2011 GCMGA Plant Sale

Saturday, May 7th, 2011 – 9:30 a.m to while supplies last

Cool-Ray Field Parking Lot

2500 Buford Drive, Lawrenceville, GA 30043

Need any vegetable plants such as Tomatoes and peppers for your garden? How about some Blueberry, Blackberry, and Raspberry plants? If you answered yes to any of those questions, then you need to join us for our Annual Plant Sale. This year we have moved to another location and have expanded to be even bigger and better.

Here are some of the plants that will be available: Hellebores, native azaleas, Iris, day lilies, hosta, ferns, annuals, perennials, and much more. Our plants are locally “dug” in our community, so they are the “tried and true” for doing great in our area.

Gwinnett Master Gardeners will be there to answer all your plant questions and assist you with selections best suited for your landscape whether it be sun or shade.

We will also offer fantastic yard art to accent your landscape and garden. We will have bluebird houses, bird feeders, stepping stones, painted gourds and much more at very reasonable prices.

Rain or shine, we will have the sale. Come early and get the best selections.

Questions should be addressed to: Aaron Tulin at aarontulin@remax.net.

Tell your friends and see you at the sale.

 

Edible Landscaping

Article by Brandy Cowley-Gilbert from Just Fruits & Exotics Nursery.

Brandy Cowley-Gilbert and her husband, Ted, own Just Fruits & Exotics Nursery south of Crawfordville Florida They grow a wide selection of fruits for the north Florida and  south Georgia area. Visit their website to learn more about growing fruit www.justfruitsandexotics.com.

Figs

They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Your house and yard have a simple way of telling people about your creative personality. If you’re the type of person who loves simple pleasures like picking tree-ripened fruit or gathering homegrown veggies to create the salad of your dreams, then the edible landscape gives you a chance to do both: create an unusual distinctive landscape while also providing a bounty of more flavorful and nutritious fruits and vegetables than is obtainable from the grocery store.

Edible landscaping is not a new concept. In fact, most of our landscapes that hale back in time are built around the beauty and functionality of edible plants. Fruits, herbs, and vegetable plants were the mainstay of the 1800’s cottage garden. These loose, cheerful gardens were full of fruiting pears, apples, and peaches, borders and hedgerows of blueberries and blackberries, and beds of herbs, vegetables, and old-fashioned flowers, all adding to the charm and uniqueness of a country garden.

Some of the added benefits of an edible landscape are the ability to create a more year-round look to your landscape. Most fruit trees do double duty, providing a spring blossom show as well as a fantastic summer show of ripe fruit, and they may even end the year with a brilliant fall leaf color.

The range of necessary functions that you need in the landscape (hedges, ground covers, shade trees, and evergreen screens) is easily found in the range of fruits that grow well in our area. Just check out the list of great possibilities below.

Need an evergreen screen to block an unsightly view? Loquat is a beautiful tree with broad tropical-looking leaves, and clusters of apricot-flavored fruits. This is a tree that is sure to give your landscape an “I’m in Key West enjoying the sunset” feel.

Strawberries

Strawberries make a rewarding and low-maintenance groundcover. And if you need a lovely summer vine, why not choose one of the many varieties of cherry tomatoes? These may continue to produce well into the late fall.

How about a good fast-growing shade tree to have a picnic under? Try a mulberry. The cultivated varieties are outrageous. Many have the distinctive flavor of boysenberry or raspberry, without the seeds! “ Illinois Ever Bearing” is a cold hardy selection that fruits through out the summer months! Nut trees are also a good choice, why not recreate an edible forest in your own back yard with, pecan, walnut and chestnut.

For low hedges try rosemary. Highly fragrant and tasty foliage is a treat to brush up against and get that fresh pungent scent. Tough as nails and evergreen to boot.

Blueberry, blackberry and boysenberry also make great low hedges with beautiful, bell-shaped and daisy-like white blooms. Their sun-ripened fruit is twice as good as store-bought fruit.

If you’re looking for a fantastic spring flower show, the best of the group are apples, peaches, nectarines, and quince for a showy cloud of pink blossom. On the other hand, pears, mayhaws, and plums produce beautiful clouds of pure white. Some of the best for lining avenues or driveways are pears and plums, which are very stately in form.

Hachiya Persimmon

The fall show of a persimmon is unsurpassed. Most color their fruit before leaf color changes, giving the tree a luscious look of jade green leaves covered with bright orange fruit. As cool weather approaches the leaves begin to take on fiery red, cherry pink, and brilliant yellow colors. Outstanding!

Consider groundcovers of fragrant herbs such as thyme or mint, and borders of dill, fennel, or basil.

For those of you who are apartment dwellers, many fruit trees are well adapted to growing in containers. Blueberry, kiwi, fig, pomegranate, and pineapple are especially well suited for containers. Be sure to add some herbs and colorful veggies like red chard, chili peppers, and cherry tomatoes for a show that’s sure to dazzle and bring good conversation to your patio.

Edibles can easily be incorporated into your current landscape by inter-planting with ornamentals. Your yard will acquire a uniquely beautiful flair and offer you a healthy return on your labors well spent!

Fruitful Hedges Come in All Shapes and Sizes!
Outstanding Flower and Fruit Shows: 

  • Pomegranate
  • Blueberry
  • Blackberry

 

Espalier Fruiting Hedges: 

  • Fig
  • Peach
  • Apple
  • Plum
  • Pear
  • Nectarine
  • Persimmon
Short Evergreen Screens: 

  • Bayleaf
  • Rosemary
Tall Evergreen Screens: 

  • Loquat

 

Compost Sifter

Now is a good time to make this screener-sifter so that you will be ready to make some wonderful Black Gold to use this spring!

