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July 2016 Newsletter

Top:  Amelanchier species  Common names include juneberry, serviceberry, and Saskatoon blueberry.  
wild strawberries on the right.  
Bottom left:  Wild strawberries
Bottom right:  Nanking bush cherry (Prunus tormentosa) 
In this issue
  • The President's Message
  • The Extension Express - Tomato pruning
  • MAMGA Events & Other Events of Interest
  • Small Fruits, Large Benefits
  • Volunteer Opportunities
  • What did I miss?  2016 Plant Diseases and Insect Threats to WI Gardens - June 14 West Madison Ag Research
  • Meet Your Fellow MGV-- Steve Hoffland

The President's Message

From Ed Meachen, MGV

If you ever have the opportunity to spend some time in Paris, take a day trip to the small French village of Giverny, about 45 kilometers north of the city on the Seine.  Claude Monet, one of the founders of impressionism bought a house with some acres of land in Giverny and moved his family there in 1883.  Monet was a passionate gardener, as is evident in his prolific output of garden paintings, particularly his water lilies.  Over the 43 years Monet lived at Giverny (he died in 1926) he created an enormous set of gardens, and often referred to himself as a “gardener-painter.”  Perhaps his most famous painting is the enormous portrayal of his Giverny water lily pond at the Musee l’Orangerie in Paris, dedicated to the millions of those who died in the world war. 

Monet in his studio 1913

Monet's studio today
Every day Monet spent hours painting in his gardens, making special note of the play of light and water in the gardens every hour in every season.  He experimented with hundreds of flower varieties, hired at least six gardeners to create and maintain an interplay of herbaceous and woody plants.  The gardens have an order, but are not orderly.  They are romantic gardens! The flower garden is a hodgepodge of colors.  Red poppies are mixed in with purple irises and foxglove.  Lupine mixes with roses.  Purple tree roses are scattered everywhere.  A climbing rose rises high in an old tree I could not identify, but seeing roses twenty or thirty feet up in the leaves was striking.

A section of the flower garden                  Foxglove in the water garden

During his life time, Monet had a large group of friends who often stayed at his house in Giverny, many of whom were painters and passionate gardeners.  Gustave Caillebrotte, a nature painter and a neighbor, spent time comparing garden plantings and layout with Monet.  At Giverny Monet entertained many of the luminaries of the nineteenth and early twentieth century, including Mary Cassatt, Clemenceau, Cezanne, and Rodin.  It is wonderful to imagine these people lingering in the gardens and discussing events of the day in Monet’s large studio lined with works representing many of the impressionists.

The flower gardens from Monet's house
After Monet’s death in 1926, his garden fell into disrepair.  The creation of the Monet Foundation and the hiring of Gilbert Vahe from the National School of Horticulture at Versailles in 1976 brought the gardens back to life as Monet had created them, and as they now are today.  What a wonderful place to spend a sunny afternoon.   The gardens are magnificent, yet I did not suffer from garden envy.  Monet’s gardens spoke to me of the satisfaction of experimentation and order, but the certain knowledge that nature will have its way and we must let it go.

Photos by Francine Tompkins

Extension Express

An EEO/AA employer, UW-Extension provides equal opportunities in employment and programming, including Title IX and American with Disabilities (ADA) requirements.
La Universidad de Wisconsin-Extensión, un empleador con igualdad de oportunidades y acción afirmativa (EEO/AA), proporciona igualdad de oportunidades en empleo y programas, incluyendo los requisitos del Título IX (Title IX) y de la Ley para Americanos con Discapacidades (ADA).

Thank you to all of the volunteers who attended the MAMGA luncheon and teaching garden workday on June 18th!  See the photos below.  The food was delicious, the company was great, and we accomplished many important tasks to keep the garden thriving and beautiful. The front entrance received a facelift with a new path as well as newly planted white perennials across the drive near the rock garden. Take some time to visit and appreciate the many areas of the teaching garden including the color wheel, shade garden, prairie corner, rain garden, fruit and vegetable plantings, and a wide array of flowering perennial and annual ornamentals.

Pruning Tomatoes

One task we worked on was pruning tomatoes. Pruning, or selectively removing some of the tomato plant growth, can improve harvest yields and help prolong the harvest season. The first step to properly prune tomatoes is to identify the first flower cluster. Leave the first sucker growing below the flower cluster and remove all the suckers growing below it. See the graphic below.

