Quote of the Month
"Roses are red,
Violets are blue;
But they don't get around
Like the dandelions do."
- Slim Acres
The President's Message
From Ed Meachen, MGV
I have been so immersed in my yard and gardens that I confess, I haven’t had a great deal of time to think about MAMGA issues. I’ve run into some of you at Stoughton Gardens, at Kopkes, at the Arboretum native plant sale, at Flower Factory…at practically everywhere plants are sold. I expect I will have seen many of you at the MGV Extension Plant Sale on May 17th. Just as I finish getting the yard in shape, I have to start all over again!
But the Board and some other MAMGA members have been managing to balance actual gardening with some organizational business in May. You may already have seen the fruit of this labor, but if not yet, you will very shortly in June. Two surveys will arrive in your email. Please respond to both. One survey asks your opinion about your current satisfaction with MAMGA, and invites you to offer opinions about how to improve our services. This is really an important survey because it will provide the planning group with data that will help us improve MAMGA for the next decade. You may not be aware of this fact, but 2015 is the 30th anniversary of the founding of our organization. The last time we did any meaningful planning was in 2005. So as we embark on our next decade, your advice and guidance will be critically important. Please return your filled-out survey online to our email or by mail to our PO Box.
The second survey will ask you if you would be interested in purchasing a MAMGA logo tote bag, baseball style cap, short sleeve tee shirt, or hoodie for fall gardening (pullover or zippered). We already have the totes in hand…and they are very heavy duty, most useful in your trips to farmer’s markets. The caps are adjustable and fit anyone. But we’ll need your shirt and hoodie sizes if you wish to purchase either of these MAMGA items. You don’t need to be a MAMGA member to own any of these items, so feel free to order for family and friends.
It will be great to see you next spring at your local garden store decked out in MAMGA gear! Happy June gardening.
The Extension Express
From Lisa Johnson
Dane County UWEXT Horticulture Educator
The annual plant sale has grown every year, and this year our advertising was really successful. Thanks go to all of you who put up posters for us or advertised in other ways. We had more people than I’ve ever seen before at the sale. Our plant sale committee, headed by MGVs Karen Allenstein and Jane Graham also included Diane Amundson, Terri Patwell, Joan Boll and Peggy Mravik. Everyone worked really hard and what a wonderful outcome!! We made $3740 the first day (a record) and sales continued through the end of May. Remaining material will be donated to community and school gardens. We really lucked out weather-wise as well—the airport received over 1.5 inches of rain, but we only got a sprinkle in spite of threatening skies and lots of wind. Here are some photos.
L to R Jane Graham, Karen Allenstein, Diane Amundson, Peggy Mravik
L to R Terri Patwell, Joan Boll
Since April I’ve done an Arbor Day event at Crestwood Elementary, helped residents start seeds at the Parkside Apartments, more seeds at Centro Hispano, helped out with the plant sale and planted rhubarb and helped deliver compost to the Porchlight Gardens among other things. We still could use a couple more people to help out with the gardens at Porchlight on the east side on June 2 from 4-7 pm, so please contact me if you are interested—there will be more opportunities in the future. Planning and planting for Farm Tech Days is chugging along. Watch for more opportunities to help plant, especially right before the event August 19-24, and also helping to water the days of the event August 25-27. The event will be held at the Statz Brothers Farm in Sun Prairie. Visit www.danecofarmtech.com to learn more.
Hort Short: Lycoris: The ‘Magic’ Lily
Perhaps you know these plants by one of their many other names, such as surprise lilies, spider lilies, mystery lilies, resurrection lilies, hardy amaryllis or even ‘naked ladies.' All these colorful common names have been applied to late summer-blooming plants in the genus Lycoris. The reason that they have inspired some of the interesting common names above is that they bloom without any accompanying foliage. The flowers look like they just jumped out of the ground—like magic! Or, as some folks prefer, naked: without any leaves. Flowers appear from late July through August in our area. The plants DO have leaves, they just appear in a different season (spring in southern Wisconsin). Although the tall, strap-like foliage is quite vigorous, it is not very exciting to look at, and by the time the plants flower, the leaves have quietly withered away, leaving no trace behind.
Lycoris plants belong to the amaryllis family. There are approximately 23 species and most are native to China or Japan. All Lycoris plants are somewhat poisonous if eaten. They contain an alkaloid called lycorine that will cause a low-level toxicity reaction if the plant is ingested. Some symptoms include abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. The moral of the story of course, is to avoid eating the plant, and to avoid planting it where small children or pets might be endangered.
