Master Gardeners are here to help

By Page H. Gifford

Anyone planning a garden or thinking about landscaping their home, particularly newcomers to the area, needs to be grounded with the facts before putting one plant in the ground. Fluvanna Master Gardeners Sue Tepper and Rich Buccia have some advice for first-time gardeners in the Piedmont of Virginia. They are dedicated volunteers who work with the Virginia Cooperative Extension in Fluvanna, promoting sustainable and environmentally friendly horticulture practices.

Tepper said the first thing any gardener should do is get their soil tested. For anything to grow the soil has to be amended. Soil kits are available at the Fluvanna County Library or the Virginia Cooperative Extension at 5725 James Madison Hwy in Fork Union or by calling 434-591-1950.

Second, garden with deer in mind.

“You will be co-existing and gardening with deer for the foreseeable future,” she said. Tepper understands that having a low-maintenance garden that blooms year around is a challenge in an area, particularly a rural area, with a high deer population. “There is no universal solution that exists but extra steps are required to protect gardens from deer damage.” She explained that understanding the deer and their feeding habits helps plan landscapes and gardens. “Deer are adaptive and selective feeders and feed on the forest edge and browse the undergrowth.”

With shrinking habitats, modern subdivisions, particularly in rural areas like Fluvanna, bordering the woods, create the ideal mixed salad for deer, with ornamental shrubs, lawns, and plants. She adds deer management strategies can include deer-resistant plants, commercial repellents, scaring devices, deer fencing, or a combination of all these strategies.

Once you have conquered the soil and made peace with the deer, next, comes choosing plants and Tepper and Buccia suggest selecting native plants for the best results. The Master Gardeners will have its  annual plant sale on April 29, 9-11:30 a.m. at the Lake Monticello Turkey Sag entrance Park and Ride lot. Annuals, perennials, native plants, and vegetable plants will be available. All proceeds from the sale go towards youth scholarships and projects at Pleasant Grove.

For more help, volunteers are always at the Horticulture Help Desk at the Fluvanna County Public Library, 2-5 p.m. every Tuesday from April through October.

Master Gardeners not only are environmental educators, but they are also local Fluvanna growers, they also promote youth environmental programs and fund youth scholarships and contribute to ongoing projects at Pleasant Grove such as the butterfly garden.

For more information about plants, plant care, or how to become a Master Gardener, visit

Related Posts

dewi88 cuanslot dragon77 cuan138 enterslots rajacuan megahoki88 ajaib88 warung168 fit188 pusatwin pusatwin slot tambang88 mahkota88 slot99 emas138