Quote of the Month

Earth is here so kind,

that just tickle her with a hoe

and she laughs with a harvest.

~Douglas William Jerrold,
about Australia, A Land of Plenty


The Extension Express

Lisa Johnson

Dane County/UW-EXT Horticulture Educator 
Teaching Garden
The Teaching Garden is coming right along and looking good after the last work day where much weeding and planting was accomplished. Thanks everybody for all your work!! We still have more weeding and a lot of mulch-moving to go, but things are definitely looking good now. Stay tuned for a demonstration of EAB insecticide that we hope to hold in the next few weeks. Briana Frank, a master gardener student who is an arborist has offered to do the demo. I’ll send an email soon. Should be interesting! While we lost several trees and shrubs in this year in the garden due to the lingering drought effects and the cold winter (our Parrotia, a Korean maple, our ‘Polar Joy’ tree rose, a Kousa dogwood, a Carolina silverbell and several ‘Mops’ falsecypress), it could’ve been worse. I’m looking at it as an opportunity to purchase more trees and shrubs next year that we can test here in the garden. That is, after all, one of its purposes! And you learn from failures as well as successes (it just isn’t quite as much fun). Anyway, many of the woody plants are looking really good and some I’ll have to prune rather aggressively next spring—so be sure to come to next year’s pruning workshop at the end of March!
Programming Potpourri
In June, I partnered with Marla Eddy, City of Madison forester and Shelly Strom of Community Groundworks to do three community presentations on EAB. Interest is picking up around the county and I hope we can do a couple more this fall to get the word out. If you are interested in becoming an ash ambassador and bringing the message about looking for, reporting and managing EAB to your community, contact Shelly about a potential presentation in your area. Her email is If you are interested in a potential EAB talk for a community in Dane County, contact me for more information. I also was on Garden Talk, and did a presentation for my neighborhood association on container gardening, and one at Centro Hispano on rain gardens. I’ve also helped there planting the vegetable and rain gardens—it’s been a great opportunity to meet members of the Hispanic community and they’ve been kind enough to let me practice my Spanish. I also gave a talk about the master gardener volunteer program at the Middleton Rotary—thanks to MGV Marie Udulutch for inviting me! And I gave a tour of the Teaching Garden to the Mendota Club—thanks MGV Diana Burke for asking! Both were fun programs to do!
Hort Short
This has been a good year for foliar diseases on cucumbers, squash and melons. These vining crops are referred to as ‘cucurbits’, in the same plant family, the Cucurbitaceae. Cucurbit powdery mildew is usually seen on the top surface of the leaves and looks like talcum powder. It typically develops during mild weather with high humidity and is caused by several closely related fungi that survive in plant debris or on infected plants, so garden cleanup is important in controlling this disease. Since powdery mildew is fairly host–specific, the powdery mildew you see on your cucurbits is not the same powdery mildew fungus that infects another unrelated type of plant. But even though it won’t ‘spread’ from one unrelated type of plant to another, its appearance indicates that weather conditions are favorable for its development on many other plants, and it can spread among other cucurbits.  On many plants, powdery mildew is a cosmetic, non-lethal (though annoying) disease.  However, on cucurbits, powdery mildew can cause major leaf loss. Grow varieties of cucurbits that are resistant or tolerant if you consistently have problems with powdery mildew.  A combination of baking soda (1.5 tablespoons) and light weight horticultural (e.g., Sunpray®) oil (3 tablespoons) in water (1 gallon) has been shown to be effective for powdery mildew control, but it won’t kill fungus that is already there. It can be effective in preventing new infections from starting. It needs to be re-applied often--after a rain or if the leaves get excessively wet during watering, and during active growth, so new leaf tissue is protected. Other fungicidal products may be available at your local garden center—but be sure to read the label to make sure the product is labeled for cucurbit powdery mildew. Visit

Thank you!

Thanks to: Rosanne Horne, Marilyn Sallee, Diane Amundson, Page Danley, Suzy Bowditch, Lori Nelsen, Mary Pinkerton, Libby Howting, Anne Lies, Nina Harmes, Marie Udulutch,  Jan Blakeslee, Theresa Pillar-Groesbeck, Sharon Wagner, Pat Tillman, Gail Piper, Mary Hanaway, Joan Fitzgerald, Frankie Fuller, Lynn Berton, Pat Cartwright, B’Ann Gabelt, Edie Grossen, Mary Young, Sharon Wagner, Jane Nicholson, Kris Gabert, Pam Walker, Barb Buelow, Gail Juszczak, Cynthia Snyder, Alyssa Neuser, Elizabeth Brick, Corinna Wells, Susie Herlache, Susan Jacobs, Peggy Mravik, Jennifer Anderson, Susie Herlache, Renee Ostrowski, Andrea Langer, Dave Thompson, Cheryl Deering, Randy Deering, Cathy Sullivan, Jessica Starke, Jonathan Davis, Jackie Winchester and Peg Schumann. Hope I got everyone!

