The Chilton County Master Gardeners met on October 10 and learned about Growing Succulents from Barbara Witt. Barbara is a member of Capital City Master Gardeners of Montgomery and has a lifelong interest in succulents, her favorite one being the Haworthia genesis. This group consist of small succulent plants endemic to Southern Africa. One of the most well known succulents is called Hens and Chicks. Others that many of us are familiar with are Kalanchoe and sedums. Some categories of succulents are hardy in our zone and others are not. We learned that many succulents do not grow well in our humid climate but make great houseplants. The biggest problem with growing succulents is that many people overwater them; they should dry completely between watering. Did you know that to propagate you need to let the leaf stem form a callus before planting?
Elizabeth York, Trisha Williams and Sondra Henley shared information from gardening conferences that they attended this Fall: Cut and Color Seminar by Capital City MGA in Pike Road, AL and Fall Gardening Extravaganza by Tallapoosa MGA IN Alexander City, Al. Harriet Jackson told us about Autauga County Master Gardeners touring our Demo Garden and the Chilton Research and Extension Center.
Congratulations to Debbie Housner for completing requirements for Master Gardener certification. Larry Jones, Robin Cagle, Lattie Hardy and Spencer Hardy have also completed requirements but were not able to attend the meeting.
Chilton County Master Gardeners Trisha Williams, Sondra Henley, and Harriett Jackson attended the Fall Gardening Extravaganza hosted on September 29th by the Tallapoosa County Extension Office and Tallapoosa County Master Gardeners. Chris VanCleave, “The Redneck Rosarian” spoke about “Roses for the Real World”. “Slow Gardening” was presented by Felder Rushing who is always a treat to hear. We learned about “Old Daffodils in Alabama Gardens” from Sara L. Van Beck. Then Carol Reese, Ornamental Horticulture Specialist with the University of Tennessee Extension presented her program “Take a Walk on the Wild Side”. This was a great event filled with learning and fellowship with other Master Gardeners from around the state.
Have you tried gardening in the back of your truck? Felder Rushing says you can garden anywhere–even at 81 miles per hour! Check out his truck and don’t miss the bottle trees.
The Chilton County Master Gardener Demonstration Garden, located at the Chilton Research and Extension Center, was recently visited by many of the Chick Chain auction participants, young and old. Children enjoyed a game of hop scotch while visiting the garden.
At the August CCMGA meeting Judy Cobb received her Master Gardener Certificate and her Master Gardener Badge. We congratulate Judy on completing the requirements for certification and welcome her to our association.
Regional Extension Agent for Forestry, Wildlife and Natural Resources, Andrew Baril, talked with us about methods for controlling moles, voles, gophers, raccoons, deer and other pests in the garden. He told us about traps, controlling the environment and just accepting an acceptable amount of loss. Although we were all waiting on a magic way to repel deer, Andy said the best method is double fencing or electric fencing designed for deer.
The Chilton County Extension Office recently had a new, larger sign installed. Fifteen liriope plants had to be removed to make room for installation of the sign. These same plants were re-planted after being cleaned of the dichondra that had invaded the bed. Other maintenance included weeding the beds, adding a thick layer of newspapers for mulch, and pruning the Guara lindheimeri “Whirling Butterflies” and Knock Out roses. All beds received a fresh layer of pine straw. Thanks to Chilton County Master Gardeners (left to right) Diane Clapp, Wally Walters, Alice Broome, Sondra Henley, Susan Cleckler, Larry Jones, and Lee Walters for arriving at 7 AM and sprucing up the Extension Sign flower bed and the other front beds. Photo and article provided by Sondra Henley.
Chilton County Master Gardeners presented certificates and badges to Elaine Webb, Sherry Ray and Faye C. Collins this month. We congratulate them on completing requirements for MG certification.
Our program this month was presented by Central Alabama Master Gardeners Lee and Amanda Borden. Amanda has earned her Master Gardener advanced certification in organic home vegetable gardening and Lee has earned his in organic home fruit and nut production. They practice sustainable farming on their farm in Elmore County. Their program was about fall vegetable gardening: what, when and how to plant a fall vegetable garden. The program was a timely reminder to get our fall gardens started and extend our growing season!
Chilton County Master Gardens enjoyed the June program presented by Central Alabama MG and horticulturist Jane McCarthy on efforts to create a historically correct garden at the Governor’s Mansion in Montgomery. The first step was to educate the inmate workers that help with the gardening. Cleaning the garden and a lot of renewal pruning was done. Her group is trying to ID existing plants, create a plan and plant with emphasis on plants that would be historically correct. Jane is also involved in the Old Alabama Town Herb Society and the creation of Montgomery Botanical Gardens at Oak Park. All the projects are in progress. She invited us to set up a tour of the Governor’s Mansion garden and she would even welcome us to her personal garden.
The highlight of our meeting was the presentation of badges and certificates to three interns that have met the requirements to become certified Master Gardeners. Congratulations to Joyce Lawson, Susan Cleckler, and Donna Babin!
Chilton Master Gardeners planted 60 baskets for the City of Jemison. Pictured left to right is: Alan Reed, Lee Walters, Wally Walters, Margaret Goolsby-Chair, Pat Farmer, Susan Cleckler and Sondra Henley. Those that helped but not pictured were: Lanell Baker, Linda Hays, Rick Miller and Harriett Jackson. Baskets were hung throughout the City of Jemison.
Photo and article by Sondra Henley
Chilton County Master Gardeners held their annual Plant Swap on May 9th at the home of Lee and Wally Walters on Lake Mitchell. The weather was perfect for our meeting and lunch on the patio overlooking the lake. We enjoyed BBQ pork provided by our hosts and side dishes and desserts our members brought. We drew numbers to swap plants and had a great variety of plants to share including tomatoes, ginger lilies, daisies and daffodil bulbs. As usual we all went home with lots of new plants for our gardens. Now to convince someone to dig those holes–oh, I guess that is me! A huge thank you goes to the Walters for hosting our Plant Swap this year.
On May 1-3 several Chilton County Master Gardeners attended the Alabama Master Gardener Association Conference at the Huntsville Botanical Garden and the Jackson Center in Huntsville. Classes included Ferns, Orchids, Roses, Hummingbirds, Landscape Design and Miniature Landscapes. We especially enjoyed Traditional Folk Herbalism, Seeds of the South (Heirloom Seeds) and Protecting our Pollinators. Some of our group also made a Papercrete planter. This year the conference included a Seed Swap for the first time and we were able to select some seeds that were new to us. Of course no conference is complete without great vendors with lots of plants and unusual crafts.
Article and photos by Trisha Williams