Henrico County VA
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In the Garden

Become a master gardener

Have you ever wondered if you would enjoy being a master gardener? If you are interested in learning about horticulture and teaching it to others, you may want to consider applying for the program.

Applications for the next class of Master Gardeners in Henrico County are being accepted now. Training begins in January.

The class is limited to 24 participants, and the cost is $135. A personal interview is required as part of the admissions process.

“We’re looking for someone who has a true interest in learning more about horticulture and who wants to help impart that knowledge to others,” says Jim Smith, a Henrico Master Gardener who serves on the training committee.

Those selected for the program receive intensive training in horticulture and related subjects in exchange for a 50-hour volunteer commitment in the first year.

“We want people who are interested in staying for more than one year,” adds Smith who has been with the program since 1996.

Master Gardeners staff a telephone helpline, give plant clinics, provide plant diagnostic services, teach classes in schools, and take on other projects approved by the Extension Service.

“Our Master Gardeners have made such a difference,” says Lisa Sanderson, the Henrico Extension Agent who has coordinated the program in Henrico for the last five years. “Their volunteer hours add up to the equivalent of between five and six additional Extension staff members.”

“Since 2009, Henrico Master Gardeners have logged more than 10,000 educational contacts,” she adds.

Classes meet on Tuesday and Thursday mornings from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the Henrico County Human Services Building on Parham Road. Classes run from Jan. 22 until the end of March. Before the first class, participants are paired with mentors at a luncheon on Jan. 10, 2013. During the course of the program, participants are required to take open-book mid-term and final examinations.

The tuition covers the cost of the instruction, the Master Gardener training manual, and the Virginia Cooperative Extension Pest Management Guide.

Classes are taught by a variety of instructors with expertise in specific fields. Topics include basic biology, plant propagation and diagnostics for diseases and insects, pruning, lawn care, fruit and vegetable gardening, flower gardening, indoor plant care, and landscape design.

“We cover a lot of material in a relatively short period of time,” says Sanderson.

“The training is very comprehensive,” she adds. “You don’t have to be a well-seasoned gardener before you enter the program. You just have to be committed to learning and volunteering.”

Of all her job duties, Sanderson says she enjoys working with the Master Gardeners most. “The people are really wonderful,” she says.

“I can truly say being a Henrico Master Gardener has been a joy,” adds Jim Smith. “I’m an environmentalist and a conservationist, and I’m able to make a contribution.”

Smith also enjoys working with the Henrico Master Gardener Association, which helps administer the program. “I really enjoy the administrative and management part,” he says.

The application is available online, or you can call the Extension Office at 501-5160 to have one mailed to you. The application deadline is Oct. 26.
Community

Lions Club donates backpacks to elementary school

The Richmond West Breakfast Lions Club (based in western Henrico) recently donated 59 backpacks to the Westover Hills Elementary School on Jahnke Road.

Above, club members display some of the backpacks prior to their distribution. > Read more.

Glen Allen student to perform at Carnegie Hall

Thanks to a first-place win in The American Protege International Vocal Competition 2014, Glen Allen High School student Matija Tomas will travel to New York City to perform at Carnegie Hall in December.

At the first-place winners recital in Weill Hall, Matija will perform Giacomo Puccini’s opera aria, “Chi il bel sogna di doretta.” She will perform with other vocalists from around the world and have the opportunity to win other awards and scholarships.

Locally, Thomas has performed with Richmond’s renowned Glorious Christmas Nights, Christian Youth Theatre, and WEAG’s Urban Gospel Youth Choir. > Read more.

Gayton Baptist Church dedicates new outreach center


The John Rolfe YMCA and Gayton Baptist Church have partnered in an effort to bring greater health and wellness opportunities to the community.

Through this partnership, the John Rolfe Y will run Youth Winter Sports programs, including basketball and indoor soccer, in Gayton’s newly renovated $5.5 million outreach center that features a new gymnasium, youth and teen space, social space with café, meeting space and full service commercial kitchen. > Read more.

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Entertainment

The Boathouse to open at Short Pump Town Center

The Boathouse restaurant will open at Short Pump Town Center in the spring, its third location in the region.

“People have asked us to come to the West End for years,” said owner Kevin Healy. “When the opportunity arose, we knew had to jump on it.”

The new restaurant will be located in a 5,800-square-foot space under the Hyatt House Hotel at the town center and will include a large outdoor patio. > Read more.

Getting a ‘mouf’-ful

Boka Kantina exceeds its strong food truck reputation
Already a fan of Boka fare from outdoor events with the Tako Truck, I was delighted to learn of the new restaurant, and eager to see if its reputation held up after putting down brick-and-mortar roots.

Would the food lose its zest if I wasn’t enjoying it in the great outdoors? Would it seem pedestrian served from an ordinary kitchen instead of a truck?

Would the tacos be less satisfying as an antidote to normal lunch hunger – instead of being ingested to stave off desperate hunger after a long afternoon of crowds, sun, and tedious lines? > Read more.

Lakeside microbrewery beginning to take shape

Original Gravity gets the green light to move forward with relocation, expansion into larger space

A Lakeside home-brewing shop has felt the gravitational pull toward the booming craft beer scene.

Original Gravity, a shop that sells beer and wine kits for homebrewers, has just been given the green light to start work on a microbrewery.

Owner Tony Ammendolia is expanding his 1,000-square-foot shop in Lakeside Town Center to 5,000-square-foot digs a few doors down to add a brewery and expand his supplies.

Ammendolia opened the home-brew supply store in November 2011 and since then he said business has taken off.

“I think I outgrew this place in the first year,” Ammendolia said. “We’ve seen steady growth and I’ve been looking for a place to expand to move the shop to get more square footage.” > Read more.

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Fairmount United Methodist Church will host their annual Yard Sale and Baked Goods from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Proceeds support church missions. For details, call 737-5416. Full text

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