The program topic for our Chilton County November meeting was “Let’s Learn About Hostas”presented by Autauga County Advanced Master Gardener Bionca Lindsay. Bionca was such an entertaining speaker and so down to earth. She gave us the basics of purchasing, planting, dividing, fertilizing and watering hosta and shared tips to help us be successful! She suggests letting the plants bloom as pollinators will definitely benefit. Who knew that hostas come in sizes from mini to extra large?
CCMGA voted on our officers for 2022 and they are: President: Pat Farmer Vice President: Gail Brooks Secretary: Treasia Bennett Treasurer: Lyn Webb Congratulations to our new officers and a big Thank You for stepping up!
Article by Trisha Williams and Audrey Giles; photos by Diane Clapp and Audrey Giles
If you have ever thought of becoming a Master Gardener volunteer, NOW is the time to register! Chilton County classes will be held at the Chilton County Extension Office February 3rd through May 5. SAVE $50 if you register and pay between Nov. 3 and Dec 19! Registration closes Jan 23. For more information see flyer or call (205)280-6268 Here’s the link to online registration Be sure to scroll all the way to the bottom! HTTPS://www.aces.edu/go/2022springMGclass
The Fall AMGA Master Gardener Seminar, Fall in Love with Your Garden, was hosted by the Autauga County Master Gardeners Association. Fudd Graham, PhD, discussed Identifying and Encouraging Native Insects in Your Garden. He was followed by Desmond Layne,PhD, who told us about the Transformation Garden being developed at Auburn University with fundraising in progress. This garden is designed as a green space and a teaching garden for students. The garden will include row crops, hydroponics, invasive plants, perennials, annuals, pollinator garden and more. What a real treat to hear Leila Scott Kelly, PhD, talk about Color in the Fall and Winter Landscape; she was informative as well as humorous. The last program was presented by hummingbird expert Fred Bassett. He taught us about the Fall Hummingbird Migration and discussed our ruby throated hummingbirds as well as many others that may visit during the winter. Following the seminar ACMGA hosted tours of their public gardens including Prattvillage, Prattville-Autauga Demonstration Garden and Wilderness Park. Several Chilton Master Gardeners attended and one that has dual membership was a volunteer for the program. We really enjoyed the programs and fellowship with Master Gardeners from around Alabama. Photos by Diane Clapp, Trisha Williams and Audrey Giles. Article by Trisha Williams.
Straw bale gardening was the program for our September meeting. Eric Schavey, ACES Regional Extension Agent in Commercial Horticulture, taught us the 10 day process to prepare a straw bale for growing vegetables, herbs and even annuals. The items needed are the straw bale, ammonium sulfate, water, fertilizer (8-8-8) and lime. Transplants work best for this type of gardening. Eric was a great speaker and we really enjoyed his presentation. He even left all the items used in his presentation for door prizes! Photos by Diane Clapp and Audrey Giles
Chilton County Master Gardeners celebrated the fortieth anniversary of Alabama Extension Master Gardeners Volunteers with a luncheon at the Chilton Research and Extension Center. We enjoyed visiting with retired CEC Gay West and retired 4H Agent Josine Walters. The crew at CREC also joined us for lunch and a delicious chocolate celebration cake. Hurricane Ida gave us cooler but damp weather so we headed home to watch the ACES Zoom presentation. Thanks to Mary Lou McNabb and Extension Agent Gary Murray for starting the very first MG class in Alabama. Thanks also go to Elouisa Stokes(40 active MG years), Tony Glover and Dave Williams for their contributions to the Master Gardener Extension Program.
Chilton County Master Gardeners enjoyed a program about landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted presented by Charlene LeBleu from Auburn University. Olmsted was a journalist, social critic, public administrator and architect. He is known as the father of American architecture and well known for designing Central Park with partner Calvert Vaux as well as other public parks. Another design he is known for is the grounds of the Biltmore House in Asheville, NC. His planning and landscape consultancy was carried on by his sons and include plans for many parks and public spaces including many universities. Check our August 2021 meeting minutes for more details of the program found under the About CCMGA tab. April 2022 will be an Olmsted Celebrate Parks month. For information: https://olmsted200.org/
Thanks go to Lynn Webb and Jane Rabey for our beautiful decorations and the fun snacks. What could be better than chocolate chip cookies and ice cream! Photos by Trisha Williams and Lyn Webb.