We couldn't do it without you!

Green Thumb Tuesday

   ~~a get together for MGVs~~

Join us on August 5 
5:00 - 7:00 p.m. at 
Monona Gardens Restaurant
6501 Bridge Road, Madison 

Topic:  Climate Change and Your Garden

What have you noticed over the past few years that you consider to be related to the changes in our climate? Open discussion.

Green Thumb Tuesday is the time and place to relax, enjoy food and/or beverage and talk about gardening.

No registration is necessary, but is nice for seating planning.

Food and beverage are available from the restaurant's menu and separate checks are available.

Contact Dana Warren,  608-833-5703, for further information and to RSVP.

Garden Tours

Allen Centennial Garden Tour
620 Babcock Drive, Madison

Wednesday, August 27 at 9:00 a.m.
Join MAMGA for a private tour of Allen Centennial Gardens lead by executive director, Ed Lyon!

Allen Centennial Gardens is a public botanical garden that serves as an outdoor classroom for the Horticulture Department of the University of Wisconsin in Madison. The 2.5 acre garden demonstrates thousands of ornamental plants including annual flowers, perennials, tropicals and temperannuals, deciduous trees and shrubs and conifers including 21 individually themed gardens. Landscape architecture and landscape design styles are featured and highlighted.
Ed Lyon has held the Director position at Allen Centennial Gardens since 2008. In addition to teaching and gardening there, he speaks and lectures for both public and professional audiences across the Midwest and writes for magazines such as Chicagoland Gardening, Wisconsin Gardening, Nursery Management Pro, and American Nurseryman. He writes the "Ask the Expert" column for Wisconsin Gardening as well as feature articles and a regular regional report on southern Wisconsin for Chicagoland Gardening. He is emphatic about focusing on gardening with regionality as a primary focus and is also an avid photographer and very entertaining tour guide!
Registration is required.
Contact: Ed Meachen at to register. Indicate number of people in your group.

Registration deadline:  Monday, August 25

Website/Online Link for More Information:

The tour is free to MAMGA members.


Events of Interest in 2014  

Mark your 2014 calendars for the following out-of-Madison events:  

Beekeeping Class

The beekeepers of far northern Wisconsin and Upper Michigan are offering a "Beekeeping for Beginners" class in Eagle River, WI.  This hands-on class will cover everything you need for your first year of beekeeping, with props galore, free catalogues, and morning coffee. 

Saturday, September 27, 2014, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., cost $40.  Instructor and registrar is Jeanne Hansen, 608-244-5094, email: 

Volunteer Opportunities

The Dunn’s Marsh Neighborhood Association is looking for an MGV to care for its neighborhood sign on the Beltline frontage road near Seminole Highway. The sign has a native prairie plant garden around it that needs seasonal care, primarily pulling weeds.

We can provide a plant list and also meet with a volunteer.  We also have a neighborhood resident who is willing to help care for the sign planting – she just needs to learn to identify the native plants so she doesn’t pull them by mistake.

If you are interested in this volunteer oppotunity, contact Mary Mullen, President, Dunn’s Marsh Neighborhood Association at 
608-298-0843 or

Help please:  New homeowner seeks assistance identifying plants, beneficial groundcovers and weeds on established yard in the Vilas area in Madison.  The home is on the corner of Lincoln and Adams Streets.

If you are interested in this volunteer opportunity call Kathy Wall at 608-256-9489 or email



Paid Employment Position

Ganshert Nursing and Landscapes

Office/Marketing Manager Position
Looking for an individual who has administrative or marketing background (horticulture experience/knowledge a plus) to assist in the many diversified tasks involved in running a full-service landscape design/install company. Duties include managing office operations; including client relations, marketing, sales support, and human resource and payroll functions. Approximately 40 hours per week during busy season (April thru Nov.), reduced hours during off-season.

Office Operations
Responsible for communicating and maintaining our company image through consistency of internal and external marketing and client communication. Work with sales staff and seasonal office staff to schedule client appointments and project-related communication with designers. Administers the company’s HR functions including: health and dental insurances; worker’s compensation, COBRA; retirement plan, and personnel records. Input confidential employee information and process bi-weekly payroll through ADP.

