Awards and More

Our February Master Gardener Meeting featured the presentation of an American flag to our association by Ocie DeVaughn, President of Lodge 322 of Woodmen of the World. Thanks to Hugh Nichols for contacting them about how we needed a large flag for our meeting place. We’ve went from a little bitty hand held flag to a nice large flag and a stand alone pole! Thank you, Woodmen of the World Life Insurance for such a nice donation!

Mr. Ocie DeVaughn President of Woodmen of the World Lodge #322

Elizabeth York, current Shelby County MGA President and a former Chilton County MGA member, taught us about growing cool season vegetables. Elizabeth told us that in Alabama we can have select vegetables growing nearly the entire year. The main concern for growing from seeds is the correct soil temperature for germination. For more information on growing vegetables check the Alabama Cooperative Extension System website:

V. President Betsy Smith presents the speakers gift to Elizabeth York

FEBRUARY is the time of year for our annual awards presentations and there were many honored this year!

This year we had the privilege of presenting Perfect Attendance certificates to Harriett Jackson and Judy Cobb. Congratulations ladies for attending every meeting in 2023!!

L-R Harriett Jackson and Judy Cobb

Pins for working the MG HELPLINE were presented by the Chairman, Hugh Nichols. Diane Clapp earned a pin for 3 days. Amy Baker, Amelia Bloomfield (absent) Pat Farmer, and Lynn Webb (absent) earned pins for 4 or more days.

L-R Pat Farmer, Amy Baker, Diane Clapp, Hugh Nichols

Trisha Williams presented the STARS awards for volunteer service

BRONZE STARS 100-299 hours)
Bobby Atkinson, Amy Baker, Margariette Hoomes(absent)

L-R Amy Baker and Bobby Atkinson

SILVER STARS (300-499)
Leslie Durham, Peggy McGraw, Hugh Nichols, Susan Parkerson (absent) Kerry Rush

L-R Peggy McGraw, Leslie Durham, Hugh Nichols, Kerry Rush

GOLD STARS (500-999)
Clem Clapp, Judy Cobb, Cheryl Herbster, Ronald Herbster (absent)

L-R Cheryl Herbster, Clem Clapp, Judy Cobb

DIAMOND STAR (8000-9999)
Trisha Williams

Trisha williams

Certificates were presented for:

TOP INTERN HOURS: Bobby Atkinson:





L-R Pat Farmer, Harriett Jackson, Bobby Atkinson, Hugh Nichols

PROJECT OF THE YEAR: Clanton Recreation Center Phase II

L-R Bobby Atkinson, April Oaks, Kathy Oaks

For the first time there was a tie for MASTER GARDENER OF THE YEAR! Congratulations goes to Lanell Baker and Hugh Nichols❗️❗️

L-R Lanell Baker and Hugh Nichols

We also want to give a BIG shout out to our HOSPITALITY TEAM! They always do a great job with the decorations and delicious food❗️❗️

L-R Diane Clapp, Jane Rabey, Cheryl Herbster

Congratulations to our award winners and a huge thank you to all our Master Gardener volunteers for all they do!

These are just a few of our members that helped make 2023 a great year!!

February Gardening Activities

Bright yellow crocus and other early blooming plants will soon announce that spring is on its way. If you do not have crocus in your garden be sure to plant some next Fall.

  • Planting season continues for dormant trees, shrubs, roses. You may plant some vegetable seeds such as collards and Swiss chard as well as vegetable transplants including cabbage, onions, lettuce, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and strawberries.
  • Prepare beds for summer annuals.
  • Fertilize fruit trees, fertilize grape at a half rate now and a half after fruit sets.
  • Spray shrubs with fungicide before new growth starts.

yellow crocus

Picture credit: Trisha Williams, edited by Audrey Giles
Source:   Alabama Cooperative Extension System
Alabama Gardening Calendar

Christmas Time in Master Gardener World

The Chilton County Master Gardeners celebrated Christmas at their December 12 meeting. After a brief business meeting, Master Gardener certificates and badges were presented to our new certified Master Gardeners. Congratulations to Bobby Atkinson, April Oakes and Kathy Oakes for completing the requirements for MG certification.

