The President's Column

From Ed Meachen, MGV

Last month I gave you an update on the Annual Membership Meeting at the Aboretum on March 28th.  I wanted to share a little more detail about the meeting and let you know about some of the work the MAMGA Board has been doing over the winter. 

The meeting will begin at 10:30 with a silent auction and some time for getting acquainted with your fellow MGVs.  Luncheon will be at 11:30.  The keynote presentation by Marcia Carmichael will be at 12:15.  Her presentation will be followed by the MAMGA business meeting.  We should conclude by 1:30.  The cost of a ticket for MAMGA members this year will be $20 and for guests $25.  Last year tickets covered only half the cost of the luncheon.  Feedback from attendees that they would be willing to pay more to cover the costs,  and our aversion to run a deficit, convinced us to increase ticket costs for lunch without increasing the overall cost of the meeting.  

I am including a registration form in this newsletter (2015 Annual Meeting Registration.pdf) if you’d like to register early.  We’ll also be putting the registration form on the MAMGA website, and we’ll be sending out registration forms by mail to all MAMGA members in a few weeks.   

I know there is some confusion about if 2014 MAMGA members have paid their dues for 2015 because of last year’s opportunity to pay 2014 and 2015 membership dues for a reduced price.  If you failed to receive the newsletter in January, please accept my apology.  That may have happened because you thought you had paid your dues for two years, and you had paid for only 2014.  Or you may have paid for two years and we only recorded one year.  If you did not pay for membership in 2015 purposefully, please reconsider.  I think we have come up with some new and exciting social and educational events, including four major membership education events, and trips to gardens around Dane County and Wisconsin.  And, if you’re like me and purchase many plants each spring, you can get 10 or 20% discounts at many local nurseries and greenhouses.  I saved more money than the cost of my membership and my ticket for the membership meeting last year by my “profligate” spending at Kopkes and Moyers.  Please consider renewing!

We know many MAMGA members know very little about what the Board does, and I’ve talked to some members who are curious about the Board work.  When I was asked to run for one of the vacancies on the Board last year, I was completely ignorant of what Board membership entailed.  Understanding the Board work by reading the minutes and the agenda would have been helpful in my decision to accept a nomination.  With this in mind, the Board has approved posting our meeting agendas in the newsletter and on the website in the month before our meetings.  We will also post our meeting minutes in the month after the Board approves the minutes.  Our last meeting was January 20th, but I’ve decided to include the agenda for that meeting in the current newsletter to give you a flavor of the deliberations of the Board.  The minutes for that meeting will be posted after our next meeting on March 2nd.  I will post the agenda for that meeting on the MAMGA website by the last week in February.  Meetings take place at the Extension building from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. every other month (six times a year).  Anyone interested in attending the meeting is welcome.  Please let me know by email if you would like to attend so we can provision adequate seating (  

I hope to see you all at the Membership meeting on March 28th.


