The Green Thumb
news & updates
for Polk County Master Gardeners
February 2022
Project Updates
Program Committee

Mark Schneider will present 2.5 hours of education on February 22 from 6:30-9pm at the Extension office. He will speak about the Iowa Arboretum.

The session will be held in person and on Zoom. In person capacity will be limited, so sign up soon!

In case of inclement weather, the session will be Zoom only. Watch for any updates. Please submit your questions ahead of time, using the sign-up link.

No meal will be held. At this time, masks are encouraged for in-person attendees.

Save the Dates - Upcoming Educational Events:
  • March 22 - Aaron Steil
  • April 21 - Beth Cody

Did you miss the program in Jan., or want to re-watch? View the presentation on Unique Trees by Mark Runkel here.
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!
Volunteer Opportunity for PCMG!

Are you interested in helping to create materials to help empower new leaders for PCMG?

We are looking for volunteers for a Leadership Transitions and Process committee - if you are a strong writer, have experience or interest in drafting policy - or are interested in helping to improve the PCMG program, this opportunity may be for you!

Information about what we will be creating can be found in this video (at the 14:13 mark). We will also discuss new guidelines/policy for PCMG.

If you are interested in volunteering for this initiative, please fill out this survey, or contact Kalsa for additional information.
Demonstration Garden

It is the time of year to prepare for sowing seeds. Check your heat mat, lights and organize your seeds by sow date. While most are started in March, there are those early birds like Begonia and Vinca which require 12-16 weeks from sowing to outdoor transplant.

Save the dates! 
  • Saturday, March 5th, 9am - Project Pruning Day
  • Monday, March 21st, 6:30pm - Spring Kick Off Meeting We plan to host in person at the Urbandale Library as well as Zoom for those who wish to join from home. 
  • Saturday, April 16th, 9am - Spring Clean Up
Join us for any and all events and learn about volunteer opportunities at the Demonstration Garden.

Stay safe, stay healthy and we look forward to seeing you this spring.
Discovery Garden

Thanks to all of you for your efforts in making the garden what it is today. Reach out to the Discovery Garden email if you are interested in volunteering!

Enabling Garden

FEBRUARY IS HERE.   One can taste the full joys of anticipation. Spring stands at the gate with her finger on the latch. …Patience Strong
Winter is an ideal time to do some research and gather ideas, explore garden topics and attempt to find some solutions to past problem areas. Dream, scheme and plan for what to do differently; be a risk taker and try something new every year. 
The internet provides a wealth of information on any particular subject: garden design, pruning, irrigation, potting mixes, container gardening, growing vegetables, new perennials for 2022, DIY projects and others. Type in a word; your best new idea might be closer than you think. 
If you’re still an old-school gardener who prefers leafing through magazines and books, check out your local library or used bookstore. New authors are still writing articles and publishing gardening books.
SPEAKING AT THE BOTANICAL CENTER on March 5, 11:30 AM: Learn on Saturday classes continue through March at the Botanical Center. Enabling Garden’s Judy Goshorn will be one of two Polk County Master Gardeners discussing Purposeful Gardening: Volunteers Impacting our Community. Please put this date on your calendar and come support Judy as she shares volunteerism through the lens of being involved with the Enabling Garden.
IMPROVING THE LANDSCAPE: Whether walking through my neighborhood or being involved 19 years with the Enabling Garden, I have a tendency to critique the trees and shrubs. Many of us create beautiful floral designs and plantings in front of and around our shrubs. We weed, water, and tend the flower bed while the shrub stands neglected year after year. It becomes full of suckers, old woody stems crowd out new ones, lopsided limbs develop, and flowering is weak and insignificant. One Bridal Wreath Spirea not far from my home has four young Mulberry saplings growing up through it. Trimming the top and sides is not the answer. Though difficult to learn in a class setting, the skill of pruning shrubs often comes through trial and error. We can do better and learn together in the process.  
Late winter or early spring is the recommended time to rejuvenate and reshape many shrubs.  Proper pruning improves the health and beauty of any plant, thereby increasing its lifespan and productivity. 

