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1 LOOSELEAF SEPTEMBER 2018 A Publication of the University of Maryland Extension Howard County Master Gardeners 3300 North Ridge Road, Suite 240 Ellicott City, MD ) FAX (410) INSIDE 2 Gardening for Seniors / Mt Pleasant 3 Continuing Education / 3 Book Review: The Naturalist s Note book 4 Conservation Stewardship Project 5 Luffa Gourds 6 Latin for Gardeners: 7 News from MG Gardens FROM GEORGIA'S DESK Our MG display at the Howard County Fair is typically one of the most efficient ways we have to reach Howard County residents. This year was another success! HC MGs spoke with 470 adults and 274 youth during week-long Fair. Our appreciation goes to Susan Bishop, Elaine Kielman and Carol Spencer for creating informative exhibit panels that caught the attention of fair-goers. Thank you, as well, to Michele Wright for her work in the preparations and staffing. They tell me that visitor questions and gardening issues covered the gamut from "jumping worms" to how to apply for the next MG trainee class. Many thanks to the 23 MGs who earned volunteer hours (and survived the extreme heat!) by staffing our exhibit during the Fair. Staffers included Susan Aldape, Leah Benson, Robin Crosby, Joanna Cumbie, Fran Fico, Deborah Fuller, Tina Grot, Peggy Hannon. Elliott Harvey, Carol Heidhausen, Karen Koelbel, Barbara Klein, Lori Koch, Cathy Latham, Rose Marie Meservey, Fran Murray, Rosemary Noble, Pam Peters, Betty Rice, Fran Shellenberger, Lenore Studt, Lisa Wingate and Michele Wright. Please put Tues., Sept. 11 on your calendar. That s the date for a MG Scavenger Hunt at the Howard County Conservancy from 9:30 am to 11:00 am. Our annual meeting will follow the fun from 11:00 am to 12 noon. Lunch and networking is planned from 12 noon to 2:00 pm. It will be an informative session, and if you haven t been to the Conservancy recently you ll surely find something new. There are several rain gardens that were certainly tested this year, the vegetable garden, the Honors Garden, and the kitchen garden near the farm house. All of these areas are maintained by Howard County Master Gardeners. Please join us! The 2019 MG training is being organized. Volunteers will be needed for hospitality hosts, mentors, training assistants and, of course, our program coordinators. Trainee orientation is scheduled for Jan. 16. Classes begin Jan. 23 and conclude on March 27. What happened to summer! It s almost time for the Central Maryland Research and Education Center Open House on Sat., October 6. ~ Georgia Georgia Eacker, MG Coordinator, WSA Liaison, , The University of Maryland Extension programs are open to any person and will not discriminate against anyone because of race, age, sex, color, sexual orientation, physical or mental disability, religion, ancestry, national origin, marital status, genetic information, political affiliation, and gender identity or expression.

2 Calendar Highlights for September Click here to view the electronic calendar with Howard County MG activities and volunteer opportunities. Please note the Continuing Education sessions on the second Tuesday of each month. When you are viewing the calendar, just scroll over an event of interest for additional information such as contacts, locations and times. Volunteer opportunities include several AAMG plant clinic sessions and compost demonstrations. Check the calendar for dates and locations. Remember: you may want to join MGs on Tuesdays and Wednesdays at The Enchanted Garden (Miller Library), on Thursdays at Whipps Cemetery Garden or on Fridays at the vegetable garden at HC Conservancy. Gardening for Seniors MG Roy Heath will share tips and strategies to enjoy gardening as we age. The presentation will be from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm at Miller Library on Thursday, Sept 6. Roy will discuss raised beds, ergonomic tools and other ideas for seniors. Registration is required. Call the library at or register online. September Dates 10 Bay-wise meeting at UME 11 Continuing Education at HC Conservancy 25 Conservation Stewardship at MPEA Team Brunch at Mount Pleasant Demonstration Garden at the Howard County Conservancy, Mt. Pleasant The wildlife is continuing to eat well from the Conservancy garden. In spite of this, and with the help of the Fairhaven gardeners, we have been able to take 301 pounds of produce to the Howard County Food Bank! Our produce donations have included tomatoes, potatoes, squash, peppers and a variety of herbs and greens. On August 11th our work group had brunch in the barn with a variety of delicious dishes made with garden vegetables. Thank you to Paul DiCrispino (not pictured) for taking this photograph. In addition to all his help in the garden he has been reliably supplying photographs of our work throughout the year. Beginning in September our Friday work days will begin at 9:00 am. Come join us if you can! Jo Ann Russo, MG 1997, LooseLeaf September 2018 Page 2

