Master Gardener and Intern Profiles

Enjoy reading about our "Native Plants and Transplants",  each one brings a love of learning,

community spirit and expertise to the Master Gardener Program.  


medium_Jerry-Lamb.web.jpg Jerry Lamb - born in Paragould, Arkansas and raised in El Paso,Texas, Jerry is the Director and Extension Agent for Agriculture Programs in Rhea county.  With a BS in agriculture from New Mexico State University and a MS in Agriculture from Arkansas State University, he has been employed with the University of Tennessee Extension since 1992 working in Claiborne, Humphryes and Rhea counties.  In 2001 Jerry started the Master Gardener Program here in Rhea county and currently teaches Master Gardener classes not only in Rhea county, but Hamilton, Bradley and Roane counties as well.


medium_ThomasGreenlee.JPGThomas Greenlee - Thomas hails from Rutledge, Tennessee and is the Master Gardener Coordinator for Rhea County.  Growing up on a commercial vegetable and livestock farm in upper East Tennessee, Thomas brings a different perspective to the MG program.  After receiving his Bachelors Degree from the University of Tennessee he moved to Rhea County to work with the UT/TSU Extension.  His position covers all facets of home horticulture and gardening activities as well as all 4-H Livestock programs.

medium_Kelly D. Grant web.jpgKelly Grant -  was born and raised in Spring City, TN and moved to Dayton in 1994 when she married her husband Darryl. They have a daughter, Katelyn, who is (soon to be) 18 years old and is a senior in high school. Kelly has worked for UT Extension for 21 years and received her Certified Administrative Professional certification in 1998.


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Diane Bolt - was born in Aurora, Illinois and grew up in Warrenville until 1999 when she moved with her father to Grandview, Tennessee.  Diane has 2 sisters that live with their families in Hew Hampshire and Virginia. In her younger days she loved to travel and has visited many countries around the world.  Diane is retired and enjoying her free time with gardening projects.  The challenges of growing in Tennessee soil led Diane to the Master Gardener Program.  She has learned to grow roses, and reuse last years zinnia seeds and likes to grow azaleas. 

Larry and Angela Bryant - Larry was born and raised in Chattanooga and graduated from Red Bank High School in 1973.  In 1977 Larry received his BS in Mechanical Engineering and worked and retired from TVA in 2007.  Working mostly in the nuclear field with 20 plus years at Sequoyah and Watts Barr he and his wife Angie found time to raise 6 children and now have 8 grandchildren.  Angie has a real love of plants and Larry loves to garden, so the Master Gardener Program was a natural fit for them. 

RCMG 027_0.JPGJohn Kueck - John Kueck is a retired engineer living in Spring City.  John grew up in Texas, Colorado, Indiana and Ohio before starting his first job in Chicago.  John began gardening in Connecticut after a friend gave him a copy of “Crockett’s Victory Garden” at his going away party in Chicago.  This is still one of his favorite books.   After Connecticut, John lived in Raleigh, NC for 10 years before moving to Oak Ridge, and lived in Oak Ridge for 10 years and Kingston for 10 years before moving to Spring City.  John’s best garden was in Kingston: it was on top of a hill with dawn to dusk sun and the soil was excellent.   Vegetable crops were awesome in this garden.  The garden now in Spring City has only 8 hours of sun and is in beds on a slope which presents challenges.  Another friend recommended the Master Gardeners.  John hopes to gradually transform his lot in Spring City into a very small orchard, with flower and vegetable gardens.


Karen Winters.JPGKaren Winters - born in Ft. Smith, Arkansas and living in about 20 different places all over the country mostly in the south and west with time spent in Venezuela and Spain, Karen has followed her husband on his travels working in the power plant industry. Having worked in many fields Karen went back to nursing school after her children were in school and continued in that field until the move to Tennessee.  Here in her own words Karen talks about her experience with gardening: "My dad was a lifelong avid gardener.  When you grow up on fresh fruit and vegetables it’s difficult to be satisfied with the grocery store variety.  I tried my first garden a few years after I was married in the abandoned horse pasture of our rented house and have been unsuccessfully trying to repeat those initial abundant results.  I first heard about Master Gardeners in Dallas, Texas from a British ex-pat who raved about both the excellent teaching she received and the abundance of free gardening possibilities in the U.S.  In England she paid a yearly rent for her garden plot and if wasn't’t used the next person waiting would take it.  After raising a family and then 15 years of gardening in pots in Texas, I was thrilled to come to Tennessee and meet Jerry Lamb at the county fair.  At that time I still assumed that we had dirt instead of various sizes of marbles glued together with concrete.  But I add a few feet every year to my raised beds and am becoming proficient with a pick when I can’t resist buying a tree.   I’ve made jam for many years and freeze and can garden produce when it’s available.  I’ve had some success with the apple tree grafting and learned countless tips for a more successful home garden from the Master Gardener program." 