Education and Experience
An associate degree in business /marketing or a related field is preferred or equivalent experience. Must have a working knowledge of a variety of computer software applications in word processing, spreadsheets, database, presentation software, Publisher and (MSWord, Excel, PowerPoint, etc.)

Work requires continual attention to detail, establishing priorities, and ongoing client and staff communication. Must have a demonstrated ability to multi-task. Able to problem-solve and make informed decisions. Must be proactive in communicating and approaching issues and/or problems, and maintain confidences. 

Ganshert Nursery & Landscapes is a medium-size, reputable Fitchburg design/install landscape contracting company serving the surrounding communities for over 60 years. GN&L prides itself on offering creativity and quality to their clients. We are a fun, energetic, and client driven company seeking people with the same qualities.
If interested, please email resume to  Subject: Office Manager / Marketing Position

Note:  Work done for pay cannot be counted as MGV volunteer hours.

Please help: I am in desperate need of help in my gardens. My husband and I live on a farm between Evansville and Edgerton. We have professional landscaping around the house and a huge shade garden adjacent. The weeds have gotten the best of me for the first time this year. (I'm 68 and running out of steam). I need someone(s) that knows their weeds and can recognize the good stuff. I'm willing to pay well for good help. Our company (Agrecol) grows prairie plants and grasses on the farm here. (See

Note:  Work done for pay cannot be counted as MGV volunteer hours.

Ask a Master Gardener (AAMG)

Schedule for 2014

Monona Ahuska Park on Broadway, Sundays 10-1, Aug 3, 17; Sept 7, 21; Oct 5, 19

Sun Prairie Main and Church St., behind City Hall Saturdays 8-11, Aug 2, 16; Sept 6, 20; Oct 4, 18

Westside Farmers Market at DOT, Segoe & Sheboygan, Saturdays  8-11, Aug 2, 16; Sept 6, 20; Oct 4, 18
For more information, contact Lisa Johnson, Extension Horticulture Educator (

See you at the markets!


Teaching Garden Work Days

2014 Scheduled Teaching Garden Workdays

MGV students need 6 hours in the Teaching Garden to certify.
**If you need to complete your Teaching Garden hours at other dates or times, talk to Lisa or Joe when you can schedule this.**
Workdays generally run from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.; some are in the evening on weekdays and are noted below. You can come in and leave when you need to. There is a sign-in sheet so you can record how many hours you stayed. Tasks include seeding at the office (usually during weekdays--possibly some evenings), planting, weeding, fertilizing, watering, pruning, labeling, painting and installing signs, indoor plant care, spreading mulch, helping with the children’s programs, helping put together the virtual garden tour and the qr-code info and labels. 

August 9, 23
September 6, 14 (11-2, MAMGA picnic), 20
October 11, 25

As always, don't forget to record your Volunteer hours so you can report them in October. 

MGV HOURS Reminder

This year certified MGVs will be honored at the Graduation in October.  We will be looking for those who do a lot, in hours and special service.  So please keep track of what you have done as a Master Gardener Volunteer and be sure to send in your report early so we can tally it before graduation.  Thanks.

Marilyn Sallee, Chair Graduation Committee

Continuing Education Opportunities

Check back in September for potential opportunities.  

Reminder:  MGV reporting information is due October 1, 2014. You will need 10 continuing education hours to be recertified as an MGV in 2015.

Garden Reflections

by Joan Fitzgerald, MGV, PHA

Welcome August!

At this time of the year we hear folks starting to exclaim, "Where did the year go?" Yes, 7/12 ths of 2014 is over!

I worked the Horticulture Helpline alone in early July.  I had a great experience in that I was able to answer the questions and provide written information to five residents of Dane Co.  I answered questions using Extension Fact Sheets about everything from ridding one's yard of chipmunks to getting rid of Japanese beetles in the yard. 

I encourage MAMGA members to consider becoming a helpline volunteer. Lisa offers training in late summer I believe.  We often work in pairs.  Advantages of working the helpline include learning about a variety of topics as you research answers for state residents as well as helping out residents tackle difficult issues in their yards and gardens. I went home mighty content the day I was able to answer questions and help those five people who called in to the helpline.

Enjoy the "dog days" of summer!


Plant of the Month

-- Phlox --

By Jackie Winchester, MGV

Phlox paniculata is commonly known as garden phlox and is a robust, upright perennial that reaches 2 to 4 feet tall.  Phlox blooms in July and August, as well as through September if deadheaded. Depending on the cultivar, flowers may be in shades of white, coral, pink, red, lavender or violet and some have a lighter or darker eye and some have variegated leaves. Many of the cultivars are fragrant and the scent is most evident during the evening hours.  Phlox will attract butterflies and hummingbirds to the garden.  They should be grown in fertile, moist soil.

