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!
Chilton County Master Gardeners had a great program at our June meeting on Tree ID, Tree Pests and Invasive Plants. Brian Smith from the Alabama Forestry Commission Southeast Region Office in Clanton gave us a quick review of leaf shape, arrangement, edges, tips and veins before giving us the opportunity to use a tree identification guide to ID tree branches he provided. We definitely had mixed results following the guide! After our attempt to ID he went through them and told us about each.
Congratulations to our newest certified Master Gardeners Cheryl and Ron Herbster! Both completed the requirements for certification and were presented with their badges and certificates.
On Wednesday, May 15, several Master Gardeners helped 2 classes of 3rd graders at Thorsby Elementary School plant a raised bed with annuals for a butterfly garden. The area is surrounded by the elementary and high school. There is already a butterfly bush and birdbath there and they have plans for a cement patio and tables. The children were really excited and they all wanted to help. The boys especially enjoyed watering the plants. This is an ongoing project and we will be back in the Fall to help the new 3rd graders plant fall and winter vegetables. Thank you, Christina Creighton for contacting us to help with this fun project!
Chilton County Master Gardeners held our traditional May plant swap and pot luck lunch at Susan Cleckler’s home. We thoroughly enjoyed her lovely shade garden: ferns, hostas, hydrangeas, ivy, lamium, heucheras and more. Plants were swapped and starts were shared so everyone went home with an addition for their garden. Pat Farmer earned her ruby star for four thousand volunteer hours and gold badges were presented to Diane Clapp, Jackie Hickman, Rick Miller, Lee Walters and Wally Walters. Lyn Webb earned her Master Gardener certification and was presented with her badge and certificate. Congratulations to all!
Dr. Charles Ray taught our Master Gardener Intern class on March 27th all about insects. The class includes characteristics of insects, identification, life cycles and management options. Dr. Ray includes his top ten insects of the year–insects that he gets the most questions about.
Our March meeting was held at the Little House this month, and there was a full house! Our program was presented by Dr. Edgar Vinson, ACES Assistant Research Professor & Extension Specialist in Horticulture. Dr. Vinson plans on starting a new fig plot at CREC soon. He says that figs are becoming a production crop like peaches, blueberries, and strawberries because of their nutritional value.
The other highlight of the meeting was our Awards Program delightfully emceed by our own Skip Coulter. Top Hours were Harriett Jackson (580), Alice Broome (440), and Audrey Giles (407.50). Helpline Awards were Pat Farmer (Chairman, 5 days), Larry Jones (7 days) who received gold pins; Lanell Baker (4 days), and John Wallace (3 days) who received silver pins. Susan Cleckler won Top CEU hours with 43.50. Service Project of the Year nominees were Gardens of Clanton Assisted Living ( Trisha Williams & Audrey Giles) and Chilton/Clanton Library Adult Summer Program (Trisha Williams & Audrey Giles, Natives in the Garden; Sondra Henley, Composting 101; Larry Jones, Vegetable Gardening; and Lanell Baker, Starting Plants from Seeds. The Service Project of the Year was Gardens of Clanton Assisted Living. The Master Gardener of the Year nominees were Alan Reed and Lee & Wally Walters. The MG of the Year was veteran MG Alan Reed. Badges and Stars were also given out at the meeting. There were 28 members , 7 Interns, and 3 visitors present at the Awards Program meeting.
Click on the link below to see a slideshow of photos from the March meeting.