The Extension Express

From Lisa Johnson
Dane County UW-Extension Horticulture Educator

Teaching Garden
I received a few calls this winter about deciduous woody plants that don’t usually hold onto their leaves doing just that thing this winter. In the Teaching Garden the ‘Scarlet Curls’ curly willow, ‘Hakuro-nishiki’ dappled willow and our dwarf apple trees are still hanging onto their leaves. I’ve also seen ornamental pears around town doing this. Apparently the early very cold weather that came on so quickly in November didn’t allow a proper abscission layer to form on the petioles for some species (non-natives, mostly) and so they are still holding onto those leaves. Look forward to some extra spring raking!
Programming Potpourri
Garden Expo is coming up on the 13th! Hard to believe it is here again already. I’ll be doing two talks (sun perennials on Saturday and organic techniques on Sunday) and Brian Hudelson and I will be featured guests with Larry Meiller for ‘Ask the Experts’ as well as being present at the screening of the Shelley Ryan memorial TV shows on Saturday and Sunday. I have her photo in my office and think of her often. Joe and I are preparing for our next round of master gardener volunteer training. This year, since we are doing interviews of MGV student candidates to better determine (for our mutual benefits) whether they are a good fit for the program and vice versa, we will have a smaller class and are only offering one class session (daytime) instead of two. We have been very impressed with the candidates applying and their volunteer and gardening backgrounds. I want to thank our certified MGV panelists who have served to help vet the candidates: Lynn Berton, Jan Blakeslee, B’Ann Gabelt, Kris Gabert, Edie Grossen, Roger Hanson, Libby Howting, Percy Mather, Mary Pelzer, Deb Pienkowski, Gail Piper, Ritchie Rheaume, Dennis Tande, and Dana Warren. It was great to have you there to talk about your experiences in training and in volunteering. I think that is vital in giving candidates an accurate picture of what it is really like to be a certified MGV. Joe and I are also preparing for the debut of our short-course Garden Basics and Beyond in March. We are promoting this heavily, so please let your friends who are interested in gardening but don’t have the time to commit to the MGV program. More info is available at: .
Hort Short
This month’s hort short is about the Asian invasive species crazy worms, Amynthas agrestis. Go to for a fact sheet. These guys are pretty scary. They have a huge impact on not only wild areas (especially forests) but gardens and landscaped areas. They have been found in the Arboretum, Maple Bluff and a few other areas around Madison. They look similar to other earthworms (all of which, by the way, are also non-native to the U.S.), but they have a few distinguishing features. One feature is their behavior. If touched, they thrash around much more violently than do other species of earthworms. They also are a darker color than the pinker European earthworms and their clitellum, the ‘ring’ of lighter tissue around an earthworm’s body is smooth instead of raised. If you think you have crazy worms report them to Bernie Williams, WI DNR
at or (608) 266-0624. The effect that crazy worms have on soil is due to their voracious appetites. They consume organic matter rapidly (a landscaper reported a season’s worth of shredded bark mulch on one landscape being consumed in a few weeks) and their resulting castings are hard and dry and don’t hold moisture. This new media can’t support forest understory plants or garden plants and turf. They also are parthenogenic, reproducing without the need of sex occurring, like aphids can do. Remember the cute but voracious tribbles from Star Trek? (“ The nearest I can figure it, Jim, they’re born pregnant”). Well, that life cycle is not just science fiction. This gives them a major competitive edge and in fact they outcompete and eliminate other earthworms where they are present. Be extremely careful in moving plant material with soil, compost and potted plants that were near the ground off-site, especially if you are near the Arboretum or Maple Bluff. You may be moving eggs, juveniles or adults and spreading this species is prohibited.

MAMGA Grants Change of DUE DATE!

We've changed the due date for the grant application form to be sent in.  The new due date is February 25th.  If you are interested in applying for one of the MAMGA grants you still have time to fill out the grant application form and send it in to:
Madison Area Master Gardeners Association
PO Box 259318
Madison, WI 53725
Postmarked no later than February 25, 2015.

Please see the MAMGA Website for a copy of the grant application and budget sheet.

Orchid Quest 2015
January 31 - February 2
Madison Marriott West Conference Center
Orchid Quest 2015, the largest orchid show in the Midwest, will take place Saturday, Jan. 31 and Sunday, Feb. 2 at our NEW location, the Madison Marriott West Conference Center, 1313 John Q Hammons Dr., Middleton, Wisc., just off the Beltline at Greenway Blvd. Saturday hours will be 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tickets are $9 for one day admission and $14 for two day, and parking is free. Children 12 and under are admitted free when accompanied by an adult. Pre-arranged tour groups of 10 or more will receive discounts. Call (608) 592-7906.
Orchid Quest Keynote Speaker 
Jason Fischer
from Orchids Limited Plymouth, Minnesota.

In the middle of winter it is so delightful to be surrounded by the colorful and exotic fragrance of the orchid world at a handy and comfortable location. It will be the 28th year for the Madison Orchid Growers Guild to host Orchid Quest. The Marriott Conference Center will host all the usual huge orchid displays in the exhibit area and thousands of fragrant orchids for sale from vendors. Also planned will be the growing seminars, quilts, artwork, painted porcelain, raffle, silent auction, a bistro area and plenty of advice for new orchid growers!

Accommodations can be arranged at the Marriott by calling 1-888-745-2032. Ask for the Orchid Quest Room Block and make your reservations by Friday, Jan. 2, 2015 for special discounts.

If you have any questions contact Terri Jozwiak, show chair, 608-592-7906 or

For more information including vendors, speakers and directions, see our website at

Green Thumb Tuesday             

 Tuesday, February 3, 2015, 5 p.m.

Monona Gardens Restaurant
6501 Bridge Rd, Madison, WI 53713

TOPIC: February is Gardener Reading Month.  Bring your gardening magazines and catalogs to share and/or exchange

Come enjoy an evening with other master gardeners. An opportunity to get together, get caught up, visit, etc.  Get-togethers are happening on the first Tuesday of the month, now known as Green Thumb Tuesday (catchy huh?),

Look forward to seeing you there!

