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

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Native Plant Society Update

AZ Native Plant Society's
2011 Flagstaff Garden Competition & Self-guided Garden Tour

Awards Presentation
Wednesday, August 10 from 6:30 - 8:30 pm
In Rees Hall at the Federated Community Church 400 West Aspen Avenue. Join us for refreshments, a presentation of beautiful photos of all the entries, and awards to gardeners.

Public Tour of All the Gardens
Sunday, August 14 - 11:00 am – 4:00 pm

Tour Maps
Maps to each garden location will be available for $5 at the Awards Presentation, and also at Warner's and Flagstaff Native Plant & Seed, two of our generous sponsors, from August 1 through 14. On Sunday, August 7 and Sunday, Aug. 14, the day of the tour, maps will also be available at the downtown Farmer's Market from 8:00 am until noon.

Volunteers Needed
The Garden Competition and Public Tour Committee are looking for short-term volunteers to assist with the Awards Presentation and with the Public Tour. For example, bake cookies, assist with set-up and activities at the Federated Church, sell the self-guiding tour maps at the Awards Presentation and Farmer's Market, and other miscellaneous duties.

Contact Dorothy Lamm at 928 779 7296 to volunteer.

Tell all your friends, and join the fun at the Awards Presentation and on the Tour.

Volunteering at the Coconino County Fair

Volunteer Opportunities at the Coconino County Fair in the Floriculture Building

Are you interested in participating in the 2011 Coconino County Fair, Friday, September 2 through Monday, September 5? The floral entries there are outstanding.

There are various opportunities in the Floriculture Building:

First, participate in the work-day on August 20 at 9:00 am to prepare the Floriculture Building inside and out for the Fair events.

Second, spend time convenient to you in the Floriculture Building to talk with fair-goers during fair hours.

Third, experience all kinds of other opportunities that I don't know much about.

If you are interested in volunteering at the Fair, please contact Carol Burris, Superintendent of the Floriculture Building at 928-526-9021. She has been Superintendent for years and can give you all the details.

The AZ Native Plant Society always has a display at the County Fair in the Floriculture Building. Can you help? The current plan is to have Susan Lamb's fabulous photos of native wildflowers (all taken within the city limits) either displayed on the wall of the Floriculture Building or on a table, depending on the exact space available. We will also include her awesome poster "Earth smiles in flowers.", and other related AZNPS information. You may have seen the photos and poster at the library. I plan to install the display on Friday. However, I can't pick it up on Monday afternoon, Labor Day. Can you?

Also, depending on additional space available, I would like to display Invasive Weed Information Cards, related illustrations, and specimens that have been available at the Downtown Library since April. This display has been a joint effort of the Master Gardeners and the AZNPS. Would anyone like to be at the Fair at a time convenient to you to answer weed control questions from the public and keep the display well stocked with cards? Can anyone pick up the display on Monday afternoon?

If you are interested in working on either AZNPS display, please contact Dorothy Lamm at 928-779-7296, and we can work out the logistics. Thanks.

Posted by D. Lamm

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Volunteering at Riordan Mansion

Hello, Calling Master Gardeners!

Both David Brimhall and I are project managers at this site and would love to have your help if you can come on dates we have set aside for the projects. Our August scheduled work days are Friday Aug 12, and Sat Aug 27 from 8:30 -12:30. We will be finishing the section by the Visitors Center door and we also hope to get to the butterfly garden on the front side of the house on the 27th

Thank you in advance for donating you time and I hope that you can help on one or more of the work days.

Again, To RSVP call or e-mail David Brimhall (699-3331) or Charlotte Dodgson (213-0187)

Flagstaff Garden Tours

Garden tours August 20 and September 10. Details below. Native Plant Society tour SUNDAY August 14. We hope you will participate.

Plant sharing: Are you thinning garden plants and relegating these plants to the compost pile? Does that make you sad? Bring your 'extras' to any garden tour to share. And thank you!

Invitations needed: The success of our summer garden tours depends upon YOU. Invite us to visit your garden, or secure an invitation to visit another garden in August or September. email with your invitation. Thank you.

