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Office and plants

August 22, 2017
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I actually spent a good portion of today in my office! What a change.  We worked on emails, catching up on phone calls and preparing for upcoming events.  For some weeks now, my phone number has been erroneously given out by the health department and I was getting 50 or more calls a week asking for birth certificates or death certificates!  I thought I had it resolved, and the message on my machine gives the correct number, but I did get more today. If I am there to answer, I explain the situation.  Hope it rights itself soon.

It was not as hot today as it has been, but I thought rain was a good possibility today.  Unfortunately, not a drop fell in my yard, so tonight I watered and picked vegetables and looked at the miserable state of some of my garden. There are bright spots.  The Harlequin clerodendrum is in full bloom and smells amazing.  I have quite a few annuals from torenia to impatiens and coleus that are doing great.   The Vermillionare cuphea and zinnias plus the new verbena look pretty good too.   I still have pretty good blooms on petunias in spite of benign neglect and I am proud to say I have blooms on my Fuchsia in August!! They don’t look like northern fuchsia but they are living!  

The tropicals are doing well, with new blooms today on hibiscus and more on mandevilla. I have roses with blooms and huge rose hips. 

I hear the weather is supposed to cool off and this is my one weekend home this month, so I hope to have some time to make things look a little better and maybe get a handle on that dreaded chambers bitters! 

I leave for Italy in less than two weeks so there is a lot to get done in a short period of time.

Hoping all Annuals are Perennials and Eclipse

August 21, 2017
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Our 4th and final Annual to Perennial event was in Hope–a hopeful event to make lifetime volunteers out of our newly trained Master Gardeners!  We were once again fortunate to be able to use the UA community college in Hope.  We just completed 5 weeks of MG Saturday training there, and we were back with many of our newly trained volunteers participating today.  Our hosting group did a great job making our participants feel welcomed.    There were plenty of treats, and folks kept bringing more as the morning progressed.  They took group photos and individual ones.    The beginning mixer had everyone talking and we had great participation from counties along the southern corridor.    Barbie was chair of the event and got us off to a good start.  Bob spoke first and after questions and answers, he was on the road home to Fort Worth. 

I spoke on the MG program and what to do in the garden now, and we had a lot of questions. This was our second year for the A to P events and they were all a rousing success.  I appreciate the teams that led each event, and hats off to Debbie who was the overall chair and a great organizer.  It takes a village, and I am lucky that we have such great volunteers!

We finished in time to see the eclipse, but there was quite a bit of cloud cover in Hope.  It seemed to get darker than normal, but I can’t say that I really saw much of an eclipse on my drive home.  I did go to a post-eclipse/ housewarming party after work and everyone was talking about the oval images of the sun that dappled the ground in Little Rock, but it was pretty anti-climatic for me.

Clay had great success. Their worry of cloud cover was for naught, and the skies cleared and he got some great images.    They made it home safely tonight and we helped them all unload their gear.  He is still on an eclipse high!  They had a great adventure.

Three down and one to go!

August 20, 2017
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I think we were lucky we had an excuse to be inside today for our 3rd Annual to Perennial event in Little Rock. It was a hot and humid day when I got up and it hasn’t changed much tonight. Although it has cooled off, it is still awfully humid!

We had a great turnout from 12:30-4 today at the State office.  Special thanks to Buff for giving up his Sunday to lead the IT charge and open and lock doors.  I don’t know what I would do without his knowledge and support.  

Once again the hosting Master Gardeners put on a spread, took group photos and registered and helped in every possible way.    MG’s took county shots and photos with their mentors and mentees with our wonderful logo.    The beginning mixer was a hit with so much communication going on between annuals to annuals, perennials to perennials and then annuals to perennials.  I can’t wait to see the results.    After that Jan led us all into the auditorium for the educational seminars. 

Another great event with outstanding volunteers.

It was definitely a team approach and the clean-up was done in quick time. Then Randy joined Bob and me for dinner at my house.   We had some lively discussions as always.    My husband and his friends are having a big time in Jefferson City waiting on the eclipse.  He sent me this picture today and told me it was a great garden tour!   If you know Clay, he doesn’t really do gardens, but so sweet that he at least stopped and took a picture.  I am hoping for clear skies for him tomorrow.

Bob and I head south to Hope for our last session in the morning.  Bob will leave soon after for Fort Worth.  We are fortunate to have had him for all 4 sessions.

Batesville A to P and Girl’s Night

August 19, 2017
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We had another excellent Annual to Perennial event with over 50 folks from 6 or 7 counties today in Batesville. The UA community college is a fabulous facility and so accommodating.  Local chair Holly did a great job organizing the event and we had great participation from all involved.   There was a lot of interaction between the annuals  and just the perennials and then the perennials and annuals worked together to answer questions.  I can’t wait to see the answers they were all writing down to the questions.  We started and ended on time and I think everyone went away with a lot of good information.    Bob and I ran into several groups having lunch in Batesville before heading home. We made it home and I had time to check on things at home, visit with family and dogs, touch email and then we were out again. This weekend Clay and a group of his friends left for a guy’s trip to watch the eclipse.   It was Clay’s first time driving an RV and they made it to their destination in one piece with no problems.  We will hear more about their big adventure, and they are hoping for clear skies on Monday!

