Posts Tagged ‘monthlyupdate’

EMG Blog Learning Notes – Recapping December 2012

Monday, January 7th, 2013

This month was a festive month on the Extension Master Gardener blog.

Getting Caught Up in the Season

Winter Imagination

Winter Imagination Collage

Our EMG Bloggers enthusiastically explored the winter and holiday spirit through many blog posts. Here is what we covered this month.

Favorite Plants and Scenes:

  • Conifers, Which is Your Favorite?  We tried a new crowd sourcing experiment this month.  After Foy shared some interesting conifers (my favorite was ‘Pusch’ spruce), she added a ‘Linky Lists’ link to the bottom of her post so readers could submit a link with a thumbnail image to a webpage on their favorite conifer(s).  The ‘Linky List’ was available to contribute to for about a week, so if you were busy celebrating the holidays you might have missed it.  I gave it a test and linked to my photos of dwarf evergreens from the U of MN Landscape Arboretum.  One other person contributed a favorite conifer,  ‘Whipcord’. You can check the images and links out at the bottom of the post, and look for future blog posts using the ‘Linky List’ tool.

Christmas Cheer Rhododendron

Wordless Wednesday Wreaths

Wordless Wednesday Regional Wreaths

Online Learning and Resources

In the past few months, we’ve tried to maintain a list of online learning opportunities that Extension Master Gardeners or other avid gardeners might like to take or view.  This month’s list includes links to blogs and webinars.

  • Garden Professors Blog Invitation: Spreading the Word About Research-based Gardening Information. This month, “Garden Professor” Jeff Gillman specifically invited Extension Master Gardeners to view and discuss horticulture topics of  interest through the Garden Professors blog and Facebook page.  This invitation also goes out to agents, educators, gardeners, and green industry members, as well, since multiple perspectives and questions stimulate more dialogue and opportunities to learn.
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture People’s Garden Fall 2012 Webinar Series Recordings.  As mentioned in last month’s update, you can now view speakers talking about hot topics and titles such as seed saving, engaging volunteers in the garden, going native, composting and compost use,  and best practices in starting and sustaining a school garden.
  • How Much Does a Vegetable Garden Cost/Save? From Gail Langellotto’s (State Coordinator of the OSU Extension Master Gardener program) blog, this post was widely shared on our Facebook page. As becomes apparent when reading the post,  different gardens have different costs associated with them.  Sylvia, from New Mexico, drove this point home on our Facebook page, as she stated:  “My highest cost, is water, water, water, I try to offset it by collecting rain water, when we get rain.”

Next Month?

Stay tuned for more January posts.….And please let us know (either in the comments section or by email: if you or your EMG program have a story, learning experience,  or opportunity to share with other Extension Master Gardeners,  or simply join us at:

Extension Master Gardener Blog:

-Karen Jeannette
eXtension Consumer Horticulture Coordinator

-Editorial Reviewer
Linda Brandon, Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Coordinator
NC Cooperative Extension/Guilford County Center

EMG Blog Learning Notes (Recapping November 2012)

Wednesday, December 5th, 2012


Furford Picker in Cranberry Field

This past month our social media team was inspired to investigate where some of their favorite holiday foods come from, how to help storm damaged communities and landscapes, and what other EMGs were doing across the country.

We have also learned of a number of  available online courses, blogs, and webinars that might interest you or a gardening friend. Read below to review new resources and opportunities that have become available for avid and Extension Master Gardeners in the past month.

Exploring the “Where does our food come from?”

We kicked off Thanksgiving week with Fun Vegetable Food Facts for Thanksgiving.  However, that was just a start! Our EMG blogging team ‘dug’ to find the full scoop on some favorite holiday fruits and vegetables:

What's in that Pumpkin Pie?

  • Sweet Potato: Naturally Sweet, Naturally Delicious  – Connie Schulz shares about sweet potato nutrition and recipes, and clears up the difference between potato,  sweet potato, and yam. Equally enjoyable was learning how the sweet potato became her state vegetable (leave it up to a 4th grade class to get things done!).

A special thanks goes to Extension Master Gardeners Debbie Courson Smith, MG Boise, Idaho, and Carl Wayne Hardeman, MG Shelby County, Tennessee, for providing some much needed photos (at the last minute) for our Fun Vegetable Food Facts blog posts!

Hurricane Sandy: Storm Damaged Trees, Landscapes, and Public Gardens

During Hurricane Sandy, our hearts went out to all those effected by the storm’s damage.  Concerned by both the short and long-term impacts of downed trees and damage to gardens and nearby communities,  Foy Spicer reported on Public and Botanical Gardens after Sandy, and suggested ways to help from near or far.

