Southern Appalachian Plant Society (SAPS)

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SAPS Local Tours

Thursday, June 27, 6-8 PM

The first garden tour of the summer is an exciting little trip to the beautiful garden of Walt and Corann Kitchen near Abingdon, VA. The Kitchens have 6.4 acres located 1/2 mile off I-81 at Exit 22 in Abingdon, VA. They purchased the property from the old Millsap farm in 2014. From the pasture land, they have de- signed and built an eco-friendly home with radiant floor heat and geo-thermal. They let some of the land be used for hay.

They have a large variety of peonies, rhododendrons, viburnums and dog- woods. Also, you will find is a large variety of fruit trees and berries, including plum and pear trees, grape vines, 10 different apple trees they grafted, two types of blackberries (including our own Phil Ramey’s Triple Crown variety), raspberries and 18 blueberry bushes.

Also on the property is a large vegetable garden protected by an electric fence and a small green house.

They have created numerous flower gardens with a huge variety of flowers and a Monarch Butterfly way station. Many perennials, annuals, as well as native plants are found in the beds.

If all this is not enough, Corann has many succulents, cactus and a 40 year old Staghorn Fern, many types of house plants and a variety of orchids.

This is a tour you do not want to miss! Bring a friend and make the trip. You will love it! If you are interested in carpooling, meet in the Ingle’s parking lot at Exit 59 of I-81 behind the McDonald’s at 5:00 p.m.

Feel free to drive on your own. At Exit 22 of I-81, take a right and go to the first street on the left. There will be a cluster of mailboxes on both sides of the road. The road is one lane with a sign Alpine Drive. (There is a yellow sign “Libby’s Hair Design) at the entrance. The road is asphalt to the top of the hill and then goes to gravel. They are the second driveway on the right. The house is a light brick and sits on top of the hill. Come to the back of the house where there is plenty of parking.

The address is: 27276 Alpine Drive, Abingdon, VA 24211 Phone is 276-619-5554

Thursday,July 25, 6-8 PM

Gail and Dick Olson have spent the past 10 years creating meadows and wild- life habitat on their 19 acres surrounding their 100-year old restored log home. Their gardens include a variety of native plants in meadows and woods which are continually expanding to include a diversity of species. One of their meadows is a 2-acre former pasture which is periodically burned. Another field shows the pro- gression of a meadow reclaiming a hay field. Recent logging provided openings to establish shade plantings plus adding a cast of gnomes and fairies that inhabit the woods. Also included are blight-tolerant American chestnuts acquired through the Olsons volunteering with the American Chestnut Foundation. Gail and Dick teach a class on creating backyard wildlife habitat to the local Master Gardeners. Gail will be talking about native plants at the Virginia Highlands Festival in Abingdon this summer.

Address: 6077 Reedy Creek Road, Bristol, VA (be aware that some GPS’s don’t get you to our driveway on Reedy Creek Road). Take I-81 toward Bristol into Virginia, Exit at Exit 1B (Gate City Highway, Route 58). Go North ap- proximately 2 miles and take a left on to Reedy Creek Road (Road 633) (uphill around a curve after you pass Reedy Creek right turn). Go West approximately 0.25 miles to our driveway on the right. Our house number 6077 is on our red/white/blue mailbox on the left and on a quilt square sign hanging on the right. Our long driveway is on the right going uphill and parking will in a hay field near the top of the drive.


Billy Wright, who owns Poplar Grove Farms in Kingsport will offer SAPS Members a tour of his greenhouses in August. The purpose of this tour is to observe the types of biological controls vs chemical controls he uses within his greenhouses. The time and date will be announced in the August Issue of the Wheelbarrow. Billy will also have some


great plants for us to see and purchase. great time to plant!

In the meantime, please support all our local growers and nurseries. It is a

great time to plant!




We are offering to members a few recommendations for anyone interested in garden tours and travel both within the United States and Overseas.  Members have travelled with each of these groups and feel confident in suggesting them to you.

Feel free to contact them and ask to be added to their contact list in order to be informed when they have trips available.  You may also want to google them for more information, as some have websites and/or Facebook pages.  Garden Tours and Travel  Troy will be announcing his 2019 tours on

August 1.  He has already posted a few hints on his Facebook page.

Ron and Linda Williams  or call them at 417-408-3880.

Dr. McDuffie, retired professor from Virginia Tech  He has already posted all his 2019 tours.  Take a look!

Jason Reeves, Horticulturist at UT Gardens in Jackson, TN .  Email him and ask to be added to his announcement list when he schedules a tour.

Dr. Sue Hamilton, Director of UT Gardens in Knoxville schedules garden tours almost every year.  Ask her to add you to the announcement list.  The announcements can usually be found on the UT Gardens Facebook and email announcements.

ETSU Arboretum Plant Spotlight: Chinese Emmenopterys