United Community Bank “Tomato Day” 2016


Posted by Barb B | Posted in Community Projects | Posted on 18-05-2015

United Community Bank’s Customer Appreciation Day – May 6th, 2016

“Tomato Day”

Jo Anne Allen, Chairman, Union County UCB Customer Appreciation Day, AKA “Tomato Day” reports the following:

Thank you all volunteering your time at United Community Bank’s Customer Appreciation Tomato Day.  We gave out many tomato brochures and answered questions about tomatoes, ground covers, native azaleas and moles/voles (to name a few).  The second shift of TUMGA Volunteers:  2016 UCB Tomato Day

United Community Bank’s Customer Appreciation Day – May 1st, 2015

“Tomato Day”

Jo Anne Allen reports that the Master Gardener booths at the United Community Banks in Blairsville and Hiawassee on the May 1 “Tomato Day” were most successful. An informational flyer was distributed and many questions were fielded by our Master Gardener volunteers. Our group has been invited to participate again next year.  Submitted by Jo Anne Allen, MG Chair

For a copy of the tomato growing instructions please click here:  GHGTomatoes2015lesscolor

For more information:  President Marty Dellinger   mg2016marty@gmail.com

Hiawassee Library 2015


Posted by Barb B | Posted in Community Projects | Posted on 16-02-2015




Pictured are Dale Harmon, MGEV, Debbie Phillips, Director, Hiawassee Library, Dan Greenfield, MGEV, and Maggie Oliver, MGEV. Not pictured, but who helped are Vickie and David Best, MGEV’s

 From the rehabilitation of the original flower beds in front of the “old” Library, to the additional plantings in the expanded side beds and patio beds on the back at the “new” Library, the Towns Union Master Gardeners Association, TUMGA, has worked diligently to enhance the appearance of the outside public areas of the Library. Maggie Oliver, MGEV, is the coordinator of the project and managed to keep construction damage to a minimum. She planted the side beds three years ago with heirloom iris and daffodils and is anxious to see how they survived the project! Prior to construction, watering of the beds was done with 150 feet of hose from the back of the building where the only outside spigot was located. The idea of a rain barrel was born before construction started, but delayed until the project was completed. The rain barrel was donated by UGA Towns Extension Service and the MGEV’s took over! It had to be painted to match the building, needed a base to sit on, as well as connections for the internal parts and screens. This year, thanks to this talented group of Master Gardeners who did all of the work, watering will be much simpler. The rain water from the barrel will be used, which is chlorine free, a bonus for the plants. This is the only rain barrel in Hiawassee at a commercial facility, and may well be the only one operational anywhere in the city! Ms. Phillips, Director of the Hiawassee Library, is pleased to be able to share this project with the community and with the children in the summer educational programs at the Library. Check it out. You might want one at your house!

Submitted by Grace Howard, Master Gardener Extension Volunteer, TUMGA

For more information:  President Marty Dellinger   mg2016marty@gmail.com

Children’s Daffodil Memorial Garden at Meek’s Park 2017 Update


Posted by Barb B | Posted in Community Projects | Posted on 13-11-2014

History of the garden – 2014:

Master Gardeners have been working with the Am Yisrael Chai Project Coordinator, Mike Weinroth and Commissioner Lamar Paris, Union County since the summer of 2014 to create a memorial daffodil garden in Meek’s Park. The bulbs were planted to honor the memory of the children who perished in the Holocaust. It is the goal of Am Yisrael Chai to plant 1.5 million bulbs worldwide in memory of the 1.5 million children who died in the Holocaust, a Living Holocaust Memorial. The total number of daffodils planted since 2010, when this project started, is 77,558.

The garden is located adjacent to the Children’s Memorial Garden and has followed a complementary layout to work in conjunction with it.

The back ground plants installed were two “Blue Point” Junipers and three Loropetalum “Daruma”. We will be doing a little more planting after the daffodils bloom in the spring to add some color and texture for the balance of the year.

The dedication ceremony was held on Sunday, November 2nd, 2015 at 3:00 pm and was attended by approximately 100 members of the community. The attendees were invited to plant a daffodil bulb in mem”ory of a child who perished in the Holocaust with a sheet in the program with information about a specific child making it very moving. Master Gardener Extension Volunteers demonstrated to the community the proper way to plant the bulbs and a pamphlet was provided to anyone interested on planting in their own gardens. There are 600 daffodil bulbs planted in the garden.

