Coconino Master Gardener Association

Tulipa tarda one of my favorite species tulips. Cultivation of tulips began in Persia and spread to Turkey and Afghanistan and these beauties thrive on climates with long, cool springs and dry summers. Species tulips are one of the early blooming tulips in Flagstaff. There are a few in the Arboretum gardens and many at Olivia White Hospice Gardens. They are short, close to the ground, and come in many colors and shapes, bur usually more open than the standard Holland tulips. Look for these to plant in the fall for next year.
Loni Shapiro

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!

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

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