In addition to our members we had many guests including several spouses, Chilton Extension retirees Gay West and Elaine Densmore, CEC Lucy Edwards and our Chilton Extension agents and staff. We enjoyed a wonderful covered dish dinner with all the traditional Christmas casseroles, turkey, dressing, ham, salads and desserts. Thanks to our Hospitality team for the Christmas Village decorations and to all our set up and cleanup volunteers.

Then the fun started with a spirited Dirty Santa gift exchange!
photos by Audrey Giles and Lyn Webb

Bobby Atkinson, April Oakes, and Kathy Oakes receiving their MG certificates
2024 President Skip Coulter and wife Carol Coulter
2023 President Jerry Farmer slicing the turkey he cooked for the dinner. Thank you, Jerry!!
L – R Master Gardeners Imogene Bresse, Mildred and Jimmy Knowles and Lamar Giles
Amy Baker sports her Christmas Ugly Sweater! Her words, not mine!
Staff of Chilton County Extension Office
L-R Trisha Williams watching Gail Brooks open her Dirty Santa gift
Trisha Williams says to Kathy Oakes, ” Here, let me help you😊❗️”
Christmas Village decorations
Christmas Village

The Gift of Herbs: Our November Program

Our own Dr. Betsy Smith, current Vice President of the Herb Society of America, presented Open the Gift of Herbs…for use and Delight. Betsy taught us that herbs are plants that are valued for flavor, fragrance, economic or industrial use, medicinal or insecticidal qualities. We learned that there are five herb families: mint, aster, carrot, amaryllis and laurel. Did you know that various parts of the plants are used? This incudes leaves, sap, bark, flowers, bulbs, roots and even seeds. Betsy also discussed growing, harvesting, cooking and preserving herbs.

November is officer election month for CCMGA. Our 2024 officers are: President, Skip Coulter; Vice President, Betsy Smith; Secretary, Kerry Rush; and Treasurer, Judy Cobb. Congratulations to our new group of officers!

Post by Trisha Williams; Photos by Lynn Webb and Trisha Williams

Betsy Smith presents November program.
Herbs That Grow in the South.
L-R Secretary Kerry Rush, President Skip Coulter, Treasurer Judy Cobb, V. President Betsy Smith
V. President Leslie Durham (Right) presents Betsy Smith with presenters gift.

October Meeting

Our October meeting featured Lee County MG Dennis Pinkard and his program on Snake Awareness. Dennis has combined his love of gardening with his desire to do no harm to snakes. He discussed snake myths such as a snake will chase you. He says the snake has an escape route and you just happen to be in the way. He shared photographs of snakes and talked about how to identify specific snakes such as venomous Timber Rattlesnake, Water Moccasin (Cottonmouth) and Copperhead. He also shared photos of several non- venomous snakes. To minimize snake encounters keep your hands and feet out of areas you can not see and keep debris picked up. When you encounter a snake outside leave it alone and let it go on its way.

Our own Betsy Smith, a certified yoga instructor, led stretching exercises during our break. She encouraged us to do these exercises to improve flexibility, balance and posture. What a fun break! Thank you, Betsy!

Dennis Pinkard presenting ”Snake Awareness”
MG Betsy Smith leads yoga stretching during break.
Members doing yoga stretching

Native Plant Conservation

Patrick Thompson, the Curator of the Davis Arboretum at Auburn University and Coordinator of the Alabama Plant Conservation Alliance was our September speaker. He spoke to us about the importance of conserving our native species and establishing more sites where these plants can thrive. Alabama and Chilton County have many plants that are specific to us and are worthy of saving. One plant, the Alabama Canebreak Pitcher Plant, has only been found in Chilton and Autauga counties and only at eight sites. Our local CCMGA Conservation Group will be working to propagate some of the threatened plants and to provide educational programs to the public.

