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Dig In #2, Last call for early bird registration

March 13, 2017
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It was cold, but not below freezing as we left town this morning.  I always hate changing to daylight savings time, but my sleeping time has been skewed lately anyway, so maybe this year won’t be as hard–albeit it seemed awfully early when my alarm went off at 6 a.m. today!  Julie and I drove in rain off and on as we headed to Arkadelphia and Henderson State University for our second District Dig In.  We had a slightly smaller crowd, but a good one with lots of questions. We had 50 people but from 13 counties so a diverse mix of counties.  It was a very nice facility that we will use again, and their service was outstanding.  I spoke all morning on a MG update and new annuals and perennials.  County 76 president Linda Soffer gave them information on County 76 opportunities and Dr. Vic Ford spoke after lunch on mushrooms, which was informative as well as educational.    It was a great opportunity for Master Gardeners across a district to get together, share ideas and have some fellowship as well as education.  By the time we left, the sun was shining but it was still cool.  Our last District Dig In will be this Saturday in Ft. Smith. Folks who register by Wednesday will be able to attend all three days of the River Valley Lawn & Garden Show, plus hear a great line-up of speakers on Saturday. I will speak, along with Chris Olsen for the general public, and then for MGs only Dr. Gerald Klingaman and Susan Belsinger.  Deadline to apply online is Wednesday.  If you main a form, let Julie or I know so we can add you to the list.  Information is on the MG only site with user name mgonly  (if you need the password, let Julie or I know).

Many were talking at the conference about how far along our plants are.  Figs were mentioned by several and they all said they had little figs already. I posted a photo yesterday from my figs, and I did not notice any fruit already, so I decided to investigate when I got home. With daylight savings time, I have more time once I get home to be outside in daylight!  I do have figs! I can’t believe they are already on these plants in mid-March.  I hope they make it through the next few days.   Temperatures are supposed to hover near or below freezing in central Arkansas the next three mornings, getting lower out and about in the state.  Protect what you can!

Tomorrow is also the early bird deadline for registration for the 2017 MG State Conference in Little Rock, May 21-23.  You don’t want to miss out on this spectacular event. The Pulaski County Master Gardeners have worked hard to give you some unique special events, outstanding pre-tours and much more. Again, the link to register is on the mg only site: https://www.uaex.edu/yard-garden/master-gardeners/default.aspx

User name is MG only.  A password is also required and if you are a MG and you have forgotten it, email me or Julie.  Registration will stay open until April 14, but the price does increase March 15.

One down, three to go!

March 12, 2017
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My garden made it through the night with no visible damage. It was 30 degrees for a brief moment and there was a light frost on windshields and roofs, but my plants looked ok this afternoon. The winter vegetables as well as figs and azaleas had no damage.

The white and pink loropetalum are in full bloom

There were a few discolored petals on the tulip magnolia, but overall they were fine as were the clematis, trumpet honeysuckle, and blueberries.

The big leaf hydrangeas and pomegranate are also far along and at least today, have no damage.

We have three more mornings with low temps, so let’s hope we fare as well. I hope the rest of you were as lucky as me.

I hope to see many of you tomorrow in Arkadelphia for the District Dig In, and don’t forget to register for the NW one in Ft. Smith by Wdnesday. Tuesday is also the last day for the early registration fee for the 2017 State MG conference in LR. You don’t want to miss out!

Mountain Home and Snow!

March 11, 2017
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Yesterday was an absolutely gorgeous day for a drive. The skies were bright blue and although cool, it was pleasant. We saw some beautiful Chinese redbuds at the local library in Mt. Home.

I stayed with a good friend last night in Cotter. We had a nice visit 

and what a gorgeous view and sunset.

What a difference a day makes. This morning it was cold and gloomy as I drove to Mt. Home to speak at the 23 annual  How to Have an Ozark Green Thumb. They have it down to a science and were so organized. 

They had a full day of educational talks, plus educational displays all around the room.


I think their opening cartoon was a tad too prophetic.

As I left after lunch, the sleet was beginning to fall. By Yellville snow and sleet were falling in earnest with some of the biggest flakes I have ever seen. The temperature dropped to 30 degrees and the roads got dicey in a hurry.

I did not take these pictures while driving, but 2 MGs were with me and they could photograph while I concentrated on the road. Luckily we got out of the snow/sleet by St. Joe and the temp got back to 34 by Clinton. But there was ice in the top of many of the trees on the side of the road. By LR it was 41 and not yet raining, but that started soon after I pulled in.

We were happy to be home, but poor Kim Pittcock drove in snow both coming and going to Jonesboro. She was the last speaker and had this to see as she left.

And these are shots of the home where I stayed last night. 

We obviously left at the right time! Now we have to wait and see how cold it gets tonight. Low temps are forecast for the next 4 days! Potential damage is here!

Garvan TV, Tulips and Phantom–plus WEATHER!