As the Hurricane Sandy recovery process begins, we have slowly been able to celebrate some new trees being planted through our Facebook page, but we know the work is far from over.

Extension Master Gardeners in Action

Mobile County, Alabama Master Gardeners and Junior Master Gardeners

EMGs in the News

Here, we enjoyed reading these two articles in the news by fellow Extension Master Gardeners in different parts of the country:

EMG Volunteer Projects

Looking for project inspiration?  Extension Master Gardeners in Florida and Alabama share some successful projects underway you might like to view:

Newly Available Online Learning and Resources

Looking for some online learning opportunities?  Here are a few you may want to explore or share with a gardening friend this month!

  • The Garden Professors blog  and Facebook page– Participate in discussions with these University Extension professors, avid gardeners, and horticulturists to help sort out garden science facts from science-fiction!

 Next Month?

We’ve just shared Wordless Wednesday: Getting the Garden Ready for the Holidays, but stay tuned next month for more December inspired blog posts!

….And please let us know either in the comments section or by email: if you or your EMG program have a story or opportunity to share with other Extension Master Gardeners or join us at:

Extension Master Gardener Blog:

-Karen Jeannette
eXtension Consumer Horticulture Coordinator

-Editorial Reviewer
Linda Brandon, Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Coordinator
NC Cooperative Extension/Guilford County Center



EMG Blog Learning Notes – Recapping October 2012

Monday, November 5th, 2012

Captivated by Fall

To no one’s surprise, “fall” was definitely the theme on the blog this month. It seems we were captivated by autumn splendor. In some, but not all, areas of the country, this means the change in the amount and quality of  daylight, with foliage and fruit shifting from shades of green to brilliant shades of yellow, orange, red, and burgundy. But it’s not just colors that take the stage, we also see unique textures in seeds and structures of plants that dazzle us in autumn.

Collection of fall photos

Autumn splendor - collection of fall photos (Photo collage: Doug Bascom)

Of course, this fall wasn’t all about the scenery; Extension Master Gardeners had work to do, bugs to identify, and events to attend!

Extension Master Gardeners Talk About Fall Clean Up

Scrubbing Clay Pots

Clean terra cotta pots with a mix of one part bleach to nine parts water. Scrubbing with a nail brush will help get the soil from the sides (Photo: Carla Albright)

This month on one Wordless Wednesday, we witnessed UNL’s Landscape Management class’s fall clean up project, just prior to them removing diseased or weedy plant materials.

We also discussed fall gardening chores Extension Master Gardeners were accomplishing across the U.S. on our Facebook page.  With so much to do, keeping a manageable garden list, as Carla Albright suggests, can be a clever thing to do (especially when you alternate which muscle groups do each chore!).

Extension Master Gardeners Report on Fall Bugs and Insects

  • Halloween’s  (Almost) Wordless Wednesday, the ‘Body Invaders‘ video, was a “scary” thrill for gardeners who also happen to appreciate beneficial parasitic wasps. This video came about as a resource to help a recent community garden ID and understand an ‘unknown’ but beneficial insect in their garden.

Kudzu bug infestation on outside of home

Kudzu bug infestation on outside of home (Photo Credit: Daniel R. Suiter, University of Georgia,

Multicolored Asian lady beetle. Photo showing variation in color pattern.

Multicolored Asian lady beetle. Photo showing variation in color pattern. (Photo credit: Bill Ree, Texas A&M University,

Catching Up: A Few of October’s Noteworthy Events and Updates

Tents fill the lawn at Monticello

Tents and festival-goers fill the lawn at Thomas Jefferson's Monticello


What about You?

What did you notice or do in the garden this month? Leave a comment and let us know what you or your Extension Master Gardener program have been up to… OR, do you have a story about something you are doing or seeing in your Extension Master Gardener program?  Would you like to share in a future blog post?  Send an email to about a topic or event you’d like considered for a blog post.  We’ll work with you to help schedule and post it.


-Karen Jeannette
eXtension Consumer Horticulture Content Coordinator

-Editorial Reviewer
Linda Brandon, Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Coordinator
NC Cooperative Extension/Guilford County Center

EMG Blog Learning Notes – Recapping September 2012

Tuesday, October 9th, 2012

We hope this month’s update will connect you with people, events, and resources that others have found useful and interesting this past September (2012) through this national Extension Master Gardener blog, and also through conversations on Facebook and Twitter.

