Composting in the New Year

Our January meeting for 2018 got off to a great start, despite the snow and terrible flu season we are having.  Our President, Sondra Henley read her Presidents Message 2018.  She was also presented with a gift for her leadership as president for 2017.

Our new Vice President, Susan Cleckler, introduced the speakers for today’s program. Rose McCauley and Paula Seamon are  from Autauga County and  both have an Advanced MG Certificate in Vermicomposting and Composting. They gave a very good program on backyard composting, raising worms for composting, and how to reduce, reuse, and recycle everyday items from around the house.

Rick Miller presented his ideas of building and maintaining a greenhouse. Many of the members seemed very interested in this. There will be more information in the near future.

2018 President’s Message

Sondra Henley President


Thank you for putting your trust in me to administrate and lead another year. Having met with the Board to review the activity opportunities and the 2018 proposed budget, CCMGA’s progress amazes me.

In 2006, twelve years ago, I took the MG Class. I too wondered how and where I would achieve those 50 certification hours. When one reviews the Activities List you can understand why we say we partner with ACES. They need us and we need them. ACES will arrange education in QuickBooks, Word, Excel, Power Point, Publisher and Photos for us this year. CCMGA has members that are MG representatives on various committees associated with ACES and Chilton County.

Not only is our partnership with ACES important but our CCMGA projects are too. This year we plan to put a permanent cover over the Shade Garden at the CREC site and finish Phase 5 at the Demo Garden located at the Extension Office. Phase 5 will be located at the backside of the office building. This bed will house hydrangeas and other plant material.

Our commitment to host the 2019 AMGA Conference will cost us time and energy as we begin to put plans in place. We will be building tabletops and stenciling them with checker boards. Contracts must be signed with food and other vendors. Silent Auction items must be gathered and signage made. Speakers must be scheduled. Decorations must be planned and design executed for each conference activity.

Along with our projects, we have fund raisers to organize. This spring we will host a “Garage Sale Type” event including a plant sale. As you bring in your new, don’t forget to bring us your old. Items that are gently used and in good repair are needed, including clothes and shoes. Small appliances, books, curtains, wall décor, etc.

CCMGA is as busy as the bees we all want in our gardens. I hope you will join me in expectation of this new year.

Sondra Henley, 2018 President CCMGA


Message from V.P. Susan Cleckler

Susan Cleckler V.P.

Well it is that time again, time for the annual Master Gardener Class!

My name is Susan M Cleckler and after meeting my husband, JC Cleckler, I moved to Chilton County. I have lived here for 10 years, and have always been interested in taking the Master Gardener class, and last year I decided it was time!

After 12 weeks of great speakers, “hands on” classes, field trips, and more information than you can imagine, I cannot say enough about this program. Everyone that takes this class walks away with more knowledge than they came in with. And, now, after attending the class and volunteering for 50 hours, I am a Certified Master Gardener. If you want to learn about vegetable gardening, flower gardening, fruit trees, composting, soil conditions, garden pests or lawn problems, etc. this program will not disappoint. Also, there is an Advanced Certificate in specified areas that you can work toward.  It is hard for me to say what my favorite part of this program was, because all of it was so GREAT! I didn’t want the class to end because of the camaraderie and friendships that were made during this special class time.

Master Gardeners work with the Chilton County Extension Office and the Chilton County Research and Extension Center. With the local office coordinator and agents, we help communities with information on gardening, landscaping, community projects, civic projects as well as educational activities. The Master Gardeners have a Demonstration Garden at the Chilton County Research Center that is for all to enjoy and learn from. As one of our fundraisers, we have a Christmas Home Tour that showcases area homes decorated for the public to see and we also have an annual plant sale.

For more information on the Master Gardener Program,  go by the Chilton County Extension office located at 504 1st Ave., Clanton, AL 35045, or call 1-205-280-6268.

To hear great speakers, join us on the second Tuesday of each month for the Chilton County Master Gardener Association meetings, held at the Jemison City Hall, 9:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Programs begin approximately 10:00 a.m.

Here is a Smilebox slideshow of photos of Susan during her internship.



Certifications and Dirty Santa!

December was a big month! We had the Christmas Home Tour on Dec. 10th, then our Christmas Luncheon on Dec. 12th. Three more of our 2017 class interns received their certification in December 2017. Lola Patterson received hers on December 10th at the Chilton Extension office. James Talley and Daniel Castleberry received theirs at the  Christmas Luncheon meeting which was held at Petals from the Past. We had a fun Christmas meeting with a short business meeting, lots of good food, and many stayed and played Dirty Santa. I think everyone enjoyed having it back at the “Barn”! Go to Smilebox for a slideshow of photos of the meeting.

