CBMGA 2016 – A Year of Accomplishments
Wow, what an outstanding year 2016 has been for Cypress Basin Master Gardeners
Association. And there is no question it would not have been nearly as
outstanding without great hardworking members. We have been fortunate in so many
ways including the outstanding leadership provided by our executive board. This
journey will give a glance back over 2016 showing where we have been and what we
have done. The chart below shows 50 projects, events, field trips and awards. Each Month and each item links to a short narrative and picture. And this journey begins with a letter from our President, Sharon
This has been a fun, productive year. Check the list in this newsletter to remind us of all we have done in 2016. I appreciate every ounce of effort you have put into the organization. We can’t do what we are capable of doing without each of you contributing in an area where you are comfortable and having fun.
2017 will not look like 2016 but it too can be as good. I feel we are building on what past groups and officers have done as we continue to expand and improve. None of our accomplishments have happened because of one single person or a few different people. It happens when we are able to work together focusing on the
desired outcomes. Because we are people, there will be hiccups and times when we don’t all agree, but those times can be worked through as we remember our common purpose.
Kenny Rollins is retiring as County Agent and we are going to miss him A LOT. He has been wonderful to work with, supporting what Master Gardeners do and always complimentary of the results of our labors. When we look around at other counties and groups, I am sure we realize how fortunate we have been. As we go
forward until his successor is named, we will keep doing what we have been doing. Many among us have lots of knowledge and are willing to share that with the organization and new interns beginning January 3, 2017.
Membership requirements for 2017, which begin January 1, will be dues of $20, 6 CEU’s as before, and 25 volunteer hours. Attending the meetings will earn you the CEU’s and 2 hours per month will almost fulfill the volunteer hour requirement.
Remember, we are not a garden club. We are Master Gardeners with the mission of serving and educating. We will continue to fulfill that mission as we enter 2017.
Thank you for 2016 and looking forward to 2017,
Sharon Cowan, President
We wish to acknowledge and offer our heartfelt thanks for the generosity shown to Cypress Basin Master Gardeners Association by:
The Titus County Commissioners
for donating the resurfacing of the parking lot at the extension office, numerous loads of dirt used in the construction of new beds, and for our new sign that clearly identifies the Extension office and the Master Gardens.
for donating numerous items that helped in our annual plant sale, the construction of the path around our Superstar® Beds, and the construction of our demonstration beds in our Greenhouse.
Kenny Rollins for being one of if not the best County Extension Agent in Texas. His support in working with the Cypress Basin Master Gardener Association to improve our Master Gardens, improve and grow CBMGA and to help educate and serve our four county area.
We can’t thank you enough for sponsoring our group allowing us to better serve the surrounding community. Kenny is retiring soon. We wish him the best in whatever the future has in store for him. We will miss him.
2016 – In Review
Nineteen new interns began the classes for Master Gardeners in January. A love of gardening and search for knowledge is central to why Master Gardeners join the program. In January through March, interns at Cypress Basin Master Gardeners met each Tuesday and Thursday evening from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM in order to earn their certification. Interns meet minimum of 50 hours for instruction covering topics such as growing fruits and vegetables, landscaping, annuals and perennials, environmental conservation, plant selection and propagation, plant pathology, soil science, entomology, and Earth Kind gardening. In addition to learning, interns were provided the opportunity to interact with certified Master Gardeners and enjoy the delicious food provided by members.
The 2016 Bed heads Jill Klepzig and Ladd Winkleblack along with a lot of help from many Master Gardeners created a variety of beds that not only demonstrate that raising your own vegetables does not take a lot of space but that the beds can be constructed of a variety of
materials in assorted shapes and sizes to fit almost any homeowner’s available space. Six different raised beds were built in the greenhouse to show that growing vegetables in the garden does not necessarily take a lot of space or equipment. The raised beds are: treated lumber and polycarbonate raised bed;
concrete retaining garden wall cap raised bed; round cafe-rumblestone blocks raised bed; treated lumber raised bed; rectangular rumblestone block raised bed and keyhole garden raised bed. The beds that were finished this year were the Keyhole bed and a round stone bed. The beds have produced a variety of greens to use in fresh salads with over 200 pounds donated to SAFE-T.