Indeterminate tomato plants form suckers on the axils between the leaves and the main stem and removing some of them encourages a stronger main stem. Next, follow the main stem from the ground and remove the the first few petioles (branches) whose leaves are touching the ground. This will help to improve fruit quality and prevent common soil-borne fungal diseases like early blight, Septoria leaf spot, and anthracnose.

Succession Planting for Vegetables

Do you have a plan to keep your vegetable garden productive all season? Planting a spring, summer, and fall garden is one form of succession planting. Cool season crops such as (broccoli, lettuce, peas) can be followed by warm season crops (beans, tomatoes, peppers). Where possible, these can be followed by more cool-season plants. Plant beets, carrots, spinach, broccoli, kale, and lettuce in late July and throughout August for a great late season harvest!

From Joe Muellenberg, Dane County UWEX Horticulture Educator

Scenes from the June 18th Work Day.
Top:  Kristin Hoffschmidt attacks the weeds.  
Bottom left:  Larry Dooley and Karen Allenstein install a new brick walk at the entrance to the building.  Bottom right:  Joan Flynn gives thirsty plants a good soak..
Tomato pruning directions to reduce soil contact with lower leaves.  Adding a mulch to cover the soil helps too.
Thanks for Helping!
  • Speakers who gave presentations in June include Karen Reimherr, Art DeSmet and Mary Collet.
  • Helpers from the very successful Plant Sale include:  Joan Flynn, Diane Amundson, Terri Patwell, Holly Walker, Cheryl Bohling, Karen Reimherr, Diana Burns, Rose Ohlert, Peggy Mravik, Joan Boll, Jane Graham, Kathy Thousand, Nancy Kieraldo, Theresa Pillar-Groesbeck, Edie Grossen, Mike Kepler, Lynne Bendt, Theresa Seeley, Karen Lee-Wahl, Ritchie Rheaume, Art De Smet, Bonnie Berg, Susan Roeling, Adrianna Costa, Richard Soares, Barb Buelow, Sarah Swanson, Susan Roehlk, and Reggie Moody.
  • Thanks to the three dozen or so volunteers who helped get so much done at the June 18th Teaching Garden workday.

MAMGA-Sponsored & Other Events of Interest

Also check the MAMGA website calendar at
July 5 Green Thumb Tuesday
Tuesday, July 5 12:30 to 2:00pm
Discussion topic:  Bring a photo of your prettiest, most exotic, unusual, surprising or prized bud, flower, plant or tree.
Monona Gardens Restaurant  -  6501 Bridge Road, Madison 53713
Contact Person and Contact Information:  Dana Warren  /   608-833-5703  /
Reservations not needed, but notification appreciated, for place settings for restaurant.

Saturday, July 9 and July 23 
anytime between 9 am to 2:30pm 
Dane County-UW Extension Teaching Garden Work Day 

Contact Karen Allenstein at or 244-1807 so you can get connected with a team.

Garden Tour, July 26, 2016

10am or 5:30pm
Home of Mike Simon
3966 Trempealeau Trail, Verona
Directions to 3966 Trempealeau Trail, Verona: Take Old Sauk Road (WEST) off the Beltline.  Drive for 3.5 miles. Turn left onto Trempealeau Trail.  You will see a large stone sign that says 'Pheasant Point' at that intersection. Mike Simon's house is the first house on the left.  You will see a large pond and gazebo.  Please park on the side of this road by the first driveway near the gazebo as the driveway is a circle.  Please do not park in the circular driveway.  Meet at the gazebo at 10 AM for the morning Tour and 5:30 PM for the evening Tour.
Please register at Eventbrite for either the 10 a.m. tour or the 5:30 p.m. tour.  This is a free event, but tickets are limited.

August 2 Green Thumb Tuesday
Tuesday 12:30 to 2:00pm
Discussion topic:  If you had to do it over again, what would you do or not do?  Every gardener has something learned too late.  Share your hard-earned lessons with us.
Monona Gardens Restaurant  -  6501 Bridge Road, Madison 53713
Contact Person and Contact Information:  Dana Warren  /   608-833-5703  /
Reservations not needed, but notification appreciated, for place settings for restaurant.
August 8 4 to 6pm
MAMGA Executive Committee Meeting
NOTE:  The following events are not MAMGA or Extension events but may be of interest to MAMGA members.

