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

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Desert Botanical Garden Happenings

Are you beginning to have gardening withdrawal with the change in weather in Flagstaff. The Desert Botanical Garden is just beginning to come alive with the cooler weather.

David Rogers' Big Bugs have invaded the garden!
Now through January 1, 2012
These 11 enormous, whimsical bugs are created from fallen or found wood, cut saplings, twigs, raw branches, twine, bark and other natural materials. Fun for all ages.

Mariposa Monarca
Monarch Butterfly Exhibit
Now through Nov. 13, Nov. 18-20 & 25-27
9:30 am- 5:00 pm
Free for members and children under three, $3.50 for general public with paid Garden admission.

Monet's Giverny and Other Edens
Photographs by Richard Nilsen
Now through Nov. 13, 10:am - 5:pm daily
Free for members or paid Garden admission
I just came back from the DBG and all three of the first listed events were wonderful.If you have children or grandchildren this would be a great time to visit with bugs and butterflies.

Thursdays, now through Nov. 17 6-8:30pm
Presenting sights, sounds and flavors of Phoenix.
Full event line-up and ticketks at
Advanced tickets suggested.
Must be 21 or older to attend.

Music in the Garden
Fall 2011 Concert series
Fridays, now through Nov. 18, 7-9pm
Full concert line-up and ticketks at
Advanced tickets suggested.
Must be 21 or older to attend.

Chiles & Chocolate
Friday - Sunday Nov. 11-13, 10am-5pm
Delight your taste buds with indulgent gourmet chocolates, zesty salsas, and other unique treats. Included with paid Garden admission. Members are free.

Visit for tickets and complete fall scheduling.

Gardening Excetera Column 10/29/11

Tam Nguyen

Every season has a various beauty. The color of leaves changes so fantastically. Fall season has many leaves which fall off. It looks like a rain of leaves! Once in a while there is a tiny sound of the leaf that does not fall to the ground, the leaf that hangs on when others fall. So quite, so silent, so still. Because the leaf is so light, it seems to have no weight.
In a garden with many plants in spring, everything looks so green, smell so fresh. The new bulb is going up. Then the time comes for the leaf to change color, light green, dark green, gold, brown, and then falls off the branch. The leaves fall and sound crisps under my feet. I though about my Dad, and I think about life cycle. Why it is short?

Day by day, the leaves take the light from the sun, make energy for tree, and make free oxygen for the earth. The silent work is every moment. Then when the leaf fall off, we call it going home. After it finishes its job, it begins the new traveling to begin the new story.

It’s almost the shock of the spirit because the leaf makes my mind look at life from another angle. The human being, the earth, and the tree become a one thing. The spirit is in everything, everywhere. The beauty of life becomes a thing named by love. The fluttering leaf becomes the music with the melting melody. Nothing can stop it. It survives all over time. The leaf touched the ground, played with wind. It is flying, and the flying never stops.
Deep inside the person, there is the empty space to fill with the beauty of life, for love, for trust, and hope life will be better. These are our horizons, the sky bordering the mountain and the leaf changing its color. It is so deep in color, so close for anybody to touch, yet far enough for some people try not to understand about spirit. The leaf still is there. It is attending everywhere even in a quite village or a busy city. The leaf helps the spirit fly higher, further and faster, than the human can imagine about the time and space.

When the leaf falls, it begins a new travel tour. The wind will flow it up, and it will fly on the air. It is a time for leaf to find out the real world after it heard from the sun, clouds, and wind. The leaf will tour wherever the wind pushes it, the forest, village or city, expand all over. The leaf brought the song with the artist to make the life better. Just as the artist feels the melody and sings the song, so the blowing wind sings a melody.

Often the only person who is the artist can feel the melody of song and sing out loud. Gold color reminds him that the late evening for life, ready for everything, knowledge, experience and passion for life somewhere. Nothing can survive forever, one moment will be forever. The end of tour, the leaf will drop on the earth and go back to root. It will change to organic nutrition of the earth. The earth will be porous for the plants. All the story of leaf’s tour, nobody knows exactly, but it makes the mystery for life. Often people do not understand the experience of nature. They think the leaf is without meaning for human life, without caring or paying attention to the leaf.

