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

The committee thanks everyone for their participation in this year's events and we hope to be back to in-person, potluck events next year.
We also appreciate your response to the short survey. We heard positive responses to the speakers and wanted to let you know that Tivon Feeley is confirmed for Thursday, Jan. 12, 2023: new pests & management…I suggested fruits/nuts as well.
We'll let you know our final program dates when they are confirmed.
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. In 2021, we had quite a few volunteers reach significant milestones - check out photos from our award ceremony, and the award recepients that were nominated by YOU!

Welcome! New Master Gardeners:

Roseanna Adams
Cindy Backus
Anne Barry
Zach Bodensteiner
Barb Campbell
Barbara Day
Amy Freidhof
Cindy Friedrichsen
Trent Frohock
Jill Henson
Kim Johnson
Lindsay Leonetti
Teresa Lyman
Jeremy Oleson
Evelyn Schnoor
Teena Shineflew
Taylor Shire
Elise Stucky-Gregg
Elizabeth Thacker
Susan Van Horn
Jen Van Liew
Jeff Waldschmitt
Larissa Wilson
Pictured left to right: Elise Stucky-Gregg, Teena Shineflew, Evelyn Schnoor, Jill Henson, Trent Frohock, Roseanna Adams.
10 Years as a Master Gardener:

Peggy Benson
Theresa Brady (pictured)
Randy Campbell
Theresa Greiner
Charity McCauley Andeweg
Mary Brown Mehalovich
Connie Nikkel

Lifetime Master Gardeners
Members who have been Master Gardeners for at least 10 years, and have accumulated over 1,500 service hours.

Eddie Robinson (pictured)
Gary Olson
Marlene Olson
Pictured left to right: Joyce Carle, Bonnie McCaughey, Sherri Soich, Linda Brown, Gloria Morris.
Master Gardeners who have reached the 500 hour milestone:

Linda Brown
Sherri Soich
Nancy Eichmann
Bonnie McCaughey
Joyce Carle
Gloria Morris

Master Gardeners who have reached the 1000 hour milestone:

Don Doxon
Sherry Swihart

Master Gardeners who have reached the 1000 hour milestone:

Stephanie McAdam (left)
Alda Helvey (right)

Community Volunteer - Certificate of Appreciation:

Burt Hamilton

Splashmaker Award - awarded to a relatively new Master Gardener, currently certified, with 2-3 years of service in the Master Gardener Program. This is a person who has "jumped in with both feet" to make a splash in our organization, and may have given a significant amount to one or multiple PCMG projects.

This year our Splashmaker is Audrey Dunn.
Jack of All Trades - This recognition goes to the currently certified Master Gardener who is working behind the scenes and making a significant impact for the PCMG program. This MG is doing tasks that support and promote the efforts of PCMG, but may not be highly visible to a number of other Master Gardeners. With this award we wanted to acknowledge the hard work of volunteers that is sometimes not seen by others, but we want to let you know that we do see these significant impacts in our organization.

This year our Jack of All Trades is Don Doxon
Thanks to all our MGs who attended our celebration! And thank you to everyone for what you do for our program!
Plant Sales - May 15th and 17th

Shop till you drop at two upcoming plant sales this month!

May 15th at the Demonstration Garden

Check out a variety of interesting perennials, and limited supply of annuals. Get more information on the event poster, or in the Demonstration Garden section of this newsletter.

May 17th at the Enabling Garden

Purchase coleus and elephant ears for your garden. More information is found in the Enabling Garden section of this newsletter.

Hope you find some great things at the plant sales! Thanks to Matt Doré for sharing this cartoon :)
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!

Day-of Volunteering - Sign up here!
Here is a direct link for anyone interested in signing up for shifts on the day of the Garden Tour:

Garden Tour Preparation:

We need volunteers to help with tour prep! Whether it is helping to prepare a garden site, or helping with event logistics (ad sales, marketing, etc.) - we need your skills! Please reach out to to volunteer.
(Volunteers looking to coordinate or lead aspects of the tour are expecially welcome!)

