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

Book Reviews

Please send book reviews to Loni Shapiro (

January 25, 2014
Straw Bale Gardens
About the breakthrough method for growing vegetables anywhere, earlier and with no weeding. Covers:
. Get high yields
. Never need weeding
. Do not require soil
. Extending the growing season by weeks
. Can be conventional or 100% organic
. Can go anywhere; even balconies and driveways
Available at Amazon for about $13.00.

April 21, 2013
Growing Foods in the Southwest Mountains (4th Edition)
Lisa Rayner
Whether you are a weekend gardener who has never heard of permaculture or an avid gardener using the permaculture approach, this book will help you grow food under the most challenging of circumstances. Growing Food in the Southwest Mountains will teach you how to garden in dry weather, high winds, intense sunlight, cold nights, temperature fluctuations, summer heat, poor soil, insect pests, weeds and other challenges of the high-elevation Southwest.

April 8, 2012
Plant Reintroduction in a Changing Climate: Promises and Perils
Edited by Joyce Maschinski and Kristin E. Haskins, past and present Directors of Research at the Arboretum.
This is an essential conservation tool, for anyone conducting reintroductions. It is a storehouse of information for conservationists faced with a rapidly changing global climate. Useful for those doing rare plant reintroductions.

Non-Native Invasive Plants of Arizona
Produced by: Conservation Districts and RC&D Areas of Az, and the U. of A Cooperative Extension 2009
Useful little pocket book with photos, descriptions, origin, and distribution of local invasive species.
Sells for $8.

50 Common Insects of the Southwest
Carl Olsen
Publisher - Western National Parks Association, 2004
This has been around for a while but you may have missed it. A wonderful book from one of our favorite High Country Garden Speakers. Great photos, descriptions, and as usual from Carl benefits/problems. It sells for $10.

December 20, 2011
How to Grow Fresh Air
50 Houseplants that Purify Your Home or Office

Dr. B.C. Wolverton, Penguin Books, 1996
In research designed to create a breathable environment for a NASA lunar habitat, noted scientist Dr. B>C. Wolverton discovered that houseplants are the best filters of common pollutants such as ammonia, formaldehyde, and benzene. The book reviews what plants are the best at removing pollutants from the air you breath. Paperback $18.

Eat Your Yard
Nan K. Chase, Gibbs Smith Publishing, 2010
A book about edible trees, shrubs, vines, herbs and flowers for your landscape that provide fruits, nuts, herbs and seeds that your can eat. She provides ideas for growing, preserving, and even recipes for use.
Paperback $20.

What's Wrong With My Vegetable Garden?
David Deardorff and Kathryn Wadsworth, Timber Press, Portland, OR, 2011
Detailed portraits of the most commonly grown vegetables, including growth habit; information on the plant's season; temperature, soil, light, and water requirements; and best garden uses and planting techniques. Solutions are organic.
Paperback $25

November 1, 2011
The Informed Gardener & The Informed Gardener Blooms Again (2 books), Linda Chalker-Scott, University of Washington Press, Seattle, 2008 & 2010.

These are two wonderful books that look at garden myths. Each one explores about 30 different myths. One of the ones she covered at the Highlands Garden Conference was about planting trees and shrubs. This is a must read as it is totally different that what we have all been doing for years.
Quote from the back cover:
"A no-nonsense, no-hype, nothing-to-sell-but-the-truth voice that straddles an important line between hearsay gardening and scientific fact in ornamental horticulture."
Ketzel Levine "Talking Plants" NPR
Cost at conference was $20 each.

Cactus of Arizona
Nora and Rick Bowers, and Tan Tekiela, Adventure Publications, Cambridge, MN., 2008.

A field guide to learn about and identify cactus in Arizona. It includes range maps, photos, and describes parts of cactus.
Listed price $14.95.
November 28, 2010
Good Bug - Bad Bug
Who's, Who, What They Do, and How to Manage Them Organically
Jessica Walliser, St. Lynn's Press, Pittsburg, PA, 2008

A great organic garden tool to easily identify and manage the good and bad bugs in your garden. She talks about the damage, what the bug looks like, plants they attack, and biological controls as well as preventive action.

What's Wrong Wth My Plant and How do I Fix It?
A Visual guide to Easy Diagnosis and Organic Remedies
David Deardorff and Kathryn Wadsworth,Timber Press, Portland, OR, 2009

Easy to use book that lets you first identify and find the symptoms, then tells you how to fix it, and includes a gallery of photos of all common problems.

The Ultimate Guide to Backyard Bugs
Garden Insects of North America
Whitney Cranshaw, Princeton University Press,
Princeton and Oxford, Princeton, New Jersey, 2004

The most comprehensive and user-friendly guide to the common insects and mites affecting yard and garden plants in the continental US and Canada. In a manner no previous book has come close to achieving, through full-color photos and concise, clear, scientifically accurate text, it describes the vast majority of species associated with shade trees and shrubs, turfs and ornamental plants, vegetables and fruits.
$30 in soft cover

September 26, 2010
Durable Plants for the Garden - A Plant Selection Guide
Colorado State University, Denver Botanic Gardens, Green Industries of Colorado, James E. Henrich, Editor, Fulcrum Publishing, Golden, CO, 2009

A great book for plant selection for the arid, high elevation west. Very detailed information about the benefits and drawbacks about specific plants.
August 31, 2010
Simple Prosperity: Finding Real Wealth in a Sustainable Lifestyle
David Wann, St. Martins Press, NY, NY, 2007.

Simple Prosperity is a new way of investing in yourself and your life that will save your sanity and the planet. His ideas are a breath of fresh air in our society based on consumption. They include research, and down-to-earth advice we can all use to decrease our footprint on the planet.

April 12, 2010
Digging Deep: Unearthing Your Creative Roots Through Gardening
Fran Sorin, Warner Books, NY, 2004

Gardening is a natural way to give shape to your dreams, define your personal style, and help you bloom along with your flowers. In Digging Deep, garden designer Fran Sorin share her intimate quest to "think outside the vase" in her own garden and the world beyond it.
A great book for thinking about creativity, whether you are a beginner or life-long gardener.

Local Flavors: Cooking and Eating From America's Farmer's Markets
Deborah Madison, Broadway Books, New York, NY, 2002

First published in hardcover in 2002, this book was ahead of it's time. With current imported food scares and the the latest infatuation with fresh, local, organically produced foods, this book is very timely.
When I go to the Sunday market I see many interesting vegetables, but often am not sure what I could do with them. This book tells you about them, their benefits, and easy ways to cook them. It is now available in paperback for $26, with over 400 pages and beautiful photos.

Food Rules
Michael Pollan, Penguin Books, London, England, 2009

The latest Pollan book is called An Eaters Manual: A Definitive Compendium of Food Wisdom. With all the ever more elaborate diets and conflicting health advice, this little book simplifies our daily decisions about healthy eating. It is tough, witty, and clear in it's explanations of the value of certain foods. Just $11 in paperback.

Field Guide to Forest & Mountain Plants of Northern Arizona
Judith D. Springer, Mark L. Daniels, Mare Nazaire, Northern Arizona Ecological Restoration Institute, Flagstaff, AZ, 2009

This is the first book of its kind for the forested and high elevation ecosystems of northern and eastern Arizona. The guide distinguishes over 1400 species found in the region, with complete descriptions and line drawings for 785, as well as identification keys to numerous families and genera. Comprehensive coverage is combined with an easy-to-use format, numerous ethnobotanical and ecological notes, and almost 300 color photos. Available at the NAU bookstore for $30.

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