1 June A rose garden...smoothes wrinkles from the mind and freshens it for greater endeavor. Arthur F. Truex GERMINATOR Vol. 17, No. 6. Editor: Roger Strohbehn Prepared by and for Master Gardeners in Linn County, Iowa Coordinator's Comments By Dustin Hinrichs June is here, summer s eternal welcome mat. We ve had an interesting spring thus far with a misleading early warm spell followed by some serious frost. The Spring Garden Fair & Plant Sale has come and gone. The weather couldn t have been better. We didn t even have to break out the tents. The event was quite successful amid the hubbub of the Marion Arts Festival. A sincere THANK YOU to all of the volunteers who put their hard work into growing the wonderful selection of plants for the sale, developing and teaching classes, and making the event happen on the day of. Thank you to Charlene Woeste for chairing the Fair & Sale committee. June means we ve come to a slower time of year for large Master Gardener events. I d like to take this opportunity to remind you all of some opportunities to fill those volunteer hours and participate in some really interesting and useful projects around Linn County. The schedule for EIEIO classes at Old Mac Donald s Farm (Bever Park) has some openings if you have an idea for a class you would like to teach to adults and families. Even if you don t want to teach, opportunities exist to help other MGs with their class. The classes are from 10-11:00 am, and will take place June 6 th through September 26 th. JUNE Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Jane Anne Melloy is planning to get the Indian Creek Nature Center Herb Garden organized and cleaned up. Please contact her if you are interested in helping out. I am told pizza is involved in the process. I ll be there Along the same lines I am still looking for ideas for plant labels for all of the herbs. Both of our youth projects, From the Ground Up and Growing in the Garden, have officially ended for the school year. Thanks to all of the volunteers who have helped with those programs this year. I was able to observe only one From the Ground Up class but what I saw was great! The evaluations we ve received from those two programs are really encouraging! Growing in the Garden is also a fun and informative program, great job MGs! As you begin to think about the projects you re interested in helping with next year keep FTGU and GITG in mind. Don t forget, today s children are tomorrow s MGs but only if they re inspired by someone like you. Also, if you are still missing educational hours remember that we have a great library of horticultural videos on a wide array of subjects. Check one out next time you re in the office and learn something new or review something that s not so fresh in your mind. Have fun out there. As always, I m here for you guys! MASTER GARDENER EVENTS June 2, 4:30 pm. ICNC planting annual herbs. Indian Creek Nature Center. June 6, Tri-State Conference Planning Meeting. Extension office. June 7, 6:30 pm. Steering Committee Meeting. Extension office. June 8, Tri-State Conference Planning Meeting. Extension office. June 9. 5:00 pm. Project Independence Gardening Sherman St., NE. June 18, Summer Garden Walk & Picnic. Tour TBA; picnic at the Hennessey estate.
2 2 Summer Garden Walk & Picnic A favorite event for many MGs is the annual Summer Garden Walk & Picnic. Mark your calendar for this event on Saturday, June 18 (rain date June 25). It is a chance to see some outstanding gardens in the greater Cedar Rapids area and enjoy good conversation and gourmet food with fellow MGs. The planning committee, chaired by Karla McGrail, is working on the tour schedule and other arrangements. Watch your mail for more information. IOWA MASTER GARDENER FIELD DAY By James Romer Join us on Friday, August 26, 10:00 am to 3:00 pm at the Horticulture Research Farm located 4 miles north of Ames and 2 miles east of Gilbert for the Iowa Master Gardener Field Day. The Field Day replaces the State Conference held every other year alternating with the Tri-State Conference. The Field Day will provide an excellent opportunity to see plants and diseases up close and fulfills our goal of providing more hands-on possibilities for Master Gardeners across the state. Come prepared for anything Mother Nature has to offer. The Field Day will be held rain or shine. Tents will be on site for protection from the elements. Topics include: landscape plants, tree fruits, turfgrass, small fruits, lycopene tomato research, plant pathology trials, and the home demonstration garden. The registration fee of $25.00 includes lunch catered by the locally famous Hickory Park. The brochure is now on line at the Master Gardener web site and will be available in County Offices in the near future. To sign up for the event go to the Iowa Master Gardener web page at mastergardener.hort.iastate.edu/ ART in the POTS Have you seen the container gardening displays that have sprouted up around Greene Square Park in Marion? The Marion Chamber of Commerce invited a group of artists to design