Lycoris flowers come in a wide range of colors. Depending on the species, the flowers may be red, pink, yellow or white. New cultivars are now being developed, and will probably broaden the spectrum of available colors even further.
All of the Lycoris flowers have long arching stamens and a pistil that extend as far or farther than the tips of the petals. Stamens are the male, pollen-carrying part of the flower, and the pistil is the female pollen receptor. They give the flower its exotic ‘spidery’ look that is reflected in the common name ‘spider lily’. The petals are long and narrow too, which adds to the spidery look. In some species, the petals are also rippled along the edges. Flowers are generally three to four inches wide and borne in a cluster on top of the 18-24-inch-tall stems. Unfortunately many of the plants available in the trade are sterile hybrid triploids and will not produce seed readily.
Most of the species are not fully hardy in our area. The species that is most commonly found in gardens in the northern United States is Lycoris squamigera, or pink surprise lily. This species has pink flowers with smooth-edged petals. The bulbs should be planted in July before they flower, with the neck of the bulb just above the soil line. The plants will grow in partial shade to full sun and they tolerate our heavy clay soils quite well. Plant the bulbs in clusters for the best display. Do not overwater the bulbs during their dormant season. You can apply a light mulch to help with overwintering, especially if you live in USDA Zone 4. Then sit back and enjoy the magic!
Events for Gardeners
Green Thumb Tuesday
~~a get together for MGVs~~
Tuesday, June 2, 2015
Tour and Lunch Meeting
12:30 - 2:30 p.m.
Oakwood Village University
Woods Nature Preserve
6205 Mineral Point Rd, Madison
Topic: Guided tour of the Nature Preserve and various garden spaces
Lunch and tour hosted by Oakwood Village. Registration required.
Contact: Dana Warren, 608-833-5703 or email
Community Garden Tours
Sponsored by MAMGA
This event is a MAMGA event for reporting purposes.
Mark your calendars for four outstanding Community Garden tours.
McFarland Community Garden
10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on Thursday June 4th
Troy Community Garden
1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 4th
Eagle Heights Community Garden
9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Saturday, June 27th
Marlborough Community Garden
1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturday, June 27th
We will meet at the McFarland Community Garden, 5710 Anthony St. McFarland, at 10 a.m. June 4th. [for parking and other information visit www.mcfarlandcommunitygarden.org]. We’ll tour the garden with Katie Gletty-Syoen, discuss garden management, find out what kinds of MGV activities are needed, and learn about the garden’s future plans. This is a relatively new community garden with some special features.
We’ll break for lunch at 11:30, and reconvene at Troy Community Gardens, 3601 Memorial Dr. Madison, at 1 p.m. [for parking and directions visit www.communitygroundworks.org or do a google map search]. We’ll tour the gardens with Jill Schneider and Shelly Strom, and learn about how Troy is managed, and find out more about the need for MGVs. Our Troy tour will conclude at 2:30.
On June 27th at 9:30 a.m. we will meet at Eagle Heights Community Gardens, 3016 Lake Mendota Dr., Madison. [for more information and where to park, visit www.eagleheightsgardens.org and/or type in Eagle Heights Parking to get a google map of parking areas nearby]. Eagle Heights was established in 1963, so is one of the oldest and largest community gardens in the country. The gardens host students and residents from around the world—according to the web site, 60 languages are spoken by gardeners here. We will conclude the tour at 11:30 a.m.
We’ll break for lunch at 11:30, and reconvene at Marlborough Community Garden, 2222 Whenona Dr. Madison at 1 p.m. Going south on Seminole Hwy turn right (west) onto Milford Rd—3 blks south of the beltline. Milford Rd meets Whenona Dr. at the park entrance. There is street parking. [for more information visit https://site.google.com/site/marlboroughgardensmadison/] . Mary Mullen will give us a tour around this southwest side community gardens farmed by families of several different ethnic backgounds. The tour will conclude at 2:30 p.m.
These tours are open to all MAMGA members and their guests. Please contact Ed Meachen (email@example.com) or Barb Klasinski (firstname.lastname@example.org) to let us know if you are interested in the June 4th and/or the June 27th tours. You may choose to visit just one of the community gardens or all four.
Speakers Bureau Training
Master Gardener Volunteer
Speakers Bureau Training
Friday, June 5, 1:00-3:30
5201 Fen Oak Drive
(light refreshments provided)
& Teaching Garden Work Day
This event is a MAMGA for volunteer hours reporting.
On Saturday June 13, stop by the Teaching Garden starting at 9 a.m. to help weed, water, and mulch the site. You provide the labor and MAMGA will provide the lunch. To help us estimate the amount of food needed, email us at email@example.com
no later than June 8 if you plan to have lunch. Stay for any time that fits your schedule.
