The Leaflet

~ December 2023 ~

As I write this, we are in the shortest (darkest) day of the year. Winter is just starting, and no snow is in the forecast for Christmas. However, thankfully, a winter freeze isn’t forecasted either! Some plants really took a beating from last year’s freeze. I hope your damaged landscape was able to repair itself over the last year. If not, I hope you found some new plants to help make your surroundings bright.

Once we pass the Winter Solstice and days slowly get longer and longer, I start thinking of the possibilities of the new year. Yes, we will probably get some snow in January, but that doesn’t dampen my spirits. It’s just frozen rain. It will slowly percolate into the soil and help bring life in the coming months.

As I look out my front window and see birds on the feeders I start thinking, what else can I plant that can feed the birds? The goldfinches snatch all my coneflower seed as soon as it is ready. The promising flowers on my holly only produced a few berries. Now I have my first project for the new year. Finding another plant for my landscape that will feed the birds.

See you all next year!

There is always thyme for gardening!

Shawn Herman, President




We wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!


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


South Central Growers' Poinsettia Open House

photos by Karen House

The Gardener's Gift of the Magi

by Kathy Doss

In the quaint town of Bloomsfield, there lived a couple who were deeply in-love, Lily and Bud Greenfield. Both were ardent gardeners, finding solace and joy among the blossoms and the soil. However, as was the case for many in their small community, times were tough, and their dreams of expanding their garden seemed distant.

Bud, a carpenter, devoted countless hours to fashioning a beautiful trellis made of oak salvaged from discarded pallets. He envisioned the rare heirloom “Alchemist” rose climbing his handcrafted trellis.

Illustration 1: By Nadiatalent - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

Lily, a passionate botanist, cultivated a diverse array of flowers, but dreamed of owning the elusive “Ghost“ orchid. Native to the Florida Everglades, the ghost orchid thrives in a humid environment. Bloomsfield was located in a dry climate, but Lily felt she could provide the plant with the necessary environmental conditions in her small greenhouse.

Illustration 2: Mick Fournier / HBI Producers of Fine Orchids [1], CC BY 2.5 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

As the holidays drew near, Lily and Bud yearned to find the perfect gifts for each other. Bud decided to sell his exquisitely crafted trellis. He used the proceeds to purchase roots of the ghost orchid from Lily, aware of Bud's desire for the rare heirloom rose, took the step of selling her greenhouse on Facebook Marketplace. With the funds acquired, she procured the coveted Alchemist rose for Bud.

On Christmas Day, as they unwrapped their gifts, a blend of joy and sorrow played across their faces, marking the onset of a bittersweet realization. Lily's orchid no longer had the proper environment to flourish. Bud's beautiful heirloom rosebush had no trellis to climb. Yet, neither was disappointed with their gift. They realized that each of them had sacrificed their own desires for the happiness of the other. The true gift was not the rosebush or the orchid but the love and selflessness they shared.

Spring unfolded, and their garden became a sight to behold. The Alchemist rose, nurtured by Bud's tender care, climbed a rustic trellis made from tree branches. Its blooms unfolded as the delicate petals gradually revealed the hidden beauty within. The Ghost Orchid, also, flourished in a tiny cold frame built from old windows scavenged from a demolition site.

As they worked side-by-side, their laughter mingling with the buzzing of bees and the rustling of leaves, a deep contentment filled their hearts. The garden bloomed more beautifully than any they had planted before. It was a reminder that the best gifts come from the heart, nurtured by love, sacrifice, and the joy of giving, not wrapped in fancy paper or tied with a ribbon.

Upcoming Events

January 12 - 14: Antiques & Garden Show of Nashville

Music City Center, Nashville

March 16: Tennessee Tree Day

Robertson County UT Extension Office, Springfield


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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