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

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

3rd Annual Coconino Master Gardener Assoc. Christmas Party

What: Christmas Potluck and White Elephant Garden Gift Exchange
The Association is providing the main dish (ham)
Guests (last name a-g) need to bring side dish), (h-q) appetizer, (r-z) dessert
Bring a white elephant garden gift to exchange (gently used or purchased less than $10)
When: Thursday, December 8, 2011, 6-8pm

Where: Julie Holmes Home (e-mail for details

Questions or RSVP (by December 1) to Loni Shapiro at above e-mail.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Coconino Master Gardener Assoc. Meeting Minutes 11/10/11

Master Gardener Meeting Minutes 11/10/11
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: Steve Yoder
Topic: The Arboretum at Year 30 and plans for 2012
Mr. Yoder showed the history of the Arboretum through photographs and stories. From a largely research institution, it has grown into a popular destination for the public with many fun and educational activities. Some of the fun includes the rejuvenated Pollinator Garden (in the shape of a butterfly), activities like the popular Pumpkin Walk, Wildflowers and Wine and the Ponderosa Hustle Footrace. In addition to pure fun, there are many opportunities to assist the Arboretum staff in creating and maintaining the gardens and in furthering their research programs. Volunteers are needed to help plant and maintain gardens and in the greenhouse, assist with public events, work in the visitor’s center, assist with research by participating in seed collection field trips and data gathering. For more information on the Arboretum at Flagstaff, go to . In particular, take a look under Research for details on their current and past projects. Most recently, there was an article in the Arizona Daily Sun, Experiment in Warming, that describes a project involving the Arboretum that Steve Yoder mentioned during his talk. They received a large grant from the federal government for this project.

7:30pm-7:45pm Refreshments
Thank you to Ann Eagan

7:45pm - 8:30pm Business Meeting – Jim Mast
7:45pm – 8:00pm Overview of recent Executive Meeting – Jim Mast
Election of officers – officers election for 2012
Slate – Debi Stalvey/President
Bea Cooley/Vice President
Ed Skiba/Treasurer
Loni Shapiro/Ann Eagan/co-secretaries
Home show (need coordinator and volunteers to work with Hattie),
Hattie to contact home show sponsors and plan the first meeting. She will check with Faith to see if she is interested in helping.
Highland Garden Conference 2011 & 2012. Loni reported on 2011 conference events.
Hattie has scheduled a meeting for next week to begin planning for the 2012 conference in Flagstaff. E-mails are in your box about time and date.
Officer reports will be at the January 2012 meeting.

Financial – Ed Skiba
Ed reported current income and expenditures. The balance following deposits from the calendar, Nolo bait, and a refund from the grant to Sunshine Rescue Mission – expenses for the church - is 1019.15.

Secretary – Loni Shapiro
We still have about 100 calendars. 4 sold this evening. Continuing sales at Warners, CSA, NP & Seed, Extension, and the St. Pius Holiday Bazar. Leftovers will be sold in 2012 at ½ price and give to speakers and give-aways at the Home Show. Profits will be reported in 2012.
Blog – Articles posted about the 2011 Highlands Garden Conference and the weekly garden article from the Daily Sun. Books brought from the conference for all to check out. They are also posted on the blog.
Snack volunteer sign-up was posted and will be brought to the Christmas Party.

8:00pm – 8:20pm Committee Reports:
Continuing Education – See schedule below for current list of talks for 2012. Loni requested ideas for 2012 (Houseplants/Invasive Species/Bulbs) The results will be sent in an e-mail along with previous suggestions for a survey of preferences on the listserv.

Community Programs – Molly Larsen/Julie Holmes
Flagstaff Community Markets
Report sent to Jim Mast for 2011 by Molly Larsen. Will be included in overall report for 2011.
Home Show – see above

Coordination of MG Projects – Linda Guarino – 2011 report forthcoming

Volunteer Support/Social – Hattie Braun & Crys Wells
Crys – membership/volunteer and education hours for October 455 volunteer and 86.25 education hours. Please get your 2011 hours in by the end of the year.
Christmas Party – Dec. 8, 6-8pm, at Julie Holmes, potluck, she will provide ham, appetizers/sides/desserts will be assigned, bring a white elephant gift. Invites will be in e-mail this week.

8:20pm – 8:30pm Garden questions?
Bulb question – What should I do if I don’t get my bulbs in the ground this week? Plant in a pot outside or put in the refrigerator. They need forcing (cold)to produce in 2012.
Loni brought up a tree/shrub idea from the Highlands conference – planting all trees/shrubs bare root. See Loni for idea. Hattie to check on Arizona research on this new way of planting trees.

Next meeting: Christmas Party, December 8, 6-8pm Julie Holmes Home

Future meetings:
January 14 – History of Farming in Flagstaff – Meredith Hartwell
February 12- Topic TBA
March 12 – Tom Bean/Topic TBA
April 12 – Riordan and Pioneer Museum - Joe Meehan/Charlotte Dodgson

Educational and Volunteer Opportunities from the Blog (coconinomgassociation.blogspot

Submitted 11/17/2011
Loni Shapiro & Ann Eagan

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Photovoice Project

Are you interested in FOOD?
Are you interested in helping shape Flagstaff’s FOOD SYSTEM?

If YES, be a part of
Flagstaff’s Food System Photovoice Project!