Chilton County Master Gardeners had a last minute change of meeting location and met at the City of Clanton Zoning and Planning Room. Autauga County Master Gardener Anthony Yarborough spoke to us about Destructive Garden insects. We learned about several insects that attack our vegetable gardens such as flea beetles, squash bugs and the always hiding tomato hornworm. Let’s not forget about the white flies, flea hopper, pickle worms and more. He told how to scout insects and control them early. He suggests following Integrated Pest Management using cultural and mechanical methods before using insecticides. When insecticides are needed start with Bt, Sevin, or Milky Spore Powder before using more potent chemicals. Always spray early or late to help protect bees.
Our members were encouraged to help with our plant dig on Thursday, seed saving, Helpline calls, and sharing vegetables through the Grow More Give More campaign. We had a good turnout and expect to be back at our normal meeting place in August, hope to see ALL of you there!
What a treat to hold our June meeting at Petals From the Past! Our own Betsy Smith, who is working on her advanced certification on Herbs, was our speaker. She taught us about the five herb families and their growing needs such as amount of sun, soil type, water needs, and space and duration (perennial or annual). The families are mint, aster, carrot, amaryllis and laurel and of course she gave us the scientific names for each family.
Betsy also gave us handouts: one about all the different herb families and another on how to gather and dry herbs. We also enjoyed passing around the potted herbs she had for us to touch and smell. Who knew there were so many types of mint and thyme available and she didn’t even have them all!
Following the meeting a tour of Petals From the Past was available and that is always a fun learning experience.
Lake Mitchell Pavilion was the site for our annual May Plant Swap. Although it was overcast it was a nice day to be at the lake. It is always a treat to see what plants our members have propagated or purchased to swap. We had dipladenia, roses, hosta, begonias, geraniums, hydrangeas, hosta, Solomon’s seal and more. There was also a fig tree and a plum tree plus tomato seedlings that were shared.
Kathy Giles, the park manager’s wife, spoke to us about the Higgins Ferry park and some of the things they do on a daily basis. A new playground was finished this Spring and she explained how it was built with donations. She told us about the activities at the park and that it is free except for camping.
Badges and certificates were presented to our newest certified Master Gardeners: Peggy McGraw, Ruby Moberg and Patty Frye. Congratulations for completing volunteer requirements during a trying year.
Awards Day, March 9, 2021, was a special meeting day for Chilton County Master Gardeners!
We awarded Reach for the Stars bronze pins to Benita Cahalane, Charla Doucet and Kaylee Doucet. A silver pin was awarded to Larry Jones and a gold pin to Debbie Housner. Lyn Webb received her gold badge and Lanelle Baker got her platinum badge. For earning more than 4000 hours, Harriett earned her ruby star.
Our top hours volunteers were recognized and presented certificates. 1st Place: Lynn Webb, 600.5 2nd Place: Harriett Jackson 447.5 3rd Place: Sondra Henley, 425.5
Top Intern hours was awarded to Gail Brooks, 83.45 and top Continuing Education hours was awarded to Lyn Webb, 171.5.
Our Master Gardener of the year is Susan Cleckler. She has served as President for two years and lead us through this challenging year. Susan has been involved with all aspects of MG and is a great example of what a MG should be.
Congratulations to our 2020 award winning volunteers!
David Doggett, Jefferson County Advanced MG, Aldridge Gardens Docent and a member of the Alabama Hydrangea Society, taught us about winter pruning of panicle and smooth hydrangeas. He gave us detailed instructions for first, second and third year cuts. He also discussed propagation using the winter cuttings and suggested books on propagation. It is always a real treat for David to share his knowledge with us.