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

Friday, April 22, 2016

Desert Botanical Garden - Special Exhibit through May

On Monday I visited the Desert Botanical Garden night exhibit of Bruce Monroe's light sculptures. It was a beautiful evening, clear and about 70. They were very different than the Chihuly exhibit, but wonderful. See below for one that was purchased by the garden. It appears at the entrance.

The new exhibit is made from plastic bottles with filaments that light up at night and change color. The photos below are of the largest sculpture (about 5 feet tall) in light and darkness.


There is also a field of 4x4x8 blocks of bottles. It was amazing at night. My photo is a bit dark but you can see that there are many of these sculputures with a mountain as a backdrop.

There were also lights going up several of the mountains, small flower structures in the cactus garden
and even some fire flies. If you have some time and want to enjoy the warm weather in Phoenix stop and check out this great exhibit - 6-9pm every evening at the Desert Botanical Garden. We even got in free with our membership from the Arboretum. Reservations are suggested. Call by phone for free tickets with Arb membership.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

CMGA April Lecture and Tour

Jim Mast's greenhouse in Clarkdale
Photo by Loni Shapiro
This month our April lecture "Greenhouse Gardening" was followed by a Saturday tour of Jim Mast's greenhouse and orchard in Clarkdale. The lecture included temperature, light, watering, fertilizing and pests. This was a new hi-tech greenhouse for Jim and he talked about some of the problems: watering by hand, too much moisture, too many plants and insects. We all left green with envy and  knowing more about problem solving in a greenhouse.

After that lecture we headed out to Clarkdale on Saturday morning. We had a beautiful day (about 70) after the snowstorm in Flagstaff (3-4 inches). The greenhouse was full of cool season vegetable planted last fall (broccoli, kale, brussel sprouts, cabbage, etc.),recently planted lettuce bowls, some exotic hanging plants, herbs, and a working experiment Jim is doing for Great Big Plants.
Greenhouse                                                   Mizuna and Purple cabbage
Photos by Jim Mast
Jim also showed us his outside raised bed with onions, garlic, spinach, lettuce, tomatoes, and some herbs. He recently interplanted some corn between onion rows.

If that wasn't enough, we also got to tour his tree orchard across the street which include fruits and nuts; cherry, peach, pear, apples, almonds, and hazelnuts. Jim had tagged all the trees for us and many already had fruit. Once through the orchard we walked on to a tributary of the Verde River with many willows.

Almond Tree and Verde River tributary below orchard
Photos by Loni Shapiro
After our tour through both we had a delightful potluck lunch under the mesquite trees in his back yard. I spent my time watching and listening to the many birds. I even spotted a red cardinal. We decided that we had such a good time that this may become an annual event. Jim and Sheryl are beginning to landscape the rest of their property and it would be fun to see the progress next year. If you missed this lecture and trip just contact Jim and schedule a private tour.

Friday, April 15, 2016

MNA Plant Monitoring Field Trip

Hello plant people,
The Museum of Northern Arizona is looking for a few volunteers to assist our monitoring effort of Navajo pincushion cactus, Pediocactus peeblesianus var. peeblesianus on Wednesday, April 27th. Barb Phillips has three permanent plots near Joseph City and has been monitoring these populations for over 30 years! If we have enough volunteers, we can read all three plots in one day. If you have never seen a Pediocactus, they are quite remarkable. During the winter, they shrink into the ground, and then in late April, they produce a bloom that is larger than the plant itself. But they are tiny and are very difficult to find when they are not in flower. Reading the plot requires crawling on your hands and knees staring at rocks. We'll leave in the morning, drive about 1.5 hours to the site, and aim to be home before dinner. If you are interested in helping out, please contact Kirstin Phillips at We appreciate it.

Thank you,

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

CMGA Yard Sale

Time to clean out our

garden sheds and

garden beds!




Postponed until the weather improves.

Watch this space.