Many forests disappear or turn into the desert when the leaves are gone. The green leaf brings hope for everybody. I wonder how many people ask for the gold leaf. Is it for dying or beginning new things, to do something or begin come back? The leaf is the reason we breathe every day. Even the good day or bad day, people need the small leaf to clean the air without touching or smelling it.

My tutor told me of Albert Camus’ words: “Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.”

Tam Nguyen is a Master Gardener and a student at NAU and The Learning Center where Dana Prom Smith, the editor of GARDENING ETCETERA, is her tutor. His email address is, and he blogs at

Highlands Garden Conference 2011 - Prescott, AZ - entry 2

This is my second entry for information from the recent regional MG Conference. I recently received an email with a link to the Yavapai web site. It has all the talks and outlines from the conference, so I won't bore you with mine.
Both keynotes are well worth your time - one on bugs and one on gardening myths. Another that I found useful was one on Cactus, Agave, and Yucca for High Elevation gardens. I realized that there are many more that will work from zones 4-6 than I realized. Check out his outline for a list of those that will.
The recipes from the farm tour I attended the day before are also on the link. They include a to die for vegetable soup. Options were for a tour of 2 farms or the headwaters of the Verde. I did the farm tours and they were great - the Chino Valley Farm (one of our Sunday Market participants) and a smaller farm used mostly for home sustainability. They also sell at the Prescott Market - mostly corn.
At our next association meeting (Nov. 10)I will bring some books from the keynote speakers if you want to take a look. I have also added them on the blog book list.

Loni Shapiro
Coconino Master Gardener Association

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Highlands Garden Conference 2011 - Prescott, AZ

This was the first talk of the 2011 Highlands Garden Conference. It was a good conference and I learned many new things. I will continue to add articles about some of the talks, and have encouraged others who attended to do the same. In the meantime here is a link to the talks if you want to listen or see their outlines.

Dr. Ed Martin
Serves as one of two Associate Directors of Extension programs in Arizona, providing leadership and support for statewide Extension programming. He has developed an Extension education and applied research program in Irrigation Engineering with an emphasis on Irrigation Management to meet the needs of agricultural producers and similar clientele in Arizona.

Dr. Martin did the intro to the conference and it was about Extension in Arizona. It was titled “Danger of a Single Story” to illustrate the many facets of Extension, and why we shouldn’t think of it as just the Master Gardener program. The title comes from a Nigerian writer by the name of Chimanda Adichie. She spoke at a TED conference on the importance of not having a single story about a person or culture. If you have 20 spare minutes I highly suggest you listen to her lecture on the web. It is a lecture that all Americans should listen to. Link to video.

Getting back to Dr. Martin’s intro, he spent the remainder of the time outlining all the programs that are part of the extension, funding and how it is spent, and the value of Master Gardener volunteers in dollars in Arizona. It was a short talk but a great intro for the conference.

Surprisingly last year was a good year for money for the Extension even though we always hear about budget cuts. They had more than $23,000,000. This comes from a variety of sources – some from donations and about half from grants written by faculty. Half was spent on the SNAP programs (this has become a larger piece of the budget), 5.5 million went to the counties, and 5.5 million was spent at the U. of A. campus. Some of the programs included:
Integrated Pest Management
This saved growers $212 million by the use of fewer pesticides. They went from 4.15 lbs per acre to .48 lbs.
SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program)
The "Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP-Ed)" is an ACE Healthy Lifestyles education program for children and families eligible for SNAP (food stamps). The mission of SNAP-Ed is to shape food consumption in a positive way, to promote health and reduce disease.
SWAP (School Water Audit Program) Swapping water waste for water efficiency
This is a program to have children learn about water conservation by doing research projects within their own schools on water use. It has resulted in large reductions of water use within schools.
4-H Program – 142,000 enrolled. NO KID LEFT INSIDE

These are only a small portion of the Extension activities. If you want to see a report of all they do this is the web address for the 2010 report.

Figures from 2010 for volunteers in the Arizona Extension:
10,395 volunteers, 159.998 hours, $21.36 value per hour = $3.2 million
Half of that $3.2 million was by volunteer Master Gardeners

And that is only Arizona - imagine how much master gardeners contribute in the US.

