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A colder day!

February 13, 2016
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The temps were not extremely low this morning but with the wind chill it was nippy most of the day. I did go out late this afternoon and cover the lettuce and more tender vegetables. vegetable protection.jan10.163I am hoping the rest will be fine.

Today was a day of errands and chores. Many folks were in Valentine’s mode and flowers, balloons and candy were flying off the shelf.lilies double valentines 16 As I was grocery shopping at my local Kroger’s they were demonstrating and sharing chocolate covered strawberries. kroger strawberry valentines (1)

As I was heading home with the weekly groceries, I noticed some neighbors had their truck in the yard and were attempting to pull up a stump. I stopped and asked to take pictures which they were happy to oblige. uprooting 16 (1)

uprooting 16 (3) We did this many years ago at my children’s elementary school and the dad who used his jeep actually pulled his transmission as well. They were more realistic and were cutting as much as they could before they pulled. If you can get up roots and all, it makes replacement of shrubs much easier.

Tonight was our February supper club at the Feild’s. supper club feb16 (2)

supper club feb16 (3) A fabulous meal including duck breasts, supper club feb16 (5)but the dessert tart was amazing!supper club feb16 (4) In addition to the amazing meal, the laughter and discussions between friends made the night! supper club feb16 (8)

supper club feb16 (9)
Friends and family are what make all days special!

A beautiful Friday!

February 12, 2016
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I did not pay enough attention to the forecast for the day and for some reason, I thought it was supposed to be really cold today, so I dressed accordingly. I was hot all day! It was a gorgeous day. It has been a loaded three weeks, so I decided to take the day off. My husband asked me if I was going to be out-of-town, and I said no, but he did not think I would actually take a day off this time of year, so he sent flowers to me at the office today! They emailed me I had a package, so I went and picked them up and they are gorgeous. valentine roses16 (1)

valentine roses16 (4) Two dozen long-stemmed roses–half of them orange for my favorite color and half pink to show how much he appreciates me. I have friends who think it is a waste of money, but I love having fresh flowers inside. He gets brownie points!

I spent the day catching up on the home front–laundry, cleaning, and a Sam’s run. I found some interesting buys in the gardening section. garden kits 2016 (3)

garden kits 2016 (2)

garden kits 2016 (1) I may buy the vertical garden and use it at the Arkansas Flower and Garden Show. I also had to run to Home Depot to pick up some fertilizer, since my pansies and vegetables need some and I am out. While I was there, I looked at what they have for sale. Last year we were struggling to find vegetable transplants the end of February for the AFGS and they are already on the shelves. veg transplants feb12 (1)

veg transplants feb12 (2)They also had onion transplants and sets, asparagus crowns and seed potatoes. onion sets feb12.16 I would get past this weekend when it is supposed to get cold before planting.
They also had bare root fruit plants indoors. bareroot plants feb12 (2) They really should keep them outside, since they need to be purchased dormant, and planted dormant. These are already beginning to grow and there is nothing to sustain life.

I came home and had some time to work in the garden. It is bone dry and I pulled out the hose and watered all the vegetablescabbage feb12.16

veg feb12 (1) and winter annuals. I then watered the hydrangeas and azaleas. If the weather does get bitterly cold, it will help to have ample moisture in the ground. I am keeping my fingers crossed. So far, the big leaf hydrangeas still have all their buds intact–they are bright red right now. hydrangeas feb12 (1)

hydrangeas feb12 (4) I hope I can still say that after this weekend, but the moisture in the plants should help to act as a buffer. How low a temperature we get will also determine what happens.
My winter weeds were looking good today–I had blooms on dandelion dandelion feb12.16and spring beauty spring beauty feb12.16already!

I continue to enjoy the hellebores hellebores feb12 (1)

hellebores feb12 (2) and my crocus are blooming nicely. crocus feb12 (1) and even the naysayers can’t help to think this nandina is a great addition of color to the winter landscape. nandina feb12.16
I cleaned up a bit and was off to Second Friday night art tonight with friends. HAM feb12 (5)HAM feb12 (4) We started at Historic Arkansas Museum where we got to shop and taste the new wares of Pink House Alchemy of Springdale with their simple syrups in a wide array of flavors. HAM feb12 (6)

HAM feb12 (7) Then we walked around downtown via the MG outside project at HAM HAM feb12 (1) before ending at the Butler Center where good friend Paul and his band were playing. second friday art feb12 (1)

second friday art feb12 (3)
After a nice dinner it was time to head home. A great day and a slower pace! I keep hearing all kinds of bad weather reports, but let’s hope they don’t come through. Tomorrow I cover the garden, but I hope this drink of water today has helped.

Training and Traveling Arkansas

February 11, 2016
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I have been traveling the state for many years now, but in the past few days I have traveled roads I have never been on before. On Friday I drove from Pine Bluff to Marion, then on Saturday from Marion to Jonesboro (an extremely easy drive) then yesterday I went from Harrison to Mena. We have a beautiful state. I saw deer in NW and SW. They just seem to hop as they run around. I saw many hawks, a fox and some beautiful scenery. I wish I wasn’t driving so I could take more pictures. boone county training16 (8)

sites.feb16 (3)

sites.feb16 (5)

sites.feb16 (7)
In Mena I did the first MG training in their new education building and what a nice facility they have. polk co mg training (2)

polk co mg training (3)

polk co mg training (4)

polk co mg training (6)
Then I drove to Glenwood for the night. I have been on that road before, and to Glenwood, but not in the winter. Amazing what you can see when there are no leaves on the trees. I wish the light had been better so I could have taken pictures, so I borrowed one from the web. montgomery county borrowed photo.
We do live in a very beautiful state and I do enjoy driving it. I wish I had more time to stop and take pictures and explore all the sites I see. I stayed with friend Ketha last night and had a great visit. Her cat doesn’t like drinking out of a bowl, but rather directly from the faucet.cat (1) Their gardens were a bit further behind than ours are, with no blooms on the hellebores yet and nothing in the vegetable garden. ketha (2) The dogs get to find unique treasures to feast upon. ketha (1) Their garden, although surrounded by a heavy deer presence is not touched because of their guard dogs.

