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

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

Sex in the Garden, Propagation of Course!

Sex in the Garden, Propagation of Course! was the topic for our September meeting. Don Armstrong, Autauga County Master Gardener, showed us propagation techniques for dividing plants and rooting cuttings. His choice of potting medium is 3 parts wood chips to 1 part Pro-Mix plus a little time-release fertilizer. Don usually takes six inch cuttings, removes most leaves. scrapes the stem, dips in rooting hormone and places 2 to 3 nodes into the potting mix. He suggests putting 10 to 12 six inch cuttings in gallon pots. These pots are placed in the shade until rooted and then separated into individual pots and moved to partial shade. As a special bonus Don shared dozens of plants he has propagated: airplane plants, amaryllis, ivy, English dogwood, forsythia. iris, blueberries and much more.

We congratulate Charla Doucet and Kaylee Doucet on completing their certification requirements and presented badges and certificates to this mother/daughter duo!

Master gardeners getting certificates

2019 Showcase in Ag/4-H Chick Chain Show and Auction

The 2019 Showcase in Ag/4-H Chick Chain Show & Auction was held at Chilton Research and Extension Center August 17. This event featured the 4-H Chick Chain Show/Auction and programs on Fig Production, Beneficial Uses of Trap Crops, and Fire Ant Control. Many varieties of apples, pears, peaches and grapes were available for tasting. Chilton County Master Gardeners hosted “Ask a Master Gardener,” held a plant sale, manned registration, prepared fruit, helped with Chick Chain and talked with visitors about our Demo Garden. The day was enjoyed by all and was a successful FIRST Showcase in Agriculture. Click Here for a Smilebox slideshow of photos with music. Photos by Audrey Giles & Gay West.

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

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