The Chilton County Master Gardeners had their first yard sale/plant sale on April 21 at the Chilton County Extension Office parking lot. We had been cleaning out and collecting items for months. Thank you to all who donated items for this event, it was a huge success! We sold clothing, books, tools, glassware, furniture, garden items, Hypertufa planters made by the Master Gardeners and filled with succulents, and of course, plants! After the sale, we donated all the items that were left to the Chilton County Emergency Assistance Center.
Article by Susan Cleckler
Photos by Susan Cleckler, Sondra Henley and Audrey Giles
The Gardens of Clanton Assisted Living facility approached two Chilton County Master Gardeners for advice and assistance on planting annual pots for the entrance and front porch and an existing vegetable bed and pots on the back patio. The Gardens obtained donations of annuals, vegetables, and herbs and provided potting mix and pine straw. The entrance pots were planted with vinca, calibrachoa (million bells) and ornamental grass. Tomatoes, yellow squash, bell peppers and sweet banana peppers, radishes and basil were planted in the existing 8×8 vegetable bed after it was weeded and amended with compost. An herb pot with flat leaf parsley, oregano, thyme, chives, basil and garden sage was added to the patio along with pots of rosemary, lemon balm and chocolate mint. Other pots on the patio hold cherry tomatoes and vinca for a pop of color. The vegetables and herbs will be used in preparing the residents’ meals and the herbs can be also be enjoyed just for their scents.
This project enhanced the entrance, front porch and the back patio of The Gardens of Clanton and will be enjoyed by the residents and visitors alike.
Thanks to Audrey Giles and Trisha Williams for implementing this project and thanks to both for donations of herbs. Thanks also to Alice Broome for the donation of the beautiful rosemary plant.
Chilton County Master Gardeners toured the University of Montevallo Community Garden on April 17. The director of the garden, Holly Wadleigh, told us that volunteers and UM students plant, maintain and harvest the vegetables grown in the garden and donate them to Shelby Emergency Center. In addition to growing vegetables for SEC the garden hosts a Wise Women healthy living garden program and also rents garden plots to individuals. After a great lunch at Tavern on Main in Montevallo what gardener could resist a visit to Cedar Creek Nursery!
On April 11th, several of the Chilton County and Autauga County Master Gardeners made a trip to Prattville for a fun-filled touring day. Our first stop was the Bamboo Forest, which is located in Wilderness Park, 800 Upper Kingston Road and is owned by the City of Prattville. This is an amazing park, open from dawn to dusk everyday. Next on the list was the Demonstration Garden owned by the City of Prattville and located next to the library. This garden is maintained by the Autauga County Master Gardeners. Many pounds of vegetables are grown and donated to area families each year. Our next stop was the Prattville Gardens in Old Prattvillage. There we saw beautiful sun and shade-loving plants, which are also maintained by the Autauga County Master Gardeners. There is also a lovely old chapel on the site. The Gardens can be reserved for special events. Last but not least was the beautiful home of Autauga County Master Gardeners Don and Glenda Armstrong, which sits on 12 acres about 6 miles out of Prattville. Don’s main hobby is landscaping around his house. He also loves to propagate plants for his own use and Autauga County M.G.’s annual plant sale. They also provided a wonderful salad lunch complete with homemade yeast rolls and dessert they prepared themselves. Our tour day was a huge success! HERE is a slideshow of photos from all our tours. Be patient as the music pauses, there’s MORE!
The Chilton County Master Gardener Association will host the Alabama Master Gardener Association’s annual Spring Conference May 8,9 and 10 of 2019 at the Clanton Performing Arts Center.
The 2019 AMGA Spring Conference Steering Committee met for lunch at Bertolone’s today as Bertolone’s is being considered for the AMGA 2019 Spring Conference Banquet caterer. Sonia had prepared a special tasting lunch comprised of chicken Alfredo, beef lasagna and red sauce and spaghetti, served with their house salad and dressing and a dessert plate of tasting size Strawberry and Zebra cakes. Those members of the steering committee who live outside of Chilton County were very impressed with this wonderful Italian restaurant in downtown Clanton.
