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

Monday, January 23, 2012

Looking for Worms or Compost Tea

Spring Planting time is near. Let NAU Botany Club help with your garden. We have the following items for sale:

*worm castings
1) 4 gal bags (approx 22 lbs): $20
2) 1 gal bags (approx 2.4 lbs.): $5.00
*worms suitable for the kitchen size indoor composter: 1 container: $5.00
*worm tea (liquid from the bottom of the worm bedding): SPECIAL THROUGH FEBRUARY
Free if you bring your own container-- limit 1 liter per visit, $2.00 per container if you don't have your own. (NAU containers are various and assorted sizes)
Everything available for pick up Friday afternoons 3 - 5 p.m. (when school is in session).

Location: NAU teaching greenhouse, south end of Liberal Arts Building (#18); the greenhouse is #18A
Here is the link to a NAU campus map.
Click on link (above) - Top left-hand corner of web page there should be a search bar "Buildings (A-Z)"
· Search the Biology Greenhouse (18A) in the list of campus locations.
· A yellow balloon should pop-up on the nau map indicating location of the greenhouse.

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

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Minutes for Meeting 1/12/12

Master Gardener Meeting Minutes 1/12/12
Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church
1601 N. San Francisco

6:30pm-6:40pm Welcome – Agenda Debi Stalvey
Brief review of agenda for the evening
Memberships solicited for 2012 – includes discounts at Viola’s, Warner’s, and Native Plant and Seed. Profits last year supported 2 master gardener projects,rent for facility, and sponsorship of the Arboretum newsletter.
Introduction of speaker

6:40pm-7:30pm Continuing Education
History of Farming in Flagstaff
Speaker: Meredith Hartwell

Ms. Hartwell obtained her Master of Arts from NAU in Sustainable Environments with a focus on sustainable agriculture/horticulture. Her talk was the topic of her thesis. This evening she shared information on the history of farming in the Flagstaff area. She shared maps on the size of acreage and location of farms. Crops she reviewed were potatoes, beans, grains, corn, lettuce, sustenance crops, and fruit from the Sedona area. She had many photos she obtained from the Extension office of farms, equipment, farming practices of the time, children learning about farming, and previous Extension agents who counseled farmers.
The last part of her talk was about why large farms disappeared in the Flagstaff area – draught/2 policies/and a dam. It included weather (drought in the 50’s), the Soil Bank Program, the Highway Act road construction, and building the Glen Canyon Dam.
The topic was of interest to many in Flagstaff. More than 60 attended. If you are interested in any further information or her entire thesis contact her at:

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Flagstaff CSA Starts

Attached is a note from the Seedling CSA about their registration. Contact Jen at the e-mail address below for any further info.
Link to registration form

Hello Flagstaff Garden Folks! It is once again that time of year to sign up for the Flagstaff Garden Starts CSA! See the attached file for the registration form and tentative pick-up schedule. Please note that this year checks need to be made out to Flagstaff Foodlink. We have aquired more greenhouse space to grow your veggies, so it would be great if you could forward this e-mail to your friends and family, as we can now sell many more shares. We begin growing in February, so please send in your registration form by the end of the month. E-mail if you have any questions about our program. We look forward to seeing you in the Spring!

Flagstaff Garden Starts CSA

Friday, January 6, 2012

AZ Highlands Garden Conference Meeting

We will hold the next meeting for the 2012 AHCG on Tuesday, Jan. 10 at noon here at the extension office. Please join us if you are interested in helping with the conference. E-mail me if you want to help but can’t attend the meeting. I’ve listed the folks who have already volunteered to help.

Items to be covered are:
· Welcome (and a huge thank you) to Ann Eagan and Sherline Alexander who have volunteered to be co-chairs
· Conference site and date (Val Bryant, Julie Homes, Lee Webster, and Crys Wells)
· Finalize speaker committee (Melissa Amberson, Jim Mast, Crys Wells, Ann Eagan and Jo-Anne Barcellano)
· Formation of other committees including garden tours (Tess Wymore), fundraising, vendors (Jim Mast and Julie Homes), welcome bags, speaker and volunteer BBQ (need location for 40+ people), registration, publicity (Melissa Amberson) and door prizes
· Future meetings

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

CMGA Annual Report 2011

January: The CMGA moved to our new meeting venue at Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church. We started the year with total funds of $1014.01 on deposit at the ACCU. Officers and committee chairs for the year were Jim Mast, President, Crys Wells, Vice-President, Loni Shapiro, Secretary, Ed Skiba, Treasurer, Val Bryant, Historian, Dana Prom Smith and Loni Shapiro, Education Committee Chairs, Molly Larsen and Julie Holmes, Community Support Committee Chairs, Linda Guarino, Master Gardener Projects Committee Chair, and Crys Wells Master Gardener Support Chair. The monthly membership meeting was held on January 13. Bea Cooley spoke on “Bird-Loving Plants.” Ed began collecting the $10 annual membership dues. Discounts included with membership were negotiated with Viola’s Flower Garden, Warners Nursery, and Flagstaff Native Plant & Seed. Crys Wells printed up and distributed the membership badges, which served as both I.D. badges at the meetings and discount cards as above.

