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Virginia Home Grown Launches New Season March 30

A graphic shows six headshots of the show's two co-hosts and four regional experts.
Co-hosts Peggy Singlemann and Keith Nevison welcome four regional experts to share their knowledge of gardening this season. (Graphic: Bryant Dameron)

Virginia Home Grown’s new season is right around the corner and we are so excited to highlight the unique richness of the gardens and ecosystems across our Commonwealth once again this year! 

Over the past year, the value of spending time in our yards, gardens and natural environments has become more apparent than ever. It is an exciting time to see the gardening community grow, and we are proud to be a resource for new and experienced gardeners! Virginia Home Grown will broadcast a new episode on the last Tuesday of each month from March through November, with each episode focused on a particular gardening topic. We'll visit home gardens and homesteads, farms, agricultural organizations and more from all across Virginia, give advice and answer your gardening questions! If you'd like to ask a question, you can message us on the Virginia Home Grown Facebook page, or by emailing us at [email protected].

 

A wooly sheep and a black lamb stand by a trough eating hay.
The wool from Wandering Cow Farm is dyed with all natural materials grown in their own gardens. (Photo: Bryant Dameron)

Join us for the premiere episode of season 21 Tuesday, March 30 at 8:00 p.m., broadcasted on VPM PBS and live streamed on Virginia Home Grown’s Facebook page. We're highlighting value-added products from Virginia farmers - Wandering Cow Farm in Hanover County teaches us about raising sheep for wool, and Tonoloway Farm in Highland County shares how they make syrup from black walnut trees.

Meet the team:

Peggy Singlemann welcomes Keith Nevison back as co-host for 2021. This year we are also pleased to introduce a new team of gardeners who will bring us growing tips and answer your gardening questions throughout the season.

A woman stands on a hiking trails with trees and mountains behind her.
(Photo: Peggy Singlemann)

Co-host Peggy Singlemann

Peggy Singlemann has designed, planted and maintained historic and speciality gardens at the 100-acre Maymont estate for more than 30 years. She tends to the estate’s formal Italian Garden, a four-acre Japanese Garden, the Robins Nature Center native plant landscape, numerous annual and perennial borders, and an award-winning arboretum that encompasses Maymont’s 100 acres. As Maymont’s Director of Park Operations and Horticulture, Peggy is responsible for and oversees all phases of ground operations, building maintenance, security, new building habitat construction, and all horticultural aspects of park operations. Peggy graduated from the State University of New York at Cobleskill with a degree in Horticulture, and she is a Certified:

-Horticulturist through the Virginia Nursery and Landscape Association
-Landscape Designer through the Virginia Society of Landscape Designers
-Arborist through the International Society of Arboriculture
-Member of the American Public Garden Association, certified for North American Horticulture

 

A man stands in a field with his arm propped up on a fence post.
(Photo: Keith Nevison)

Co-host Keith Nevison

In 2021, Keith Nevison stepped into the role of Farm and Natural Resource Manager at the Bundoran Farm in Charlottesville, supporting agricultural and land stewardship initiatives for the Bundoran Farm Community Association. Keith most recently served as the Supervisor of gardens and Horticulture at the Hagley Museum in Wilmington, Delaware, the ancestral home property of the du Pont family. For the past 15 years, his work has included historic landscape management, community forestry, organic food production, nursery horticulture, rare plant conservation, invasive species management, and ecological restoration. He earned his M.S. in Public Horticulture from the University of Delaware through the Longwood Gardens Graduate Program, a comprehensive Master’s Fellowship for professionals pursuing leadership roles at public gardens and other green spaces. Keith also earned his B.S. cum laude in Environmental Studies from Portland State University in Oregon. He is currently a certified:

-Master Naturalist
-Arborist through the International Society of Arboriculture
-FFT2 certified wildland firefighter with the National Wildfire Coordinating Group
-Virginia Pesticide Applicator

He lives with his wife Jennifer and 4-year old son Felix on a few acres of woods in Ivy, Virginia, and is proud to call Piedmont Virginia home.