Extension Master Gardeners Supporting Each Other and Their Communities

This month the following programs shared stories of collaboration between state programs and in their communities, specifically:

 Update from the National Extension Master Gardener Coordinators Conference

Over 100 state and county Extension Master Gardener coordinators came together in Spokane, Washington this month to discuss how to strengthen volunteer program management training and resources. Coordinators were also able to gain additional insights into several current trends in horticulture at several preconference tours, one of which we shared on Wordless Wednesday: Community Gardens Tour in Spokane Washington.

Master Gardener Coordinators Discuss Volunteer Management

2012 Extension Master Gardener Coordinators Conference. This year's topic: Volunteer Management (Click to enlarge photo)

The September ’12 Scoop on Gardening in Extension: Research, Trends,  and Resources

Emerging Research on Net Houses for Backyard Vegetable Production

Emerging Research: Net Houses for Backyard Vegetable Production, a blog posts from Alabama Cooperative Extension,  prompted insightful discussion in the comments section about using this developing research.

Advice for keeping trees and shrubs healthy in drought and heat. WVU agent, John Porter, shares how plants have been responding to drought and heat stress in the landscape this summer and is interested about resources or advice you may have been providing.

Wacky Weather and Stress Flowering – Garden Professor Bert Cregg (Associate Professor and Extension Specialist, Michigan State) discussed the effects of wacky weather and stress flowering in plants. Are your lilacs, magnolias, and rhododendrons blooming at weird times this year?

A Few Prime Resources

Landscape Design: Do it Yourself or Hire it Done? With landscape design, sometimes you need a little help deciding how much to take on yourself or who you enlist for help.  This resource is complete with a list of interview questions for helping you determine if you should do it yourself or hire it out, as well as a chart to help match any professional expertise you seek with the appropriate landscape professional.

National Indoor Plant Week (& websites) – This blog post discussed the benefits of indoor plants and indoor air quality.  Through an exchange on Twitter, we compiled some favorite resources for growing indoor plants from across Extension, which are now listed in the comments section.

What resources did you find particularly useful this month? Why?

Going Forward

As we mentioned above,  if you’d like to share a story about what you are learning as a Master Gardener volunteer or a story about your program via a blog post here on the blog, let us know through Facebook, Twitter, or contact our social media team by email at

And….last but not least, if you didn’t catch it earlier this month, we will leave you with a little garden whimsy, as Connie Schulz shares her Wordless Wednesday: Flower Faces.

-Karen Jeannette
eXtension Consumer Horticulture Content Coordinator

-Editorial Reviewer
Linda Brandon, Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Coordinator
NC Cooperative Extension/Guilford County Center


EMG Blog Learning Notes – Recapping August 2012

Friday, September 7th, 2012


Busy this month?  August can be a busy month for avid and Extension Master Gardeners as they are often spending time watering, weeding, managing insects and disease, planning a fall garden, and perhaps visiting farmers’ markets or answering questions at local fairs.

Through this monthly update, we’ve tried to make it easy to catch up. Below you can scan or read an overview of what went on in our August blog posts, check out opportunities for upcoming or on-demand online courses and Webinars, or perhaps you’d like to get connected with other EMGs by pressing  ‘Like’ on our Extension Master Gardener Facebook page.

What did we learn or share in August?

Lee Co Ala MG Demonstration Garden

Lee Co Ala MG Demonstration Garden

Master Gardener Fruits of Labor

After all that hard work, it’s nice to see plans and sweat equity come together.  This month Lee County, Alabama, Master Gardeners  shared with us the fruits of their labor in their Wordless Wednesday: Changing Face of Master Gardener Demonstration Garden located in Auburn’s Kiesel Park.

Whatcom County Master Gardener, Doug Bascom also shared with us how the results of his gardening labor provide opportunities to delight in the details.

Farmers’ Markets

Words from August 2012 blog posts (

This month we plugged our blog’s web address (actually the blog’s feed address, for the technologically curious) into and out came this tag cloud image to the right.  This word cloud made it abundantly clear — in August, food and farmers’ markets were on our mind!

Connie Schulz, Extension Master Gardener from Johnson County, North Carolina contacted the Larimer County, Colorado Extension office to find out more about how Master Gardeners were involved with the Larimer County Farmer’s Market.

