Coconino Master Gardener Association

Currently, warblers of several species are migrating through Flagstaff towards Canada and beyond. The Yellow Warblers, like this little guy are often an exception. They frequently choose to remain in Flagstaff throughout the summer. All of the warblers are busily searching the innermost branches of shrubs and trees for insects.
Photo by Cindy Murray.

Welcome to the Coconino County Master Gardeners' Association Blog. The mission of the Coconino Master Gardener Program is to support the University of Arizona by providing researched-based information on environmentally responsible gardening and landscaping to the public. The program creates a corps of well-informed volunteers, and delivers quality horticultural education programs adapted to our regional high elevation environment. The mission of the association is to provide support for those volunteers and Master Gardener graduates, continuing education, and opportunities to participate in community programs that increase the visibility and participation in the Master Gardener Program.
On this site you will find gardening news, links, a calendar for local events, volunteer opportunities, book reviews, agenda/minutes for our association monthly meetings, and association documents and contacts.
The Coconino County Master Gardener Association was founded in 2009 by a small group of master gardeners with the help of Hattie Braun the Director of the MG Program. After several small meetings it was opened to all master gardeners on May 21st, 2009. Meetings are held monthly on the 2rd Thursday of each month from 6:30pm - 8:30pm. We meet at the Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church (1601 N. San Francisco). The agenda usually includes continuing education and a short business meeting. Watch this blog for the agenda and minutes for all meetings. Contacts for the association (officers and committee chairs) are listed at the bottom of this blog.

Reporting Master Gardener Hours

All master gardener trainees and certified master gardeners need to report their hours.
Beginning in 2010 certified master gardeners need to have 6 Education hours and 12 Volunteer hours in order to maintain certification.The on line reporting system allows you to report Education or Volunteer hours.
If you have any questions or concerns about the new reporting system, please contact Crys Wells or Hattie Braun. Their contacts are listed at the bottom of the blog under
Link to reporting

Ideas for hours------
--Attend monthly meetings
--Work on an association committee
--Work at an informational booth for the Master Gardeners
--Be a speaker about gardening topics at a variety of venues

--Host a garden tour
--Work at the home show
--Work at a MG site (Olivia White Hospice, the Arboretum, Riordan Mansion, or school gardens (many others)). Check out the Assoc. Doc. & Forms under Volunteer Sites.
--Work in the Extension office
--Write an article for the newspaper column -Gardening Excetera
-Volunteer with the Seed Library
Be creative! There are many ways to fulfill your hours. Just remember for volunteering it needs to be a non-profit endeavor or an approved for profit site.

Change in Contact Information

Have you moved or changed your e-mail address, but would still like to be contacted about high elevation gardening information from the Extension? The Coconino County Extension Master Gardener Program has a site that will let you change your information on-line.

Click here to change your contact information!

Event Calendar

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Finding Your Way Around the Blog

This blog is a month old so I thought it was time to invite more people to become followers and contributors. If you are interested in contributing an article please send it to me ( You can also become a regular contributor and do it yourself. Your name and e-mail need to be added to a list on the blog (we can have up to 100) so send it to me. If you are looking for inspiration just check out the "Gardening Gone Wild" site under Interesting Blog/Web sites. It is a gardening blog with contributors from all over the US including experts from high elevation southwest gardens such as David Solmon from High Country Gardens. The series on creativity has been going for the last two weeks and it provides wonderful ideas for tapping into our existing creativity in the garden.

The calendar lists upcoming garden related happenings. If the title is underlined you can click on it to get to the related sited. If you click on any of the blog posts it will take you directly to the article. Again, if you have something to add to the calendar send it to me.

Since it is a Master Gardener Association blog you will find agenda and minutes for our monthly meetings, as well as documents that are developed for the Master Gardener Program and Association. We also have installed a site meter on the blog to see how many people are looking at it and where they are from.

This blog will only be as good as we make it. Please tap into your creativity and share it with us, in helping others with high elevation gardening. We definitely need more photos so be sure to send or upload those along with your article.

Last of all, if you want to contribute, but are unfamiliar with blog postings I would be happy to help you.

Loni Shapiro

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Forestry Seminar at NAU

What: FGSA Forestry seminar: John Guyon, Forest Pathologist, USFS, Forest Health
Title: Aspen dieback in the interior west.

