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by Michele Worden, Advanced Extension Master Gardener
The days get longer, and the extra light is intoxicating. Every time there is a thaw it feels like spring is right around the corner. Then it gets cold and snows again; winter descends. But spring will not be denied. Are you ready for some plant talk?
Upcoming programs. We have two programs coming in March that talk about types of plants for your garden. These programs encompass two ends of a spectrum in garden design.
On March 6th, our own Cheryl Gross will talk about how to design your garden with native plants. Native plants have so many benefits. They promote wildlife, support pollinators and, when established, need less water and human support to thrive. They also provide a harmonious connection to the fields and forests that surround them. They are the best choice for a sustainable garden that supports out ecosystem.
On March 14th, we will again host Heidi Grasman from Garden Crossings, a Proven Winners™ grower. This is a joint event with the Botanic Garden at their Visitor Center. Heidi will present the latest cultivars of our favorite garden plants that she has been helping to develop. These will be plants with showy flowers, new leaf colors, better drought hardiness or new forms (e.g. compact or tall). Getting the next best version of a plant is a time-tested garden obsession. Proven Winners™ plants have been bred for Michigan climates. They are bred to be more resilient, need less water and to be more disease resistant. In short, to be both beautiful and novel and to take fewer inputs than other plants – less water, pesticides and fungicides. If you just must have the latest and greatest, these are plants that have a smaller footprint on the environment.
We will also have a fabulous program on April 3rd about herbs by member Julie Krist. I don’t know anyone who knows more about growing herbs, or cooks with them so well, as Julie. She is the founder of our local herb group as well as past officer of Michigan Herb Associates – which has a fabulous conference each year. Enjoy!
Planning survey on the horizon. Finally, MGANM has grown much in the past two years. We want to make sure we continue to grow in the right ways in the future – and meet our members’ needs. Please be on the lookout for a survey from the board in the coming months as part of our strategic planning process. We appreciate your time in completing it – and helping us meet your needs in the future. MMGA is undergoing a similar process so you may see a survey from them also. Be thinking also about what programs you would like to see next year. It is not too early to be thinking about 2019! Send program ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wear your logowear! Help spread the word about the impact Master Gardeners have in the community by wearing your logowear. Logowear can be purchased at the Oakland county website https://www.mgsocstore.com/.
Thanks for all you do!
by Nate Walton, MSU Extension Master Gardener Coordinator for Leelanau, Benzie and GT County
Spring is a busy time for everyone, especially gardeners. At the MSU Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Program, we want to make it easy for you to find volunteer opportunities.
- The best way for a certified Extension Master Gardener to find information about local master gardener projects is through the MSU EMG Volunteer Management System (VMS). The VMS homepage will often contain info about new projects or those that are currently seeking more volunteers. You can even use the Event Calendar on the left side of the VMS homepage to find and sign up for upcoming MG events! The full list of area projects can be found by clicking on the Projects link under General Information. This will take you to a list of educational opportunities and projects. Click on the project name for a description and contact info of the project’s leader(s). The project information found on the VMS is maintained by your local MG coordinator or VMS ambassador, and it will contain the most up to date project information for your area.
- A list of area Master Gardener projects can also typically be found on your local Master Gardener Association web page. In Northwest Michigan, for example, the MGANM maintains a list of MG projects by county with links to partner websites where available.
When in doubt, contact your local MG coordinator or VMS ambassador for additional project information.
Thanks for reading, and thanks for helping to make a difference in your community!