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2019 State MG Conference in Hope

January 29, 2019

2019-mg-logo.Your state MG planning committee has been working hard to make sure this year’s state conference in Hope, Arkansas is going to be outstanding. Registration has been open for two weeks today and we already have almost 250 people registered. Optional tours are filling up quickly, so if you want to sign up for one of these I would do so soon. The link to sign up is:


This conference is for Master Gardeners and you must know the user name and password to the MG Only site to get in. 

Some of the tours you may be interested in include the Homesteading workshop on Monday, April 29.  You can learn about gardening with herbs, soap making, high tunnelsold washington may16 (10)

candle making, cheese making and more.  There are still a few spots left.  

If you can’t make the Homesteading Conference another optional workshop is papercrete from 3:30 – 4:45 p.m.  hypertufaPapercrete is a process where you can make containers or yard art with re-pulped paper fiber with Portland cement or clay and/or other soil added.  The process was first patented in 1928, it was revived during the 1980’s.  We have had an advanced training on this and it was quite popular.  You will get to create a container to take home with you.  

These are just two options of extra events for the conference.  We will share more information about the optional events for AFTER the conference on Wednesday, May 1 tomorrow.   Hope has plenty of learning opportunities, so sign up now!

It’s a Busy January

January 24, 2019

January tends to be cold, rainy and sometimes snowy. Although weather-wise it isn’t a busy month for outside gardening, it IS a busy month for garden planning. From gardening events and seminars to ordering seeds and planning the upcoming Spring landscape, the month is packed with activity.

The state extension office has been hosting meetings and planning events. Many deadlines for our Master Gardener Program occur in January – MG Award and Conference Donations, Award Nominations, Years of Service List and County Program Scholarship just to name a few. Thanks to all of you that have donated to our program, sent in award nominations and gave us your years of service list. We appreciate your support of the Arkansas Master Gardener Program.

Stay tuned to our blog for more posts on gardening, events and the Arkansas Master Gardener Program. Janet may be retired, but our blog is not. She graciously left our office access to the blog she built up over the years. She dedicated many years to horticulture in Arkansas and she wishes for our office to continue educating and informing you all .
We are working to get the name and photo changed to lessen confusion with her new blog at the Arkansas Democrat Gazette.
Thanks, Janet, for sharing your knowledge of plants with us all!

2019 Master Gardener Conference Registration Open

January 17, 2019

Registration for the 2019 Master Gardener Conference is open! The conference will be April 30 at Hempstead Hall in Hope, AR. Some pre and post-conference events have limited space so register now to claim your spot. The Pre-conference Homesteading Workshop will be held at Old Washington State Park on April 29, where you learn about cheese making, soap making, break-baking, blacksmithing and gardening with herbs. Lunch will be catered by the famous Williams Tavern Restaurant.
You have your choice of four post-conference tours offered on May 1.
1. U of A Hope Experiment state Tour and Propagation Workshop
2. Grandview Prairie Tour (Columbus, AR)
3. “Gardening on the Edge” Miller County Landscape Tour (Texarkana area)
4. How County Farmers Market/Local Food Tour (Nashville, AR)
Space is limited on all these events. First come, first serve.

The link to register online is on the MG Only site. You must know the statewide user name and password to access the conference information. (This is NOT your online reporting system personal username and password.)

2019 Master Gardener Conference
April 30, 2019
Hope, AR

Hosted by County 76 MG Advisory Board.
Conference Location:  Hempstead Hall (on the campus of University of Arkansas Community College at Hope (UACCH))
Hempstead Hall 
2500 S Main St, 
Hope, AR 71801

Registration opens January 15, 2019  
Early registration cost:  $50.00     
Early registration is January 15 – March 1.       
January 15 – 31 is Priority for Active MGs, Lifetime and County Agents ONLY

February 1 – March 1 is early registration for Sustainer MGs, MGs on Leave of  Absence, spouses, guests and MGs from other states. 
Regular registration cost:  $75.00     
March 2 – March 29 is regular registration.  Active and Sustainer MGs, MGs  on Leave of Absence, spouses and guests if space is available.

We look forward to seeing you in Hope on April 30!

Silent Auction Dinner

January 8, 2019

Last year at the state MG conference, the County 76 board had the idea to auction off dinner for 6 with me at my house. I was happy to offer it, but didn’t think it would go for much. A few Master Gardeners got into an intense bidding war, and Claudette from Garland County came out the winner. Due to busy schedules, we didn’t get it arranged until tonight. She drove up from Hot Springs with 5 other Garland Co. MG’s and we had an add-on from LR. Julie was my sous chef and helped me serve. It would not have been manageable without her.