Mark your calendars: Sunday, August 14 Native Plant Society's annual garden tour. Watch for details

When: Saturday, August 20, 10 a.m.
What: Visit the garden of Debi Stalvey
Where: 513 W Fir Avenue
Details: Debie writes: I formerly had a front lawn, but have gone to more natives. I am told it seems park like in the front.
Since I have dogs, the back is kind of a free for all, with lots of ivy, vinca and Virginia creeper. It is quite lush despite the challenges. My side yard features two vegetable gardens-mostly tomatoes, but includes pumpkins, potatoes, acorn squash, zucchini, peas and whatever seeds germinate from the compost. We usually have a few unknowns.
Driving Directions: Beaver street north past the hospital all the way to the very last street. Turn left (only way you can go). House is almost at the end on the left. It is a blue house. People should also check out several of my neighbors who have very nice yards.
Debi's phone number is 699-3504

When: Saturday, September 10, 10 a.m.
What: Visit the garden of Gurdarshan and Haring Khalsa
Where: 2976 Pebble Beach Drive
Details: Gurdarshan writes: This garden has been an ongoing "project" for 25 years. It is never finished as all gardeners will understand. We have incorporated rock work in the landscape plan. My style is country rustic with a leaning toward the English garden. I grew up in Seattle and it has been difficult to leave the water loving plants behind. The focus is on flowers as our yard has become more shady over the years.

Driving Directions:
I-40 to Country Club Road. Exit I-40 at Exit 201 onto Country Club Dr - head S
Continue S through the traffic light at Cortland Blvd - turn right onto Oakmont (no traffic light). Follow Oakmont as it winds around to Olympic - turn right (intersection is Y-shaped)Olympic ends at a 'T' - turn left onto Meadow Brook
Turn right onto Pebble Beach Dr. Turn right into the very first cul-de-sac. East Butler. Follow Butler E past the traffic light at Fox Glenn. Turn left onto Continental Dr (no traffic light). Turn left onto Timberline Rd.Turn right onto Augusta Dr. Turn left onto Oakmont. Turn right onto Meadow Brook. Turn left onto Pebble Beach Dr. Turn right into the very first cul-de-sac. Gurdarshan and Haring's phone number is 526 5831

About Flagstaff Garden Tours
The Flagstaff Garden Tours occur when we have an invitation to visit a garden or to hear a presentation on a gardening topic. There are no membership dues.

To receive email announcements of events send the following message to LISTSERV@LISTSERV.ARIZONA.EDU
If you have an auto signature, include the word end after your name. Here’s an example:

To unsubscribe to announcements about our garden tours, send the following message to

If you have questions or problems subscribing, please email Hattie Braun at

If you have questions or suggestions about the garden tours, please email Jean Hockman at

Please take photos of the gardens you visit and send them to Loni Shapiro for posting on the Master Gardener Assoc. blog. They may also be used for a calendar for the association next year.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Coconino Master Gardener Assoc. Meeting Minutes 7/14/11

Attending: Bob Cooper, Jim Mast, Val Bryant, Allison Howard, Juanita Gillis, Paul Lambert, Harvey Cantrell, Beverlly MacAllister, Ann Eagan, Linda Moriarty, Charlotte Dogson, Scotty, Andrea & Galen Guerrette, Molly Larsen, Cindy Murray, Leslie Penick, Ed Skiba, Loni Shapiro, Tom Mackin, Karen Enyedy

6:30pm-6:40pm Welcome – Agenda Jim Mast
Brief review of agenda for the evening
Introduction of speaker

6:40pm-7:30pm Continuing Education
Speaker: Tom Mackin, Secretary of FNAF
Topic: Friends of the Northern Arizona Forests
This non-profit has 60 members and does 8-9000 hours each year of volunteer work. It consists of equestrians, mountain bikers, hikers, retired forest service employees, and trail riders. They do a variety of activities to supplement the work of the forest service that is limited by budgets and manpower.
Trail maintenance – Jim & Pat McGeorge
Ambassadors patrol trails and answer questions, give advice - Dave Laplander
Back country permits issue ski permits for the back country– Mary Nutali
Fire outlook volunteers assist the 5-day service done by the forest service– Ralph Baierlein
Lead agency for donations to the Schultz Fire Restoration to begin in 2012
Aspen program volunteers do weekly work on exclosures to preserve the aspen forests– Dave Downs
Tom encouraged people to join to help fund their many programs which are all non-profit. They help to preserve our aspen forests and many other flowers, species that inhabit them.

Karen Enyedy from MNA reviewed opportunities available for garden volunteers. She brought a map of the campus and took names for tours from Connie Cowan. She also mentioned that there are occasional weed pull activities and she will contact Loni to post on the blog. There is an article posted on the blog outlining activities available and contact information.

Doorprize drawings were held for 4 plants (Shasta Daisy, Moonshine Yarrow, Native Yarrow, Daylily) from the Olivia White Hospice Gardens.

7:30pm-7:45pm Refreshments
Thank you to Val Bryant and Julie Holmes

During the break several people met to do planning for next months meeting about county fair entries (Jim Mast, Bob Cooper, the Guerrettes and Bev McCallister). They hope to have Carol Burris and Nick Lipinski join them.

