August Gardening Activities

 pink flowersHave you noticed the pink flowers–Naked Ladies–that pop up in gardens everywhere late in July and early August? These are Lycoris squamigera that bloom on two foot tall stems with with foliage that appears later. The hottest days of summer have arrived but there are still chores we can do in our gardens. Just get outside early in the day and keep hydrated.
  • Fruits and Nuts–Cut out old blackberry canes after fruiting and then fertilize and cultivate for replacement canes. remember to order new catalogs for fruit selection.
  • Shrubs–Layer branches of hydrangea to propagate.
  • Lawns–Watch for diseases. Mow regularly. Water as needed.
  • Roses–Keep roses healthy and actively growing. Hybrid teas and floribundas may need light pruning to prevent scraggly appearance.
  • Annuals and perennials–Water as needed. Plant perennials and biennials.
  • Bulbs–Divide old iris plantings and add new ones.
  • Miscellaneous–Keeping flowers, shrubs, trees, and lawns health is the major task this month. This means close observation for insects and diseases. Water.
  • Vegetable Seed–Plant turnips, rutabagas, beans, and peas in South Alabama.
  • Vegetable Plants–Plant cabbage, collards, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, and celery.
  • Source: Alabama Cooperative Extension System
    Alabama Gardening Calendar
  • photo credit Audrey Giles

Plants for the Planet

By Trisha Williams

At the July meeting Chilton County Master Gardeners presented Master Gardener certificates and badges to our first three Interns to certify this year. Congratulations to Cheryl Gritton, Hugh Nichols and Kerry Rush for meeting the requirements to become certified Alabama Master Gardeners.

Dr. Sue Webb, a Master Gardener and a native plant specialist at Petals From the Past, presented ”Planting for the Planet-Native Plants for Beauty and Function.” She stressed the importance of plants to our planet and wildlife. The presentation included trees, shrubs and perennial natives that are great choices for our gardens and are good food or habitat plants for birds and butterflies. Sue reminded us to plants for all seasons and to plant perennials in drifts.

Our very special Chilton County Extension Adminstrative Assistant, Elaine Densmore, is set to retire at the end if this month. We managed to surprise Elaine with a gift card from all of us. Happy Retirement to a wonderful person and friend to Master Gardeners!
Photos by Diane Clapp

L-R Hugh Nichols, Cheryl Gritton, Kerry Rush receive their certifications and badges.
Pres. Pat Farmer presents Extension Admin. Assistant Elaine Densmore with a retirement gift card from all of CCMGA members. We will miss her so much!! But she lives just up the road from us, so I’m sure hoping she will come and visit. We love you, Miss Elaine💞💞❗️
Dr. Sue Webb presents our program about native plants being used in our landscape.
L-R Kerry Rush, Sally Moore, and Cheryl Gritto

June Meeting Fun

What fun we had at our June meeting! We played a game called ”Are You Smarter Than a Farmer?” hosted by Jesse Owen, a Regional Extension Agent with Calhoun County. After spinning a wheel to determine a category such as fruits/vegetables, livestock, row crops and more, a question was asked. Prizes were awarded for correct answers; sometimes the contestant had a little help from friends!

It was great to meet our new Chilton County Extension Coordinator, Lucy Edwards. Lucy has been with Extension for several years serving as a Regional Extension Agent for Home Horticulture in South Alabama and more recently in Northwest Alabama. We are excited to have Lucy in Chilton County and look forward to working with her.

Sharon Hosch presented a powerpoint with general information about Geocaching and our geocache located at the Demo Garden. We have had three Geocache visitors to the garden in the short time it has been listed.

Photo credits: Susan Cleckler

Sharon Hosch plays the game and wins a prize from REA Jesse Owen
Chip Durham plays to win!
And Alan Reed answers the question and wins!
2022 Interns present Trisha Williams, the facilitator, with a Thank You gift, a personalized apron!! Pictured L – R: Margariette Hoomes, Kerry Rush, Trisha Williams, Martha Rodgers, Cheryl Gritton, Lynne May

Regional Extension Agent Lucy Edwards greets her new MG members and Interns

Gardening for Pollinators

Pollinator Gardening was the topic for the June Chilton County Master Gardeners’ “Talks in the Garden.” Master Gardener Harriett Jackson taught us about the importance of pollinators for our gardens and discussed plants she has planted in the pollinator bed at the Demo Garden. Plants include perennials that bloom in early spring, summer, or fall and annuals that bloom all summer. The garden also has host plants for butterflies and the gulf fritillary caterpillars always enjoys the passionflower vine and devour it. Harriet suggests placing a “muddle” (mud-puddle) in your pollinator garden. A muddle is a shallow flat container with water, red clay soil and a rock for a resting spot. Butterflies love them!!

Photos by Audrey Giles

CCMGA Plant Sale

Chilton County Master Gardeners held their Annual Plant Sale at Goosepond Park on April 15 and had a rain date sale on April 30. Our members propagated lots of wonderful plants including ferns, hostas, phlox, iris, daylilies, black-eyed Susan’s, ground covers, vines, figs, houseplants, shrubs, trees and more. This year there were tomatoes, peppers and watermelon plants too. There are always great old fashioned favorites and pass-a-long plants that you don’t always find in nurseries. We also had an Ask a Master Gardener table and a Country Store with gently used garden and decorative items. Two customers won a Grow More Give More bucket to grow a vegetable!

Our members enjoy helping our customers find lots of great plants for their gardens and talking gardening.