This information submitted by Jo Anne Allen, MG Extension Volunteer

For more information:  President Marty Dellinger   mg2016marty@gmail.com

A beautiful plaque has been installed and was officially unveiled at the dedication.

Garden In Full Bloom – Spring 2016

March 14 2016 full bloom

April 2016 Project update:   Hi All MGEVs and Friends of Master Gardeners,

Thank you to all MGEVs and Friends of Master Gardeners who helped with the weeding and fertilizing (bone meal) of the Children’s Daffodil Garden at Meeks Park.  Even though the bulbs have finished blooming for this season, the Loropetalums (in full bloom) and other shrubs and hostas are simply beautiful.  We will request mulch from the Park Service after the bulb foliage dies back and may put down some pre-emergent to keep some of the weed seeds from germinating.  Thank you again,  Jo Anne Allen, MGEV Chairman


March 2015 finds the garden springing to life:   (Please remember to  click on any photo to view larger)

March 5th:


  March 17th:

The article appearing in the North Georgia News about the Children’s Daffodil Garden:

Children’s Daffodil Garden Blooms

 The daffodils in the Children’s Daffodil Garden at Meeks Park are in full bloom.  The damp and cold afternoon of November 2, 2014 did not stop approximately 115 residents of Union County from coming out and planting 600 daffodil bulbs in memory of those children who perished in the Holocaust.

The Garden is part of an initiative started by the Atlanta-based organization, Am Yisrael Chai, whose mission is to plant 1.5 million bulbs worldwide for the 1.5 million children murdered during the Holocaust.  Mike Weinroth, the Project Coordinator, stated that more than 45,000 bulbs have been planted to date.

Mike Weinroth along with Blairsville resident Steve Mack gained the support of Union County Sole Commissioner Lamar Paris before moving forward with the planting of this garden.  Mr. Weinroth contacted the Master Gardeners and they worked tirelessly in all stages of this project, from planning to implementing, along with Meeks Park Manager Larry Conley and his staff.  Master  Gardeners assisted in site selection to make sure the new Children’s Daffodil Garden fit nicely into the original Children’s Garden area.  They researched and selected shrubbery to be planted at the back part of the garden as a back drop for the 600 daffodils that were to be planted at the front part of the garden.  Brochures were created for education on planting bulbs, education being the primary goal of all Master Gardener Extension Volunteers.  The Master Gardeners pre-planted many of the bulbs the day before the Garden dedication, a real work of love accomplished in the sleet and snow flurries, to assure that all of the 600 bulbs got planted.  Both children and adults of Union County aided by several of the Towns-Union Master Gardener Extension Volunteers planted the remainder of  bulbs in the Children’s Daffodil Garden at the Garden dedication.

Daffodils, with their burst of color each Spring, represent renewal of nature after the harshness of winter.  Come out to Meeks Park and enjoy the beauty of the daffodils.

May 9, 2015

A BIG THANK YOU to Barbara Baumgardner and Bert Baumgardner and Tom Allen.  Bert and Barbara and I weeded the Children’s Daffodil Garden, fertilized the garden, planted hostas and lysimachia (as called for in our initial garden design), and replaced/planted  one of the loropetalums that did not survive this past winter.  Tom went to Buds and Butterflies and got our replacement loropetalum at no cost.  Hostas and lysimachia were donated to the Children’s Daffodil Garden from Jo Anne’s garden.  The garden is once again beautiful, loropetalums are blooming and it is now weed-free.
Chairman: Jo Anne Allen

Clean up May 10 4

Towns County Farmers Market – 2017


Posted by Barb B | Posted in Community Projects | Posted on 20-07-2014

The Towns County Farmers Market – 2017

The “Ask a Master Gardener” booth at the Towns County Farmers Market is open for business as of this past Saturday. Attached hopefully are a couple of pictures of the booth and our new cart. We have a permanent “covered” location with a permanent table, and it will be designated exclusively for our use all season. YEA – it won’t be “discovery leaning” every Saturday this year as to where we might set up.  We have lots of printed materials
and our “customers” on Saturday really seemed to appreciate our being there. The hours on Saturday are 9:00 – 12:00 and we invite you to come check us out if you are in the area. It is always an “interesting” place with all the beach and pickle ball and fair grounds and Hamilton Gardens traffic, as well as farmers market traffic, coming and going!!!!!!!
Marsha Elliott, MGEV

The Towns County Farmers Market has closed for the 2016 season. Since May 14, there has been an “Ask a Master Gardener” booth every Saturday that the market has been open. We averaged between 20 and 30 folks who stopped by the booth each week to chat and ask questions. We had lots of printed information available on a variety of topics. Much appreciation goes to those TUMGA members who “manned” the booth on these 20 Saturday mornings that the market was open.

