Become a Rockbridge Area Master Gardener!

Love plants? Want to learn more about gardening? Are you frustrated that your vegetable garden never seems to be productive enough? Or that your landscaping looks a little haphazard? Want to learn, share, and help your community?

The Rockbridge Area Master Gardeners are offering a new class starting mid-January 2017. Anyone with an interest in gardening and a desire to volunteer is encouraged to apply. Check out for an application and more information. The deadline for applying is January 15th. Master Gardeners are volunteer educators with the Virginia Cooperative Extension Service under the auspices of Virginia Tech.

The classes are online with a series of ten ‘hands-on’ labs, several of them at Boxerwood (and I am teaching a couple of them). Students have up to six months to complete the independent study modules, quizzes, and final project. Instructors include Extension Agents, Horticulture Professionals, veteran Master Gardeners, as well as specialists from VT. The final requirement is 50 hours of volunteer service in Master Gardener projects within one year of completing the theory part of the course. Rockbridge Area Master Gardener membership has weekday, evening, and Saturday projects, providing extensive volunteer opportunities.

It’s likely you have noticed some of the local Master Gardener projects here in Rockbridge, probably the most visible being the annual plant sale, pictured below.

Please feel free to contact me: with any questions about the program. I have been an active Master Gardener for years.


Happy Holidays, everyone! You’ll hear from me again next month. Please let me know if there are any topics you would like me to cover in future issues of this newsletter.


Holiday Gift Ideas…
Here are some ideas for your favorite gardener:

I love my hand weeder from AM Leonard ( It has a short 12″ wooden handle with an angled 5″ forged steel blade. It is always in my tool bucket. And it also comes in a left-handed version! Do you know how difficult it is to find left-handed tools? So whether your gift recipient is left- (fellow left-handers unite!) or right-handed, this would be a treasured gift.

Felco pruners make a great gift. A pair of Felco #2 pruners in a belt holster is the sign of a serious gardener. I like the #6, meant for smaller hands, but I also have a pair of #9s for a lefty.

Your gardener will also appreciate a tub trug. You can never have too many of them. They are available from many sources – just do a google source. The trugs are lighweight, easy to carry, and a perfect repository for that giant pile of weeds.

A good pair of loppers is essential. We use the AM Leonard loppers here at Boxerwood, but right now I am coveting a ratchet-type pair of loppers from a new source,

Some other quick suggestions: a good rain gauge, a leather pruner holster, an outdoor thermometer, sturdy well-made pruning fork (a good one will set you back $60-$80, but will last a lifetime and then some). Atlas nitrile gloves are my favorite and make great stocking stuffers.

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