These are your mother’s

Columbine, bee balm, aster … if the plant names Hildy Ellis spoke Friday evening sound familiar, they may be in your garden already or, as with me, they may have been in your mother’s and grandmother’s gardens, too. Ellis spoke at Gibbs Library about why plants native to our area are especially suited to benefit not only our gardens and landscapes, but also the creatures who inhabit the space. Native plants, shrubs and trees have the character and chemistry to be hardy, suit the soil conditions, and be more resistant to disease. Their seeds and flowers are food and drink for local species. In addition, they host the kinds of insects that are energy food for seasonal and resident birds.

Ellis, a plant scientist with Knox Lincoln Soil and Water Conservation District, made a suggestion listeners especially liked: Don’t rake up all the yard debris. She suggested leaving some for wild creatures to use for shelter and nest-building. Ellis’ KLSWCD has free information and names the Wild Seed Project ( and the National Wildlife site ( as good resources. A great read available at our library is “Bringing Nature Home,” by Douglas Tallany. Native plants will be on sale at the KLSWCD event May 4 and 5 at Union Fairgrounds. Sharon Turner sells many of these plants at her Crystal Lake Farm & Nursery on Young’s Hill Road here in town. The well attended program was co-sponsored by Gibbs Library and Washington Lakes Watershed Association. Many thanks to them and to all who attended.

Farming couple at Evening Star

A pair of young farmers have brought their hopes and ambitions to an old farm place in Washington and will be talking about their experience at Evening Star Grange Monday, April 15. This is a public meeting with a potluck supper at 6 p.m. and introductions to the guest speakers, Conor Gareau and Alexis MacDonald, of Bo Lait Dairy Farm, at 7 p.m. In 2014, Conor and Alexis purchased the farm owned by Ethel and Elden Bartlett since 1954. They had decided they would choose dairy farming, but state they were naïve about how labor-intensive it is and how steep the learning curve.

Still, they are succeeding and will informally tell us about it at Monday’s get-together. This special public meeting is in honor of National Grange Month. The Grange has organizations in more than 2,000 communities in the United States. Evening Star Grange quietly conducts a number of ongoing community service projects and always stands ready to open their heart and hall for special needs. The National Grange advocates to Congress for rural infrastructure repair, improved broadband service to rural areas, and disaster aid for farmers and ranchers affected by hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, wildfires and other causes. Many thanks to Evening Star for this opportunity to meet Conor and Alexis, and congratulations to them during their special month.

Students enthused by teacher of the year

The 15th Annual Student Art Show is on display at Gibbs Library through May 7. Student exhibitors are Prescott Memorial School students whose art teacher, Anthony Lufkin, is the 2018 Knox County Teacher of the Year. Lufkin serves not only Prescott Memorial, but also Friendship Village School, Union Elementary School and Rivers Alternative Middle School.

He enjoys helping students express and develop their ideas through art. This year the student work has hints of several artists' styles and cultural art forms. Lufkin’s wish, he said, is to have more time with his students. The exhibit is fun and interesting and students will be proud to have us all see their display during library hours all this month. Please take a few minutes to browse their show.

Pre-K enrollment underway

Washington children who will be 4 or 5 years old on or before Oct. 15 are eligible for pre-kindergarten or kindergarten for the school year 2019-2020. These youngsters should be enrolled now. Parents or guardians must contact Mrs. Ledger, administrative assistant, at the Prescott Memorial School office at 845-2424 to start the enrollment process.

Blueberry Fields changes gears

Maple Weekend at Blueberry Fields seemed bigger and better than ever. Last Sunday, aided by their two sons who came “from away” to help, Deb and Cyd Zeigler served 119 pancake breakfasts! There was lots of activity, with visits to the sugar shack, checking out the tapped trees and munching maple-topped ice cream. With spring at Blueberry Fields comes the transition to summer mode.

There are only two dinners remaining this season. Saturday, April 20, from 5 to 7 p.m., the menu is seafood lasagna or prime rib. Dessert choices are lemon layer cake or cheesecake. The cost for a meal is $35. Sunday Brunches will continue until Mother’s Day, with the exceptions of April 14 and April 28. The last dinner of the season will be Saturday, May 11, the evening before Mother’s Day. Reservations are required for dinners. For more information, call 446-2407 or email:

Easter Egg hunt

Evening Star Grange has scheduled its annual Easter Egg hunt for Saturday, April 20. This is a great activity for Washington youngsters. Make a note of it. There will be details nest week.