St Charles County Master Gardeners
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2018 Craig Morton assumed leadership this year. Dig In held at St. Charles Community College. Members again assisting in Boys and Girls Club Summer gardening program. The May 24th meeting was held at the St Charles Daniel Boone Park. MOMGA Conference occurred Sept. 2018 in Branson MO. Chapter was awarded top Large MO Master Gardener Chapters! Joe offered a Power point class to encourage members to become speakers. Patti reports 425 contacts and 571 volunteer hours in 2018 Waneta Parmenter reported the total volunteer hours in 2018 was 10,818.
2017 Al Winkler took over the reigns. This year began with the continued leadership of specialist, Rich Hoormann. February public education event was a repeat of a Backyard Bird Count theme for families with activities and crafts to encourage drawing birds to homes. Farmers Market in both St. Charles and Lake St. Louis appeared once a month with demonstrations focused on educating the public. The Master Gardener Conference was in Columbia on June 15 and 16. Cool Weather Plant Sale March 18. List was available on line. Summer meetings were held a Broemmelsiek Park, Heritage Park, and at Towne Park.
Monarch Madness was held at the Weldon Springs Interpretive Center on September 9, 2017. Members assisting in Boys and Girls Club Summer gardening program. 10,500 hours volunteer hours were recorded in 2017.
February saw a change in public education with the introduction of a Backyard Bird Count public event. It featured: Displays of birds that winter in our area, handouts to take home to use in your backyard, craft to make and take - nesting ball, suet bird feeder and more information on ideas to attract birds to your yard using Missouri native plants. Rich Hoorman became our horticulture specialist adding lots of new ideas. Robin and Charlie Pilla (and MG's) added a Monarch Habitate to the outdoor classroom site at Progress South Middle School. Lawn Chair Tuesday's were held in June and September. An invitation to offere gardening classes at St. Charles Community College were held. Public gardening events saw a monthly return to St. Charles City Farmer's Market during growing season and attendance at the first Monarch Madness hosted at the Weldon Springs Interpretive Center. Hortline became more organized under Rich's Quick Sheets. Cool season and warm plant sales continue to be huge success for both the number of people who attend and the large crowds to share with growing information. Garden tours during the plant sale gave rise to additional groups returning.
This was a monumental year for MG's who helped organize and celebrate the 100th Anniversary of Extension in our St. Charles County community. On October 17th an onsite celebration featured a native plant sale, 4H demonstrations, garden tours and presentation of historic pictorials of the impact of MU Extension over the years. Master Gardens began the year with a rebirth of the Dig In featuring nine public gardening sessions held in the 2 building meeting rooms and the greenhouse also. The greenhouse opened their doors also to winter MG classes on seeding and transplanting. This gave rise to more and more MG's involved in producing starts for the very popular spring plant sale. The demonstration gardens welcomed the Heartland MG chapter to a garden tour followed by lunch and sharing. The Lawn Chair Tuesday's began as a picnic venue featuring garden tours and small mini gardening sessions. The MOMGA State Conference was held in Columbia and featured a tour of the MU botanical gardens. Back at Brown Road, Monarch Watch awarded the site a MONARCH WAYSTATION.
Planned raised beds were completed to include square foot gardening and cover crop displays. Pergola plantings completed. Paths expanded around the total area in anticipation of the State Conference tour of the facility. Bird garden became the design of the MG class of 2013. New this year were vertical plantings around the garden.
Greenhouse completed and first set of plants were grown out in the facility. A pergola was constructed for both shade and as an outside classroom. Foundation plantings were redesigned and expanded around the building featuring annuals, perennials, bulbs and bushes. Iris beds were redesigned to eliminate water sitting in the site. Cold frames built along south side of building for overwintering perennials and natives
Greenhouse - the hopes of having it complete for grown out seedlings for the plant sale were dashed by delays in construction. Seedlings were then transported to a member's greenhouse in Foristell and St Paul and then transported for the plant sale. Water lines were installed into the greenhouse area and back of C room and a gas tank installed for heaters. Establishment of a Plant Propagation area adjacent to the orchard as a growing area for native trees and bushes for the sale. Herb beds are redesigned. Raised beds were constructed for berries in orchard area.
