The Green Thumb
news & updates
for Polk County Master Gardeners
April 2022
Project Updates
Program Committee - Spring Celebration!

Beth Cody will present on Thursday, April 21, 6:30 p.m. at the Extension Office on Historic Gardens of Iowa. Her book, Iowa Gardens of the Past features more than 250 color and grayscale images of beautiful gardens created by Iowa gardeners from the mid-nineteenth century through the 1970s.

Afterwards at 7:45 p.m. we will host an Awards Presentation to celebrate new Master Gardeners and members who have achieved significant milestones. The evening's activities should conclude around 8:30 p.m. (submit awards nominations! More info is found below)

Dessert Potluck!: The evening will begin with a shared dessert/snack bar. Bring your favorite dessert or snack to enjoy during the presentation and awards ceremony afterwards.

6:00 p.m. - Doors open, dessert potluck and socializing
6:30-7:30 p.m. - Presentation by Beth Cody
7:45-8:30 p.m. - Awards Presentation

Sign up here:
Please register for either the in-person or the zoom option (seperate registrations):

Past Program Nights - Recordings and Survey

The Program Committee thanks everyone for their participation in our educational sessions. We appreciate your interest and would enjoy your input, as well as any topic/speaker suggestions. Please fill out the following survey by April 15.

Did you miss a program or want to re-watch? View past presentations:
Volunteer Awards for Spring 2022 Awards Ceremony
Volunteers are the lifeblood of any organization, and Polk County Master Gardeners are fortunate to have a team of exceptional, dedicated volunteers to carry out the important work of our organization. Each and every volunteer is a vital part of our team, and we applaud the great work you have been doing. We could not be as successful as we are without you. YOU make a difference!

We need YOUR help by nominating volunteers who you believe should be considered candidates for special recognition at the Awards event following the educational program on
April 21. We have so many exceptional volunteers and expect nominations to be very competitive.

Descriptions of the awards are listed below, and a link directs you to the application forms. We realize we are on a tight deadline this year for the launch of this awards program, and we encourage you to help us by nominating colleagues you believe are working at the highest levels of dedication for our Master Gardeners program.

Applications must be submitted by Monday, April 11.

Thank you for everything you do for Polk County Master Gardeners.

1."Splashmaker" award recognizes a relatively new Master Gardener, currently certified, with 2-3 years of service in the Master Gardener program, who has "jumped in with both feet". This individual may be devoted to one project only or work on any number of Master Gardener projects.

2." Jack of All Trades "award highlights a currently certified Master Gardener who is working behind the scenes and making a significant impact for the PCMG program. This Master Gardener is doing tasks that support and promote the efforts of PCMG, but might not be highly visible to a number of other Master Gardeners.

Garden Tour - volunteers needed!
Event date: Saturday, July 9th 9am-4pm

We are in need of volunteers to help with garden preparation and day-of activities!

Garden prep volunteers will work closely with the gardeners, doing weeding and other prep helps as needed. Other than benefiting from the extra hours one can expect to gain when compared to just working the day of the event, some gardeners are expertise in various areas that you could potentially gain experience or greater knowledge in.

Workers are those that will be working the day of the event. The event is on Saturday, July 9 from 9 am to 4 pm. There are four morning shifts and four afternoon shifts per garden with a total of 11 gardens.

If interested in volunteering, please provide your name, email and other details to

Volunteer at the Earth Day Celebration at the Greater Des Moines Botanical Gardens!

We are looking for volunteers to represent the Master Gardener Program at the upcoming Earth Day event at the Greater Des Moines Botanical Gardens! We will be handing out information on native plants, water-friendly gardening practices, and other horticulture topics.

When: Saturday, April 23rd
Timing: 9:30am - 1pm or 1pm-4:30pm

Bus Trips 2022 - Save the Date!

June Bus Trip to Omaha

We’re back on the road in June 2022! The registration form is attached with complete trip details. Transportation costs have increased significantly and if you’ve traveled with PCMG before, you’ll notice the one-day trip fee is higher than in the past. Registration includes bus transportation, admission fees to all gardens, lunch, and snacks. We have decided to cancel the overnight trip to Minneapolis in July. Hope to see you in June!
Demonstration Garden

No doubt about it, spring is on its way. Thank you to those that participated in the Spring Kick Off meeting for Demo. It was great to see so many faces in person and over Zoom. If you were unable to attend and have an interest in the garden, please contact one of the co-chairs.
The calendar for spring and summer has been set. Join us for spring clean up on Saturday, April 16th. Start time 9am. We will meet again in May to begin planting. Weather and the 10 day forecast will dictate whether we have an early start on May 9th or delay planting until the 16th. 
The summer education series has been locked in. Programs are on Thursday evenings, start time 7pm. Bring your own lawn chair or make use of one of the benches at the garden.
  • June 16th - Super Savvy Succulents, Mamta Israni, Master Gardener
  • June 23rd - Plant-Grow-Fly - How You Can Help, Chris Eckles, Blank Park Zoo
  • June 30th - Beekeeping Basics, Tony Lovejoy, Beekeeper
  • July 7th - Pollinators & Importance of Planting Natives, Patrice Peterson-Keys, Polk County Conservation
  • July 14th - Herbs- Enjoying Fresh and Preserving Them For Later, Nancy Eichmann, Master Gardener
  • July 21st - Therapeutic Value of Gardening and Application to the Home Landscape, Stephanie Harrington, Master Gardener

The Demonstration Garden is looking for volunteers to plant, weed, water, manage specified areas, spread mulch.... all things gardening. If interested reach out to one of the co-chairs and share your interest. 
Have a wonderful spring and we hope to see you in the garden.
Discovery Garden

Hope all is well and you are feeling a little like spring. With that in mind, anytime we might have a nice warm day, you can go out and do general cleanup at the garden. Please remember that all garden refuse goes on the east side of the Ag Building. There are typically lots of leaves in the garden, especially around the pond area that can be remembered if you have free time and are wanting hours.

