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…

The Gift that Keeps on Giving

Bluebird on CWF Sign 4-2016A Wildlife Habitat continues to attract new faces, year after year.

Since certifying our yard as a Wildlife Habitat in 2009, we have seen many species of local wildlife including birds, amphibians, mammals & insects. As we care for and enjoy our habitat year after year, we are pleasantly rewarded with an increased variety of visitors.

Lately, we have been especially surprised by several new feathered faces. Not only are we currently being visited by Eastern Bluebirds for the first time, but today, we also saw our first ever
Black-Throated Blue Warbler (below). What a wonderful treat!
Black-Throated Blue Warbler, How to attract birds to your garden, backyard habitat
Watch the video below, as an Indigo Bunting enjoys a water course that was added to the pond last spring.

These shallow waters are perfect
for drinking, bathing and preening
all-year long.

Maintaining a wildlife habitat in your backyard has long-lasting benefits. Being engaged with nature can improve your mood and your health, as well as provide entertainment & education for your whole family. The longer you maintain your habitat, the more species you will have the pleasure of seeing & learning about.

Who is visiting your backyard habitat this Spring?

Happy Gardening!

 

It won’t be long now…

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!


It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s a…

The Hummingbird MothHummingbird?
Check out this case of
mistaken identity in the garden.

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

Red, White and Blue

Beautiful LilyEastern Bluebird Eggs

Just wanted to take a moment to say how #grateful I am to have the #freedom to follow my #dreams. Thank you all for giving me the opportunity and support to “connect people, plants & nature together for health and well-being.” We are going to have a great year together!

Happy Independence Day!

“Bring the Outside In”

Relaxing RiverConnecting with nature improves the mind-body connection. Bring the beauty & benefits of nature into your home & office all year round. These images encourage feelings of balance, creativity, clarity and happiness. Bring yours home today.Purple Passion

Celebrate with The Soulful Gardener

Carderock-C-O-Potomac-landscape-frame-059.JPGAt the NEW Homewood Suites, Gaithersburg Grand Opening on Thursday, June 11th from 4 p.m. –
7 p.m. Please R.S.V.P. & get more information here.

The Gaithersburg-Germantown Chamber of Commerce will be hosting a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony at 5:45 p.m.

“Celebrate our hotel opening with Homewood’s Lewis the Duck and support the Gaithersburg environment as the Muddy Branch Alliance showcases local artists in support of our tributary streams and watershed. Displayed art will be available for purchase. ”  ~ Homewood Suites, Washington D.C. North, Gaithersburg

False-Blue-Indigo-Frame-May-Potomac.JPGAs one of the guest artists, I will have a collection of signature photographs on display and available for purchase. I will also have information about custom presentations you can schedule for your garden club, eco-action group, HOA and/or green organization.

Come celebrate the opening of Homewood Suites while looking at beautiful local art and enjoying some nibbles and noshes. Remember to R.S.V.P. so we can plan accordingly.

Hope to see all my local Soulful friends there!