Located At



1300 S. Thompson St.

*turn right off  Old Historic Route 66

Just past Maverick Gas Station

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

April - National Garden Month

Office of the Secretary Washington, D.C. 20250
April 2016

By the Secretary of Agriculture of the United States of America

WHEREAS gardening at home, at school, or within a community is a vibrant American tradition that provides healthy food for the table; pleasant surroundings and recreational benefits for people; and beneficial habitat for wildlife across the Nation; and
WHEREAS gardens provide a positive setting for pollinators such as bats, bees, birds, butterflies, beetles, and other animals that contribute substantially to the U.S. economy and play a vital role in keeping fruits, nuts, and vegetables in our diets; and
WHEREAS the People’s Garden Initiative, launched by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 2009, has resulted in the establishment of more than 2,000 People’s Gardens on public and private lands across the United States and its territories and in 12 foreign countries; and
WHEREAS People’s Gardens serve as helpful models for uniting individuals and groups in a common effort to benefit communities; increase people’s access to fruits and vegetables; conserve water and restore soil health; beautify neighborhoods; provide living laboratories for scientific study; and offer hands-on training in valuable job skills;
NOW, THEREFORE, in recognition of the importance of gardens in fostering a healthy and sustainable environment for current and future generations of people, pollinators, and other living things, I, Thomas J. Vilsack, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, do hereby proclaim April 2016 as National Garden Month. I call upon the people of the United States to join me in celebrating the dedicated work of gardeners and the many benefits of gardens with appropriate observances and activities.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this 16th day of March 2016, the two-hundred fortieth year of the Independence of the United States of America.

From the website for USDA the Peoples Garden Initiative, a proclamation for National Gardening Month and a link to creating a Windowbox for Pollinators (bees) -

Flagstaff Home & Garden Show

Flagstaff Home & Garden Show 2016 Booth

From April 8-10 the Master Gardener Assoc. had a booth and 15 garden/cooking talks at the NAU Fieldhouse. Attendance at the show has decreased over the years, but we were able to help many northern Arizona gardeners and cooks. At the booth there were many questions and much interest in the garden guide and the new Grow Flagstaff Seed Library.
Our new venue in "the Hub" for talks proved to be a nice addition. The room had good sound, comfortable seating, and was convenient to the entrance to the show. We had some good audiences to some truly inspiring talks (over 250 participants). Some were so good that we will repeat a few for our monthly meetings.
Julie Lancaster had the largest audience on Sunday. I am including a couple of handouts you might be interested in including one of hers on "Companion Planting".

Companion Planting
Bringing Beneficial Critters to Your Landscape
Texas Rain Water Garden Plant List -

Thanks to all those who took the time to help set-up/take-down, sit at our booth, and prepare a talk for the show. Special thanks to Jackie Clark who organized the event and spent most of her weekend there, and to Hattie Braun who helped us learn something about PowerPoint and setting up the computer between tennis matches and helping her husband set up a chicken coop. I spent most of my time setting up speakers, learning about computers, and listening to some great talks.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

CMGA Monthly Meeting Agenda April

Coconino Master Gardener Meeting Agenda
Thursday, April 14 – 6:30pm
Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church
1601 N. San Francisco

6:30pm – 6:40pm             Welcome – Jim Mast
·         Need Earthday volunteers
·         Grant applications due in May – new amount $500
6:40pm – 6:45pm             Introduction of Speakers – Loni Shapiro
6:45pm – 7:45pm             Education:  Greenhouse Gardening – Jim Mast

