WE ask Rosie

Our gardening columnist talks about her career and retirement

Posted on Feb 25 2021 in Backyard
B. Rosie Lerner

Electric cooperative consumers have been asking B. Rosie Lerner questions about their gardening problems since 2006. And as the Purdue Extension consumer horticulture specialist, she’s answered as many as we had room for. Now that she’s retired from Purdue (but, we’re thankful not from answering your gardening questions), we had a few questions she’s answered about … herself. And the answers, at least to the last one, might be surprising. 

Indiana Connection: What got you interested in gardening?

Rosie: I got interested in plants and horticultural science in college as I searched to find my niche. I had been a bookkeeper prior to college, and horticulture was a super departure from that. And I never looked back. I am fascinated by the science of plants, the nurturing from seed or starts to mature plant, etc. 

IC: What have you enjoyed most in your career at the Purdue Extension?

Rosie: Initially in college, I thought I would eventually want to start my own greenhouse business, and I did intern at a garden center. But then I had the great fortune to complete a six-month internship providing horticulture education at a county Extension office. It was the connection to people and being a teacher that really spoke to me. The best of all worlds — teaching gardening to people!  And the world of plants is so wide and diverse … still learning new things every day.

IC: What you are looking forward to in retirement?

Rosie: It usually surprises people to know that gardening is not my primary hobby.  My main hobby is unquestionably my dogs. I love training and competing with them.

Lerners sheepdogs
Lerner’s beloved Shetland sheepdogs.

I currently have three Shetland sheepdogs. COVID has put competition on hold but that has given us more time to train. So, post-COVID, I hope to return to competitions and to spend more time with family and friends.

And my garden is a mess — with years of neglect from being too busy teaching others how to take care of their gardens! You know …  the cobbler’s children have no shoes?! So, finally, I’ll have time to catch up on long-neglected home and garden projects. 

Those with questions about their yard and gardens may continue asking them through the handy online “Talk to Us” form at indianaconnection.org/talk-to-us/ask-rosie that allows you to upload photos, too; or mailing them to: “Ask Rosie,” Indiana Connection, 8888 Keystone Crossing, Suite 1600, Indianapolis, IN 46240.