The Towns County Farmers Market Open for the 2016 Season

The Towns County Farmers Market opened for the season last Saturday.   Attached are photos of the “Ask a Master Gardener” booth and
another one of Sheleila O’Neal at her booth. Both booths will be open every Saturday morning and eager to receive visitors. We had a steady stream of visitors all morning long and they shopped and asked good questions at the MG booth. We are hopefully that the number of vendors will increase each Saturday and that many folks will choose to come by. The hours are 9:00 – 12:00. Any MG member is invited to help “staff” the MG booth.  Submitted by Marsha Elliott, MGEV

Towns County Farmers Market: In cooperation with the Extension Advisory (ELS) Committee, operate a weekly Farmers market during the growing season. Volunteers serve as ‘market managers’ during hours of operation.  We don’t charge any fees for local farmers/residents to sell vegetables that are more than they can eat!  We currently have 13-15 vendors each week.  Saturdays, from 9-12AM.

Contact: Dan Greenfield, President – dgreenfi@hotmail.com

Master Gardener Extension Volunteer, Marsha Elliott, shared this pictures from Towns County Farmers Market, Saturday, September 5th:

Please Note:  TC Farmer’s Market has a Facebook page so please “like” us on Facebook!  This great place to find out what’s happening at the Towns County Farmers Market along with alot of interesting resources!  Please stop by the market and remember to “like” us on Facebook!  Thanks  https://www.facebook.com/TownsCountyFarmersMarket
Contact: Maggie Oliver, Chairman

For further information, please contact:  Dan Greenfield, President – dgreenfi@hotmail.com

Towns County After School Program – Farm to Table 2014


Posted by Barb B | Posted in Community Projects | Posted on 20-07-2014

Towns County After School Program – Farm to Table: Assist the program director and staff in implementing their vegetable gardening project. This includes use of the greenhouse, building raised beds,  planting seeds in raised  and salad beds, vermiculture (ie: raising earthworms for their excrement  as fertilizer), etc.  2014 one-time purchase 10 yards of soil to add to raised.
Contact: Judy Caines, Chairman

For further information, please contact:  Dan Greenfield, President – dgreenfi@hotmail.com

Towns County Courthouse 2014


Posted by Barb B | Posted in Community Projects | Posted on 20-07-2014

Towns County Courthouse:  Weed and supervise detainees to add mulch, provided by county, as needed.  Add 2 bush type plants (looking at camellias) by front entrance.
Contact: Joan Crothers, Chairman

For further information, please contact:  Dan Greenfield, President – dgreenfi@hotmail.com

Hiawassee Library 2014


Posted by Barb B | Posted in Community Projects | Posted on 20-07-2014

Hiawassee Library: Re-design beds when construction is finished. Create new plan for the old jail. Participate in the summer reading program again, with a focus on plants.
Contact: Maggie Oliver, Chairman

For further information, please contact:  Dan Greenfield, President – dgreenfi@hotmail.com

Gold Medal Garden at Union County Farmer’s Market – 2017


Posted by Barb B | Posted in Community Projects | Posted on 25-06-2014

Gold Medal Garden at Union County Farmer’s Market: Educational garden containing Georgia Gold Medal Plants; requires regular maintenance and new plantings yearly to add to the garden.

June 2017 – Meet Me In The Garden – MGEV

Dates:  Tuesday, June 27th – Friday, June 30th – Meet Me In The Garden (Gold Medal at UC Farmers Market)
Time:  9:00 AM
The Gold Medal Garden at the Union County Farmers’ Market is in dire need of weeding.
Since everyone is very busy working in their own yards as well as MGEV projects, I decided that it may be more convenient to you to Meet Me In The Garden (Gold Medal) at your convenience!
This is how it works —   I will be in the Gold Medal Garden weeding each day this week at 9:00 AM.  Work for 30 minutes or 15 minutes, whatever you can fit into your schedule.  You be the judge on RAIN as I will not send out a weather/work update for each day.  Bring your own water, gloves and trowel. Thanks in advance for your help.  Marcia Little, Chairman

Fall 2016 Gold Medal Garden Report

The Gold Medal Garden at the Union County Farmers’ Market in Blairsville still looks wonderful even though blooms are dying down.