Under the direction of the bed head for the new bulb bed, Kay Miller, we built a bed just for bulbs, corms, rhizomes and tubers that all bloom. The goal was an attempt to have at least one variety in bloom every month. It turns out that is more difficult than it
sounds. The bed is a raised bed approximately seven feet by sixteen feet built on a slope. The front of the bed is about 12” above the ground and the back corner is almost three feet above the ground. The bed contains almost 60 different varieties of bulbs, corms, rhizomes and tubers consisting of over 500 individual plants. For interest and a little shade over some of the plants the bed includes a Rising Sun Red Bud tree. The bed was completed in the early part of February and the bulbs couldn’t wait to get started.
CBMGA has a plant sale every May to raise money for the group and to provide the community with plants that are known to do well in our area. Members propagate plants all year but in late winter, very early spring our members take cuttings from various plants and start the process of propagation. Propagating plants for the plant sale is a key opportunity for interns to gain hands-on experience in propagating and to interact with more expert master gardeners. Brugmansia (Angel Trumpet) cuttings planted in the fall were separated and transplanted to large pots. Other perennials were separated and planted in 4 or 6 inch pots in preparation for the plant sale.
Then when our plant sale arrives we have thriving plants started from established plants that grow in our area work on starting new plants. And all through the year- more propagation
Greenhouses have a tendency to get too warm too early in the spring without proper venting. Our group is fortunate to have some individuals with experience in electrical wiring. Mike Deming and Harry Farraugh volunteered to install and wire the two vent fans in our greenhouse. They can be thermostatically controlled or just turned on.
CBMGA started a new tradition in 2016. Members were required to give at least 12 hours of volunteer time to maintain their accreditation as a Texas Master Gardener. To recognize those members that went above and beyond, CBMGA gave a Gold Shovel Award to all members who volunteered 100 hours or more. Here members from left to right and top to bottom are John O’Connor, Keith Kridler, Tommy Morgeson, Andre’ Brogoitti, Judy Johnson Russell, Jim Falk, Deloris O’Connor, Sharon Cowan (President), Margaret Lawson, Kay Miller (Vice-President), Debbie Dewolfe, Helen Brunsen, Glenda Brogoitti and not shown Ladd Winkleblack all earned their Golden Shovel Award for service in 2015.
Under the direction of bed head Roger Farr, a blueberry bed was planted in March. The bed was constructed as a raised bed over an old asphalt parking area. Six different varieties of rabbiteye blueberries were planted: Alapaha, Austin, Brightwell, Climax, Powderblue and Tifblue. Members and interns planted and maintained the blueberries and are looking forward to fruit in the spring.
An addition to our website was started in 2015 that lets visitors to our site view some of the amazing work our members have done at our CBMGA Master Gardens. Each bed is represented on the web where a visitor can click to go to any bed or area and then click to get detailed information on any plant in our beds. This year we added QR Codes to each of the beds so that any visitor that physically tours the grounds will find a QR code in each bed or area. They can then point their smartphone at the QR code and it will take them to the web page for that bed where they can then check out every plant in that bed. Below are a couple of QR codes that will take you to the labeled bed or area.
This year, CBMGA took several outstanding group field trips. The first one of the year was to the Dallas Arboretum for their Dallas Blooms show. And the blooms were nothing short of stunning. The weather was perfect and what a wonderful place to for a group that loves gardening to spend a super day enjoying the flowers, plants, and great camaraderie and friends.
CBMGA participated in an Earthkind® Rose Trial run by Dr. George of Texas A&M. The trial was established as research to find the best varieties of roses to grow in Texas. The trial lasted three years and was completed in March of 2016. The trial required coordination by bedhead Rosemary Morgeson to ensure the blooms on each plant were counted, the fragrance evaluated, the overall aesthetics of the plant evaluated among other criteria periodically on a schedule throughout the trial. The plants could not be dead headed, sprayed with any fertilizer or insecticide and could only be given water during extreme
drought. Rosemary kept meticulous records throughout the trial consolidating all documentation and turned that over to Dr. George in March. The trial rose beds will now be re-allocated to other purposes and CBMGA will develop a rose area on the south end of the extension property.