Loni Shapiro

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Gardening Excetera Column 10/22/11

Dana Prom Smith

A narrow, well-worn graveled lane leads to Casa Escondida, the “hidden house.” Finding the lane means meandering through three county roads, several ambivalent junctions, and some missteps. Several miles from the village of Chimayó in northern New Mexico, it is off the beaten path. While no one can completely get away from it all, Casa Escondida comes close: no telephones, no television, no radios, peace and quiet in what is a “rustic elegance.” Sadly, there was a wireless internet to check the stock market, a disquieting experience.

The quiet is the quiet of nature. A couple of crickets near the patio carried on an undecipherable dialogue. Following soon, a whole chorus of several hundred chirping voices joined in the conversation. While sipping a glass of cooled chardonnay to smooth out the kinks from sitting on a long drive, my ears begin to hear the silences of nature: the winds rustling the leaves of the cottonwoods and whistling through the junipers. The birds were still singing as the sun began its descent.

Although dusk had settled around the patio, the sun was still shining on the tops of a couple of giant cottonwoods (Populus fremontii) in the distance. Alight with seemingly small red and golden Christmas tree lights, they glittered against the backdrop of the deepening blue of a New Mexico sky. It is the kind of scene which evokes a tension-releasing sigh.

A dinner at Rancho de Chimayó was an authentic taste of northern New Mexico. Nestled in the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo mountain range, the people of the villages are largely descendants of the Conquistadores, some identifying their lineage to the seventh and eighth generation. Flavored by the people of the region, the cuisine is often more Spanish than Mexican.

After dinner, the chirping of the crickets slowed while the yipping of the coyotes took over in that bloodthirsty ferocity of the wild euphemistically called the balance of nature. I was grateful for not being born a field mouse.

While asleep later that I night, we were awakened by the piercing screams and coughing barks of a bobcat, similarly engaged in the balance of nature. It was not more than ten yards from our patio in a thicket of trees and bushes. Sometimes, the wilderness comes too close.

At dawn, I heard a rooster. I realized I hadn’t been awakened by the crow of a cock since I was a boy. My job was to feed the chickens and gather the eggs, sometimes fleeing an irate hen. It was a very pleasant homecoming. I lay abed relishing the moment and memories.

While sitting on the patio enjoying a pot of hot tea, fresh fruit, sausage, and a green chili omelet, I caught a flash of fire out of the corner of my left eye. Steeled by the drought that had plagued northern New Mexico, I turned to check to see whether or not a disaster was in the offing, but, no, it was the rays of the rising sun striking the tops of the cottonwoods in the distance. They glowed for one glorious moment and then no more.

Looking straight out from the patio lay a small cultivated garden fit for a dry climate, then a lawn of mown weeds and grasses, and finally a wild thicket of Siberian elm saplings, an exotic invader, junipers, piñon pines, a maple emblazoned in red, and finally in the background those giant cottonwoods. It was a panoply of colors, sizes, and shapes. A truth dawned on me. A southwest garden is as much about the wild as it is about order and pattern. What does it profit to look out onto a world we have tidied?

In the small strip of a cultivated garden were honeycomb butterfly bushes, two small yuccas, and a couple of stonecrop bushes with their burgundy flowers in full bloom.

Over to the right of the patio stood the center piece of the garden, an ancient juniper with its age-roughened bark, hacked, sawed, and pruned, with a few tuffs of new life emerging here and there. I had found a compadre.

Copyright 2011 © Dana Prom Smith
Dana Prom Smith, editor of GARDENING ETCETERA, emails at and blogs at

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Harvest Party & Potluck

Hello Fellow Gardening Folk, Farmers, Friends and Supporters!

It's hard to believe fall is here already. It has been incredible to see all of the bountiful gardens around Flagstaff this season.

Let's get together to celebrate! Community Gardens throughout Flagstaff have united to host the 2011 Harvest Party & Potluck on Wednesday October 19th, 5pm at the New Start Garden.

This event is free and open to the public and will be filled with exciting activities-- so bring your friends & kiddos, a dish to share, seeds to exchange, an instrument if you play and your biggest squash!

WHO: Everyone!
*including a seed exchange, youth activities, music, a baking contest,
and a biggest squash contest!
WHERE: New Start Garden (corner of Mogollon St. and Cherry Ave,near Thorpe Park)
*In case of bad weather, we will meet indoors at
408 E.Route 66, Suite 1(next door to Simply Delicious)
WHEN: Wednesday, October 19th, 5pm
WHY: To celebrate, share, network, eat good food and have fun!