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

Downtown Farmers' Market

We’re getting ready for a new season at the Downtown Des Moines Farmers Market. As many of you know, on several Saturdays during the Market season, Polk County Master Gardeners provide information about selected (by us) gardening topics. We also answer gardening questions from Market patrons. We set up our Booth at the SW Corner of 3rd and Court. We typically bring along handouts from ISU or similar gardening publications, and we always try to work in a bit of show and tell with plants and seeds.
We plan to be at the Market on five (5) Saturdays this season: May 21, June 18, July 16, Sept. 10, and Oct. 15. Our first appearance in May usually focuses on planning vegetable and flower gardens. We haven’t set topics for the other dates, so let us know if you have ideas.
We divide the work at our Booth across three (3) shifts: Shift 1 (6:45-8:45); Shift 2 (8:45-10:45); and Shift 3 (10:30-12:30). We can take up to three (3) volunteer Master Gardeners for each shift on the first four Market dates. So we’ll need nine (9) volunteers on each of those Saturdays.
For our final Market date in October, the hours are shorter (8-12). For that Saturday, we divide up into two shifts—early (7:45-10:15) and late (10:15-12:30)—with three (3) volunteer Master Gardeners for each shift.
To volunteer, use our page on The link is:

Thanks: Matt Doré, Sherri Soich & Randy Campbell (co-chairs)
Volunteer at the Greater Des Moines Botanical Gardens' Garden Party!

We are looking for volunteers to represent the Master Gardener Program at the upcoming Garden Party 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: Thursday, June 9th
Timing: 5:00-9:00pm

Bus Trips - 2022 Trip Cancelled

Unfortunately, the bus tour committee has decided to cancel the bus trip to Omaha. We have not received enough registrations to cover the cost of the bus. 

Thank you to all of you who had registered for the bus trip - we appreciate your interest in joining the trip. We will be contacting all of the people who had sent in registration forms about the cancellation.

Feel free to reach out to one of the committee members if you have questions, or suggestions for future trips.
Demonstration Garden

Thank you to all our volunteers that participated in our recent spring clean-up days. Significant progress has been made, however in the world of gardening there is always something more to be done. We appreciate our volunteers sharing their time and talent. 
Annual plants being grown for the garden look great this year. Join us on May 9th for our first work night, start time 5pm. Weather forecasts permitting we will start planting. Arrive when you can, leave when you must. During the month of May we will meet both Monday and Thursday evenings. If that window of time does not work for you, please contact one of the co-chairs about other options. We are looking for volunteers to plant, weed, water, band together and take on some of the beds, etc. If interested, reach out to one of the co-chairs and share your interest. 
The Demonstration garden will be having a small spring plant sale this year. This fundraiser will be held at the garden on Sunday, May 15th from 12 noon to 3pm. Please stop by and say hello, make a purchase and also share this information with family and friends. View the flyer here.
Looking ahead to our summer education program we have secured the following speakers and topics. Bring your own lawn chair or make use of one of the benches in 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

We look forward to seeing you in the garden.

Discovery Garden

Greetings. Happy Spring (we think) Thanks go out to those who helped with pond cleanup on 4/16.

Spring is here, and now time to get out and cleanup the beds at the Discovery Garden. Please remember to put any garden refuse on the east side of the Ag Building.

Starting on Wednesday 5/4 and continuing throughout the summer, we will be hosting our regular Wednesday afternoon worknights. We strongly encourage someone from each team to be present for those sessions so that work can continue in the garden. There are lots of general projects that we need assistance with, planting of trees, some new shrubs and perennials and moving some grasses, so please ask any co-chair what might need to be done throughout the garden.  Weather permitting, we may even start planting the tunnel on 5/11.
Plants will be ready for distribution on 5/13 between the hours of 2:30 & 5:30

Please notify Jean Roe who from your bed team will be picking up the materials for your use along with a phone number in case we need to get ahold of you. Her phone #515-205-8706 or

Do you have any interest in serving on the Communications Team portion of the Discovery Garden? This group is responsible for creating our plant list online as well as our website, labeling of plants and containers for during the fair as well as signage used during the summer and during the fair. If so, please contact Patrick Schmitt, 515-657-1937 or Right now we have a need for someone to assist with the container labeling which involves laminating signs for the containers as well as verifying and placing bed team signage in the individual beds.