Thursday, July 21st, 5:30pm-7:30pm - Sponsored by the Garden Coalition
Water Conservation and Communication Across Language and Culture
Marlborough Community Garden  
Turn off Seminole Highway at Milford, park at the corner with Whenona & walk through the soccer field to the Garden

Thursday, August 25th, 5:30pm-7:30pm - Sponsored by the Garden Coalition
Organic Gardening Practices and Landscapes for Community Building
Southdale Community Garden
Pope Farm Conservancy Programs for July
7440 Old Sauk Rd.. Verona WI

Rose Convention September 16 - 18
The 2016 NORTH CENTRAL DISTRICT of the American Rose Society is holding its 2016 convention, “Holidays In Roses” September 16th – 18th, at the Holiday Inn Hotel Pewaukee Milwaukee West, conveniently located at I-94 and Highway 164.
Tuesday, September 20th, 5:00pm-5:30pm (optional tour) 
5:30pm-7:30pm (Workshop)
Sponsored by the Garden Coalition

Putting your Garden to Bed & Bring your own Harvest Picnic
Reindahl Community Garden

More Event & Horticulture Resources
Visit these websites to learn more.

Small Fruits Yield Big Benefits

How can you not love fruits that grow in Wisconsin? I am a champion of those lesser known and native fruits and I want to share my enthusiasm for growing and enjoying them.  At a minimum, planting any of these will make the birds in your neighborhood very happy.  The three earliest fruits are shown at the beginning of the newsletter and come from Amelanchier species, wild strawberries (Fragaria), and bush cherries (Prunus tomentosa).

Amelanchier shrubs are already gaining popularity for landscaping purposes. Madison plants the trees along its streets.  The smooth gray bark is attractive in the winter and is covered with white blossoms in the spring. In June, the fruits ripen, turning first red with a hint of tartness then becoming sweeter and more bland as it turns purple.  The fruit resembles a sweet and less tart blueberry.  It can be eaten fresh or used in baking or jam.  Birds will clear the tree unless the fruit is picked promptly. In the fall, the foliage turns red to provide four seasons of interest. The plant is native to North America and can grow either as a single tree or a clump of shrubs, depending on the species. For ease in harvesting, prune to encourage branches within 6 feet of the ground. Be sure to protect the base of the shrubs with rabbit-proof fencing for the winter.

Wild strawberries (Fragaria species) are famous for their small, sweet and flavorful fruit. They grow wild in many locations and are native to North America. I purchased my plants from a nursery that selects for large fruit size and good flavor. ( I started with 20 plants two years ago and now have a ground cover that produces fruit that is remarkably flavorful.. Chipmunks, birds and other wildlife will ‘help’ harvest the fruit crop, but the plants are not damaged over winter.

The third early fruit bearer is a native of China called the Nanking bush cherry (Prunus tomentosa). It’s commonly advertised at bargain prices without noting that the fruit is not the conventional sour or sweet cherry. This shrub sends out multiple branches from its base that can reach at least eight feet. The entire base of the plant needs to be fenced over winter to prevent being girdled by rabbits. Within two years of planting, this shrub is covered with pink blossoms. In some years, an early frost will reduce the fruit set. The small juicy cherries (less than ¾ inch in diameter) ripen starting in mid-June. The fruits are directly attached to the branch rather than a stem as with conventional cherries. They are best eaten fresh or turned into juice or wine since removal of the pits is difficult. As with the other two fruits, local wildlife will clear the plant of any fruit that is not harvested. One benefit is the appearance of small shrubs that grow from the pits buried by chipmunks or squirrels.

Volunteer & Learning Opportunities
Please notify MAMGA at if the status of these opportunities changes.

Smith-Reiner Drumlin Prairie, Cambridge  

Join a fellow master gardener and Smith-Reiner assistant site steward Jane Graham in volunteering at Smith-Reiner Drumlin Prairie, a remnant prairie near Cambridge. You will meet knowledgeable people who are committed to conservation and preservation. You'll earn hours towards your Master Gardener Volunteer certification and have the satisfaction of helping to bring a piece of the native landscape back to health.  

