By Amber Jenkins
Sometimes, the grass literally is greener on the other side of the fence but it doesn’t get that way without hard work and dedication. In early spring Bartlett residents can be spotted kneeling down in their yards digging up fresh earth to turn up something wonderful in their landscaping. If you haven’t yet succeeded in attaining that green thumb some people seem to have been born with, don’t fret; there is hope for you yet.
The Bartlett City Beautiful Commission is sponsoring a series of classes this winter geared toward gardening and planting. The commission’s Gardening University classes encourage those who are interested in planting and maintaining a garden to attend and learn various techniques that are useful to both the advanced and beginner gardener.
The next class in the series will be held on Saturday, Jan. 19 in the Bartlett Station Municipal Center. The focus will be on planting trees and maintaining the “urban forest” we have surrounding the city. Jim Volgas, a Master Gardener and Certified Arborist, will be teaching the course.
“If you have a tree in your yard, you’re part of the urban forest,” Volgas said. “I like to teach people how to care for the trees we already have, helping them to live longer.”
Volgas, a retired IBM employee, said he teaches tree planting as a hobby. He is a member of the Memphis Area Master Gardeners Association as well as the Tennessee Urban Forestry Council, based out of Nashville. Volgas will discuss problems associated with urban trees such as power lines, and the importance of safety when pruning and trimming trees.
Tom Rieman, current secretary for the Bartlett City Beautiful Commission, said these courses will give people an opportunity to learn how to be proactive and hit the ground running for the spring planting season.
“In our southern climate we can grow pretty much year-round,” Rieman said. “There are cool season crops too, and vegetables shouldn’t only be planted in spring or summer.”
Carl Wayne Hardeman is scheduled to speak about vegetable gardening for the series in February. Hardeman, a local resident, found that his passion for gardening could also benefit others so he co-founded the Collierville Victory Garden. Last season the garden harvested a crop of over 6,000 pounds of vegetables which were later donated to local food banks and residents in need.
“The Good Book says ‘The giver has the joy’,” Hardeman said of his charitable efforts.
His lecture will instruct gardeners on how to create the proper soil to grow a successful garden. Hardeman said if you’re in good health, have a piece of ground and some leaves and grass clippings, you can raise your own garden.
The final installment of the series will be held in March and will discuss shade gardening. Betty Llewellyn, a fellow master gardener, will help Memphians learn to successfully shade their yards, granting them some relief from the scorching summer heat.
The Bartlett City Beautiful Commission aims to encourage residents to maintain and beautify their properties. According to Rieman, well-maintained yards help reduce crime and increase property values. The commission holds a monthly meeting on the first Thursday of the month at 7:30 p.m. in the Bartlett Station Municipal Center and it is open to the public.
The Bartlett Station Municipal Center is located at 5868 Stage Road, and all Gardening University classes will be held in Community Room B. For a complete list of details and class times, go to the Government tab on the Bartlett city web site at www.cityofbartlett.org.