*If you have any questions or would like to volunteer, call Flagstaff Foodlink at (928)255-1123

We look forward to seeing you!
Flagstaff Community Gardens

Jamie Fredricks
Community Garden Coordinator
Flagstaff Foodlink

Make a Difference Day Project

Flagstaff Native Plant & Seed is giving us a fantastic deal on plants and trees for campus. If you have time this Saturday, please come on out for Make a Difference Day and help us plant. We’ll be here from 9am to noon. Please bring garden tools if you have them (we have quite a few tools here). FALA will be providing snacks, but if you’d like to bring a snack as well, we’d welcome it!

And please spread the word. We will have more than 100 plants to get into the ground. :)


Becky Daggett
Executive Director
Flagstaff Arts & Leadership Academy
928.779.7041 fax

Monday, October 17, 2011

Webinars from Flagstaff Foodlink E-mail

Master the Art of Home Canning, Seed Saving, Bee Keeping, SNAP Gardening and Season Extension

Fall has finally arrived. For many this is a busy time at home, at work and especially in the garden where there are crops to harvest, prepare and preserve; seeds to save; weeds to pull; debris to collect and compost; cover crops to plant and the list goes on. To help you save time, money and space, USDA’s People’s Garden Initiative has invited experts to share advice in its 2011 Fall Webinar Series.
A series of five hour-long trainings will broadcast live on Wed. Oct. 5, 12, 19, 26 and Nov. 2 from 12 noon to 1 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time. They are free for anyone to watch online. To join the training, register at

2011 Fall Webinar Series

Wednesday, October 19
Webinar: Pollinators For Your Garden with Dr. Jeff S. Pettis, research leader with USDA-Agricultural Research Service Bee Research Laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland.

Pollinators are essential to any gardening endeavor. Hear about the variety of native or wild pollinators and things you can do to encourage or increase them in your area.

Wednesday, October 26
Webinar: Food Stamps Grow Gardens! Leveraging SNAP to grow gardens across America with Daniel Bowman Simon, founder of SNAP Gardens

Did you know that you can use SNAP (formerly known as Food Stamps) benefits to help plant a garden? This session will provide ideas for how garden-minded professionals and amateurs alike can spread awareness and connect SNAP recipients to resources and information that will enable productive gardening experiences for all.

Wednesday, November 2
Webinar: Extending the Growing Season Using High Tunnels and Hoop Houses with Ron Cordsiemon, Missouri Plant Materials Center Manager for USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service in Elsberry, Missouri

High tunnels and hoop houses can be used to increase the growing season of a variety of plants. This session will cover the different types of structures used and the time and expense involved for construction. This session also will look at the potential for increased production among different types of vegetables.

Angie Tagtow, MS, RD, LD

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Master Gardener Meeting Minutes 10/13/11

Master Gardener Meeting Minutes 10/13/11
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
Speakers: Joel Kefuss
Topic: A Conversation on Native Pollinators and Making a Solitary Bee Nesting Box
Mr. Kefuss discussed pollinators, types of bees, colony collape, and how to encourage them to come to your yard. Different types of boxes you can make were demonstrated.
Link to Mr. Kefuss outline.
One resource for pre-made Mason Bee Nesting Boxes - 800-733-4146
There are many more.

730pm-7:45pm Refreshments
Thank you to Linda Guarino

7:45pm - 8:30pm Business Meeting – Jim Mast
7:45pm – 8:00pm Overview of recent Executive Meeting – Jim Mast
Nomination for officers – officer nominations for 2012 include Debi Stalvey for President, Bea Cooley for Vice President, and Ann Eagan to co-chair with Loni Shapiro for secretary. Nominations will be taken at the Nov. meeting when we vote.
Listserve – several people will be added to the send list for the listserv. Hattie says this will happen when the state computer techs get it done.
Home show – coordinator needed to work on the 2012 Home Show with Hattie.
Christmas Party – scheduled for Thursday, Dec. 8, at Julie Holmes house from 6-8pm. It will be a potluck, with a white elephant exchange. Linda Guarino will send out the invites after the next Executive Meeting.
Highland Garden Conferences 2011 & 2012 – the conference is next Saturday. They have about 100 registered. Registrations for the higher fee are still open. The conference will be in Flagstaff next year. Hattie will be attending a wrap-up meeting of this year’s conference in November. If you want to be part of next years you may want to carpool with her.

