Archive for the ‘Community Projects’ Category

Just a brief reminder to everyone that the third season of this popular downtown Dundee attraction is about to begin.  For those who aren’t familiar with Dundee, the open air market is located at 223 Tecumseh St (M 50) in the parking lot next to Diane’s Freeze.

The market will open for the summer season on May 19 and every Saturday thereafter at 8.00am – 1.00pm, and Wednesdays from 4.00pm – 7.00pm through fall.  About 25 vendors are in attendance featuring locally grown vegetables, cut flowers, herbs, bedding plants, patio pots and planters, crafts, honey, homemade jams and jellies, baked goods, artisan breads, and even locally produced meats.  As an added draw, there is generally some form of live entertainment during the season to add to the festive fare.

Sean McClellan, the Market’s coordinator, has requested that our Master Gardener Association set up an information booth to answer general lawn and garden questions from the public.  Three of our members have already done this in prior years, and he was wondering if the association would be willing to have a season long presence at the market.   Jennie Stanger, master composter John Eichholtz and Georgeann Brown have all left  their mark with favorable results.  In fact Georgeann often teamed up with fellow MGs, the Chapmans—demonstrating different ways to present their lamb with herbs from her potager garden.

This would be an excellent opportunity for the association to establish a working relationship with a popular Farmers Market and make our presence known to the public by sharing our gardening expertise.  I am suggesting the booth be staffed by 2-3 members, with possibly a short demonstration of a simple garden topic.  Sean will provide the table and I believe the MGA has signage and other props at the extension office.

Hopefully this idea will be met with approval after discussion at the next meeting, and a committee set up to coordinate the activity.  Sean and his wife Tanya, publish the Independent newspaper—I am sure the MGA will get a lot of free publicity out of this collaboration.

Sean’s contact info is:  (734)  529-7275;  email:  sean@dundee.net  and the website for the Farmers Market, which has some excellent photos of the market activities is:  www.dundeefarmersmarket.com

For those who still want to record their hours, I am sure this will be counted as approved educational time.



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In Milan there is a new destination in Wilson Park which was created and dedicated in 2012 called Milan Veteran’s Wall of Honor.  Milan Garden Club will be responsible for planting the several raised planters in that area and would love to hear what plant suggestions our readers have for the 3 raised beds and the two areas in front of the two raised beds.  There are  two “L” shaped beds in the front which are 16″ high and planting area is 34″ inside width.  The shorter length of the “L”  is 9′ and the longer length is 15′.

The third planter is located in the center of the memorial area, is square, also 16″ high, and the inside planting area about 22″ wide.  Because of the statue in the center of this planting area the height of plants can not exceed 16″ when mature.

This area faces west and has some large trees on the east and south sides but it receives about 6 hours of sun each day.  All plant suggestions must be drought tolerant (there are soaker hoses in the planters) and low maintenance (no shrubs that require pruning for shape).  The photos show some mums in pots which were planted last fall for the Veteran’s Wall dedication.  These plants will probably be moved to another location.

Plants under current consideration are Lavender Hidcote (18″ x 18″), Bolder Blue Festuca (12″ x 12″), Happy Returns Daylily (18″ x 18), Carefree Sunshine Knock-out rose, OSO Happy Petit Pink Rose, and Pennisetum Little Bunny (12″).   The grasses you see in front of the raised planters are Little Zebra and were planted last fall by the city in preparation for the dedication ceremony.  They are going to be removed and replaced with a shorter variety grass (and perhaps the mums) because they will mature to be taller than the planters.  Suggestions from our readers are needed for that area as well.  We are also thinking of using Profusion Zinnias annuals for color this first year while the perennials mature.

Please reply to this post for your suggestions. Let’s help Milan Veteran’s Wall of Honor grow!

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Wow, do we have a great FotoFriday ths week! We have a series of photos from Mary Ellen showing the progression of a neighborhood garden she designed. Mary Ellen writes:

Experimenting with annuals can be great fun. I test different annuals each year when planting large in-ground or small container designs. Sometimes I begin with the design or pattern, then decide on the annuals. Other times I choose the annuals then figure out the design. The Star Garden, installed in a common space in my neighborhood a few years ago, began with the pattern. Then I chose annuals with varying heights, colors, textures, and long bloom time. In a public space where access to water is limited I try to use heat and drought tolerant plants. For this pattern I used purple salvia, pink geranium, and white wax begonia.

Site preparation and pattern layout

Three weeks after planting

Seven weeks after planting


Linda submitted photos and information about Ixora coccinea (common names – Jungle Geranium, Flame of the Woods, and Jungle Flame). She writes:

This is a flowering plant from Southern India.   It is often seen in Florida used as decorative shrubs and hedges. The leaves are glossy and leathery.  There are many varieties of this plant (about 500) and comes in various colors of yellow, pink and orange.  It’s now in bloom.  I love the clusters of small tubular flowers.  I keep it in my master bathroom where there is bright light and a heated floor.  It does make a great house plant in a container.  It will usually bloom from November and often it continues to bloom until February.  I’ve had it now for about four years and it never has let me down.  It always gives me a boost when everything else is fading.  These’s a bit of maintenance during the flowering time when the individual flowers begin to fall; but it’s well worth it.

