Leaf ’em alone

Keep those valuable nutrients on your own property 

A leaf layer…

  1. Fall Leaves 2Creates an ecosystem where many insects & animals will find warmth, shelter and winter food. Check out these Freezable Frogs who rely
    on a leaf layer for winter survival.
  2. Reduces the use of fossil fuels to transport leaves to an off-site composter.
  3. Reduces the cost of purchasing them back next season as finished leaf compost.
  4. Prevents organic matter from entering the landfill, where it produces dangerous gases as it breaks down.
  5. Use shredded leaves as fall mulch.

Learn how here…

Leave ’em for the Latecomers

Ruby-Throated Hummingbird migration is prompted by hormones, not weather. Go ahead and leave those feeders up as a nectar source for the stragglers coming from the north. Especially since flower sources begin to dwindle during the fall season in most home gardens.

For more fun facts, check out this entertaining and informative video, below. Or, click on this How to Attract Hummingbirds to your Garden link.


Not long now…

Successful Design with Nature in Mind

2017 MCMG Spring Gardening Conference
Presented by the Montgomery County Master Gardeners

I am please to announce our 17th Annual MCMG Spring Conference. Please join me and my fellow MCMG volunteers on Saturday, February 25, 2017*
at The University of Maryland Extension Montgomery County Office, 18410 Muncaster Rd., Derwood, MD. *Snow date – March 4, 2017 (In case of inclement weather, we follow Montgomery County Public Schools’ Weekend Activity Policy.)

The event is $55 per person or $50 each for groups of two or more and includes lunch, light breakfast and coffee/tea.

You will get to choose 3 of the follow 9 inspiring presentations. One for each of three sessions. Don’t be left in the cold, join us for some heart-warming garden tips, tricks and timely topics.

Schedule of Events
Registration & Refreshments (8:30 – 9:00)
Welcome & Opening Remarks (9:00 – 9:15)

Session I (9:25 – 10:30)

  1. Beekeeping 101 – Marie Rojas.  We’ll explore the first full year of beekeeping; including honey bee races, types of hives and where to locate them, protective clothing, tools, as well as bee-friendly plants and resources.  Taste test a variety of honey samples, including Marie’s blue-ribbon local honey!
  2. Vegetable Gardening When Mother Nature Doesn’t Cooperate – Erica Smith.  Cold, heat, rain, drought, roller-coaster temperature changes and global weirding.  Find out how to keep your vegetable plants healthy and producing well despite weather challenges.

  3. A Design On Time – Timely Tips for a Timeless Garden:  What to do, When to do it, and Why – Eric Wenger.  Come along for an informative monthly planning tour from January to December.  We’ll explore the creative planning process, the sourcing of the best plant material and amendments and when you should be planting, pruning or just enjoying your garden!

Session II (10:40 – 11:45)

  1. Eat, Prey, Love – Herbs for Pollinators – Pat Kenny and Heather Whirley.  We know pollinators are essential members of our network of living things. Come see what pollinators can be found in our own backyards and how we can attract them by growing more of the herbs they love.
  2. Successful Plant Selection: Sustainability for Small Gardens – Steve Dubik.  Smart plant selection is the single most effective way to create a successful, low-maintenance, high-enjoyment garden for small areas.  We’ll be highlighting those plants that are not only compact in size, but also desirable for their sustainability and support to our native wildlife.
  3. Easy, Tasty, Small Fruits – Terri Valenti.   Interested in growing small fruits?  Come learn how to successfully cultivate blueberries, hardy kiwi, and hardy passion-fruit.

Lunch (12:00 – 1:00)  Informal Lunch & Learn session, open to all.

Session III  (1:00 – 2:05)

  1. A Shade of Difference – Joy Adler.  Find out what and how to plant in shady spaces. We’ll cover a variety of different situations, including dry shade, and how to maximize light for the better plant growth.
  2. Garden Anywhere: Growing Edibles and Ornamentals in Containers – Dara Barrow-Giffen. You can pretty much garden anywhere with container gardens!  Add visual interest to an existing garden or bring a garden to your driveway or patio.

