Control Options For Fire Ants

Our August meeting was most informative, and I must say, much more interesting than I imagined! Josh Elmore, Regional Extension Agent – Animal Sciences & Forages, presented our program on the history and habits of fire ants and ways of controlling them. He even had a hands-on display of them for us to look at up close! Thanks, Josh, for the education in fire ants!

We have 4 interns who have earned their certification and badges recently. They are Karen Mims, John Higginbotham, Sarah Justiss and Clem Clapp. Clem wasn’t present today to receive his certificate and badge, he and Diane are one a tour of Nova Scotia, lucky them!

President Susan Cleckler talked about the upcoming 2019 Showcase in Ag/4-H Chick Chain Show and Auction at Chilton Research and Extension Center. Many of our members are signed up to help and many are also bringing plants for the Plant Sale we are having at the event. It promises to be a fun event, similar to our past Farm, Home, and Wildlife Expo started by Jim Pitts many years ago. We are looking forward to it, even though the weather is going to be HOT! We are tough!!

Interns receive certificates

Showcase in Ag/Chick Chain Auction

The Chilton County Master Gardeners will be having a PLANT SALE, ASK-A-MASTER GARDENER BOOTH, and an informal NATIVE ALABAMA PLANTS PRESENTATION at this CREC 2019 Showcase in AG/Chick Chain Show-Auction on August 17th. There will also be Fruit Tasting, BlackBerry Lemonade Sampling, and Tours. And this is just a part of the activities that day. So come on out, bring your lunch and a chair and spend the day!

Field Day Announcement

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

Garden Stories

Our program today was a little out of the ordinary. The scheduled speaker, David Doggett, a Jefferson County Master Gardener and Aldridge Gardens tour guide, was regrettably sick and in the hospital. So he asked famed storyteller Dolores Hydock to fill in for him. And boy, were we entertained! She is an actress and storyteller and described as “Dolores talks with her hands. And her elbows. And her shoulders. When she speaks, she is literally irrepressible”. She has  won Resource awards from the Storytelling World Magazine for her eleven CDs of original stories. We thoroughly enjoyed her story today about her historic house and garden in Irondale close to the Whistle Stop Cafe. And about her friend in Mobile she had visited who had taught Western Civilization in school, had traveled a lot, had a gorgeous garden, collected beautiful art, and had an extensive collection of needlepoint she had done herself over many years. Thank you for a very entertaining morning!

Another very important part of our meeting was Trisha Williams presenting one of our interns, Betsy Smith with her Master Gardener certification and badge. Out of our original 20 interns, 5 have received their Certificates and badges, and many more are very active and well on their way!

Dolores Hydock speakers with her hands, arms, shoulders!
Speaker with her speakers gift
Speaker at July meeting
Intern BetsySmith receives MG certificate

June Tree ID

Chilton County Master Gardeners had a great program at our June meeting on Tree ID, Tree Pests and Invasive Plants. Brian Smith from the Alabama Forestry Commission Southeast Region Office in Clanton gave us a quick review of leaf shape, arrangement, edges, tips and veins before giving us the opportunity to use a tree identification guide to ID tree branches he provided. We definitely had mixed results following the guide! After our attempt to ID he went through them and told us about each.

Congratulations to our newest certified Master Gardeners Cheryl and Ron Herbster! Both completed the requirements for certification and were presented with their badges and certificates.

Alpha Delta Kappa tours Demo Garden

Alpha Delta Kappa, an honorary group of retired and active women educators, toured the Chilton County Master Gardeners’ Demonstration Garden on May 16. Julie Harrison is chairman of the group.  They were given the history of the garden by Master Gardener and Demo Garden Chairman Sondra Henley. Master Gardeners Harriett Jackson, Audrey Giles and Intern Betsy Smith were there to tell a little about the beds that they take care of. Refreshments were provided by Master Gardeners Alice Broome and Wally Walters.

The garden is open to the public and is located at  the Chilton Research and  Extension Center at 120 Co. Rd. 756, Clanton, AL 35045

For tours of the garden, call 205-646-3610.

Thorsby Raised Beds Project

On Wednesday, May 15, several Master Gardeners helped 2 classes of 3rd graders at Thorsby Elementary School plant a raised bed with annuals for a butterfly garden. The area is surrounded by the elementary and high school.  There is already a butterfly bush and birdbath there and they have plans for a cement patio and tables. The children were really excited and they all wanted to help. The boys especially enjoyed watering the plants. This is an ongoing project and we will be back in the Fall to help the new 3rd graders plant fall and winter vegetables. Thank you, Christina Creighton for contacting us to help with this fun project!

Plant Swap and Pot Luck

Chilton County Master Gardeners held our traditional May plant swap and pot luck lunch at Susan Cleckler’s home. We thoroughly enjoyed her lovely shade garden: ferns, hostas, hydrangeas, ivy, lamium, heucheras and more. Plants were swapped and starts were shared so everyone went home with an addition for their garden. Pat Farmer earned her ruby star for four thousand volunteer hours and gold badges were presented to Diane Clapp, Jackie Hickman, Rick Miller, Lee Walters and Wally Walters. Lyn Webb earned her Master Gardener certification and was presented with her badge and certificate. Congratulations to all!

Trisha Williams awards Pat Farmer with her Ruby Star!
Members receive gold badge
Rick Miller, Diane Clapp, Lee Walters, Jackie Hickman, and Wally Walters receive Gold Badges at May Plant Swap.
First intern from 2019 class receives certification and badge
Lynn Webb from Ohatchee lives the furthest away and received her certification and badge in 4 months. Congratulations, Lynn!

“Party In The Garden” 2019 Conference a Success!

The 2019 AMGA Conference has come and gone after 3 years of intensive preparation by Chilton, Shelby, and Autauga Counties. Everyone that attended enjoyed the speakers, facility, Whimsies Workshop, silent auction, the Hoe Down and Bertelone’s Italian Dinner. Our Silent Auction was a huge success with a wide assortment of items for everyone to bid on. The speakers were well received with Joe Lamp’l of “Growing a Greener World” a big hit. Dr. Neil Lamb, Jason Powell, Jane McCarthy “the Hosta Lady”, and Lelia Scott Kelly were just a few of our very entertaining speakers. The Whimsies Workshop sold out quickly and 40 more spots were immediately added. We were all exhausted when it was over, but very proud of how it all turned out!

Collage of Meeting and tv personality Joe Lamp’l
Collage of vendors
Members of Silent Auction and door prize committee
Collage of candid shots
Collage of workshops and silent auction
Candid shots of 2019 Conference