Saturday, April 10, 2010

Master Gardener Class: V and VI - Herbs, Design, Perennials and Wine

I had to miss my Master Gardener Class IV because my mom had emergency surgery that day to remove her gall bladder. She insisted that I go to my class, but I insisted more on being at the hospital and she knows better than to argue with me, because she seldom wins (unless I let her). *winks at Mom*  She's doing fine.

Class V was last week and what a treat it was! In the morning, we had a fun session with Janice Kline, as she talked to us about herbs - growing them and using them in cooking.

The afternoon session was on landscape design and perennials, taught by the always energetic Marcella Ciccotelli, owner of Colorscapes Gardens and Landscaping, just south of Defiance.  I always enjoy visiting Colorscapes, not only because they have great plants, but because Marcella is just fun! 

After hearing her speak on the principles of design, it just confirmed that "a garden designer I ain't."  I'm more of the buy-the-plant-then-try-to-find-a-place-for-it kind of gardener. But I find that over the years I'm making better choices as a result of having more experience and listening to people like Marcella.

This week, our class was held at Stoney Ridge Farm & Winery, near Bryan, Ohio.  We were supposed to have the class outside, where we would learn how to prune grapes, but it rained most of the day so class was held inside.

Pam Stotz, the winery owner (along with her husband, Phil), explained how to prune grapes and which ones are best for growing in our area. Then the Defiance County OSU Extension educator, Bruce Clevenger, spoke about brambles.  Each of these talks was very timely for me personally, because it's time to prune our grapes, and I've been wanting to get some thornless blackberry canes.

We then took a tour of the winery, where we watched 'Barn Dance White' being bottled.  This is done by hand!

We got to taste some of the wines that are made there, including a rhubarb wine. I'm not a fan of rhubarb, but the wine was surprisingly tasty! I ended up buying a bottle of Barn Dance Blush.

We had our lunch break, after which our afternoon session began.  Bill Grimes, from the Defiance County Soil & Water Conservation District talked to us about how to deal with wildlife in the garden, such as deer, rabbits, and squirrels. 

Next, Bette Mohr, Master Gardener and eagles nest monitor for the Department of Natural Resources shared some of her experiences while watching eagles in the Defiance area. She had some great photos, including some of the eagles in the nest south of Defiance, where we always see them.  I learned that we shouldn't get too close to an eagle's nesting area so as to lessen the chance of them being disturbed, even though they're very high up.

Interesting eagle fact: Ohio's bald eagle population grew from only four nesting pairs along the southwestern Lake Erie shore 31 years ago, to a record 215 eagle nests statewide in 2009.¹

We're now about three-fourths of the way through our Master Gardener classes. I'll be attending one more before I have to miss our last class on April 22, when I'll be in Cincinnati attending the Garden Writer's Association Region III meeting and the Cincinnati Flower Show.  Our final exam will be April 29th, then I'll begin working towards completing 50 hours of volunteer work before officially being designated a Master Gardener.

¹Ohio's Bald Eagles Begin Incubating Eggs, ODNR News, February 17, 2010. 


Rosie leavesnbloom said...

Glad to hear that your mom is doing fine Kylee - gall bladder problems are so painful. Your sure had a good time at that winery. Never tasted rhubarb wine before myself. You've certainly got a busy schedule ahead of you in the next few weeks.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

My MG class was never conducted at a winery. I bet you soaked up lots of information. ;) Pruning grapes is an art. I like to watch people that know how to prune. We have a thornless blackberry that makes plenty of blackberries for us and wildlife. Love making that jelly and then during winter eating it. Yummmm.

Janet, The Queen of Seaford said...

Sounds like it was a super class on herbs-- I like the AHS book on herbs in the photo. I have the AHS book on perennials and it is my go to book.
The grapevine pruning and wine tasting sounds very interesting. I have done many pruning classes-- still don't have a comfort level for fruit, be they blackberries or grapes....can handle the trees and the shrubs fairly well.
Good news about the Bald Eagle population. They are such majestic birds to watch.

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

I'm glad to hear your mom is doing better. She's a hoot.
Your classes sound so interesting. I'm with you on the buy plant, find place style of gardening. It's like a wardrobe, if you buy only the things that fit and go with everything else, you should be able to work it in.

Unknown said...

Glad to hear that Mom's doing fine! :)

Your classes sound great. I prune my fruit now, but I'm not 100% comfortable with it--I always have that nagging suspicion that I'm doing it wrong somehow! Maybe with time that will go away.

Kate/High Altitude Gardening said...

Hi, Kaylee;
Wow! Sounds you like you have a fantastic chapter of master gardeners! Our classes weren't nearly as interesting. Or, diverse. I'm curious to see what you decide to do for your 50 hours of community service. I was so lazy with mine, opting for public relations rather than digging and planting.

Glad to hear that your Mom is doing okay. I recall your pics from NYC, you 2 are a cute pair. :)

Pat said...

A gardening class and wine tasting...too much fun !
Community service has to be very rewarding,I'd imagine you would continue after the required amount for the degree.

Love the line "buy the plant-then try to find a place for it" Sounds like many of us.

Layanee said...

I think I would like that wine tasting portion of the MG program. Rain works out on occasion.

Yolanda Elizabet Heuzen said...

Very glad to hear that your Mom is doing fine, Kylee.

Also of the good is to read about how much fun those Master Classes are for you. Wish we had them here too.

BTW there's nothing wrong with being a buying a plant and then find a good spot for it gardener. :-)

Rose said...

Kylee, I think your Master Gardener classes must be much more fun than mine! We certainly didn't get to drink any wine:) Just finished my training this week, complete with a mini and fun graduation ceremony. I think my head is so stuffed with garden facts that it might burst:)

Hope all went well with your mom's surgery. Give her my best wishes for a speedy recovery!

garden girl said...

Yep, your MG classes sound much more exciting than mine were too Kylee!

I'm like you - buy the plant and find a spot for it - more of plant collector than garden designer for sure. Nothing wrong with that. You've got beautiful gardens. I'm definitely of the school that it's your garden, and you get to make the rules.

Cathy said...

From reading thru the comments, sounds like we have the coolest MG class around! I planted my grass tonight (that sounds illegal)-and was checking to see what you posted on today's class.

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