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Beautify – Sep ’13 Real Dirt

Contents

Hydrangea Macrophylla, "Peppermint Pattie"

Hydrangea Macrophylla, “Peppermint” Pattie”

Meeting Peter Hatch
Garden Photography

Meeting Peter Hatch

Sue Sensenbaugh-Padgett

A native of Michigan, Peter Hatch received an English degree from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and an A.A. in Landscape Gardening from Sandhills Community College South Pines, North Carolina.  From 1974 to 1977, he served as Horticulturist at Old Salem in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

Hatch currently lives in Albemarle, Virginia, where he gardens, lectures, consults and writes about garden history. As the Director of Gardens and Grounds for the Thomas Jefferson Foundation, Hatch was responsible for maintenance, interpretation, and restoration of the 2,400-acre Monticello from 1977 to 2012.  During this time, he initiated a variety of tours and educational programs serving 35,000 visitors annually, including the Evening Conversations series honoring the legacy of Thomas Jefferson.

As a writer, Hatch authored and edited books about Jefferson’s gardens, including A Rich Spot of Earth that has received numerous awards and is currently in a third printing, and articles for numerous magazines.  He also lectures appearing in more than thirty-five states.  We are privileged to have him join us as a speaker at the Revolutionary Gardens Conference.

Garden Photography

Nancy Denison

Whether you are a Master Gardener or a photographer or even just a “smart” phone owner, taking photos can be an everyday occurrence.  When this MG travels, I am always looking for unique patterns in various structures, especially flowers and plants.  On a recent two week adventure to Maui, I was in botanical Heaven, discovering  several  arboretums and many new flowers and plants I had not seen before.  Bless my husband for stopping at The Garden of Eden- halfway between Kahului and Hana, Kahanu Garden, and Hana Maui Gardens, both near the Hana Airport,  Here are just a few photographs with my disclaimer that I did my best to track down botanical names and varieties but as I am not an expert, there may be unplanned errors.   Enjoy!

*If you would like to see other photo submissions from our readers, click here*

Eucalyptus "Deglupta"

Eucalyptus “Deglupta”

Eucalyptus "Deglupta"  Rainbow Eucalyptus

Eucalyptus “Deglupta” Rainbow Eucalyptus

Tillandsia Silversword

Tillandsia Silversword

Cordyline fruticosa, Ti

Cordyline fruticosa, Ti

Mednilla Magnifica

Mednilla Magnifica

Vriesca

Vriesca

Etlingera "Elatior"

Etlingera “Elatior”

Alpinia Purpurata, Red Ginger

Alpinia Purpurata, Red Ginger

Heliconia "Sexy Pink"

Heliconia “Sexy Pink”

Heliconia "Citicorum"

Heliconia “Citicorum”

Noregelia "Unknown"

Noregelia “Unknown”


Nourish – Sep ’13 Real Dirt

Contents

Putting By or Putting Up With Plenty
Food of the Month – Tomato

Submitted by Sonia Clem

Submitted by Sonia Clem

Putting By or Putting Up With Plenty

Sonia Clem

“If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.”  – JRR Tolkien

Personally I value fresh peaches and pears above “hoarded gold,” and have discovered just how easy it is to “hoard” these — and all of spring, summer and fall’s bounty, to enjoy with others long after the garden and trees have gone bare.  My grandma “put by” potatoes, my old neighbor “put up” peaches. I simply can — and I love it. Oh, I freeze and dehydrate too, but canning … well that’s a combination of art and science.

The New Putting Food By, by Ruth Hertzberg, Beatrice Vaughan, and Janet Greene, defines the term “put by” as to “save something you don’t have to use now, against the time when you’ll need it.”   Well who can argue with that idea?  Most of us don’t care to eat a quart of fresh tomatoes and a half a grocery bag of green beans a day, so we give all our extra garden produce away.  That’s good too, until your neighbors stop answering the doorbell when they see you coming with another basket of beans.  Consider canning that “gold.”  It may surprise you to know you don’t have to have a whole day to do it.  You can just about can anything in an evening if you have all the ingredients and equipment on hand.  In fact, the more you do it, well … the more you’ll do it.  (Yogi Berra?)