Enabling Garden

YOU’LL FIT RIGHT IN:  Are you a new intern still considering volunteer options? Did you take the MG class in past years only to find that good intentions had to be put on hold? Did covid keep you out of circulation? Have you recently retired and gardening has always been a hobby? We’d love to meet you. 
If you’ve never visited the Enabling Garden, feel free to scope out the garden on your own time. We’re convinced you’ll want to return and get acquainted with volunteers and look over the possibilities of where you best fit in. It’s not about quantity of knowledge or experience, whether little or much. In almost 20 years with the Enabling Garden, I’ve been humbled to admit by how much I did not know. Working alongside others is key. Begin by stepping up to help with the plant sale, then attend some clean-up dates and work nights. 
To stay current and receive emails of Enabling Garden announcements and notices, please send your email address to Rosie Surber at  Any questions, feel free to contact any one of four co-chairs listed at the end of this newsletter.
FACEBOOK SALE: April 9th – Pick up reserved plants from Noon to 2:00. To reserve plants, please join Enabling Garden’s Facebook page at You’ll find information and details about which For Sale site to join and when those sales will begin.
A-Z PERENNIAL SALE: By the time you read this, volunteers will be fully engaged in plant sale preparations; the date is April 9th from Noon to 4:00 pmRain date is on April 10th from Noon to 4:00 pm. Any questions, email or call:
     Marlene Olson at or 515-681-6344
     Linda Brown at or Tel: 515-779-6331
What can you expect to find at this sale? We're adding unique and hard-to-find perennials such as: Queen of the Meadow, Queen of the Prairie, Joe Pye "Gateway", Korean Waxbells, Japanese Waxbells, Rattlesnake Master, American Wood Poppy, Bleeding Heart "Valentine". There will be at least 10 varieties of ornamental and native grasses. Also expect to find your favorite and familiar perenials whether Amsonia, Zebra grass and everything in-between.
FLEA MARKET SALE: Also on April 9. This will include garden tools, gardening books and magazines, pots/containers, and yard art. If questions, please contact Judy Goshorn at
Tel: 515-681-1636
CRAFT SALE: Also on April 9. These will include garden inspired craft items; “I’ve just got to have one of those”, or perhaps give as a gift to friends. Mother’s Day is not far away. 
CLEAN-UP: Because of exceptionally warm weather in March, a few gardeners showed up early in the month to target shrubs, trees, fruit trees, and a few garden beds. A warm Sunday afternoon and quick email notice brought out volunteers like a swarm of honeybees. Two trailers were filled with debris. (See attached photo) After months of winter, it truly was a sweet reunion for many of us. 
Is there ever a finish line when cleaning up gardens? Help is still needed. Additional days are scheduled for Tuesday evenings, April 5 and April 26 from 4-7:00 pm. You’re welcome to bring a snack; come and leave as necessary. Wear your name badges; gloves are suggested.
WORK NIGHTS: Our first official work night will be Tuesday, May 3, beginning around 4:00 pm. Come and go as your schedule permits. We take a break around 6:00 pm for sharing of announcements, social time, and having a bite to eat.

ANNUALS ARRIVE: Tuesday, May 10.  We need lots of help placing them in the ground. Do not miss this evening if at all possible. 

EDUCATIONAL TALK: Tuesday, May 25, 6:00 pm at the garden. Kristi Evans, VP Iowa Regional Lily Society will share about “Lilies All Summer”. Kristi grows many types of lilies, including Asiatic, Orientals, trumpets, tigers and others.

The mission of the Iowa Regional Lily Society is to promote public interest in the growing of lilies; to exchange experiences in the growing of lilies among members; to assist individual members in the solution of problems in the culture of lilies; and to keep all members acquainted with the latest developments in lily breeding and culture. 

CHILDREN’S ART: Tuesday, July 26, 6:00-8:00 pm. The Extension Office will host a station during Children’s Art and are asking gardeners to save their toilet paper tubes for use in their planned activity.  
CHANGE OF EMAIL ADDRESS:   One of our co-chairs has a new email address. Linda Brown may now be reached at
“The winter is past, the flowers are springing up, the season of singing birds has come, and the cooing of doves is heard in the land.”  Song of Songs 2:11-12.  See you in the garden.  

Submitted by Ruth O’Connor
Continuing Education Opportunities
Tour the Iowa Arboretum!

Sign up to attend a tour of the Iowa Arboretum! Mark Schneider from our Program Night presentation will be showing us around the arboretum on May 21st, one of the peak times to visit!

The tour will be from 9:30-11:30am on Saturday, May 21st. Spots are limited. Please use the sign up sheet below to reserve your space. Participants can receive two hours of continuing education.

Worm Bin Workshop with Master Gardener Teena Shineflew

Register for this DIY Worm Bin Workshop with our very own Teena Shineflew! This is a low-cost way to learn about and get started with vermiculture.

When: Saturday, April 9th at 10am
Where: West Des Moines Nature Center at Raccoon River Park

During this class you will not only build a worm composter, but you will learn about the care and feeding of your compost worms. You will go home with worms and a fully functional worm composter and worm castings harvester.

On Demand Education

Pre-recorded opportunities you can view on your own schedule!

This list is not all-inclusive - you can get continuing education from other reputable sources such as public gardens and other states' Extension services.