The Leaflet

~ June 2023 ~

This spring has been fairly cool, but this month has been running hot with activities.

It was great seeing everyone at June's 1st Friday Night Market in Springfield. We met some new friends and got to visit with old ones.

The next day, we freshened up the landscaping around the Greenbrier Historical Society Library & Museum. Some of the shrubs were damaged from the Christmas freeze, so we removed the dead wood and shaped them up.

Then, we started preparing the demonstration garden for visitors. We opened the garden to the Seeds of Hope Tour of Gardens (6/17) and are a presenter at Tobacco, Beef, and More (6/29). We weeded the garden, planted some crops, and installed irrigation. The blueberries are also looking great, with new plants taking hold and the rows being weeded regularly. Thanks to everyone who pitched in. This is definitely a group effort, and the garden looks great.

Finally, we will have a booth at Trash & Treasures in Cross Plains 6/23-6/24, another great event to get out and meet the community. Stop by and check out our booth. We will be glad to help answer any questions you have on garden! 

There is always thyme for gardening!

Shawn Herman, President



June 22, 2023

7:00 p.m.

(Social time:

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

Highland Rim Research and EduCenter



Ron Daniels


Container Gardening


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

The Three Sisters Garden

by Kathy Doss

Once upon a time there were three sisters who lived together in a field. One sister dressed in green and was so young she could only crawl. The second wore a frock of bright yellow and loved to run away by herself. The third sister stood straight and tall above the other two, had long yellow hair and wore a green shawl. The three sisters loved one another deeply and took care of each other. One day, an Iroquois boy came to the field to play. The three sisters were very interested in the child. Soon after, the youngest sister disappeared from the field. A few days later, the second sister also disappeared. The Iroquois child returned to the field and heard the third sister crying because she missed her siblings. The little boy took the tall sister to his home where she found both her sisters living with the boy and his family. From that day forward the three sisters kept the family dinner pot full.

This is an abridged version of an Iroquois legend. The story is an allegory representing the gardens grown by the Iroquois.  The three sisters represent corn, beans, and squash. Just as the sisters cared for each other, these three vegetables, when planted together, nurture one other. Beans take nitrogen from the air and convert it to a form that can be absorbed by the plants. The corn supports the beans by allowing them to wind around its stalk. In return, the beans give the corn stability by holding the stalk in place. Squash plants shade the soil keeping it cool and moist while providing weed suppression. The squash also offers some protection for the corn from hungry varmints.

While the three sisters gardening method has not been rigorously tested, there is an ongoing study at Iowa State University. After just one year, the researchers found that the soil of the three sisters garden showed higher levels of nitrogen and a higher carbon to nitrogen ratio when compared to gardens that grew the three plants separately. Said another way, the three sisters garden, after only one year, was shown to have more fertile soil. Unfortunately, in August of the first year of the study, a severe wind storm destroyed the Iowa State gardens and the researchers were not able to measure produce yields.

Another study which compared a three sisters garden to a monoculture (a single crop in a given area) was conducted at the University of Wisconsin in 2006. These researchers found the three sisters garden had fewer weeds and less damage to the corn caused by adverse weather or raccoons. The study found the three sisters garden had a higher produce yield in calories per acre, but found no difference in the amount of produce yielded per plant.

More research is needed in order to definitively say that the three sisters method is the better planting method. However, enough data has been collected to pique my interest. The prospect of fewer weeds was enough reason for me to try it. So I did.

Master Gardener Stacey Haag recently presented a program on Tennessee Smart Yards at Byrum-Porter Senior Center in Orlinda.

Tennessee Smart Yards is a University of Tennessee Extension-led program. It guides Tennesseans on practices they can apply in their outdoor spaces to create healthier, more ecologically-sound landscapes and communities. Nine principles of stewardship serve as the foundation for the program.

You don’t have to be an expert gardener or landscaper to create a Tennessee Smart Yard. All it takes is a willingness to learn and a desire to take actions described in the TNSY Workbook. Maintaining a Tennessee Smart Yard provides natural functionality for homeowners through working with nature for the benefit of both. Learn more about how to make your yard a Smart Yard here.


From the Garden!

Blueberry Biscuits

by Dorothy Briggs


  • 2 cups (about 8 1/2 oz.) all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 cup (4 oz.) cold unsalted butter, cubed
  • 4 oz. cold cream cheese, cubed
  • 1 cup (about 5 oz.) fresh blueberries
  • 1/2 cup, plus 4 Tbsp. cold whole buttermilk, divided
  • 2 Tbsp. turbinado sugar


1.  Prepare pan: 

Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.

Whisk together flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda in a large bowl.

2.  Make dough: 

Using a pastry cutter or 2 forks, cut butter and cream cheese into flour mixture until mixture is crumbly and pea-sized bits of butter and cream cheese are evenly distributed throughout.

3.  Add blueberries: 

Using a rubber spatula, stir blueberries and 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons of the buttermilk into flour mixture until a loose dough forms.

4.  Press out dough: 

Turn out dough onto a lightly floured work surface.

Shape dough into a 1-inch-thick disk (about 8 inches in diameter).

5.  Cut the biscuits: 

Using a 2-inch round cookie cutter, cut out biscuits from dough. Gently rework dough scraps back into a 1-inch-thick disk, and repeat process to yield 10 biscuits total.

6.  Chill the biscuits: 

Arrange biscuits 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheet.

Cover biscuits with plastic wrap, and place in refrigerator until fully chilled, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 425°F.

7.  Top biscuits with buttermilk and sugar: 

Brush tops of chilled biscuits with remaining 2 tablespoons buttermilk.

Sprinkle evenly with turbinado sugar.

8.  Bake biscuits: 

Bake in preheated oven until biscuits are golden brown, 15 to 18 minutes. Remove from oven; let cool 5 minutes.

Upcoming Events

June 23 - 24: Trash & Treasures

Cross Plains, 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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