The next visit by members will be scheduled for the last week in October or in early November to retrieve seeds from spent blooms and prune down perennials left standing from our last visit.  The roses will also be pruned down; and, we’ll all share in discussion of the Beautyberry that is blocking the walkway.  The correct Gold Medal winner variety has been purchased and we’ll discuss where it needs to reside.

We also need to re-do two perennials beds that have been taken over by wild violets and a time frame as to when we want to attack and what we want to reinstall.

Our next working visit (end of October or early November) will be minor work and more talk!.  Weather permitting we may plan a Fall luncheon (outside) with shared soup and bread!  FUN!!!!!  Marcia Little

What a perfect update to the Gold Medal Garden – This is August’s report!!!!!

Everything blooming with the glory of our wonderful mountains as a backdrop.  What human could have done such beautiful work?!
We Master Gardeners just like to dig in the dirt and the results are not totally ours.
The beautyberry that is blocking the walkway probably needs to be removed Emoji ; but, there are still two remaining.  Will pursue removal ceremony in the Fall.
Shasta Daisies have been deadheaded and seeds collected (but I think I told you this)
Will begin deadheading the black-eyed susans, small amounts at a time to leave some for the birds.  Will leave the seed heads of the coneflowers for the birds and will remove the stalks in the late Fall or late Winter (some seeds should fall to revitalize the bed)  Speaking of coneflowers – the bed has been taken over by wild orchids and the bed needs to be re-worked next Spring.
Happy gardening!
Marcia Little

MGEV Cathy Haist reports the following:  “As I was leaving the Farmer’s market yesterday, I noticed an artist painting in the Garden.

She had captured some of the Garden with the mountains behind on her canvas.  I just had to take pictures of her work to share with you.
 July 2016 update for the Gold Medal Garden
o     Everything looks healthy!
o     Weeding is soooooo minimal since the mulch was added by the County!!!
o     A second family of “field swallows” has fledged – what fun to garden with them.
o     Battle is ALMOST over with Japanese Beetles and Milkweed bug – but the squishing continues for a while longer.
Marcia Little, MGEV

May 2016 update for the Gold Medal Garden

Have you seen the garden lately – Merrily,  Merrily applies!

New mulch has been applied and more rock have been installed to help the “wash” during torrential rains.  Weeds have been sprayed in the “dry ditch” and everything is perking up beautifully!  Still awaiting the Clethera to emerge, but all other residents seem to be doing just fine.
Plant ID “tags” will be elevated for easier viewing and Small Metal Markers will be installed to identify all Non-Gold Medal Plants.
For all you recent graduates (Trainees)  I encourage you to take a walk through the garden, use the posted map to locate and identify the plants, learn what Gold Medal Plants are (use the internet to tell the history) and enjoy the season long beauty.
I am seeking suggested ANNUALS from the Gold Medal list to create a small annual flower bed at the entrance to the garden.  It will, too, be outlined with rocks and some prep work will also have to be done.  So send me you suggestions!
Next work day will be sent via email.  Marcia Little, Gold Medal Plant Garden, Project Chairman
To see the 2016 Gold Medal Plant winners, please check here:  http://botgarden.uga.edu/explore/goldmedalplants.php#Gold-Medal-Winners

Chairman Marcia Little submits this current update on the beautiful Gold Medal Garden at Union County Farmers Market for your reading pleasure:

