How are you enjoying your spring garden? Are you out there planting vegetable or perennials? Have you picked out a new shrub cultivar? Are you still at the garden center making a decision? Are you sorry the rains have slowed down?
Strawberry pot in early April
I have been out of town for a couple of days, and everything has grown while I have been away. Take, for example, my strawberry pot. Full of strawberries on the sides and cilantro on the top, I have been picking almost daily to keep up. My fall pansies are pretty much gone (shucks, I have to choose something else for those pots!), but my geranium, a hold-over from last year, is going gangbusters.
This pansy was a volunteer and its cheery face pairs well with Carex 'Evergold'
I must say, I am looking forward to spending the entire weekend in the garden. There are tomatoes and peppers begging to be in the soil, and many seeds to sow. I must check on those zinnias I transplanted early in the week. Oh, and I have to find something else to go in those pansy pots!
Hope you have as much fun in the garden as I will!
Want to bring some Advanced Training home to your county?
The State Program Office has a challenge for you!
If your county program sends 15 people to Master Gardener University, we'll come to you! We'll schedule a "Creative Teaching Techniques" Advanced Training in your county.
This class meets the "required" course that is part of Silver and Gold Star Advanced Training recognition. It's actually a lot of fun! You never know what you might be asked to wear (look at those LOVELY hats!) or do (Playdough, anyone?)!
Why do we want you to come to Master Gardener University, or pursue Advanced Training, for that matter? We want volunteers
who are confident and satisfied in their roles as education partners with Cooperative Extension, and continued opportunities to learn and grow are important to you. We needskilled,
knowledgeable MGEVs who will provide programmatic leadership to local Extension
education programs, and know that Advanced Training opportunities help develop that skill, knowledge, and confidence. We also know that Advanced Training events fosterconnections
between volunteers and resources across the state. We're all in the business of cultivation, whether it's knowledge, skills, plants, or people!
ADVANCED TRAINING FOR GEORGIA MASTER GARDENER EXTENSION VOLUNTEERS
MGEVs often conduct educational projects and programs for youth. In fact,
youth programs are the third most popular type of educational project that
Georgia MGEVs conduct! We're going to learn about a lot of these types of
projects during Get Kids Gardening
and Using the Garden as an Outdoor
Classroom at Master
Gardener University in June. When we extend the garden to youth, these projects
become collaborations with the 4-H Extension program area. How exciting it is
to pool resources and extend sound programming to the youth in our communities!
Because of this emphasis on youth horticulture, the Georgia MGEV Program has
teamed up with Georgia 4-H to offer "Certified Youth Horticulture"
training during Master Gardener University! This training follows the 4-H model
for certified leader training in other areas, such as 4-H Forestry Field Day
Coaches or Certified 4-H Wildlife Judging Coaches. Certified leaders
participate in training that gives an overview to Georgia 4-H as well as the
essential elements of 4-H programs. They receive significant subject matter
training, and they also learn about risk management so that the adult leaders
are able to deliver strong programs that are developmentally appropriate for
the youth audience. MGEVs who take both Youth tracks (Get Kids Gardening
and Using the Garden as an Outdoor Classroom) at Master Gardener University
will complete the criteria for certified training and will be recognized as
"certified youth horticulture volunteers."
It is our desire that MGEVs partner with the 4-H program staff to deliver
quality youth horticulture programs in schools and communities across Georgia.
When the MG University training is complete, MGEVs will be
prepared to assist with gardening presentations in classrooms or set up
an after-school gardening program. Future training opportunities will prepare
MGEVs to mentor school garden leaders, such as teachers and parents. There's lots of work to be done in the area of youth horticulture, and MG University is an opportunity to gain ideas and momentum to put those ideas to work! ADVANCED TRAINING FOR GEORGIA MASTER GARDENER EXTENSION VOLUNTEERS
Last night, I had the privilege of speaking to the Hall County MGEV group in Gainesville. What a good time! This group is full of fun and energy, and the meeting was a delight!
I shared at length what Advanced Training is for Georgia MGEVs. We talked a bit about how it is different from the initial training you receive as a new MGEV. We read the "fine print" on the Gold Star project, and talked at length about how to host an Advanced Training.
(And Hall County might want to know this information since they are in the lead for a "Creative Teaching Techniques" training. Did you know about that challenge? More later...)
Why did I enjoy the meeting so much?
When I arrived at the meeting, there was a note to sign in, and multiple clipboards and pens were laid out to facilitate this. As a guest, I knew where to go and where I would find the gardeners!
