Master Gardener Volunteers of Henderson County Persevere in 2020 Despite Obstacles

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2020 Master Gardener℠ Volunteer Intern Graduation
intern graduation

The Extension Master Gardener℠ program of Henderson County starts each year in late January. The Class of 2020 was interrupted by COVID-19 restrictions on meetings. The class continued via online training. We graduated 23 new interns at a ceremony held on October 1.

intern graduation

Flat Rock Pollinator Garden at Flat Rock Park

Pollinator Garden at Flat Rock Park Man in garden

The Flat Rock Pollinator Garden located at Flat Rock Park continued to grow and mature in 2020. The first picture shows the garden as it appeared in 2015. Since establishment, the garden has become a destination for plant and pollinator enthusiasts regionally as well as a place where park users can find solace. Master Gardener℠ volunteers of Henderson County Wendy Beville and Gina Moffitt have overseen the expansion of the garden in 2020 with the addition of educational signage and paving. The Village of Flat Rock added a wildflower meadow and Master Gardener℠ volunteer Georgia Bonesteel spearheaded the funding and design of the butterfly tunnel arbors.

Master Gardener℠ Volunteers of Henderson County Newsletter

mg newsletter logo

The EMGV newsletter team did a great job in 2020. They kept us up to date when we could not otherwise get together. We appreciate the efforts of Sherri Cappabianca and Donna Gatnerak. This is a very valuable service!!!

Gardeners at Work Growing Food for Charity

First Congregational UCC garden

Master Gardener volunteer Nancy Kaczor and her fellow church gardeners at the First Congregational UCC in Laurel Park have donated over 1300 lbs of veggies to charity so far this year.

Theirs is a story of a love of gardening and how a few committed individuals can do amazing things. Milton and his crew give back to the community by growing and donating healthful fresh food. Milton (with the straw hat) has been gardening all his life and celebrates his 87th birthday on August 27.

The garden shown is on the property of First Congregational UCC of Hendersonville charitable garden is a little under an acre. To bring water to the crops, Milton and his crew put in an irrigation system using water pumped from a spring that borders the garden. A benefactor recently donated a small tractor and the gardeners built a new tractor shed for it this summer. There is also a neighbor lady who LOVES to weed, and she can often be seen in the garden as well.

Veggies are donated to Interfaith Assistance Ministries, the 7th Ave Mission, and to Safelight. While Milton and his crew are winding down for the year, they are getting ready to plant collards and cabbage for 2021.

Bountiful Harvest Community Garden

Bountiful Harvest Community Garden People tending a garden

In April, the BHCG volunteers began to expand and raise the growing beds in the garden. The Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday work crews led by Master Gardener volunteers Jane Grossman and Diane Milewski, while encouraging the volunteers to socially distancing as best they could, accomplished a lot. Lots of plastic sheeting was cut, beds were lined, wood was delivered, cut, and carried into the garden and six new beds were built. The group continued working on Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday each week 9–11:30 a.m. to continue lining and building beds.

Bountiful Harvest Community Garden Building a community garden

The limits for social distancing were followed with 3 BHCG gardeners per workday. Volunteers were asked if they had a cough, fever, or congestion in the past 3-4 weeks that you wait 2 weeks to volunteer in the garden. Gardeners were asked to please wear a mask.

Several young gardeners participated in the garden from the Big Brothers Big Sisters program.

Bullington Gardens

Bullington Gardens Fairy garden

Master Gardener℠ volunteers at Bullington Gardens have been busy these last months. First, they helped with the premier (and successful) Online Plant Sale during the month of April offering no contact pickup. Master Gardener℠ volunteers are now gearing up for an Online Christmas Sale featuring various crafts and greenery creations (amusing 30” greenery gnomes and decorated wreaths and swags).

The Fairy Garden opened for visitors in May where fairies of all ages were greeted by volunteers who scheduled their walks at 10-minute intervals. Over 6500 people toured the Fairy Garden this summer!

The dahlia crew spent many hours in the Dahlia Garden providing a most spectacular show.

The Master Gardener volunteers of Bullington Gardens had a fruitful time while dealing with all the challenges we all have faced recently.

Connemara Vegetable Garden

Connemara Vegetable Garden Garden

The Connemara Vegetable Garden at the Carl Sandburg National Historic Site seeks to recreate the farm’s original garden and to donate vegetables to charitable organizations.

In spite of the 2020 Pandemic, the Sandburg Demonstration Vegetable Garden was a tremendous success.

The daily menu choice for the goat herd was significantly increased as they enjoyed fresh lettuces, kale, spinach, collards, and other greens. Significant produce was harvested from the 65 tomato, 70 pepper, various squash, and cucumber mounds. Visiting children were encouraged to pull carrots from the ground or taste freshly picked pea pods. Park Staff Interns were treated to fresh produce on a daily basis.

Visitors were encouraged to share and try some of the traditional new varieties of tomatoes that were grown. The pumpkins, though limited by the excessive rains were used as an herbal remedy for the goat herd. During peak periods, bags of fresh produce were taken to Interfaith Assistance Ministries for their weekly Food Banks.

This year the Sandburg Gardeners added a variety of pollinator-friendly plants to the vegetable plantings. The sunflowers, tithonia, zinnias, morning glories, and marigolds were scattered throughout the rows. The bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds were plentiful.

Gardens have put the 2020 Garden is to sleep. The rhubarb and asparagus will be mulched with pine straw. Tools will be cleaned. The kale will continue to be snipped for the goats throughout the winter months. The 2021 Garlic Crop was planted in mid-September. Remaining rows have been “pooped” and winter cover crops have been sown. The compost piles are being piled for next Spring.

The Sandburg Gardeners are looking forward to 2021. Many seeds have been saved and have fingers crossed for more opportunities for others to be able to share in the Sandburg Garden Experience.

The Playhouse Gardens

FRPH GardensThe Playhouse Gardeners continued working Tuesday and Friday mornings while still respecting ‘social distancing’. The Playhouse Gardens project manager Tamsin Allpress expressed why continuing was so important. “We are keeping fit and agile as we maintain the gardens,” said Tamsin. “Come out and join us. It’s a great way to exercise with friends while keeping our social distancing.”

Although the Flat Rock Playhouse was closed due to Covid concerns, people continued to visit the gardens. “The gardens have become a destination,” Playhouse Director Lisa Bryant said on WTZQ during a summer interview. Tamsin reported people touring the gardens and artists setting up to paint the pretty flowers.

FRPH Gardens

The annual Playhouse Gardens plant sale was held September Friday 18th and Saturday the 19th. The PH Gardeners spent the year dividing plants and preparing them for the plant sale. This year they had great plants as well as some incredible Silent Auction items including masks, garden art and fairy gardens, as well as 100 varieties of plants.

FRPH Gardens Garden sign Volunteer working in garden Volunteer in garden