Advanced Master Gardener
Dr. White has been instrumental in the development of the Victory Vegetable Gardens at the Master Gardener’s Display Gardens. Every year, he allows the Master Gardeners to erect a temporary greenhouse close to his personal greenhouse for the maturing of some of the plants that will be sold at our Plant Sale in May. He inherited his love for gardening from his mother, Bronze MG Ruth Ann Bartleheim. He and his mother donated a bench in the Shade Gardens in the MG Display Gardens in memory of his grandmother.
His greenhouse was purchased from “Charley’s Greenhouses” http://www.charleysgreenhouse.com/. It is made of Lexan and measures 12’ x 20’. He purchased it as a kit and with a friend, erected it together after the concrete floor was poured. The concrete floor helps in retention of heat through the winter. On the way to the greenhouse we passed his individual vegetable gardens in raised beds. He rotates the crops every year but has a 4’x 8’ asparagus bed that he’s looking for shoots to show any day. He uses the Bokashi compost method for his beds. This was new information for me; here is one link I found for learning about this method of composting, http://www.bokashicompostinghq.com.
The greenhouse housed a huge Staghorn fern; Chamomile; an Olive tree, Key Lime: Golden Nugget Mandarin Orange; Meyer Lemon; Ruby Red Grapefruit; Aloe; Yerba Mate (equivalent of a tea, caffeine replacement); Oleander; Patio Blueberry; Black Bamboo; Fig Tree; and overwintering of annuals. The small fruit trees in his greenhouse actually bear fruit and he noted that the Ruby Red Grapefruit actually had one grapefruit on it last year that was larger than the plant itself. His Angel Trumpet entices him to visit his greenhouse at night, since that is the time of day when the wonderful fragrance is released. He has a small pink Christmas Cactus that is a start off of a 100-yr old plant that he divided for a friend.
Presently, plants for the AAS garden at the Display Gardens have begun to grow in time for them to be transplanted when the soil warms. He is growing Zinnias, Vincas and Gaillardias. He has many varieties of medicinal herbs, one that is used for impotence – Bowiea Volbilis. This brought a laugh because he grows many medicinal herbs as a hobby ~ a great conversation plant!
Outside in his gardens, he grows additional medicinal herbs: Digitalis; Hyssop; White Sage; Castor plants; Oregano; Primrose; Willow which is used to make aspirin; and Henbane which actually made him ill once when he was pulling up additional plants without wearing gloves.
Dr. White and his wife have lived on their large property for seven years. It has a beautiful lake that is fully stocked with Bass, Catfish, Blue Gill, and Crappie. A fountain in the middle of the lake keeps the water circulated. Many trees certainly make his home secluded in the months the trees have blossomed and leafed out. He has Pecan; Hickory; Walnut; Paw Paws; Cherry; Peach; Almond tree which he will be able to harvest at maturity, and a Plum tree. This is the time of the year that he will be spraying his Apple trees with dormant oil.
He has just completed the bee house behind his greenhouse and his shipment of his first colony is scheduled to be received the first of April. This will be a new adventure for him and one of his sons is looking forward to helping him with the bees. His youngest son also likes to garden with his dad.
I’m sure his property is a beautiful place to visit after the dreariness of winter. It was fun just visiting and hearing of the different types of plants and experiences he has had with them.
Interviewed by Belinda Dillback, Web Assistant.