Training classes were "pitted" against each other to see who would win the attendance award! The winner was the class of 2011. After a bit of cajoling, a class representative was persuaded to proudly carry home the "bright" sunflower yard art! (and glue on the ladybug that fell off...the chewing gum didn't quite do the trick!) I think this "yard art" is transferred to next month's winner...
Recognition abounded at this meeting...someone won a prize by random drawing in the "Seeds" contest, others won clever door prizes, like that ceramic mushroom pot waterer...I even won some seeds and recipe cards!
Mixed in with this fun and silliness was a little serious business, like a questionnaire about the youth horticulture projects going on in Hall County...they had something to do with Robbie's disinterest in wearing bowling shoes...but nonetheless, kudos to this group for taking the time to consider whether these projects should continue as they are or if it is time to morph them into something different.
We had a great time at this meeting! It was nice to see familiar faces and to have that inside look at what MGEVs work on locally. Thank you for inviting me!
Thank you to all of you who have hosted me and taken time to visit with me at length over the past few months!
Those folks registering for both Friday and Saturday sessions of Master Gardener University get to choose a pre-event tour on Thursday, June 6, 2013. We have three tours planned (available on a first-come, first-served basis) ahead of our advanced training sessions to see inside of some great work at UGA.
Soils Lab. Have you ever wondered what happens to that bag of soil once it leaves the local office? How is it handled? What processes does it go through to get those results? How is the report generated? How long does it take?
All of these questions and more will be answered during Thursday's tour of the Soils Lab. Participants in this tour will meet at the Soils Lab and get an in-depth look at the process that is so critical to successful and healthy gardens.
UGarden. As I understand it, undergrad students throughout the University (not just Horticulture students) wanted to know how to grow vegetables. They began asking questions, and those questions made their way to the Horticulture Department. Enter Horticulture faculty, and a lot more students from all over campus, and the project evolves! One thing leads to another, and the students want to grow food on campus. It has expanded so that students gain experience in organic vegetable production techniques, fresh produce is donated to a local food bank, and other students get involved. In
2012, a student-managed project received funding from the Campus
Sustainability Grants program (for students, from student green fees) to
research and demonstrate the effectiveness of vertical gardening by way
of a wall unit installed at the UGArden. The produce will be
harvested by Campus Kitchen volunteers and distributed at the Northeast
Food Bank.You can read more about the garden from the student perspective here.
What is the take-home from this tour? Challenge yourself to rethink your local community or demonstration garden. How can more people learn from the garden? Who can be involved, other than MGEVs, to gain the benefits of growing fresh food, learning new skills, and sharing resources with the community? It's more than just a pretty garden and the thrill of nurturing and harvest!
A Sneak Peek..."An Inside Look at the Planning of a Children’s Garden” at the State Botanical Garden promises to be very exciting! Did you know that the State Botanical Garden was designing and creating a Children's Garden? What a perfect compliment to the garden and programs! This sneak peek is just for Master Gardeners, and will give an inside look at the effort required to plan a
children’s garden, including defining the theme and
focus, getting input from various experts and the community, choosing
the best site, working with designers, relating the garden to
surrounding activities, and raising funds. Be one
of the first to see the plans for the new Children’s Garden!
This is a great opportunity to hear what staff at the Botanical Garden have learned in this planning process. Apply what you learn to your own demonstration and education projects. You can't go wrong with this event that is followed by a guided tour of the State Botanical Garden (or wander
the gardens and gift shop on your own.)
So, we hope that you will join us and have opportunity to be a park ofsoils, the UGarden, and a Sneak Peek!
You've probably heard by now about the FANTASTIC training sessions available to you during Master Gardener University. But the training sessions are not the only great things happening during MGU!
Those of you coming to Master Gardener University for both Friday and Saturday sessions are invited to dinner on Friday night in the lovely Magnolia Ballroom at the Georgia Center. Some of you may even have the privilege of sitting at the head table with our keynote speaker, Dr. Diane Relf, Professor Emeritus of Horticulture, Virginia Tech.
If you're thinking you've heard that name before, you probably have! Diane was my mentor, supervisor, and graduate committee chair during my early career with the Virginia Master Gardener program. I have shared with many of you how her vision and direction for horticulture has resonated strongly with me and is a foundation for the vision I bring to the Georgia Master Gardener Extension Volunteer Program. Diane enjoys an international renown and continues to share her expertise and insight with the green industry and supporting organizations all over the world.