We started off with a marinated cheese ring with olives and a spicy black-eyed pea dip. Then a shaved Brussels sprouts salad with pecorino romano, roasted almonds and a lemon vineagertte. The main course was sous vided Chilean sea bass with a blood orange beurre blanc, Israeli couscous and a medly of mushrooms, olives and tomatoes, followed by white chocolate creme brulee with raspberries.

We had a nice time visiting and eating.

The meal turned out pretty nicely, and I did get some help from my son and my husband. Clay made the creme brulee and Kyle bruleed them for me. He also made the beurre blanc.

I had the most issue with the fish. I brought these beautiful looking filets but I knew I would have to take off the skins, but little did I realize there were bones in them! And not just the main bone in the middle but little pin bones. I watched a you tube video and it said to sterilize needle nose pliers and pull them out–but that wasn’t working for me. I was worried we sould still find bones, so I did major surgery. Instead of nice big pieces we had medallions of Chilean sea bass and not a bone was found–thank goodness–and they were quite tasty.

It was a fun evening.

Jean Ann Moles

January 7, 2019

My dear friend Jean Ann Moles died last week.county 76 jean ann moles Jean Ann was a proud Master Gardener from Saline County. She joined as soon as she retired, and jumped in with both feet. She had leadership roles in Saline County but also was heavily involved at the state level through County 76. She was a character than will not soon be forgotten.

In her obituary one of the last lines is:jean 7 villa medici al fiesoli (13)Next time you meet someone else who knew Jean Ann, share a couple of “Jean Ann stories”. You will separate with smiles on your faces.  I have been smiling for a week thinking of all the Jean Ann stories I have.

Jean Ann started traveling with me as soon as she became a MG.As soon as a trip was advertised, she was signed up. She was a shopper! Regardless of where we stopped, she found something to buy, and not only for herself. She bought gifts for everyone. She also brought along NO WHINING stickers and passed them out at the airport before we left whining

She held down the back of the bus on every trip and was always the last person to be back on the bus. Once in New Zealand she was over 10 minutes late to the bus, and I yelled, “Jean Ann, we are going to leave you!”.  She yelled back “I’m LOST!”  She was in the middle of the garden and couldn’t find the path back out.  We waited and guided her out.  Her health  prevented her from traveling the past few years, so we nominate a new “Jean Ann” on every trip.  She was an institution!ds jean ann, karen.shjean ann and andrea.attea party jean ann.shjean ann and her award

If a dog or cat crossed her path, she had to investigate.jean-ann-cat

As smart as she was, organization of her personal items was not a strong suit. She misplaced her phone on several trips, and actually lost it twice. The first time was in Costa Rica and she had a huge bill once she got home and notified them of her loss.  A second time she lost it and she got a call from her husband in the hotel.  He wanted to know where she lost her phone?  She wondered how he knew, but of course the person who found it “called home”.  She got that one back.  We ribbed her often, so she was overjoyed when we were in Panama and I left my small purse at breakfast and she got to be the one to return it to me.

She had a quick wit and did not suffer fools easily, but she had a heart of gold and would give you the shirt off her back.  She worked diligently in gardening projects  all over Saline County putting not only her time into the efforts, but her money as well.  She was recognized for her efforts by her peers as well as her county.  jean ann award ceremony.04jean anns tribe

There will never be another Jean Ann Moles.  I was so saddened when she was diagnosed with her lung ailment, and although she gave it the college try, it overcame her best efforts, and she took that in stride. jean ann feb.17 (2) She regularly emailed me articles of interest on a wide array of subjects, and suggested books I might be interested in.  I knew something was up when I quit getting emails from her, and she didn’t respond to mine.

RIP Jean Ann, the world will not be the same without you!mrs. chair jean

Here is her official obituary:

JEAN ANN MOLES, 74, of Benton, died January 2, 2019, in the Saline Health System Hospice Unit. Predeceasing her were her parents, John W. and Matta Jean McDonald; paternal grandparents, Arch and Hallie Denman McDonald; maternal grandparents, Clarence and Grace Taylor Ratcliff. She is survived by her husband, J. Louis Moles, Jr., and three “critters” (Abe, Hu, and Little Bit) of the home; and her sister, Sue Ellen Montgomery (Ron) of Siloam Springs. She is also survived by numerous nieces and nephews, all of whom she enjoyed watching grow into adulthood as long as she didn’t have to change their diapers.

Jean Ann was born in Gentry while her father was elsewhere engaged with the Battle of the Bulge. Following WWII, the family settled in Huntsville. She graduated from Huntsville High School in 1962, University of Arkansas Fayetteville (B.A.) in 1966, and LSU (Masters in Library Science) in 1970. All her life, she had a love for books and reading, leading to a work history from librarian/associate professor at the Peabody School Library of the UAF College of Education to 30 years service at the UAMS Medical Library in Little Rock.