What is Photovoice?
Photovoice uses cameras and dialogue to bring together community members around an issue and create community leadership. This Photovoice project is interested in identifying opportunities and challenges associated with a local food system in Flagstaff.

What will I do?
This will be a fun and engaging project! If you participate, you must be willing and able to spend some time and energy with the group. There will be two four-hour sessions to 1) become familiar with the Photovoice process, and 2) talk about what you experienced and describe your photographs. In between that time, you will spend a week taking photographs. Also, you must adhere to Photovoice ethics concerning photography and group discussion. All of this will be explained in the initial meeting.

What will I gain from the experience?
Hopefully you will have a fun time, meet new people, and develop new ideas about what a local food system in Flagstaff might look like!

· Must be at least 18 years old and a resident of Northern Arizona.
· Willing and able to commit to one week of photography in October, and attend two four-hour sessions to 1) become familiar with the Photovoice process and 2) talk about what you experienced.
· This project is free to participants and participants will not be compensated monetarily for this project.

Contact Liz Krug to sign up and be a part of this unique project. • (602) 369-0756

Monday, November 14, 2011

1st Planning Meeting for 2012 Highlands Garden Conference

Hello Master Gardeners,

My name is Jo-Anne, and you may or may not know who I am. I'm an AmeriCorps VISTA helping Hattie with the Master Gardener program.

Next year, Coconino County will be hosting the AZ Highlands Garden Conference for 2012. Hattie and I will be needing your assistance to make next year's conference a success. If you are interested in joining our planning committee, please come to the Coconino County Cooperative Extension office located on 2304 N. 3rd St on November 16th from 12-1pm.

Our general agenda will be:
--Appointing a chairperson
--Forming a speaker committee
--Forming a site committee

We hope to see you there. If you have any questions, please feel free to call or email me.

Jo-Anne Barcellano
AmeriCorps VISTA Member
Coconino County Cooperative Extension
The University of Arizona
928-774-1868 ext 100

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Gardening Excetera Column 11/5/11

Dana Prom Smith

“Dysfunctional family” is an epithet often thrown around nowadays, masquerading as a diagnosis. The problem: it’s meaningless because all families are dysfunctional in one way or another. A diagnosis without a difference, it’s like accusing someone of breathing.

We perceive our experiences through the prism of our personal metaphors. Some think that human relationships are like a machine in which everything works efficiently without intimacy, the parts being interchangeable. Others think of them as if they were cupboards or a parts department, pigeon-holing members as though they were objects unrelated to one another. Both metaphors in terms of family relationships lead to alienation because there are no intimate connections.

More functional metaphors for a family are an organism or a fabric in which the members are involved with one another or closely woven. As John Dunne wrote in Meditation XVII, “No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.”

Dysfunctional families pretty much parallel our gardens. When we first moved to Flagstaff 8 years ago, one of the first things I did was to plant a rhododendron and several forsythias largely because I was still enthralled with the beauty of Princeton in the spring, a halcyon experience now 65 years old. A hymn reads, “New occasions teach new duties, time makes ancient good uncouth.” I’d forgotten that.

I enjoyed Latin in school, but not my sons. A year of frustrations and anger was misspent enforcing Latin. I thought they would like what I liked and become what I had in mind. A folly it is to impose our expectations on others contrary to their interests, abilities, and inclinations. Happily, they’ve forgiven me. When they were in their early twenties, I took them out to dinner with my daughter and asked for their forgiveness for all the ill-tempered and stupid things I had done. I would recommend such an event for every parent.

So it is with gardens. Many wonderful plants don’t do well in Flagstaff, but many do. I kept that rhododendron alive for four years as it withered year after year. The forsythia, Shasta daises, blanket flowers, penstemon, and Arizona fescue have prospered beyond my expectations. One sure sign of dysfunction, nay, insanity, is to keep repeating a failure expecting a success. In short, what works are native and adaptive plants.

Our sense of beauty needs to change when we move from one place to another. I was raised in California with orange trees, Meyer lemons, camellias, bougainvillea, avocados, and azaleas. I miss them, but that should not blind me to the beauty of the ponderosa pines, Gambel oaks, sheep fescue, and quaking aspen.

When I moved to Tucson years ago after 8 years in the East and Middle West, I first thought the desert was a waste. After a year, I began to see its beauty, and when I left, I missed its beauty. I still smell creosote bush when it rains. So it is with the High Country. No azaleas, but, ah, the wildflowers.

Also, that maple I planted at the same time as the rhododendron and the forsythias now shades a once beautiful flower bed. The flowers are now pitiful, pathetic, and dysfunctional. I have to transplant them and put in what the arborists call “understory” plants. Gardens evolve just as do families. Those reluctant Latinists are now worthwhile middle-aged men planning their retirements. My daughter now does the Thanksgiving dinner.

Since we’re all dysfunctional, it’s important to look at the whole of the garden and family. Sometimes plants don’t prosper no matter how much care they’re given. No point in blaming the plant or Flagstaff. The big dysfunction is in not accepting one’s dysfunction.

Families bond much like a soldier’s “band of brothers” where forgiveness, tolerance, and trust are the sine qua non of survival and prevalence. So, too, is a garden. Not every member is the same. Not only that, they change with time. Gardens, like our families, are organisms constantly evolving into new shapes and forms. So “faith, hope, love abide, these three.” Gardening and families are acts of all three.
Copyright © Dana Prom Smith 2011

Dana Prom Smith (, edits GARDENING ETCETERA. His email address is