March, April Volunteer Opps

March TBA Chilton County Waterfest at Jefferson County Community College and
Arts Center 8-2. Contact: Pat Farmer 205-955-3090

April 13 Plant Sale at Goosepond Park Details TBA. Members grow seedlings, divide perennials and propagate plants for the sale. Label plants with common name, sun or shade, color and other details. Volunteers needed. Contact Trisha Williams 205-410-5074

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

Let’s Grow Herbs

What a treat to hold our June meeting at Petals From the Past! Our own Betsy Smith, who is working on her advanced certification on Herbs, was our speaker. She taught us about the five herb families and their growing needs such as amount of sun, soil type, water needs, and space and duration (perennial or annual). The families are mint, aster, carrot, amaryllis and laurel and of course she gave us the scientific names for each family.

Betsy also gave us handouts: one about all the different herb families and another on how to gather and dry herbs. We also enjoyed passing around the potted herbs she had for us to touch and smell. Who knew there were so many types of mint and thyme available and she didn’t even have them all!

Following the meeting a tour of Petals From the Past was available and that is always a fun learning experience.

Photos by Diane Clapp and Ruby Moberg

Betsy showing herbs
Betsy Smith presents “Herbs!”
Herb handouts
Snacks handouts made by Lyn Webb
Shoes with Herbs on them
Betsy’s shoes match the presentation!!
Betsy Smith makes presentation
Betsy Smith presents program on Herbs.

Elmore County Interns Tour Demo Garden

On October 19th the Central Alabama MG Intern Class toured the CCMGA Demo Garden. President Sondra Henley was the tour guide and told the history of the Demo Garden and how the new garden was created.  Mallory Kelley, ACES Regional Agent for Autauga County and facilitator of the class, accompanied the group.  Chilton County Master Gardener Sue Webb was there to tell about her Native Bed in the garden.  Treasia Bennett told about her Knot Garden and Susan Cleckler told about her bed “Don’t’ Bug Me” (repels insects) and a little about the Butterfly Garden.  For a slideshow of photos of the tour go to Smilebox.

The Demonstration Garden at the Chilton Research and Extension Center  (120 County Road 756, Clanton, 35045) is open year round. To schedule a tour for your group or organization call 280-6268 and the office will contact the appropriate person.

Photo Credit: Audrey Giles

Sue a Webb tells about Nativesgroup of master gardeners touring Demo Garden


Under The Boardwalk by Harriett Jackson


If you happen to be down on the Alabama Gulf coast, anywhere near Fairhope or Foley, there is a wonderful side trip you might want to take. Weeks Bay Bog is part of The Weeks Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, located on County Road 17, a short hop off U S Hiway 98, the main drag between Foley and Fairhope. You park across the road from the bog, there’s plenty of room there. You might want to take a picnic lunch, there is room for that also and you are going to want to stay awhile.

My great good friend Norma Elkins and I visited the bog last September. There is so much to see taking a walk on the wide Kurt G. Wintermeyer Boardwalk built over the bog. No muddy feet, no fear of critters, although we did see the sign about snakes loving bogs, I guess that is because frogs also love bogs and snakes love frogs alfresco.

Even late in September there were plenty of blooming pitcher plants to see. Beautiful examples of White-Topped Pitcher Plants (Sarracenia leucophylla in shades of green, red Gulf Purple Pitcher Plant( Sarracenia rosea ) living just where they can be happiest. As you stroll the long boardwalk there are super placards explaining what you may be seeing, all the different plants, how they work and what to look for. There are other plants to be seen, wonderful cornflower blue spiky balls on stems that stand 3 inches above their greenery. Cinnamon ferns( Os-munda cinnomomea ) , Slash Pine trees, and many different kinds of grasses that wave in the breeze, and the occasional frog and tiny buzzing fliers ready to be dinner for a lucky pitcher plant or snake.

Go to their web site : There you can read much more about the bog and all the things you can see at The Weeks Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve. I am going back, as soon as I can, and plan to spend more time seeing the wonders of this place. Hope you enjoy these pictures Norma and I took, we certainly enjoyed taking them.CAM00053 CAM00050-1 CAM00043 CAM00045

Share The Wealth by Harriett Jackson

I very much enjoy writing articles for you to read.  What you take away is important to me. My hope is that you learn something of the subject at hand and are entertained in the process. Not necessarily entertained in the ha-ha but kept interested enough to read the whole piece. Of course, I can never resist a cheap ha-ha along the way.

For me there is always an under-story, some not very deep, others hopefully make you think long after you finish reading. I mostly write about things that interest me. Sometimes someone will say “write something about this or that” and those are fun too because they are things I might not have thought of on my own, or fill a need for getting the word out about a given subject.

Fact is we all like to share what we think and what we are interested in.  Whether we do it well or not, we want to tell others all about it. From gardening to cooking to shopping, our craftiness, our successes,  and sometimes our failures.  We want to share it all. Sharing takes our successes higher and makes our failures smaller when we hear someone else has had the same experience.