floral abstract artwork to be placed in downtown Marion flowerpots for the summer of Some very creative arrangements are on display. You may want check out the Lily of the Valley display created by Jay Kacena (MG) and Don Marks. Volunteer Spotlight on IAN PHILPOTT A journey from his native England led Ian Philpott to seek out information from fellow Master Gardeners. Always loving to grow things since he can remember, he needed to find out how to deal with Iowa s climate as compared to a zone similar to northern Florida in his former home. Ian became a Master Gardener in Ian says he gets as much pleasure starting his plants from seed as growing them. This year he started about fifteen new varieties. One of his favorites is a tidal wave petunia that is selfcleaning and grows to a height of 12 to 18 inches and can spread as far as 4 feet. This year s selection is silver and slightly frost resistant. He also started delphinium, columbine and Russian sage from seed this year. His goal is to continue finding and growing exotic seeds and plants. Ian s extensive clematis collection now includes 15 varieties and he also has a large collection of dahlias and daylilies. Other plants under his watchful care include allium, penstemon, malva, geraniums, gladiolus, columbine, and twenty kinds of bearded iris. Many miscellaneous plants round out his collection. Currently he is working on a purple corner in his yard he has incorporated a purple tree, purple grass and purple penstemon. All this is accomplished with the help of his gardening cat who either hops in the wheelbarrow or wanders and shows Ian where he should set rabbit traps. For years Ian exhibited his photography. His other great interest is writing. He writes short stories for his own enjoyment and hopes to publish gardening articles to share with interested gardeners. Favorite master gardener activities include teaching classes on ornamental grasses, clematis, summer flowering bulbs and pruning. A trip to the Minnesota Arboretum in the middle of January with his daughter to photograph how grasses provide winter interest testifies to the dedication to his art. Another trip in the summer shows the grasses in all their glory. Most of the pictures used for teaching grasses were photographed by Ian. Ian also enjoys working on the Hortline as well as assisting with the annual plant sale. Ian and his wife Bev have two grown daughters living in New York and Minneapolis. Interview by Barbara Brown.
3 Using containers to extend your garden is nothing new, but many folks seem to think that only those with small yards or decks should be the ones to benefit from the fun of container gardening. There are plenty of plants that you can place in large, small, round, square, plastic, leather, rusty pots, window boxes, barrels, shoes, hum...quiet frankly, just about anything that you can find that will hold dirt. I love to use all kinds of annuals and perennials for planting. The awesome thing about the perennials is that you can just plop them in the ground in the fall and you will have them around next year. Containers have a really cool advantage: you can move them to wherever you need a splash of a certain color or texture. (Use a dolly for the larger, heavier ones, please!) To have the best containers on the Things We Love Container Gardening By Kathy Knight block you have to make sure that you have used the right mixture of components for your soil. Your garden supply center can provide you with the information for soil mix to avoid drying out or waterlogging your dirt, and don't forget to fertilize! Some Container Plants Hemerocallis (day lilies) are a good plant for pots. You can plant several different varieties in each tub or pot, thus ensuring a long period of bloom. Some of my favorite container plants are herbs. Many of the herbs used in cooking are quite ornamental. Pot Marjoram cascading down the sides; Rosemary in the center, various types of Basil; Thyme, Parsley, Sage and several different types of Oregano. A tub full of colorful annuals is nice for a shady corner of your planned area. This gives you a chance to 3 use some of the shade tolerant plants such as: mimulus (Monkey Flower); Browallia; Variegated Impatience; Fibrous and Tuberous Begonias; Hosta (various); Brunnera macrophylla (Brunnera); and Heuchera spp.