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Where has the year gone?  In less than  a week we will be having our annual recognition banquet, which unfortunately I am unable to attend.  Therefore, I would like to make a few recognitions  of my own, based on what I have observed this year.  Lot of people have worked hard, and these are my personal picks.  I hope I am not embarrassing  or offending anyone – but the following members I am sure you will agree are particularly deserving of our recognition and thanks for their efforts and valuable contribution to the club.

  1. Naida Albin – The Work & Learn Crew:   Her tireless efforts along with my regulars, the Milan gang and Mark Havekost, are the reason we were able to restore the gardens to what they should be.  A consumate gardener and workaholic, she tends at least three other local gardens that I know of in addition to her own, and is very supportive of any MG activity.   A very modest person, I do not want to embarrass her further by listing her numerous other achievements.
  2. Sue Ryan – Blogmeister:   The reason that you are able to read this – is because of the efforts of this one person in setting up and maintaining our blog, from conception to where it is now! Sue’s talents as a photographer and an uplifting script writer have given our fledgling venture a polished, professional look – and a much needed voice for the association.  Did I mention this is all done after 10 hour work shifts and numerous stints weeding the office  garden?  She has put in hundreds of hours into making this happen because she is totally committed to making this blog a success, and something we can all be proud of.
  3. Linda Welch – Most Involved MG:  It is no exaggeration to say Linda is everywhere there is activity in the club.  From single-handedly renovating our previous projects in the Veterans Park, planting the new sundial beds, weeding the office garden and being a cheerful booster for the club.  Most of you know her from her garden design presentations and numerous photographs of her lovely garden and plant choices in the blog –  where she is a founding editor and frequent contributor.
  4. Sharon Diefenthaler – Best Community Outreach:   Being a MG is all about community outreach.  Sharon is fortunate in that she has been able to incorporate this mission statement into her ISD program at Matthes’ greenhouse.  All of her students graduate as Junior MGs and the work ethic and skills they learn as being part of her program, will prepare them for being productive citizens.  She is an active participant in the IHM community gardens,  Bedford Library gardens and with her students, in Mercy Memorial greenhouse and gardens.
  5. Carol Koesel – Best Project:   Thanks to Carol, we finally were able to have a raised bed veggie garden as a teaching tool in our demo garden.  This feature was long overdue!  Skillfully using a 3 x 4 seed bag,  Carol planted a mini- garden that yielded a surprising array and quantity of vegetables, all of which were grown in our own compost…Mel Bartholomew would definitely approve!  I certainly appreciate her garden knowledge and deft touch in maintaining the Memorial Garden, which she helped design and install.
  6. Lenore Wood – Most Under-appreciated Worker:   Lenore is the Rodney Dangerfield of the association.  She is the one who toils away maintaining the beds at Fairview Hospital, her church and when time permits, she comes and weeds our garden. Lenore works alone and is publicity shy, so many of you have little idea what this woman accomplishes.  Her dedication to community outreach is something the association should acknowledge and embrace.
  7. Karen Hehl – Best Photography Submission:  A lot of you know Karen’s handiwork from past garden tours.  Come fall, she is a regular feature around the office garden weeding and clipping. What I didn’t realize was just how accomplished a photographer she really is.  Her photos of the pepper arrangement are of professional quality and would not be out of place in the pages of Gourmet magazine.  Both Sue and I are unanimous in this choice of her outstanding FotoFriday submission.
  8. Sandy O’Connell – Most  Informative Newsletter Article:   Most of you know this garrulous upstate New Yorker as a hardworking, weed-pulling terror with her designer weeding hoe.  But she is also an accomplished writer as is shown in her past newsletter article on her visit to the home of pioneering naturalist, Gene Stratton-Porter.  Truly an  outstanding article with superb photographs that help make our newsletter one of the best in the region.
  9. Georgeann Brown – Best Food Presenter:   This is just another facet of the multi-talented persona of our longest serving MG.  In addition to being Jennie’s first graduate, GB has brought a wealth of experience and gardening knowledge to this club over the years, as well as holding every office and one of the originators of the W & L program!  Her interest in herbs was recently coupled with her passion for food in a most interesting and lively presentation on Sweet and Savory Herb cooking, that was extremely well received.
  10. Mary Ellen and Stella – Children’s Garden:   One of the true little gems in our exhibition garden, this area is lovingly planted and nurtured each year by Mary Ellen and Stella.  I just love the Japanese theme and the choice of plantings that always seem to be doing something different throughout the year.  I was lucky enough to snap a few photos of some children enjoying the gardens…which says it all!
  11. Sharon, Winnie & Karen – Best Team Presentation:    The award for the best tag-team presentation has to go to this trio! In spite of an advertising snafu, they managed to draw in 10 members of the public in addition to a full house of MGs for a lively and interesting Herbs, Senses class.  The room smelled terrific with all the herbs and freshly baked bread and they managed to compliment each other very well in getting their message out…by working as a team…a novel idea!
  12. Chris Edolls – Most Informative Presentation:   In addition to being our treasurer, Chris is an accomplished apiarist.  Anyone who comes to give a class in a white jump suit and bee-keeper’s garb…automatically gets my attention and respect!.  Her presentation on bee-keeping was extremely well done and very informative.  I think we all went away with a new appreciation of what these interesting little pollinators do in our gardens. Chris is also a regular presenter on garden topics at the Ida Public Library.
  13. Jeff Nicita – Best Garden Tour:   A most accomplished gardener, Jeff was kind enough to offer his gardens this summer for a private tour.  Jeff has an eye for garden layout as well as a large repository of plant knowledge. Linda did an excellent article on the tour, and her photos say it all about his talent’s as a landscaper.  We are lucky to have Jeff as a member even though he lives in Wayne County and could just as easily belong to their association.
      A special recognition should go to Pete Wallace, another out of the area MG who was in my class of 2009…for his hard work and financial contributions to make our latest public project a reality.  Next spring,  the sundial will be unveiled in the Veterans Park for all to see and enjoy.  Jennie Stanger also was a major contributor as well as coordinator for this project, and deserves our thanks.
     There are I am sure others I have omitted, but also deserving of your recognition…Gail Keane with her labors at the Conservation District plant sale; Chris Kosal with her involvement at the YMCA,  Dorsch Library gardens and website committee; Jessie Green and Debi Beier for their preparing plant labels for the gardens and activities in the Bedford garden tours, and the committee members who produce the newsletter and handle everything from promotions to booking speakers.
      Kudos also to Paul for maintaining the association on an even keel during these troublesome times with MSUE.  Keeping a MG association  going requires commitment from all – not just a few.  Everyone has to reach inside themselves and see how they can contribute more to support the obligation this entails.  To do otherwise may well jeopardise the survival of the club as a MG association.
      Let’s plan on making next year an even more productive one as we face the challenges of the extension office closing.