Here are my top ten reasons to “put by” or “put up” your own food:

  1. You will always know what you are eating
  2. You will always have extra hostess and holiday gifts on hand
  3. You won’t have to buy condiments, pickles or jelly for at least a year
  4. When you don’t feel like making dinner, there is always something ready-to-eat in your pantry
  5. Your friends will be amazed at your culinary prowess and consider you mysterious
  6. You’ll never find cherry mustarda, pumpkin butter, juniper-maple cocktail onions, or pickled cherries in the grocery store
  7. You’ll always have just the right amount of chicken soup to take to a sick friend
  8. It’s good to have a secret stash of food in case the Russians or the relatives invade
  9. It’s a socially acceptable form of hoarding so long as you share
  10. You can laugh at the days to come and the snow piling up outside your door this winter as you eat stew and apple pie made with canned meats, veggies and apple filling you put up this fall.  No trips to the grocery store in a squall!

Essential (or at least helpful) reading:  The Joy of Pickling, by Linda Ziedrich; The Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving by Judi Kingry; The Farmer’s Wife Canning and Preserving Cookbook by Lela Nargi; and Saving the Season: A Cook’s Guide to Home Canning, Pickling, and Preserving by Kevin West.

Food of the Month – Tomato

Michele Worden

Tomatoes by Whitney Miller

Tomatoes by Whitney Miller

Tomatoes are my favorite vine.  Nothing tastes so much like the essence of summer as a vine-ripened tomato.  My favorites are the heirlooms with complex flavors, acidic and fruity and sweet all at the same time.   Tomatoes come at the end of summer and their taste is bittersweet – the climax of Summer heralds of beginning of Fall.  They are a fascinating fruit….Read on if you would like a brief overview of this interesting fruit compiled from a variety of sources…

Latin Name:  Solanum lycopersicum

Botanical Family:     Solanaceae  (same as potatoes, eggplants)

Description:   The tomato is the edible fruit of the plant Solanum lycopersicum, commonly known as a tomato plant.  The fruit is often red but can come in a rainbow of colors, including white and black (dark purple).  While it is botanically a fruit, it is considered a vegetable for culinary purposes and legally for agricultural tariff purposes which has caused some confusion.

The tomato belongs to the nightshade family. The plant is a vine that typically grows to 3–10 ft in height but can reach 15 ft.  It has a weak stem that often sprawls over the ground and vines over other plants. It is a perennial in its native habitat, although often grown outdoors in temperate climates as an annual.

Tomato plants are dicots, and grow as a series of branching stems, with a terminal bud at the tip that does the actual growing.  Most tomato plants have compound leaves, and are called regular leaf (RL) plants, but some cultivars have simple leaves known as potato leaf (PL) style because of their resemblance to that particular relative.  The leaves are 4–10 in long, odd pinnate, with five to 9 leaflets on petioles.  Leaves and stems are hairy.  Flowers are yellow on an apical meristem and are self-fertilizing.

Tomato fruit is classified as a berry, a subset of fruit. As a true fruit, it develops from the ovary of the plant after fertilization, its flesh comprising the pericarp walls.

Origin:  Both the species, and its use as a food, originated in Mexico, and spread around the world following the Spanish colonization of the Americas. Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés may have been the first to transfer the small yellow tomato to Europe after he captured the Aztec city of Tenochtítlan, now Mexico City, in 1521, although Christopher Columbus, a Genoese working for the Spanish monarchy, may have taken them back to Spain as early as 1493.  In the Old World, tomatoes were called “golden apples”.

Tomato is a New World fruit, though it is hard to think of Italian cooking without tomato sauce.  It is considered a food that had a great influence on the world.  Today the tomato is cultivated around the world and found in most cuisines.

