The Leaflet
~ May 2022 ~
Annual Plant Sale Success
by Becky Juanes
Our plant sale was a great success! We raised $2,268.00 for our ongoing projects within the community!

Thank you to all of the members who were there, doing whatever was needed, even in the cold and breezy conditions. And thank you to all of the members who, for the last few months, have been working behind the scenes to provide the many and varied plants that were available for happy shoppers to purchase.

We will have plants at the 1st Friday Markets and other events throughout the summer, so please keep this in mind as you thin out or rearrange your gardens this season. As gardeners, we are always looking ahead and planning for next year. If you want to help coordinate future sales, let me know and we can plan it out. Thanks again and happy gardening!
Plant Native Plants, Practice Benign Neglect
by Jessica Damiano,
Master Gardener and Associated Press Journalist
Picture this: You step into your garden, and the beds are brimming with flowers that thrive on benign neglect.

You seldom need to water them, and they don’t require much in the way of fertilizer, either. What’s more, you feel like Snow White as birds, bees and butterflies congregate around you, eating seeds and gathering pollen.
Photo by Tn Nursery
It feels like a dream, but it doesn’t have to be. If your idea of the perfect garden includes abundant plants that do well with little human intervention, while attracting and supporting all manner of pollinators, you can make it real by planting native plants.

The first step is to lure pollinators, which are necessary for the production of flowers, fruits and vegetables. The best way to attract them is by using plants that support them.
Our native insects and birds evolved alongside our native plants, so they naturally recognize them as food. Non-native species — exotic plants from Asia, Africa, South America and Europe and, to some degree, from distant regions of the United States — are simply not recognized as food sources by native pollinators. Planting them creates food deserts for native bees, birds, bats, butterflies, moths and beetles, all of which are necessary for a healthy ecosystem.

Doug Tallamy, a professor of entomology at the University of Delaware and author of “Bringing Nature Home: How You Can Sustain Wildlife with Native Plants” (Timber Press, 2007), found that non-native plant species disrupt the food chain, which can lead to a collapse of the ecosystem.

“Plant choice matters,” he said. “The plants we choose to landscape our properties (with) should be determined by how much life can live there.”

If you think about it, our lives depend entirely on insects: Without them, we would have no flowering plants, which would dismantle the food web that supports vital animals. Birds, for instance, depend on plants for food and disperse their seeds while keeping the populations of harmful insects in check.

Insects support plants that provide oxygen, clean our water, capture carbon and add it to the soil to enrich it. That builds topsoil and prevents flooding. Without them, the biosphere — the living portion of the earth, which includes soil — would rot, due to the loss of insect decomposers, and humans simply couldn’t survive that, Tallamy says.

In addition to providing food and habitat for insects and other wildlife, native plants are perfectly acclimated to growing in your region — so they don’t require much maintenance.

That means less watering, less fertilizing, less fussing. They’ve been doing quite nicely growing wild by the side of the road, thank you, and will do the same in your backyard.
The good news is we get to decide what we plant in our own gardens. So let’s resolve to plant more natives. Start your journey with help from the following resources:

Lady Bird Johnson Wildlife Center ( Select your state, growing conditions and desired plant attributes, and view database results of appropriate native plants.

The Biota of North America Program ( Click on your state, and the search will generate a list of native plants, which can be drilled down to the county level.

The Xerces Society ( View and print out state fact sheets of recommended native plants that are attractive to pollinators and suited for small-scale plantings such as in home gardens.

Audubon Native Plants Database ( Enter your zip code to view a list of the best native plants to attract specific birds in your area.

Your county’s cooperative extension office also should be able to point you in the right direction.
A Delightful Amish and Mennonite Shopping Day
by Claudelle Lyall
I can recommend a lovely day for my fellow Master Gardeners which combines beautiful drives, great plant shopping opportunities, yummy food, and a historic soda shop.
Start the day at Sunshine Gardens in Oak Grove, KY at 2938 Miller’s Mill Road. It’s located in the middle of Amish country, and most often there is a horse and buggy parked there. Across the road, they still plow the fields with draft horses. The prices are good, plants healthy, and so many creative floral gift ideas. I love it there!