Financial – Ed Skiba memberships, update on current expenditures and balance
Last statement was for $919.15 (Sept. 30). Since that time $62 spent on a PO Box. and $202 has yet to be made in deposts. $250 needs to be paid to the church. The calendars are fully paid and the rest collected will be profit.

Secretary – Loni Shapiro calendar, need volunteer for snack for November
Calendars selling well (about 80 so far). We are still selling at Warners, NP & S, CSA, Extension Office, and hospice on Thurs. morning until the end of Oct. A crew is set for selling at the Highland Garden Conference. Sales after that will be discussed at the Executive Meeting for November.
Ann Eagan volunteered to bring snacks next month. Thank you to Ann and the Guerrettes for doing it twice this year.

8:00pm – 8:20pm Committee Reports:
Continuing Education – See schedule below for current list of talks. Loni has surveyed members for next years lectures. We are scheduled tentatively through April. Loni will send out the results of the survey to ask preferences for next year.
Community Programs – Molly Larsen
Flagstaff Community Markets - 24 done in 2011, with 20 volunteers. Thanks to all who helped.
Home Show – need to begin planning for 2012.
Coordination of MG Projects – Linda Guarino – Linda mentioned that the list is on the blog as a reference for all. Some of the larger projects are on the handout tonight. The list will be updated in 2012.
Volunteer Support/Social – Hattie Braun & Crys Wells
Crys – membership/volunteer and education hours
Volunteer hours for Sept. 487.75 /11.5 education. The education hours are low and Crys reminded all to clock 1 hour for volunteering and 1 for education for the meetings.

8:20pm – 8:30pm Garden questions?
Debi S asked about what to do about area where tomatoes were planted and possible blight or fungus. Hattie suggested not planting tomatoes there again.
Loni S mentioned great success in the 2nd year for Raspberries from High County Gardens – “Caroline”. They have a raspberry farm and it is at 7000 feet so the varieties they use do well here.
Molly L asked about what to do about dieback at bottom of a blue spruce. It was suggested cutting the dead branches is the only option. They will not grow back.
Someone asked about growing wisteria – not easy here (season too short) but try east facing.
Ed mentioned that Walmart has cheap mums and Iceland poppies.

Next meeting: November 10 – The Arboretum at 30 Years/Plans for 2012 – Steve Yoder

Future meetings:
December 8 – Christmas Party
January 14 – History of Farming in Flagstaff – Meredith Hartwell

Gardening Excetera Column 10/15/11

Annette Perkins

Last spring brought out in me a renewed enthusiasm for the upcoming growing season. There was also, a niggling reminder of the many “learning moments” encountered in one’s quest for a bountiful harvest! Allow me to share with you, one such moment.

It began much like any other spring in Flagstaff, tilling, toiling, and amending the soil in the garden. Sowing the seeds, transplanting starts, and trellising the early snow peas kept me busy and happy. The watering, weeding and thinning paid off. The garden was lovely by June! I headed out one fine morning to do the daily garden rituals. Then, my heart fell. Overnight, something had obliterated a row and a half of succulent, snow peas and two-thirds of my delicate, Japanese eggplants. In years past, I have battled errant rabbits, bent on destroying anything leafy, green, and succulent. They, at least, had the courtesy to leave stubs and shoots. The creatures at work now, left absolutely, nothing! A bit of detective work and a trip to the extension office, soon revealed the culprit of my garden attack. Allow me to introduce to you, the Arizona pocket gopher.

There are three species of pocket gophers in Arizona. All three belong to the genus Thomomys. They thrive anywhere there is adequate plant material and tuberous roots. The soil must also be suitable for them to tunnel in. Pocket gophers live about three years, do not hibernate, and are active both day and night. They rarely leave their tunnels and live solitary lives, except during the breeding season. In high altitudes, the young are born in June and July. In lower altitudes young are born between December and May and also between mid-July and August. A litter averages five or six young who live in the nest for several weeks. Pocket gophers are strict herbivores with insatiable appetites. Pocket gophers enjoy a wide variety of both annuals and perennials.