7:45pm - 8:30pm Business Meeting – Jim Mast
7:45pm – 8:00pm Overview of recent Executive Meeting – Jim Mast
Openings for officers for next year (Pres., Vice Pres., and Secy), with nominations due Oct. meeting and voting in Nov. Loni Shapiro circulated a list of secy duties and is willing to train anyone interested. Loni to chair Education with Dana Prom Smith’s assistance for 2012.
Financial – Ed Skiba banking/memberships – balance 967.59. Three new memberships this evening with a total of 44 members.
Monies spent on calendar deposits/grants for Sunshine Rescue Mission and the YMCA. Pending – final calendar payment and sponsoring Arboretum newsletter for fall.
Secretary – Loni awaiting proof for final calendar. It will include many photos from Tom Bean from the Native Plant Society contest for the last 2 years. Loni encouraged people to be taking photos of their gardens for next year. The cover photo is from the Flagstaff Sunday Market. Advertisers will be printed on the last page (Warners, Violas, and Native Plant and Seed). Should be ready sometime in August. Sales at the local CSA, Flagstaff Community Markets?, Highlands Garden Conference, Native Plant Society Garden visits if received in time. Loni is open to other ideas for selling.

8:00pm – 8:20pm Committee Reports:
Continuing Education – Dana Prom Smith (see schedule for future meetings)
Community Programs – Molly Larsen/Julie Holmes
Flagstaff Community Markets – all markets scheduled have volunteers. They include 2 each month for the Wed. markets. We may have more Sundays in the fall available.
Jim Mast, Cindy Murray, and Dana Prom Smith worked at the Arboretum plant sale. They set-up a table and answered questions about gardening and the CMGA.
Coordination of MG Projects – Linda Guarino
Linda is revising the guidelines for MG projects to include rules for for-profit agencies. They can have volunteers if they meet the criteria for businesses but no grants will be given. Hattie needs to review the changes.
Volunteer Support/Social – Hattie Braun
Crys reported 517 volunteer hours recorded in June/52 education hrs.
Picnic tentatively scheduled for 9/11 4-6 pm. Need door prizes like plants or gently used garden tools/art. MNA will provide some passes. Hattie needs to reserve the ramada.

8:20pm – 8:30pm Garden questions?
Molly Larson had a question about trimming a blue spruce that has grown too large. Hattie Braun – conifers can be trimmed back at any time. It may fill in again after trimming. Loni Shapiro - if you take out branches they will not grow back. This has been done at the Arboretum to make sitting areas under large trees.

Next meeting: August 11, 2011
Expert Panel on County Fair Entries
Jim Mast, Bob Cooper, Andrea & Galen Guerrettes, Bev MacCallister, Ron Hiebert
Nick Lipinski, Carol Burris
Future meetings:
September 11 Recognition Picnic
October 13 Pollinators and Honey Bees – Joel Kefuss
November 10 Steve Yoder from the Arboretum
December 8 Holiday Party

Educational and Volunteer Opportunities from the Blog (

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Gardening Excetera Column 7/16/11

THE ANSWER MAN: What’s Your Problem?
Dana Prom Smith

This column receives many queries about gardening. Some questions and answers follow:

Q. My composter stinks. People walk by our house holding their noses. My wife stamps her feet and shouts at me in shrill-speak. Our small children cry because they’ve lost all their friends. I’m losing my grip of reality. What do you advise?
A. My diagnosis: you’re an addict, addicted to caffeine from drinking lots of coffee and then dumping the coffee grounds into your composter. You’re a reactive personality, easily distraught by loud, high-pitched voices. Also, you’re a dependent personality, worrying too much about the opinions of others. Caffeine hypes you up, making everything worse. As for the stink, you can either cowboy-up and tell everyone, including your neighbors, wife, and small children, to buzz off, or you can change the ratio of nitrogen to carbon in your composter. I recommend the latter because if you chose the former, you’ll careen off the charts.
First, cut down on the coffee to improve your emotional stability. You’re on the edge. Also, it would cut down on the stink. Besides, coffee turns your teeth brown so that you look like you don’t brush your teeth. You’re putting too many coffee grounds in your composter. Coffee grounds are high in nitrogen. Although dark brown, they’re considered green (nitrogen material) by compostees. Go figure. Too much nitrogen results in putrefaction. In short, your compost is putrid.
You can also put more carbon material in your composter. In the composting community carbon material is called brown. Google for a list of nitrogen and carbon materials suitable for composters. Carbon material will reduce the stink. Generally speaking, the ratio in terms of shovelfuls is 1 nitrogen to 3 carbon.
Also, take a pitchfork and turn the material in your composter. Often the stink comes from a lack of air (oxygen) inside the pile, ostentatiously called an anaerobic condition which simply means airless. In other words, air out your composter like you’d air out your dirty linen.