Save room in the car for more plants because we’re not nearly finished shopping. Next, have lunch at an amazing Mennonite deli, Dutch Kuntry at 223 Vaughns Grove Fairview Road in Pembroke, KY. I always pick up some extra lunchmeats and other groceries while waiting for my sandwich to be created. They load it with meat and extras!

After lunching, continue east on Hwy 68 to The Country Barn Garden and Farm Market at 112 Britmart Road in Elkton. It’s near the huge monument for Jefferson Davis, which would also be interesting to visit. This is a must-see nursery, store, and pizzeria. It is very large and has so much variety. I bought some adorable plants for my fairy garden there as well, as a house plant. They also have garden art and many plant gift ideas.
Next, my favorite and most authentic Mennonite nursery, Wood Corner Greenhouse at 199 David Hightower N Road in Elkton. This is a family-run nursery right on their farm. The kids wait on you and carry your purchases to your vehicle. The boys always wear overalls and hats (sometimes barefooted) and the girls are willing to jump in and help. Usually laundry is hanging on the line. It’s just like being invited to the farm! Lloyd is the owner and I believe they also raise miniature horses. We get our large planters there every year. This year they have gone up to $42.00, but they are huge and full of plants. In the fall they sell lots of mums.

The grand finale for your adventure is to head on into downtown Elkton. Cross Hwy 68 from Wood Corner Greenhouse and take Main to the square. On the Public Square, around the courthouse, is L & R Soda Bar, next to the pharmacy. A historic soda fountain, you feel like you are eating in the 1960s. Their chili is delicious and service is friendly and fun. Make sure to get a milkshake made the old fashioned way!

Head back home on the beautiful backroads through Guthrie and Adams. This is such a fun getaway day that I hope all of you will try sometime.
Profiles in Gardening... Rich Latané
(closely rhymes with "matinee")
My wife and I recently retired and moved here from the suburbs of Chicago (where we had a vegetable garden and blueberry bushes) to escape frigid and snowy winters, be closer to family, have more time to improve our gardening skills, and perform volunteer services in the community and beyond.

My mother got me started with gardening when she designated me to start a small garden by the side of our garage. I became duly infected with the gardening bug. I have had various but limited experience working with figs, avocado, loquats, citrus, cherimoya, and sapote in California. I am interested in growing fruits and vegetables, as well as ornamentals, with pomegranates and figs perhaps being my favorites right now. I have planted 6 fig trees, 3 pomegranates, as well as blueberries and blackberries since moving here in November 2020. I am hoping in the next few years that I will be able to enjoy the fruits of my labors.
I believe that life started in a Garden, so gardening becomes a nice way to keep in touch with the past and the future for me. Ecc 3:2b NKJV “A time to plant, And a time to pluck what is planted, (do I hear Byrds?) Mic 4:4 NKJV “everyone shall sit under his vine and under his fig tree, And no one shall make them afraid; For the mouth of the LORD of hosts has spoken.”

I enjoy the health benefits of manual labor involved with gardening, as well as eating and sharing the fresh produce that comes from the garden. Not to forget that gardening can be conducive to contemplation and reflection as well. It conjures up images of pastoral settings, communal living, and utopian societies fresh from the pages of Mother Earth News. Peace and Love, y'all.

Being part of RCMGA has great benefits, providing for the sharing of the varied experiences and resources with other gardeners. I enjoy public speaking, teaching, and singing (most often in church). I am up for helping out, however best I can with RCMGA.
Spring Blooms Show Off in...
Stacey Haag's pollinator garden...
and Ms. Dorothy's garden...
and Sandy Williams' garden!
You're invited to...
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:
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(615) 948-4376
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(615) 384-7936

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Robertson County Master Gardener Association