We are getting down to the countdown for 2016 State MG conference and we are in conference mode. Today emails went to people on special diets to tell them about their meal choices. We are finalizing signs and plant tags. I also got two columns written with more to go. On top of all of this, we are also finalizing plans for the Annual to Perennial event for our first year Master Gardeners and their mentors. This is going to be a super event for any new Master Gardeners who trained from June 2015 through May 2016. They can bring a mentor if they have one, but mentors cannot come without their mentees. We hope to inspire first year members and we offering this event in four locations around the state to make it convenient to attend.
I also worked on lining up some tours for a group of Mississippi Master Gardeners who are coming through the first full week of June, and we are trying to finalize the statewide Saturday MG training schedule which will be held in Bryant.
During the lunch hour I ran out to meet with my new sprinkler man to look at a leak I have in my sprinkler. John Virden lives in my neighborhood and has been in the business for over 20 years. He dug up the leak, repaired it and now will be back tomorrow after the glue sets to test it. I need a sprinkler system since I will be out-of-town soon. After we get it up and running I want him to assess what else needs to be done.
Then this afternoon I went down to a good friends retirement reception. Judy Robison has a few more years on me–she has been working for 41 years! I am not sure what we will do without her grant expertise and her even keeled demeanor, but I wish her the best.
A full, but productive Monday!
This has been a whirlwind weekend celebrating my niece’s wedding in Dallas. We ended up leaving LR later than expected due to a work schedule, so we had time to do the drive through at the Greek Food Festival for our lunch on Friday before we left town. They have this down to a science!
We were on the road after eating and loading up our son and his stuff and had an easy drive to Dallas until we hit Dallas and traffic. My gps was a bit confused, but we made it to the hotel by 6 p.m. We met up with our cousins from Atlanta to walk to dinner downtown while the wedding party was rehearsing and doing their dinner.
We ate a late lunch with Clay and Kyle and then it was almost time to start getting ready. We got gussied up and left on a shuttle for the wedding.
The wedding was beautiful and Whitney was a beautiful bride.
This morning we visited with my sister and the maid of honor niece before loading up and heading home. It was a quick trip but such a great time and now we have a new member of the family.
We leave tomorrow for Dallas for my nieces wedding, so I took the day off to get my hair done, do laundry, pack, pick up last-minute things and get ready to leave town. In addition, I had to meet the plumber, since we found a leak last night in the hose for the ice maker, and the floor has been getting wet now for we think days and we didn’t know because we don’t often get behind the refrigerator. So I put things up and out-of-the-way so it can air out while we are gone–but everything is working. I got things ready for the housesitter so the dogs won’t be lonely. I didn’t stop all day, but I did finally walk the garden. I have not had much rain, even though many around us have. I looked at the forecast and it didn’t look like we had much of a chance while I am gone, so I decided to fertilize and water the garden well, so it would be fine until we return. Then tonight we got rain! Oh well, better safe than sorry.
I did not spray today, but I will when I get home. I did pick my first raspberries today and they were quite tasty–really some of the best I have tasted in an Arkansas garden. They are the Raspberry Shortcake™ Dwarf Thornless Raspberry from BrazleBerry. I have quite a few more that will be ripening soon.
The weather has definitely been kind to our gardens, and although I do think we will have more insects and diseases this year, we have also had way more flowers! My hydrangeas are all pink to purple this year,
but covered in blooms and the gardenia has never had as many buds. The single flower variety is always the first to bloom, but my doubles are loaded too. The Serissa is blooming and so are the hardy geraniums.
I also have a mystery bulb that came in with my first load of super soil. It is about to bloom, so I can’t wait to see what it is.
I continue to be impressed with the confederate jasmine–it has been blooming non-stop for weeks and it is still covered in flowers with more buds coming on.
The fragrance is intoxicating! Between that and the gardenias it is a fragrant garden.
Then tonight I met up with a lot of my friends at a wine tasting at Clark and Henrik’s. The food was amazing, and while they had the entire yard set up and decorated, everyone pretty much stayed inside because of a pop-up rain shower.
Now a good nights sleep!
The morning flew by with catch-up at the office. At noon, I headed out to join the tour committee for the 2017 state MG conference to look at some outstanding gardens. There were only three gardens, but they were all huge and beautifully maintained, with great plant collections. One had a huge, attractive vegetable garden, while another had a large fairy garden, and the other was a plant collectors dream. They all had one other thing in common, is that they would not be an easy bus ride. So once we pick all the gardens, the bus company needs to go with the committee to decide on how to get there.
