December Garden Activities

Try forcing bulbs such as amaryllis, paper whites or tulips as a way to enjoy gardening during the winter.  December is a great month for armchair gardening. You can enjoy the seed and perennial catalogs and start planning your spring garden.

  • Fruits and Nuts–Plant young pecan and other deciduous fruit trees and grapes. Select budwood. Start dormant pruning of established fruits. Protect all young trees from rabbit damage by placing wire around the base of the tree. Put on dormant oil sprays for scale.
  • Shrubs–Planting is still the main activity but delay in case of freezing weather.
  • Lawns–Control wild garlic, chickweed, poa annua, dandelion, and other weeds. Read label on each weed control product used.
  • Annuals and Perennials–Plant hardy annual seed without delay. Have you tried violas?
  • Bulbs–continue spring bulb planting.
  • Miscellaneous–Shrubs, trees and indoor plants make excellent gifts.

Source:  Alabama Cooperative Extension System
Alabama Gardening Calendar
Photo credit: Pixabay.com

Color in the Garden Year Round

Congratulations to Margariette Hoomes for earning her Master Gardener certification and receiving her MG badge and certificate. The CCMGA Board of Directors provide an Appreciation Lunch of soup and chili for our great members and interns. We had great attendance and enjoyed sharing a meal and socializing with our members.

Terese Goodson from the Capitol City Master Gardeners Association spoke about “Year Round Color in the Garden.” Her goal is to have something blooming every month of the year so that she can have a vase of fresh flowers everyday of the year. A variety of reseeding annuals and perennials can meet this goal. She shared a bloom time chart for central Alabama which serves as a guide for plant selection for each month.

Nominations for 2023 Officers were brought before the members and voted on. The new officers were introduced to the membership and photos taken. 2023 CCMGA Officers are Jerry Farmer, President; Leslie Durham, Vice President; Kerry Rush, Secretary; and Lynn Webb, Treasurer.

Plans were discussed for a booth at the December 4th Maplesville Old Fashion Christmas to promote Master Gardeners. A request was made for small flower seeds to make flower bombs as a give away for children. Several volunteered to provide seeds and help put them together. Volunteers to work the booth in Maplesville were discussed.
After no more business, the meeting was adjourned.

Margariette Hoomes gets her Certificate and MG badge presented by Trisha Williams.
Ron Herbster, Jim Rabey, and Lyn May at the table, Lee Walters and Clem Clapp behind them. And on the left, Judy Cobb (facing front) talking to Cheryl Herbster.
L-R, Hugh Nichols, Chip and Leslie Durham, and Alan Reed
Alan Reed, Chip and Leslie Durham, Lyn May, and sitting at right table, R-L Robin Cagle, Lee and Wally Walters
Terese Goodson, setting up her demonstration items
Smile, you’re on Candid Camera!
Terese Goodson receiving her speakers gift from V.P. Gail Brooks
The awesome graduation cake Trisha Williams makes the graduating interns every year.
L-R Treasurer Lyn Webb, Sec. Kerry Rush, V.P. Leslie Durham, and Pres. Jerry Farmer
Now what was that you said, Leslie😮⁉️
Just trying to get a good photo of everyone, ladies!

Perennials, Beds, Borders and Beyond

Congratulations to our newly certified Master Gardeners! Rene Day, Chip Durham, Leslie Durham, Susan Parkerson and Abby Messer have completed requirements to become certified. Certificates and badges were presented to those present: Susan, Leslie, and Chip.

Rick Cybulsky, Jefferson County Advanced MG presented an informative program on how to use and care for perennials. He told us that most perennials give 4 to 6 weeks of color but this can be extended by deadheading. He reminded us to cut back in fall and prune at appropriate times for the plant. Dividing when growth slows is important to plant heath.

Pat Farmer reminded us that our Intern class will need help with their project, asked for helpline volunteers, announced nominations for Officers and mentioned needing helpers for the bee meeting set up. Our November meeting will be at another location, TBA. Photos by Diane Clapp

Master Gardeners receive certification certificates
L-R: Susan Parkerson, Leslie and Chip Durham receiving their MG certificates
MG speaker at meeting
Speaker Advanced MG from Jefferson County presents our program.
Topic of September meeting
Slide from September meeting program
VP giving speaker a gift.
VP Gail Brooks presents speaker Rick Cybulsky with gift
2022 Interns
L-R 2022 Intern Amy Baker and Amelia Bloomfield
Nominating committee members
L-R Nominating Committee members Lyn Webb and Harriett Jackson presenting the nominations of officers

The Herb Garden

photos by Audrey Giles


The Herb Garden was our September featured garden for our “Talks in the Garden” series. Sharon Hosch and Betsy Smith discussed the herbs we grow in the Demo Garden and the way herbs are used for seasoning, teas and sometimes for medicines. Sharon and Betsy also presented the certificate and plaque for our Garden Bridges certification through the Herb Society of American. Garden Bridges gardens create a safe passing for plants and pollinators to thrive and migrate by incorporating native plants in harmony with nearby natural areas. For a special treat they served tea cookies with rosemary sugar and iced tea with herbed ice cubes!