Pope Farm Conservancy Volunteer Opportunities 
Volunteer to help with the prairie restoration project and learn about prairie plantings.  Contact Kim  at or Carl at  The Pope Farm is located at 7440 Old Sauk Road.

Garden Volunteer Opportunities
Garden Coordinators help grow and harvest vegetables to be donated to local food pantries and meal programs.  Responsibilities include working with others to plan gardens, utilizing equipment and supplies and coordinating volunteer work sessions.  Some prior knowledge of vegetable growing and equipment operation is helpful.  Training opportunities are available.   Contact Tom Parslow by email to  or  608-577-6685 for a full job description.  

Porchlight/Safe Haven on Nakoosa Trail could use help from MGVs to work in the raised bed garden at their facility. The facility houses some permanent residents who are homeless as well as drop-in guests for overnight or short-term stays. The food raised in the gardens goes to feed residents and guests and is used in their kitchen culinary job training program.

There are 24 raised beds and MGVs Pat Tillman, Winnie Bade, Laurie Irwin, and Deb Umstead have helped dig out thistle, burdock, sow thistle and other fun things in those beds. We still have more to do, but the front bed is now planted with ornamentals (thanks Deb) and three of the back beds are planted with tomatoes, lettuce, mustard greens, collard greens and pepper plants. It’s a good start. We will need folks to help maintain the garden—if you can do 2-3 hours one week a month or twice during the summer, that would be great—just let Lisa Johnson know!
Lisa Johnson is looking for at least one additional MGV to be trained on updating the database and generating blog pages and labels in the future as new plants are purchased. This is an easy way to earn volunteer hours at your convenience while working on a computer or tablet. If you are interested, please contact Karen Allenstein at For more information about the Teaching Garden, visit
Volunteer Opportunity at Allis Elementary School Gardens
 The new community garden, Allis Heritage Community Garden, is off and running on the school grounds at Allis Elementary.  The 6 beginning-gardener families have gardens underway, thanks to their partner MGVs, and are beginning to harvest from their small plots.  Altogether, we have 12 families gardening.

We need many helping hands, though, to keep the weeds in check in the school gardens, to help keep pathways prepared, and to water during the summer months.  We have work nights scheduled (see below), but you can volunteer other times when it might fit your schedule best.  Just contact Carol Troyer-Shank, 608-469-2678.  

Scheduled work opportunities (that start with delicious potlucks in the garden).
  • Tuesday, July 12, 5:30-7:30 (a compost workshop, after the potluck)
  • Tuesday, July 26, 5:30-7:30
  • Tuesday, August 9, 5:30-7:30
  • Tuesday, August 23, 5:30-7:30
  • Tuesday, September 13, 4:00-6:00
  • Tuesday, September 27, 4:00-6:00
  • Tuesday, October 11, 4:00-6:00
  • Tuesday, October 26, 4:00-6:00
Meadowood Garden Volunteer Opportunity
Aislynn Miller is seeking MG volunteer help with Meadowood Garden.  She writes “I wonder if one or two could confirm helping once a month for 4 months (June, July, Auguest and September) for 2 hours?…or a rotating group?”  Please contact Aislynn Miller, if you would like to volunteer. 
Aislynn Miller <>
Garden Leader Needed

The Badger Fountain of Life Garden needs a Garden Leader at 633 W. Badger Rd., just north of the Beltline off Park St.  The property is owned by the Fountain of Life Covenant Church.  Most of the gardeners are former refugees from Bhutan who live near the garden with Latino, Hmong, and English-speaking garden neighbors.
Garden Leader responsibilities for this garden include:
Organizing/running garden plot registration
Scheduling and coordinating workdays throughout the garden season
Maintaining the on-site bulletin board to provide necessary and important communication 
Managing financial matters--garden fees, purchasing necessary tools & supplies
Establishing water turn on/shut off dates and paying the water bill 
Being the liaison and facilitator between the Church and the gardeners 
Being the contact and go-to person for gardeners

It is very beneficial for garden leaders to be active participants with the Garden Network, a wonderful resource for all community gardeners in the Madison Area!  For more information, email