One does not have to be a Master Gardener to attend. Details for vendors and registration will be announced soon. Not pictured, Treasia Bennett.
After a tour of Wright’s Nursery in Plantersville our group of Master Gardeners appreciate the process and work that go into getting bedding plants, herbs and tender perennials to market. Heather Wright shared the steps involved starting from a seed to a plant ready for our gardens. She showed us the trays and the machinery used in the process and walked us through several greenhouses. We saw all sizes of plants, from those that had just germinated to larger ones almost ready to sell. We were astounded that they produce 22,000 hanging baskets of plants and untold numbers of bedding plants annually.
Wrights Nursery plants are branded Alabama Grown and can be purchased at independent nurseries around Central and North Alabama.
Photos by Trisha Williams, Susan Cleckler, and Sondra Henley.
Lee Walters, Susan Cleckler, Joyce Lawson, Diane Clapp and Sondra Henley (not pictured) lined the back bed at the extension office with veneer cast stone. The bed will hold hydrangeas and other plant material. (photos by Sondra Henley)
The 2017 Christmas Home Tour had a good attendance despite the unexpected snow that blanketed the whole county on December 8th. The weather was cold but sunny on Sunday, Dec. 10th, with lots of snow still on the ground. I think this really got everybody in the Christmas spirit. There were three homes on the tour that were in Deer Trace subdivision off of Temple Road. The first on the street was the beautiful home of Charles and Jackie White. Next door to them was the equally beautiful home of Junior and Sue Cleckler. Last on this street was the newest home of all of them, the home of Joseph and Jodie Parnell. Also on the tour was the beautiful home of Bill and Michele Thomas, which is located on Studdard Drive. All of the homes were tastefully decorated by the homeowners, then fresh greenery was added by the Master Gardener hostesses of each home. There were also Master Gardeners stationed outside the homes to help with parking. Thanks to all who braved the cold and came out to help us with the 2017 CHT!
Chilton County Master Gardeners volunteered for the Fall Landowner Tour hosted by the Chilton Natural Resources Council on October 9th at the L.C. “Foots” Parnell property near Stanton. The event was “Rain or Shine” and it was a very damp day following right after Hurricane Nate dropped over seven inches of rain on the property. Fortunately there was only a light shower during lunch.
Master Gardeners helped with parking, registration, morning snacks and serving lunch. Thanks go to Master Gardeners Rick Miller, Larry Jones, Diane Clapp, Lola Patterson, Harriett Jackson, Sherry Ray, Donna Babin and Trisha Williams.
In addition to volunteering Master Gardeners got to ride along on the wagons and attend the educational sessions.We learned about Intensive Pine Management for Aesthetics, Wildlife Openings and Management, Hardwoods and Prescribed Burning, and Longleaf Pine Management. The highlight of the tour was the Landowner Objective and History session given by property owner Foots Parnell, the sixth generation to own the property. He talked with us about his family history with the property and the steps he has implemented to grow pine trees and manage for wildlife. We also toured his weekend home.
The Chilton Natural Resources Council did a great job with the Fall Landowner Tour and those of us that attended encourage anyone interested in forests and wildlife to attend a future tour.
On May 25th, several of the Chilton County Master Gardeners went on a guided tour of the University of Montevallo’s Ebenezer Swamp Ecological Preserve. Our guide, Mike Hardig, Department Chair at UM, discussed the history and importance of swamps as he walked the boardwalk with us. He pointed out the native trees and plants and told us no visit to the swamp was complete unless you spot a snake and we did!
Mike showed us plants native to the swamp including Tupelo gum trees, sycamore trees, Lizard’s Tail, Swamp Dogwood, Arum, Virginia Sweetspire, Leatherflower(native clematis) among others. He told us that the swamp is home to water moccasins, timber rattlesnakes, copperheads, beavers, turkey, and deer.
The swamp is used by UM for hands on science classes. It also features abstract sculptures of a frog, a heron and a dragonfly made from recycled steel by students in UM art classes.
Article and photos by Trisha Williams