Workday in the Calendar Garden at Gwinnett Tech

Weeders and mulchers

On a cold but sunny day in early April, Gwinnett Master Gardeners braved high winds to spruce up the Calendar Garden at Gwinnett Tech.   This area  blooms from the front of Building 100 to the back entrance, with blooms coming seasonally.  It starts with the lavender phlox in March, and continues to the far end, with white butterfly ginger and purple asters blooming in September.  They share that corner with tall clumps of varieties of grasses and a large loquat tree at the end.

Master Gardeners weeded and spread many bags of mulch.  A large winged creature, a Luna moth that was trying to get out of the cold wind, visited us as we were finishing up.

On hands and knees pulling weeds.

This garden, alongside building 100, is accessible to the public.  Many of the plants have name tags, so you can stop by anytime to see what is blooming.

Carole Teja sporting appropriate weeding attire

While we were having a brown bag lunch, Aaron Paulson gave a presentation on propagation.  This should help us in sharing plants with others.  And talking of sharing, we got to take home a few cuttings, plant divisions and baby plants that were growing in the Calendar Garden as well as the greenhouse.

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 and I’ll help you get started.   Thanks!  Mary Ann Maher