Then it was back to the office to wrap things up. Registration is still going crazy for the 2016 MG State Conference. As of today, I think we only have 50 spots left and we have been open for 11 days!!! Way to go Arkansas Master Gardeners!

Training and Travel

February 9, 2016
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MG training is in high season, and I am traveling the state. I thought I would spend a few hours in the office Monday to catch up and the next thing I knew it was going on 5 pm! Deadlines for columns never end, then reports, state conference planning, powerpoints for public presentations and general questions and time flies! 

It got chilly last night and that trend continued today, coupled with heavy winds. It was apretty day to drive but the car was whipped around from the wind. There was a nasty accident right before Clinton which shut down traffic from both directions for about 30 minutes. 

   It was smooth sailing after that and I checked into my hotel in Harrison for a quick check of email before heading to the county office to do training.  

       The Boone County office got a brand new building several yesrs ago, and they continue to add on to the grounds around them.  

   They are doing extensive dirt work across the parking lot for archery ranges and demonstration gardens. We had a good class, but my it was nippy and windy as we left. My car thermometer read 28 as I pulled into the parking lot for the night! I am gasses up and ready to go tomorrow morning to Mena for more training. It will be a new driving experience but GPS says it should take only 4 hours. 

Jonesboro program then home

February 7, 2016
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It has been a full week with six different cities in 6 days. We are training a great new group of volunteers and today I did a program for the public in Jonesboro sponsored by the Museum Garden Club. I had a nice lunch with their officers and then we had a great turnout in the Pit at ASU. Folks kept coming in even after we started. I spoke on Hot Stuff, covering trends in gardening, plus new plants and garden gadgets. asu talk feb161

asu talk feb162

It was a beautiful but cool day. One highlight of this program each year, is the meeting room is adjacent to the ASU greenhouses. Kim and I did a walk through. She has loads of annuals coming along nicely for their spring plant sale. ASU greenhouse (2)

ASU greenhouse (3) including black petunias for their red wolf hanging baskets with red and black petunia combos. petunia black. asu16
A new feature that will be planted this week is a hydroponic unit which will have vegetables. The individual pots are coir based and the seedlings will go in and water will circulate throughout with nutrition. I will need to go back to see it in action. hydroponic system asu.162

hydroponic system asu.163

hydroponic system asu.164
Kim also has a nice collection of orchids and one was absolutely loaded with purple blooms. orchids asu (1) I guess she knows something about horticulture, huh!! In the head house, their outside drip irrigation station is hanging, and looks quite artistic. ASU greenhouse (1)

As I was driving home, it was overcast in the northern tier of the state sky feb16.1 but it was clearing up as I neared home. sky feb16.3

While it has been a busy travel week, it has also been a fun week of speaking and training. Registration for the 2016 State MG conference has been at warp speed this week. As of Friday we had 311 registered Active Master Gardeners, so if you add the 75 volunteers, we only have 114 open slots! Pretty impressive.

Training times two.

February 6, 2016
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i was at the Crittenden County office at 8 am this morning to present MG training to Crittenden, Cross and St Francis county trainees. There are always more folks from the hosting county, but they also had outstanding participation from their “seaoned” mgs.  

   The seasoned group was providing snacks and lunch each week. I could not stay to enjoy their fine meal as I had to get to Craighead County to speak all afternoon.  

This group is comprised of Craighead,  

 Greene  

 and Mississippi  

 counties. They too provided lunch, but I got there in time to speak.  It was a great day of questions and training, but a full week of speaking. I had dinner tonight with good friend Kim, but now I will rest my vocal cords! I speak tomorrow at the pit at ASU agri building at 2 pm for the general public on hot stuff– new trends, plants and garden gadgets. Come join us!

Pine Bluff Home & Garden Show

February 5, 2016
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for the first time in 28 years the Pine Bluff Home & Garden Show is a 2 day event. They had a full line-up of seminars alternating between two rooms and at the end of each talk,  they gave away a blower.  

The Jefferson County Master Gardeners were outi in force helping with registration, door prizes, andoverall organization.  

  

 There are many educational booths from extension, as well as many affiliated organizations. Plant pathologist Sherrie Smith was on hand to identify problems.  

  

  

  

 There were some plant vendors including our favorite bromelliad guy, The Funny Farm and herb lady Rosemary Hill.  

  

 Some of our. Vendors from AFGSs were on hand and we got a preview of their wares.   

  

  We tried somethingnew today and my talk was streamed live via the internet. We had a great crowd in the room, but I have heard from many across the state that they enjoyed the opportunity to listen in. 

Overall an excellent event conducted by a dedicated group of volunteers! If you didn’t make it today, you still have a chance tomorrow.  County 76 members are on hand with some great hoes and garden gadgets, so head to Pine Bluff.  


The event is free and the doors open at 9 am.  

  

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