Cultivation (how and where grown):  China, the largest producer, accounts for about one quarter of the global output, followed by United States and India. For one variety, plum or processing tomatoes, California accounts for 90% of U.S. production and 35% of world production.

There are over four thousands cultivars of tomatoes.  Different varieties have been bred for different regional growing conditions.  They hybridise very easily.  In general, the tomato is a warm season crop that is grown outside after the danger of frost has past, as well as in greenhouses in temperate climates.  It can be planted outside when the soil temperature reaches 70◦F.  Tomatoes are heavy feeders and need a nutrient rich soil.

A tomato plant can be planted very deeply because the plant has the ability to form roots along its entire stem.  Tomatoes are sometimes planted deeply (1-2 ft laid on side) in a method called ‘trenching’.

Because tomatoes are vines, they need to be supported.  Supports can range from tomato cages, to A-frame trellises, to the string and pulley systems used in greenhouses.

Tomato plants can be determinate or indeterminate.  Determinate plants are bushy and produce all their tomatoes in one flush.  These are used often for commercial production.  Home gardeners often grow indeterminate varieties that will continue to produce all season.  Tomatoes are the number one garden plant for home vegetable gardens.

The poor taste and lack of sugar in modern garden and commercial tomato varieties resulted from breeding tomatoes to ripen uniformly red. This change occurred after discovery of a variety in the mid-20th century that ripened uniformly. This was widely cross-bred to produce red fruit without the typical green ring around the stem on uncross-bred varieties. Prior to general introduction of this trait, most tomatoes produced more sugar during ripening, and were sweeter and more flavorful.

Tomatoes will continue to ripen after they are picked.  In fact, most commercial varieties are picked green and ripened on the way to the super market.

Fun Facts:  Tomatoes were first grown as ornamental plants in flower gardens in Europe because they were believed to be poisonous.  In reality, the entire plant is toxic except for the fruit and the seeds.  The Italians called the first tomato pomodoro or “golden apple”.  In the Old World, some attributed aphrodisiac properties to the tomato and this is why the French called it “pomme d’amour” (love apple).  Today, more tomatoes are produced globally than any other fruit.

Nutrition:  Tomatoes are loaded with potassium, vitamins A, C and E.  An average tomato contains 30% of the daily requirements of vitamin C, 15% for vitamin A and 12% for vitamin E.  Vitamin C is known to reduce the risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease (including heart attack and stroke) and diabetes. It lowers the arterial tension and the cholesterol, being an antioxidant. Vitamin A is a major contributor to the health of the skin, hair, mucosae, genital organs and has a role in the low light vision.

Culinary Uses:  Tomatoes come in a small sweet form called ‘cherry tomatoes’, large round sizes for fresh eating and slicing like ‘beefsteak’, and elongated, meaty varieties for making sauce called ‘plum’.  Though it is botanically a berry, a subset of fruit, tomato is a vegetable for culinary purposes, because of its savory flavor.

The tomato is now grown and eaten around the world. It is used in diverse ways, including raw in salads, and processed into ketchup or tomato soup. Unripe green tomatoes can also be breaded and fried, used to make salsa, or pickled. Tomato juice is sold as a drink, and is used in cocktails such as the Bloody Mary.

Tomatoes are acidic, making them especially easy to preserve in home canning whole, in pieces, as tomato sauce or paste. The fruit is also preserved by drying, often in the sun, and sold either in bags or in jars with oil.

Tomatoes are used extensively in Mediterranean cuisine. They are a key ingredient in pizza, and are commonly used in pasta sauces. They are also used in gazpacho, a cold tomato soup (Spanish cuisine).

Medicinal Uses:  The fruit is rich in lycopene, a strong antioxidant, which is believed to have beneficial health effects.  Lycopene has been proven to prevent cancer of pancreas, lung and colon and cardiovascular disease. Men consuming 10 or more servings of tomatoes or derived products on a weekly basis have a 34% decreased risk of prostate cancer.

