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County 76 Board Meeting

April 3, 2018
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Today was our spring board meeting for County 76.  Our general meeting will be April 24 at the state extension office and is open to all active Master Gardeners.  We hold a pre-board meeting to plan and prepare for the quarterly meetings.  We got a lot done.  Here is a shot of the 2018 board.  This is a WORKING board and they do so much to help our programs.  They are the folks behind the scenes who make things happen.  I could not do what we do without them.     Julie and Holly are a big part of that equation as well!

They surprised me today at lunch with a birthday party.  As many of you know I turn 60 in a few weeks.  I always thought 60 was so old, but I don’t feel any different than I did 20 years ago–and wish I didn’t look any older.  My new belief is that 60 is the new 40!!    

Do you see a theme here?   Some pretty funny cards and some useful things for my old age (when that happens)!

Weather-wise, we went from winter to summer overnight, and now the storms are rolling in.  Much of the state is under a tornado watch and we are getting rain and thunder now.  One of my dogs is a good prognosticator of storms–he is panic-stricken and glued to my side.  Hope it passes quickly with no damage.  Stay safe.

Spring weather?

April 2, 2018
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It is spring, and the gardens are coming alive, but the temperatures don’t feel much like spring. It is predicted in the mid to upper 30’s as a low 4 out of 7 upcoming days in Little Rock. If it is predicted that low in the city, what is it going to do in the outlying areas and up north?  While the cool weather has been good to our early spring blooming bulbs and shrubs, helping them last longer, freezing temperatures will not be good to new growth on shrubs and perennials.  Pay attention to the weather in your area and be prepared to cover if needed.  Now do you see why they should not be selling tomato plants and summer impatiens already?!  Our house is a bit nippy indoors as I have turned off the heat and slept with windows open last night. Clay thought he might get pneumonia, but we both slept great in the cool weather. We have a fire in the fireplace tonight, and all windows are currently closed.

My fig trees are leafing out nicely, and amazingly I have a nice crop of early figs already setting.   I have seen many damaged figs across the state, so I am pleased with no damage.  I also have loads of blooms on blueberries and blackberries are about to bloom.

My buckeyes are about to bloom and I have blooms on clematis, kerria, azaleas, carolina jasmine, trumpet honeysuckle and more. It is a vertible feast of color with new additions daily.   

I did meet with a travel agent today and have started working on the fall Oklahoma trip.  I hope to be able to advertise in a few weeks.  We have to work around football schedules to be able to see the OSU campus.  I also worked on upcoming programs, and picked up supplies for the azalea 101 and azalea conference.  If you are registered for the 101 conference at my office on Thursday, you should have received an email today with the final schedule.  If you did not receive it, let me know.

 

 

Happy Easter!

April 1, 2018
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The rain held off in Little Rock for Easter today. Although we don’t have little ones who need to hunt for eggs, I remember those days, and am happy for the parents.  I also remember all the cute little Easter dresses we would buy and then have to cover up with a coat because it was cold, so it was a win on that front as well. It was cool, but not cold. It was nice to see all the Easter bonnets, dresses and get-up at church this morning.  When we got home we had to hit it to get ready for our lunch with family.  I received a beautiful bouquet of tulips for today.  Tulips are one of the few cut flowers that continue to grow after they are cut.  Each day the bouquet will get longer and longer.  I will cut them tomorrow to keep them looking good in the arrangement.

We had a wonderful lunch with family and although the deviled eggs weren’t the prettiest, they were pretty tasty.  Food was consumed! 

A Biermann family tradition that has now become a Carson tradition is a lamb cake–not lamb meat but a cake shaped into a lamb.  We have one of the original cast iron lamb molds and it is not an easy cake to make. My Grandmother Woerner used to make three or four of them every Easter!  I am impressed!  I am not a good baker, but luckily my husband is.  He made two cakes yesterday (one was not quite cooked).  This morning he set it up and frosted it, then I did the decorations. Again, it won’t win any awards, but it brings back so many good family memories.  I am sure Grandma (and my Mom are smiling down).

It was a great day of family time.  Not everyone could make it with work schedules, but we had a good crew.  After they all left, it was clean-up and recovery and preparing for the week ahead. So much to do, and so little time!

 

Grant County, plants and friends

March 31, 2018
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The Grant County Master Gardeners held a spring seminar/plant sale today at their slightly defunct greenhouses.  They had a nice crowd with many plants to choose from.  These greenhouses were a part of a project with a community vegetable co-op that has since disbanded.  Much of their hard work has gone to ruin, but they plan to rebuild and now have water back.     They still have their propagation chambers going and they have produced some great plants.    They had several seminars in addition to plants.  