Need more information?  Call Dana at 608-833-5703

Garden Expo
February 13 - 15
Alliant Energy Center
Wisconsin Public Television’s Garden Expo is a midwinter oasis for people ready to venture out and dig their hands in the dirt. Now in its 22nd year, this three-day event celebrates the latest trends in gardening, landscaping and edibles, and attracts more than 20,000 people from across the Midwest. Join other gardening enthusiasts to share ideas, gain inspiration and create something new. All proceeds support Wisconsin Public Television.

Things to do at the Garden Expo:
  • Learn something new at one of the more than 150 free educational seminars and demonstrations.
  • Visit with hundreds of businesses, independent contractors, nonprofits and artists to share ideas and learn about the newest in gardening, landscaping and local foods.
  • Discuss innovative gardening techniques with experts from UW-Extension–Horticulture.
  • Relax with a casual walk through the central garden—courtesy of Wisconsin Nursery & Landscape Association, Madison Chapter Inc.
  • Purchase seeds, tools and everything else you need to be ready when the trees bud and the ground thaws.
Garden Expo is presented by Wisconsin Public Television and UW-Extension–Horticulture as a fundraiser for Wisconsin Public Television.


Community Garden Event for MGVs
and Community Garden Leaders

Saturday, February 21
UW-Extension Office
The MAMGA Event Committee in cooperation with UW-Extension will be hosting a Community Garden Event for Master Gardener Volunteers and Community Garden Leaders on Saturday February 21 from 8 a.m. to noon in Room 121A at the UW-Extension Office at 5201 Fen Oak Drive.

This event will be a highly interactive. It will include a panel discussion between the audience and five prominent community garden leaders; and a small group discussion about how MGVs can support and enhance community gardens. There is definitely a lot more that we can do besides weeding!!

The morning will start with a hot breakfast and social hour from 8 - 9 a.m. Please register in advance so we can plan food and seating by emailing Registration closes February 14. There is no charge for this event.

Three educational hours can be credited to your MGV certification requirement with attendance.

MAMGA will continue their focus on Community Gardens this summer with tours of several in the area. Look for more information in future newsletters.

MAMGA Membership Meeting
March 28, 2015
10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
UW Arboretum

The annual membership meeting is set for UW Arboretum on Saturday, March 28th from 10:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m.  Lunch will begin at 11:30, a buffet style service provided by Blue Plate Catering with selection of Italian pastas and meats, as well as vegetarian and gluten free selections.  Dessert will include home-baked pies and brownies.  The cost for a lunch ticket is $20 for MAMGA members and $25 for guests.  The deadline for ordering tickets is March 14th.  

The keynote speaker will be Marcia Carmichael, Heirloom Gardener at Old World Wisconsin.  Her book, Putting Down Roots: Gardening Insights from Wisconsin's Early Settlers, won the 2012 annual Book Award from the American Horticultural Society.  The book "celebrates the diversity and rich ethnic settlement of Wisconsin.  It's also a story of holding fast to one's traditions and adapting to new ways that nourished one's family so they could flourish in their new surroundings."  

Please see the Membership Meeting Registration form in this newsletter. (2015 Annual Meeting Registration.pdf)

MAMGA Continuing Education Opportunity

MAMGA members seeking continuing education in horticulture can check out the offerings at Madison Area Technical College.

Go to: and search for Horticulture classes. 

Truax Foundation Centre, 3591 Anderson St., Madison offers Woody Plant Pruning and Management ($99) on Mon., March 9, 9 am-1 pm.

For more information or to register for horticulture classes, call (608) 258-2301, ext. 2, or (855) 473-2301, ext. 2.

For questions or details about individual classes, contact Gwen Jones in Continuing education at (608) 243-4488.




Volunteer Opportunities

Wisconsin Farm Technology Days, August 25-27, 2015

Wisconsin Farm Technology Days is an annual event in the state that is held in different counties each year.  This is the year it is being held in Dane County.  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 gets under way this month.  There is a group of MGVs meeting in a few weeks.  Please come and join your colleagues in making this an exemplary event.  

Contact Lisa Johnson at 608-224-3715 or if you are interested in volunteering.  Its a great way to help out Extension with your volunteer hours.
As always, don't forget to record your Volunteer hours so you can report them in October. 