They will nibble on the tuberous roots of plants and will pull the entire plant into their tunnel from below. The entire tunnel system may spread out 700 square yards! The soil will be pushed to the surface in a distinctive, fan-shaped mound. Check the mound for a side plug, because Pocket gophers prefer a closed-tunnel system. Fresh mounds indicate recent, gopher activity. It is important to remember that the tunnel system is comprised of main, horizontal runways and lateral runways that are diagonal to the main runway and the ground surface. This is an important factor when eradicating them from the garden or lawn.

Deterring pocket gophers from setting up house in your prized beds and lawn means to control weeds adjacent to the garden, landscaping, and lawn. This may not be practical on a large scale. At the very least weed a perimeter around the garden and bed areas.

There are several methods available to control these vermin on the market. A reliable and cost effective method is trapping. Be sure to wear rubber gloves when setting and retrieving traps to protect you and to keep the human scent off the trap. Trapping is most effective during the spring and fall before the young are born. Placement of the traps in the main runways is essential for successful trapping. Attaching a wire to each trap will make retrieval of the trap easier. Covering the placement hole or leaving it open is personal choice. The multitude of audible, high pitched, frequency devices, magnetic field devices and vibrational devices can be expensive.

One important point is that gophers tend to be curious creatures. Combining methods may well be the most effective method of control. Scent repellants such as, oleander have not been proven effective. Toxicants and anti-coagulants work well but, read the warning labels carefully. The most effective placement of bait is within the horizontal tunnels. Fumigants do not usually work well in Arizona soils. Combining control methods is another option in keeping your lawn and garden areas rodent free. Constant vigilance and early detection of gopher activity is key in controlling these rodents.

May all the rewards of your garden experience outweigh the challenges!
Annette Perkins, an RN and a Master Gardener, is a long-time resident of Parks. Dana Prom Smith, editor of GARDENING ETCETERA, blogs at, and can be reached at

Friday, October 14, 2011

Native Plant Society Meeting & Field Trip

Calling all Northern Arizona plant lovers:

Come to the last official meeting and field trip of the season. This has been another successful year of botanical excursions, volunteer efforts and learning experiences. Come and let's celebrate.

Monthly meeting and presentation - Tuesday, October 18: Greg Davis Goodwin will present his research on the distribution of the US Fish and Wildlife Endangered Arizona cliffrose, Purshia subintegra. Greg is a Forest Service Biological Technician in the STEP Program, while he completes his MS in Geographical Information Systems (GIS).


The meeting begins at 7:00 p.m. in Room 328 of the Biology Building on the NAU campus.

Field Trip on Saturday, October 22: Hike in the Verde Valley Botanical Area with Greg Goodwin and others from the Forest Service and Arboretum at Flagstaff who have been studying the endangered Arizona cliffrose and other rare plants for many years. Learn about their research and discover fall flowering and fruiting plants while enjoying cooler temperatures in our newest Plant Atlas Project of Arizona (PAPAZ) location on the Coconino National Forest.

If you are in Flagstaff, meet at 8:30 am at the Arizona State Credit Union parking lot, southwest corner of Beaver and Butler. Come prepared with sun protection, lots of water, food for lunch, and a car or gas money for carpooling.

Folks from the Verde or down south can meet us at the 89A - Rocking Chair Road parking area at 1000. We will be back at Rocking Chair Rd. by 1400.

Please contact Barb at 928-853-3355 if you have any questions.

Posted by D. Lamm

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Gardening Excetera Column 10/8/11

Gardens in the Forest
Aisha Sadiq.

Being a foreigner, I was surprised by the variety of small home gardens in Flagstaff. Gardens with multifarious plants, herbs, flowers, fruit, vegetables as well as animals made me think that perhaps Flagstaff folk, besides exploring nature, have as one of their favorite avocations to preserve and care for nature in their own backyards.

Gardening is more than just a pastime when it becomes an effort to cultivate not only a society of interdependence between nature and humankind but also interdependence among humans. The relationship between nature and human culture is brought to life by the notion of a “garden in the forest” as a metaphor for both environmental and human survival. Anyone with even a small plot of land can practice the art of gardening by recognizing the interrelatedness necessary to construct a natural society for both environmental and human values.