February: Bi-laws were changed to reflect new membership rules. The monthly meeting was held on February 10 with Freddi Steele presenting a program on “Spiders of the Winter.”

March: The regular meeting was held on March 10 with Linda Neff presenting “Chaa Organic Farm in Belize.” A major event, our participation in the Flagstaff Home and Garden Show, was held March 25, 26, and 27 at the old Mega Food Building on 4th St. Faith Brittain and Pauli Velie did an outstanding job chairing this event. They recruited 22 Master Gardeners to staff the booth with at least two people there at all times. A total of 8 talks were presented over the three day event. Many thanks to all who helped with this big project.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Gardening Excetera Column 12/31/11


Dana Prom Smith

“I knew it! I just knew it! I’ve told you so often that you never listen!” Meine ┼░berfrau was responding to the news that I’ve lost some hearing in my left ear for high decibel, highly pitched voices and sounds, the ear I use when listening to lots of people. “It’s not only that,” she continued, “you just tune out lots of times, like in restaurants and noisy meetings, like you’re floating around in midair in some kind of alternate reality. It’s like you’re not there, and I wonder where you are.”

When the audiologist peered into my ears, she said, “Oh, good, they’re clean.” What a relief! After sitting in a claustrophobic cell straining to hear barely audible sounds, she showed me a chart on which the lines plummeted at high-pitched sounds. Then she asked me if I could hear what people were saying in the next room. Puzzled at the question, I said, “Why should I?” I’ve heard enough for a lifetime.

The Preacher in Ecclesiastes was close, “There is no new thing under the sun.” While that’s true, there’s more to it than that. There’s too much noise. There’s not enough time to think, let alone to think before speaking. We live in a society of hard surfaces and rectangles, reverberating harsh messages in strident voices, the clipped brutalities of corporate functionaries. We are overwhelmed by noise. The Swiss philosopher, Max Picard, wrote: “Nothing has changed the nature of man so much as the loss of silence.”

The silence of life in a garden is a boon to the ear, left or right. It’s not the absence of sound, but the silence of life. There is a great line in Genesis 3:8, “And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day.” The prophet imagined hearing a footfall, the brush of branches against a thigh, a sigh on catching the scent of a rose, the hushed flurry of insects, all indicating a Presence yet unseen. It’s quiet in the cool of the day when the noise of the day is over. It’s in that pause after the heat and clamor when the gloaming draws nigh. Eugene Mason, an English poet at the turn of the 20th century, wrote: “I all but touch Him with my outstretched arm.”

Such a time is the reward of gardening. It’s that time when one can sit down and gather the pieces of oneself, having been scattered throughout the day. There’s something special about a garden in the cool of the day. It’s elemental, connecting all the five senses to the sensations of the garden. It’s gardening with the left ear when everything has been said, shutting out the hard-surfaced noises of shiny, impenetrable buildings, and listening to the silences of life, to Elijah’s “small voice of stillness.”

Simon and Garfunkel’s Sounds of Silence is about an urban bleakscape where the voices are “talking without speaking,” and “hearing without listening.” It is the silences of indifference, deafened in the racket of subway walls. The voices of a garden’s silences are different, not hard-edged, but soft, the kind that one strains to hear for the listening.

Every garden needs a bench, a chair, or a large rock on which one sat sit and listen to the silences of nature. Cicero, the Roman nobleman, statesman, and father of rhetoric, said, “If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.”

A good resolution for the New Year is a life attuned to the silences of a garden, a winter’s snowfall, the scent of a rose haunting the air, the songs of birds, the scurrying of squirrels chasing each other upon and down the trunk of a tree. What Picard said of the forest can be said of a garden: “The forest is like a great reservoir of silence out of which the silence trickles.” In a society geared to the harsh, to strident voices, to false promises, to everything hard-edged, the garden is a place to hear a Presence unseen yet heard in silence.

Copyright © Dana Prom Smith 2011
Dana Prom Smith, editor of GARDENING ETCETERA, can be reached at and blogs at