Here’s the Spring 2015 update for the Gold Medal Garden
  • The Plant ID tags are in place
  • Cletherea ‘hummingbird’ was purchased as this year’s major addition.  Sorry to say they expired and have been returned for replacement.  I did plant five (5) small plants that I dug and grew from my yard.
  • The Amsonia that JoAnne has been growing have proven to be more difficult to grow from seeds and seedlings.  Thank you JoAnne for ALL the time and effort it has taken.  I will be looking for larger plants in the meantime.  JoAnne has graciously offered to continue the vigil of raising the babies she has – THANKS.  The larger plants, once located, will probably be in 2016 budget for next year’s planting.
  • JoAnne provided a flat of pink and white mix cleome.  However, there are 1 Billion seedlings already in the garden (I counted) and we may hold off on adding more.
  • There is a pair of Meadow or Field Swallows (I believe, as they are a beautiful blue) currently building a nest in the birdhouse that was placed in honor of JoAnne’s Mom.
  • JoAnne provided “Red Hot Poker” and they were split and planted in front of the electrical box and telephone pole on the West side of the garden.
  • We were able to talk with Mickey about needing mulch, etc etc etc.  You will be happy to know that he will talk with both Larry and Lamar in hopes of also getting “egg” rock to be placed in the garden to help with the mulch staying put to avoid drainage issues.  Mickey suggested mulch around the plants and “egg” rock elsewhere.  This conversation and request will be continued, but I just wanted you to know that Mickey is on board with helping to cut down on the weeds and also adding beauty to the garden.  Mickey’s comment was that this may be a large expense initially, but will pay off may times over – YEA!!
  • The garden will be fertilized in the next few days – hoping it will rain this weekend so I can fertilize this Thursday
  • Everything else looks great – a few bugs on the Black-eyed Susans, but all else just looks hungry
  • There are many Beautyberry baby plants emerging and we will harvest them at another time to replant and sell at Ask The Master Gardener
WOW, What a Garden – thanks for everyone’s help!
On a beautiful 2015 “April Fools Day” there were no fools working in the
Gold Medal Plant Garden at the Union County Farmers’ Market!
The County’s experienced and talented Towns & Union Counties Master Gardeners were hard at work performing Spring gardening chores in the beautiful Gold Medal Plant Garden they designed and installed in 2009.  Once a parking lot drainage area, the Master Gardeners transformed an unsightly area into a learning garden of specially selected Gold Medal Plants.  Gold Medal Plants derive their prestigious name from a selection of vines, shrubs, trees, ground cover, perennials and annuals that are nominated and then selected by a committee to be “the chosen” for each year.  The plantings selected for Union County’s Gold Medal Garden were specifically selected for growth in this area.  Plantings were also selected to provide flowering throughout the growing season as an example to residents of Union County.  The location for this garden was selected due to the vast number of visitors to the beautiful Union County Farmers’ Market each year.  Thank you to the County for allowing the Towns & Union Counties Master Gardeners to provide the beautiful garden for all Union County residents.  Our Garden invites you to walk the pathway in the Garden and enjoy all its beauty with the birds, butterflies and bees.

For a history of Gold Medal Plants and their selection please click here: http://outreach.uga.edu/news/gold-medal-winners-brighten-landscapes_871

To see the Gold Medal Plant selection for 2015, please click here: http://botgarden.uga.edu/explore/goldmedalplants.php#Gold-Medal-Winners

To see the Gold Medal Plant selection for 2014, please click here: Gold Medal Plants 2014

In the event you are interested in seeing the Gold Medal Plants selected for years 1994 – 2013, please click here: http://www.walterreeves.com/landscaping/gold-medal-plant-summary-1994-2010/
Contact: Marcia Little, Chairman

For further information, please contact:  Dan Greenfield, President – dgreenfi@hotmail.com

The Glenda Gooch House – 2014


Posted by Barb B | Posted in Community Projects | Posted on 23-06-2014

The Glenda Gooch House
: A gift from Glenda Gooch and her family which provides a warm, safe and comfortable home for families whose loved one  is hospitalized at the nearby Union General Hospital without cost.

Contact: Cathy Haist, Chairman

For further information, please contact:  Dan Greenfield, President – dgreenfi@hotmail.com

The Memory Garden At Union General Hospital From the Dream to 2017


Posted by Barb B | Posted in Community Projects | Posted on 23-06-2014

This is a brief history of the dream of the garden and how it has evolved to the present:

Memory Garden before construction of walkways and installation of door Dec 2012:

 And now in 2017, this is what it looks like – a lot of love and labor went into the dream:

The Memory Garden at Union General Hospital

Within the walls of Union General Hospital, there has been a Memory Garden growing.

It is a joint venture of the Mountain Healthcare Foundation, Union General Hospital, the Towns-Union Master Gardeners and the Memory Garden Committee who are employees of Union General Hospital.The Memory Garden honors former employees who are no longer with us while giving a place for a few moments of calm reflection in a natural setting.

It is open for all visitors, patients, families, Hospital volunteers and employees during the daylight hours and is located on the second floor by the Laboratory.

For more information, please contact Leslie Daniels at the Mountain Healthcare Foundation at 706-745-21111 or Towns-Union Master Gardeners  please contact:  Dan Greenfield, President – dgreenfi@hotmail.com

Master Gardener Project Chairman:  Cathy Haist

August 10th picture:  Garden in all its glory!  Aug 10th 2015

Chairman Cathy Haist adds these 2015 updates to the beautiful Memory Garden at Union General Hospital:

 Over 150 Daffodils were planted last Fall by employees, MG’s and Friends of MG’s as a special request from Robbie McGill, RN for Evelyn Jones.