Help with Southridge Village Raised Bed Garden
We are looking for a Master Gardener to help plant, grow, maintain and harvest 3 small raised beds, alongside our residents of Southridge Village.  Southridge is located at 1914 Post Rd, Madison, WI 53713.  Please contact Lindsay Saunders, Service Coordinator, if interested in learning more, call 608-209-1168 or email
Paid Gardening Opportunities
Madison’s southwest side, about once a week (or so), times-dates are flexible.  Large perennial garden—weeding, plant division, some planting, pruning and watering.
Please call Jeannine Johnson 608-271-1300
What did I miss?  
A recap of MAMGA events for busy MAMGA members  

2016 Plant Diseases and Insect Threats to WI Gardens - June 14 West Madison Ag Research Station by Percy Mather

Approximately 40 MAMGA members heard predictions about garden pests from plant pathologist Brian Hudelson and entomologist P.J. Liesch.  Although no one can predict future developments, the past weather patterns have already made certain pests more likely.  I’ve captured some of the key points from the talk.  Brian’s first prediction is that we will see increasing fungal diseases due to the abundant rain early in the growing season. So expect to see tar spot, apple scab, and many other leaf infections, especially if wet conditions continue.

Brian discussed the major tomato/potato threats in WI: septoria leaf spot, which starts on the bottom leaves, moves up the plant killing leaves but does not affect the tomatoes; early blight, which is caused by fungi and late blight, caused by an organism called a water mold which destroys the fruit. Late blight is particularly devastating to potatoes, so Extension staff are on the lookout for it.  Learn more about fungal diseases at:

High humidity and mildew go together—Take note: now would be the time to thin out susceptible species like phlox, monarda and zennias. Both powdery and downy mildew are generally host-specific—they like humidity but not rain. An interesting observation is that conifers do not become infected by either type of mildew.

Viruses, verticillium wilt, and southern blight round out the trio of plant threats. Look for a mosaic pattern of change in color on leaves of affected plants. Tobacco mosaic virus is the worst and it is easily spread by touching the infected plant then a healthy plant. Other viral diseases are spread by aphids (cucumber mosaic virus) or thrips (begonias). Verticillium is a vascular wilt pathogen; the infectious agent destroys the tissue that conducts water in the plant and the plant dries up. Many woody plants can be affected such as maples, ash, redbud, catalpa, and others.

Brian gives southern blight the title of "the nastiest fungal pathogen you can have" award. Although still relatively rare, plant pathologists across the country watch for it because of its threats to commercial crops.  When an infection occurs, all the plant material as well as the top two inches of soil are removed.

It’s not just the diseases that threaten our gardens, it’s the insects too. PJ Liesch gave us a forecast of insect pests this year. Following the last mild winter, we expect to see more insects such as tent catepillars and Japanese beetles. On the bright side, tree defoliation from gypsy moths has decreased dramatically. We continue to watch for increases in the brown marmorated stink bug and the spotted wing drosophila. The Zika virus in the news lately is not expected to be much of a threat in Wisconsin because the two species that carry the virus are not among the more than 60 species found in the state.

June 18 MAMGA picnic for Extension Teaching Garden Volunteers by Ed Meachen

About 28 MAMGA members attended the June 18th MAMGA picnic for Extension Teaching Garden work day.  Percy Mather and Ed Meachen, now old veterans of picnic shopping, purchased the picnic food.  Barb Klasinski, Margaret Hanson, Anna Biermeier, and  Sandy Klabunde helped set up and clean up.  Joe Muellenberg and Karen Allenstein directed the volunteers, the majority of whom are in the MGV class of 2016.

We had good conversations and met current and future MGVs and MAMGA members.  As always, the picnic is a great way to say "thank you" to the volunteers who make the Extension Teaching Garden successful.  

As the volunteers were setting up the picnic lunch, Ed, Dennis Tande and Lori Nelson were culling through the MAMGA historic files, dating all the way back to 1986.  The records were just as much in need of weeding as the Teaching Garden!  The result of the morning's work will make it easier for someone to put together a history of MAMGA, an organization with a great and colorful 30 year life.  Perhaps future MGV classes will receive a "History of MAMGA" when they enroll so they can gain a perspective of the hard work and devotion several generations of gardeners have given to community and public gardening volunteerism.
Understanding the past helps us make better decisions about the future.  

