Jr. Lunch and Learn Series

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Jr. Lunch & Learn Series We need extra hands to help with this series for students at the King Family Library. Classes will be held every Wednesday in June 11:00am to 1:00pm. Kids will bring their lunch and eat while enjoying a lesson. Then it will be hands on time with an activity each week. We average around 40 kids each week and adults like to stick around too. The more helping hands we have on deck, the easier things go. If you would like to help one or multiple, please contact Tammie Browning at shallywag@yahoo.com .


Jr. Lunch and Learn Series

      Comments Off on Jr. Lunch and Learn Series

Jr. Lunch & Learn Series We need extra hands to help with this series for students at the King Family Library. Classes will be held every Wednesday in June 11:00am to 1:00pm. Kids will bring their lunch and eat while enjoying a lesson. Then it will be hands on time with an activity each week. We average around 40 kids each week and adults like to stick around too. The more helping hands we have on deck, the easier things go. If you would like to help one or multiple, please contact Tammie Browning at shallywag@yahoo.com .


Wilderness Wildlife May 5/18-5/21

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Wilderness Wildlife Week May 18-21 Don’t Miss It! Classes available all day long. Guided hikes also available. You can earn many more CEU’s than you need at this FREE event in Pigeon Forge. This event was always in January, but this year is in May for the first time. You can also get some volunteer hours by working the Master Gardener booth. Alan has sent an email with classes that will count for your CEU’s. You can contact Les Williams at wmsmusicsr@aol.com to volunteer at the booth. This is a great event. To get more details and to see a complete class schedule visit: http://www.mypigeonforge.com/events/wilderness-wildlife-week/

Upcoming Meetings 5/16 & 6/20

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May 16th – INTERN RECEPTION for all the 2016 interns. We hope you each will join us. To all other Master Gardeners, if you can, we ask you bring a covered dish to share with the group. Drinks will be provided. Attendees of the 2016 TN State Master Gardener Conference will share highlights, pictures, and other items of interest.

June 20th – The High School Junior Master Gardeners will give presentations about something they have learned and/or are passionate about. Each student will do about an 8-9 presentation for our group. Be supportive and positive with these young students as they begin to learn how to share information with others.

Flower and Garden Show – 2016

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In a word—excellent! Even the weather was perfect! Most important was the feeling of cooperation on Friday and Saturday. Here are my bouquets: to Jeannine and Paul Schmierbach and Regina Pollard who spent weeks collecting raffle prizes; Kathy Manis, Kay Luce, and Carl Parsons for selling raffle tickets; George Denton and his team for staffing the Ask-A Master-Gardener table; Donna Stinnett and Karen Grice for another fabulous kids’ corner; Tom Seaton for stringing miles of fairy lights; Dixie Seaton, Tammy Browning, Leeann Barbee, Amparo Flores for helping the Junior MGs booth; the Junior Master Gardeners for all their incredible help with vendors on Friday and Saturday; Joan Falsone and team for the best MG plant booth ever; Sarah Gibson, Shirley Washam, David Walden, Audrey MacLellan for staffing the ticket booth; Lucy Henighan, Louise Rugh, Tim Sampson, Robert Mazzolini, Steve Greenwell for manning the exit gates all day. The Flower Show happened because all these Master Gardeners asked, “ What can I do to help?” Just look what we did! Thanks so much! -Linda Oakburg

Sevier County Master Gardener’s Flower & Garden Show and Sale

You can knock out a lot of those needed volunteer hours for the Flower & Garden Show and Sale. Ways to Help (Earn Service Hours) at the Sale:

  • Set up on Friday, April 22 starting at 10:00am and will be most of the day. Come volunteer whatever time you have available.
  • Ticket Sales (very easy work sitting at the table) day of the sale.
  • Runners helping folks get things to their cars if needed.
  • Help in the Master Gardener booth.
  • Help at the Ask-A-Master Gardner booth.
  • Kids Activity Room with the Junior Master Gardeners
  • Clean Up starting at 4:00pm (takes about an hour to hour and half)

Call Linda Oakberg if you can help in any way. (865) 428-6265

  • Help with tours in the demo garden during the sale.
  • We will be having classes in the garden as well, but will need some volunteers to be out there to guide folks through the garden and try to answer questions for them.

You can contact Tammie Browning at shallywag@yahoo.com or (865) 604-4829. Work an hour or more. There are still posters available at the Extension Office for the Flower & Garden Show and Sale. Stop by and pick a few up to put out in place you visit. Now is the time we really need to start pushing the sale

News from the Teaching Patch Demo Garden

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FB_20150509_21_25_30_Saved_PictureOh spring is in the air! That means it is time to get to work in the demo garden. If you are signed up to work a bed you are welcome to go and work anytime that is convenient for you. Remember that the Plant Sale is April 23. We will be having tours and classes in the garden this year, so all the beds and the garden needs to be looking good for our visitors.

We do have some schedule work days coming up for clean-up and prep work. Due to the Plant Sale being so near and some big events happening in April and May we have adjusted the dates a bit and added some extra work days. Please come and help as you can.  Also feel free anytime to stop by to help weed and maintain the beds all year long.

Our regular schedule will be the 1st Wednesday and 3rd Saturday of each month. However, some alterations have been made due to the 10 Mile Yard Sale, Air Show, and Wilderness Wildlife Week. After May, we will be back on the regular schedule. Below are some dates and details about the work that will be going on.  Please come and help if you can. It is a great chance for service hours. The more hands on deck we have the quicker the work will go.