Windsor Area Garden Club Plant Sale
Our annual plant sale will be held at the DeForest Dragon Art Fair on Saturday, June 6, 9:00 AM-3:30 PM. We will be located near the historical Lyster House.
As always, we will have a wide variety of tried and true perennial plant divisions from our own gardens along with annuals, veggies and shrubs.
Master Gardener Volunteers will be available to help answer your gardening questions.
100% of our profits will be donated to local charities.
MAMGA and WHPS Garden Tours
Mark your calendars for the annual MAMGA and Wisconsin Hardy Plant Society (WHPS) garden tours. The tour dates are July 14 and 23. A complete description of the tours and maps will be provided in the July newsletter.
Wisconsin Master Gardener Association (WIMGA)
July 31 - August 1, 2015
La Crosse, WI
Theme: Life is Gardening. Learn from the Past. Plant for the Future. For registration and other information about the conference, click here.
WIMGA Conference & Photo Contest
The Bluff Country Master Gardeners are excited to announce the sponsorship of a photo contest in conjunction with the 2015 Wisconsin Master Gardeners Association Annual Conference, July 31-August 1 in La Crosse, WI. Both the conference and the photo contest are open to the public. Amateur photographers are invited to submit their favorite garden photos in any of five categories.
Cash prizes and certificates will be awarded in each category and for the People's Choice Award, which will be selected by conference attendees. Photos will be displayed on August 1 during the conference at the La Crosse Center and at the La Crosse Public Library during the month of August. The deadline to submit entries is June 30.
- plant portraits - close-ups of flowers and foliage
- edibles - produce, fruits and vegetables
- black and white - any garden subject
- fauna - critters in the garden
- garden landscapes - overall views of gardens
Information about the photo contest and the conference can be found on the Bluff Country Master Gardeners website: http://www.bluffcountrymastergardeners.org/. You can go directly to the entry form and contest rules by the link below. http://www.bluffcountrymastergardeners.org/photography-contest.html.
International Master Gardener
September 22–25, 2015
Mid-America Center, Council Bluffs, Iowa
Theme: Horizontal Horizons in the Heartland
For registration and other information about the conference, click here.
The ARC Maternal and Infant Program
is a 12 bed halfway house for pregnant/post partum women and their babies located on Madison's eastside. The program is designed to offer women offenders an opportunity to deliver healthy babies and to learn to care for and bond with their infants in a community setting. The program helps women address issues surrounding parenting, relationships, cognitive interventions, substance abuse, vocational education, healthy infant care and leisure activities. The program provides structure and support as well as personal responsibility. Referrals to service providers and community support meetings are also an important piece of the program.
The residents are encouraged to connect with positive people in the community and to build a healthy network of support. Building support now assists in the transition back to the community and helps improve the quality of the life of the woman and her family.
We are looking for master gardeners to us with our 12 raised flower/vegetable beds. Most of our women are inexperienced gardeners and really need help with weeding and caring for plants. We have a few tools but can offer very limited financial support. The actual beds have been neglected for the past few years and will require a little TLC in the form of soil and compost.
We would love any help you can offer and it should not exceed an hour or so a week. The residents will play an active role in the planning and care of the garden. We are very excited for any help you can provide!!
Contact Linda VanTol at firstname.lastname@example.org
if you are interested in working with this worthy cause.
MAMGA Needs Your Computer Skills
Can you help manage our member information, help maintain our website, or monitor our email requests? MAMGA has several projects that would take just an hour or two and can be done at your home. Email email@example.com or use the CONTACT US function on the MAMGA webpage (www.mamgawi.org).
Wisconsin Farm Technology Days
The 2015 Wisconsin Farm Technology Days is an annual event in the state that is held in a different county each year. This is the year it is being held in Dane County at the Statz Bros. family
farms in the town of Sun Prairie. UW-Extension Horticultural specialists and Dane County Master Gardeners play a major role in this event. Planning for MGV roles in educational outreach, garden demonstrations, and other activities are underway.
Contact Lisa Johnson at firstname.lastname@example.org
or 608-224-3715 if you are interested in volunteering. It's a great way to help out Extension with your volunteer hours.
A current list of volunteer opportunities can be found on MAMGA's website www.mamgawi.org.
I am on the Board of our Sauk Heights Condo Association and we were thinking we would like to hire someone that is knowledgeable about plants to assist us in our landscaping maintenance. We are likely going to have a landscape designer lay out a plan and put in plants that are low maintenance (as many condo owners don't want landscaping responsibilities). However, we would need someone to consult with us on an annual or semiannual basis to assist with maintenance (cutting back, replacing, weeding, etc).