Lola Patterson gets certificateInterns receive certificates

2017 Christmas Home Tour


The 2017 Christmas Home Tour had a good attendance despite the unexpected snow that blanketed the whole county on December 8th. The weather was cold but sunny on Sunday, Dec. 10th, with lots of snow still on the ground. I think this really got everybody in the Christmas spirit.  There were three homes on the tour that were in Deer Trace subdivision off of Temple Road. The first on the street was the beautiful home of Charles and Jackie White. Next door to them was the equally beautiful home of Junior and Sue Cleckler. Last on this street was the newest home of all of them, the home of Joseph and Jodie Parnell.  Also on the tour was the beautiful home of Bill and Michele Thomas, which is located on Studdard Drive. All of the homes were tastefully decorated by the homeowners, then fresh greenery was added by the Master Gardener hostesses of each home. There were also Master Gardeners stationed outside the homes to help with parking. Thanks to all who braved the cold and came out to help us with the 2017 CHT!



Meet Our Octogenarians

When I first wrote about our OCTOGENARIANS, we had four. Today we have nine!

“Octogenarian: Someone in his or her eighties, or in other words, between 80 and 89 years of age.”

Now that is a big word, and one that we don’t use in our every day speech, but a person that has lived for such a wonderful length of time deserves to have a special word to describe them.

The Chilton County Master Gardeners Association is blessed to have nine members that are Octogenarians. And along with this descriptive word comes a bonus of having a Lifetime Membership in CCMGA.

E.C. Lewis was one of the founding members of the Association and joined in 1999. Lindy Helton became a member in 2000, Charlotte Word in 2009, Margaret Goolsby in 2006, Peggy Harris in 2008, Margaret Ennis in 2007, JoAn Davis in 1997, Wayne Freeman in 2002, and Bettye Glass joined in 2011. We LOVE our OCTOGENARIANS!

Members at least 80 years old

Elmore County Interns Tour Demo Garden

On October 19th the Central Alabama MG Intern Class toured the CCMGA Demo Garden. President Sondra Henley was the tour guide and told the history of the Demo Garden and how the new garden was created.  Mallory Kelley, ACES Regional Agent for Autauga County and facilitator of the class, accompanied the group.  Chilton County Master Gardener Sue Webb was there to tell about her Native Bed in the garden.  Treasia Bennett told about her Knot Garden and Susan Cleckler told about her bed “Don’t’ Bug Me” (repels insects) and a little about the Butterfly Garden.  For a slideshow of photos of the tour go to Smilebox.

The Demonstration Garden at the Chilton Research and Extension Center  (120 County Road 756, Clanton, 35045) is open year round. To schedule a tour for your group or organization call 280-6268 and the office will contact the appropriate person.

Photo Credit: Audrey Giles

Sue a Webb tells about Nativesgroup of master gardeners touring Demo Garden


Planting hanging baskets in Jemison

Chilton Master Gardeners planted 60 baskets for the City of Jemison.  Pictured left to right is: Alan Reed, Lee Walters, Wally Walters, Margaret Goolsby-Chair,  Pat Farmer, Susan Cleckler and Sondra Henley.  Those that helped but not pictured were: Lanell Baker, Linda Hays, Rick Miller and Harriett Jackson.  Baskets were hung throughout the City of Jemison.
Photo and article by Sondra Henley

Master Gardeners plant Jemison baskets


Harvest for Health

Chilton  County was honored to have the Harvest for Health Training Program held at the Alabama Power Building in April . This study helps determine the benefits of home gardening for cancer survivors and is sponsored by the National Cancer Institute. The program not only provides a raised bed vegetable bed, soil, plants and other needed items, it pairs a Master Gardener with the participant to help mentor them has they develop gardening skills.
If you are interested in becoming a participant, call 1-844-476-9478.

M.G. help with Harvest for Health

From left to right; Elizabeth York, Assistant to Outreach Coordinator – Harvest for Health Study, member of Chilton County and Shelby County Master Gardener Associations, Renee Thompson, Outreach Coordinator for Harvest for Health, Evan Ware, assistant and AU Master’s Program in Horticulture Studies, and Kerry Smith, State Master Gardener Program Coordinator.




Master Gardener helps with Harvest for Health





Kimberly Lyn, Chilton County MGA member, Secretary to association and Clanton resident, gathers supplies for her participant’s vegetable garden.





Kerry Smith tells about Harvest for Health



Kerry Smith, State MG Coordinator, educates Master Gardeners on their responsibilities and expectations for mentoring a surviving cancer participant.




Article and photos by Sondra Henley