our garden01b_0.jpgPennie Hendrick - born in Washington DC and having lived in Maryland, Virginia, Italy, and the Panama Canal Zone, Pennie moved to Tennessee in October of 2011 after 40 years in the Atlanta Metro area. Ballet has been a part of her life since the age of 3, encompassing a professional career with the Atlanta Ballet and over 40 years teaching students from the ages of 2 to 62.  Pennie and her husband Jim did some flower gardening in Atlanta which turned to more flowers and the addition of vegetables on their farm, Greyt Acres here in Dayton. Diving head first into farm life Pennie and Jim raise Alpine Dairy Goats, Bourbon Red, Royal Palm and Chocolate Turkeys, Guineas, Chickens and Peafowl, along with their Guardians Jenny and Ted the donkeys and Guardian llama Boo!  Retired racing greyhounds, whippets and Italian Greyhounds are another passion they share and have a total of 13 fur kids.  Pennie is an advocate of "Adopt Don't Shop" and for spay/neuter the family pet. While not a native of Tennessee, Pennie has roots in Dayton through her dad, Col.(ret) Carl M. Abel, dating back to the late 1700's when the Abel family first settled in the area.


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Edwin Starring - "Eddie" was born in Paris, Tennessee and in his own words: "Growing up as a kid my Grandmother and all 3 of her sisters were gardeners. I had to be careful playing in their yards so as not to step on any flowers or break any bushes, and they knew them all by name. When I got old enough to mow the grass, Grandmother would follow me around the yard naming every flower and to make sure I didn't mow any of them down. I helped my Father and Grandfather plant and work in the garden as far back as I can remember. My very first job was to drop potatoes.  I remember the first summer I spent a couple of weeks with my Grandparents on the mountain at Grandview. I woke up the first morning smelling bacon cooking. Looking out the window I could see that it was still dark outside. I went down stairs to see what was going on. Sure enough she was cooking a big breakfast. I said it's still dark outside. She replied it will start getting light by the time you get through eating. Well she was right. After breakfast Grandfather headed out the back door with the hoe over his shoulder heading to the garden.

        My Dad and I went hunting and fishing every chance we could. I've probably eat a million squirrels in my lifetime. We did a lot of fishing in Watts Bar Lake plus we had 2 farm ponds that were very productive with bass, bluegill and shell cracker.
        We had cattle for many years. It was a job building fence, keeping fence rows cleaned out and repairing old fence. There was cutting hay and stacking it in the barn twice a year, then feeding them every day during the winter. I guess that's why yard work is my specialty. I like being outdoors.
         I graduated from Rockwood High School in 1971. I went on to Middle Tenn. State University majoring in Biology and Earth Science (with an emphasis in Geology).
         On August 15, 1977 I started working for TVA in their SGPO Program, (Student Generating Plant Operators). The training program was at Colbert Fossil Plant in Tuscumbia, Alabama. After completing my training I transferred to Bull Run Fossil Plant in Oak Ridge, Tn. where I completed my Unit Operators training. After 3 years at Bull Run, I transferred to Paradise Fossil Plant in Muhlenberg County, Kentucky for 3 years. In the Fall of 1985 I transferred to Kingston Fossil Plant in Kingston, Tn. I retired at Kingston in October 2013 as a Shift Operations Supervisor. Burning coal for 36 years and working swing shift was long enough, less said.
         Now I can go back to the good old days. My skills include gardening, growing tropical plants, mowing, weed eating, pruning and running the chainsaw when needed. Also, I am very fond of our native plants."    


Bill and Debbie Ward - Married for 43 years, Bill was born in Huntington, West Virginia and Debbie in Cincinnati, Ohio and have lived in Tennessee since 2007.  After years of living in the north and facing the challenges of gardening in Tennessee, they decided to look for help to meet those challenges.  Gardening is something they enjoy doing together and feel that the MGP opens a whole new adventure... growing old together while growing trees and plants. 

Marlene and Jim Didlake - Marlene is a "native plant " from Spring City, while husband Jim comes from Crystal Springs, Mississippi.  Recently retired and facing the challenges of landscaping a new home, Marlene and Jim joined the MGP.  Their interests extend to growing their own food, including fruits and berries and to pass on that ability to the next generation.

Amanda Norman - born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma and grew up in North Carolina with parents that did not garden.  Interested in growing more of her own food and becoming a better gardener led her to enroll in the Master Gardener program   Amanda and her husband purchased a 40 acre farm in Spring City about 5 years ago and have horses, dogs and chickens.  Amanda is also excited to meet more people from the community with similar interests.