3 2018 Continuing Education Speaker Series MGs, Watershed Stewards, Master Naturalists and their guests are welcome to attend. All sessions will be held on Tuesdays at the UME office, except for the field trip on September 11. Check the MG electronic calendar for updates. For questions, contact: Karin DeLaitsch or, Joanna Cumbie September 11 9:30-11:00 am October 9 9:30-11:00 am November 13 9:30-11:00 am Scavenger Hunt at The Howard County Conservancy Gardening and Climate Change / Climate Change and Its Implications Sylvia Huestis, MG and Carolyn Cradler, MG TBD Join us for a scavenger hunt at The Conservancy (9:30am- 11:00am). This event will be followed by the annual MG meeting (11:00am-12:00pm) and annual luncheon (12pm-1:00pm) also at the Conservancy. The Naturalist s Notebook. Nathaniel T. Wheelwright and Bernd Heinrich. (2017). For those of you who find pleasure in observation and journaling, this book is a must. Subtitled, tracking changes in the natural world around you, it is an informative and beautiful resource for observations and tracking what is going on in your chosen habitat. And it is an autodidact s delight, filled with useful and interesting information and crisp line drawings as illustrations. The authors are both academics as well as practitioners in the observation and understanding of the natural world. Their books are many and graced with notable awards. The wonder and curiosity of their studies makes for pleasure in reading. This book is a compilation of readings, drawings, and charts for the naturalist, be she professional, amateur, beginner, or professional. And it is just plain fun. LooseLeaf September 2018 Page 3

4 The book s focus is about being attentive to the rhythms of nature. Attentiveness, or familiarity, is a basic requirement for the naturalist. What is significant in a habitat remains invisible without a genuine, direct, and contemplative connection with nature. And there is so much of note to observe. The authors suggest ways to become an observant naturalist, experimental ways of learning, and how to truly know your own natural habitat. Where do you feel a sense of place? What do you see, hear, smell, taste, touch? Using these innate senses, we are led to a new appreciation of all that goes on in our own space. Recording these impressions enables development and insight into nature. A 5-year calendar-journal is a necessary component to this book. It encourages self-learning. The calendar, with beautiful pen and ink drawings, is divided into sections which, place our observations in the realms of winter, spring, summer, and autumn. Rounding out the materials in this book are sections for your own personal glossary encouraging the use of abbreviations and symbols relevant to you, useful books, metric conversions, and timelines for the species and events you follow. This is a truly wonderful book to read, contemplate, and use for personal growth. Becoming a citizen-scientist like Henry David Thoreau creates a lasting and important record of nature. Pattee Fletcher, MG 2014, Conservation Stewardship Project at the Middle Patuxent Environmental Area (MPEA) 4th Tuesday (Sep 25) 9-11:30am South Wind Circle Trailhead No experience necessary One-time volunteers welcome Gloves and tools provided Autumn Olive Removal Autumn Olive Shrubs are an unwelcome, but plentiful remnant of the game farm that once was in this area. It is a relentless invader requiring a variety of control methods over several years. We have made great headway in a multi-acre area that we will continue to work on this morning, and any Japanese Barberry shrubs that we see will also be pulled up and left to dry out. We start at 9:00 am at the South Wind Circle trailhead. Take Route 29 to Route 108 west toward Clarksville, or Route 32 to Route 108 east. Turn onto Trotter Road, go about one mile to South Wind Circle. Enter the circle and proceed to trailhead opposite Misty Top Path. The MPEA (Middle Patuxent Environmental Area) comprises a diversity of habitat types, including upland and bottomland hardwood forest, fields, wetlands, ponds and riparian habitats. MGs partner with Howard Co Recreation & Parks for the Conservation Stewardship Project from March to November (except July and August) on the fourth Tuesday of each month. Clare Openshaw, MG 2012, Autumn Olive LooseLeaf September 2018 Page 4