Driving to and from Sheridan I was saddened by the copious amounts of wisteria that grace the trees on the road sides.     Although some think it is pretty, this is a highly invasive vine which can girdle and kill trees.

I made it home and started preparing for our Easter family gathering tomorrow.  Clay and the kids moved my salad table to the side yard and today he leveled it.   Wish I had time to get it planted!  I cooked most of the afternoon to be ready for lunch tomorrow.

Tonight we did got to the 70th birthday party for our friend Mike.   We didn’t stay late because we had more cooking to do once we got home.  I was attempting deviled eggs once again. I love to eat them, but have struggled with them whenever I make them.

I am a fairly decent cook, but I am horrid at peeling hard-boiled eggs leaving them intact and pretty.      I had to call in reinforcements, but they are done and they will not be winning any awards!  I also vowed never to make them again!  Now I am off to bed.

cubic pruning and Mama Mia!

March 30, 2018
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Staying in as many hotels as I have been lately, I have had to truly get to look at a lot of commercial landscaping.  While I applaud the use of some unusual or different plant materials, how they are pruned is not my cup of tea.  Pruning plants into small boxes or balls may look good to some, but it stifles the blooms on the spring blooming shrubs that they are.  I recently heard a speaker say that while many gardeners want native plants and try to replicate nature, gardening is all about controlling nature.  I would say this is truly nature controlled, and not in a great way. 

I also saw some large waxy scales and a few bagworms on a Japanese maple that was just unfurling.  Bagworms are usually more of an issue on junipers and cedars. I was surprised to see it.   These are the small insects that construct a bag around their body as they feed which helps to camoflauge themselves.  We also saw some of the “bags” or tents in some trees along the highway signaling the early signs of the spring tent caterpillars.  Then later in the summer we will have fall webworms.  All three insects have common names that get interchanged, but they are actually different insects.

I was happy to see the sun this morning but the temperatures stayed rather cool most of the day. It was a pretty day.  Julie and I made it back to the office and we unloaded and then I had errands to run to get ready for the weekend ahead.

Tonight was ladies night out and we had a lovely dinner and then got to watch Mama Mia at the Rep. If you haven’t been, please try to get tickets before the run is over. It was a wonderful performance and we had great fun.  

Tomorrow morning I leave early for Sheridan to speak at their greenhouse for a plant sale and gardening event.  Come join us.

Planning times 2

March 29, 2018
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I started the day off at the Holiday Inn Airport to do a final walk-through for the upcoming National Azalea conference. holiday inn airport (5) Since most of the committee is out of town, I took pictures of where everything was going to be and sent out a letter with pictures for all the committee.

I left that meeting and spent some time in the office updating reports and preparing for our monthly planning session in Fort Smith.  Julie and I headed up to Fort Smith this afternoon for our evening meeting.  Don’t forget, the deadline to get early bird rates for registration is this Saturday.  The price goes up $20 on April 1.  Final deadline to register is April 17, so don’t delay.  It is going to be a great conference.

It was a gloomy day all day and we had a few periods of rain, but not bad.  It is also much cooler up here in Fort Smith.

Hope the weather clears up for the holiday weekend.  I will be in Sheridan on Saturday morning for their Spring Workshop and Plant Sale at the Greenhouse on 600 Grant 83 beginning at 9 a.m.  Come join us.

Pinewood Cabins, weather and school gardening

March 28, 2018
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If you are in need of a place to spend the night in Mountain View, Arkansas, I cannot recommend the Pinewood Cabins enough. I stayed there years ago, and I was in just a big room, but this time they gave me a cabin, and it was a stand-alone cabin with all the amenities and brand new.  It was fabulous, and it had a propane fireplace which I used to dry my saturated socks and shoes from all the rain. I have to say I was a tad worried last night since there was not another soul in residence anywhere near me, and I was by myself, but once I fell asleep, I slept well.  I will be staying there again.  I highly recommend it.

I got up this morning and drove to Cabot to give them some recommendations on a new school garden.  The journey was not the best as it was rainy and foggy, but luckily not that long of a journey. 

I was most impressed by Stagecoach Elementary in Cabot, and their staff.  They want to get connected with school gardening and have the support from the administrators to the teachers and councelors and have included parents.     It was a very modern facility and so clean. Their theme is gardening this year.  I guess it shows how long it has been since I was a parent in a school. They now scan your driver’s licence to make a name badge for you!!   We talked about raised bed options, how to get started, what to plant and what to do to expand over time.  I expect great things!

I made it home, much to the delight of my family and especially Petals! She was beside herself with joy.  I did walk my garden briefly.  Each day brings new treasures. 

Tomorrow we head to Fort Smith after morning meetings.

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