But that is not the exciting part! You know how so many of you said, "I can't wait to retire so that I can become a MG" ?? Well, I think Diane said, "I can't wait to retire to become an ARTIST"!!!!
Here's a little bit about our keynote speaker, Diane Relf, in her own words:
Diane Relf -- Artist’s
First and foremost, art is about having fun by
creating something I enjoy messing with. Most of my work is never quite
finished, as I add to and embellish it. Experimenting with new materials and
techniques and making things up as I go are essential elements of art for me.
art is about finding discarded objects and manipulating them to explore their
potential; then combining the these new objects into statements of appreciation
of the mundane. It questions the validity of a throwaway society, the value of
always needing new, and the perfection of machinery precision. It celebrates
the daily detritus that has lost its meaning and gives it a new opportunity to
open eyes and minds. I have long had a love affair with rust and much of my
work explores rust’s potential in creative expression in many forms: wood and
rust sculpture; rust stained textile and paper backgrounds for rust
assemblages; wearable rusted art; metal masks; altered art tiles; photography;
and digital graphic “collages”. At the least, my art provides me with many
hours of entertainment, challenges me to explore new ways of making art, and
provides amusement to my family and friends.
year I discovered the serendipity involved in alcohol ink abstracts and have
been exploring ways to combine the bright, permanent ink colors with rust.
BioBorn and raised poor in Texas, I learned young to
play with discarded items and appreciate the value of things that most people
found useless.A career in academia had
demands that derailed me from playing with art. But since retirement several
years ago, I have continuously created and recreated my art.
So, if you haven't registered to attend Master Gardener University, be sure to do so very soon (click here to go to the registration page)! We want to see you in Athens in June!
Did you have a chance to attend Friday's Advanced Training session on Community Gardens? There were wonderful bits of experience mixed in with new ideas at the day-long training held at the Extension office in Henry County.
We heard from Glenda Garris, Director of the Community Gardens of Henry County. Glenda shared piles of tips on building a community garden, gaining support, building partnerships, and of course, stories about the gardeners who grow there.
Jennifer Davidson, ANR Agent in Columbus, GA (Muscogee County), talked about multiple garden projects that are part of the Columbus Community Garden Network, highlighting Extension's role and the benefits to local residents. She had great ideas for getting things done without expending money, like her fabulous website.
Ted Wynne, ANR Agent in Newton County, demonstrated the importance of planning and forethought in his presentation on community gardens in Newton County. He shared how Newton County developed a long-range plan for 2050, identified health and greening components, and looked to Extension for meeting elements of that plan. He highlighted the successes of working with local college students and other volunteer groups, but emphasized the need to be prepared to direct these groups. His take-home advice was to not own the garden -- be a resource, but not the owner.
MGEVs share experiences with each other as they work on class activities.
One of the most fascinating tips I took away from the training came during our first class activity before lunch. MGEVs divided into small groups and began identifying the successes and challenges of their community garden projects. They also identified what they needed to know more about. During this session, a MGEV indicated that one of their successes at bringing "community" to their community gardens came from a blog. The blog serves as a place of exchange among the gardeners at the community garden. It was creating conversation and engaging the gardeners at the site!
Thank you to Frank Hancock, ANR Agent in Henry County, and the MGEVs in Henry who planned and hosted this Advanced Training! Participants left with ideas and contacts for community garden development. We look forward to hearing their success stories!
UPCOMING ADVANCED TRAININGS...
5, 2013: Leadership: Building a Dynamic MGEV Network; Advanced Training in the
“Required” Course Options. Hosted by Gwinnett County Extension and the Gwinnett
County Master Gardener Association. 9:30 am – 4:30 pm; Cost: $25. Registration
Deadline: February 26, 2013. Contact local Extension agents for registration information.
22, 2013: Sustainability in the Garden:
Comparing Conventional and Organic Garden Management
(SGL), Athens, GA (prior to GMGA spring conference); This
six-hour training is designed to give Master Gardener Extension
Volunteers in-depth training in the differences between conventional and
organic garden management. During the session management techniques and
products will be examined and pros and cons will be weighed. Registration is now open; contact your Extension Agent for a registration form.
April 29-May 4, 2013: Cultivated Spaces (YCG) as part of our bus trip to St. Louis, MO titled “Cultivated Spaces Tour: The Gardens of St. Louis.” Registration is now open;Tour Information and registration.
7-8, 2013: Master Gardener University; The
Georgia Center, Athens, GA. Multiple sessions offered. This will be an
on-line registration through the Georgia Center and is expected to open for registration by March 1.