Cheryl Brooks - Born in Battle Creek, Michigan, Cheryl has been a wife for 35 years, a mother of 2 and a grandmother.  She is a farmer and a registered nurse and has always been interested in all outside activities and loves being creative and helpful to others.

John and Linda Blevins - John hails from Evensville, Tennessee and Linda from Newark, New Jersey and are the parents of a blended family of seven.  John born in 1941 to a farming family grew up  learning about row crops, planting, harvesting and trees.  He graduated from Tennessee Tech in 1963 with a degree in Industrial Management and worked in Supervisory jobs after his military service and retired from TVA, Watts Bar Nuclear Plant in 1999.  He has worked with his wife Linda for many years on her Garden Club projects as well as their home garden.  His interests lie in different methods of improving gardens, lawns and trees.  Linda has been a nurse since 1970 and has just semi-retired from Rhea Medical Center. She has been a member of the 4 Seasons Garden Club since 1980 and is especially interested in container gardening and miniature fairy gardens.  Linda is also interested in raising tomatoes in containers and raised bed vegetable gardening.  At Rhea Medical Center she spear-headed the large courtyard landscaping and plantings and continues to help with the upkeep. 

Carol Ann Barron - born in Dearborn, Michigan Carol Ann is an attorney and has been practicing in Rhea County for 21 years.  "I love to be out in nature - it balances the stress!"  On vacation she loves to read British romance novels as they always have the most beautifully described grounds and gardens. Carol Ann would love to learn how to create lovely grounds and a beautiful English Garden here in Rhea County. 

Marty Gibson - was born and raised in Chattanooga, Tennessee and has been a teacher in Hamilton County for 39 years. Marty is the Science Olympiad coach at her school and she teaches students before school on topics such as "Backyard Botany" and "Save Our Earth".  She became a gardener when she and her husband purchased 12 acres in Soddy Daisy and her favorite crop is blueberries.  After her husband passed away in 2014 Marty decided to join the Master Gardener Program.  She wants to teach women and girls that they can grow their own food!

RCMG 029.JPGKris and Judy Bancroft - Kris hails from Chattanooga and Judy from Lawrence, Michigan.  Both Kris and Judy retired from professional life in 2008 with Kris taking on occasional consulting work.  Kris's career highlights include: seismology, geology (petroleum exploration, coal and non-ferrous metals mining), engineering, environmental remediation, occupational safety & health, and counter-terrorism.  Judy's career highlights include public health and psychiatric nursing.  Kris now enjoys welding and blacksmithing, writing, gardening, current events, woodworking, music, auto mechanics, travel and reading.  Judy enjoys gardening, observing nature, reading, canning and food preservation, travel and music. 
Janet Collier - Janet was born and raised in Huntsville, Alabama and graduated from University of Alabama in Huntsville, with a Mechanical Engineering degree.  She worked for TVA in Nuclear Power for 30 years and retired in 2008.  Janet moved to Spring City, Tennessee in 1992 and lives on Watts Bar lake and loves to spend time just cruising on the water.  She has a large yard with numerous shrubs, flowers and trees and hopes the MG program will help her to expand her knowledge on plants to help make her gardens lush and beautiful! 
Harry Jones - born in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida Harry moved to the Dayton area 10 years ago.  The Master Gardener program was a means for him to expand on his knowledge of vegetable gardening and gardening in general.  Especially with the challenges the Tennessee soil presents compared to Florida gardening! 
Margaret Peggy Harrison - was born in Ft. oBenning, Georgia and learned to garden from her grandmother.  She loves to grow herbs, especially perennials.  The MG program is a means to help her expand her knowledge of gardening and farming to improve her thriving herb business.  Peggy has worked as on LPN, phlebotomist and apartment manager and dabbled on the side with gardening and dehydration of herbs and vegetables.  She fell in love with the beauty, quietness and peacefulness of gardening. 
Larry Harrison - was born in San Diego, California, the son of a Naval Officer who was a veteran of 3 wars.  He has worked as an air conditioning contractor for 35 years.  His interest in the MG program is a means to a more profitable farm.  Obviously Larry and Peggy are married and maybe one day we can find out how they met! 




Linda Booker Wade Bowman Karen Clark
Sue Holland Leisa Logsdon Imogene Pendleton
Lynne Kyle Susan McKinnon Sheila Ray
Caren Ruffner Debbie Shaver Marilyn Smith
John Sting Phyllis Thurman Georgina Torres
Shannon Van Breda Sue Ann Walker Faith Young
Barry Aslinger Kris and Judy Bancroft James and Teresa Evans
Elizabeth Gryder Lisa Lambeth Karen Massengale
Dan and Diana Pace Doug and Lynda McDaniel Bruce and Dianne Pfeiffer
Sam Rusbridge Mary Ester Shannon Patricia Vincent


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