Another year under our belt. More weeds pulled, perennials divided, annuals deadheaded, shrubs pruned, bugs identified, questions answered, and problems solved. As quick as the growing season goes by, another one is right around the corner.
The year begins in January with planning. There is a lot of administrative responsibilities that go along with keeping a volunteer organization like the Wood County Master Gardeners running smoothly. Thanks to many dedicated volunteers, the budget is set, meeting programs and locations planned, public educational seminars finalized, members awarded for service, and projects approved.
Winter is also the season for education. Many of our volunteers attend garden seminars in surrounding counties and even statewide. Not to mention being inundated with seed catalogs to help plan the gardens for next year. Our spring seminar was at MSTC in Wisconsin Rapids. Our featured speakers included The Renegade Gardener and the author of Straw Bale Gardening.
As the weather starts to improve, gardens start growing and the spring plant sale is upon us. In mid-May, the Master Gardener volunteers gather to sell plants and give advice to the public. This is the first fund raiser for the year. Some of the plants are purchased from a nursery and others are either dug out of volunteers’ gardens or grown from seed.
Our monthly meetings alternate from one end of the county to the other to accommodate as many people as possible. All meetings are open to the public and have an educational component. The first meeting for the year is in March and we wind up in November with our holiday celebration meeting.
The Garden Walk is the second fundraiser for the year in early July. In 2014, visitors toured 6 beautiful gardens. Each garden featured a different local artist.
In fall, the Marshfield plant sale is concurrent with the Maple Fall Fest at Wildwood Zoo. Again, volunteers dig and divide perennials from their own gardens along with seasonal creations like dried arrangements and fall decor. The money from the fund raisers support the Wood County Master Gardener educational seminars and beautification projects.
Another lucky MSTC student in the Urban Forestry program applied for and received the $500 scholarship to go towards their education. This is the 5th year that the Wood County Master Gardeners have awarded this scholarship to a deserving young student.
By the time the weather turns south, all of the gardens are put to bed for winter and the Fall Gardening seminar is upon us. This year we convened at UW-Wood County / Marshfield on a Saturday morning in late October to learn about Landscaping plants to attract birds and what we can do to support our native pollinators. Time to start planning for 2015!