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.
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.
March is a great time to start many plants from seed and Holly Wadleigh from the University of Montevallo Organic Community Garden shared seed starting tips with us at our March Master Gardener meeting. She showed us the trays she uses, discussed seed starting medium, told us how deep to plant seeds and how to harden the plants off. Holly graciously answered our many questions.
President Pat Farmer welcomed 5 interns to our monthly meeting. There was a lively discussion about our upcoming Plant Sale to be held at Goosepond Park in April. We talked about the Plant Swap and picnic to be held at our May meeting. Open Discussion touched on the Helpline, Ask a Master Gardener, work at the Demo Garden, and the new Hospitality committee Jane Rabey, Judy Cobb, Cheryl Herbster, and Joan Barber.
April is the time to take a drive and enjoy the azaleas that will be blooming throughout the month. With the wonderful spring weather we are all ready to get outside and work in our flower gardens and get the vegetable gardens started. Just be sure to wait until after the last average frost for your area to set out those summer annuals and tender vegetables.
Fruits and Nuts–Start spray program for all fruits. Plant raspberries and blackberries.
Shrubs–Fertilize azaleas and camellias. When new growth is half-completed, spray all shrubs with a fungicide.
Roses–Watch for insects and diseases. Remove old flower heads. Plant container-grown plants.
Bulbs–Plant gladiolus, fancy-leaved caladiums, milk and wine lilies and ginger and gloriosa lilies.
Miscellaneous–On camellias and hollies look for scale insects and spray if necessary. Carefully water newly planted of shrubs and trees.
Summer annuals may be set out late this month in central and southern parts of Alabama.
Vegetable seed–Plant tender vegetables such as beans, corn, squash, melons and cucumbers.
Vegetable plants–Plant tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, sweet potatoes and parsley.
Chilton County Master Gardeners presented awards at our February 2022 meeting. Bronze stars for 100-299 volunteer hours were awarded to Patricia Agee, Gail Brooks Linda Church, Sharon Hosch, Peggy McGraw, Ruby Moberg, Jim Rabey and Jane Rabey. For 300-499 volunteer hours Clem Clapp and Judy Cobb were awarded silver stars. Top intern hours was awarded to Victoria Brady (79) and top CEUs to Lynn Webb.
Certificates were presented to our top hours volunteers: 1st Lyn Webb (476.5), 2nd Harriett Jackson (346) and 3rd Sondra Henley (317.5). Helpline pins were awarded to several members who worked the helpline.
Our Master Gardener of the Year award went to Harriett Jackson. She is our AMGA Advisory Council Representative, serves on the ACES Master Gardener Steering Committee, our Demo Garden Pollinator Bed chair and always steps up to volunteer her time for Master Gardener activities.
Five of our new interns attended the meeting and we were so excited to have them there for their first CCMGA meeting.
In addition to our awards presentations we had a great program, “Edibles in the Landscape”, presented by Autauga County Master Gardener Debbie Boutelier. Debbie showed us how vegetables, herbs and fruits can be incorporated in our landscape in an attractive way. Sometimes these can be hidden behind a border of evergreen shrubs or a fence but sometimes are in plain sight. It is necessary to pay attention to the hard scapes and as with any landscape, care should be taken to use design elements of size, form and color when choosing plants.
Antique Roses presented by Jason Powell of Petals from the Past was the program for our January meeting. What a treat to have our area expert on antique roses to talk with us about climbing roses! Antique roses are those introduced before 1867, after that year hybrid teas were introduced. Many antique climbers bloom once in the spring but there are repeat bloomers. Jason also talked about fertilizer requirements and pruning techniques for climbers. One of our door prizes was a potted antique rose won by Joan Barber. Photos by Audrey Giles
Chilton County Master Gardeners celebrated Christmas with a covered dish dinner held at the Clanton Recreation Center. After time for fellowship, a short meeting, a wonderful lunch and great desserts, we played a rousing round of Dirty Santa. Stealing was definitely the name of the game this year! We appreciated being able to enjoy the company of our Master Garden friends. Photos by Diane Clapp and Audrey Giles.
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 can of weed killer used. Roses–add plants to rose garden. Mulch all plantings.
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.
The program topic for our Chilton County November meeting was “Let’s Learn About Hostas”presented by Autauga County Advanced Master Gardener Bionca Lindsay. Bionca was such an entertaining speaker and so down to earth. She gave us the basics of purchasing, planting, dividing, fertilizing and watering hosta and shared tips to help us be successful! She suggests letting the plants bloom as pollinators will definitely benefit. Who knew that hostas come in sizes from mini to extra large?
CCMGA voted on our officers for 2022 and they are: President: Pat Farmer Vice President: Gail Brooks Secretary: Treasia Bennett Treasurer: Lyn Webb Congratulations to our new officers and a big Thank You for stepping up!
Article by Trisha Williams and Audrey Giles; photos by Diane Clapp and Audrey Giles