Annuals were placed in the three annual beds after the plant sale. Buffalo grass test plot installed along Brown road and a major lawn renovation program was completed in the fall. Award program for hours of service was instituted with hourly pins and a native tree planted on site for those over 1,000 volunteer hours mark for the year.
Flutter-By garden is replanted to combining both native and perennial butterfly nectar and food plants. Donated iris rhizomes find a final resting place in a new iris bed. After much talk about the purchase and construction of a greenhouse, a grant was written and submitted with no interest shown. Members decided we could build our own with reasonable costs. A second hand greenhouse was advertized, purchased and torn down by MG’s and transported to the site. A contractor was hired to move dirt and level an area above the flood plain for a site for the greenhouse. Fall of 2011 annual beds were dug and created for 2012 planting.
A Goony bird found a home near the entrance to the C building. On the other side of the doorway a rose garden was built. Plans for a handicapped accessible garden began with a design for an Enabling Garden . Donations of a large concrete water culvert, concrete finishing, lumber for raised beds and fruit trees rounded out a great community effort. Area scouts completed two eagle projects within this garden. With the death of the 2 post oaks, the shade garden becomes cottage garden
An orchard fence was constructed to ward off hungry wildlife. The pantry garden had another year of contributions to the food pantry. Shade garden was established on the North side of the driveway beneath two post oaks with a pathway and donated sitting bench. The beginnings of a treescape using donated native trees and bushes began. One of the treescapes was planted to demonstrate home gardening area. (Flutter-by garden began). In addition, a walkway framing over 100 named daylilies was dug, amended and planted for next year's spring color.
Entrance Sign garden completed and planted with four seasons of color to attract visitors to the gardens. A swale along natives was dug to help with parking lot flooding washing out the natives. First produce from the pantry garden was donated to local food pantry. A lasagna garden was built during a MG class in the Fall and dressed up with old highway concrete to edge.
The work for 2007 included adding a small orchard and vineyard, additional raised beds for holding perennials grown for plant sales, and a bulb garden. The paths between the gardens were edged with landscape timbers and wood chips placed over landscape fabric to keep down weed maintenance.
Since the initial conversation six years ago, the organization had grown in participants and funds. The commitment to the original vision was strong and the organization agreed to: redesign the flagpole garden with a focus on Plants of Merit. Raised vegetable beds were installed, compost bins were constructed, a formal herb garden was created and the native garden was expanded with a butterfly garden and prairie plot.
A group of Master Gardeners volunteered to get together and plan how all this was to come together. Out of that a discussion an overall Demo Garden lead was appointed and a lead for each garden was established. A site plan for the gardens was begun with areas reserved for future expansion as time and money allowed.
Gardens maintained. Amendment bins were designed and filled with top soil, mulch, compose and wood chips.
Additional expansion of gardens centered on natives. Plot area vegetation was killed to make way for the future butterfly garden and prairie areas.
In the spring, the organization agreed to the idea of native gardens where soil conditions and location would make other types of gardening difficult. A rain garden now exists where water used to stand year round due to parking lot runoff.
A holding area was developed on the west side of the main extension building for plant donations that would be used in the flagpole garden. Due to high traffic in front of Building C, the strip was replanted with daylilies as the sedum had died out.
In the fall, Master Gardeners came with plants and shovels in hand to establish the beginning plot. A small strip between Building C and the parking lot was turned, amended and planted with sedum.
The vision of the Demonstration Gardens took shape in a casual conversation among Master Gardeners. Their desire was to have a place to show people:
types of gardens
plants that do well in St. Charles and surrounding areas
pest and disease problems
basic gardening methods
The Master Gardener organization (first class was in 1998) was young in both participants and funds, so the initial step was to design and create a perennial flag pole garden with plants donated by Master Gardeners.