My theory of “garden in the forest” is based on my visit to the garden of one of my best friends in Flagstaff. They live in a clearing in the ponderosa forest. Their garden in the forest is not only a land for flowers and herbs raised by the toil of the gardeners against extreme weather and rough soil, but it also constitutes an interestingly compact community of wild animals who move freely and conveniently in this area. There is a unique shelter from cold weather for wild rabbits and the shady side of the garden has a small pond of goldfish. The melody of several birds from the trees called my attention to lamps with discs of grain hanging for their meal, a microcosm glorifying man and nature at the same time.

In this modern era, moralists hardly get attention due to the prevalence of existentialism and uncertainty. In his essay “Revaluing Nature,” Glen A. Love effectively holds human self-interest accountable for the destruction of nature, presenting the human ego as the cause of modern environmental, cultural, and spiritual emptiness. The problem with his argument is that he undermines humanism, spirituality, and other cultural values in his promotion of environmental activism. However, he does appreciate the role of nature writers. Among these is Joseph Wood Krutch who acknowledges a panentheism, a divine transcendence everywhere immanent, as offering a cure for our modern crisis. Krutch’s concept “we are all in this together” depends upon human cultural edification as well as on environmental conservation.

There is an inseparable link between the present environmental crisis and the collapse of humanity’s feelings for one another, and that the solutions to both are intertwined. We ignore our environmental damage because we are careless of humanitarian values as well. My notion “garden in the forest” is in accord with Thomas Berry’s belief in The Dream of Earth. Interestingly, Berry substitutes “biocracy” for democracy, as being necessary for ecological preservation as well as human uprightness.

The spirit of gardening reflects the values of cultivation in human relations also. In Gardens: An Essay on the Human Condition, Robert Pogue Harrison relates gardeners to those poets and artists who strive to replace society’s false ideals of economic and political morality with aesthetic values of creation and cooperation. My friends’ gardens in the forest are not only biological ecotone, but also ideological amalgamations of nature and human civilization. True gardeners in flesh and spirit work earnestly on volunteer projects for social improvement as well as for their environment.

A garden in the forest expands the gardener’s eco- and human-consciousness beyond any fences. While walking in my friend’s garden, I was struck by the sense of serenity. The mountains and trees were standing above; the whole place had a regal grandeur in it. I was thousands of miles away from my home country, but this place with its objective serenity and humane contact overwhelmed me with the sense of home. I felt some strong similarity between this soil of America and that of my small town in Pakistan. These gardens with their harmony of nature and humanity are a free-zone from all political and racial tensions; it expresses only one robust and universal relation among men as well as between man and nature.

Aisha Sadiq, a Pakistani, is a student of English at NAU. Dana Prom Smith, editor of GARDENING ETCETERA, blogs at, and emails at

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Riordan Mansion Workdays

This Saturday is another work day at the Riordan Mansion. We will meet an hour later at 9:30 to let the sun warm up the area where we will be working a bit before we start work and we will be done around 1:30. It is supposed to be sunny and in the Mid 50's on Sat so should a good day to do the cleanup of the summer gardens and put the plants to bed for the winter. Dave and I hope to see all of you there. Bring your favorite tools and good gloves for another fun time at one of Flagstaffs nicest historic sites.

We got the permit from the Forest Service to harvest some plants in the forested areas to transplant at the Riordan. We hope to be doing this within this month and I will let you know of the work day for this. It may be on a day when you can help.

Our next and final work day of this year will be on Oct 22nd and we plan to rake up the many downed small branches in the lawn areas, pine needles around the house and take down any vines growing up the side of the house, etc. It has been a great year and so much has been accomplished. Thanks to all of you for all your wonderful help on this project.

Any questions please call Charlotte at 213-0187 or Dave on his cell phone at 699-3331 or e-mail us at or

Charlotte and Dave

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Article from the Fall Arboretum Newsletter

Dana Prom Smith, master gardener, writer, and editor of the Gardening Etcetera wrote this article for the Master Gardener Association. The association sponsored the fall newsletter for the Arboretum in 2011. If you are not a member you can view the newsletter on-line at

A Master Gardener might be a neighbor. Trained in horticulture specific to the Colorado Plateau, Master Gardeners are dedicated to promoting the pleasures of successful gardening in Flagstaff and Coconino County.

Sometimes thought difficult if not impossible, gardening in our area is a unique and rewarding experience if a person knows the most effective ways to garden. Master Gardeners want to share their knowledge and experience of those effective ways.