15 minute break

7:45pm– 8:00pm              Refreshments provided by Katrina Karjala and Amy Caldwell
                                             Raffle Prize Drawing – $1 each or 6 for $5 - Must be present to win
8:00pm - 8:25pm              Business Meeting – Jim Mast
                                             MG Coordinator Happenings - Hattie Braun
                                             Financial report – Sue Madden
                                            Committee Reports:
     Volunteer Support – Crys Wells
                                             Fundraising – Sherline Alexander
     Continuing Education – Loni Shapiro
·         June:  Growing Roses at 7,000 Feet – Carol Chicci
·         July:  The Gardens of Paris/France – Molly Larsen; Coconino County Fair preparation
MG Projects – Jackee Alston
    Blog – Loni Shapiro
    Community Markets – Andrea Guerrette
8:25pm – 8:30pm             Gardening Questions?
Next meeting:                  May 12:  Self-watering Containers – Jackie Clark
Educational and Volunteer Opportunities from the blog (

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Native Plant Society Monthly Meeting April

Wendy McBride is a graduate student working on a M.S. degree at Northern Arizona University studying under Dr. Tina Ayers.  Her studies focus on West Clear Creek, a major tributary of the Verde River that harbors numerous native plant species.  West Clear Creek Wilderness covers approximately 13,600 acres and includes 25 miles of West Clear Creek's total 36 mile length.  This flora encompasses the entirety of West Clear Creek Wilderness.  At this talk, Wendy will present what she has learned about the wilderness and it's plants.

We will be meeting at the Shepherd of the Hills Church at 7 PM, on Tues. April 12. The church is planning on remodeling the hall, so in the future the meeting place might be changed.  We will keep all members informed of any changes.

Posted by:

CSA Garden Starts

​                Volunteer and CSA member Deja Walker helping out with thinning last Saturday.
Greetings Gardeners, 
The Garden Starts CSA is off to an extraordinary start this year; the greenhouse is filling up with bright green sprouts, and we have had tremendous volunteer support for all of the many tasks that make this project happen. THANK YOU VOLUNTEERS! We can always use more volunteers, please get in touch with me if you are interested in helping out with any part of the garden starts operation.
It is also extraordinary that we are so close to selling out of shares this early. Thanks to all of you who have signed up, spread the word and made a donation. We have been able to offer 5 scholarships, and we have some extra funds to put towards expanding and planning for the garden starts. We have a very limited number of shares left now, please let me know as soon as possible if you want one. I have attached the registration form and a flyer - please share widely!
On April 16, we'll have our Garden Starts Open House from 9am-12pm at the NAU Greenhouse (#79 on the NAU map, off of Pine Knoll Dr.). You can come visit the greenhouse, see where your starts grow, ask questions about the shares, and sow a flat if you so desire. We can sign people up for shares if there are any left. This is a family-friendly event, so bring the kids (some kids really like seeing the greenhouse and the seedlings).
Many thanks, and we hope to see you soon, 
Regan Emmons
Grow Program Director
P.O. Box 605
Flagstaff, AZ 86002
(mobile) 808-344-0904

Friday, April 1, 2016

Visit to Jim Mast's Orchard and Greenhouse

Jim's Orchard with a Jujube tree
What:            Field Trip to Jim Mast's Orchard and Greenhouse
When:           Saturday,  April 16, 10am -12pm
Where:          128 Rincon Drive, Clarkdale, AZ
                       Map link:,+Clarkdale,+AZ+86324/@34.7743458,-112.0498929,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m2!3m1!1s0x872d11d87f695263:0x64bc4bae373d1fbd

Why:              This will be a follow-up to Jim's talk at the April 14 CMGA Meeting. There will be a potluck lunch to follow. Bring something you would eat for lunch to share with others (fruit or green salad, cheese, cold cuts, desserts) and Sheryl and Jim will provide the drinks. I will bring pulled pork sandwiches. He also asks that you BYOC (bring your own chair for lunch).

The photo above is one that I took while I visited Jim's orchard in the early spring. The orchard is across the street from his home and sits right on the Verde River. Don't miss this chance to see a greenhouse in operation first hand, and a beautiful fruit and tree orchard. It will be early in the garden season but remember we will be in the Verde Valley. 
Any questions should be directed to Jim at our next meeting on April 14 when he will talk about greenhouse gardening or you can reach him online at