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.
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 weed control product used.
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.
The 2022 Chilton County Fall Master Gardener Intern Class and Chilton County Master Gardeners have installed the plants for Phase 1 of the class project. They created a plan to replace the shrubs along the front of the Clanton Community Center and to make the entrance more inviting. City of Clanton workers removed the overgrown shrubs and added top soil. Earlier in October the class and Master Gardener volunteers tilled in soil amendments. The next step was to plant the bed with Arborvitae ‘Emerald Green,’ Gardenia ‘Autumn Beauty,’ Illicium ‘Florida Sunshine,’ Hosta ‘Glad Rags,’ Amaryllis and Iris. A large pot, donated by Mayor Jeff Mims, was planted with a monochromatic group of plants which included Illicium ‘Florida Sunshine,’ Creeping Jenny and Carex ‘Everillo.’ They also placed a bright turquoise bench near the entrance.
Many thanks to the City of Clanton, Mayor Jeff Mims, Petals From The Past, ACES Chilton County Coordinator Lucy Edwards and CAWACO RC&D.
Congratulations to Margariette Hoomes for earning her Master Gardener certification and receiving her MG badge and certificate. The CCMGA Board of Directors provide an Appreciation Lunch of soup and chili for our great members and interns. We had great attendance and enjoyed sharing a meal and socializing with our members.
Terese Goodson from the Capitol City Master Gardeners Association spoke about “Year Round Color in the Garden.” Her goal is to have something blooming every month of the year so that she can have a vase of fresh flowers everyday of the year. A variety of reseeding annuals and perennials can meet this goal. She shared a bloom time chart for central Alabama which serves as a guide for plant selection for each month.
Nominations for 2023 Officers were brought before the members and voted on. The new officers were introduced to the membership and photos taken. 2023 CCMGA Officers are Jerry Farmer, President; Leslie Durham, Vice President; Kerry Rush, Secretary; and Lynn Webb, Treasurer.
Plans were discussed for a booth at the December 4th Maplesville Old Fashion Christmas to promote Master Gardeners. A request was made for small flower seeds to make flower bombs as a give away for children. Several volunteered to provide seeds and help put them together. Volunteers to work the booth in Maplesville were discussed. After no more business, the meeting was adjourned.
At our October meeting, Trisha Williams introduced Brandy Childress as the new Administrative Assistant at the Chilton County Extension Office Everyone gave her a warm welcome with a big round of applause.
Our Vice President, Gail Brooks, introduced Don Armstrong as this month’s speaker. Don and his wife, Glenda, gave a very informative slide presentation and handouts on Landscape Design/Yard Design. Then as a nice surprise, Mr. Armstrong brought potted plants for every member!
Congratulations to our newly certified Master Gardeners! Rene Day, Chip Durham, Leslie Durham, Susan Parkerson and Abby Messer have completed requirements to become certified. Certificates and badges were presented to those present: Susan, Leslie, and Chip.
Rick Cybulsky, Jefferson County Advanced MG presented an informative program on how to use and care for perennials. He told us that most perennials give 4 to 6 weeks of color but this can be extended by deadheading. He reminded us to cut back in fall and prune at appropriate times for the plant. Dividing when growth slows is important to plant heath.
Pat Farmer reminded us that our Intern class will need help with their project, asked for helpline volunteers, announced nominations for Officers and mentioned needing helpers for the bee meeting set up. Our November meeting will be at another location, TBA. Photos by Diane Clapp
The Herb Garden was our September featured garden for our “Talks in the Garden” series. Sharon Hosch and Betsy Smith discussed the herbs we grow in the Demo Garden and the way herbs are used for seasoning, teas and sometimes for medicines. Sharon and Betsy also presented the certificate and plaque for our Garden Bridges certification through the Herb Society of American. Garden Bridges gardens create a safe passing for plants and pollinators to thrive and migrate by incorporating native plants in harmony with nearby natural areas. For a special treat they served tea cookies with rosemary sugar and iced tea with herbed ice cubes!
This month we presented a certificate and badge to another intern; congratulations to Lynne May for meeting the requirements for Master Gardener certification!
Glenn Huovinen, Autauga County Advanced Master Gardener, presented a very informative program on Gardening in Small Spaces and Alternative Gardening Methods. He shared information on grow bags, root pruning buckets and raised beds. He also discussed how to espalier fruit trees and ornamentals. The use of drip irrigation and rain barrels was included in his talk. We especially enjoyed seeing photos of his garden in a small space and all he grows there.
Projects that were discussed were: the watering schedule of the rec building flowers and possible projects for the future which include Landowner Tour, Water Fest, Classroom in the Forest and Fairy Tales to be held in Jemison. Other discussions included the AMGA Fall Seminar being held at Auburn University on October 6 and the LMGA Fall Seminar to be held in Athens, AL on August 27, 2022. Several members plan to carpool to the AMGA fall Seminar. Also the Fall Intern class started August 11 and is being held every Thursday at the Extension office through November 18th. We had 23 members, 1 guest, and 4 interns present.
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
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.
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!!