Q. My tomato plants are wilting. What should I do?
A. Check to see if the soil is dry by sticking your finger in several inches. If it’s dry, water it. If it’s wet, your tomato plant likely has an incurable disease. If it does, pluck it out, roots and all, and throw in the garbage can. All is lost. Live with it.
Wilting tomato plants generally are caused by one of three possibilities. The first is soil-borne fungi. There is nothing to do as I said above. Don’t use the soil again for tomato plants unless it’s sterilized. Soil can be sterilized by putting it in a black container, covering the container with a clear plastic bag, and letting it sit in the sun for two weeks, or you can stick it in the oven in the kitchen which might cause your wife to shrill-speak. Not recommended. Container gardening is best with tomatoes as a means controlling fungi in the soil.
The second cause is a viral infection which is air-borne. In ostentatious-speak it’s environmentally transmitted. Again, there is no known antidote, just like the common cold. Only with tomatoes, they can’t just hang until the virus has finished its course. With tomatoes, yank the plant and throw it in the garbage can so that it won’t infect others. WARNING: Do not try to save anything from the vine like cankered tomatoes.
The third cause is pests such as cutworms, whiteflies, flea beetles, aphids, mites, and stink bugs. These can be managed by vigilance and the application of appropriate remedies.
Growing tomatoes is une affaire du coeur unlike rutabagas and cabbage, and as in affairs of the heart, there is heartache, grief, and sadness. As Saint Eustace IV of Billingsgate said, “Alas, shitte doth happen.”

Q. My Kentucky blue grass front lawn takes lots of water and care, costs big bucks, and is a pain in my back. What do you advise?
A. Dig it up, amend the soil with compost, and sow vegetable
seeds. At least, your pain in the back will produce something worthwhile. Grow America.
Copyright © Dana Prom Smith 2011

Dana Prom Smith edits of GARDENING ETCETERA, blogs at, and can be emailed at

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Native Plant Society Update

Hi All,

July AZNPS Activities are Fast Approaching:

Tuesday, July 19 at the NAU Botany Building, Room 328 at 7:00pm: Max Licher "Sedges have edges but did you also know???" - A call for sedge collections to augment a new understanding of the genus in Arizona. Max and Glenn Rink are reviewing the sedges of Arizona to produce a taxonomic treatment that is up-to-date, accurate and easier to use. Max will share his expertise and lovely photos of sedge and their associates (with perhaps photos of Barbershop Canyon).

Sunday, July 24, 8:30 am. Meet at the Credit Union at the corner of Beaver and Butler. Griffith's Springs plant walk. Join the Northern Arizona Springs Stewards, who are volunteering to inventory springs on the Coconino and Kaibab National Forests, as we explore a hidden treasure close to Flagstaff with year-round springs and driverse native flora.

Entries in the Garden Competition are due on Friday, July 14. Judging takes place on July 23/24. The Awards Presentation is on Wednesday, August 10. THE GARDEN TOUR WILL BE SUNDAY AUGUST 14.

Have you checked out the display of non-native invasive weeds at the Downtown Library? It's provided by the AZNPS and Master Gardeners.

Posted by Dorothy Lamm

Community Based Garden Design - Workshop

2011 Summer Institute for Sustainable Communities presents:
Community-Based Garden Design: Civic Engagement and Public Space
July 22-24, 2011
Flagstaff, Arizona

Location: Killip Elementary School; Flagstaff, AZ

Workshop Summary: Communities throughout the world are restoring environmentally and socially sustainable food systems. These initiatives not only increase access to healthy, culturally relevant foods but provide a platform where grassroots community organizing, civic engagement, and shared values can grow.

Drawing from examples of community-based food projects around the world, we will design a garden that elevates the land-based knowledge of the Flagstaff community. While the end result will be a garden, much of the class will focus on developing and reinforcing relationships between organizations, youth, and elders in the Sunnyside Neighborhood.

Topics include:
· Community control of knowledge
· Identifying needs a garden can address
· Importance of intergenerational and intercultural dialogue
· Facilitating your own community-based garden design process
· Fundamentals of urban garden design.
· Sunnyside Neighborhood history and current issues

*This 3-day workshop is focused on the design process, NOT the completion of a garden. However, the design we create will be installed at Northland Family Help Center's new youth center in Sunnyside immediately following the workshop.