Phlox can be propagated by seed or divided in autumn or spring. When phlox are allowed to self-seed in the garden, they may revert to a more vigorous plant with lavender-rose flowers.

Common problems with phlox include Powdery mildew, stem canker, rust, Southern blight, stem nematodes, leaf miners, and caterpillars.


Gardening Tip

Mud Baths for Butterflies

To attract butterflies to your garden, make a mud bath. Fill a shallow bowl with 2 inches of clay, add water, and mix until muddy. Keep wet and butterflies will sip the water and minerals in the soil.



From the Bookshelf

Beatrix Potter's Gardening Life: The Plants and Places that Inspired the Classic Children's Tales

by Marta McDowell

There aren’t many books more beloved than The Tale of Peter Rabbit and even fewer authors as iconic as Beatrix Potter. More than 150 million copies of her books have sold worldwide and interest in her work and life remains high. And her characters—Peter Rabbit, Jemima Puddle Duck, and all the rest—exist in a charmed world filled with flowers and gardens. Beatrix Potter’s Gardening Life is the first book to explore the origins of Beatrix Potter’s love of gardening and plants and show how this passion came to be reflected in her work. The book begins with a gardener’s biography, highlighting the key moments and places throughout her life that helped define her, including her home Hill Top Farm in England's Lake District. Next, the reader follows Beatrix Potter through a year in her garden, with a season-by-season overview of what is blooming that truly brings her gardens alive. The book culminates in a traveler’s guide, with information on how and where to visit Potter’s gardens today. 

Richly illustrated and filled with quotations from her books, letters, and journals, it is essential reading for all who know and cherish Beatrix Potter’s classic tales.

Snippets . . .

KEEP FINGERNAILS CLEAN: To prevent accumulating dirt under your fingernails while you work in the garden, draw your fingernails across a bar of soap and you'll effectively seal the undersides of your nails so dirt can't collect beneath them. Then, after you've finished in the garden, use a nailbrush to remove the soap and your nails will be sparkling clean.


XERISCAPING (often incorrectly called zero-scaping or xeroscaping) is landscaping and gardening that reduces or eliminates the need for supplemental water from irrigation. It is promoted in regions that do not have easily accessible, plentiful, or reliable supplies of fresh water, and is gaining acceptance in other areas as access to water becomes more limited. Xeriscaping may be an alternative to various types of traditional gardening.

In some areas, terms such as water-conserving landscapes, drought-tolerant landscaping, and smart scaping are used instead. Plants whose natural requirements are appropriate to the local climate are emphasized, and care is taken to avoid losing water to evaporation and run-off. The specific plants used in xeriscaping depend upon the climate. Xeriscaping is different from natural landscaping, because the emphasis in xeriscaping is on selection of plants for water conservation, not necessarily selecting native plants.

Source:  Wikipedia

To learn more about xeriscaping and plants you can plant in this environment, go to

Source:  Gardener to Gardener,

Master Gardener Volunteer Profile

by Jane deBroux, MGV

[Editor's note: this article was published in Grow, Wisconsin's Magazine for the Life Sciences Summer 2014.  The article is printed here in compliance with the magazine's permission policy.]

THREE YEARS AGO I WAS AT A COMPLETE loss when it came to the grounds surrounding my home. What was I going to do with a huge yard overrun with weeds and invasive species? There wasn’t a single flowerbed, but there were two large crabapples with spotty leaves and burned-looking bark. Our fence line was populated with a tight row of buckthorn and invasive honeysuckle, and there was garlic mustard everywhere. I learned this sad fact from an arborist we had hired to trim broken branches from the silver maple on our property. Determined to forge ahead and make something of the yard, I had him take out the diseased trees and the large buckthorn and honeysuckle bushes. After he finished, nothing remained but a few very old and overgrown lilacs, two peony plants, and a few bushes around the perimeter of our lawn.

I was determined to turn my yard into something beautiful, but it was clear I needed help. Trial and error did little but show me how much I had to learn. As I began to investigate ways to acquire gardening expertise, people would mention advice from “master gardeners,” a title that conjured images of retired ladies in wide-brimmed hats and gloves tending gardens with lots and lots of rose bushes. I also thought of master gardener training as a kind of finishing school for skilled gardeners rather than a program that welcomed beginners.

To read the entire article, click .

What's the Difference

Between MAMGA, WIMGA &
Certified Master Gardener Volunteers?


