The Leaflet

~ April 2023 ~

This has been a busy month for RCMGA. We continue to work on the demonstration garden at Highland Rim. We removed large amounts of “weeds” and mulched the beds. The arbors are nearly complete, and the vegetable garden should be taking shape soon. The blueberry bushes are looking good and are abuzz with bees.

We had our first Spring Seminar on Earth Day, April 22, and it was a success! A big thanks to the volunteers, speakers, and Rob Ellis and the crew at Highland Rim. I have a feeling this will be the first of many seminars and events hosted by RCMGA at Highland Rim.

Our next big event is our annual plant sale. It is May 13 at the UT Extension office in downtown Springfield. The plants in the greenhouse are looking great, and the volunteers tending to them will have them ready in time. I have my eye on a few plants I need. I also have some work cut out for me to make my seedlings look as good as those. 

Be sure to follow us on Facebook for events if you currently aren’t. I hope to see you at the plant sale.

There is always thyme for gardening!

Shawn Herman, President



April 27, 2023

7:00 p.m.

(Social time:

6:30-7:00 p.m.)

Highland Rim Research and EduCenter



By Faith Farm


Lori Brickhead


 The Robertson County Master Gardener Association meets the fourth Thursday of every month

RCMGA Inaugural Spring Seminar: A Success!

by Nola Hastings

On Saturday, April 22 the Robertson County Master Gardener Association celebrated Earth Day by hosting their inaugural Spring Seminar with three wonderful presentations. Nearly 30 participants came out to learn about Tennessee native plants, beekeeping, and vegetable gardening.

Paul Prill of Wild Ones Middle Tennessee shared his extensive knowledge of Tennessee native plants and explained that native plants are low maintenance and beneficial to the environment, providing habitat and food for pollinators such as bees, birds and butterflies.

Danny Bowman of the Robertson County Beekeepers Association continued the theme of the importance of pollinators. It was fascinating to learn about the process of beekeeping and honey production.

Bob Ary gave an excellent introduction to vegetable gardening, including the importance of site selection, soil testing, amendments, and knowing when to plant. An important takeaway, “be patient”!

At the conclusion of the event, interested participants visited the RCMGA demonstration garden.

What attendees had to say...

“I left inspired to explore native plants!”


“Beekeeping topic was wonderful!”


“Excellent information about vegetable gardening!”

Hydrangeas 101

by Stacey Haag

On a cool, gray Saturday morning in early April, my family and I attended a Walk & Talk at Baker Arboretum in Bowling Green, KY with Horticulturist Dennis Williams. The talk focused on hydrangea cultivation; however, we also enjoyed many other plants that were already blooming for spring. Fellow Master Gardener Dawn Chen also made the drive north and joined us at the event.

As we leisurely strolled the grounds, Dennis spoke about the general care of hydrangeas in the home garden. He discussed the six main types found in North American gardens -- bigleaf, panicle, smooth, oakleaf, mountain, and climbing -- as he guided us through the arboretum, pointing out dormant examples of each.

He spoke about their general preference for well-drained but moist soil. He advised us to be selective when choosing a fertilizer for hydrangeas so as to benefit the blooms as well as the greenery. He recommended a super or triple phosphate fertilizer applied no more than a couple of times each year. When it comes to pruning, make sure you know which kind of hydrangea you have in your landscape as some types bloom on old growth while others bloom on new.

Of particular interest to our group was an impressive climbing hydrangea that is planted along a stone wall behind the Downing Museum (also located within the arboretum). The Hydrangea anomala "petiolaris" was planted over 20 years ago and has thrived in this location as a slow-but-steady grower. Dennis mentioned that he also planted this variety at his home to climb his chimney, noting that it doesn't damage the mortar as many other climbers can.

If you find yourself in Bowling Green this summer, take a short break from your day's plans and pay this hidden gem a visit. See how many hydrangea species you can find while you enjoy the welcoming oasis that is Baker Arboretum and Downing Museum.

Thank you to Certified Master Gardener Dawn Chen for her presentation on Chinese gardens during our March meeting. To learn more about the Classical Gardnes of Suzhou, a Unesco World Heritage Site, click here.

Wildflower Hikes

by Stacey Haag

My family is a hiking family. We hike year-round, but our April hikes are all about Tennessee wildflowers! Here are some of my favorite finds from this month's hikes...

Upcoming Events

May 13: RCMGA Annual Plant Sale

Springfield, TN

July 12 - 15: National Children & Youth Garden Symposium

Knoxville, TN


Contact Us



Shawn Herman

(615) 948-4376

[email protected]


Vice President:

Nola Hastings

(714) 296-2740

[email protected]



Holly Brooks

(760) 861-4833

[email protected]



Sandy Williams

(615) 969-7656

[email protected]


Master Gardener Coordinator:

Bob Ary

(615) 384-7936

[email protected]

Instagram Administrator:

Kathy Doss

(615) 636-5410

[email protected]



Julee Orr

(615) 838-5772

[email protected]


Facebook Administrator:

Shawn Herman

(615) 948-4376

[email protected]


The Leaflet Editor:

Stacey Haag

(615) 389-4663

[email protected]

Robertson County Master Gardener Association
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