Archive for September, 2018

Story and photos by Gail K:

I would like to feature the Master Gardener College which took place on Sept 14 and 15th. The event was held @ Wayne County Comm. College; being so close to home, it allowed for a bit more affordability & flexibility for those who wished to attend any portion of the 3 day event. We had many members of our MCMG assoc. present, it was my first time to attend this event.

This week will focus on the last day; 8 hrs. featuring 2 keynote speakers; 3 break out sessions each participant chose the topic of their focus;opportunities to shop @ various vendors (and we did shop) and of course–FOOD & fellowship with so many others who enjoy gardening & many of us (not all, sorry Pat) won door prizes.

Following breakfast-Mary Wilson MSU MG program coordinator gave the opening statement and introduced the first keynote speaker Bill Culina Director & President of Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens.

Mr. Cullina spoke on various aspects of plants, & insects. Plants are photosynthesis factories and the gardener is the manager of those factories. A notable fact: in response to a stimuli, a plant is cable of producing airborne smells-a chemical messaging system- detected by other plants alerting them to produce a defense mechanism. He shared a recipe for a preventative protein spray: 1 regular aspirin-ground up along with 1 tsp of mild dish soap mixed into 1 gal of water Spray on plants every 3 weeks prior to a known issue. The spray will cause the plant to increase its chemical response– helps ward off disease such as powdery mildew. He also spoke to the use of ultraviolet light vs daylight and how insects see @ night. Very good speaker, covering a lot of material.

Did I mention shopping???

The second keynote speaker for the day was Karl Gercens lll-Conservatory Horticulturist for Longwood Gardens in Pennsylvania. Mr. Gercens spoke to the design aspects he uses in the Conservatory. He has 800 volunteers and things change with each season & rarely repeat year after year. He spoke to the various plants they use & how they adapt them for their use…. Learned that Coral Bells grow better in potting soil, a wreath made of succulents.

References seedyourfuture.org and http://www.KarlGercens.com
Following his talk I added the Longwood Gardens to the list of places I want to visit ……..


Many of our members won a prize throughout the 3 days—

BIG PRIZE WINNER!!!! Norma Buggy

The day was long- constant hustling and bustling as we tried to shop & eat; eat and shop and still get to our classes on time. I think everyone who attended enjoyed the day. I know that I did and give it a thumbs up. We all left with a wealth of knowledge to take out into the real world to share and put into practice in our daily gardening.

For all attendees we received 2 tote bags full of goodies for just attending. At the closing event, we learned that next JUNE in Pennsylvania there will be an INTERNATIONAL MASTER GARDENER CONFERENCE!!! Stay tuned…………information to come.


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I’m not the best writer but here’s a short post with some photos:

I’ve made major changes to my garden this year. Much hard work has gone into it. But I used some advice I gave on a presentation to help me manage all the work. Now that I’m 70, it’s harder to do a full day.

First off what do I benefit from gardening as a senior? It’s low impact exercise and I’m not sitting idle around the house. All that digging and moving things improves my strength and dexterity. I get the benefit of all that fresh air and sunshine. It takes some focusing and keeps the mind sharp. It also requires you to increase your attention span on one area at a time. Although, I often find myself jumping from project to pulling weeds. Gardening has always help me with stress. It lowers the level of stress that I have. Mainly because it gets my mind focused on something else rather than what may be stressing me out.
I’m sure all this exercise reduces the risk of heart attack and stroke. However, don’t stay in the heat too long.

Now to begin with a few stretching exercises. Bending, lunging, stretching out my side will all help avoid injury during my digging. Next, I get out the tools. They include my favorite shovel and a wagon (or wheel barrel). I use these every time I plan to do a project. The wagon carries the heavy plants, soil and fertilizer. It saves trips back and forth into the garage as well.

I’ve also prepared the garden for low maintenance. I’ve replaced many of my jumbled up beds full of various plants into massed plantings of single varieties. I take a morning walk through the garden and “pull as I go” the weeds that pop up overnight. After that, I begin any changes needed. Early morning is best to do a large project. The sun is not out yet, there’s shade, and it’s cool. I’ve been planting shrubs, such as hydrangeas and roses. They seem to requires less maintenance.

I’ve adjusted my type of gardening as well. I vertical garden, making it easier to reach, water, and there are few weeds. Raised beds also help with the bending. As so many of you have visited my garden, you will remember the multiple seating areas I’ve placed around the yard. It sure helps for a quick break.

I have 3 watering areas right now, but hope to do some drip irrigation next year. Each of the hoses are non kinking, and are on an automatic hose reel. It runs with the water pressure. I’m not cranking that hose; which saves my back. I try to keep plants within my reach for watering. Self watering containers also help.

Adding walkways to move along also help. You should try and avoid tripping hazards. However, my walkways don’t follow that tip. My problem is I love aesthetics, it’s the designer in me, So you can see there are a few tripping hazards in my pathways.

That’s not the only advice I don’t follow. Gloves should be worn. Although often, I like to just get my hands in that soil. I’m more concerned with a good shoe to wear. They should be comfortable and protective.

After all this, take a great break and enjoy the fruits of your labor.

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Photos and Story by Gail K.

Hello- Let’s go back to Paul’s native garden and take a closer look at the plants he has in the garden.
As always, Paul has information available for people to take for referencing to start their own native garden…………

Ready?? follow me—–Paul’s garden offers many pathways- let’s travel down this one
and see where it takes us.

Paul Welcomes Gardners


Seed pods of the Bladder nut tree. The pods make a rattling noise in the wind.

A mass planting of Ergrostis spectabilil – Purple love grass. Paul uses many native grasses in his landscape. He does use non native plants as well. Diversity is a key to design in a Garden.

Ergrostis spectabilis – Purple love grass

Verbesina alterifolia-WINGSTEM

Paul wasn’t sure-this may be a Wolfeye Dogwood. Remember when we toured the Taylor Gardens I think this was a plant we saw there. It is stunning especially

This is Capensis-jewelweed a native impatiens, and is used to help rid the skin of a poison ivy rash.

in a shaded area.
Throughout the garden are artistic accents which add structure:

As we move on, did you note the thistle that is growing next to the
spider web?? Paul says the finches love that plant. Not what we typically
plant in our gardens……….

blue vervain

pods from cephalanthus occidentalis (Buttonbush)

tall meadow rue with pancium virgatum (switch grass)

white meadow rue


clematis virginiana Virgin’s Bower

What do you see—-It changes as you change from where you are viewing–
another attribute of an interesting garden…………

tiger eye Sumac

culvers root……….white or purple

Desmodium canadense-show Tick Trefoil

Yellow Swallowtail on Prairie Dock

Ya just never know what is going on in the garden around you. Those are viburnum leaf beetles-invasive pests that cause a lot of damage. Look at the leaves of this maple leaf viburnum.

Example of the damage

Has anyone figured out what this is? Seems we all have them in our yards

Monarch on Veronicastrum Missurica – Ironweed

Eupatorium purpureum—-Joe Pye with a Red Admiral

Turn Turn Turn

With a wave good bye Stanley sends us on our way.

For those who might be interested. I found pictures from another tour at Paul’s
the difference is unreal……………our Blog dated July 28 2014. If you click on July 2014 you will see that tour.

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