Saturday 17 August 2019
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Allen & Karla Gnann: The Gift of Gardening and Love

Allen & Karla Gnann:
The Gift of Gardening and Love
Many gardeners pridefully put tons of love into the gardens they plant. Allen and Karla Gnann are no exception. This couple has
been gardening for a long time now. Their beautiful home garden has flourished over the years because of all the time, care and
love that they have put into it, but it pales in comparison to the love that these two have shared for so long.
Allen and Karla are both Effingham natives. The couple met as children and attended the same church–Springfield Baptist.
They actually grew up in the church together. Though they knew each other for a long time, the “romantic” interest didn't surface
early on. However, things changed, all in a moment’s time.
“We knew each other, but we didn’t date. He walked into Conway Lumber one day when I was working there. Even though I
knew him, it was love at first sight. We went out on Tuesday, August 20th, 1991, and he asked me to marry him on February 14th
of the following year. We were married on March 6th of that same year,” Karla said. In fact, the couple recently celebrated their
27th wedding anniversary, a date they share with their 24-year-old beautiful daughter Hunter, as it is also her birthday. Allen
and Karla love their baby girl to pieces and feel very privileged to share that love with their new son-in-law Nick. Hunter and
Nick currently live in North Georgia.
Interestingly enough, Allen, whose nickname is “Gadget,” can fix almost anything. He has worked with his hands for most of
his life, encompassing a broad range of skill sets.
“I’ve done service of some type all my life. Everybody says I can fix anything…bring things back to life. Instead of buying, I’d
rather build it myself; I like to make things out of nothing,” Allen stated.
Allen is currently the service repair specialist at Wiley’s Home Center in Rincon, where he has been an instrumental part of the
team there for over four years. Prior to that, he worked in television repair for over 27 years at Walt’s Television & Appliance,
owned by his parents, Walter and Carolyn Gnann.
He received an array of service-related experience there that has proven to be a beneficial asset over the years. Allen has also
possessed a real passion for gardening as long as he can remember. He credits many of his skills, along with his gardening talent,
to a noteworthy inspiration: his maternal granddaddy, Russell Burns.
“He could make anything work. He was also a big-time gardener…a very good gardener. He sold vegetables in Springfield for
years. He had a big fruit stand in front of his house. Everybody bought from him. I guess my liking for gardening came from
him,” Allen said.
Karla herself has possessed an array of talents and skills for quite some time. She mentioned her granddad Melvin Newton,
who was a notable builder. In addition to Karla’s dad, Buddy Newton, and mom, Connie Newton, her granddaddy (“pa-pa”)
was a great mentor while she was growing up.
My pa-pa built houses for a living before retiring. After he retired, I helped him remodel homes during my high school years,”
she said. Karla, too, gets her admiration for gardening from her granddaddy.
“My granddaddy Newton did gardening all the time, and I helped him,” she commented.
Karla specializes in lawncare. She is presently part of the team at Ijon H. Webb in Springfield, which offers weed, seed, feed
and an overall variety of products that covers nearly any farming or gardening needs. Karla has definitely been able to capitalize
on her talents there.
“I love it there,” she added.
After they were married, Allen and Karla enjoyed landscaping together for over nine years. The two made a formidable team.
Actually, there was one other important member of their team over those years who they adored and worked alongside every
day, their dutiful and loving dog Missy. She died five years ago at 18 ½ -years-old.
“We started gardening together. We just enjoy it and like to grow anything…like to see it come up and produce,” Allen stated.
The Gnann's home garden started out relatively small. But it has grown so much over the seasons that they are using a portion
of their neighbor’s land, who has kindly accommodated the couple since the garden’s expansion.
The garden boasts a delectable variety of fresh and beautiful produce. Whether “cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, sweet corn,
turnip greens, cabbage, kale, spinach, green beans, peas or squash, to name a few items,” the garden has a host of tasty produce.
If it can be grown, chances are, it is in Allen and Karla’s garden.
All the items are truly in a league all their own, as similar products found in stores do not share in the great taste or overall
“It’s never as good out of the grocery store as it is out of a fresh garden. It never compares. The flavor is so much better,” Allen
The turnips are a big hit in the community, as many local citizens will agree that they are absolutely outstanding. They are also
one of the couple’s most preferred items to grow. “Our favorite thing that we grow are the turnips. They’re called ‘Just Right
Turnips’: they’re a hit with everybody. They’re wonderful turnips…it’s unreal,” Allen added.
Allen and Karla have been tremendously blessed with beautiful harvests, and the two certainly have paid it forward. They have
generously given away more of their crops over the years than one could probably imagine; they would not have had it any other
Both Allen and Karla feel that a strong work ethic goes a long way, and they are reaping the rewards of diligence and
dedication. Both normally spend a lot of time each week caring for their garden through good, old-fashioned hard work, whether
“pulling up weeds, hoeing or tilling.”
“We don’t spray weeds; we till weeds,” Karla stated.
The couple agrees that it is best not to consistently rely on various short-cuts for help in gardening. They strive to stay away
from harsh pesticides as much as possible.
“We do a lot of hard work. We try to stay away from chemicals,” Allen revealed. It is obvious that both Allen and Karla are
concerned about keeping their garden healthy, which assures that each consumer has the opportunity to fully enjoy good
Looking ahead, Allen and Karla may decide to add to their garden in the future. As for now, they both are quite content, as they
enjoy what they have accomplished thus far.
In their spare moments, the couple likes spending time together and with family. Allen really enjoys blacksmithing. He hopes
to get more into it when he retires. Karla has her very own woodshop at home. She even built the furniture for Hunter and Nick’s
outdoor wedding. Allen joked, “She builds the new stuff, and I fix the old, broken stuff.”
Allen and Karla Gnann are truly reaping what they have sown for so many years. As the two continue to share a fulfilling life
together, they also continue to enjoy the fruits of their labor. The couple has a future of sunny skies, and their beautiful home
garden is surely a wonderful symbol of a promising tomorrow.