CBMGA was contacted by the Pioneer Club of Pittsburg to conduct a tour of our Master Gardens. Of course we were thrilled to show off our gardens and all of the work our bedheads have done. We served the group coffee and breakfast snacks as their group all arrived at the Titus County Extension Office. Once all were assembled, each bedhead or bed representative gave a brief presentation on each of the beds or areas.
Texas Wildscapes is a habitat restoration and conservation plan for rural and urban areas. It enables Texans to contribute to wildlife conservation by developing wildlife habitats where they live, work and play. Through Wildscapes, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department encourages landowners to restore habitat, for birds, insects, reptiles and even small mammals, on their properties. Rosemary Morgeson, one of our long time Master Gardeners and past president sought this information out and through numerous conversations and a stack of paperwork applied for CBMGA’sWoodland Trail to be designated as a Wildscapes Wildlife Demonstration Site and in April she and Tommy Morgeson presented the awarded recognition to CBMGA.
Another great field trip organized by our VP Kay Miller was the one to SFA’s Spring Plant Sale and their Arboretum. Most everyone brought home a car full of plants from the sale and then enjoyed touring the local arboretum. Organized into various plant types each area offered its own special views but one area stood out to this photographer. There was a woodland area of sorts that held what was labeled as a native azalea which was gorgeous in the middle of a wooded area.
Every year on the first weekend in May, CBMGA holds its Annual Plant Sale and Exp. Our plant sale is unique in that a significant percentage if not majority of the plants we sell are propagated by our Master Gardeners from their own plants or the plants we grow in the Master Gardens. This guarantees the plants are grown right here in this area. Planning and propagating starts almost immediately after one plant sale ends and continues until the following plant sale. We almost always have a large turnout from the community as people start calling and stopping by the extension office weeks before the sale asking when it is going to be.
Just like most avid gardeners, when we get started we have a hard time stopping as long as there is more ground that we can plant in. The Vegetable Bed covered just a part of the available dirt at the end of our raised beds of Blueberries, Herbs, Blackberries and Roses so what else could we do but make the vegetable bigger. Mary Christensen is bedhead for the vegetable bed and saw an opportunity to increase the size of the veggie bed, enlisted some of the other Master Gardeners and presto changeo we have a vegetable bed almost twice the size it was in 2015.
This year our group obtained a once in a lifetime field trip to an exclusive private estate that most members had only been able to admire just a small part of from a distance. We are extremely grateful to the owners for allowing us to share the outstanding landscaping that their property encompasses. Wow, what an experience.
CBMGA added a Woodland Trail to the Master Gardens over the past few years bringing it to fruition in 2015. Then in 2016 Mike and Martha Deming and Harry Farraugh added the a wonderful entrance to our Woodland Trail and adding a beautiful sign finishing the entrance so visitors know exactly where the trail begins.
The Greenhouse and Demonstration Gardens has been an ongoing project for a couple of years now. It really took hold in 2015 when raised beds were constructed in the greenhouse to demonstrate some options for building raised beds in which to grow vegetables. But the floor of the greenhouse was just never finished until this year. We wanted something that would hold up, and yet be something that another group of Master Gardeners could change if they wanted. We settled on crushed rock as a floor base that was put down. It allows water to run through so there is never any standing water. It is on top of a heavy duty nursery type ground cloth to keep gophers and weeds from coming up from the ground. And it will virtually never wear out.
Members and interns attended the East Texas Field Day in Overton. The field trials featured more than 500 varieties of ornamental plants and vegetables for public viewing, along with discussions by experts at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center in Overton. This event allows gardeners, professional landscape managers and seed company representatives to learn which landscape plants do well under East Texas conditions. Members and interns enjoyed a delicious barbecue lunch provided courtesy of seed companies and other field day sponsors. They were also able to attend programs in the afternoon. Although it was a hot summer day, the Overton Field Day was an outstanding and informative field trip for all who attended.
What go be better, folks who love plants visiting a blueberry farm learning about growing blueberries and then picking as many of the fat, luscious, sweet, bright blue berries to take home and enjoy. The group received a CEU for the information on how to grow blueberry plants and what kind grow best in our area.