Who Should Participate?
The workshop is open to anyone interested in working to create a shared vision for a healthy community - including but not limited to artists, youth, elders, teachers, farmers, community organizations, neighborhood associations, and students.

Who is Facilitating the Workshop?
The workshop will be facilitated by Brett Ramey (see biography below), representatives from Northland Family Help Center, and the Master of Arts in Sustainable Communities at Northern Arizona University.

Additional Support provided by: Flagstaff Foodlink; Hermosa Vida; Killip Elementary School; Native Americans for Community Action (NACA); Sunnyside Neighborhood Association;

Friday July 22; 6-9 pm
Saturday July 23; 9-5pm
Sunday July 24; 9-5 pm

Cost: $125 Workshop Registration OR available for 1 graduate credit (pass/fail) to NAU students (SUS 697 Independent Study: Community-Based Garden Design)
*Some Full and Partial non-credit scholarships are available

For more information OR to Register:
Tamara Ramirez at (928) 523-0499 or or
Jo Hale at
NAU graduate students who wish to take the workshops for credit may register online at

* Registration is limited to 15 participants and must be received by Monday July 18th, 2011

Facilitator’s Biography:
For over a decade Brett Ramey has worked with young people around the world to reconnect to land-based knowledge while living in urban areas. He was the founding Director of the Urban Lifeways Project within Native Movement, a Flagstaff-based organization that supported Indigenous youth leadership development and sustainability programs. Brett recently moved home to the Ioway reservation near White Cloud, Kansas where he is a Community Health Worker with the Center for American Indian Community Health. Their work includes addressing health disparities in Native communities in Northeast Kansas through traditional food, youth, smoking cessation, and cancer prevention projects.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Museum of Northern Arizona Garden Volunteering

Garden Volunteer Opportunities
The Museum of Northern Arizona’s campus includes natural areas, the Colton Garden, and many landscaped areas. We are looking for enthusiastic volunteers to assist with plant projects and gardening tasks throughout the growing season.

Native Plant Material Volunteer
The Native Plant Material Project was developed in collaboration with The Arboretum of Flagstaff and U.S. Forest Service to improve our ability to propagate native species and evaluate those species for use in restoration projects. Volunteers are needed to assist with harvesting, cleaning, and processing native seed. Seed collecting trips will occur throughout Flagstaff and Northern Arizona’s National Forests.

Colton Garden Volunteer
The Colton Garden is located on the research campus of the Museum of Northern Arizona and includes a community garden, research beds, and a native seed garden. Volunteers are needed to help with all aspects of garden maintenance, including: weeding, watering, planting, seeding, mulching, and fence repair.

Horticulture Volunteer
In addition to the Colton Garden, The Museum of Northern Arizona’s grounds a variety of additional landscaped areas. Volunteers are needed to assist with the weeding, watering, and seasonal maintenance tasks associated with maintaining the aesthetics of the Museum’s grounds.

For more information and to become a volunteer, please contact Connie at (928)774-5211, ext. 216 or email

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Coconino Master Gardener Assoc. Meeting Agenda 7/14/11

Master Gardener Meeting Agenda 7/14/11
Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church
1601 N. San Francisco

6:30pm-6:40pm Welcome – Agenda Jim Mast
Brief review of agenda for the evening
Introduction of speaker

6:40pm-7:30pm Continuing Education
Speaker: Tom Mackin
Topic: Friends of the Northern Arizona Forests

7:30pm-7:45pm Refreshments
Val Bryant and Julie Holmes

7:45pm - 8:30pm Business Meeting – Jim Mast
7:45pm – 8:00pm Overview of recent Executive Meeting – Jim Mast
Openings for officers for next year, with nominations due Oct. meeting and voting in Nov. Brief list of duties required from each. Loni to chair Education with Dana’s assistance for 2012.
Financial – Ed Skiba banking/memberships – balance 967.59
Monies spent on calendar deposits/grants for Sunshine Rescue Mission and the YMCA. Pending – final calendar payment and sponsoring Arboretum newsletter for fall.
Secretary – Loni Shapiro calendar update/snack volunteers

8:00pm – 8:20pm Committee Reports:
Continuing Education – Dana Prom Smith (see schedule for future meetings)
Community Programs – Molly Larsen/Julie Holmes
Flagstaff Community Markets
Coordination of MG Projects – Linda Guarino
Volunteer Support/Social – Hattie Braun
Crys reported 517 volunteer hours recorded in June/52 education hrs
Picnic tentatively scheduled for 9/11 4-6 pm. Need door prizes.

8:20pm – 8:30pm Garden questions?