If you prune summer and fall bloomers (which bloom on new wood) in early spring, they’ll have more flowers later on. (New wood refers to the stems and twigs that form this growing year.)  For spring flowering shrubs (Example: Forsythia), prune soon after flowering ends so the shrub has time to form next year’s buds.
You’ll find pruning instructions on the internet to be very thorough; be specific when googling the name of your shrub. Books and magazine articles will give you step by step drawings. Shrubs are very forgiving; feel free to ask for help and assistance. 
SAVE THE DATE: Our first planning meeting will be Tuesday, March 29th. Time and location to be announced. Watch for more details in the March newsletter. 
VOLUNTEERS AND INTERNS ALWAYS WELCOME: The garden has all sizes of beds available for maintenance and care. As winter turns into spring, please give serious consideration to volunteering with us. Contact one of the chairs if interested or if you need answers to questions. A personal voice on the other end of your call just might tip the scales of indecision. Rosie Surber--641-521-1628; Paul Satre--515-322-7737; Judy Goshorn—515-681-1636 or Linda Brown—515-779-6331.
WINTER COLOR: Walk through the Enabling Garden in February and you’ll find very little color. The photo this month showcases a very colorful addition to the garden; our ‘Share a note with us’ mailbox. Our appreciation to Virginia Silver and Sandie Hamilton for their talents in painting and lettering. All ages and visitors from all over have written comments and have shared their artwork.  I trust these heartfelt words of appreciation and praise will continue to encourage all of us to remain active and committed.  

Submitted by Ruth O’Connor
NEW Master Gardener Apparel

The state office has expanded the options for Master Gardener apparel! Check out new designs for t-shirts, sweatshirts and more on this website.

Also, the red t-shirts are still available on the ISU Extension Store. Please note these are two seperate platforms, so if you are interested in items from both sites those will need to be ordered seperately.

(Due to the expanded availablity of the red apparel options, we are unsure when any of the white t-shirts/sweatshirts will be available).
Volunteer Opportunity with Iowa PBS

Have you ever wanted to be on tv? Now's your chance! Volunteer to answer phones during Iowa PBS' Festival pledge drive on Saturday, February 19 from 3:30-5:30 p.m. and friends and family will see you on our channel. We're recruiting gardening enthusiasts because during that time, Gardening with Steil, hosted by Aaron Steil and Cindy Haynes, will be airing. We think it would be really great to have local gardeners be our pledge drive volunteers that afternoon. Time for training on how to take pledges using our computer pledge form is part of the volunteer shift time. If you're interested in volunteering, please contact Darla Hassebroek at by Friday, February 11. We hope to see you on Iowa PBS!

Check out Gardening with Steil, featuring the Discovery Garden!

Also - be sure to check out Gardening with Steil on Iowa PBS. The episode on Feb. 19th at 4pm will feature our PCMG Discovery Garden!

It will air again on February 20, 2022 1:00 pm and on February 20, 2022 7:30 pm on CREATE (channel 11.4).
Continuing Education Opportunities
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.
Learn on Saturdays

Start early on your 2022 continuing education hours with this series from the Greater Des Moines Botanical Gardens!

Catch two different topics each Saturday morning through March from 10:30am-12:30pm.
2022 Think Spring! Garden Seminar
Presented by the Warren County Master Gardeners

The Warren County Master Gardeners are hosting their Think Spring! Seminar, supported by Indianola Parks & Recreation, on Saturday, February 26th from 9:00 AM-3:00 PM at the Kent Campus Center, located at 701 N. C Street in Indianola, on the Simpson College Campus.

Guest Speakers include Aaron Steil, Consumer Horticulture Extension Specialist at Iowa State University, Derek McKay, Greenhouse Manager at Ted Lare Garden Center, Eva Henderson, Polk County Master Gardener and Jennifer Howell, Test Garden Manager and Assistant Editor for Garden Gate Magazine. Check out more info and register on this webpage!