(coral Bells). For a sunny spot, a large tub filled with different ornamental grasses is striking, with pink, mauve or white Lobularia maritima (Sweet Alyssum) alternately planted around the edge. A series of large clay (or simulated) pots on a sunny patio filled with various different Pelargonium (Geraniums) will create a focal point. Nasturtium; Marigolds (French, South African and Pot or Scotch) and even Morning Glory make attractive pot displays. An exotic to try would be Tigridia. Have a blast this summer and use containers of all sorts all around your garden. Indian Creek Nature Center Herb Garden By Jane Anne Melloy The Indian Creek Nature Center herb garden has had it's spring cleaning and haircut and is awaiting the planting of annual herbs. MGs who helped with the spring clean up were happy to see how full and mature the new Roman herb garden looks now that it is in it's 2nd year. Like any garden in it's 'teen years', it is a little unruly, not completely filled out, but promising exciting things in the future! We can always use volunteers for this project. On Thursday, June 2, 4:30 pm, we will be planting the annuals herbs that will complete the garden. At this time we also will explain the responsibilities of those who would like to help with the weekly upkeep of the garden and assign weeks for working. We encourage anyone with an interest in the garden to attend. The commitment of time does not have to be great. It takes approximately one hour a week and you may sign up for as many weeks, from now until October 1, as your schedule allows. If you would like to be involved this year please call me at or at A Garden Designed for Persons in Wheelchairs By Gloria Johnson Project Independence, a 20 unit apartment building, is designed to provide barrier free independent living for persons with disabilities. It is a HUD housing unit located at 4002 Sherman St., NE. A series of raised beds are available for residents to use as small garden spaces. Some residents choose to plant flowers and some residents choose vegetables. During the summer months the spaces turn into a variety of colors and designs. MGs may become involved in the Project Independence Gardening in several ways. You can become a "buddy gardener" with one of the residents; assist with the landscaping renovation design; physically help residents plant shrubs and perennials; and/or donate plants to the project. If MGs are interested in adopting the gardens, it could become a Linn county demonstration site and perhaps be included in the 2006 bus tours. All MGs interested in learning more about the project, should plan on attending an introductory meeting at Project Independence on June 9, 2005 at 5:00 pm in the garden shelter. Board members of PI and residents will be available to give a tour of the garden area and answer questions regarding the project. The good news is that the Project Independence Board of Directors has allocated some funds towards the renovation and need the ideas and knowledge of MGs. Please contact me at if you have additional questions regarding the Project Independence proposal.
4 4 Steering Committee Minutes 5/3/05 Members present: J. Balsanek, K. Carew, T. Cole, K. Dearborn, D. Gladson, D. Hennessey, R. Jones, K. McGrail, J. Robison and W. Schmidt. Guests present: D. Hinrichs and K. Harrison. COMMITTEE REPORTS 2006 MG Tri-State Conference: K. Harrison stated there will probably be 6 tours during the convention. Proposed tour areas include: Amana (1), Cedar Rapids area (3), Iowa City area (1) and Mount Vernon area (1). Zora Ronan is writing a history of Cedar Rapids to be used in conjunction with the convention. Those involved with Tri- State will meet June 6. On June 8 they will meet with Jim Romer. Both meetings will be at the Extension office. Hort Writers Book: Hinrichs broached the idea of the MGs compiling a book of past articles done by our group. Possibly garden tips would be included along with questions from the Hortline. This book would be sold at the convention to raise money. This idea will be discussed with James Romer at the June meeting. Eastern Iowa Garden and Landscape Show: Hinrichs met with Jim Kern from Brucemore. MG involvement with this August 27 event will be similar to last year. Composting: Carew reported that two composting classes were held at Rockwell in April. Six people attended the first class and 22 attended the final class. Compost bins would be available for $37 at the plant sale. I.C.N.C. Herb Garden: Jane Anne Melloy is leading this project. New signage for the plants is needed. Farmers Market: Jones said the MGs will be present at the Round House farmers market from June thru August. A note book of MG publications will be available for clients to view. Anyone requesting materials will be given an order form and envelope to mail in to the Extension. UNFINISHED BUSINESS New Projects: Hinrichs is still looking for possible new projects. He has had quite a bit of feedback from members. He spent time with the Des Moines group. Their major projects were a plant sale, a demo garden at a school and an enabling garden. NEW BUSINESS From The Ground Up: The first two visits to 3rd grades went well. There is a probability that there will be a single program for 3rd graders only. Hinrichs would like to form a committee to make that decision in the future. The pilot program will be at Indian Creek Elementary School next year. Budget Report: The preliminary budget report was reviewed. Next month the Committee will vote on a finalized version. 