This conversation sparked three farmers’ markets blogs posts, capturing the spirit of farmer’s markets and why they can be both productive and fun places to volunteer. You may like to check them out:


We know there are a number of Extension Master Gardeners who participate in county and state fairs every year. Many answer questions or set up display booths to share best practices and the latest university research about growing and using plants.  This month, we got a glimpse of Grays Harbor Pacific Master Gardeners at the fair.  Judging by the size of their hydrangeas at their display, I bet they get numerous questions about how to grow plants!
Do you have a county or state fair experience? We’d love to hear about it in the comments section!

We have great entries here!

Sharing New Ideas in Horticulture

Drip Irrigations Systems…for Grass?  When horticulture agent, Cheryl Kent posted the blog posts with the title , “Drip Irrigation Systems…for Grass?” I had to laugh, because the title was the perfect hook to get my attention.  It said just what I was thinking….”How does this work?” If you think drip irrigation systems for grass would be something you’d be interested in knowing more about, be sure to read the post and contact Cheryl for more information!

Installation of drip irrigation for small lawn areas

Volunteers working hard to dig trenches for dripline installation during a turfgrass subsurface drip irrigation workshop. Photo taken by Bernd Leinauer, NMSU.

Upcoming and On-Demand Online Webinars and Courses

Looking to gain new knowledge on gardening, horticulture, or technology from home?  Below are online Webinar events and courses available to you and the public. Check these Webinars out or share them with a friend!

Upcoming Webinars:

Online privacy and security tune-up Webinar , Tuesday 9/18/12, 2PM EDT.-  This is a good opportunity for you if you like getting information online, but want to know more about how to protect your online privacy.  This webinar will be presented by Extension professionals for many audiences, including Extension Master Gardener volunteers and the general public.  Come listen, ask questions, voice concerns, or share the link with a friend you know is interested.

Webinar Recordings and Online Courses You Can Take Anytime:

Tomato IPM Webinar

View the Tomato IPM Webinar recording @

The Tomato IPM Webinar was presented August 14, 2012 by Extension Educators from several North Central states to Master Gardeners in over 130 locations throughout Wisconsin, South Dakota, Nebraska, Illinois, Minnesota, Ohio, Michigan and Iowa.

This Webinar was recorded and can now be viewed @ Click on the green recording button to watch the recording at your convenience. (Note the recording was delayed one minute so the introduction  or welcome slide is not in the recording).

These two resources have been a hit for the last several months and have been viewed by hundreds of EMGs across the country. Perhaps they may be of interest to you too?

  What About You?

We know that this was a busy month for many enthusiastic Extension Master Gardeners this past month.  We’d love to hear from you.  What was your most memorable August gardening moment? What do you anticipate September will bring for you?


-Karen Jeannette
eXtension Consumer Horticulture Content Coordinator

EMG Blog Learning Notes – Recapping July 2012

Monday, August 13th, 2012

Insects, heat, and drought certainly caught our attention and prompted discussion this July 2012.  Below, you’ll see we also ran across some other interesting resources and activity in local Extension programs across the country.

July Insects

Connie Schulz shared how summer heat brought out the bugs in her backyard, and she also reported on July 23 – 29th National Moth Week.   Carla Albright discussed seeing western tent caterpillars in the Pacific Northwest, which has prompted a good discussion about other tent caterpillars and how people refer to them (correctly or incorrectly) across the U.S.

Sphinx moth Eumorpha pandorus

Beautiful surprises - Sphinx moth Eumorpha pandorus

Heat and Drought

Throughout July 2012, we experienced hot weather across a large portion of the U.S, which held on in many states as hot AND dry weather.

How about you? Has the hot weather made you think about gardening differently this year- perhaps planting a fall garden sooner than you normally would?

Extension Master Gardener Volunteers in Action

Checking whiteboard for garden instruction

Checking whiteboard for garden instruction

Of course, we saw a number of Extension Master Gardeners involved in their communities this month. Here are a few of the links by topic that we would like to re-share:

  • Penn State Master Gardener Help Inmates Tend a Garden: Although this story was released in June in the Lancaster Online, it’s still quite newsworthy and interesting. When you click on the link and view the article,  don’t miss the video just below the advertisement to get the full scoop on this project!
  • Garden Learning Tours Follow-up: In June we talked about upcoming learning garden tours.  Here we follow-up with blog posts from Lee County Alabama and Hennepin County Minnesota Extension Master Gardeners who shared photos and some brief notes about their learning garden tours this summer.   See: Lee County, Alabama’s Tour – Lee County Tour, Preview of Gardens and Hennepin Co. Minnesota’s:  Successful Learning Garden Tour and A lovely day in the gardens

After posting this to Facebook, one of our members commented: “Actually, communication is the key to just about anything!”