MAMGA, the Madison Area Master Gardeners Association, is a local non-profit organization of persons who have completed the basic Master Gardener training course, or are current students. MAMGA members may or may not also be currently certified Master Gardener Volunteers. MAMGA exists to provide education, service, and fellowship opportunities for its members. Membership costs $15 per year. MAMGA members receive discounts at many local nurseries, participate in educational programs and garden tours throughout the year, and are invited to social events.

WIMGA, the Wisconsin Master Gardeners Association, is a state-wide non-profit organization of persons who have completed the basic Master Gardener course, or are current students. Most MAMGA members also choose to join WIMGA, but doing so is not required. WIMGA membership costs $5 per year. WIMGA members receive periodic newsletters and other informational communications from the state master gardener office. WIMGA also hosts a statewide master gardener conference each year.

Certified Master Gardener Volunteers have completed the basic Master Gardener training course and have satisfied annual volunteer service and continuing education requirements. Most Certified Master Gardener Volunteers choose to join MAMGA and/or WIMGA, but are not required to do so. There is no cost to be certified as a Master Gardener Volunteer. Certified Master Gardener Volunteers assist gardeners through the local UW-Extension Office by serving as plant health advisors, answering hotline calls, tending the Teaching Garden, and performing various other activities that support the UW-Extension Horticulture Program and reach out into the community. Certified Master Gardener Volunteers also perform lots of other gardening outreach and service at places like University Display Gardens, Allen Centennial Garden, Olbrich Gardens, the UW Arboretum, churches, community gardens, and many other venues.

University of Wisconsin-Extension, U.S. Department of Agriculture and Wisconsin counties cooperating. UW-Extension provides equal opportunities in employment and programming, including Title IX and ADA.



Dane Co. UW Extension Horticulture Program

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2013-14 MGV Hours Reporting Form
2014 MAMGA Membership Form
2014 Volunteer Interest Form

Calendar of Events

  ~local events of interest~

For reporting purposes:
Items in green count as CE credits for re-certifying MGVs.
Items in red count as a MAMGA event.

August 1
Four Elements Herbal Farm Tour
8:00 a.m. departure
North Freedom, WI

August 5
Green Thumb Tuesday

August 9
Teaching garden work day
9:00 - 2:30
5201 Fen Oak Ct., Madison

August 12
West Ag Research Station Tour
6:30 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.

August 23
Teaching garden work day
9:00 - 2:30
5201 Fen Oak Ct., Madison

August 27
Allen Centennial Garden Tour
9:00 a.m.
620 Babcock Drive, Madison

September 6
Teaching garden work day
9:00 - 2:30
5201 Fen Oak Ct., Madison

September 14
MAMGA picnic

Details in September newsletter

September 20
Teaching garden work day
9:00 - 2:30
5201 Fen Oak Ct., Madison

September 27
Beekeeping Class
9:00 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Eagle River

October 11
Teaching garden work day
9:00 - 2:30
5201 Fen Oak Ct., Madison

October 25
Teaching garden work day
9:00 - 2:30
5201 Fen Oak Ct., Madison

More Wisconsin Events
Also see "Events" column 

Contact Info

P.O. Box 259318
Madison, WI 53725
Phone: (608) 224-3721

Dedicated gardeners promoting responsible gardening through education, volunteer service, and fellowship.

Catherine Murray - President
Cheri Schweitzer
Cathy Cryor Burgweger - Treas
Aleta Murray - WIMGA Rep
Steve Hoffland
Dana Warren - Interim Secretary
Percy Mather
Dennis Tande
Bonnie Mitchell
Ed Meachen - President Elect
Vacant, Alternate
Lisa Johnson (Ex-officio Advisor)

Joan Fitzgerald, E-News Editor

MAMGA is a 501(c)(3) charitable nonprofit organization.
Dane Co. UW Extension
1 Fen Oak Court, Suite 138
Madison, WI 53718-8812
Phone: 608-224-3715

Lisa Johnson, Dane Co. UWEX  Horticulture Educator
Phone: 608-224-3715 
FAX: 608-224-3727

Joe Muellenberg, Horticulture Program Coordinator
Youth Educator
GROW Leader
Phone: 608-224-3709
FAX: 608-224-3727

Dr. Susan E. Rice Mahr
Master Gardener Program Coordinator
Phone: (608) 265-4504
(FAX: (608) 262-4743

Mike Maddox
MG Program Director
Phone: 608-265-4536

WI Master Gardener website:

MG Program Office Blog


Please note that event cancellations or other inclement weather announcements for MAMGA events will be posted on our website.

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