Next meeting: August 11, 2011
Expert Panel on County Fair Entries
Jim Mast, Bob Cooper, Andrea & Galen Guerrettes, Bev McCalister, Ron Hiebert Nick Lipinski, Carol Burris
Friends of the Northern Arizona Forests

Future meetings:
September 11 Recognition Picnic
October 13 Pollinators and Honey Bees – Joel Kefuss

Educational and Volunteer Opportunities from the Blog (

Gardening Excetera Column 7/9/11

PEONIES: Hallelujah Time
Puka Lewicky

Stand up. It’s time for the Hallelujuh Chorus. My red peony opened its golf ball sized buds and has huge blooms five inches in diameter. My ears are ringing with the joyful music of Handel's Messiah. Anything that survives Flagstaff's winter and spring deserves a celebration.

I’ve been a passionate gardener in Flagstaff for over thirty-five-years. I grew up in northern Ohio where everything grows. I learned to love gardening from my Polish family. Ohio sweet corn is the best.
Delicious tomatoes grow there. My father taught my siblings and me to plant over one hundred trees around our home on 18 acres. The Colorado blue spruce and deciduous trees grew to be over fifty feet tall. We created a forest. Our fruit trees bore fruit.

My mother had azaleas, and my grandparents grew a huge vegetable garden without elk. Flagstaff proved to be a challenge. But I couldn’t stop growing things.

My husband's parents moved to Arizona about twenty years ago. My mother-in-law, Irene, presented me with a special gift, her beloved pink peony. It wouldn’t grow in Sun City. Peonies require a winter climate to satisfy dormancy requirements. Ah Ha! Maybe it would be happy in Flagstaff. Irene's peony is now fifty years old. It has given me spectacular pink blossoms with a subtle fragrance.

It didn’t have ants on it this year so no blooms. But my younger red peony had ants on it so it had beautiful blooms. The ants are a controversy. Some people say they have nothing to do with peonies blossoming, but I’ve watched them now for many years and believe the ants are important. The resident elk and deer in my neighborhood leave the peonies alone. What delightful news!

Peonies need well-draining, amended soil, and abundant sunshine. They appreciate spring moisture. And they don't mind the altitude. I live north of town at a higher elevation. Peonies prefer slightly acidic to neutral pH soil. Perennials need a little extra preparation when planting, but the rewards are worth it. They can live to be 100 years old. They truly become a member of the family. They don’t like to be crowded. Prepare the planting site by digging two feet wide by one and a half feet deep holes. Space the plants three to four feet apart. They can grow to be three to four feet high. Fill the hole with one foot of good loam. Plant the rootstock so that the crown is two inches below the soil level with the eyes (sprouts) pointing upwards. Carefully shovel in loose soil around the rootstock.

Water well. They won't bloom if planted too deep or in the shade. Once established, they only need water once a week. Before they bloom, I use a wire form around them so they do not fall from the heavy blooms. In the fall, I cut down the stalks to about two or three inches. I don't use the stalks for mulch. I weed them by hand so as not to disturb the roots. Prepare them for winter by mulching with our abundant pine needles or clean straw. The peony foliage is dark green and very attractive in the garden. Let the foliage thrive all summer for blooms next year.

I feed them when I remember with a blooming plant food. I use Ferti-lome or Miracle-Gro. The blooms are great for cutting arrangements. Peonies come in a variety of colors to suit every taste. Once they are mature, they can be divided. but they prefer to stay in one place. Years ago, I moved Irene's peony, and it wasn't too upset. This May's freezing temperatures prompted me to cover my two peonies. I used quilt batting from the local fabric store. The ants seemed to appreciate their nightly blankets.

My dear Irene is no longer with us, but her amazing peony lives on. I’m grateful for all those who’ve gone before me and taught me the love of gardening. Gardening is truly good for the soul.
Puka Lewicky is a veteran gardener in Flagstaff. Dana Prom Smith, editor of GARDENING ETCETERA, blogs at and can be emailed at

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Planting in Cheshire

Recruiting planting people for Saturday July 9th, 8.00-11.59 am,Sharon.

We need all kinds of people: planters, waterers, distributors of plants, bossmen, bosswomen (not too many of the last two), cooks and bottlewashers.

We have new plants to replace those that have croaked so far, and we have a Cheshire Pond overlook to plant around.

Volunteers should bring a mattock or shovel, if they have one, a hat and water. We will supply more water and snacks. We'll meet just past Cooper Drive on Fremont, before the Rio de Flag. This is my driveway and access to the Rio. My address is 3003 W. Cooper Drive, and my phone is 928-779-3547.

I can send more information if necessary.