We would likely have our members volunteer to do the work, just in need of someone to tell us HOW to do the work. I would anticipate that this would be maybe a 1/2 day two times per year and it would be paid.
We are located on the far West side of Madison, just off of Old Sauk Rd.
If interested, contact Brett Borne at (608) 658-5120.
Teaching Garden Work Days
2015 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 for when you can schedule this.**
Workdays are generally Saturdays and run from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. 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.
June 13, 27
July 11, 25,
August 8, 15 (Farm Technology Days prep)
September 22 (Farm Technology Days prep), 26
October 10, 24
Keep a record of your volunteer hours
so you can report them in October.
by Joan Fitzgerald, MGV, PHA
Happy June! Here we are at June 1 and we are still having days that the temps feel more like October. I'm still doing some planting because of the cool, rainy weather.
During May I gave some thought to what I want my role to be in MAMGA and UW Extension. After much thought I decided that I will continue as the newsletter editor until the end of 2015, at which time I will turn the reins over to someone new. By the end of this year I will have been the newsletter editor for over three years. I've enjoyed the experience but believe it's time to move on to other activities in MAMGA and Extension.
If you have interest in becoming the newsletter editor I encourage you to contact the MAMGA President Ed Meachen to discuss the opportunity. I am also willing to talk to you about the duties involved and to train the next editor.
The experience has been great! It's been fun working with a variety of MGVs and Extension staff. Give it some thought and take a chance doing something new!
Plant of the Month
-- Basil --
from Jackie Winchester, MGV
Basil (Ocimum basilicum) is a leafy, fragrant annual herb with a bushy appearance. The most common type of basil is sweet basil and other types include purple basil that is less sweet than common basil, Lemon basil with a lemon flavor, and Thai basil with a licorice flavor. Different cultivars vary in leaf shape, scent, and color, from green to deep purple, with blue, white, burgundy, or pink flowers. Basil is easy to grow and works well in Italian dishes.
Grow basil in light, fertile, well-drained soil in a warm, sheltered site that gets at least 6 to 8 hours of full sun daily. The soil should be moist and well-drained and water freely during dry periods as basil plants like moisture. Make sure to pick the leaves regularly to encourage growth throughout the summer. After 6 weeks, pinch off the center shoot to prevent early flowering. If flowers do grow, just cut them off. Remember to pinch out the flower heads as soon as they appear to make sure that the leaves will continue growing. Every time a branch has six to eight leaves, repeat pruning the branches back to their first set of leaves.
Sow indoors and transplant outside, or sow in situ in early summer. To get a head start, start the seeds indoors 6 weeks before the last spring frost. After the seedlings have their first six leaves, prune to above the second set. After the last frost date, plant the seeds/seedlings in the ground about 1/4-inch deep. The soil should be around 70ºF for best growth. Plant the seeds/seedlings about 10 to 12 inches apart and they should grow to about 12 to 24 inches in height.
Common problems with basil plants include aphids, bacterial and fungal leaves, stem, and root diseases.
To allow good drainage in your container plantings, raise the pots off the ground or deck so water can seep out the drainage holes. This also will reduce the staining that can occur when pots sit directly on wooden steps or a deck. You can purchase pot feet or plant caddies from garden supply stores, or make your own pot feet using flat stones of similar size, rubber bumpers from the hardware store, or even old checkers from the game you never play anymore.
From the Bookshelf
Good Weed, Bad Weed
Author: Nancy Gift
Learn to recognize the good weeds from the bad ones. Who's who, what to do and why some deserve a second chance. Features 43 of North America's most common uninvited guests along with tasty weed recipes. Very easy to use; spiral-bound and full color photos of each weed make this the funnest guide to weeds ever! We found ourselves using this multiple times over the summer. 91 pages.
Snippets . . .
GROW BAGS: A GROWING TREND IN EDIBLE GARDENING:
An alternative to raised beds, heavy pots or traditional garden plots, grow bags make it easy to tuck edibles anywhere in the garden, porch or balcony.
Benefits of Grow Bags
• Permeable material allows for air and water circulation that is ideal for healthy roots.
• Material is cooler than black plastic pots that can overheat roots and damage the plant.
• Can be cleaned, folded and tucked away for winter storage.
• Some grow bags offer a drawstring top that is great for storing soil over the winter.
• Smaller bags make it easy to move plants to the most desirable growing locations.
• Bags are often made of recycled materials.