While the guys were gone, we had girls night.  Bob got to be an honorary “girl” for the night and he was a good sport. He can give all you guys some insight after a full evening with us!  We had some lively rounds of bingo before dinner and guess who won one of the games?!    We had great food and lots of laughter, plus we swapped books  .  Good friends are hard to beat! 

Tomorrow is our third A to P in Little Rock in the afternoon.  It was a hot and humid day today, so if tomorrow is a repeat it might be good to be indoors!

Annual to Perennial off to a fabulous start!

August 18, 2017
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From the work and planning that has gone into our A to P events, I knew they would be a success and I was not mistaken.  Our first of 4 events went off without a hitch and was a roaring success. Each of the 4 sites has a local chair and Kitty did an amazing job spearheading this team of volunteers. 

We had a packed room of 100+ volunteers and agents.  There was of course, great food, and the beginning mixer had folks engaged and interacting.    We had a good mix of annual (1st year members) and perennials (mentors) and many counties represented.    Bob Byers did a great job talking on new or interesting annuals and I did a state of the MG union address and what to do in the garden. There were loads of questions and so much enthusiasm.  I am sure all annuals will now be perennials and our perennials went away reinvigorated (or fertilized) too!

Bob and I made a quick stop at the Botanical Gardens of the Ozarks to see Gerald before  leaving town.    Bob hadn’t been there in a while so we had to see it. The gardens looked amazing.    with some new features and creatures, and plenty of interesting plants.  We were on the road after a quick bite to eat, but it was a long ride from Fayetteville to Batesville!!  I was on some roads even I had never been on. I realized we were going to be getting in after 6 p.m. so I called to let them know. Good thing I did, since I had confirmation at Batesville, Mississippi NOT Batesville, Arkansas!  They say it is a common problem with both sides getting the wrong reservations.  Luckily , there was room at the inn, and I was able to cancel Mississippi and get 2 rooms in Batesville.  We made it in by a little after 7 p.m., checked in and went to dinner.  It was definitely a long day and I am sure we will both sleep well tonight.  Tomorrow we repeat the process at UA Batesville.  We are off to an auspicious beginning and I see no change in sight.  Arkansas Master Gardeners are the BEST!

Fayetteville and A to P’s

August 17, 2017
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I did spend some time in the office this week in preperation of upcoming events. Summer used to be a slower season for us, but that changed a few years ago. Now slow season is December. It is slow at work but busy with family and friends, so I guess there is no down season anymore. Thankfully I have a supportive team helping me along the way, from secretary Holly

to assistant Julie to great volunteers like County 76 president Linda!Tomorrow is the kick-off for the first of 4 Annual to Perennial events across the state. It takes a village to have a strong program, and we have a strong village. The A to P committee is highly organized and efficient. Kudos to this committee led by Debbie, with a local chair at each event. Bob Byers, formerly of Garvan Gardens and now director of the Fort Worth Botanical Gardens is our visiting guest speaker this year. He is still traveling here as I write, having a late meeting in Texas today. We have roughly 300 first year members, mentors and agents coming to the 4 events. 
I was able to get here in time to have dinner with long time friend Gerald Klingaman. I did get to see his garden before we headed out. 

Gerald and I are also working together on the National Azalea Conference next April, so we did get to talk shop a bit. We don’t see each other enough now that he is retired from extension. 

National Relaxation Day

August 15, 2017
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Did you know there was a National Relaxation Day? Me neither, and I did not relax today, and neither did our Master Gardeners.

I consistently say that we have THE best volunteers in the world, and if you look at the work they are doing for us statewide (not on just county projects which are equally important) it is pretty impressive.

This Friday – Monday we have teams of MGs who are organizing A to P (Annual to Perennial)  events in Fayetteville, Batesville, Little Rock and Hope.  We have another team who is diligently working on the October PNG (Plant-Nurture-Grow) Leadership program. Today we hit their goal of 200 people and we still have 10 days left to register!  Kudos to that team!

We have another group in Union County who are putting together a top-notch MG Appreciation Day and send new ideas daily.  I hope you all have your calendars marked for October 9 and El Dorado!   Order forms went out yesterday if you want a t-shirt or lunch, otherwise the event is free and it is going to be amazing.

Those are just three MAJOR events, but we have others working on on-line reporting, advanced MG, the 2018 MG calendar, zoom training and much, much more.  To say I am blessed is an understatement.  I am surrounded by a great staff with Julie and Holly, and also amazing volunteers!  Thank you!

Speaking of blessed, I am now a 10 1/2 year breast cancer survivor and today I got the results of my recent CT scan and I am cleared again.  Even though I am not a worrier, it is always nice to hear those words.

I also heard today from the kind soul who adopted the dog I found wandering our neighborhood last year.  Tramps   has found his permanent home and is thriving.  His heartworms are cleared up, he has gained 8 pounds and is happy as a clam!  Thank you Maka!

So instead of National Relaxation Day, I think it is National Gratefully Blessed Day!

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