4-H Trophies: The Committee decided to sponsor three 4-H horticulture trophies for the Linn Co. Fair. One each for outstanding junior, intermediate and senior. The total cost will be $25. Project Independence Gardens: A possible project for the MGs would be to help handicapped individuals work on raised bed gardens at the 4002 Sherman St., NE facility. The 20 residents have a budget of $2000. Anyone interested in this project, should contact Hinrichs. Lowe Park: Hinrichs met with Richard Fox from the park about MG participation. We could utilize up to two acres for teaching, etc. Nothing will be initiated until 2006 or ANNOUNCEMNENTS New Training Videos: Three new gardening videos have been added to the Extension library: Plants for Problem Areas; Using Small Trees In The Landscape; and Lawn Establishment and Renovation. They can be checked out from Extension office assistants. Next meeting: June 7, 6:30 pm. Respectfully submitted: Joyce Robison, Secretary. SPRING GARDENING FAIR & PLANT SALE By Charlene Woeste Spring Gardening Fair Chairperson The 2005 Plant Sale on May 21 st yielded a gross revenue of over $3,100. We had an excellent variety of plants provided by some 24 MGs. I want to thank each of you who brought plants for the sale and for all the hard work in getting them potted up and taken good care of until the sale. Your work was certainly appreciated. We had a wonderful volunteer crew to receive the plants. With all the good help we quickly priced, labeled, cleaned up (if necessary), and placed them in the right category. Our Saturday morning crew was ready at 6:00. It is always amazing how quickly we can get the tables, and all the plants out to the parking lot, and then organized on the right tables. We were ready for the early-bird plant shoppers. I would like to name all the wonderful volunteers, but I might forget someone and wouldn t want to do that. So I ll just say THANKS SO MUCH for all that you did. I hope that you enjoyed working with your fellow MGs as much as I did. Also, a big thanks to those who taught classes, the classroom assistants and the plant doctors. I am glad to be a Master Gardener, and to have the opportunity to work with my fellow MGs to help raise a sizeable amount of money for the use of our organization.
5 COMPOST CORNER By Carmela F. Alfonso So, how bout that rain? My canoe is yellow, what color is yours? You know I m joking, but we have had a tough few weeks here lately, with overflowing rain gages. And all that rain makes it difficult to get into the garden, and THAT makes me grumpy. Rain aside, the Master Gardener Plant Sale went off without a hitch on May 21. Laura Baker was womaning the compost table, and said that it was very crowded from 7:00 to about 9:00 am. She also reported sales of a whopping 7 compost bins. Many thanks to Charlene Woeste, Chair of the Plant Sale committee, for a job well done. Lots of MGs, and a few Master Composters, came early to help out, and not one of them left without buying something. I got purple coneflowers, columbine, and Lily of the Valley, for great prices. Don t forget to call or Ray Jones, to get on the schedule for the gardening/compost information booth at the farmers market at the Roundhouse in SW Cedar Rapids. This is a fun way to earn hours. So, if you love talking with folks about gardening, farmers markets are for you. Here s this months compost question: I understand that black walnut trees have a compound that inhibits growth in certain plants. What precautions should I take to ensure the safety of my plants? Also, what procedure is necessary to prevent walnut leaves from contaminating the rest of my compostable leaves? Black walnut trees can injure, stress, or even kill other plants growing near them. It's the roots of the black walnut that excrete the toxic substance juglone. It s produced in the leaves during the growing season and moves into the roots. Symptoms can be wilting and yellowing of leaves, and death of the entire plant. The toxic zone from a mature black walnut tree can extend up to 50 or 60 feet from the base of the tree, so if possible, plant your garden at least that far away. Since there's no easy way to separate black walnut leaves from other leaves in your yard, it s best to just dispose of all the debris from the area around a black walnut. Remember Compost Happens, and if your compost just 5 VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES June 2, 4:30 pm. June thru Sept. Spring & Summer months Spring & Summer Spring & Summer June thru September Indian Creek Nature Center Herb Garden. Plant annual herbs. Contact Jane Anne Melloy at or Indian Creek Nature Center Herb Garden. Maintain the herb garden in good condition. Contact Jane Anne Melloy at or or Dustin Hinrichs at or Hortline volunteers. Question responders and assistants needed. Contact Kay Harrison at Farmers Market. Volunteers needed to answer gardening and composting questions and distribute horticulture publications at the Cedar Rapids Farmers Market in Czech Village. Contact Ray Jones at or Wellington Heights Kids Gardening Program. Assistants needed to provide horticultural advice. Contact Dustin Hinrichs at or EIEIO Gardening Classes (Bever Park). Teachers needed for Monday morning classes. Contact Dustin Hinrichs at or EDUCATION OPPORTUNITIES None in June.