Learning Resources

The International Master Gardener Conference 2013 – will you be there?  See who is going to IMGC2013 and from which states!

Here are a few other new resources we discovered this summer, you might want to check out:

  • UNL’s Blossom End Rot video for those that are looking into why their tomatoes are brown on the bottom this time of year.

Do you have resources you think other Extension Master Gardeners should know about? Let us know in the comments section of this post.

Fun in the Garden

Lee Co Alabama MG Demonstration Garden

Last but not least, if you haven’t seen it already, we’d like to leave you with some fun thoughts from July 2012 Wordless Wednesday blog posts Fun in the Garden and the Lee County Master Gardeners changing face of their demonstration garden.


-Karen Jeannette
eXtension Consumer Horticulture Content Coordinator





EMG Blog Learning Notes – Recapping June 2012

Friday, July 6th, 2012


What were you doing in your garden this June?  Watering, weeding, planting/re-planting, or sitting in the shade?

EMG Blog Firsts this month!

This month on the Extension Master Gardener blog, we had some firsts! We celebrated National Pollinator Week through several blog posts, and we launched the beginning of Wordless Wednesdays.  We were also excited to have blog posts submitted from a few new contributors this month. We hope to see more in the future!

Wordless Wednesdays

Photo: Doug Bascom

As a precursor to our new Wordless Wednesday blog posts, Washington State Master Gardener Doug Bascom shared photography tips.  I especially appreciated his suggestion to get the full use out of the camera you have before talking yourself into investing in a new one!

Stay tuned in the coming weeks for future Wordless Wednesday posts by Maggie Lawrence (AL), Doug Boscom (WA), Connie Schulz (NC), Terri James (NE), and Mary-Jean Grimes (WA).

Pollinator Week

Pollinators –  there is just such admiration for pollinators, isn’t there? But perhaps not enough, which is why we devoted several National Pollinator Week blog posts to the week highlighting them in 2012 (June 18-24).

Here is a quick look at what we covered during National Pollinator Week:

Extension Master Gardeners At Work

We heard about vertical gardening as one of the top trends at the International Master Gardener Conference 2011.

Hats off to Extension Master Gardeners of Pasquotank County, North Carolina for helping people make sense out of the vertical gardening trend by making the science practical through their “Garden Up” display and booth at the annual Currituck Flower and Garden Show.



Extension Master Gardeners of Pasquotank County at the annual Currituck Flower and Garden Show

Extension Master Gardeners of Pasquotank County (North Carolina) at the annual Currituck Flower and Garden Show

Volunteer Management

How does your Extension Master Gardener program manage volunteer event signups? Daphne Richards, Travis County (Texas) Extension Agent shared her experience of a new on-line system to manage volunteer signups in her county of over 200 volunteers! If you’d like to streamline some of your volunteer signups or take some of the management headaches out of signing up for events…don’t miss Discovering a New Way to Organize Events!

Educational and Volunteer Opportunities

You can check out any of the monthly updates for educational and volunteer opportunities at any time.

  • This month we blogged about the Power of Pollinators educational modules.
  • In the next week or two, we’ll let you know more about an opportunity to sign up for a Tomato IPM Webinar for Master Gardeners in the North Central states (The North Central region includes Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.).
  • Last, but not least, check out this video on the Value of Trees (Alabama Cooperative Extension). This animated drawing helps bring life to the story about the value of trees and may be helpful should you choose to communicate or provide education on their value.

    Karen Jeannette
    eXtension Consumer Horticulture Content Coordinator

    EMG Blog Learning Notes-Recapping May 2012

    Wednesday, June 6th, 2012


    Where did May go?

    • Did you plant a garden, harvest produce, diagnose some plant problems? If you were busy in your garden, you may just want to check out this month’s EMG Blog May 2012 blog post archive.  Below, we  also recap and share what we learned about gardening and the nation-wide Extension Master Gardener program through this blog, Facebook, Twitter and other information streams.

    May 2012 – National Weather and Gardening Notes

    It’s hot and dry in the Southwest! Southwest gardeners told us it now time to think again about firewise gardening. One of our Facebook members, Sylvia Hacker, shared this blockbuster list of FireWise Landscaping resources with resource contributions from 19 state’s Cooperative Extension Services. Check to see if your state has a resource, or share this list with a friend that may need it!