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Sign garden at Hack House

When I wrote this article last weekend looking out the window at the blustery, soggy scene – I began to think how lucky the Milan folks were with the simply gorgeous weather they had for their annual Fall Festival at Hack House.

SW porch repairs

On the contrary, this old house now serves as a living museum of what “life” was like in late 19th century rural Milan. The outbuildings and main house have been filled with numerous period furnishings and artifacts worthy of Sauder Village – with the added bonus that most of these are original to the structure. This is really a “must see” for anyone with children to not only connect them with their local roots, but to show how people can come together and volunteer their time and labor to preserve a piece of history.

Milan gang at work

Well, this article is supposed to be about the gardens that our hard working MGs, Naida, Norma, Amy, Doris and Barb and their fellow Milan Garden Club members managed to wrestle out of  a pile of overgrown thickets!  Naida is currently down in the wilds of Brazil, so I am posting her emailed comments about how the gardens came into being.

“The Milan Garden Club, which was formed in 1998, was looking for a community project.  In the spring of 1999, one of our members, who belongs to the Milan Area Historical Society, suggested we establish and maintain a few flower gardens at the Friend/Hack House museum.

SE porch front garden

We started slowly the first couple of years – with a lot of willing helpers and some very good advice from Jennie Stanger – and our projects and gardens expanded quickly.  In 2007 we decided to create a new garden area in front of ( at first glance) a chicken coop. We later discovered it had held exotic birds and was used in 1888 as an aviary.

Aviary front gardens

Shortly after taking on this new area in front of the aviary, we looked to the east side and saw it was just a mass of overgrown wild raspberries, grape vines, junk trees and weeds which we felt detracted from our new garden. About this time, many of our members were” running out of steam” – but that darn Doris Campbell (MG class of 2010) kept gravitating to that area, cutting out brush, etc.  I got hooked also and we burned a lot of calories doing our best to clear that area.  I even talked my husband into bringing his chainsaw to cut down some of the larger trees. Doris built a tower (about 8ft high x 12ft wide) of brush – and finally got help from some friends of the Historical Society to take down more of the very large trees and dispose of our pile.

Half finished aviary brush pile

Like the house and outbuildings, the gardens are a work in progress.  We managed to cut back the bulbs and give a quick tidy up of the beds in time for the Fall Festival.”