5 Is it a squash or a scrubbing sponge? There is a luffa gourd (or loofah) plant growing in The Enchanted Garden this summer. And it really is growing. In fact, the vine is taking over the teepee trellis which supports the nearly 10-foot tall plant. The small yellow blossom is edible as is the squash. But you only want to eat the squash when it s 2 or shorter in length. Otherwise it can be bitter. The immature squash can be eaten raw or cooked like zucchini. Luffa is a popular vegetable in India, China and Vietnam. The plant is part of the Cultural Connections Garden that s a new feature this season. MG Ming Pang assisted with the selection of plants in a raised bed which includes lemongrass, Thai basil, okra, Chinese chives, cilantro and Japanese cucumber. Visit the garden to check out this bed as well as everything else in the garden! The Enchanted Garden is an amazing place with so many opportunities to learn about natives, annual flowering plants and vegetables. Kathy Rosendale and Kathy Hartley planted a variety of peppers from mild to hot, and all of the plants are loaded with produce. Ann Hackeling, MG and librarian, has a group of young gardeners who just planted some cool-weather crops. Produce is donated to the Howard County Food Bank on a regular basis. Luffa gourd squash on the vine. Volunteer opportunities are every Tuesday and Wednesday morning from 9:30 am to 11:30 am. Join us anytime to lend a hand in The Enchanted Garden. Janine Grossman, MG 2012, Luffa gourd bloom, 1.5 diameter. LooseLeaf September 2018 Page 5

6 Latin for Gardeners September s Native Maryland Plant Symphyotrichum laeve (L.) Á. Löve & D. Löve var. laeve (sim-fy-oh-try-kum LEE-vey) Common Name: Smooth Blue Aster Aster is September s birth flower, and I couldn t be more delighted. My birthday is in September and that s when I see the greatest variety of butterflies in my garden all because of the Symphyotrichum laeve growing there. They flock to this nectar source a tall, sturdy, multi-stemmed plant that produces an abundance of daisy-like pale blue flowers. It has a non-aggressive rhizomatous root system, spreading slowly and persisting in my garden, providing I keep the more aggressive taller plants at bay (e.g. Eupatorium maculatum aka Spotted Joe-Pye Weed). It prefers full sun and tolerates drier conditions, once established. Labor Day marks the unofficial end of summer but if you grow Symphyotrichum spp. you ll continue to have beautiful blooms and many pollinators visit your garden, well into October. This is an easy plant to propagate and it s guaranteed to attract pollinators. You can extend the bloom season even further by pinching (pruning with hedge shears) the stems back by about one-third in early June. This will delay the blooms a few weeks, so if you pinch some and leave some, you ll have an overall longer fall bloom. Don t pinch later than June you ll remove buds that are forming which will result in less flowering. LooseLeaf September 2018 Page 6

7 As we know, Latin (botanical) names are universal and are rarely changed. However, due to DNA and genetic research findings, many of the Aster spp. were recently reclassified. This plant, a member of the Family Asteraceae, was assigned its own Genus, Symphyotrichum, but is still commonly referred to as Aster in the horticultural trade. ~ Alison Milligan MG 2013 NEWS FROM MG GARDENS I am happy to share that it was a very successful year for bluebirds in my backyard this season. After a four-year hiatus, a pair of bluebirds chose to nest in a bluebird box in my yard. The first and second broods each produced five healthy babies that fledged. Then a third brood produced four healthy babies that recently fledged as well. That makes 14 for the season! I feel very grateful and proud. Marilynn Johnson, There are many reasons to grow sunflowers. They are cheery and happy and make you better whenever you look at them. AND they attract birds. The Enchanted Garden is a great place to visit and see nature s gifts. I volunteer there on Tuesdays and always find something new. Last week I captured the finch enjoying the sunflower seeds. Lois Savar-Rock, LooseLeaf September 2018 Page 7

8 (Continued from page 7) Betty Rice and I volunteer in the kitchen garden near the farmhouse at the Howard County Conservancy. The bee balm is typically five-feet tall and a favorite of many pollinators. The hyssop is covered with bees from nearby hives. And this spider visited us near our patch of borage. Janine Grossman, We are having a Booming year with Monarchs in our gardens and home. We raise them from egg to Butterfly inside and keep a check on ones we leave outside. As of 8/24 we ve released 3, have 6 chrysalis and another 8 ranging from just born to adult stage. Our 2-year old neighbor helped with the first release, and now we have oodles of kids (and grown-ups) coming to check out the caterpillars and wanting to be in on the release times! That being said, it has been a bit of down year for the smaller butterflies (way down on the Skippers) BUT we still have quite the crew fluttering about the gardens! On Thursday the deer finished off the Roma tomato plant with ripening fruit growing in a pot surrounded with marigolds (ignored) and the hosta nearby. I am guessing the tomatoes were the entree and hosta dessert! It may be time to invest in a pop-up grow bag advertised online as a season accelerator but looks like it would be a critter barrier as well. For $12 it s worth a try in Rosemary Noble, Molly McElwee, LooseLeaf September 2018 Page 8