A recent British research showed that 5 tablespoons of tomato paste added daily to your diet improves your skin’s capacity to fight harmful UV radiation by 33%.  Lycopene has also been found to increase the absorption of beta-carotene, the plant precursor of vitamin A.

Favorite Varieties:  Cherry tomato ‘Sungold’ – it has amazing flavor.  We call it the candy tomato.  A friend’s daughter does not like tomatoes but she likes ‘Sungold’.  The heirloom ‘Green Zebra’ is very fun looking and good tasting and is a favorite for school gardens.  I am particularly fond of ‘Purple Calabash’ and the Brandywines.

Impact on Culture:  Tomatoes are everywhere in modern cuisines.  Without them we would not have spaghetti sauce, ketchup or pizza sauce.  The town of Buñol, in Valencia, Spain, annually celebrates La Tomatina, a festival centered on an enormous tomato fight. Several US cities have their own tomato fight with surplus tomatoes at the end of the summer, usually in concert with their tomato festival.

Tomatoes are a popular “nonlethal” throwing weapon in mass protests, and there was a common tradition of throwing rotten tomatoes at bad performers on a stage during the 19th century; today this is usually referenced as a metaphor. Embracing it for this protest connotation, the Dutch Socialist party adopted the tomato as their logo.

The US city of Reynoldsburg, Ohio calls itself “The Birthplace of the Tomato”, claiming the first commercial variety of tomato was bred there in the 19th century.  Reynoldsburg of course has a large Tomato Festival each August.  Several US states have adopted the tomato as a state fruit or vegetable.  New Jersey and Arkansas have declared it both the state fruit and vegetable and Ohio has the tomato as its state fruit.

A derivative of the tomato is ketchup, a signature American condiment and emblem of American culture throughout the world.

Appearance in Literature:  Tomatoes appear in title of fiction books and there are many books about their cultivation.  One of my favorite children’s books is I Will Never Not Ever Eat a Tomato (Charlie and Lola)  by Lauren Child (Author, Illustrator)


Steward – Sep ’13 Real Dirt

Contents

Impatiens capensis (jewelweed)
JEWELWEED, the cure for POISON IVY
Keeping a Garden Journal

Impatiens capensis (jewelweed)

Matthew Bertrand

Impatiens capensis by wackybadge (Flickr)

In addition to its ethnobotanical value, as a native plant jewelweed also serves an important habitat role as a part of regional wetland communities. Jewelweed likes partial sun and moist, fertile soils. Its flowers feed a variety of pollinators, including ruby-throated hummingbirds, bumblebees, and syrphid flies. Whereas most people when considering a plant’s habitat value look primarily to its blooms, native plants like jewelweed shine in their capacity to sustain a variety of insect herbivores, insects that in turn feed birds and other wildlife. As many as 12 butterflies and moths have adapted to consume jewelweed’s foliage, which provide proteins that are critical to development of songbird nestlings. Click the links that follow to learn more about a few highlighted species: obtuse euchlaena, pink-legged tiger mothwhite-striped black, and toothed brown carpet. Jewelweeds seeds (the pods for which lend it another common name, “touch-me-not,” for their explosive tendencies) feed ground birds like grouse and quail. Easy to grow, jewelweed is a welcome presence in natural areas and in home gardens.

JEWELWEED, the cure for POISON IVY

Lillian Mahaney

Living in northern Michigan we all come across poison ivy at one time or another.  I am having more problems with ivy cropping up over the past few years, and I’m sure it is the warm temperatures.  I try to be very careful when removing the ivy…I wear long sleeves, double disposable gloves over my gardening gloves, etc.  Since the ivy is in some areas with fragile plants, I remove the ivy by hand and do not use anything like Roundup which I try not to use period.

As careful as I tried to be this year the doggone stuff got me!  I felt the burning under my sleeve and knew my sleeve slipped and allowed it to touch my skin.  I immediately went inside, washed the area with mild soap and water, and dabbed on a bit of isopropyl alcohol.  I could actually watch the blisters pop up, along with lots of red bumps.  It was like something from a grade B horror movie!