When: Wednesday, March 3rd at 4pm

Where: Room 317 of the Southwest Forest Science Complex (Bldg. 82) on the NAU Campus

Abstract: Various authors have been discussing “aspen decline” since the 1970’s, but more recently events have led to increasing interest in the status of aspen forests. In the 1990’s some ecologists called attention to the apparent decrease in aspen forest coverage, while others argued that aspen forest actually increased in coverage over the longer term. Forest succession and damage to young aspen sprouts by grazing animals have been cited as critical agents in this purported decline. More recently, almost a million acres of aspen forest have shown dieback symptoms ranging from Canada to the Mexican border. The abiotic factors and biotic agents involved in this dieback vary, but drought stress, within the context of a warming climate seems to be an important factor in this dieback from several areas. Recent surveys and monitoring efforts have been conducted in Utah, Nevada, Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming, Colorado, Arizona and elsewhere. In some areas the phenomenon SAD (sudden aspen decline) has been reported, but in others SAD doesn’t not seem to be prevalent. The most important damage agents in the interior west are 3 insect borers and 2 canker diseases, and 4 out of these 5 agents have been historically more prevalent on drought stressed trees. Two aspen bark beetles are a primary cause of damage in Colorado, and appear to be increasing in occurrence in Utah. Physiological studies of aspen drought avoidance mechanisms may offer some insight into why dieback is occurring and help to explain observed patterns of dieback. Additionally, the concept of a forest decline used by plant pathologists may offer a useful framework for explaining the mechanism involved in aspen dieback and decline. Recent climatic modeling efforts predict a substantial reduction in aspen range if current climate trends continue.

If you would like to meet with John Guyon during his visit please email me at:

All seminars occur on Wednesdays from 4:00 to 5:00 PM in Room 017 of the Southwest Forest Science Complex (Building 82) on the campus of Northern Arizona University. A reception for the speaker with snacks and beverages is held in the lounge area immediately outside room 017 from 3:30-4:00 PM. Students are also invited to the post-seminar discussion from 5:15-6pm. No parking permit is needed for any vehicle with state, federal, or tribal license plates in the lower Southwest Forest Science Complex lot. Others can get a free permit from the School of Forestry administrative office (Forestry room 116) prior to the seminar.

7th Arizona Botany Meeting

The purpose of this email is to invite you to attend the Seventh Arizona Botany Meeting, hosted by the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum (ASDM), the Desert Botanical Garden, and the Arizona Native Plant Society. This year's theme is "Riparian Areas, Springs and Cienegas". The main meeting will be held at ASDM in the Baldwin Education Building on Saturday, February 20st, 2010, from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm. Field trips will be on the 19th and 21nd of February, with an AZNPS Board meeting to be held on the 19th.

Our goal is to again foster a spirit of cooperation for the sharing of ideas among and facilitating collaboration between individuals from academic institutions, local, state, and federal government agencies, and non-governmental organizations from across the state of Arizona that motivated our first meeting (February 2003), and also to provide a forum to meet others who share an interest in the flora of
Arizona and surrounding areas within the Southwest.

The list of scheduled speakers includes: Ronal Tiller (The Nature Conservancy), Evan Gwilliam (National Park Service), Brad Boyle (University of Arizona), and Larry Stevens (Museum of Northern Arizona) will deliver the keynote address titled "The Ecology and Stewardwardship of Arizona Springs". There will also be time for
approximately six short presentations of 15 minutes each. Those interested in presenting a short talk of their work are encouraged to contact Andrew Salywon ( Space will also be available for relevant poster presentations relevant and tables will be available for display of relevant literature and books or organizations.

Field trips are free and will be offered on Sunday (Feb. 21nd) and the Desert Museum Gardens on Friday (Feb 19th). More information on field trips will follow as planning continues and sites are confirmed. An Arizona Native Plant Society Board meeting will take place on Friday the 19th. Anyone is welcome to attend.

The registration fee for the meeting is $32 and will include an entrance pass to the Desert Museum, lunch, refreshments (coffee & tea), and a 10% discount on at the Museum's Gift Shops. At a separate cost of $18, a social hour will follow the afternoon sessions including a cash bar and dinner. A reduced fee of $15 is offered to undergraduate and graduate students. Early registration for the meeting will be due by 6 February 10. Late registration fee (after 6 Feb) is $45 ($25 students). Registration will not be accepted after 13 February.