Then it was on to an almost 5 acre garden in the center of town with one of the most elaborate and groomed edible gardens you will ever see. From gooseberries and blackberries, to apples and lemons, vegetables and herbs of every type abound.
Our timing was perfect. As we were ending, we got a little rain. We all had garden envy as we left these three gardens. Start planning ahead to May 2017. You won’t want to miss what they are planning.
Tonight we got to see our “nephew” (not actually by blood) who was home from his residency program in Jacksonville, Florida. He has two more years to go before he becomes an emergency medicine doctor, but it was a good visit. May is a very busy month!
Have you ever driven a car through the streets of downtown Eureka Springs? Well, consider driving a bus. Today we had our hopefully, final meeting with the bus company to discuss all the ins and outs of where buses can go, turn around, and drive! It is a steep learning curve, but hopefully we have mastered it. We have 9 buses transporting MGs all around Carroll County in two weeks and we want to be prepared. It was a gloomy, cold and rainy morning, but cleared up as we got closer to home.
As we were leaving the Inn of the Ozarks we ran into our lead tour chairman for Eureka Springs, Ann. She was with June Westphal the renowned historian of Eureka Springs. Ann was gleaning all the knowledge she could get from June for the garden tours. June Westphal was born three miles from Eureka Springs and has spent her life as a “crackerjack” researcher, writing numerous articles for the Carroll County Historical Society; radio vignettes; The Eureka Chronicles: Ten Decades of History, 1880s to 1980s; Centennial Postcard History (co-authored with Bob Rennels, 1979); and For All Saints: A History of Methodism in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. For more than thirty years, she has put together the Annual Historical Pictorial Calendars distributed by Cornerstone Bank (formerly the Bank of Eureka Springs). She raised her family in Eureka Springs and is still discovering previously unpublished nuggets of life in her peculiar hometown and has given Ann a lot to share with our Master Gardeners.
As we finished in Eureka Springs, we drove to Berryville to look at the outdoor classroom. It is one of the top-notch facilities in the state and we are so happy that we can share this with the MGs on the all day Berryville tour.
If you are registered for the 2016 MG conference, you are in for a treat. I head back up 2 weeks from today! If you are registered, you should have either receieved an email or a letter in the mail with your confirmation. If you haven’t received one and you think you are registered, let me know.
The 2016 State MG conference is getting closer and closer. Today Julie and I had an early morning drive to Eureka Springs for some early meetings on buses and facilities, before our walk-through began at 1 p.m. It was maybe too early, or I may have been a bit tired from the weekend, but I was talking (imagine that) and I missed my normal turnoff in Conway to head north on Hwy 65. Instead, we did the “shorter” but windier route through the Pig Trail–Julie’s first time on this road. It was a pretty drive with a lot of wildflowers in bloom, including coreopsis , spiderwort(Tradescantia), larkspur, Indian paintbrush and ox-eye daisies. Luckily there was no rain, so we made it up to Eureka in good time.
We had excellent participation from volunteers from 4 counties. We went over the schedule, introduced all the committee chairs, then walked through the facility so that all of the volunteers could be familiar with the layout.
It was a very productive day, but let’s talk about the weather! It was downright cold outside and some didn’t have a jacket, were actually wearing spring-like clothing and sandals. I was happy to have my raincoat and long sleeves. It is currently 54 degrees and overcast. We have had rain. Tomorrow morning is supposed to be 48 degrees with more rain. And this is mid-May! Hard to believe.
As we went out to dinner I was showing Julie one of our tour stops. Crossing the road in front of us was a large groundhog. We were not on a busy road so I stopped and I think he got confused because he came back out and let us get pretty close before scampering off into the woods.
Tomorrow we have a few more meetings that may depend somewhat on the weather before heading back–the normal way–not the Pig Trail way.
I can’t believe I have a child that is 30 years old! That makes me seem older than I think I am! I decided we needed a surprise party since he works on Sunday and he has a new house, so today, we had a surprise. I cleaned up his house and got it ready and then he got off an hour earlier than planned since he was under the weather, and there weren’t a lot of us there to surprise him, but it all worked out in the end.