Every year at the Texas Master Gardener Conference, a number of awards are given out to individual Master Gardener groups. The award categories are youth, project, education program, written education, research, Marva E. Beck JMG Leader of the Year, Outstanding Individual Master Gardener, and Outstanding Master Gardener Association. This year we had two of our Master Gardeners put together the required documents and submitted them to the Texas Master Gardeners for consideration. The documents were covering the Earthkind® Rose Trials that CBMGA participated in for three years. Not only did CBMGA receive an award for the research but the work done by Martha Deming and Phylixcia Moore garnered First Place for CBMGA. The work was submitted for review for 2015 but the awards are not given out until the 2016 Conference.
Keith Kridler with one of his amazing talents demonstrated to the group what could be done with different areas of the property. There was an area that was pretty much just grass that he planted sunflowers in and then over the summer anyone who visited the gardens witnessed a beautiful display of giant yellow blooms.
Mark and Rhonda Lesher graciously offered to host a July 4th party at their beautiful property. Everyone who knows Rhonda knows she does it up right. Everyone brought goodies to eat and lots of choices for a cold beverage in July. Great group of folks celebrating the birth of the greatest country on the planet.
You know how one thing leads to another and another, well Dale Vanhoose and Rhonda Lesher (already in the A&M Earthkind® Grape Trials) got to thinking, we need an Earthkind® grape bed in the Master Gardens. So before that can go in, access to water needed to be installed and since it was being extended for the future grape beds, why not go ahead and extend it over to a point closer to the south end of the property where more beds are located and more beds are planned. One thing and then another and another 😉
At one time we shared a small area of the property with the Native Plant Society where they planted several of the native species around East Texas. Our group decided to take over the bed, relocated it and expand it. Glenda Brogoitti stepped up to become the bedhead for the
relocated Texas Native Plants Bed and this is some of its journey.
One of the more time consuming jobs every year at CBMGA is watering all of the plants in the beds. Some of the beds have been put on timers and are watered automatically. But some of our beds were not and that meant someone had to show up and water those beds by hand. Our Front Office Beds were some of those beds. This year Tommy Morgeson connected all of the front office beds together and installed a manual timer/valve that allows someone to stop by, set the time/valve to the allotted time and forget it. The timer waters for the set time and then turns off. Everyone who has been on watering has really appreciated the new addition.
And as much time as some of the other beds took to water, our veggie bed seemed to take forever, and it did take a long time especially since we expanded the vegetable bed by at least 50% this year. That meant even more time would be spent watering to make sure our vegetables didn’t suffer from that good old Texas summer heat. This year however, Tommy Morgeson and Andre Brogoitti installed tall sprinkler heads to water the entire vegetable garden and put them on a manual count down timer/valve. Now all any of the members of CBMGA has to do is to stop by the extension office on a watering day, turn the timer/valve on and it will automatically water and shut off. With the expanded veggie bed this has been a huge time saver. Great job guys!
Part of CBMGA’s mission is to serve and educate the public in horticultural topics. As part of that mission an event was scheduled at Campbell Edwards Elementary School in Mt. Pleasant, Tx. to celebrate Earth Day. Keith Kridler and Kay Green attended the event and spoke with the students about Earth Day and presented them with some trees to plant.
Hügelkultur is a composting process employing raised beds constructed from decaying wood debris and other compostablebiomass plant materials. The process helps to improve soil fertility, water retention, and soil warming, thus benefiting plants grown on or near such mounds. Michael Clark, a member of the last graduating class, stepped up to take control of our hügelkulture areas. Two hügelkultur areas were started this year around stumps from fallen trees. The largest bed is behind the greenhouse and will provide a large raised area to plant more vegetables. The beds are still being filled with brush, fallen branches, compost, and mulch. Eventually, the beds will be covered with at least six inches of topsoil. The next few years should bring interesting results as the materials begin to decompose and add rich nutrients to the soil.
Part of CBMGA’s Mission is to serve the public through education. Habitat for Humanity has helped a couple of people in their quest to acquire a home, a house that they can call their own. Habitat does not just build a house and give it to someone. Individuals are vetted and
must contribute their own man hours to the construction. Habitat homeowners help build their own homes alongside volunteers and pay an affordable mortgage. Many people think they are just given a house and that is not the case. Where does CBMGA come in? A house without some kind of landscaping is not much more than a box that can hold people. Putting landscaping, even a meager amount around that box makes it a real home. CBMGA helps the new homeowner by teaching them what plants will work in their environment. Plants that they can afford. And plants that they can manage. Some plants need a lot of attention and others can get by almost on their own. So CBMGA helps the new homeowner understand what they can use and manage and will be there for years to come.
