Volunteer Gardener Host Jeff Poppen

Jeff Poppen

Jeff says his parents loved growing plants on their Illinois farm, and he credits them for his passion for growing. He’s made his living growing the best organic vegetables he can. Jeff acknowledges he has learned through experience over four decades. He is also an avid student of old-time farming methods, the way folks grew stuff before all of the chemicals in farming. He is compelled to try and shorten the learning curve for other gardeners. Jeff adds, “My wish is that my love for growing organically inspires others.”

Volunteer Gardener Host Annette Shrader

Annette Shrader

Born and raised on a farm, I’ve always appreciated the smell and feel of fresh earth. When we purchased our home 35 years ago, it had some land, but not a single flower. I began the process of plotting and planning garden beds and borders, and have not stopped. Looking out at this mature landscape, it gives me a sense of accomplishment here in my own botanical garden. On her producer role with Volunteer Gardener, Annette says “These are treasured experiences. The passion that people have for their gardens sends me home feeling refreshed, and challenged.

Volunteer Gardener Host Troy B. Marden

Troy B. Marden

Troy is a passionate plantsman, garden writer and tour guide, leading garden tours across America and around the world. He writes regularly for some of the country’s top gardening magazines, and his blog, Gardener|Cook, has become popular with plant lovers and food lovers alike. He has been gardening since he was four years old and if it has to do with plants or gardening, he has probably grown it or done it at some point in his career!

Volunteer Gardener Host Tammy Algood

Tammy Algood

Tammy Algood  —   Tammy has loved to garden and cook her whole life. She wanted to spend as much time as possible with her Grandmother who gardened and cooked, so she learned at her knee. Tammy is a marketing specialist with the Tennessee Department of Agriculture. She has written numerous cookbooks, including Farm Fresh Southern Cooking and The Southern Slow Cooker Bible. “Being a host on Volunteer Gardener allows me to meld both of my passions into one activity…cooking from my garden.”

Volunteer Gardener Host Sheri Gramer

Sheri Gramer

Sheri is a gardener, artist, designer, as well as owner of the specialty shop Yarrow Acres in Franklin, TN. What began as a hobby in Michigan became a ‘Main Street’ business for her in Middle Tennessee. Her passion for herbs and flowers is obvious when visiting fellow growers on Volunteer Gardener. “From growing to harvesting, there are endless ways to create, craft, cook and live with flowers and herbs.”

Volunteer Gardener Host Phillipe Chadwick

Phillipe Chadwick

Phillipe Chadwick received a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture from Mississippi State University in 2006. He has worked as a Landscape Architect and managed civic designs for the city of Franklin, TN. He also designed and installed annual and perennial gardens at Cheekwood Botanical Gardens. He currently owns his own landscape maintenance and floral design company.

Volunteer Gardener Host Julie Berbiglia

Julie Berbiglia

Julie is Metro Water Services’ Education Specialist. She is happiest when mucking about in the soil. She revels in community gardening projects, frugal gardening practices, organic growing methods, and clever solutions to landscape challenges.

Volunteer Gardener Host Matt Kerske

Matt Kerske

Matt is co-owner of Gardens of Babylon, a landscape company and garden center operating at the Nashville Farmers Market. Matt’s passion for inspiring and educating his community toward a greener way of living is never-ending, along with excitement for everything botanical.

Volunteer Gardener Host Marty DeHart

Marty DeHart

Marty’s lifelong passion for plants has led her to a long and varied career in horticulture: she’s been a professional grower of gloxinias and African violets as well as perennials, a native plant propagator, a landscaper and landscape designer. She deeply enjoys learning constantly and sharing what she learns about plants, particularly information and techniques that can produce thriving plants and green-thumbed gardeners.

Volunteer Gardener Host April Moore

April Moore

April grew up roaming the hills of Tennessee and has always had a love of nature, especially flowering plants, shrubs and trees. Though the plants she grew up with are nearest and dearest to her heart, she also loves history, art and travel and has visited many gardens and parks in other parts of the world. Her favorite souvenir from those journeys has always been bringing back new ideas to try out in her own garden in Tennessee.

Rita Venable

Rita Venable is a writer, speaker, photographer and consultant specializing in pollinators and native plant gardening. She is the author of Butterflies Of Tennessee (Maywood Publishing). Rita has written for literary publications, newspapers, and magazines. She was editor of Butterfly Gardener, a publication of the North American Butterfly Association. While serving as assistant biologist with the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, Rita conducted butterfly surveys in state parks and natural areas. As a part of the Volunteer Gardener team, Rita wants to connect people, plants and pollinators—especially through home and community gardens in urban and suburban settings throughout Tennessee.