Hype about Hemp

Our April meeting featured Jessica Kelton, Alabama Cooperative Extension System Regional Agent for Farm and Agribusness. Our group requested Jessica repeat her program due to difficulty with sound at a previous presentation. Jessica discussed the uses of hemp, the growing requirements and difficulties growing this crop in Alabama. For more details go to our February 2021 post on her presentation.

We acknowledged April birthdays: Bettye Glass, Joan Barber, Lamar Giles, Wally Walters and Larry Jones.

Much of our meeting was addressing the upcoming Plant Sale, the Demo Garden and ACES Office beds, “Ask a Master Gardener” and the Helpline.
Photos by Diane Clapp.

Jessica Kelton
Interns at April meeting
Interns Maggie Thompson and Sally Moore at the April meeting

Start Plants from Seeds

March is a great time to start many plants from seed and Holly Wadleigh from the University of Montevallo Organic Community Garden shared seed starting tips with us at our March Master Gardener meeting. She showed us the trays she uses, discussed seed starting medium, told us how deep to plant seeds and how to harden the plants off. Holly graciously answered our many questions.

President Pat Farmer welcomed 5 interns to our monthly meeting. There was a lively discussion about our upcoming Plant Sale to be held at Goosepond Park in April. We talked about the Plant Swap and picnic to be held at our May meeting. Open Discussion touched on the Helpline, Ask a Master Gardener, work at the Demo Garden, and the new Hospitality committee Jane Rabey, Judy Cobb, Cheryl Herbster, and Joan Barber.

Holly Wadleigh and VP Gail Brooks giving her the speakers gift, A custom wooden pen handcrafted by MG
Ron Herbster.
Introducing Intern Hugh Nichols
Introducing Intern Lynne May
Speaker Holly Wadleigh with Montevallo Organic Community Gardens
Introducing Intern Marguerite Hoomes

CCMGA Awards Day

Chilton County Master Gardeners presented awards at our February 2022 meeting. Bronze stars for 100-299 volunteer hours were awarded to Patricia Agee, Gail Brooks Linda Church, Sharon Hosch, Peggy McGraw, Ruby Moberg, Jim Rabey and Jane Rabey. For 300-499 volunteer hours Clem Clapp and Judy Cobb were awarded silver stars. Top intern hours was awarded to Victoria Brady (79) and top CEUs to Lynn Webb.

Certificates were presented to our top hours volunteers: 1st Lyn Webb (476.5), 2nd Harriett Jackson (346) and 3rd Sondra Henley (317.5). Helpline pins were awarded to several members who worked the helpline.

Our Master Gardener of the Year award went to Harriett Jackson. She is our AMGA Advisory Council Representative, serves on the ACES Master Gardener Steering Committee, our Demo Garden Pollinator Bed chair and always steps up to volunteer her time for Master Gardener activities.

Five of our new interns attended the meeting and we were so excited to have them there for their first CCMGA meeting.

In addition to our awards presentations we had a great program, “Edibles in the Landscape”, presented by Autauga County Master Gardener Debbie Boutelier. Debbie showed us how vegetables, herbs and fruits can be incorporated in our landscape in an attractive way. Sometimes these can be hidden behind a border of evergreen shrubs or a fence but sometimes are in plain sight. It is necessary to pay attention to the hard scapes and as with any landscape, care should be taken to use design elements of size, form and color when choosing plants.

Photos by Audrey Giles and Diane Clapp

Antique Roses

Antique Roses presented by Jason Powell of Petals from the Past was the program for our January meeting. What a treat to have our area expert on antique roses to talk with us about climbing roses! Antique roses are those introduced before 1867, after that year hybrid teas were introduced. Many antique climbers bloom once in the spring but there are repeat bloomers. Jason also talked about fertilizer requirements and pruning techniques for climbers. One of our door prizes was a potted antique rose won by Joan Barber. Photos by Audrey Giles

Larry Jones about to lead Pledge of Allegiance
Alan Reed and Sondra Henley
Jason Powell talks on antique roses.
Jason Powell presents the program on Antique Roses
V. President Gail Brooks presents Jason Powell with speakers gift
Joan Barber wins door prize of potted antique rose.

Christmas Party Fun

Chilton County Master Gardeners celebrated Christmas with a covered dish dinner held at the Clanton Recreation Center. After time for fellowship, a short meeting, a wonderful lunch and great desserts, we played a rousing round of Dirty Santa. Stealing was definitely the name of the game this year! We appreciated being able to enjoy the company of our Master Garden friends. Photos by Diane Clapp and Audrey Giles.

Members serving Christmas luncheon
Lanell Baker and Patty Frye serving salads for Christmas luncheon.
Clem Clapp & Rick Miller leading Pledge of Allegiance
Member receiving certification
Pat Farmer & Trisha Williams presenting Intern Victoria Brady with MG certification.
Trisha Williams presenting President Pat Farmer with gift.
Members having fun before the meeting.

Members enjoying Christmas luncheon
Intern Victoria Brady and husband.
Retired ACES Gay West visiting meeting
Retired ACES Coordinator Gay West(left) visiting meeting.
We were glad to see ACES Office manager Elaine Densmore at the Christmas luncheon!
Members enjoying Christmas luncheon
V. Pres. Charla Doucet and Lanell Baker.
The Dirty Santa presents waiting!
Member playing Dirty Santa
Clem Clapp admiring a Dirty Santa gift.
Member playing Dirty Santa
Cheryl Herbster likes her’s!
Member playing Dirty Santa
Sharon Hosch looks stumped!