We are tentatively planning a social gathering following mulch night on 6/1. More details to follow.
Enabling Garden

A SENSE OF BELONGING: Community is more than belonging to something (Having your name on an email or membership list). It’s about doing something together that makes belonging happen. (Volunteering at the Enabling Garden.)  Quote by Brian Solis. As you read through this newsletter, catch a glimpse of what it takes to birth and bring about a sense of belonging.
If you’re just now joining the Enabling Garden as a volunteer, please plan to ride out the 2022 season with us; it’s sure to take you places you haven’t gone before. We’re excited to report that five new gardeners are taking on beds. One gardener is expanding her bed, another is moving to a different location. Credit goes to the Iowa State Extension Service and the Master Gardener program. They continue to provide new volunteers who will take over when others must move on or slow down due to age or health issues.      
2022 PLANT SALE:  This year’s initial preparations were tough and challenging. We persevered through ten days of continuous wind, gray clouds, cold temperatures, even snow. Traveling was required. Avid gardeners and friends welcomed us into their back yards to collect divisions at eleven different dig sites. We made time for breaks, even sitting down to share several lunches together. If you contributed towards satisfying hungry appetites in the way of snacks, food or drink, your efforts were greatly appreciated and we thank you.      
All sun and no wind greeted us on the day of the sale. We witnessed a steady stream of customers and lots of empty tables and boxes at the end of the day. Our efforts exceeded our expectations. Fifty volunteers were involved. Tasks were varied and detailed such as: Digging and dividing plants, boxing and labeling, transporting and storing, completing PR work, distributing posters, selling on For Sale sites, printing invoices, preparing signage, collecting boxes, creating garden related crafts, cleaning and pricing flea market items, setting-up, arranging for a sandwich lunch on site, checking in clients, answering questions, educating clients, doing cashier work, carrying and wheeling plants to client’s cars, providing traffic control, and cleaning up at the end. We can’t forget those who donated equipment such as tables, tents, trailers, wagons, and side dishes for lunch. Lastly, thanks to Kalsa for making herself available so clients were able to pay with credit cards. Thank you, everyone! We welcome suggestions on what might be done differently next year; please share ideas with any one of the chairs.
WORK, EAT, RELAX: Our first official work night is May 3rd. They will continue every Tuesday evening beginning around 4:00 pm; come and go as your schedule permits. We take a break around 6:00 pm for sharing of announcements, socializing and enjoying some eats together. One of our dedicated volunteers says he comes primarily for the food and fellowship. Thank you, Trent! Our cooks will be encouraged. A long remembered and famous French chef, Julia Child said, “People who love to eat are always the best people.”  You can’t outdo any better venue than a potluck served up in an outdoor setting. 
ANNUALS ARRIVE: Tuesday May 10. This is also a work evening. Due to a colder than normal April, spring bulbs and blooms may be competing for space and attention. Come and help us place these pretty plants in the ground. Summer heat could possibly arrive on the heels of winter cold.    
CHILDREN’S GARDEN: Check out a new addition to the Children’s Garden. Thanks to family members of a master gardener, a new child-sized picnic table is now in place. (See attached photo)
EDUCATIONAL TALK:  Mark your calendars; Tuesday, May 17th, 6:00 pm at the garden. This is a correction from the May 25th date that was listed in the April newsletter. There will be no potluck on this evening; you might wish to bring a snack. Seating is available, however many prefer to bring their own chair. 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. 
COLEUS AND ELEPHANT EARS: For SALE: Tuesday evening, May 17, 4:00-6:00 pm. Take note: It’s the same evening as the Educational Talk. Master Gardener Dean Brand is bringing many varieties of potted up Coleus as well as black and green Elephant Ears. A number of years ago, I was approached by a visitor in the garden who specifically asked if we had planted any Coleus. They are known mainly for their foliage. We are now privileged to have many varieties that love the sun as well as the shade. Elephant Ears are known by their huge, dramatic leaves. Dean will have answers to any of your questions.
THE DANDELION SPEAKS: Many adults view it as a weed; children see a bouquet for mothers. They find great amusement at blowing seeds off a puffball and watch them being carried away by the wind. The dandelion flower tells us that life is short, delicate, and you never know where the winds will take you. Irrespective of that, don’t forget to dream, wish and remember the bigger joys that come from the little things in life. Author unknown.

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.

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.