    Damage to tree from summer storm

    Damage to this tree from a summer storm might have been avoided if pruned properly the first time

    Cool and Soggy? In contrast to hot and dry in the southwest, Pacific Northwest Master Gardener, Carla Albright discusses several clever ideas for coping with a wet spring, and thus wet garden. If you can relate to gardening under these conditions, you might want to share your experiences via the comment section and list ways you’ve coped as well!

    Summer storms. As April and May are some of the peak tornado months throughout the Central Plains, and other storms (hurricanes, flooding and strong winds) cause damage to gardens and landscapes across the United States this summer, you may want to consult  this list of harsh weather [landscaping] help resources. While written in May 2011, the resources listed are still very helpful and handy to bookmark should your landscape and plants need to recoup from summer storms.


    Extension Master Gardeners – News From Across the Country

    Master Gardener Class of 2012

    Foy Spicer: How I Became a Master Gardener (Class of 2012)

    Washington State has its own Master Gardener Volunteer Week! Hear about why Washington State’s governor has proclaimed there is an official Master Gardener volunteer week in May 13-19.  During this week, Master Gardener, Mary-Jean Grimes shared how two Washington counties see the importance in providing hands-on training and follow-up evaluations to help continually improve their Master Gardener training experiences.

    What is it like to become a Master Gardener? Just initiated, new Master Gardener intern, Foy Spicer, shares her version of “How I Became a Master Gardener“, giving us an inside scoop into what she learned from extension specialists and horticulture business owners, what she saw through a field trip to a local greenhouse, and how she was able to connect, laugh, and identify with gardening-inclined people by joining her local Extension Master Gardener program. Welcome to the program, Foy!

    Be on the Lookout for Events

    Be on the lookout for garden tours!

    Summer Garden Tours are a great way to learn, ask questions, and take great pictures!   The Alabama, Lee County Master Gardeners and Johnson County (Kansas) Extension Master Gardeners just had their garden tours this May, but we’ve heard there will be many other garden tours in coming months. We see Ohio State Extension – Miami County Master Gardeners will host ‘Miami County in Bloom’ Saturday, June 16th, and this July,  Hennepin County Minnesota Master gardeners are hosting their annual learning garden tour.  Looking for a garden tour near you? A search on the web for ‘master gardener garden tour’ yields quite a few results – hopefully one will be near you!

    Pollinator Week is June 18-24.  Does your Extension Master Gardener group raise awareness of pollinators or provide pollinator education in conjunction with this week?  If so, you can list it and get additional publicity with other events in your area. List your event for pollinator week at and (after a  3 day review period) see it listed with other pollinator events across the United States.

    Educational Resources

    Raised Bed Cloches

    Raised Bed Cloches (Photo: Carla Albright)

    How to Build Raised Bed Cloches (PDF) is a publication that we discovered during Carla Albright’s wet spring, wet garden blog post this month. Cloches, which resemble mini-greenhouses,  protecting plants from wind and cold (and too much rain in Carla’s case). For many gardeners, cloches provide the benefit of extending the gardening season. This publication covers materials needed, associated costs, and benefits of using raised bed cloches.

    Webinar Recording: Fire Ant Control Made Easy is now available. This Webinar and other fire ant resources are designed for Extension Master Gardeners in states where Fire Ants are present; however, it never hurts to know about fire ants, especially if you travel to a state with them and you think you are going to sit down in the grass without looking first!

    Get Involved

    Compost life of the soil

    Compost life of the soil

    Learn about the Strive for 5% Campaign that Extension Master Gardener, Connie Schulz covered during International Compost Awareness Week,  May 7-12th.

    Help report two plants diseases! Extension Master Gardeners are still needed to help detect a new plant disease,  basil downy mildew, and to help distribute brochures about a national late blight project. If you are interested in either of these opportunities, please go directly to the blog posts links and contact project coordinator, Meg McGrath for more information.

    Looking for other resources and opportunities?  Check out our past monthly updates @

    What did you learn this month?  What do you have coming up?

    EMG Blog Learning Notes – Recapping April 2012 (or the last 30 days)

    Wednesday, May 9th, 2012

    April 2012 Blog Posts Were Full of Insights and Celebration

    Rudbeckia pollinator

    During Nat'l Volunteer Week, we explored how Master Gardeners are like pollinators in their communities (Photo: Connie Schulz)

    Review any of April 2012’s blog posts. Always available in the right column of the blog, the archive can be be a great way to catch up when the garden calls most of your spring attention.