Choosing the Best Soil for Your Grow Bags A 2005 Missouri State University study revealed that plants in grow bags did best when planted in fully composted material. The composted material outperformed topsoil as well as soilless mix.- See more at: http://www.hortmag.com/weekly-tips/tools-materials/grow-bags-a-growing-trend-in-edible-gardening?et_mid=754326&rid=242172876#sthash.PbqNu9oI.dpuf
Source: Horticulture Smart Gardening
>, May 27, 2015
17 WAYS TO GET RID OF SQUIRRELS:
Get those pesky squirrels out of your garden once and for all with these tricks -- presented in photographs. See more at: http://www.hgtvgardens.com/animals-and-wildlife/ways-to-get-rid-of-squirrels?
Source: HGTV Gardens e-newsletter, week of May 26, 2015
June offers the most hours of daylight of any month of the year! For gardeners, this is a great boon, allowing them to concentrate on their fields and flowers. Click here to see your own sunrise and sunset times.
June is named for the Roman goddess Juno, patroness of marriage and women. Since ancient times, cultures have adopted June as the perfect time for revelry, weddings, and feasts. Know all of the months’ origins!
One old proverb says, “Calm weather in June sets corn in tune.” Like Goldilocks, gardeners hope for weather that is just right: not too hot, not too cold, not too wet, not too dry.
Even the tenderest plants—softies like basil andtomatoes—are put in the ground in June.
Folk wisdom tells us that plants will catch up by the end of the month regardless of how early we got them in the ground—thanks to the long hours of sunshine.
Source: The Old Farmer's Almanac, Almanac Companion Newsletter, May 26, 2015
Master Gardener Volunteer Profile
-- Bonnie Mitchell --
By Mary Collet, MGV
I met Bonnie at the April Green Thumb Tuesday, where she wowed us with her highly organized recordkeeping. No wonder that her garden appeared on the Olbrich tour in 2003! She has achieved the gardener’s dream—continual bloom. Her annual records of plant purchases list species, variety, color, pot size, quantity, and source; she also keeps the ID tags. Plans specify the location of each plant among her many beds, plus notes on culture and performance. Data are kept for perennials, annuals, trees, and shrubs. There’s a photo album as well.
Bonnie’s organizational skills were no doubt well utilized while she and her husband were raising two daughters and when she was in the workforce. She has a Master’s Degree in journalism and managed the campaign office for Bob Kastenmeier in 1982 and 1984 and for Ed Garvey in 1986. She later worked as manager of Brittingham House.
Her garden reaches its peak mid-summer, but the spring display is enchanting. Daffodils are ubiquitous throughout the garden, and Brunnera, a lovely fringed Dicentra, and emerging ferns and hosta grace the ephermerals bed. Pristine white tulips wave their long stems from pots. Bonnie decided to grow tulips in pots after losing bulbs to deer, rabbits, and other critters. When chipmunks continued to be a nuisance by digging and scattering the soil, Bonnie overlaid the soil with “chipmunk-sized” stones, which deter those rodents and also prevent rain from spattering soil onto the deck.
The backyard runs alongside a berm, the vestige of a landfill that separates Bonnie’s property from Elver Park and serves as a hiking trail. When the landfill was closed in 1979, Bonnie and her neighbors fought for the planting of a prairie and eventually succeeded. However, it cannot be restored through burning because of the continued presence of methane. The berm-side garden includes prairie plants, such as a 7-foot giant fleece flower—which Bonnie likens to “goatsbeard on steroids”—Indian cup plant, Queen-of-the-Prairie, and American senna.
Bonnie enjoys “painting with flowers.” One bed is planted in shades of orange and purple. It took three tries, says Bonnie, to get the right combination of color and plants, which have included sage, ‘Black and Blue’ Salvia, and three varieties of Heuchera (‘Marmalade,’ ‘Peach Melba,’ and ‘Carmel’). A charming Edelweiss honors Bonnie’s Austrian mother. There is a small herb garden. The only plants Bonnie no longer grows are vegetables, because she got tired of processing broccoli at midnight!
For 15 years, Bonnie has served as president of the Greentree Garden Club, which sponsors the garden at the Westside Post Office and maintains landscaping around park signs. When a tornado devastated Sherwood Forest Park, the club raised $1,500 to replace trees. A member of the MAMGA Board, Bonnie has served on the Annual Meeting Planning Committee, organized the silent auction, and chaired an ad hoc fundraising committee. A superb gardener and a strong believer in community: that’s Bonnie Mitchell!
What's the Difference
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.
Between MAMGA, WIMGA & Certified Master Gardener Volunteers?
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.