Then I remembered, Jewelweed. I have a jewelweed salve I got from a friend in lower Michigan who has an herbal product business.  I opened the jar and applied a light layer.  Within 10 minutes, the blisters shrank, the red bumps began disappearing and the burning stopped.  I was pretty much doing the Snoopy Dance and shouting Hallelujah watching all this happen.  Within an hour there was almost no sign that I had been in contact with the ivy.

The jewelweed salve is definitely something I will never, ever be without!

Keeping a Garden Journal

Cheryl Gross

“Notebook Collection by Dvortygirl (Flickr)

Boy, do I wish I had started a journal when I began work on my garden!  I could look back to remember when I planted a certain shrub or when a certain plant flowered.  Is it too late?  I think not.  It is never too late to do the right thing.   Fall is certainly a good time to set up the journal.  It is the time when gardeners have thoughts of the past growing season fresh in their minds.  Garden journals can contain any information you wish to include. If you are ready to give it a try, the following are some things to consider.

Garden journals can be purchased — think of a Baby Book with blanks to fill,  or created  — think of a shoe box, like a large recipe box with room for information and seed packets.   Think of a scrap book, a three ring binder.  A binder is my personal choice.  A binder accepts graph paper for lay-out maps and designs; paper for notes including plant lists; plastic sleeves for holding plant tags, seed packets, photos, and the like.The information you keep in your journal is your choice.  Decide what matters to you.  Hint:  don’t overwhelm yourself with details if that is not your style.  Consider:

   -Garden layout: It would be great to know where things were planted to know what seed is emerging in the vegetable garden or whether the perennial made it through the winter.  Depending upon plant markers can be tricky.  I remember the year the ink disappeared from the rows of 10 seedlings of 6 trees and shrubs.  Oh, yea, which one is the Spice Bush when all ‘sticks’ look the same?

   -Dating major projects, i.e. water feature installation, major tree trimming, hardscaping, fencing.  Note the contractor as well.

   -Plant index.  Name of plant, note the Latin and common name of each plant, date planted, where obtained.

   -Plant characteristics:  Size, color, flower size, bloom time, seed, germination to maturity timing for vegetables, and the like.

   -Photos of the plant through the season.  Think ‘before and after’ pictures;  photos of shrubs before and after pruning and photos of plants in winter to capture winter interest in the garden.

   -Rainfall and temperature statistics, including last frost in spring and first frost in fall,  storm and high wind notes.  Any significant weather events that may affect the garden.

   -Notes on soil tests and soil amendments/fertilizers.

   -Notes on weeds, insects, and insecticide use.

Some folks will want to be more detailed; others more sketchy.  Make it your own.  Track the information most useful to you.  In a couple of years, you will have a wealth of information to assist you developing your garden and to use when advising others.


News & Events – Sep ’13 Real Dirt

Contents

September 3rd MG Meeting at Ciccone Vineyards
Geothermal Dedication
October MGANM Meeting
Revolutionary Gardens Benefit Conference
November Recognition Dinner

September 3rd MG Meeting at Ciccone Vineyards

Ciccone Vineyards

6:30-8:00  Technical program on small fruit (wine grapes) at Ciccone Vineyards.

We are excited to bring this program to you.  Tony Ciccone may address any and all factors related to planting and growing small fruits(grapes), such as variety selection, site and soil, trellis system, training and pruning, and more.  Wear comfortable walking shoes as the vineyard may be uneven and rocky.  Park in front of the tasting room and follow the pathway to the patio behind.  No food or beverages will be served.

Ciccone Vineyard and Winery, 10343 E. Hilltop Rd, Sutton’s Bay, 231-271-5553.  Hilltop road is about 9.5 miles north on M-22 from the M-22 and M72 junction.  Winery is about .7 miles west on Hilltop from M-22

Suggested donation of $5-10 to cover speaker expenses.