    What fun! National Volunteer Week blog posts! This year we participated in this national event by blogging about how we Celebrate National Volunteer Week with ~94,000 volunteers. All five of the blog posts were awe-inspiring and point to how significant the work of EMG volunteers is in their communities across the U.S. If you missed these posts, check out the wonderful letters and stories from Master Gardeners and program coordinators in the links above.

    Insights from the Kalamazoo Giving Garden: How does a giving garden sustain itself in a community for over 15 years?  You’ll be able to get some insights on how it’s done by reading this 3-part story submitted by Kalamazoo MG, JC Schneider, about how volunteerism, partnerships, management best practices, and educational and outreach activities are all part of the equation.

    National Weather and Gardening Notes for April 2012

    Apple Tree

    Will recently frost hit areas see tree fruit this year? A recent look at tree fruit blossom health may tell.

    What kind of weather or gardening notes did you take in April 2012? Below are some our observations of happenings in the national gardening and Extension Master Gardener communities in the past 30 days.  We’d welcome your insights and observations of April 2012 in the comments section below, too.

    Master Gardener Plant Sales: For the past month, a steady stream of Master Gardener plant sale news has been traveling through  Twitter, Facebook, and other online blogs and new sources. If you haven’t been to a Master Gardener Plant Sale, be on the lookout or check out this Facebook post. There might be a plant sale near you this week!

    A Followup – Tree Fruit Flowers After Frost: After tree fruit crops got a head start this spring and then got hit by frost in many areas across the county (as we mentioned in last month’s notes), you might wonder, what does frost damage really look like to tree fruit flowers up close?  Well, wait no more,  as Karl Ford, UMN Extension Educator, shares photos and examples of Frost Damage to Apple Flowers.

    The Southern Region Master Gardener Conference was the first week in May.  For those who couldn’t make it, but would like to experience it through a conference attendee,  you can catch up on days 1-4 through Arkansas State Extension Master Gardener Coordinator Janet Carson’s blog posts as she described how the events unfolded in Natchez, Mississippi:

    • Monday, May 1st, On the Road to Natchez, Mississippi | Tuesday, May 2nd | Wednesday, May 3rd | Thursday,  May 4th | Final Evening

      Interesting Educational Resources

      What other educational resources did you see in April that you found helpful or would like to share? This month, we saw…

      • Pruning Guidelines: Even if you don’t tweet, you might chirp a bit about the helpful images and information found in the following tweet from the University of Maryland Home and Garden Information Center Twitter account. Click on the link in the tweet below to see this helpful resource:

      Help Needed and Educational Opportunities for Master Gardeners

      Master Gardeners are needed to help raise awareness about national late blight project (Photo: Margaret McGrath)

      • Help with Plant Disease Awareness and Monitoring. Cornell’s Meg McGrath is looking for help from Extension Master Gardeners in spreading awareness and monitoring for two diseases: Basil Downy Mildew and Late Blight.  Please feel welcome to share these links with gardeners who may like to help with these national plant disease awareness and monitoring efforts.
      • Coming, May 10 -Fire Ant Control Webinar. eXtension is hosting a free webinar May 10 — Fire Ant Control Made Easy. Even if you don’t live in states where imported fire ants are a problem, you might want to know about them. Some have asked if the session will be recorded and archived, also. The answer is yes, it will, but we still encourage you to attend the live event if you can so you can participate in the Webinar session.
      • Online Module for Master Gardeners. Taken by over 400 Master Gardeners in 22 states across the US, this module: Introduction to Diagnostics for Master Gardener Volunteers: Approaches to Plant Pest Diagnostics, may be a way for you to refresh your diagnostics skills from home. This $10 online module is continually available for Master Gardeners and others seeking to update their plant diagnostics skills. You can access the information for 10 weeks after you register, and when completed, you receive a certificate that can be presented to your state coordinator for continuing education credit.

    Now, it’s your turn…

    • What did you learn this month that helped you understand the world of gardening or volunteering better?
    • What was particularly interesting to you?
    • What’s coming up that you’d like other Extension Master Gardeners to know about?

    -Karen Jeannette
    eXtension Consumer Horticulture Content Coordinator


      EMG Blog Learning Notes – Recapping March 2012

      Friday, April 6th, 2012


      [Editors note: Extension Master Gardeners involved on our national social media team and through this blog said they’d like to learn and connect more with each other.  In that spirit, we thought it might be helpful to wrap up each month with what we’ve learned from interacting with Extension Master Gardeners and the public through Facebook, Twitter, and what we have observed in the news. We know we will be missing a lot in this wrap up, so please add your monthly observations , if you’d like, in the comments section below.]