Information, preliminary programs and registration materials will be posted on the ASDM website (

Please spread the word and mark your calendars for AZ Botany 2010. We look forward to seeing you for what we hope to be another successful and productive meeting.

George Montgomery
Andrew Salywon

For AZ Botany 2010 Organizing Committee:
Wendy Hodgson (DBG)
George Montgomery (ASDM)
Barbara Phillips (AZNPS)
Andrew Salywon (DBG)
Tom Van Devender (SIA)

Field Guide to Forest & Mountain Plants of Northern Arizona Booksigning

NAU ecologists encourage nature lovers to stop and smell the rose tick clover.

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – Open the book and step into the creeping, climbing, blossoming world of fairy slippers, pink elephants and Arizona kittentails. As amateur and professional botanists anticipate nature's most vivid season, Field Guide to Forest & Mountain Plants of Northern Arizona is available now for $30 to aid in scientific study and casual enjoyment.

Plant ecologists of the Ecological Restoration Institute at Northern Arizona University have invested nearly two decades identifying plants named after animals such as owls, mice and monkeys and meticulously categorizing every brown-eyed Susan and blue-eyed Mary of the Colorado Plateau. They will be available at a book signing scheduled for noon to 2 p.m., Thursday, March 4 at the NAU Bookstore.

This comprehensive, up-to-date botanical resource for northern Arizona forests is the first book of its kind for the higher elevation ecosystems of northern and eastern Arizona. It distinguishes more than 1,400 species, using the scientific and common names of conifers, flowering trees and shrubs, grasses and grass-like plants (graminoids), wildflowers, cacti and agaves, ferns and fern allies and aquatics.

Distinguished through line drawings, the regional flora is a collection of hardy plants that have evolved through millions of years of disturbances including ice ages, tropical swamps and volcanic eruptions, and have survived drought, extreme temperatures and wildfires.

"My hope is that it will advance our understanding and appreciation of native plant species in our backyards and in the forests that surround us as we are faced with unprecedented challenges in this century, including the effects of projected climate change on the environment," said ERI plant ecologist Judith Springer.

Blooming from the center of the book is a bouquet of nearly 300 wildflowers captured in full-color photographs.

"Our aim was to create an attractive and useful guide to help researchers and the general public appreciate the richness and beauty of our local flora," said ERI botanist and ecologist Mark Daniels. "We hope we have succeeded, and that the book will be used for a long time to come."

Former U.S. Interior Secretary and Arizona governor Bruce Babbitt says the publication marks another significant step in the rich tradition of scientific research at NAU.

"To understand and appreciate our forest surroundings, we begin by identifying the individual species that make up the whole ecosystem. That is the essential value of a field guide, a book to take into the field and use on-site to help us become familiar with the component parts of our surroundings. And for that we have reason to thank the authors for their efforts in producing this fine work."

Babbitt adds that work of the ERI in forest health and restoration has become even more urgent as forests are threatened by climate change, invasive species and spreading urbanization.

NAU Regent's Professor and Biological Sciences professor Dr. Thomas Whitham says the publication is a comprehensive and welcome field guide. "It is well laid out with keys for the more difficult groups, useful notes on ecology and well illustrated."

Coconino National Forest botanist Debra Crisp says the use of nontechnical language in the field guide cuts the time it takes to identify different species. "I can hardly wait to get out and look at plants and try it out. Is it spring yet?"

The field guide, compiled by Springer, Daniels and botanist Mare Nazaire in collaboration with a number of contributing authors, photographers, researchers and artists, also offers a snapshot of the geology, human history and climatic events that have shaped the region from the San Francisco Peaks, along the Mogollon Rim and into the White Mountains.

"Where floristic manuals for northern Arizona are either outdated or currently lacking, this comprehensive and current field guide fills a critical need for Arizona botanists and laypeople," said Nazaire.

Field Guide to Forest & Mountain Plants of Northern Arizona is available for purchase at the NAU Bookstore. Log on to or call 928-523-4041.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

15th Annual Water Conservation/Xeriscape Conference and Expo

The Xeriscape Council of New Mexico will hold their annual water conservation conference and expo from February 25-28, 2010. The 2010 Conference will focus on the Land Use, Water Use Connections, and will feature, among others, Post Carbon Fellow Sandra Postel. The first two days includes national and local speakers and requires a fee and registration. The second two days is an Expo held at the fair grounds that includes a variety of booths with xeriscape ideas and materials. It also includes a variety of free speakers on Xeriscape.