Peter W. Price, Department of Biological Sciences,
3003 W. Cooper Drive, Northern Arizona University,
Flagstaff, Arizona 86001, USA. Flagstaff, Arizona 86011-5640, USA

Coconino County Fair Entries

Coconino County Fair Books are available at our office or you can download the fair book and fair entry forms from the fair website:

The August Coconino MG Association Meeting (8/11/11) will include a panel on preparing your entries for the fair. Come join us at Sheperd of the Hills Church at 630pm.

Hattie Braun
University of Arizona
Master Gardener Program Coordinator
Coconino County Cooperative Extension
2304 N. 3rd St.
Flagstaff, AZ 86004

Phone: 928-774-1868 x 170
FAX: 928-774-1860

Forum Regarding Tree Cutting at NAU

Environmental Caucus:

Many of you are aware of the concerns that have been raised regarding the planned cutting of trees in McMullen Circle, scheduled to take place in July. I want to call your attention to two campus forums that have just been scheduled for next week to discuss specific details of the site plan for the north quad revitalization project and to hear views from the campus and the community. Please attend if you can (see below).

Rod Parnell, Blase Scarnati and I submitted a letter on this issue to President Haeger and all of the Vice Presidents, as Chair, Associate Chair, and Past Associate Chair of the Environmental Caucus.

Note that the Master Plan refers to the Historic North Quad on page 23. Trees are mentioned here in two places:

1) “The precinct study recommended a tree preservation plan, including pruning and maintenance with an integrated strategy for planting future generations of trees within the quad landscape. This will ensure that there is always an interesting and valuable collection of trees at the heart of the campus.”
2) “The existing quad trees are part of the University’s Arboretum, whose stated mission it is to “preserve historic and interesting plants on campus, maintain and enhance the beauty of the campus and to educate the University and greater Flagstaff communities about these plants.”

You may also want to be aware of the article which appeared yesterday in the Arizona Daily Sun:

If you want to visit the site before the forum, it is my understanding that the trees marked in red are, at this point, slated to be removed. I have not yet seen the site plan for the North Quad revitalization, so cannot speak to the rationale for the cutting of each tree. I do hope we can learn these details at the forums.

Below is information on the two forums:

Forums scheduled to discuss north quad revitalization

NAU President John Haeger has scheduled two open forums next week to discuss details of a north campus revitalization project that is scheduled to begin in July.

The forums will be held from 3-5 p.m. Tuesday, July 5, and from 9-11 a.m. Wednesday, July 6. Both will be held at the High Country Conference Center.

The forums also will be webcast.

The changes to the north campus quad are part of the university’s master plan, which was developed through wide campus participation and input. The forum will include presentations by representatives from Peak Engineering, master plan consultant Ayers/Saint/Gross and local landscape architect Pam Symond.

The group will provide a detailed overview of the project, including information about the planning process and a tree preservation plan that is part of the university’s master plan.

Additional forums also may be scheduled so that updates and information can be shared. Haeger also will meet with any campus group that would like to discuss the project, and said that all discussions are in preparation for a decision and action in the near future.

Thank you, and have a great July 4th weekend.


Shelley Silbert, Chair
Environmental Caucus
Box 5765
Northern Arizona University
Flagstaff, AZ 86011
(928) 523-7635

Looking for Volunteers at the Grand Canyon

This Grand Canyon Visitor Center Native Restoration program aims to re-establish the park’s native plant communities and interface with the public about this invaluable natural resource within Grand Canyon. Our restoration initiative includes planting salvaged and locally- propagated plants, removal of invasives, and working with the nursery on propagation projects and seed collection. We have big ambitions to restore the site into a thriving, attractive, and interactive section of the park, and are employing sustainable methods including water collection to achieve it.
The Visitor’s Center and Mather Point plantings represent the natural ecosystems found throughout the park, and are a valuable tool to engage and educate the public on the importance of native vegetation and stewardship. We work with the Interpretation Division in order to inform and inspire visitors and volunteers to contribute to the protection of natural resources and ecological integrity in national parks, as well as in their home communities.

This is an excellent opportunity for Master Gardeners needing volunteer hours to exercise and share their skills, as well as to learn from our demonstration gardens of Northern Arizona’s plant communities including high elevation desert grassland, pinon- juniper woodland, riparian communities, and succulent landscapes. There are ample opportunities to utilize and develop individual strengths in gardening as well as knowledge of botany and ecology. Volunteers also have a chance to interact with visitors and park community about this restoration effort. No previous experience is necessary to participate.