Part Time Work Opportunity

Lou at Downtown Tropics is looking to hire another part-time person (10-12 hours per week) starting at $10.00 per hour.  Do you know if any of the master gardeners may be looking for part-time work?   If so, his number is 608-209-5450.  

Master Gardener Volunteer Profile

-- Ritchie Rheaume, MGV, PHA --
by Mary Collet, MGV

Ritchie with playful sprinkling can from Necedah National Wildlife Refuge gift shop

A native Madisonian, Ritchie Rheaume’s first inspiration for gardening was her grandmother, who had a “great green thumb,” grew all sorts of cacti on her back porch, and started grapefruit, avocado, and other seeds. Her love for the outdoors was nourished by Camp Manito-Wish, a YMCA camp in the Northwoods near Boulder Junction, WI. While raising her two sons, she and her husband Julian became active in the Boy Scouts. Ritchie was the first female Boy Scout Master in the Lake Wisconsin District. The Rheaume family canoed and camped in the Boundary Waters for 25 years, long before that Midwest wilderness became so popular.

Ritchie has taught school at every level. She taught High School English in Chicago and Milwaukee, and spent the last 20 years of her career teaching elementary school in Madison. Since retirement, she has kept in touch with children at Schuster’s Playtime Farm in Deerfield, where she conducts hayrides and other activities in the fall. 

Ritchie started gardening in earnest when she and Julian bought a house on the east side of Madison in 1975.  Her first flower garden was a hodgepodge of plants from friends and neighbors. As she re-did her beds more deliberately, she fell in love with daylilies, finding them easy to grow and doing well in her yard. She now hybridizes daylilies “for the fun of it,” starting plants in a special seedling bed.  She is active in the Madison chapter of the Wisconsin Day Lily Society ( and regularly attends the regional meeting. She helps staff the Day Lily Society booth at the Garden Expo and prepares plants for the Society’s annual plant sale.

The steady, hard work Ritchie has devoted to her garden has resulted in year-around beauty. She particularly likes her spring display. Inspired by a visit to the Missouri Botanical Garden, she has naturalized Scylla, Pushkinia (striped squill), Aconitum (wolfsbane), Crocus, and Chionodoxa (glory-of-the-snow). Her fall garden features Eupatorium (Joe-pye weed) and asters. Most of the lawn has been replaced by flower beds and four raised vegetable beds. Ritchie’s plans for the coming season include new trellises for clematis. Her garden has twice been featured in a garden walk. Ritchie subscribes to several gardening magazines, but her main source of inspiration comes from visiting other gardens.

Ritchie feels strongly about sharing her Master Gardener knowledge and experience with the public. She serves on the Wisconsin Master Gardener Association (WIMGA) Speaker’s Bureau and has been active in staffing the Ask a Gardener table at the West-side Farmer’s Market; she’ll be taking on an additional role as co-coordinator this coming summer. She has taken the Plant Health Advisor training and looks forward to serving on the hot-line.  The gardening community benefits greatly from this enthusiastic and energetic Master Gardener!

Friends of the Arboretum

by Susan Carpenter, Native Plant Gardener
UW-Madison Arboretum



Cyclamen plants can be the indoor potted variety or hardy cyclamen which can survive brief and periods at temperatures below 0 degrees but they will grow best in areas winter temperatures are above the freezing mark so probably not ideal for Wisconsin winter.

The potted variety provides a cheery accent to brighten the mid-winter spirits.  The blossoms of the Cyclamen twist and turn like tiny butterfly wings. The silvery, marbled foliage is a nice accent for the beautiful flower colors of lavender, rose, maroon, red, or white. 

Cyclamen ideal growing conditions are cool temperatures, fresh air, and ample moisture.  Cyclamen are most successful with temperature about sixty-five degrees during the day and fifty degrees at night.  Misting is beneficial as they prefer a humid atmosphere. Place on a pebble fill tray of water to provide added humidity.

Watering Cyclamen incorrectly can cause the most problems, generally too much watering. Water when the compost feels fairly dry, but avoid waiting so long that the plant becomes limp.  Ideally, they should be watered with room temperature water and never pour the water directly over the crown of the plant, as this can cause the corm to rot. Also, drain away any water remaining in the saucer after 5 minutes to avoid rot.

Cyclamen pot plants need bright light but not too much direct sunlight.

Cyclamen will continue to bloom from December until April. As the flower stalks and leaves die off they should be removed and new foliage and flowers will soon replace the old.

Potted Cyclamen should be fed monthly with a diluted have strength liquid house plant fertilizer.