Last year I attended and found all four days mind altering. The speakers were from all over the globe and really opened my eyes about water use. The Expo was a wonderful way to see many of the products available particularly in the arid southwest. This council each year outdoes itself with speakers at a reasonable price. For more info check out their web site at: I have found the web site difficult to enter. It is frequently busy and difficult at least for me with limited membory to download. Keep trying and if you get to frustrated contact or 505-468-1021 and he can send you information.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Garden Symposium on Soil and Seeds

(928) 774-1868 EXT 17

FEBRUARY 27, 2010 – 9 AM TO 5 PM

All gardening fans are invited to attend ‘A Garden Symposium’ featuring two highly-recognized and inspiring speakers: soil food web specialist Michael Martin Melendrez and seed expert Bill McDorman. This event will conclude with a presentation on local foods and a chance to ask questions from the experts. This is a one-day seminar for all gardeners, from beginner and experienced, who want to learn more about growing food in Northern Arizona.

Michael Melendrez will present the morning session. He is the owner of Soil Secrets, a company that produces organic soil amendments, and Trees That Please in Los Lunas, N.M. Michael’s topics will be "Healthy soil grows healthy food" and "Understanding the science of humus and microbiology." Attendees will gain a better understanding of soil organic matter, compost, the importance of humus, and how to build a better soil.

Bill McDorman will begin the afternoon program with his talk "Gardening from the inside out and why we garden," and then offer a session on seed saving. Bill is the president of Seeds Trust, Inc., of Cornville, a company dedicated to genetic conservation and the values of sustainable agriculture. A passionate and engaging speaker, Bill has lectured about seeds and seed saving for more than two decades.
The final hour of the symposium will feature several presenters who will introduce us to the many local foods projects in Northern Arizona.

‘A Garden Symposium’ will be held Saturday, February 27 from 9 am to 5 pm at Cline Library Assembly Hall at Northern Arizona University. It is jointly sponsored by Coconino Community College, the University of Arizona Cooperative Extension and Coconino County Master Gardeners. The cost is $15 and registration is through CCC, course #13827. Lunch is on your own. Register online at or by calling 526-7654 to enroll by phone. For more information, call Coconino County Extension at (928)774-1868 ext. 17 or visit

Many thanks go to Ed Dunn. We used his photo for the flier! The flyer for the course is included. You can print and post. Please click on the underlined flyer. You will be redirected to Google docs and the picture will look fuzzy, but if you click on print on that screen it will send you to a pdf file that is clear for printing.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Master Gardener Training

The annual Master Gardener Training will begin on February 2, 2010. For an application, contact Hattie Braun at 928-774-1868x17 or e-mail

Classes are taught by University of Arizona Extension professionals, Master Gardeners and other horticultural experts. The program covers the challenges specific to high altitude gardening. Some sample topics covered include: Botany, Soils, Composting, Native Plants, Fruit Trees, Plant Problems/Diagnosis, Pruning, Vegetables, Ornamentals, Entomology, Xeriscape and Urban Forestry.

Cost for the class is $250, which includes the Arizona Master Gardener Manual ($50 is refundable for completing the volunteer portion of the class).

Class size is limited. Register early!

Nibbles and Knowledge with John Sharp

I received this invitation from Terroir Seeds in Chino Valley.
Slow Food Northern Arizona is inviting people to a great time dining and sharing of cooking knowledge with John Sharp, the chef of the Turquoise Room at La Posada in Winslow.

When: February 6, 2010

What: Presentation from 3:30 to 5:00 pm
John will demonstrate the use of Tepary beans and Navaho pit roasted corn to create Hopi Hummus and a bean salsa. He will also have local Red Leghorn chickens which he will use to show how to make "Rillettes", also called "potted chicken". Then John will create a salad with extraordinary health benefits from Bob's Garden. He will cover the amazing selection of local foods which are available in Northern Arizona and a little about what grows wild and can be foraged.

Happy Hour - 5:00 to 6:00

Dinner 6:00 to 7:30ish

Cost: $46 per person (includes tax and tip - adults only)

For more information or making a reservation contact Gabrielle Anderson at Payment no later than January 31st.