The north parking lot had gotten fairly rough as it not been resurfaced in a number of years. Several of the members brought this to the attention of Kenny Rollins, our sponsor and extension agent, asking him to take the matter to the County Commissioners. Kenny did and the County Commissioners came through. They had the crews bring several loads of asphalt to the extension office, brought in graders and rollers to smooth the new asphalt and the parking lot now looks great. CBMGA would like to thank the County Commissioners for bringing the parking lot back up to grade.
Ladd Winkleblack was the bedhead over the Greenhouse and Demonstration Gardens during construction of the raised beds and for most of 2016. The Greenhouse houses our irrigation controller and some of the ports were dedicated to providing timed watering to the raised beds in the Greenhouse. Ladd and Tommy Morgeson added drip irrigation in stages to each of the raised beds over this past year.
Master Gardeners are almost always trying to find a way to incorporate more flowers, more plants, just more into their landscaping. It must be some kind of addiction. I know it is at my house and it must be generally addictive. The grounds had a spot that needed just a little cleaning up and we could add yet another feature to the Master Gardens. Sue and
Roger Farr (you’ve seen their names before and will again) thought a wildflower area would add interest to our Master Gardens so Sue stepped up as the bedhead of the newly created wildflower areas. They were so enthused, we added two instead of just one.
We can’t wait until spring 2017. They
should be just magnificent.
Although CBMG traditionally sets up a booth to provide information to the community, this year, we expanded participation by participating in the Pioneer Day Parade. Under the direction of Noelle Hood, the very first annual CBMG Kazoo Band performed an assortment of high octane tunes. Marching in the parade with the band was our very own giant Mr. Potato (AKA auxiliary member Dave Miller) – in honor of our gardening heritage. The participation in the parade garnered laughs and smiles from the audience and proved that not only do we know about gardening, but we also know how to have fun! To finish off the activities, at the end of the day, a giant flash rain storm hit the area and members had to rush to take down the booth. This was a memorable summer event for CBMG.
Another opportunity for CBMGA to provide a presence for the community to answer questions about gardening and other horticultural topics is the Titus County Fair. For as long as I know of, CBMGA has had a booth at the fair to share information with the public and use the time as a small fund raiser by selling bulbs, a significant portion of which are donated from the Master Gardeners own gardens. Debbie Dewolfe coordinates a number of our events and does a super job.
Remember back in July we extended our controlled water to the south end of the property because we were adding an Earthkind® grape bed? Well we got our grape bed in. Lots of folks, lots of muscle but the results look amazing. Keith Kridler headed up the construction of the bed with Dale Vanhoose stepping up to be the bedhead of the new Earthkind® Grape Beds.
Not a lot to show here since this bed will not actually be done until 2017 but as a result of so many butterflies showing up in the Master Gardens this year, one of our most recent graduates, Regina Clark volunteered to head up a Butterfly Garden and has planned what it will consist of. Here is why Regina jumped at creating a butterfly garden.
Oh, did I mention Regina is just crazy
about butterflies? 😉 We are looking forward to the finished garden.
And Kay Miller stacks up another successful field trip with the help of Debbie Dewolfe of the Los Piños Winery Tour. The folks at Los Piños could not have been nicer and provided a great tour of not only their orchards but of the winery itself. Tremendous information on grapes and the process of making wine. So many Master Gardeners signed up for this field trip, it took two tours. We had one group in the morning and another in the afternoon with an overlap where both groups met for lunch in the Los Piños restaurant. The tour was informative, the food was good and the friendship
shared was over the top.
CBMGA at Lunch
at Los Piños
CBMGA participated in the A&M research project on Earthkind® Roses. it was a three year research project that recorded a number of criteria on the roses in the trial from number of blooms, to fragrance and drought tolerance. The research ended the first quarter of 2016.
Now CBMGA is going to move forward with certified Earthkind® roses in a new rose bed/area. Dale Vanhoose used his tractor to grade, incorporate mulch and level the area the new Earthkind® roses will occupy.