As a means of acquiring that knowledge and experience, classes are held through County Extension and the US Department of Agriculture by which people can become certified as Master Gardeners. Many of those who have been certified have organized themselves into the Coconino Master Gardener Association whose aim is to communicate the joys of successful gardening in the county. They meet on the second Thursday of each month with programs about successful gardening, participate in Flagstaff’s Community Markets and the Home Show, and provide a speaker’s bureau that is available for interested organizations. This year they were able to provide two small grants for community garden projects (Sunshine Rescue Mission and the YMCA).

Gardening in Flagstaff and Coconino County is an exciting and enriching experience if the gardening is accommodated to our climate, soil, weather, and vegetation. Master Gardening is a ready way to learn those accommodations. It is not hard if gardeners know what they are doing. Master Gardeners want to share that knowledge so that gardeners can be both successful and happy.

For more information contact the Coconino County Extension ( or the Coconino Master Gardener Association (

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Gardening Excetera Column 10/1/11

Dana Prom Smith

When my friend, Loni Shapiro, asked me to speak at a memorial service for Zane, a therapy dog, I looked at my own personal therapy dog, Roxanne, to see what she thought about the invitation. A three-legged yellow lab, now white with age, speaks from her soul through her eyes, making it clear that I should speak for Zane. The word “therapy” comes from the Greek word “therapeia” which means “healing.” Zane was a healing dog. The service was held in the Olivia White Hospice Gardens where Zane had served many of the residents.

Now, many people think that dogs don’t have souls. They’re generally people who don’t love dogs and don’t have dogs for companions. Some dogs, just like human beings, don’t have souls, but some do. Their souls can be seen in their eyes which I’ve heard are the windows to the soul.

Some people have apparently traded their souls in for money and power, striking a Faustian bargain with the devil. Their eyes have no depth and are windows to nothing. They’re flat, resembling the eyes of snakes, cold, calculating, and predatory. Nowadays, our word for these flat-eyed people is sociopath. It’s always important to examine the eyes of the rich, famous, and powerful to find out whether or nor they are flat. They’re a lot of flat eyes. Their voices don’t match their eyes.

At any rate, getting back to Zane’s soul, the reason why some dogs heal is that they have souls and, thus, intraception, the late Harvard Professor H. A. Murray’s term for the ability to understand the emotional and cognitive experience of another person. Rollo May said: “It means entering the private perceptual world of the other and becoming thoroughly at home in it.” Without intraception people communicate with shadows, artifices, and appearances, but not someone else.

A therapy or healing dog isn’t burdened with all the internal toxins afflicting many human beings. Flat-eyes see only objects to be exploited. Dogs understand the other person because they don’t have to fool around with all the internal conflicts that clog most people’s perception of others. In other words, they’re simple, and simplicity is always the beginning of understanding because clarity requires simplicity. The mind has to be clear to understand someone else.

Now, gardens are a great place to begin leeching these psychic toxins. The act of paying attention to our physical sensations draws us away from our inner, psychic turmoil. It’s difficult to stew in our indignations while smelling a rose or eating a fresh tomato. We equate gardens with peace for good reason. They bring peace to the soul.

A healing dog in a garden, as at the Olivia White Gardens, can’t be beat because dog’s with souls have intraception. Dogs not only draw our attention away from our fascination with our own malaise as do roses and fresh berries, they also draw out the malaise because of their simple insight into our situation. A dog understands. As we run our hands along a dog’s back or hold its head in our hands, we can feel the tensions release. Dogs with souls are always happy to see us.

Zane died last Christmas Eve of lymphoma after working at the Olivia White Home for more than 6 years. The Pet Idol of Flagstaff for 2006, he was more than just a pretty face. Loni Shapiro remembers him “as kind, gentle, and comforting to all he met. He was playful or serious as the situation indicated.”

Zane was adopted by Dave and Terri Hill of Munds Park and Cottonwood from Rescue a Golden. Zane now has a replacement golden in Murphy. For more information, Dave and Terri can be reached at Terri said of Zane, “Dave and I learned a lot from Zane.” “Compassion and feeling is what we absorbed from his presence.”

Copyright © Dana Prom Smith 2011
Dana Prom Smith edits GARDENING ETCETERA, blogs at, and emails at