6 6 Hot Topixs Q: How can I get my flowering shrubs to bloom consistently each year? A: Some plants may be immature and require more time to develop in order to produce blooms. Perhaps light conditions have changed. If the plant is shaded by the growth of a larger tree, it may not be getting the required 6-8 hours of sunlight needed to bloom. Winter injury can kill flower buds without hurting the leaf buds. Usually healthy shrubs do not need fertilizer. Excessive nitrogen will promote vegetative growth but actually inhibit blossom formation. Pruning may be a factor in blossom formation. Spring flowering shrubs like lilacs and forsythia set their buds on last year s growth. If the shrub needs rejuvenation, do it in late winter or early spring, knowing that it may take several years for it to flower. For light pruning, do this right after the plant has finished blooming so it has time to produce enough growth to support blooms for next year. Summer blooming shrubs like potentilla or spirea develop blossoms on this year s growth. They can be pruned in late winter to early spring without cutting blossom production. Do not prune deciduous shrubs in July or August. It may stimulate new growth which won t have time to harden off before cold weather and be susceptible to winter injury. References: HHPN , , ; and Pm-1304 Pruning Shade and Flowering Trees. Q: My neighbor had a problem with powdery mildew last year. Can this spread to my garden? A: Powdery mildew has certain requirements in order to take up residence in your garden. If you focus on preventing the favorable conditions needed for powdery mildew to develop, you may not need to use repeated fungicidal sprays. Thin plants or space them well enough apart to allow good air circulation and adequate sunlight to penetrate. Water early in the day so leaves have a chance to dry. Don t apply a lot of high nitrogen fertilizer. When you are cleaning up your garden for winter, get rid of any diseased plant material. The powdery mildew fungus makes small pepper-like structures on the infected leaf tissue and these are resistant to extreme weather conditions so may survive over winter. When choosing additional plants for your garden, look for those cultivars/varieties that are resistant to powdery mildew. References: HHPN and Q: Violets are coming up all over my yard and are more prolific than last year. Is there an easy way to control them or can they be useful? A: Violets are hard to eliminate from the turfgrass. Usually they bloom from April through June and if they are bothersome, the best way is to dig them out before they become well established. Common broadleaf herbicides (2,4-D, MCPP, and dicamba) are not effective against violets. Professional lawn care services have products, such as triclopyr, that are effective, but they are not available to the home gardener and may require multiple applications. Reference: HHPN Q: Every year I have toadstools popping up in my yard. Is there something I can spray on these areas to prevent this from happening? A: When environmental conditions are favorable, the fungal fruiting structures may develop. Mow or rake them off and discard them. They don t hurt the grass. Warm, dry weather will stop their development. Sprays are not effective or necessary. When the organic matter in the soil that feeds them is gone, the mushrooms will not come back. A mushroom expert may identify these as a desirable delicacy. However, many varieties are not edible and actually may be poisonous. Fiber artists also use mushrooms as a dye substance. Usually mushrooms yield yellow to dull brown colors but some varieties produce blues, greens, reds, oranges, and purples. Save some for a friend who likes to experiment with fabric or dabble yourself with help from the reference website. Reference: HHPN ( dyes and color). Q: Moss has taken over in a shady area where grass won t grow. How can this be remedied? A: Although mosses can be found in a wide range of conditions, these small thread-like plants often like a lot of shade and poor soil conditions. Hand raking can remove moss since it has no true roots but conditions that support its growth need to be corrected. If drainage is poor, the area can be regarded, but keep in mind that ph, soil compaction, and soil fertility may also need to be addressed. If grass is desired, plant shade tolerant varieties or use one of the shade tolerant ground covers. Mosses also have beneficial and desirable qualities and can be relocated. Planted and established in cracks and crevices, moss can beautify a patio and prevent unwanted grass and weeds. A solution made from blending moss and buttermilk can be sprayed on outdoor retaining walls, and concrete containers to give them an aged appearance. They can be an asset to a Japanese garden or add interest to a rock garden. Reference: HHPN Google search - Moss.