Do you remember the name Keith Kridler? We at CBMGA have determined that Keith’s brain never shuts off and as a result, he seems to crank out all these different projects that will ultimately make our Master Gardens into a mini arboretum. This is one of them. We have started clearing the south end of the property in preparation of more new beds and so vehicle traffic down the side street will be able to look toward the north and see the Master Gardens. When the gardens are in full bloom they are truly outstanding and so we hope any passer bys will enjoy what we are creating.
For a number of years now, several people would bring up the fact that the sign out front of the Extension Office was basically useless. It had become so faded it was unreadable. Well 2016 was the year it met its match. Our own Rhonda Lesher wrote to the Commissioners to get our request on the agenda. Our President Sharon Cowan and Vice President Kay Miller attended a County Commissioners Court meeting to request they fund the purchase of a new sign and were successful in that endeavor. We sincerely thank the Commissioners for their generosity in funding the purchase of our new sign . Tommy Morgeson, one of our long time, highly active members (also current business manager) drew up the design that was presented to the Commissioners for approval. The sign was purchased, the sign pole was repainted white to show up more at night and the new sign was installed by Keith Kridler, Andre Brogoitti and Dave Miller… and it looks great!
The Texas Superstar® Beds have had a walkway that only went around the front of the beds with the project to complete a walkway around the back side being rescheduled over and over for a good while. Well once again, 2016 struck and the walkway was finally completed. It took a couple of months between framing, filling, leveling, laying the blocks and finishing the irregular areas. Key players on this project were Tommy Morgeson, Andre Brogoitti, Harry Farraugh and Dave Miller with a number of other members pitching in as they could. The walkway was finished the end of November and it
looks great. Nice work everyone. We would also like to recognize and thank Home Depot for donating surplus pavers over the past few years that were used in the construction.
Boy it seems when Master Gardeners get cranked up, they just don’t know when to stop. Dale Vanhoose who volunteered to help build and be the bedhead of our Earthkind® Grape Bed had his momentum up and decided he thought we needed a Raspberry bed. And it seemed the perfect spot for it was behind the Superstar® bed. He had to wait until the new walkway was complete before he could start, but he started it in short order once the walkway was done. The bed was prepared with lots of mulch being worked into the soil in a built up area just south of the new walkway. I know he is chomping at the bit to get his new raspberry plants in the new bed.
The bed along the west side of the greenhouse has been a leftover bed for the past few years. Also the greenhouse can get extremely hot in the summer. As a way to reduce sun’s heat coming from the west, eight jasmine plants have been planted along the west side. A later project will be to provide framing for the jasmine to climb on so that it will almost cover the west side of the greenhouse, providing shade and hopefully reducing the heat from the west sun. Rhonda Lesher provided the jasmine plants. They may not look like much now but jasmine is a very aggressive grower. By the end of summer, the west side of the greenhouse should be covered.
After 50+ hours of learning and at least 50 volunteer hours, 13 interns were excited about being part of the 2016 graduating class of Cypress Basin Master Gardeners. Receiving a beautiful certificate, an official name tag and a green thumb, each intern was inducted into the organization at the November meeting. Graduation ceremonies were exciting for the interns who found that all the hard work and dedication paid off. Martha Wilson, 92 years young, was the senior-most member to graduate. If she can do it – so can you!!!
We put our general bed maintenance at the end of the year because gardeners know, this project is ongoing. Some months require more activity than others, but there is almost always something to do in your garden every month of the year. So here we wish to thank all of the Bedheads of each area or bed and all of the other Master Gardeners who stepped up to support not only the Bedheads but CBMGA.
December is one of those months after finishing and before starting any outside gardening for the next season. (of course you have already started any seeds for next season). So it is a time for fellowship and relaxing into the holiday season.
Every year CBMGA celebrates the end of another great year, the Christmas holiday at the last monthly meeting of the year. Our group has grown so well that we are ending the year with almost 80 full time members. So from CBMGA to everyone out there, we hope everyone had a most Merry Christmas, Hannakuh, Kwanza or however you celebrate the holiday and that each and everyone enjoys a Safe, Happy and Healthy New Year. And don’t forget to come back next year or maybe come join the fun for the first time.
We can’t wait to see what we can do in
So stop by and visit sometime.