Do you want to learn more about gardening? Have you thought about becoming a Master Gardener volunteer? Then join us!! Classes will be held at the Chilton County Extension Office on Wednesdays, January 23 through April 10, 2019. Class topics include Vegetable Gardening, Annuals and Perennials, Lawn Care, Weed Identification, Entomology, Care of Landscape Plants, Plant Propagation and more. For more information or to request an application call the Extension Office at 205-280-6268. Class space is limited, so apply early. We look forward to seeing YOU in 2019!
Our November program was presented by Mary McCroan, a Master Gardener from Wetumpka, who is working toward her Advanced Master Gardener certification. Mary taught us about “Backyard Water Gardens.” She discussed the various types of water features from bubbling pots to ponds complete with streams and waterfalls. Location, sun, shade, style and budget should be considered when deciding to install a water feature. Mary shared examples of water features such as an inexpensive preformed pond to a large pond. She shared her experience in building her small and medium ponds and gave cost estimates for DIY (with help where needed) compared to having a professional install a similar water feature.
Chilton County Master Gardeners baked muffins for the AMGA Fall Conference and this
Pumpkin /Blueberry muffin was a favorite.
1 1/2 c. self-rising flour
2/3 c. sugar
1/2 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. nutmeg
1/2 c. canned pumpkin
1/2 c. milk
1 egg, beaten
1/4 c. butter, melted
3/4 c. frozen blueberries
1/2 c. brown sugar (optional for topping)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease muffin pan or use paper baking cups in muffin pan. Stir ingredients together, spoon into muffin pan, sprinkle with brown sugar if desired. Bake for 20 minutes. Makes 12 regular size muffins. Recipe provided by Deb Pitts
“Your Sanctuary Garden” was the theme of the 2018 Fall AMGA Seminar that several Chilton County Master Gardeners attended in Montgomery on September 27. Peggy Hill, writer for Alabama Gardener Magazine, shared ideas and inspiration for our gardens. Mary
Beth Shaddix , a marketing consultant, shared information about using color and edibles in our gardens. Mary Beth has written articles for Cooking Light Magazine, HGTV Gardens, and Garden and Gun and she and her husband own a wholesale nursery. The afternoon sessions included Tyson Farmer discussing attracting birds and Brian Dahle showing us ways to use water features in our gardens. We came away with wonderful ideas for our own gardens.
Thanks to Capital City Master Gardeners for planning this fun and informative seminar!
The topic for our July meeting was Honeybees, so that’s the Buzz! Bill Evans, Master Beekeeper and current Vice President of the Alabama Beekeepers Association, told us about the importance of bees to pollination. He discussed the life cycle of bees and the jobs of each caste in the hive. Bees need nectar, pollen and water to survive. If a swarm occurs call a bee keeper to collect the bees. Local ACES offices keep a list of beekeepers that will collect swarms. Bill stressed the importance of buying honey from a beekeeper that you know so you get pure honey. For information on plants for bees check out this ACES publication: Nectar and Pollen Producing Plants for Alabama
Charles Walker has completed requirements for Master certification and we presented his badge and certificate. Congratulations Charles!
A tour of Morgan Creek Vineyards was a great way for Chilton County Master Gardeners to spend a hot summer day on Friday, June 29th. The family-owned winery located in Harpersville, Alabama specializes in muscadine and fruit wines that range from dry to sweet. Charles Brammer, Jr, son of owners Charles Brammer, Sr and Mary Brammer, explained the process of making wine from harvest through bottling. He told us of the few insect problems and how they are controlled. Although they purchase most fruit from large growers they do have muscadine vines and blueberries on the property. Following our tour our gracious hostesses served samples of eleven wines — dry, semi-sweet sweet and fruit.
After the tasting several members went to Trisha Williams’ with their sack lunches and toured her garden. Trisha and her husband, Jackie, have a beautiful backyard with many large old trees, flower beds full of daylilies and other perennials, raised beds full of asparagus, and a vegetable garden with pole beans, squash, cucumbers, tomatoes, and much more. Thank you, Trisha, for providing us with a cool porch, ice tea, and your Heavenly Cake dessert after our tours!
Mallory Kelley, Autauga Regional Extension Agent, was our guest speaker for the June Meeting. She shared the requirements and process for becoming an Advanced Master Gardener. The requirements include earning education hours in their selected garden topic and also teaching or volunteering in related activities. Mallory calls on her Advanced Master Gardeners to help with answers to questions she receives.
John Wallace was presented his MG certificate and badge at the meeting.
David Doggett, Jefferson County Master Gardener and volunteer docent at Aldridge Gardens, led a walking tour of Aldridge Gardens in Hoover for a group of Chilton County MGs on June 4. It was a perfect day and most of the hydrangeas were at peak bloom. We learned the history of the property and garden as well as much information about the many varieties of hydrangeas in the gardens. David told us of the discovery in Alabama of “Snowflake”, “Harmony”, and “Gatsby” varieties of oakleaf hydrangeas. Aldridge Gardens has a great collection of mophead and lacecap hydrangeas in a variety of colors including blue, purple, pink, dark pink and white. Although they are known for hydrangeas, don’t miss the daylilies, Japanese maples, and many other plants in the garden.
This peach dessert was a hit at the recent Extension Support Personnel conference held in Chilton County. Linda Hays, a Chilton County Master Gardener, shared her recipe with us.
PEACHES AND CREAM DESSERT
8 oz. cream cheese
8 oz. can Sweetened Condensed Milk
12 oz. tub Cool Whip
4 c. fresh peaches, peeled and sliced
1 c sugar
4 oz. package peach Jello
1 c. water
4 Tbsp. corn starch
1 regular size package Pecan Sandies cookies
Mix 1 c. sugar with peaches and set aside (the juice it makes will be used in Jello mixture). Mix
cornstarch into 1 c. water in saucepan, stir until dissolved. Cook on medium, stirring constantly, until very thick. Then add Jello and juice from peaches (no more than 1 cup). Stir well, set aside to cool thoroughly. After Jello mixture is completely cooled, add peaches.
Combine softened cream cheese and sweetened condensed milk with hand mixer till creamy. Gently fold in Cool Whip.
Generously grease a 9×13 glass dish with softened butter. Crush cookies (reserving ½ c. of crumbs for top) and press well into bottom of the buttered dish. Layer 1/3 of the cream cheese mixture onto crumbs, then ½ of peach mixture, then 1/3 of cream cheese mixture, then remaining ½ of peach mixture, then remaining 1/3 of cream cheese mixture. You will have the crust, 3 layers of cream cheese mixture with 2 layers of the peach jello mixture in between. Sprinkle the top with reserved ½ c. of crushed Pecan Sandies cookies. Chill 2 hours or overnight. Must refrigerate leftovers.
YIELD 12-15 servings