Patrick Thompson presenting September’s program
V. P. Leslie Durham presenting the handmade wooden pen to the speaker, Patrick Thompson
MGs AmyBaker and Skip Coulter
Pres. Jerry Farmer and MG Betsy Smith

Square Foot Gardening

Our July speaker was Henry Lucas from Capitol City Master Gardeners who presented a program on ‘Square Foot Gardening’.  Gardening using this technique saves space and results in less weeding, less watering and less less work. He recommended the book ‘All New Square Foot Gardening, 3rd Edition by Mel Bartholomew and an online course at: These resources will provide information on building  beds, how to plant and what to do and not do in a Square Foot garden.  Thank you, Mr. Lucas for a great program on how to plant in a small footprint!

CCMGA will hold plant sales at the Chilton Research and Extension Center on the days the CREC is selling fruit or vegetables.

Happy July Birthday to Gail Brooks, Clem Clapp, Jimmy Knowles, Claire Sluyterman van Loo and Lyn Webb.

March, April Volunteer Opps

March TBA Chilton County Waterfest at Jefferson County Community College and
Arts Center 8-2. Contact: Pat Farmer 205-955-3090

April 13 Plant Sale at Goosepond Park Details TBA. Members grow seedlings, divide perennials and propagate plants for the sale. Label plants with common name, sun or shade, color and other details. Volunteers needed. Contact Trisha Williams 205-410-5074

January Meeting

Leslie Durham, CCMGA Vice President, presided over our meeting in the place of the President,Jerry Farmer. Sherry Carter, Chilton and Bibb County SNAP-ED Agent, talked with us about her program that promotes nutrition education for children and adults. She told us about volunteer opportunities helping assemble notebooks and prepping food for her classes. She also works with “The Gathering” food pantry and asked for help with that also.

The CCMGA gave our Outgoing President, Pat Farmer a gift certificate to Petals from the Past. Our outgoing V. President, Gail Brooks presented it to her today.


ADVISORY COUNCIL: Harriett Jackson and Audrey Giles, Alternate
HELPLINE: Hugh Nichols
EXTENSION OFFICE: Gail Brooks and Alan Reed
DEMO GARDEN: Trisha Williams and Lynne May
CLANTON REC CENTER: Amy Baker and Amelia Bloomfield
HOSPITALITY: Judy Cobb, Jane Rabey, Cheryl Herbster, Joan Barber
2023 INTERN CLASS: Trisha Williams and Pat Farmer
FACEBOOK and WEBSITE: Audrey Giles and Trisha Williams

Congratulations to Nelson Wynn our Regional Extension Agent, on his upcoming retirement on January 31. He has worked with us on Chilton County Master Gardener training classes and supported CCMGA for many years.

V.P. Leslie Durham, says ”Its about tine to get started”.
Sherry Carr, Chilton Snap-Ed
Past V.P. Gail Brooks, presenting past President Pat Farmer with her outgoing gift.
Nelson Wynn retires from Auburn

When and Where

Volunteer opportunities are sent to members by email and posted on “Chilton County MGA Members” Facebook page. The Extension Office often request volunteers for events, 4H and SNAP-ED. The following activities are ongoing.


DATE: 1st and 3rd Monday, March through November
(5th Monday TBA) Rain date and Monday holidays move to
TIME: 8 AM-10 AM
LOCATION: Chilton Research and Extension Center
120 Co Rd 756 Clanton, AL 35045
CONTACTS: Hugh Nichols 256-506-7953
Kerry Rush 205-616-3471


DATE: 2nd and 4th Mondays, March through November
(5th Mondays TBA) Rain date and Monday holidays move to
TIME: 8am-10am
LOCATION: Chilton County Extension Office
504 1st Ave. N. Clanton, AL 35045
CONTACTS: Gail Brooks 256-366-1536
Alan Reed 205-299-2956


Volunteers will be requested to help prep second phase, install plants, and water through the summer. Contacts: Pat Farmer 205-933-3090
Amy Baker 205-913-4862


2023 DATES: Jan 9-13; Feb 13-17; March 20-24; April 24-28;
May 29-June 2; July 3 -7; August 7-11; Sept 11-15,
Oct 16-20; Nov 27-Dec 1
TIME: 9am-12pm and 12:30pm- 4pm
LOCATION: Chilton County Extension Office (home option)
CONTACT: Hugh Nichols 256-506-7953

FINDING ANSWERS to guide you in working the
HELPLINE. Scrool way down page. They may also be printed out.