Master Gardeners begin Talks in the Demo Garden series

Published 1:27 pm Wednesday, May 18, 2022

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By Carey Reeder | Staff Writer

The Chilton County Master Gardeners Association held their first Talk in the Demo Garden event on May 17. The educational talk was held in the demo garden at the Chilton Regional Research & Extension Center. The demo garden features five different types of gardens, and the CCMGA will present all of them over the course of the four talks.

The native garden was the first garden featured in the series of talks and was led by Master Gardener Trisha Williams. Williams talked about the plants in the garden that are all native to the Southeast and why they are important to the land.

“We want to preserve the plants for the pollinators, animals and ecosystems they are native, too,” Williams said during the presentation.

Some of the plants Williams showcased in her presentation were the Native Columbine and Mouse Ear Coreopsis. Williams explained how each of the native plants in the garden changed throughout the spring and summer months. She also talked about the difference between native plants and naturalized plants, such as the vibrant orange ditch lily. The ditch lily is abundant in Alabama, but is native to Asia and grows well in the Southeast due to the similar climates in both areas.

The Talks in the Demo Garden series order was shaped around when each garden was going to be in full bloom. The pollinator garden was not quite ready to be featured, and the herb garden had to be replanted. The pollinator garden will be presented on June 7, and the herb garden on Sept. 6. Reservations are preferred, but not required to attend the event.

“We wanted to get people out here to see the work we do,” Williams said. “We are out here one day a week, for two hours from March to mid-November, and we wanted to get people out here to get some education going with the gardens.”

The gardeners put a geocache in the demo garden, so those geocaching will come and visit the garden.

2016 was the year the demo garden opened, and the garden runs off of donations made by the community. The Boys Scouts and Girl Scouts each have projects they have constructed at the garden as well.

Master Gardener classes are a 12-week program, and the classes have recently been done over Zoom. However, those doing the classes in Chilton County were able to come in and watch the classes together, meet the Chilton County Master Gardeners and get their hands dirty with hands on experience. Volunteers who are not Master Gardeners are normally not accepted to work in the demo garden.

“You do not want people weeding who do not recognize the little babies,” Williams said.

The next Master Gardener class will be offered in Chilton County in August and the Master Gardeners expect it to be held in person.

“It is easier to get them involved,” Williams said. “We encourage them to come out as much as possible.”

To become a certified master gardener, one must log 50 hours in a garden. In Chilton County, the master gardeners ask that at least 10 of the hours are done at the demo garden at the Research & Extension Center.

Those interested in getting involved in the Chilton County Master Gardeners Association can do so through the Extension Office by calling 205-280-6268.