Perennials, Beds, Borders and Beyond

Congratulations to our newly certified Master Gardeners! Rene Day, Chip Durham, Leslie Durham, Susan Robertson, 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.

Master Gardeners receive certification certificates
L-R: Susan Parkerson, Leslie and Chip Durham receiving their MG certificates
MG speaker at meeting
Speaker Advanced MG from Jefferson County presents our program.
Topic of September meeting
Slide from September meeting program
VP giving speaker a gift.
VP Gail Brooks presents speaker Rick Cybulsky with gift
2022 Interns
L-R 2022 Intern Amy Baker and Amelia Bloomfield
Nominating committee members
L-R Nominating Committee members Lyn Webb and Harriett Jackson presenting the nominations of officers

The Herb Garden

photos by Audrey Giles


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!

Sharon Hosch (left) and Betsy Smith (right) with the certificates from the Green Bridges certifications

September Gardening Activities

Watch for red Spider Lilies to appear like magic this month. You will see them in yards, along roads, in pastures, at old house places and in other surprising places. They seem to shrive on neglect!

  • Fruits and Nuts–New catalogs will be arriving soon. Start plans for future selection and planting.Red Spider Lily
    Take soil test for new planting areas. Fertilize established strawberry plantings.
  • Shrubs–Study landscape to determine plant needs. check early varieties of camellias. You may want to replace those damaged in spring by late freezes. After fall growth is completed, spray all shrubs with a fungicide.
  • Lawns–Plant seed of winter grasses where situation prevents planting permanent grasses. Winter seeds will appear soon. Stop fertilization three weeks before first frost.
  • Roses–Protect fall crops of blossoms from aphids and thrips. Keep plants health.
  • Annuals and Perennials–Last chance for planting perennials and biennials. Old clumps of perennials may be divided. Plant peonies.
  • Bulbs–Spring flowering bulbs may be planted late this month in North Alabama. Delay planting in South Alabama.
  • Miscellaneous–Clean up infestations of insects on azaleas, camellias, boxwoods, gardenias, hollies, etc. If oil spray is needed, don’t use in freezing weather. Build compost bin or box; leaves will be falling soon. Move houseplants indoors.
  • Vegetable Seed–Plant hardy vegetables and root crops.
  • Vegetable Plants–Plant cabbage, collards, cauliflower, celery, Brussels sprouts, and onion sets.

Source: Alabama Cooperative Extension System
Alabama Gardening Calendar

Gardening in Small Spaces

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.

L-R Lynne May receives certification and badge, presented by
Membership chairman Trisha Williams
L-R Glenn Huovinen, Autauga County Advanced MG & program speaker,
receives speakers gift from VP Gail Brooks

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

Tour of the Demo Garden

by Audrey Giles

Thursday May 5 was a beautiful day for a tour of the Chilton County Master Gardeners Demonstration Garden. We were host to Regional Extension agents Mallory Kelley, Dani Carroll and Bethany O’Rear and interns of Lee, Elmore, and  Montgomery County associations. Everyone met at 10 am for a tour of the different beds of the garden. CCMGA member Harriett Jackson gave a short bio of the Gardens and how the new one came about. Matthew Price, director of Chilton Research and Extension Center, told them a little about the center, what their purpose is, how they are funded, and all the fruits they grow. Everyone enjoyed delicious doughnuts from Lickin Good Doughnuts, coffee from Jack’s, and ice cold bottled water. Then they all  climbed aboard the 2 tour wagons from the Chilton Research and Extension Center to see the kiwi, strawberries, peaches, and figs, to name a few, that they are growing for research. After that, they all drove up the road to Petals From the Past for lunch and a welcome speech from Jason Powell of Petals.  After their lunch catered by Panera Bread, they all had a tour of Petals by Jason and then went SHOPPING🤩🪴🎍🌳🌾🌹🌼💵💵❗️

Photos by Audrey Giles

CCMGA intern Tammy Gentry on left with guests from Montgomery, Lee, and Elmore County associations.
CCMGA member Harriett Jackson, gives a short bio of the Demo Garden and how the new one came about..
CCMGA Pres. Pat Farmer and member Audrey Giles
CCMGA Intern Hugh Nichols and one of the guests.
Native Columbine in the Native bed.
CREC Manager Matthew Price and CCMGA Pres. Pat Farmer
CCMGA intern Kerry Rush talking to one of the guests.
Getting ready for the tour of the Center.
R.E.A. Mallory Kelly really tickled about something!

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