Sharon Hosch (left) and Betsy Smith (right) with the certificates from the Green Bridges certifications

Gardening in Small Spaces

This month we presented a certificate and badge to another intern; congratulations to Lynne May for meeting the requirements for Master Gardener certification!

Glenn Huovinen, Autauga County Advanced Master Gardener, presented a very informative program on Gardening in Small Spaces and Alternative Gardening Methods. He shared information on grow bags, root pruning buckets and raised beds. He also discussed how to espalier fruit trees and ornamentals. The use of drip irrigation and rain barrels was included in his talk. We especially enjoyed seeing photos of his garden in a small space and all he grows there.

Projects that were discussed were: the watering schedule of the rec building flowers and possible projects for the future which include Landowner Tour, Water Fest, Classroom in the Forest and Fairy Tales to be held in Jemison. Other discussions included the AMGA Fall Seminar being held at Auburn University on October 6 and the LMGA Fall Seminar to be held in Athens, AL on August 27, 2022. Several members plan to carpool to the AMGA fall Seminar. Also the Fall Intern class started August 11 and is being held every Thursday at the Extension office through November 18th. We had 23 members, 1 guest, and 4 interns present.

L-R Lynne May receives certification and badge, presented by
Membership chairman Trisha Williams
L-R Glenn Huovinen, Autauga County Advanced MG & program speaker,
receives speakers gift from VP Gail Brooks

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

June Meeting Fun

What fun we had at our June meeting! We played a game called ”Are You Smarter Than a Farmer?” hosted by Jesse Owen, a Regional Extension Agent with Calhoun County. After spinning a wheel to determine a category such as fruits/vegetables, livestock, row crops and more, a question was asked. Prizes were awarded for correct answers; sometimes the contestant had a little help from friends!

It was great to meet our new Chilton County Extension Coordinator, Lucy Edwards. Lucy has been with Extension for several years serving as a Regional Extension Agent for Home Horticulture in South Alabama and more recently in Northwest Alabama. We are excited to have Lucy in Chilton County and look forward to working with her.

Sharon Hosch presented a powerpoint with general information about Geocaching and our geocache located at the Demo Garden. We have had three Geocache visitors to the garden in the short time it has been listed.

Photo credits: Susan Cleckler

Sharon Hosch plays the game and wins a prize from REA Jesse Owen
Chip Durham plays to win!
And Alan Reed answers the question and wins!
2022 Interns present Trisha Williams, the facilitator, with a Thank You gift, a personalized apron!! Pictured L – R: Margariette Hoomes, Kerry Rush, Trisha Williams, Martha Rodgers, Cheryl Gritton, Lynne May

Regional Extension Agent Lucy Edwards greets her new MG members and Interns

Gardening for Pollinators

Pollinator Gardening was the topic for the June Chilton County Master Gardeners’ “Talks in the Garden.” Master Gardener Harriett Jackson taught us about the importance of pollinators for our gardens and discussed plants she has planted in the pollinator bed at the Demo Garden. Plants include perennials that bloom in early spring, summer, or fall and annuals that bloom all summer. The garden also has host plants for butterflies and the gulf fritillary caterpillars always enjoys the passionflower vine and devour it. Harriet suggests placing a “muddle” (mud-puddle) in your pollinator garden. A muddle is a shallow flat container with water, red clay soil and a rock for a resting spot. Butterflies love them!!

Photos by Audrey Giles

CCMGA Plant Sale

Chilton County Master Gardeners held their Annual Plant Sale at Goosepond Park on April 15 and had a rain date sale on April 30. Our members propagated lots of wonderful plants including ferns, hostas, phlox, iris, daylilies, black-eyed Susan’s, ground covers, vines, figs, houseplants, shrubs, trees and more. This year there were tomatoes, peppers and watermelon plants too. There are always great old fashioned favorites and pass-a-long plants that you don’t always find in nurseries. We also had an Ask a Master Gardener table and a Country Store with gently used garden and decorative items. Two customers won a Grow More Give More bucket to grow a vegetable!

Our members enjoy helping our customers find lots of great plants for their gardens and talking gardening.

Hype about Hemp

Our April meeting featured Jessica Kelton, Alabama Cooperative Extension System Regional Agent for Farm and Agribusness. Our group requested Jessica repeat her program due to difficulty with sound at a previous presentation. Jessica discussed the uses of hemp, the growing requirements and difficulties growing this crop in Alabama. For more details go to our February 2021 post on her presentation.

We acknowledged April birthdays: Bettye Glass, Joan Barber, Lamar Giles, Wally Walters and Larry Jones.

Much of our meeting was addressing the upcoming Plant Sale, the Demo Garden and ACES Office beds, “Ask a Master Gardener” and the Helpline.
Photos by Diane Clapp.

Jessica Kelton
Interns at April meeting
Interns Maggie Thompson and Sally Moore at the April meeting