to be sold and used it to make a shopping list. Next, I talked to friends who had attended the sale in prior years and learned that the plants sell very quickly.
The weather forecast predicted 35 degrees the morning of the plant sale. This didn't dissuade me from planning to be there an hour before opening. I pulled my long underwear and puffer jacket out of summer storage and arose bright and early.
When I arrived at the Nashville Fairgrounds at 7:50 AM, there were already many people in line. The anticipation was palpable. There was a Plant Society volunteer handing out entry forms for a raffle. Another volunteer handed out boxes to be used while shopping, though many people had brought wagons to fill with plants. A third volunteer gave me a package of Hibiscus seeds. I was offered advice for planting the seeds by the folks standing around me in line. There was no shortage of conversation which made the time pass very quickly. At 9:00 AM the doors opened to cheers.
I went directly to the shade perennials, all arranged in alphabetical order. I picked up two Astilbe plants, a Helleborus and a Heucheras. These plants were one gallon size, looked extremely healthy and were $10 each. There was a “holding area” set up in the event you filled your box with plants and wanted to do more shopping. There was also a plant pick-up so that you didn't have to carry plants to your car. I procured all the plants on my list and headed to check out.
As I was leaving, I saw Nola Hastings and her husband leaving the sale. Nola's eyes were big as she said, “There is a frenzy in there!” She was right.
The experience reminded me of the old school “Black Friday” shopping trips at Christmastime. It's not a place for browsing, but with a little planning it can be productive and fun.
April is Native Plant Month
by Stacey Haag
In 2021, a rare unanimous vote by the U.S. Senate approved Resolution 109, declaring April to be National Native Plant Month. Coinciding with Washington's Native Plant Appreciation Month, the resolution brought to a national audience the importance of native plants within our ecosystems, especially amid the threats of climate change.

Native plants are indigenous species that occur naturally in a particular region, ecosystem, and habitat. They provide food and shelter for local wildlife populations, supporting the biodiversity that is critical for any ecosystem to thrive. Many Tennessee native plants are perfect for your own backyard. Integrating them into your landscape not only adds to the beauty of your yard while supporting wildlife, but celebrates the natural heritage of Tennessee.
Here are some popular Tennessee native plants to consider incorporating into your landscape:

  • Aster
  • Bee Balm
  • Lemon Mint
  • Northern Sea Oats
  • Sunburst
  • Sweet White Trillium
  • Virginia Bluebell
  • Wild Columbine
  • Winterberry
  • Woodland Phlox
To discover more species native to your area, use National Wildlife Federation's Native Plant Finder tool here.

The following photos are some examples of native wildflowers I photographed in early April while hiking at Bledsoe's Fort Historical Park in Castalian Springs and Winding Stairs Park in Lafayette.
Profiles in Gardening... Jeff Bayer
Many years ago, Holly and I purchased a beautiful 5 acre parcel in a small town on the northwest peninsula of Washington state. Holly heard about this little town on HGTV (back when they had gardening and lifestyle programming). The town is called Sequim (pronounced “skwim”), and is an indigenous word meaning quiet waters. We dreamed of building our forever home on our 5 acres and becoming gentle-person lavender farmers. The soil was rich and loamy due to its previous life as grazing land for dairy cows. The property is located very close to the Dungeness Bay and spit. We took a 15 minute drive and an hour ferry ride from Port Angeles to Victoria, British Columbia. We were thrilled and excited.
Being a California native, I was spoiled with mountains for skiing and oceans for surfing. I told Holly I needed one or the other and Sequim filled both of my requirements. Holly is a native of Michigan and grew up in Lansing. Holly and her siblings’ heritage comes from Tazewell, Tennessee where her grandfather was a tobacco farmer. Holly’s dad went to the University of Michigan and that’s where he met the love of his life, Lillian. When Holly’s parents passed, her siblings (5) and she inherited a small farm. Holly used to tell me stories of going to the farm and all the fun she had as a little girl, mostly riding and driving the tractor with her granddad.
For almost 17 years Holly and I tried to get our home built in Washington, but the builders were accustomed to wealthy Californians who had the same idea as us. The problem was Holly and I aren’t wealthy- we couldn’t just write a check to get the home built and the builders didn’t seem to either believe or understand the concept of building on a budget. In December of 2018 we came to the sad realization Sequim probably wasn’t going to come to fruition. I told Holly we still had options and we should start looking elsewhere. Since she had told me about Tennessee so many times, I suggested we begin by looking here. Holly found a REALTOR online and this young lady turned out to be a godsend. She listened to what Holly and I wanted and began working. We traveled to Tennessee at the end of the year and when we got here we called the REALTOR and let her know we arrived. She suggested we take a day or two to look around to see if we could figure out where we wanted to live. We went from Murfreesboro to Christiana and Leipers Fork to Cedar Hill, initially looking for land to build on. While we were exploring, we were driving on beautiful two-lane country roads with clear running streams and creeks. It reminded me of many places I’d been to in the High Sierras and where I grew up in the San Gabriel Valley (yes, it used to be farmland). I said to Holly we should seriously look for someplace here.
Long story short, Holly and I moved from the desert southwest, close to Palm Springs, California (where we had become tired of the desert and California in general). Developers were buying up farmland and building cookie-cutter homes. It seems the farmers could make more money selling their land for millions instead of fighting the elements in farming. Sound familiar?