      March blog posts were Plant Inspired

      Desert Lupine at Cooperative Extension, Maricopa County Arizona

      Desert Lupine at Cooperative Extension, Maricopa County Arizona

      This March was a new experiment in highlighting different plants across the country.

      Our first Facebook poll lent us a blog post on native plants across the country…well most of the plants were native selections anyway.  We did get a request for Hellebores (non-native), which we could have thrown out, but it was a good learning opportunity to contrast native and non-native plants.  This experience also helped us learn more about asking question on Facebook (next time we will try and be more concise!).

      Weird and Wonderful! This month we highlighted two Weird and Wonderful Plants, velvet cactusStapelia gigantea and skunk cabbageSymplocarpus foetidus. Both were fascinating plants and and informative posts. I encourage you to read about these plants with personality,

      In the future, we hope we can highlight more Weird and Wonderful posts contributed by other Master Gardeners, as well. If you are an active MG and would like to contribute what you’ve learned about a plant that you think is Weird and Wonderful, contact me,

      Looking for blog posts about what other Extension Master Gardeners are doing? Check out the February EMG Blog Archive, where we covered new invasive species resources, local foods, citizen science, search for excellence award winners, and garden shows in the Pacific Northwest.

      National Weather and Gardening Notes for March 2012

      Knock Out Rose in Austin Texas

      Knock Out Rose Blooming in Austin Texas

      On a mid-March, Monday morning on Facebook,  we asked: Did you accomplish what you wanted to for your gardening activities this weekend (planning, planting, weeding, harvesting)?

      While we had a number of responses, it was interesting to hear reports of how the weather was affecting gardening routines in different regions of the country. Here is a brief overview of what we heard back:

      • Gardeners in Alabama, Texas, and New Mexico were in the garden planting or performing garden chores.
      • Oregon State Extension Master Gardener Coordinator, Gail Langellotto mentioned they were Under the Weather (and behind schedule) in Oregon due to soggy conditions.
      • Gardeners in the Northeast and North Central regions were enjoying the early warm up this spring, but were also concerned about spring freezes damaging plants (particularly fruit set on early flowering fruit trees) that had begun to grow earlier in the season than normal.

      A Look at the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug Map

      We got the inside scoop of this map of the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug during the 7th International Integrated Pest Management Symposium by following the #IPM2012 conference stream on Twitter.  @SouthernSARE shared this particular photo of the map.

      Not all states have a problem with this pest, as noted in the map. However, last year, we noticed that our colleagues in the Northeast and Southeast were sharing ways to manage this pest, as the USDA describes this invasive pest as A New Threat for Agriculture, A Nusisance for Homeowners.

      Mike Raupp, “The Bug Guy” for the University of Maryland Extension has produced this fascinating Brown Marmorated Stink Bug Control: Think Before You Stink! YouTube video that demonstrates effective and environmentally friendly ways to keep the infamous brown marmorated stink bug from invading your home.  You may wish to check it out!

      Educational Resources

      In the past month or two we’ve highlighted some educational resources on the blog, Facebook, and Twitter that have been well-received.   Just in case you missed them, we would encourage you to take another look.  Here are just few great resources and why you may find them useful:

      Invasive Species website just launched on eXtension. The New Invasive Species Website was Developed with Extension Master Gardeners in Mind . You can find materials, such as educational resources for kids or get answers to common questions, such as How does a plant become invasive?

      Let’s Color Some Insects, from NMSU.  This was a free and fun coloring guide that was shared by the New Mexico State University Extension Facebook page. Some of the insects found here are also found in my state (MN),  while others were unique to New Mexico or the southwest. Comparing where insects are found or not found across the country is interesting to do with young children.  I tested these color sheets with some 6 years olds who had a fun time coloring in the pictures and listening to the insect description on each coloring sheet.

      School Gardening Resources, is a curated collection of web-based school gardening resources by Ron Wolford, University of Illinois Extension Extension Educator.  If you work in urban, school, or community gardens, I bet you’ll find some useful information in this collection.

      Creating A Water Efficient Garden was shared by the Connecticut Master Gardener association.  Master Gardeners from So. California, Tennessee, and New Mexico also found this information helpful, and voiced their interests, ideas, and insights on water efficiency where they garden.

      Now, it’s your turn…

      • What did you learn this month that helped you understand the world of gardening or volunteering better?
      • What was particularly interesting to you?
      • What’s coming up that you’d like other Extension Master Gardeners to know about?

      -Karen Jeannette
      eXtension Consumer Horticulture Content Coordinator