Tour of the Demo Garden

by Audrey Giles

Thursday May 5 was a beautiful day for a tour of the Chilton County Master Gardeners Demonstration Garden. We were host to Regional Extension agents Mallory Kelley, Dani Carroll and Bethany O’Rear and interns of Lee, Elmore, and  Montgomery County associations. Everyone met at 10 am for a tour of the different beds of the garden. CCMGA member Harriett Jackson gave a short bio of the Gardens and how the new one came about. Matthew Price, director of Chilton Research and Extension Center, told them a little about the center, what their purpose is, how they are funded, and all the fruits they grow. Everyone enjoyed delicious doughnuts from Lickin Good Doughnuts, coffee from Jack’s, and ice cold bottled water. Then they all  climbed aboard the 2 tour wagons from the Chilton Research and Extension Center to see the kiwi, strawberries, peaches, and figs, to name a few, that they are growing for research. After that, they all drove up the road to Petals From the Past for lunch and a welcome speech from Jason Powell of Petals.  After their lunch catered by Panera Bread, they all had a tour of Petals by Jason and then went SHOPPING🤩🪴🎍🌳🌾🌹🌼💵💵❗️

Photos by Audrey Giles

CCMGA intern Tammy Gentry on left with guests from Montgomery, Lee, and Elmore County associations.
CCMGA member Harriett Jackson, gives a short bio of the Demo Garden and how the new one came about..
CCMGA Pres. Pat Farmer and member Audrey Giles
CCMGA Intern Hugh Nichols and one of the guests.
Native Columbine in the Native bed.
CREC Manager Matthew Price and CCMGA Pres. Pat Farmer
CCMGA intern Kerry Rush talking to one of the guests.
Getting ready for the tour of the Center.
R.E.A. Mallory Kelly really tickled about something!

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

Start Plants from Seeds

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.

Holly Wadleigh and VP Gail Brooks giving her the speakers gift, A custom wooden pen handcrafted by MG
Ron Herbster.
Introducing Intern Hugh Nichols
Introducing Intern Lynne May
Speaker Holly Wadleigh with Montevallo Organic Community Gardens
Introducing Intern Marguerite Hoomes

April Gardening Activities

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.bright pink azalea
  • 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.

Source: Alabama Cooperative Extension System
Alabama Gardening Calendar

Perennials of Master Gardeners

The Garden of Master Gardeners has many perennials. Those are our members that keep coming back, year after year. We also have many octogenarians and nonagenarians in our Garden of Members. There are also plants that can live to be 100. Some that come to mind are the Jade plant and Christmas cacti. Peonies are another plant that can live on and on for years, as can the orchid.  Ferns can also live to be 100 or more.  So like the plants that live on and on, we at Chilton County Master Gardeners Association celebrate our octogenarians and nonagenarians and recognize them each year to let them know how much they are appreciated. Photos by John Sanders, Audrey Giles, and Pixabay.

Pruning Techniques

Sharon Hosch, head lead at the Demo Garden, came to speak to the intern class today about the Demonstration Garden that they maintain at the Chilton Research and Extension Center. She explained to them what’s at the Demo Garden and how it’s maintained, the schedule they normally work, and how they could earn hours by helping there. Then Pat introduced to the interns our Secretary, Treasia Bennett. Every year we invite the officers to come by and be introduced to the new intern class.
The morning zoom class was “What Did I Eat Yesterday?” led by Dani Carol from the Auburn Home Grounds Team. The class was about growing vegetables and fruits in your home garden.
After lunch, Pat Farmer introduced Harriett Jackson, who is over the Pollinator Bed at the Demo Garden, and Ruby Moberg ( not pictured), who is lead over the Extension Office Gardens. Harriett demonstrated to the class how to prune the knock out roses at the Extension Office. The interns learned a valuable, hands on lesson today. Photos by Audrey Giles.

Sharon Hosch, Team Leader at the Demonstration GardenB
President Pat Farmer, introduces to the intern class our Secretary, Treasia Bennett
Harriett Jackson demonstrating pruning knock out roses.
Harriett Jackson knows all about pruning😄!
A beautiful tall yellow bearded Iris already in full bloom at the Extension Office
The class looks totally engrossed in the pruning lessons!

CCMGA Awards Day

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.

Photos by Audrey Giles and Diane Clapp

Antique Roses

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

Larry Jones about to lead Pledge of Allegiance
Alan Reed and Sondra Henley
Jason Powell talks on antique roses.
Jason Powell presents the program on Antique Roses
V. President Gail Brooks presents Jason Powell with speakers gift
Joan Barber wins door prize of potted antique rose.

Christmas Party Fun

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.

Members serving Christmas luncheon
Lanell Baker and Patty Frye serving salads for Christmas luncheon.
Clem Clapp & Rick Miller leading Pledge of Allegiance
Member receiving certification
Pat Farmer & Trisha Williams presenting Intern Victoria Brady with MG certification.
Trisha Williams presenting President Pat Farmer with gift.
Members having fun before the meeting.

Members enjoying Christmas luncheon
Intern Victoria Brady and husband.
Retired ACES Gay West visiting meeting
Retired ACES Coordinator Gay West(left) visiting meeting.
We were glad to see ACES Office manager Elaine Densmore at the Christmas luncheon!
Members enjoying Christmas luncheon
V. Pres. Charla Doucet and Lanell Baker.
The Dirty Santa presents waiting!
Member playing Dirty Santa
Clem Clapp admiring a Dirty Santa gift.
Member playing Dirty Santa
Cheryl Herbster likes her’s!
Member playing Dirty Santa
Sharon Hosch looks stumped!