Our REALTOR found our home in Greenbrier and we basically ran through it because she had a list of homes for us to see. Initially, we tried to buy a home in Cedar Hill but the sellers didn’t want to negotiate, so we told our REALTOR to put in an offer on Abagail Way in Greenbrier. The home had just completed construction, the builder was very accommodating, and it met both Holly’s and my criteria. It has a French country feel to it and sits on 5 acres. We arrived at our new home in early July 2019.

I built 2 large planting beds so Holly could have a flower garden for cutting and decoration. She raised Dalias, Big Duck Marigolds, and Cosmos. We also planted 3 Lilacs, 3 Arbor Vitae, a lavender plant, and bought and are using a steel livestock watering tub to grow more Cosmos. Then we built a small raised bed garden so we could grow tomatoes and other groceries using organic compost from Southland Nurseries (a very moo-ving experience).
We weren’t very successful our first year. We battled soldier worms and squash beetles and lost the battle. We ended up having to throw about 8 pounds of tomatoes away, enjoyed some squash (for a while), then overnight the squash succumbed to the beetles. This year, we’re putting in a flower bed and transplanting a crape myrtle tree next to the main entry and in front of our dining room window.

We joined the Robertson County Master Gardener program in order to meet new people, learn about things to grow here, and potentially make new friends. We learned a lot from Jeff Smith, even though the classes were on Zoom (and the videos helped out, too). I ordered and received a Chip Drop and we’re going to build more raised beds and use the hog wire I’ve harvested off the south end of our property. If anyone needs some wood chips, please feel free to get in touch and we’ll help out. We have more than enough. We also planted a peach tree last year, 2 peaches made it and they were delicious! This year we planted a honeycrisp apple tree and are looking to plant more trees soon.

We’re looking forward to this year by volunteering to help the association, getting to know everyone better, learning to help others, and having a great growing season with better success (and less insects).

Thanks for reading,
Jeff Bayer

PS- Thank you for sending the pumpkin seeds!
Cheekwood in Bloom
photos by Stacey Haag
Proud Plant Parent
Plant: Zamioculcas (aka ZZ Plant)

Parent: Lisa Majors

What's to love: You can't kill it! 
Well, you could, but it's very hard to do --
a little love and a little water goes a long way
with a ZZ!
What is your favorite plant?
Send a photo and description to to be featured in a future issue of The Leaflet.

The Rain, A Haiku
by Annie Castelino
The pitter patter
Sound of the heavenly rain
Raises novel hope
Artists' Corner
Many would argue that nature is perhaps the greatest work of art. In turn, much of the art created by humans is inspired by nature. Here, in the Artists' Corner, art from our talented Master Gardeners will be featured in future issues of The Leaflet. Maybe you're a talented sculptor or painter, or perhaps you doodled a graphite veggie harvest in the margin of your notebook while on a Zoom call. Maybe you created a colorful mosaic birdbath for your garden, or painted a mural on your garden fence. No matter the kind of nature-inspired art you've created, email a picture of it with a short description to to be included in a future issue of The Leaflet.
Squash beetles gotcha down? Peter Rabbit and his friends stealing your veggies? Deer-proof varieties seeming more like deer-approved varieties?

If so, doodle your dilemma and share your strife, here, in the Artists' Corner.

Cartoon drawing by Stacey Haag
If you’re reading this and not yet a Robertson County Master Gardener, watch for information regarding our upcoming fall class.

If you’d like to recertify, please contact Robertson County Extension Agent Jeff Smith at 615-384-7936 to get started. We’d love to welcome you back!

Current members and interns, please remember to submit your 2022 membership dues. Please bring $20/person or $30/couple to our next meeting. If you’re unable to make the meeting, a check may be made out to Robertson County Master Gardener Association and mailed to: Larry Lee, Treasurer, 1098 Paradise Drive, Greenbrier, TN 37073.
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Contact Us
Karen House
(615) 419-5249
Vice President:
Shawn Herman
(615) 948-4376
Claudelle Lyall
(615) 760-6955
Larry Lee
Extension Agent:
Jeff Smith
(615) 384-7936

Instagram Administrator:
Jeannie Moll
(615) 752-6746
Julee Orr
(615) 838-5772
Facebook Administrators:
Ann Rausch
(615) 305-2598
Shawn Herman
(615) 948-4376
The Leaflet Editor:
Stacey Haag
(615) 389-4663
Robertson County Master Gardener Association