Following her retirement from UAMS in 2004, she joined the Saline County Master Gardeners achieving SCMG Rookie of the Year in 2006, SCMG Master Gardener of the Year in 2010, and along the way three terms as SCMG president. She was on the board of the Arkansas Flower and Garden Show serving as secretary. She spent countless hours tending “her” corners in downtown Benton and digging plants to save them from approaching construction activities. And the educational training. And then the tours, domestic and foreign. Jean Ann loved every minute of it. A perfect retirement.

Throughout her life, Jean Ann had strong mentors and friends, some of whom got her involved in the creation of the Arkansas chapter of the National Organization of Women (NOW) and later creation of the Little Rock Rape Crisis Center. She was justifiably proud of being one of the “founding mothers” of these two organizations

At the request of Jean Ann, the body will be cremated and the ashes scattered at appropriate locations in Arkansas. There will be no service. If you knew Jean Ann and wish to honor her, you can mentor someone; you can befriend someone; you can become involved. She was a ray of sunshine. Next time you meet someone else who knew Jean Ann, share a couple of “Jean Ann stories”. You will separate with smiles on your faces.

On line guestbook at

Winter Gardening

January 6, 2019

While the calendar may say winter, the weather felt more like spring. It was the second day of warm spring-like temperatures.  I had some time to spend time in the garden. I fertilized my winter vegetables–the garlic and shallots are growing well.garlic and shallots.jan6.19  I also have some nice heads forming on my broccoli and the curly kale looks great as well.  broccoli jan6.19kale and broccoli.jan19kale jan6.19

Winter vegetables are not the only plants looking good.  The camellias have never looked better than they do this year. camellias.jan6.1913camellias.jan6.1915camellias.jan6.1912 Bees were hovering around the plants and I also saw a plant bug camellias.jan6.1914that was active today.

My hellebores are also blooming well and they also had bees flying around. hellebores.jan6.191hellebores.jan6.192

The mahonia is about to be in bloom too.  mahonia.jan6.1912

It was a great day outside, but who knows what the rest of our winter will be like.

I had to quit gardening to go to book club.  A Gentleman in Moscow was our book and it was well-liked by the group.  There was a lot to discuss as well.  Very well-written.a gentleman in moscow.

HIS Last Day from pollinators to carnivores

January 5, 2019

We had an excellent last morning in the Public Garden/MG section of the Horticulture Industry Show in Fayetteville, Arkansas.  Washington Co. MG Dani Dingman his 1-5 (4) kicked us off with an excellent talk on Engaging children with pollinators.  She had us all engrossed and showed an excellent video clip: .  This is a must see you tube video.  I am sure with Dani as a teacher, the children she is teaching are going to be experts on pollinators.

Our second talk was the most unique of the conference, almost the anti-pollinator plants–carnivorous plants, presented by UA horticulture senior student Juan Moscoso. his 1-5 (7) He waxes poetic on carnivorous plants, and has turned his hobby into a passion and now a business. his 1-5 (23)What started in his apartment has blossomed into even more growing space. carnivorous plants.his 1-5 (22)carnivorous plants.his 1-5 (24)carnivorous plants.his 1-5 (26) It was a fascinating presentation and I learned why my son killed so many Venus flytraps as a boy.  I did buy a sundew carnivorous plants.his 1-5 (15)sundew carnivorous plants.his 1-5 (22)sundew carnivorous plants.his 1-5 (24)and will see how long I can make it live.  You don’t use commercial fertilizers (or raw hamburger meat) to feed carnivorous plants–they would prefer some live insects but you can also feed them dead ones or dehydrated blood worms.  Their leaves are covered in tentacles which catch the insects.  They supposedly do a great job on fungus gnats and fruit flies–of which I have neither at this time.

Then our final two speakers rounded out the morning with yesterday’s keynote speaker Ray Moranz of the Xerces society with an excellent presentation on Monarch Butterflies and their host and nectar plants.  his 1-5 (25)his 1-5 (26)

and ending with Pulaski County Staff Chair and Horticulture Agent Randy Forst.  His talk was “It takes a village: creating a large demonstration garden.  He shared the plans and schedule for the horticulture demonstration garden they are putting in at the Arkansas 4-H Center.  It is going to be an amazing project once completed.  It generated a lot of questions and interest.  his 1-5 (29)his 1-5 (30)

The HIS is a great way to start the new year off on a high note with horticulture education.  Next year the conference will be in Tulsa.

It was an absolutely glorious day for a drive with not a cloud in the sky and mild temperatures–quite a difference from what we drove in going up on Wednesday.  Tomorrow promises to be more of the same, so I hope to have some time in my own garden!


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