Share a success and you teach someone else to succeed; share a failure and someone will teach you to succeed next time.



A New Year!! by Harriett Jackson


The Webster Dictionary defines NEW as follows:

adjective ˈnü, chiefly British ˈnyü, in place names usually (ˌ)nu̇ or nə or (ˌ)ni
   :not old : recently born, built, or created…  (projects: the Fall Conference: to be held
        here in Chilton Co.)
   :not used by anyone else previously.. (pencils and paper, I love new pencils and paper)
  :recently bought, rented, etc… (Shoes! ok maybe that’s just me.)
Full Definition of NEW
 1 :  having recently come into existence :  RECENT, MODERN
 2   a- (1):  having been seen, used, or known for a short time: NOVEL  <rice was a new crop for the area>
          (2):  UNFAMILIAR  <visit new places>  (new garden tours)
b-  being other than the former or old <a steady flow of new money> (new members,
             new friends)
3    :    having been in a relationship or condition but a short time <new to the job> <a new wife>
4    a-  beginning as the resumption or repetition of a previous act or thing  <a new day>
           <the new edition>..  (Plant sales, Home Tour)
     b- made or become fresh <awoke a new person> ( new Committee heads and chairs ,
             a new Demo garden)
c- relating to or being a new moon
5     :   different from one of the same category that has existed previously <new realism>
          (new President,  new board)
6     :  of dissimilar origin and usually of superior quality <a new strain of hybrid corn>
7     capitalized :   MODERN 3;  especially :  having been in use after medieval times
— new·ish adjective
      — new·ness noun
We have a new year, a new president, a new board, a new agenda, new projects, new ways to do things, new ideas about things to do. A renewal of everything Master Gardener.  A new opportunity to bring to Master Gardeners your ideas, your hopes, your dreams. How/What do you want Your Master Gardener Association to be, grow, learn, see, do, visit; the possibilities are endless.
Because you, everyone of YOU, are Chilton County Master Gardener Association, a part of a new whole. I hope to see you at the New Meeting  January 13, 2015,  with new pencils and new paper with Your New ideas about our New Master Gardener Association.

Congratulations, Sarah Saunders!

Sarah SaundersThird Place Winner in the 2014 Peach Cook Off,  Sarah Saunders won this honor with her Upside Down Peach Cake. Recipe follows at end of article.

Being new to this area and all its horticultural programs, Sarah has immersed herself into the Chilton County life. She attended the Master Gardener Class in 2014 in Coosa County. She has been an active member of the Chilton County Master Gardener Association while an intern and continues to contribute her time and talents to many of its service projects. She has helped with 4-H and other extension office activities. Sarah has been asked to be the liaison from CCMGA to the developing Thorsby Community Park committee. Sarah resides Thorsby with husband, Jerome and daughter, Kate. They are remodeling a house in the Jemison area.

She is well versed in computer skills and developmental aspects of planning and carrying out projects. Poised and an excellent speaker, Sarah represented Chilton County at the National County Agents Conference in Mobile, July 19-20.

Peach Upside-Down Cake


4 medium fresh ripe peaches (approx. 1 ½ lb.) peeled and cut into 1/3 inch-thick wedges

2 tbs. fresh lemon juice

1 cup cake flour

3/4 tsp. baking powder

¼ tsp. baking soda

1 ¼ cup granulated sugar divided

¾ cup unsalted butter at room temperature and divided

½ cup firmly packed light brown sugar

1 tsp. vanilla

2 large eggs

½ cup sour cream


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Toss peaches with lemon juice. Sift together flour, baking powder, and baking soda.

2. Cook ½ cup granulated sugar and ¼ cup of butter in a 9-inch cake pan (make sure it is stove top safe) over low heat, stirring frequently with wooden spoon, 10 minutes or until sugar and butter melt. Remove from heat. Spread the mixture to coat the bottom of the skillet evenly, sprinkle with brown sugar. Arrange peach edges in concentric circles over sugar mixture, overlapping as needed.

3. In electric stand mixer, beat vanilla, ¾ granulated sugar and ½ cup butter at medium speed until smooth. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating until blended after each addition. Add sour cream, beating until blended. Gradually add sifted flour mixture, beating at low speed just until blended and stopping to scrape bowl as needed. Spoon batter over peaches in skillet, and spread to cover.

4. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 to 45 minutes or until golden brown and a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in skillet on wire rack 10 minutes. Run a knife around edge to loosen.

5. Carefully pour out any excess liquid from skillet into a measure cup, and reserve. (It’s ok if you don’t have any excess liquid – it all depends on how juicy your fruit is.) Carefully invert cake onto a serving plate, and drizzled with any reserved liquid. Cut cake into wedges using a serrated knife and serve immediately.

Adapted from Virginia Willis, Southern Living

June 2012