Former brush area

So many stories here, but this is just a blog.  This house is not your typical 1880 farmhouse.  The wood paneling and doors speak of lavishness that came from other than farm labor.  The inlaid marble fireplace in the parlor would not look out of place in an expensive home today.  The kitchen is “period 1920” and not that unusual –  unlike the 3 hole outside privy in a very elegant building that had a somewhat ingenious “flushing” system.   They needed it as the farm help lived in the attic over the family quarters!

The blue "Electric Sugar Machine" on stove in Summer Kitchen

The summer kitchen contains an interesting assortment of laundry artifacts – and the “The Electric Sugar Refining Machine” – the profits from which today would be called a stock swindle or ponzi scheme, that funded all this opulence, briefly landed the grieving widow in jail and definitively her husband had he not unexpectedly died. Their farm encompassed what is now the former Ford plant and the original Owens-Illinois corrugated box facility.  Infact, Sharon Diefenthaler can recall people living in the house in the late seventies when she worked at the box plant.

The elegant outhouse

After looking at that brush pile, now I can see why the Milan gang made such short work of our garden this year.  These gals just thrive on the challenge of knocking a neglected garden into shape.  Maybe as an association, we owe them at least one good gardening day to help them in the spring?

The museum is open from May to late November, Sundays 1-4 pm.


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Photo credit Sean McClellan The Independent Newspaper (734) 529-2688

Photo Credit Sean McClellan The Independent Newspaper (734) 529-2688

Deb (fellow MG) and Mark Chapman of Chapman Sheep Farm, along with Georgeann Brown (MG class ’92) grilled lamb kebabs/kabobs for all to sample at the Dundee Farmers’ Market on 8/27. Many were surprised by the delicious flavor of the marinated lean boneless leg of lamb chunks. A few market samplers were hesitant because of their remembrances of mutton (yikes!) but young American lamb is a tasty alternative to beef. The Chapman’s sell all cuts of lamb (frozen) at numerous farmers’ markets in our area. Their kebabs are already cut into cubes. If you need something special, call Chapman Sheep Farm, Deb’s e-mail address is in our membership list.

A quick marinade for kebabs (great for chops as well)

1 Tablespoon brown sugar

4 Tablespoons soy sauce

1 large garlic clove, minced

1 ½ teaspoon ground cumin

¾ teaspoon ground coriander

Pinch of cayenne

¼ t freshly ground black pepper

1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice

¾ teaspoon orange zest

Olive oil for the grill

    1. ½ pounds boneless leg of lamb, cut into 1½ -2 inch cubes

In a large bowl, combine the brown sugar, soy sauce and garlic. Whisk in the spices, lemon juice and orange zest.

Toss the lamb cubes in the bowl with the marinade and marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes or in the refrigerator for 4-6 hours. Turn the meat several hours.

Heat the gas grill to medium-high. Lightly oil grill.

Skewer the lamb cubes, leaving about half-inch of space between each cube so they’ll cook all around. Grill turning the skewers to brown on all sides for a slight charring, until medium-rare, about 5-6 minutes. Remove from the grill, let rest for a few minutes and serve.

Serves 4

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So soon a complete article will be written and will show the completed Sundial Project at Veterans Park.  All credit to those involved will be given at that time.  But we thought it might be nice to just post a few shots of the location and some of the progress.  If you’re in the area, stop by, it’s almost complete.  They were setting the hour stones this past Saturday.

100_1895 100_1896 100_1897 100_1900 100_1905 100_1916 100_1919

We really need to work on the Childrens Sensory Garden beds.  They are overgrown with weeds.  I’m working on them a bit at a time.    However, I need some volunteers to help me out.  Once they are done, it’ll be much easier to keep up.   With the hot weather , morning has been my choice of time.  This week we are to get cooler weather.  With group of volunteers  we could get them done in no time.   How would This Thursday be for some of you? (Aug. 11)  Let me know if you can help.  I’ll be there both in the morning for a few hours and again Thursday evening about 6:00pm for a few hours.  It would be nice if we had a group there for photos working on this community project.

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Gardening group at the Monroe YMCA

I am wondering what kind of outreach programs or activities other Master Gardeners are involved in.  I would like to share a modest, small project I am involved with at the Monroe YMCA.  Betsy Bradley approached me about maintaining a small vegetable plot with one of the children’s day care groups.  Apparently someone started a native plants bed and vegetable garden last year, but then moved out of town.  I checked with Jennie to see if I could receive credit for this type of outreach and she agreed.  We did not plant until the third week of June, but the children planted zucchini, cucumbers, and zinnia from seed and also planted peppers, tomatoes, and basil plants.  We have had a lesson on companion planting and planted some alyssum with the tomatoes.  There is a rain gauge to remind the children to water the plants.  So far, everything is growing.  We hope to make pizzas with the tomatoes, zucchini, peppers and basil.

YMCA young gardener and his tomato plant

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