Meet your fellow Master Gardener:  Steve Hoffland

By Mary Collet

Steve Hoffland brings to the MAMGA board a lifetime of experience in gardening and landscaping. As a child growing up on a small farm in southwestern Wisconsin, he remembers helping his mother pick green beans and hating the task since the beans hid in the foliage (picking wax beans was easier). He helped his dad plant hundreds of potatoes, harvesting as many as a thousand pounds in a season! Long before straw bale gardening became popular, his dad once experimented with planting potatoes on top of the ground and covering them with a thick layer of straw. When the straw was pulled up, the potatoes were clean, which eliminated the onerous tasks of digging and washing. Feasible on only a small scale, the experiment was not repeated.

As a teen, Steve persuaded his dad to participate in a DNR-sponsored program to plant trees in areas prone to erosion, which were plentiful on their sandy, rocky land. Over time they planted thousands of trees, primarily white pine—both by hand and by a machine rented from the city forester. It was also Steve’s idea to alternate rows of black walnut and white pine trees in an 8-acre plot, envisioning an investment from the high-value walnut. He was ahead of his time in planting a native prairie.

Steve’s first foray into the study of landscape architecture was at the UW–Madison. When he moved to San Diego, he continued his studies at Cuyamacha Community College in El Cajon, earning a degree in ornamental horticulture. He took up xeriscaping (which some locals called “zeroscaping”) in the hot, dry climate and had the showplace garden on a concrete patio atop a garage.

His first stop on returning to the Midwest was Terre Haute, Indiana, where he bought a house with a pond and was able to garden in earnest, planting many kinds of lilies along the shore. Here he enrolled in the Purdue Master Gardener Program and became active in the Wabash Valley Master Gardeners Association. On moving to St. Cloud, MN, he was able to transfer his certification to the Stearns County Master Gardener Association.

Steve decided to retire in Wisconsin and found a 5-acre place near Mazomanie. He replaced a sizable area of blue grass with a “meadow–prairie,” planting forbs and grasses. His ornamental garden is planted with lilies, peonies, and other low-maintenance perennials. A striking feature is a colossal 8 x 60 x 15 lilac hedge! 

Steve enjoys Green Thumb Tuesdays and would like to see more opportunities for master gardeners to work together and get to know one another in the process. He misses the activities in Indiana and Minnesota that brought master gardeners together—such as the park garden worked on collectively by Wabash Valley gardeners and the monthly meetings of Stearns County gardeners.

Many thanks to Steve for serving on the MAMGA board and sharing his years of experience.


MAMGA Board Meets Monday July 11

6 to 8pm 
Dennis Tande

The May 2, Board meeting
The MAMA Board met on May 2, 2016.
The Board will approve the minutes at the July 11th Board meeting.  What follows is a synopsis of actions taken and issues considered at the May meeting.
The Board voted to support the Allen Centennial Garden Public Garden Symposium to be held on April 1, 2017.  As this year, MAMGA will provide $500 to co-sponsor the Symposium
The Board agreed to develop a process for member renewal by credit card on the MAMGA web site.  The process must include an eligibility check for those paying for membership who are not simply renewing members from 2016. 
The MAMGA liability insurance was discussed.  The Board agreed that we should have an attorney review our policies, coverage and rates to make sure we have adequate coverage but are not paying too much.
The Board discussed the ongoing monitoring of Footsteps to our Future goals and progress.  The eight issues were divided up among Board members who will produce a written report for each issue at the November Board meeting.  These reports will be incorporated into a MAMGA Annual Report provided to members at the 2017 annual meeting.
Program and Communications Committees and Bylaws Subcommittee reports were presented. 
Dennis Tande reported that 50 new MAMGA yard signs have been printed and the signs are ready for distribution to grant recipients’ gardens and other MAMGA supported projects.
Next Board Meeting, July 11, 6 pm

Thanks for being a part of MAMGA. For questions about renewing your membership, upcoming events, and more, we encourage you to visit our website and Facebook pages, and to contact us anytime at
Copyright © *2016* *MAMGA*, All rights reserved.

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*MAMGA, P O Box 259318, MADISON WI 53725-9318* 
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