As a thank you to Master Gardeners for their involvement with the Botanic Garden, on September 3 at Ciccone’s MGs can enjoy a one day Revolutionary Gardens registration discount opportunity of 10% on individual lectures, the 1-day package or the full conference, a savings of up to $40. MGs unable to attend the regular September 3 meeting may call Fountain Point at 231.256.9800 to reserve tickets and pay by credit card. Otherwise, bring a check to the meeting. Peter Hatch was just in town and interviewed by Ron Jolly. So was Warren Byrd. For those who cannot go themselves because of weekday lecture times, this series makes an extraordinary gift to any lover of gardens, horticulture and history and is a doubly rewarding way to make a contribution to your community botanic garden.

Geothermal Dedication

Tuesday, September 17th at 10 am there will be a geo-thermal dedication at the Historic Barns Park in the Botanic Gardens. The BGS will be giving tours of the grounds and buildings.

October MGANM Meeting

Choose your topic and sign-up for the Revolutionary Gardens Conference. September 29-October 2, at Fountain Point Resort.  A benefit for the Botanic Garden at Historic Barns Park, Traverse City. Tickets available from Mynorth tickets.  Discounted tickets available ONE DAY ONLY, September 3 at the MG meeting or by calling Fountain Point Resort.

RGC

Revolutionary Gardens Benefit Conference

A benefit for the Botanic Garden at Historic Barns Park
A 3 Day Conference: Monday, September 30 – Wednesday, October 2

Programs start at 9:30 am, check the website for schedule
Fountain Point Resort
990 S Lake Leelanau Drive
Lake Leelanau, MI 49653

A world-class trio of award-winning garden designers and authors will be guest speakers at the Revolutionary Gardens Conference, to benefit Traverse City’s new Botanic Garden at Historic Barns Park, September 29 through October 2 at the Fountain Point Inn & Club, 990 S Lake Leelanau Drive, Lake Leelanau, Michigan. Andrea Wulf (author of Founding Gardeners, The Brother Gardeners, and Chasing Venus), Peter Hatch (the author and plantsman who spent 35 years carefully restoring Thomas Jefferson’s gardens at Monticello) and Warren Byrd, (internationally known landscape architect) will present a series of lectures that will provide an unforgettable experience for gardeners, historians and others. You can sign up by individual lecture, single day (4 lectures) or the entire 3-day conference.

November Recognition Dinner

We hope you’re looking forward to the annual Recognition Dinner coming up in November. If you’d like to be a part of the planning committee who puts on this event, please e-mail Matthew Bertrand to express your interest. We look forward to celebrating your accomplishments!


Administration – Sep ’13 Real Dirt

Contents

July/August Meeting Notes
Good Bye, Hello
New Board Positions Need You!
FALL 2013 MG Class is a ‘go’

Benzie Lighthouse

Benzie Lighthouse

July/August Meeting Notes

Sara Schmuldt

Natural Shoreline Tour,  July 26, 2013
Mike Jones, Benzie Conservation District
Carolyn Thayer, Designs in Bloom

The tour started at Almira Township Public Beach, Lake Ann and ended at a private residence on Upper Herring Lake. The Almira Township Public Beach is a newly planted project using native plants with a sandy beach area incorporated into the plan. Specific plants were identified and explanations of why they were chosen for the location were discussed. The benefits of how native plants and natural shorelines handle storm surges compared to the way sea walls handle storm surges was also discussed.

From Lake Ann we proceeded to a private residence on Big Platte Lake. This was an established, more mature natural shoreline planting. “It was designed for the Benzie Conservation District as a Shoreline Demonstration in 2005.” Originally, this site had lawn from the house to the lake. A variety of trees, shrubs, perennials and grasses were planted along the waters edge, providing beautiful views year around. This planting also provides sustaining wildlife habitat on land and in the water. Note: it looked like the neighbor was getting on board with the natural shoreline concept and doing some themselves!

The next stop took us to Watervale Resort on Lower Herring Lake. Here, coconut logs had been installed as a seawall with plantings on top of the “logs”. This is a huge project and very impressive. Native plants were used for the multiple flower gardens within the resort and above the seawall.