 

A woman stands in front of a tree with the background full of dark green leaves.
(Photo: Allison Hurst)

Regional Expert Allison Hurst

Allison Hurst is an artist, finding beauty in the world around her while seeking to create meaningful experiences between the ground and people. After living abroad in Norway, Allison returned stateside to address the disparities of health and environmental impact as they directly related to race and socioeconomic levels. She participated in the Lewis Ginter Gardener program in the fall of 2018 and graduated from the USDA Farm Fellowship Program under Bon Secours and Tricycle Gardens as an Urban Agriculturist. While completing both programs, Allison launched Legacy Farm, under a Richmond non-profit in the East End named CHAT, as a workforce development program preparing and equipping young BIPOC youth in the world of agriculture. When not in the garden, Allison loves tea parties, watercolor painting, and going on family adventures.

 

A woman stands in the woods holding up clusters of pawpaws, a round green fruit.
(Photo: Jen Naylor)

Regional Expert Jen Naylor

You might recognize Jen Naylor from local farmers markets around Charlottesville! Jen came to the U.S. in 1976 from South Korea where she grew up eating what’s in season, fresh, and local. After college, a career, getting married and having children, it became a priority to give her family the food experience of her childhood. In her small yard she used whatever space she could to grow her own produce. When she found that her youngest daughter was allergic to eggs, she decided to raise her own healthy, happy chickens to produce eggs for her family. Incredibly, her daughter wasn’t allergic to those eggs! Her dream was to own a farm where she could have more than a few chickens and to grow and raise food to feed her family the best of the best. Now, she and her husband (papa John) own a small farm in Esmont, VA called Sussex Farm. She has a few hundred chickens, quail, ducks, guineas and turkeys free-ranging, living harmoniously together. She also has fruit trees and gardens where she produces vegetables to make value-added items like Korean kimchi, which she calls Super Food. She started sharing her eggs at the local farmers market seven years ago and now shares many different varieties of her homemade kimchi, traditional Korean food, and much more. She believes that eating what’s fresh, in season and local is the most healthy way to take care of your body and soul. Her goal is to spread the truth: “You are what you eat!”

 

A man smiles and holds up a planter box of seedlings.
(Photo: Randy Battle)

Regional Expert Randy Battle

Born and raised in Richmond, Virginia, Randy Battle (AKA Skinny Boy Randy) loves to garden and grow anything he can. He has been gardening in one way or another his entire life. Growing up and spending the summers in North Carolina on his grandparents’ farms, he always had his hands in the ground. Randy used to work the fields in the summer while school was out, and began to wonder why the food at home was not free like the food on the farm. He started growing seeds from things he already had in the refrigerator and bagged beans. In 2019, Randy decided to record himself planting tulips and the response was astounding! By request, he continued to record tutorials and grew his YouTube channel to over 18,000 subscribers and has created a community of almost 5,000 people on his Facebook page where gardeners share growing advice and a love of plants. His garden journey has taken him across the country to California and even landed him a spot in a national TV commercial for YouTube! His success has also allowed him to share with his community and assist elementary school gardening projects. Randy says gardening is his passion and enjoys how calming it can be: “I am thankful to do what I love and share it with the world.” 

 

A woman smiles and poses for a faculty photo in a "Bridgewater College" shirt, where she teaches.
(Photo: Robyn Puffenbarger)

Regional Expert Dr. Robyn Puffenbarger

Robyn Puffenbarger received her B.S. in biology from Virginia Tech and PhD in molecular immunology from the Medical College of Virginia. After a postdoctoral research fellowship at SUNY-Stony Brook, Robyn joined the Biology and Environmental Science Department at Bridgewater College, where she is now an associate professor and department chair. In 2011, she completed the Virginia Cooperative Extension Master Gardener training and has been active in the Central Shenandoah Valley Unit ever since.

 

A man smiles at the camera with a tent in the background.
(Photo: Pat McCafferty)

You might also recognize a familiar face - former co-host Pat McCafferty will be sharing a monthly recommendation for unique and interesting houseplants on our Facebook page after every new episode! Keep up with Pat on his Facebook page.

We're excited to start the growing season and continue learning together, expert and beginner gardeners alike! Send in your gardening questions by messaging Virginia Home Grown on Facebook, or by emailing us at [email protected].


Catch up on previous seasons of Virginia Home Grown on PBS, where you can watch episodes on-demand!