Basically, you need to make a frame that will fit on your wheelbarrow, just overlapping on the sides so that all the compost will fall into the barrow.

I used a 2 x 4 for the four sides, 1/2″ hardware cloth for the screen, eight T braces for the corners (top and bottom) and large staples to hold the wire in place.  You also need to attach two pieces of 1 x 2 on the bottom (with wood screws) to fit just outside the barrow, to keep the sifter from shifting out of position. The longer pieces extending to the front and back enable two people to carry a loaded sifter from place to place.

Wheel the loaded sifter into a comfortable place, pull up a chair, and with two hand tools, work the compost back and forth, letting the small pieces and wonderful earthworms fall into the barrow.  Whatever stays on top can be returned to the compost pile to ‘finish’ or can be dumped as is into a natural area of the garden.

Your garden will thank you for this wonderful topdressing!

 

Projects funded by Gwinnett Master Gardeners for Year 2010

Projects funded by Gwinnett Master Gardeners for Year 2010

Each year the Gwinnett County Master Gardener Board sets aside money for projects for the coming year.  The money comes from our fund-raising efforts including, but not limited to, the Plant Sale and Yard Art sale in May, our Garden Tours held in Summer, and the Intern breakfasts.  Below are the projects that were approved and begun, up through July 2010.

Bethesda Senior Center: Sharon Matthews requested $500 to add seasonal plantings and pine straw to enhance the outside of the building.  She holds workdays twice a year for the major projects.  There is also a small group of gardeners that attend to plant maintenance year round.   Sharon plans for colorful plants in the large pots at the entrance, as well as perennials, like camellias and azaleas, around the building.  The largest area is in the back facing the pond, where there is a patio for people to sit and enjoy the view of the flowers, butterflies, and birds.  By tending to the Center, we greatly reduce the fee for renting the space for all our meetings.  We are so appreciative of being able to meet here.

Gwinnett Habitat for Humanity: Ed Saulvester holds seminars on lawn and garden care for new homeowners before they move into their new homes.  He presents each family with a Southern Living Gardening book from the Gwinnett County Master Gardeners at their dedication ceremony.  Ed was able to help 12 families with gardening know-how this year.  Also, congratulations are in order to Ed for receiving the Award that Habitat presented to the Gwinnett Master Gardener’s for all of his efforts in this project.  The Gwinnett Master Gardeners have participated in 75 of the 100 homes built in the County thanks to Ed and the other volunteers who have participated over the years.

R. D. Head Elementary: Jane Trentin has been installing various plants along the back of the school each year since 1998.  Most of the plants come from divisions that she has, so she has not requested any money this year.

Annandale Village: Valerie Carson and John Atkinson work throughout the year planting annuals and perennials in pots, planter boxes, and raised beds.  Valerie works with small groups of residents.  One of their projects is to grow gourds, which they will paint and sell.

Peachtree Ridge High School: Rosalie Tubre works with classes of Special Education students as they do hands-on gardening activities.  The class will develop a butterfly and hummingbird garden inside Harvest Farm at White Street Park in Suwanee.  The area they have to plant is 25 feet x 100 feet. The class has made wooden butterfly signs to educate the public.  Rosalie has requested $500 for good quality garden soil and plants to begin the garden.  There was a dedication ceremony held at the park on June 19.    When the school year begins, they will add more plants to attract butterflies, hummingbirds and beneficial insects.

McDaniel Farms: John Atkinson and Kathy Parent will be working throughout the year to plant and improve the garden areas.  Some of the areas are the kitchen garden, the vegetable garden, orchard and landscaping around the house.  They have requested $300 for seeds, supplies and some needed plants.

Vines Garden Park: Becky Wolary organized a workday to plant annual geraniums and perennial ice plants in five areas just inside and outside of the entrance gates.  She has requested $500 for plants and supplies for the beds in those areas.  This will be an on-going project, with seasonal changes.

Jackie Kujawa has purchased 20 signs to be displayed at each of the project’s sites.  These give credit to the Gwinnett County Master Gardeners for funding and installing the project.

Gaye Bruce will be working with homeowners in her subdivision to enhance the entrances, tennis court and clubhouse areas.  She has completed a detailed planting plan, and is setting workdays for Fall and Spring.  Some plants will be moved around, a few new plants will have to be purchased.  She will be providing the design and guidance; the homeowners will provide the labor and pay for items out of their HOA fees.

So you can see that the projects are varied.  We would particularly like to offer assistance and beautification to schools and other public areas that have little or no budget for landscaping.  We all like to garden, and have different talents to offer.  If you have a project in mind, work up a plan and estimate the cost.  Hopefully you will involve students, clients or staff at these locations, so that they will all learn by hands-on activities.  When the workday is scheduled, put out a call for our Master Gardeners to come and help.  We can offer up to $500 a year for each project, for plants and planting supplies.  You can apply at any time, but plan the installation for the optimal time of the year for plant survival.  There is still money available for this year, so come up with an idea to beautify a small public area somewhere.  If a project can’t be completed this year, you can always apply in January 2011 for the upcoming year.

Put your gardening expertise to work while helping to enhance a little section of our beautiful Gwinnett County.  If you have any questions, call me at 678-344-5471 or e-mail me at mamaher919@att.net and I’ll help you get started.   Thanks!  Mary Ann Maher