Our final stop was at a private residence on Upper Herring Lake. This site originally had a “failing railroad tie seawall” that was replaced with coir fiber logs (coconut logs) planted with native plants (similar to the planting at Watervale Resort). As the plants mature they will stabilize the shoreline with their deep roots.

This was a well planned, educational and aesthetically enjoyable tour.

Good Bye, Hello

Cheryl Gross and Matthew Betrand

We bid a fond farewell to our leader as Pam Schmidt Bardenhagen, our MSU Master Gardener Coordinator, moves on to work with her family’s agricultural business. Our thanks to Pam for all her efforts and dedication over the past several years helping us all to garden at our very best. Her efforts have made our region more beautiful, bountiful, and vibrant. Please be sure to give her your thanks at any and every opportunity. Fortunate for us, Pam will stay involved with Master Gardeners through our region’s vast horticultural activities. Change and transition can be difficult. After our close working relationship with Pam, who would MSU choose to replace her? The answer to that, couldn’t be better. As you may have heard, our very own, MGANM VP and Spring 2011 MG graduate, Matthew Bertrand, has been selected to be our region’s new MSU Master Gardener and horticultural educator. Congratulations to Matthew on his new post and a warm, welcoming Hello.

bertrand_web_thumbnail

Matthew has over six years experience in horticulture and horticultural education. His experience includes youth gardening, gardening for food production, gardening for nature, and gardening for beauty. His career began as an AmeriCorps member for the Volunteer Center of Southern Arizona bringing youth volunteers to work on farms, demonstration gardens, and demonstration landscapes for water conservation in the Tucson area. Then, he dove fully into water conservation by helping Tucson non-profit Watershed Management Group develop a homeowner landscaping co-op, through which members volunteered for each other to transform their landscapes. During this time, he also worked for a unique non-profit nursery called Desert Survivors, which employed adults with developmental disabilities to grow over 500 species of plants native to the southwestern United States. Through gardening Matthew reveled in exploring all that made the Sonoran Desert unique, and in sharing his passion with his community.

On moving to Michigan, Matthew found work in natural areas management working in southeast Michigan to improve habitat for wildlife by controlling invasive plants. He then moved to Traverse City, Michigan to work as an invasive species specialist for the Grand Traverse Conservation District, where he enjoyed both field work and education. He helped form a unique partnership between nurseries and conservation organizations to improve regional gardens for wildlife by reducing sales of invasive ornamental plants, a partnership that became known as the Go Beyond Beauty program. To learn more about gardening outside a desert climate, Matthew took the Master Gardener program in Spring 2011. The knowledge he gained helped him to manage an 800 square foot garden in which he and his wife grew gorgeous tomatoes, tomatillos, eggplants, peppers, lettuce, kale, garlic, you name it, much of which they were pleased to put away for the winter. Matthew has five pet chickens for eggs, for entertainment, and to help improve the soils in his garden. Matthew loves gardening, whether for food, to create backyard habitat, to improve water quality, or simply for the sake of living in a beautiful place. He looks forward to inspiring others to take a more active interest in gardening, and to providing resources and support for them to find success in their goals. Matthew begins his new job on September 9, 2013.

NEW Board Positions Need YOU!

At the recognition dinner, as usual, we’ll vote for 2014 board positions. This year, we’re pleased to announce that the board has approved new positions. There will now be three additional full board positions with assigned responsibilities: Communications, Development, and Events. We’ll also have four new advisory positions that reflect MSU’s focus areas — Environmental Stewardship, Food Security and Hunger, Youth Gardening, and Social/Beautification. We’ll share more information in the coming weeks about these positions. In the meantime, please give thought to whom you think might best fill each of these roles.

FALL 2013 MG Class is a ‘go’

The class now has 30+ enrollees.  There was a push at the end to fill spots and many MGs spread the word.  Thanks to all for ensuring a FALL 2013 training class.  We can’t wait to meet our new trainees!


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