To stay overnight at La Posada contact them directly at

Friday, January 1, 2010

Moon Cycle Gardening and Seed Saving Workshop

Juicier, tastier, more vital and just all around better fruits and vegetables await you when you garden from seed to seed in sync with moon cycles. Two of the most prominent seedsmen in Arizona will present a workshop called, Moon Cycle Gardening and Seed Saving, on Saturday, January 23rd, 11:30 to 3pm, in Cornville. Part of the proceeds benefit Project Self Reliance. A $20 donation is requested and includes a copy of Basic Seed Saving and a moon cycle chart.
ThunderfooT (John Munk) has been breeding plants and tending to the biodiversity of our high desert and mountainous region for almost 20 years. He works with moon cycles in order to optimize the nutritional and medicinal properties of the plants he grows for seed and food. Moon cycles are especially crucial in promoting healthy plants and selecting for qualities like root production, fruiting and enhanced vegetation. ThunderfooT is mostly self-taught and has a wealth of knowledge and experience in understanding and teaching about the value of moon cycle awareness. An easy to comprehend moon cycle chart will be provided at the workshop to those in attendance.
Bill McDorman, President and Founder of Seeds Trust, originally High Altitude Gardens, a 25 year-old heirloom garden seed company, has been lecturing on vegetable gardens and seed saving for over 25 years. Bill graduated with a degree in philosophy from the University of Montana and weaves historical and philosophical perspectives into his seminars. He is a delightful presenter and inspires his attendees to connect deeply with the world in which they live. Each registrant will receive a copy of Bill’s 1994 booklet, Basic Seed Saving.
Moon Cycle Gardening & Seed Saving will offer a comprehensive overview of moon cycles as they relate to planning, planting, caring for, harvesting and seed saving. Also covered will be the tides of the sun, earth and moon.
This is a unique opportunity to spend an afternoon with two of the most experienced, engaging and passionate people in the field.
Part of the proceeds of Moon Cycle Gardening & Seed Saving will benefit Project Self Reliance, a tax- exempt non-profit organization dedicated to building bridges to independence for at-risk-youth.
The requested donation for Moon Cycle Gardening & Seed Saving is $20 for the January 23rd workshop. Please bring a brown bag lunch. Seeds from Seeds Trust and ThunderfooT Earthworks will be available to purchase. Email to reserve your spot. Attendance is limited to 30 people. Once registered, an address will be forwarded. Credit cards accepted or call 928-300-7989.

January MG Association Meeting Agenda

Master Gardener Meeting Agenda 1/21/10
Northland Hospice office (452 N. Switzer Canyon Drive) 630pm-830pm
Parking in front of the building or in the lot just north of it.

6:30pm-6:40pm Welcome – Agenda - Introductions/Dana Prom Smith

6:40pm-7:25pm Continuing Education
Flagstaff Urban Agricultural Project/Flagstaff Foodlink
Jonathan Netzky of Local Alternative, Inc.
15 minutes describing the project
15 for questions
15 for problem solving ideas

7:25pm-7:40pm Social/refreshments
Linda Guarino

7:40pm-8:20pm Business Meeting /Committee Meetings
20 minutes planning and 5 minutes each sharing results with the group
CE & Social Support
Planning for 2010 speakers
Social events for 2010

Community Programs
Look at results of Speaker’s Bureau Questionnaire
March Home Show plans

Coordination MG Projects
Refining and any changes with Project Application
Goal to implement for spring MG class

Do we have a plan for recording MG hours?
Is there a way we could do it online?
Look at a plan for maintaining MG certification.

8:20pm-8:25pm Announcements
MG Blog/Association Blog/MG Column Articles– Loni
MG Class/Seed and Soil Workshop - Hattie

8:25pm-8:30pm Garden Problems
Next meeting: February 18, 2010
Refresher on Seed and Stem Propagation Ideas
Whitney Rooney, Horticulturist at the Arboretum at Flagstaff

Beginning in 2010 we will have a sign-up for MG hours for all meetings. The lecture will count for CE for new master gardener trainees and attendance at the meeting for volunteer hours.

Master Gardener Association Meeting Cancelled for January

Our meeting for January is cancelled due to the series of winter storms arriving in Flagstaff throughout this week. Even if roads are cleared by Thursday, it may be too difficult and dangerous for participants to be driving in the evening. We will try to reschedule Jonathan Netzky to speak about the Flagstaff Urban Agricultural Project. Whitney Rooney, the horticulturist from the Arboretum, is scheduled to speak next month. Watch this site for more details about that meeting.