March 9, 2017
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I totally got the weather wrong today.  It was sunny and fairly warm this morning and I thought it would just get better as the day went on, so I dressed for spring.  As I was driving to Garvan Gardens around noon, it got cloudier and cloudier and the temperature dropped.  Luckily I had put a jacket in the car for my trip up north tomorrow, and I used it today as we taped our monthly TV spots. The gardens look really good and are blooming way ahead of schedule.  Although I have hundreds of pictures of tulips, I just can’t resist taking more. They are truly spectacular blooms and are at their peak right now.    They are not the only plants in bloom, but they are the showiest.  The tree peonies are blooming and many azaleas are opening up, along with camellias, candytuft, viburnums, flowering cherry, kerria and winter annuals.   One of the TV spots we did was on holly blooms and knowing whether you have a male or female plant.

They had a huge crowd this morning and a decent one this afternoon, but it began to lightly mist rain as we were wrapping up.  And have you heard the weather forecast for the weekend and early next week?!  If they are to be believed, the northern tier of  Arkansas will get to 22 degrees and have winter precipitation including sleet and snow.  LR is supposed to get to 28 Saturday night and no higher than 42 during the day.  Temperatures near or slightly below freezing for the next three days!  I really hope they are wrong this time or we may be in for some damage.  If it does get cold, pray it stays cloudy and windy so a heavy frost doesn’t settle.  Consider covering tender new growth on perennials and vegetables. It is difficult to cover larger shrubs, and if rain is in the mix, covering can get heavy and way down the plants.

I made it home in time to freshen up and leave again.  Martha Ray and I went to see the Phantom of the Opera. It was a great performance and the new Robinson Center is amazing.  We also ran into quite a few MGs and even sat in front of some.   A full day for sure.

Tomorrow I head north to Baxter County to speak Saturday morning for How to Have an Ozark Green Thumb.

Addition

March 8, 2017
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I just pushed the send button on my post honoring women, men and Master Gardeners and I heard a ding, telling me I had an email.  Here is a shared post from facebook from a recently retired county agent/state specialist:

“My wife has suffered three strokes in two years. This last one was the worst, leaving her paralyzed and non-verbal. She is currently in Baptist Health Rehab and yesterday she participated in a therapeutic recreation program with the Pulaski County Master Gardeners. They did a rose presentation and planted a rose. I want to give them a heartfelt thank you.” – Bobby Hall
Master Gardeners don’t just beautify landscapes, they beautify lives as well. ❤️🌹If you’re interested in becoming a Master Gardener, talk to your county agent or visit our website at http://www.uaex.edu/yard-garden/master-gardeners. #mastergardeners #recreationtherapy #health #Arkansas

Thank you Bobby Hall. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family, but the work that our Master Gardeners do across this state really do make a difference in peoples lives!

Honoring women! and work in the office

March 8, 2017
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Who knew today was International Women’s Day –a day to celebrate the amazing contributions women make to our world and our future–and our Master Gardener program.  While we do have outstanding men in our MG organization, I want to thank the fabulous women who are leading our County 76 organization–Linda Soffer  and Patsy Louk, president and VP, along with past president Jane Burrows, secretary Barbie Luther, treasurer Janice Dickerson and I don’t want to exclude our lone man on the executive board David Anderson.
We have strong women all over the state of Arkansas leading MG programs or projects and involved in horticulture as well as strong men!
I saw this quote today and I think it is profound:  “Do not wait for someone else to come and speak for you. It’s you who can change the world.” – Malala Yousafzai
We all can change the world, one step at a time.  It is not the number of people you impact but the fact that you impact someone.  Master Gardeners impact people every day in such positive ways across our state.  Thank you both women and men for being a part of our program and working with your county agents and other volunteers to make a difference in your communities and in our programs!  I appreciate each and every one of you for all you do!

Pruning Workshop at Garvan Gardens

March 7, 2017
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What a great day it was!  It started with some wind, rain and thunder, but by noon it was sunny and beautiful.  We had a packed house for our all day pruning workshop at Garvan Gardens.  The workshop filled up with a waiting list, so it was a popular topic. I covered ornamentals, and then Randy Forst covered fruit trees, blueberries and grapes.  After lunch, we headed out to the southern inspiration garden for some hands-on demonstrations.    We had loads of questions and I think it was one of our most successful workshops.  Great group of people to work with, and then folks got to look at the gardens with tulips galore.  Some are just opening, while others are already spent.   It was still a cool day but out in the sun it felt pretty good.  I am back at the gardens on Thursday to tape TV.  I would encourage you to go visit soon so you can see the tulips in their prime. My next Garvan workshop is June 8 on pollinators.  Space is always limited due to the room size.

I made it home in plenty of time to walk the garden. My garden is really liking these rain showers. Seedlings seem to be growing daily and the transplants have established well in a short period of time.  I got close to 2 inches of rain in the past few days so we are off to a good start.  Now keep late freezes away and we will be good to go.

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