Wednesday, March 30 4:30pm to 6:30pm- Clean up (Pull out old and prepare for the new)
Wednesday, April 6 4:30pm to 6:30pm- Applying new mulch to the beds and the garden
Saturday, April 9 10:00am to 12:00pm- Applying new mulch to the beds and the garden
Wednesday, April 13 4:30pm to 6:30pm- Last minute Plant Sale touch ups/mulching if still needed
Wednesday, May 4 4:30pm to 6:30pm – ? (Hopefully new projects)
Saturday, May 14 9:00am to 11:00am ? (Hopefully new projects)

Thanks from the Demo Garden Committee

Know Your Invasive Plants – English Ivy

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Know your Invasive Plants-English Ivy
By Roger Simpson

Mature English Ivy leavies

Mature English Ivy leaves

As time goes by our understanding grows larger of what is an invasive plant. And along with this, our list of what plants are invasive grows also. This is the case with English Ivy. Until recently it was one of the most common ground covers. It was considered valuable for covering walls, rocks, or any rough surface. It was especially useful for growing under trees in the shade where grass could not be maintained. But things change, and English Ivy (hedera helix) is now considered an invasive plant. An invasive plant has the ability to thrive and spread outside its natural range. A naturally aggressive plant may be especially invasive when it is introduced to a new habitat. An invasive species that colonizes a new area may gain an ecological edge since the insects, diseases, and foraging animals that keep its growth in check in its native range are not in its new habitat.

Some invasive plants are worse than others. Many invasive plants continue to be admired by gardeners who may not be aware of their weedy nature. Others are recognized as weeds but property owners fail to do their part in preventing their spread. Some do not even become invasive until they are neglected for a long time. Invasive plants are not all equally invasive. Some only colonize small areas and do not do so aggressively. Others may spread and come to dominate large areas in just a few years. It’s a matter of ecology. In many cases, plants from other parts of the world are welcomed, manageable additions to our gardens. However, in some situations these non-native species cause serious ecological disturbances. In the worst cases, invasive plants like mile-a-minute, purple loosestrife, and kudzu ruthlessly choke out other plant life. This puts extreme pressure on native plants and animals, and threatened species may succumb to this pressure.

Ultimately, invasive plants alter habitats and reduce biodiversity. English Ivy is dangerous because it can spread very quickly through native woodlands, both by it’s creeping runners, and by seed scattered by birds that eat the berries. As it spreads, native plants are reduced until we are left with a very simplified ecosystem.

The problem with English Ivy is that it climbs with the use of aerial rootlets and will in time cover and kill trees. Hedera helix grows by spreading runners which climb over and smother anything and everything in their path including buildings, shrubs, and trees. If you’re a homeowner, you really do not want this plant climbing up your walls. The rootlets will burrow into masonry, eventually weakening them to the point of collapse. On wooden siding the dense cover retains moisture, which causes fungus and decay, while the rootlets pry apart siding and eventually rip your outer walls apart. As a ground cover, the quick growth and dense cover shade out native plants and suppress their growth. In tree canopies, the enormous weight of the Ivy will eventually topple each tree. The rootlets burrow under the bark, causing fungus and decay while creating opportunities for disease to enter. English ivy carries Bacterial Leaf Scorch (Xylella fastidiosa), a plant pathogen harmful to elms, oaks, maples, & other native trees.

There are two forms of English Ivy, immature and mature. The immature form has deeply lobed leaves. The mature form’s leaves, show here, are not lobed. The mature form with flowers and berries does not appear until the vine begins to grow vertically. The English Ivy Vine can grow very large, this one was larger around than a man’s arm. It gets bigger.

Early this spring it was if I awakened from a deep sleep and really took a look at two large maple trees growing in my yard. One in particular was covered with English Ivy. Perhaps the ivy stood out more on the tree before the trees leaves emerged in the spring. But for what ever reason, the realization came to me that if something was not done quickly, the tree could die. And this was an old large maple tree. What is the tree’s value, and how

This English Ivy vine was bigger around than a man's arm

This vine was bigger around than a man’s arm

long would be take to replace a tree its size? According to experts, the vines would have to be physically stripped from the tree. This turned out to be tougher than thought. By this time the vines at the bottom of the tree were larger than a man’s arm and very tough. It was recommended that all the vines be removed from six feet above the ground down. I started at chest height because it was easier to work. The vine was so thick that a combination of a tree saw and machete had to be used to cut through them . I found that the vines had to be cut and removed in lengths of about a foot. Longer lengths were simply too hard to remove. Because the ivy attaches itself with the aerial roots, after the lengths were cut, they had to be pried off with a small crow bar.

This was not easy work and very time consuming as there were vines all the way around the tree. I was lucky in that the tree was in the corner of my yard. Every time there was some extra time, I would go work on the tree for an hour. Even after the vines had all been cut and stripped down to the ground, it still took the vines in the trees a month or so to dry out and die. The leaves lived on the nutrients stored in the vine itself. Even today, months after, there are several very small lengths of vine still green but the great majority is brown and dried. The tree has leaved out and appears to be none the worst for wear. But the message is clear, avoidance is better than remedy. If you have English Ivy, the best bet is to never let it climb into any tree. Ivy can cover a tree or building, but it might take several years. Beside the weight of the vine, it slowly smothers the tree and promotes disease.