Our volunteer days are currently on Saturday and Tuesday mornings, but alternate and additional days can easily be arranged. Park entrance and campsites are provided free of charge to volunteers. We encourage you to bring friends and volunteer with us for the weekend! Individual volunteers must be 18 years of age, or accompanied by a parent or guardian.
To contact us about volunteering, or if you would like any more information, please call project intern Sarah Geggus at 928-638-7753, or email our Volunteer Coordinator, Laura Getts, at
Thank you for your help in passing on this information to anyone who may be interested.
Sarah Geggus
Grand Canyon Visitor Center Horticulture and Outreach Intern, Vegetation Program
Grand Canyon National Park
928- 638-7753 Phone

Gardening Excetera Column 7/2/11

Cindy Murray

For high country gardeners nothing ushers in the monsoon better than the Penstemon Festival & Plant Sale at The Arboretum at Flagstaff.
Every year garden and nature enthusiasts come from miles around to participate in various activities designed to increase the appreciation and conservation of plants and animals native to the Colorado Plateau. This year the event will take place on July 9th from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Penstemons are perennial wildflowers comprised of over 250 species, many native or adapted to the Colorado Plateau. The tube-shaped flowers range in color from pinks and lavenders to deep reds and purples. Most are ideally suited for dry, sunny sites, but some species are adapted to partial shade and moist soil. The Arboretum has a garden devoted to penstemons and their companion plants. Botanist Dr. Gwendolyn Waring will be conducting tours of this delightful garden at 10:00 a.m., 12:30 p.m., and 2:30 p.m.
This year, The Arboretum has partnered with the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s Adobe Mountain Wildlife Center to educate the public about habitats. The Center will put on a wildlife program at 12:00 noon and 2:00 p.m. Live animals will be on display, and the animal handlers will be available to answer questions.
With over 2,500 species of plants featured in The Arboretum’s gardens, visitors will not want to miss one of the docent-led walks at 11:00 a.m., 1:00 p.m., and 3:00 p.m. Highlights include an aspen grove, a riparian ecosystem, a transition zone ponderosa pine forest, a wildflower meadow, and demonstrations of water conservation techniques.
Greenhouses at The Arboretum have been in full swing for months nurturing native plants, including about thirty species and varieties of penstemons, to be offered at the Plant Sale. Whitney Rooney, Horticulturalist with The Arboretum, says that in addition to the usual Sunset Crater, Arizona, Palmer’s, Rocky Mountain, beardlip, and wandbloom penstemons, several species and varieties will make their debut this year. Sporting white or light pink flowers atop burgundy calyxes and stems, P. digitalis ‘Husker Red’, was Perennial Plant of the Year for 1996. It reaches a height of thirty inches and prefers moist, well-drained soil. P. mexicali ‘Pikes Peak Purple’ is a 1999 Plant Select winner. Its bulbous grape colored flowers show off white throats with purple streaking. P. barbatus ‘Prairie Dusk’ bears a profusion of blue to purple blossoms on a twenty-inch tall spike. Its leaves retain their deep green color year round. Also appearing for the first time this year are P. grandiflorus, P. rydbergii, and P. hallii .
Local growers and landscapers will be at the sale as well, offering a plethora of native vegetation. Depending upon stock on hand, Flagstaff Native Plant and Seed will be offering the following and more for sale: mountain snowberry, which bears white egg-shaped fruit and is rarely found in nurseries; leafy Jacob’s ladder, a perennial with creamy flowers found on the San Francisco Peaks; flats of native grasses and sedges; groundcovers such as pussytoes and silver cinquefoil; currants; junipers; and penstemons.
Growers from Warner’s Nursery will likely bring the following, and more to the plant sale: western blue flax, a perennial that thrives along east Route 66 in Flagstaff; desert four-o-clock, a shrublike perennial that grows in elevations of 2,500 feet to 6,500 feet and bears reddish-pink flowers; threeleaf sumac (skunkbush) whose leaves turn bright crimson in fall; Wood’s rose whose red fruits or hips are relished by birds; four-wing saltbush, an extremely drought and salt-tolerant shrub with deep roots that prevent erosion; herbs; snakeweed; and penstemons.
There will be a members’ preview Friday afternoon (July 8), so now is a great time to become a member of The Arboretum. Rooney says, “If people are really keen on getting the best selection, they should come on Friday.” Additionally, members will receive a 10% discount both days of the sale. Growers will give a presentation on featured plants from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m., followed by the sale from 3:00 to 6:00 p.m.
The Arboretum is located on Woody Mountain Road four miles south of Route 66 in west Flagstaff. For more information, visit or call 928-774-1442.
Cindy Murray, a biologist and substitute elementary teacher, is a Master Gardener. Dana Prom Smith edits GARDENING ETCETERA, blogs at and can be emailed at