Sage Hill Gardens

The Magical Month of May

May is the month that makes us stop and catch our breath. Explosion after explosion of greening, budding, and flowering. I am reminded over and over of how often it rains during months of spring here in our little valley.

I take note of all the female flowers on fruit trees and Mother’s Day comes to mind (I trust yours was the best)… isn’t it awesome how these kinds of moments just find their own timing.

Some joyful rites of May in many parts of the country and especially the mountains and Appalachian Regions are the wild herbs, plants, and trees that suddenly come to life.

Wild geranium is one of those that are truly native-the Geranium maculatum.

Do you know…those pretty potted red and pink geraniums that we bring home from the local nursery are not really geraniums at all …but members of the Pelargonium genus. Cranesbill is another name for the Wild geranium. They were one of the most sought after medicinal plants in our great and grandparents day.

Wild mustard and a close relative - Yellow Rocket - will literally cover fields for miles in some places. I love the Yellow Rocket tossed into a salad. It is also known as Winter Cress.

Dogwood, beautiful whites and pinks dot any woodland/forest terrain and have become common place in home landscapes. Before the days of commercial toothpaste, many people pounded the dried inner bark into a cleansing and healing tooth powder. They also used the small branches to make tooth brushes by fraying the ends of small twigs to brush like status…the taste is sweet and very pleasant. (Yes I have tried it)

Sage Hill Gardens - are looking very good considering we have had way too much rain. Vegetable plants are growing and hopefully the production will be abundant.

Herbs are already being cut and dried for blending of Seasonings and Teas.
Remember that Fresh cut herbs are available from now until November.

On site classes are now a regular offering at Sage Hill Gardens.

Subject matter consists of: Raised Bed Gardening, GMO's In Our Food, Eating In Season.

Group and private classes are available.

***A U.S. federal appeals court has blocked the use of the pesticide sulfoxaflor over concerns about its effect on honeybees.

"Initial studies showed sulfoxaflor was highly toxic to honeybees, and the U.S. Environmental Protection agency (EPA) was required to get further test," (Judge Mary Schroeder) " Given the precariousness of bee populations, leaving the EPA's registration of sulfoxaflor in place risk more potential environmental harm than vacating it."

The product sold in the U.S. as Transform or Closer, must be pulled from the store shelves by October 18........

Paul Towers, a spokesperson for the nonprofit advocacy group Pesticide Action Network, comments, " This is a (an example of) the classic pesticide industry shell game. As more science underscores the harms of a pesticide, they shift to newer, less studied products, and it takes regulators years to catch up."

Soon, Farmers markets, road side stands, and open farm sales will be available to us for fruits and vegetables. I am an advocate for eating locally and in season. This is proven to be a much healthier way to eat all around…that being said…we have a new issue to deal with in today’s choices. The GMO issue…know that it doesn’t matter how local and how fresh something is, if it is grown from GMO seed, it isn’t what you want…ask the farmer you are dealing with how he grows, suggest he switch from standard seeds to organic/heirloom if he wants your trade.

Demand controls supply, we know this. Let’s make it work inside the food markets.


In genetic modification (or engineering) of food plants, scientists remove one or more genes from the DNA of another organism, such as a bacterium, virus, animal, or plant and “recombine” them into the DNA of the plant they want to alter. By adding these new genes, genetic engineers hope the plant will express the traits associated with the genes. For example, genetic engineers have transferred genes from a bacterium known as Bacillus thuringiensis or Bt into the DNA of corn. Bt genes express a protein that kills insects, and transferring the genes allows the corn to produce its own pesticide. Genetic modification/engineering is a potentially dangerous technology. One of the main problems with genetic engineering is that the process of inserting genes into the DNA of a food plant is random; scientists have no idea where the genes go. This can disrupt the functioning of other genes and create novel proteins that have never been in the food supply and could create toxins and allergens in foods. Genetic modification is a radical technology Supporters of genetic modification say that the technology is simply an extension of traditional plant breeding.

The reality is that genetic engineering is radically different. Traditional plant breeders work with plants of the same or related species to create new plant varieties. Genetic engineers break down nature’s genetic barriers by allowing transfers of genes from bacteria, viruses, and even animals—with unforeseen consequences. Genetic modification is based on an obsolete scientific theory Genetic modification is based on a theory called the Central Dogma, which asserts that one gene will express one protein. However, scientists working with the United States National Human Genome Research Institute discovered that this wasn’t true, that genes operate in a complex network in ways that are not fully understood. This finding undermines the entire basis for genetic engineering.***

Do you know...?

97% of water in the world is undrinkable.
There are more chickens in the world than people.
Butterflies taste with their feet.
Only 11% of the land mass in the world is used to grow food.

Happy spring and Safe gardening~

Bea Rigsby-Kunz
Sage Hill Gardens

32 Old Petersburg Pike
Petersburg, Tn. 37144