The corm of the Cyclamen plant will naturally go into dormancy sometime after April. After flowering, gradually reduce the water and keep the plant in a cool, darker place. Cyclamen will be dormant for the summer, and you should stop watering until September. If they are too moist over this period then the tuber may rot.

Cyclamen can be grown from seed, but it takes up to eighteen months before you will see your first flowers. You may be better off to purchase your plant from a nursery to give you for a bright splash of color before spring arrives!


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 $10 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.
News About the MAMGA Board
Ed Meachen, Board President

It might be boring, it might be uninteresting, but I think its always worthwhile to have a place where members can find out what's going on with their governance group.  I'd like this to become a regular part of the newsletter...but at the very end.  This month, I wanted to share with you our last month's agenda and a list of the current Board members and their email contacts.  At the membership meeting in March we will select some new Board members. Please email me and ask me anything you want about the agenda items.  

January 20, 2015
6:00 p.m.
Extension Office
5201 Fen Oak, Madison

  1. Introductions [invited guests include MAMGA members interested in working on Farm Technology Days]                 [5 minutes]
  2. Report of the Secretary, including Approval of Minutes of the Nov. 3rd meeting.         [10 minutes]
  3. Farm Technology Days Teleconference and discussion      [40 minutes]
  4. 2015 Budget discussion and approval (with 2014 budget update)  [30 minutes]
  5. Ad Hoc Fundraising Committee discussion (Bonnie, Aleta and Dana)      [30 minutes]
  6. Proposal for special Board meeting to do strategic planning with Mindy Habecker       [10 minutes]
  7. Other business      [5 minutes]
    1. Arboretum grant: designate use of funds
    2. Liability policy renewal

Board Members
Ed Meachen                        President
Cathy Cryor Burgweger       Treasurer
Jon Daugherity                              
Steve Hoffland                               
Percy Mather                     Secretary      Percy.mather@gmailcom
Bonnie Mitchell                           
Aleta Murray                     WIMGA
Lori Nelson                                    
Dennis Tande                                
Dana Warren                                 
Catherine Murray                           
Lisa Johnson                    ex officio
Joe Muellenberg               ex officio




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

Table of Contents

Share This

Forward to a Friend
Friend on Facebook


2015 Annual Meeting Registration.pdf
2014-15 MGV Hours Reporting Form
2015 MAMGA Membership Form
2015 Volunteer Interest Form

Calendar of Events

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

January 31 - February 2, 2015
Orchid Quest
Marriott Conference Center

February 13 - 15, 2015
Garden Expo
Alliant Energy Center

February 21, 2015
Breakfast & Community Garden Program
Extension Building

February 28, 2015
Beekeeping Class
Extension Building
9 a.m. - 4 p.m.

March 21, 2015
Second Step Beekeeping
Details to follow in future newsletter

March 28, 2015
Annual Membership Meeting
UW Arboretum
Watch for details next month

March 28, 2015
Beekeeping Class
Extension Building
9 a.m. - 4 p.m.
See Dec. newsletter

April 11, 2015
Beekeeping Class
Extension Building
9 a.m. - 4 p.m.
See Dec. newsletter

May 2, 2015
Beekeeping Class
Extension Building
9 a.m. - 4 p.m.
See Dec. newsletter

July 31 - August 1, 2015
WIMGA Annual Conference


September 17-18, 2016
Midwest Regional MG Conference
Wisconsin Dells

Contact Info

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

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

Ed Meachen - President
Percy Mather - Secretary
Cathy Cryor Burgweger - Treas
Lori Nelsen - Alternate Member
Aleta Murray - WIMGA Rep
Lisa Johnson - Ex-offcio Advisor
Jon Daugherity
Steve Hoffland
Dennis Tande
Bonnie Mitchell
Dana Warren

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 MAMGAevents will be posted on our website.

Did you miss a past

If you didn't receive one of our past e-newsletters, be sure to look in your "spam" or "junk" folder. Some email applications mistakenly place emails in these folders.

If you use Gmail's new design, you may have noticed that your emails are now being sorted into three tabs — Primary, Social, and Promotions. If you’d rather see the emails we send end up in your Primary tab, it’s simple to tell Gmail where these emails should go. Simply drag and drop this email into your Primary tab and click “yes” when Gmail asks if you’d like future messages from this email address to go to your Primary tab.

Copyright © 2015 Madison Area Master Gardeners Association, Inc. (MAMGA), All rights reserved.
Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp