The Green Thumb
news & updates
for Polk County Master Gardeners
June 2022
Project Updates
Garden Tour


If you are reading this, we need you!
As most of you are aware, the 2020 Polk County Master Gardeners Garden Tour was canceled due to Covid (what wasn’t?!). But we are back and the 2022 tour is on!
Plans are underway for a wonderful tour highlighting gardens from all over the metro area. Sponsors from 2020 are back on board. And the committee has been working diligently to make this a success. 
Can you help?
We are in need of master gardeners to help those who have volunteered their gardens for the tour; this may entail weeding, some planting or whatever is needed to help get their garden in tip top tour shape! We also need people at each garden the day of the event. Can you donate some of your time and earn your volunteer hours while doing it? If so, use this link to put in your name for a few hours–we will be happy to have you! 
Please remember that this is a big fundraiser for the Polk County Master Gardeners so let's make a splash! Print off the flyer and give them to your friends and hang one at your church or favorite coffee shop.  
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact either of the co-chairs. Our information is below. And thanks for helping!

Kathy Cole                                                   Charity McCauley Andeweg                  
(515) 468-0766                                            (515) 250-2620

Garden Tour Tickets

Purchase tickets to the Garden Tour online! Show your support for this great PCMG event by purchasing a ticket to this fundraiser. And please share with your friends and family! Tickets can be purchased on Eventbrite through this link, as well as shared online to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and via email.

Thank you for your support!

Downtown Farmers' Market

Polk County Master Gardeners made our first appearance of the season at the Downtown Des Moines Farmers Market on May 21. We featured information on vegetable gardening as well as native plants and butterflies. We also answered lots of gardening questions! Our free seed supplies are currently running a bit low, but thanks to Randy Campbell’s seed-saving efforts, we had lots of milkweed and hollyhock seeds to share with the public.
We’ll be at the Market again on June 18, July 16, Sept. 10, and Oct. 15. Currently, volunteer slots are full for June and October, and openings remain in both July and September. But volunteers sometimes need to withdraw their sign-ups, so if you’re interested in volunteering, please keep checking our calendar on to see whether there are available openings on any of the dates. The link is:
Please let us know if you have ideas for a gardening or plant topic that we should feature in an upcoming Market appearance!


Thanks: Matt Doré, Sherri Soich & Randy Campbell (co-chairs)
Demonstration Garden

Thank you to all our volunteers that participated in our recent spring fundraiser. Our plant sale was well attended, proceeds exceeded our goals and patrons were very understanding of the limited parking. While events such as a plant sale are considered fundraisers they also serve as a way to build community relations and provide exposure to the Demonstration Garden.
Much of our spring planting has been completed. Now it is time to water and weed routinely, giving them a fighting chance. Work nights will be Monday evening throughout the season. Start time 5pm, arrive when you can, leave when you must. If you are unable to participate on Monday's contact a co-chair. There is always an ongoing list of volunteer opportunities that can be completed during daytime hours that better suit your schedule.
June brings us our summer education series. Bring your own lawn chair or make use of one of the benches in the garden. All programs are on Thursday evenings, start time 7pm.
  • 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

We look forward to seeing you in the garden.

Discovery Garden

Greetings! We continue to need misc assistance on any given Wednesday now throughout the summer. Join us if you would like to spend some relaxing time in the garden with us.   

Educational opportunities: DG will be hosting two educational seminars in June, the first on 6/22 @ 6:00 on Hostas with David Dettman, the second on 6/29 will be a garden tour in Altoona @ 6:00 following our Wednesday work session. Classes are free and open to the public.

State Fair Signup. DG team members can sign up to work any of the three daily shifts during the fair, 8-noon, noon to four and four to eight. Its a great time to host all of our hard work and is a fun experience.  
Keep in mind that we strongly encourage a member from each bed team to be present on our regular Wednesday worknights so as to facilitate that the garden be cared for properly.  

Enabling Garden

GIVING TRIBUTE TO OUR HEROES: We are frequently reminded to remember our veterans and those who proudly wear a military uniform. The Enabling Garden has its share of heroes as well. Though smaller in scope and size, our second plant sale was held on May 17th. It could not happen without our volunteers who faithfully work behind the scenes, doing the tough and dirty tasks. They show up to dig, divide, box, label, load and unload vehicles, set up and clean up.  When looking for a few great men and women, we have them and will always welcome more. Show up and sign on anytime!
LARGE ANNUAL EVENT IN THE GARDEN: Coming Friday evening, June 3rd in the evening; it’s Altoona’s Wine and Craft Beer Fest. I counted 17 business sponsors listed in their ad. Early ticket sales of $20 ends at noon, June 3rd; $30 at the door. If interested, contact the Altoona Chamber Office, HyVee Customer Service Counter, or online. Browse the vendors, taste yummy appetizers, sample craft beer, wine and spirits, and listen to live music. With all that in mind, you might wish to make extra efforts to tidy up the garden, water all containers and annuals, sweep the hardscape, and mulch the paths in preparation for lots of foot traffic.  
SUMMER EDUCATIONAL TALKS: Save the dates. Tuesdays at 6:00 pm at the garden. There is no potluck on these evenings; you might wish to pack a snack. 
  • June 14 – Garden Water Features by Dean Brand, Polk County Master Gardener 
  • July 12 – Awesome Perennials by Derek McKay, staffer from Ted Lare Design Build.
  • August 23 – Shade Gardening (basics for amateurs and great plants for shade), by Aaron Steil, Iowa Public Television show host, “Gardening with Steil”.

DO YOU ENJOY WORKING WITH CHILDREN?  Are you willing to assist them with garden related arts and crafts? Mark your calendars. Our annual Children’s Art at the Enabling Garden is Tuesday, July 26, 6:00-8:00 pm. Help is needed for this event! All Polk County gardeners are welcome. If interested, call or contact Marlene Olson at or 515-681-6344. (Note: This event does not qualify for educational hours.)
JUNE IS NATIONAL ROSE MONTH.   Not only are roses in season during June, but for years they were a popular choice for weddings. As cut flowers in bouquets, roses can convey different meanings depending on their color. Which color is chosen is a reflection on how you wish to express your feelings towards someone. For example, a red rose means ‘I love you’ and is a sign of romance. White roses represent purity and innocence. Pink roses symbolize gratitude and joy. Yellow roses are typically associated with trust and friendship, while orange roses represent fascination and enthusiasm.   
There is a rose in the Enabling Garden that is no doubt one of the most photographed flowers in the garden and often posted on Facebook. Planted in the early years of the garden, the origin and name has been forgotten. However, its bloom continues to be a fascination to many. Depending on the sunlight, its color appears to be a mix of pink, orange, and peach. (See attached photo)
Year after year this rose has been profusely blooming behind the honeybee sculpture and no doubt overlooked by many a passerby. Thanks to Mike and Eva Henderson, it was dug up, divided and moved to bloom in a more prominent location. Three smaller bushes are now spaced out in front of the sculpture and are sure to provide triple the pleasure. As I write, the buds are forming; the bloom is not far behind. 
LEAVING YOU WITH A COUPLE OF LAUGHS: (1) “At middle age, the soul should be opening up like a rose, not closing up like a cabbage.” by John Andrew Holmes (2) “I named all my children after flowers. There’s Lillie and Rose and my son, Artificial.” by Bert Williams

Submitted by Ruth O’Connor
Program Committee

Mark your calendars! Programming for fall/winter is scheduled!

Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2022 - Kathy Woida
Thursday, Jan. 12, 2023 - Tivon Feeley
Thursday, Feb. 9, 2023 - Dr. Thomas Rosburg
Thursday, March 23, 2023 - Aaron Steil
April 2023, date TBD - Megan Will
Continuing Education Opportunities
Floral Arranging Workshop with the Dallas County Master Gardeners!

Join the Dallas Co. MG's for a Floral Arranging workshop this summer/fall! Choose from multiple dates.

  • June. 1
  • Aug. 9
  • Nov. 2

Workshops are from 6-7:30pm and is $25/sesson. Bring your own vessel, and you can bring blooms from your own garden and suppliment with additional flowers and greenery provided at the workshop.

View the flyer for additional details. Register by calling the Dallas County Extension office at 515-993-4281.

Want to bring a friend? You can register them too! This workshop is open to non-Master Gardeners.
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.