  3. Designing a Certified Wildlife Habitat – Susan Bell.  Take your garden to the next level by turning your property into an inviting haven for local wildlife.  Adding food, water, shelter and nesting sites will attract ‘the birds and the bees’ along with other critters necessary to create a diverse and healthy environment.  Link provided to the National Wildlife Federation for certification of your habitat.

Wrap-up (2:15 – 2:30)
Open question & answer forum with presenters. Last of the fabulous door prizes will be awarded.

Click here to register:  http://mcmgconference.eventbrite.com
Any additional questions, pease email: mcmgconference@gmail.com

Please share this information with your friends, family neighbors, clubs, groups and organizations. Anyone who loves learning and growing in the garden.

Space is limited.

Our Growing Family

Mother's Day 2016 (14)How we created an Edible Garden together

Every Mother’s Day, I ask for the same thing; to spend the day together in the garden. This year, we created an Edible Garden,
complete with herbs, vegetables and edible flowers.          Here is our story…

Quitting time

fish, pond, hummingbird, dragonfly 2014 019Remember to stop feeding your pond fish once the water temperature falls below 50 degrees.

Cold temperatures slow their metabolism as they prepare for winter, which in turn slows their digestion.


Fall Finishers

Sweet BeeIt is important to support pollinators all season long. though we have had some cold spells here and there, our pollinators are still active and in need of food and water.

Remember to include fall-blooming plants in your garden plan, on your balcony or on your deck. Plants in the chrysanthemum and aster families work great this time of year. Pineapple Sage and pansies are also on my list of fall favorites.

What fall-bloomers do you enjoy most?


Make & Take

In preparation for the winter months, I am working on coming up with fun demonstration ideas for classes I will be teaching.

Do you have a favorite make & take project that you’ve done with your garden club or organization? Is there a project you’d like to see offered?

I would love to hear from you. Please leave your comments below.

Happy Gardening!

Ground Maintenance

One more reason to enjoy your morning cup of Jo

I love to drink my morning coffee outside beside the pond. Listening to the waterfall and watching the frogs and fish as the sun slowly rises. Each day I open up the pod and collect the used grounds into a bowl. When I have enough, I sprinkle them around my plants or compost them with my kitchen scraps. I remember my family and neighbors adding their used coffee grounds to the garden as a child. Recently, I wanted to learn more about the benefits of coffee grounds in the garden and here is what I found…

  • Coffee grounds are about 2% nitrogen by volume.
  • Grounds are not acidic; the acid in coffee is water-soluble so the acid is mostly in the coffee.
  • Coffee grounds are close to pH neutral (between 6.5 – 6.8 pH).
  • Coffee grounds improve soil tilth or structure.
  • Sprinkling coffee grounds around plants can help repel slugs.
  • Coffee Grounds make a great addition to the compost pile. Layer – 1/3 fallen leaves, 1/3 fresh grass clippings (no pesticides/herbicides) and 1/3 coffee grounds. You can also add the paper filters to the compost bin.

I recommend recycling your own morning coffee grounds. But if you need more, contact your local barista. Most often, they are happy to give you the days’ used grounds. Some even package them up just for such an occasion.

Tell us, Where do you enjoy your morning cup of Jo? Do you add the grounds to your garden? If so, how do you use them?

Happy Gardening!

Share this post with your friends
#reuse   #recycle    #repurpose

Resource: www.extension.oregonstate.edu

A Key Ingredient in attracting Eastern Black Swallowtail Butterflies

caterpillar on bronze fennel 003 (2)Many herbs act as host plants for Lepidoptera (caterpillars). Learn how Bronze Fennel supports the life-cycle of the Eastern Black Swallowtail Butterfly.

Not only does it look beautiful and smell delicious, you and your family will have fun examining it all season for eggs, caterpillars and chrysalises.

Happy Gardening!