2019 Christmas Home Tour

The Chilton County Master Gardeners 2019 Christmas Home Tour is now history. But what a Tour it was!! Records were broken in the number of tickets sold.

Speaking of history, the Tour this year was held in the historic town of Verbena, Alabama. The tour included the homes of Pat Barefield, Vivian & Dalvin Johnson, Elaine & Arnold McDaniel, Janine & Chris Speaks and Verbena United Methodist Church. Each of these locations has its own piece of Verbena history. Many guests had grown up in the area or had relatives in Verbena. Other guests were most interested in seeing the homeowners’ various decorating styles. Each house and the Church had its own style of decoration, each unique and beautiful. Guests surely gained great ideas for their own seasonal decorating.

CCMGA is grateful to the people of Verbena for the excitement and exceptional cooperation displayed. With every Christmas Home Tour, one of the best parts is the new friendships we establish. This year was no different! Thanks to all the Master Gardeners, the homeowners, and Verbena United Methodist Church for making this event such a great success!
Article by Alice Broome
Photos by Audrey Giles

MG hostesses at Pat Barefield home for 2019 Christmas Home Tour
Hostesses and parking attendants at Johnson Home 2019 Christmas Home Tour
MG hostesses and parking attendants at McDaniels Home 2019 Christmas Home Tour
MG hostesses and parking attendants at Chris Speaks Home 2019 Christmas Home Tour
Master Gardener hostesses at Verbena U. M. Church
Hospitality and parking attendant at Verbena U.M. Church 2019 Christmas Home Tour
Decorations on porch if Pat Barefield Home 2019 Christmas Home Tour

December Garden Activities

Try forcing bulbs such as amaryllis, paper whites or tulips as a way to enjoy gardening during the winter.  December is a great month for armchair gardening. You can enjoy the seed and perennial catalogs and start planning your spring garden.photo of whire and red with white amaryllis blooms in vase

  • Fruits and Nuts–Plant young pecan and other deciduous fruit trees and grapes. Select budwood. Start dormant pruning of established fruits. Protect all young trees from rabbit damage by placing wire around the base of the tree. Put on dormant oil sprays for scale.
  • Shrubs–Planting is still the main activity but delay in case of freezing weather.
  • Lawns–Control wild garlic, chickweed, poa annua, dandelion, and other weeds. Read label on each can of weed killer used.Roses–add plants to rose garden. Mulch all plantings.
  • Annuals and Perennials–Plant hardy annual seed without delay. Have you tried violas?
  • Bulbs–continue spring bulb planting.
  • Miscellaneous–Shrubs, trees and indoor plants make excellent gifts.

Source:  Alabama Cooperative Extension System
Alabama Gardening Calendar
Photo credit: Pixabay.com

Congratulations Sondra Henley!

Sondra Henley has become our association’s first master gardener to obtain her Advanced Master Gardener Certification. Her advanced certification subject is Composting. In order to become certified, Sondra developed and completed a plan of specific requirements which included continuing education, volunteer time and presentations. This effort takes lots of self-motivation and commitment. Congratulations Sondra Henley!

SONDRA Henley receives Advanced MG certification

Dr. Mitchell and Camellias

Our Chilton County Master Gardeners enjoyed an educational talk on “The Camellia, Celebrate the State Flower” presented by Dr. Charles Mitchell. Dr Mitchell is known to most Master Gardeners in this state as the Soils teacher for the MG Program. Recently retired from Auburn University, he still teaches Master Gardener Soils classes and is very involved in the Auburn-Opelika Men’s Camellia Club. We learned about the origin of camellias and tips on caring and propagting them. The lovely blooms brought from his garden varied from white to pink to red and were a treat to see. The Auburn-Opelika Men’s Club has searched for camellias with names connected to Auburn and have also named a few in honor of Auburn University. “Sweet Auburn” was named by the club and was given as a door prize to one lucky MG.

Our elections were held and congratulations go to our new 2020 Officers:
President: Susan Cleckler
Vice-President: Charla Doucet
Treasurer: Audrey Giles
Secretary: Elizabeth York

Dr. Mitchell showing camellias
Officers of CCMGA for 2020

Fair Judging

Six Chilton County Master Gardeners along with three St. Clair County Master Gardeners spent November 4 judging Shelby County Fair entries. What fun it is to see and judge the entries: photographs, paintings, ceramics, sewing, quilts, crochet, knitting, canned vegetables, jellies, produce, plants and more. Items were entered by adults, senior adults and children in three age categories. Best of all was taste testing the baked goods including cakes, pies, and cookies. The most difficult part is selecting the Best of Show! Photos by Susan Cleckler

Judging Shelby County Fair
May Cremer-Stewart, Debbie Housner, Susan Cleckler, Alice Broome, Trisha Williams & Harriett Jackson
Chilton County MGs judging at Shelby County Fair
Alice Broome, Trisha Williams, Debbie Housner, and Harriett Jackson

Elmore County MG Interns visit Demo Garden

On October 17, the Elmore County Master Gardener Intern class visited the Chilton County Demonstration Garden. On hand to share information and answer questions were Master Gardeners Harriett Jackson, Sondra Henley, and Betsy Smith. Also present was one of the first to sign up for our 2020 Master Gardener Class, Gail Brooks. Photos by Betsy Smith

Christmas Home Tour is Back!

Our Christmas Home Tour is BACK! We are excited to present these homes for the tour this year. Verbena is just down the road (Highway 31, South) and all the homes are in the same area. Also a new item this year is a tour of the historic Verbena United Methodist Church.

Tickets may be purchased from Chilton County Extension Office, 205-280-6268 and at the homes the day of, but not at the church. Advance tickets are $15.00, the day of- $20.00. 

All homes are in Verbena.  The directions are printed on the tickets and there will also be directional signs to guide you through the tour.

So buy your tickets today from a Master Gardener or go by the Chilton County Extension Office and pick them up. You can help us out by also picking up a few to sell to all your friends and relatives. This is a big fund raiser for us and always lots of fun to boot!

All about Hummingbirds

Fred Bassett, a well-known hummingbird expert, was the speaker for our October meeting. Fred has banded over 30,000 hummingbirds from Florida to Alaska. Ruby throated hummingbirds are the most common hummingbirds found in our area. Plants and a feeder will attract the birds to your yard. For a list of hummingbird friendly plants: http://www.hummingbirdresearch.net/files/HummingbirdPlants.pdf

Fred discussed many types of hummingbirds and their normal range. At this time of year it is good to leave feeders out for those birds traveling through. There have been eleven different kinds found in central and south Alabama during the winter.

Four more 2019 Master Gardener class members have completed requirements for certification and were presented their badge and certificate. Congratulations to Joan Barber, Benita Cahalane, Clem Clapp and May Cremer-Stewart! Photos by Audrey GIles.

Hummingbird man
President receiving check

Planting Fall Veggies at Thorsby Elementary

On September 25th CCMGA volunteers helped the 3rd graders at Thorsby Elementary School plant fall vegetables. Included were Broccoli, Lettuce, Onions, Radishes, Swiss Chard, and Kale just to name a few. Later they will help plant the “Cabbage Patch”!!

Pictured left to right- Front- Kaylee Doucet, Betsy Smith, Debbie Housner, Jackie Hickman, Sondra Henley, Susan Cleckler, and Charla Doucet. Back- Ron and Cheryl Herbster.

Teach them to garden and they will never be hungry”

Photos by Susan Cleckler and Sondra Henley