Our first nesting of Bluebirds were spotted in the Bluebird Churchhouse.

Spring 2015 Projects at the Memory Garden:

The Trellis, which was donated by the Union General Hospital Auxiliary, has now been stained.   After soil improvements are done then flowering vines will be added.

Trellis donated 2015

The Memory Garden Fountain will be re-started soon after being turned off for the Winter.
Mulching Day is Sat. May 2nd at 8:00 AM. All are welcome

The final addition for 2014 was the addition of “The Recognition Tree” located on the opposite wall from the door out to the Memory Garden and donated by a very generous benefactor:


November 2014 Addition to the Memory Garden – Still growing and looking amazing!

This is the latest addition to the Memory Garden at Union General Hospital.  A donation from the Auxiliary in honor of all their members, past, present and future.  we understand a plaque will be placed on the Trellis in the near future
In the Spring, the Trellis will be stained a cedar brown to match the benches.  There already is a donation money for specific flowering vines that will be planted then, also.
Trellis Nov 2014

When a dream turns into reality – October 2014!

Memory Garden 1 Oct 2014

Memory Garden 2 Aug 2014


Just take a look at early 2014:

  L1010785   L1010787


L1010468Work crew June 9 2014 pix 1



And pictures are definitely worth 1,000 words, the garden August 2014:

Memory Garden Aug 2014 2Memory Garden Aug 2014 1

For more information: Jo Anne Allen and Judy Caines , Co-Presidents

Georgia Mountain Research & Education Center GMREC 2014 Volunteers


Posted by Barb B | Posted in Community Projects | Posted on 23-06-2014

GMREC: MGEV’s serve as tour guides, assist in educational programs for school children, work in the preservation gardens, plus many other opportunities.
Contact: Donna Cates, Chairman

For further information, please contact:  Dan Greenfield, President – dgreenfi@hotmail.com

First Baptist Church, Blairsville – 2014


Posted by Barb B | Posted in Community Projects | Posted on 22-06-2014

First Baptist Church, Blairsville – Members maintain two plant beds and assist with children’s raised bed. Also maintain four containers. Advise contractors.
Contact: Annette Hopgood, Chairman

For further information, please contact:  Dan Greenfield, President – dgreenfi@hotmail.com

Nell Brown Dahlia Beds at Meeks Park & Union County Farmers Market 2016


Posted by Barb B | Posted in Community Projects | Posted on 22-06-2014

Nell Brown Dahlia Beds at Meeks Park & Union County Farmer’s Market: A family history of raising dahlias in Suches, Georgia is being perpetuated by Master Gardeners.
Contact: Annette Hopgood, Chairman

For further information, please contact:  Dan Greenfield, President – dgreenfi@hotmail.com

2016 Dahlia Beds at Union County Farmer’s Market & Meeks Park

Farmers Market – dahlia bed has been weeded but could use a little more work, mostly under the split rail fence and in the big rocks next to the road. There is a newly discovered (by MGEVs) weed that is everywhere; also Johnson grass and pig weed. Generally, the tubers are slow to emerge. A few tubers have not sprouted but they are the late blooming ones. We should start having blooms around July 4th. All tubers were planted in two gallon pots with gravel in the bottom. The surrounding grass and planting area has been treated with a grub preventive and a Tom Cat © mole/vole preventive. Anticipate pinching back some of the plants Tuesday June 21st at 8:30 am. MGEVs are invited.

Meeks Park – dahlia bed completely weeded. The surrounding grass and planting area has been treated with a grub preventive and a Tom Cat © mole/vole preventive. Anticipate pinching back some of the plants Tuesday June 21st. We’ll meet first at Farmers Market and then move to Meeks.


Lilacs – All lilacs are pruned in the Park and Susan J and Annette pruned a few bushes at the Senior Center June 9th but have about 12 more left. The big, full lilac bush that’s located about half way down has a bird’s nest in it with eggs.  Susan and Annette were chewed out by mama bird the entire time we were deadheading it.   We’ll fix that bush later.

There are at least two bushes that are dead and will be dug up by the probationers.  Larry Connelly has agreed to provide fertilizer, mulch and the labor after he has the grass treated for grubs.

Roses – looks like the Knock-out Roses at Meeks have the virus; also think the ones at 1st Baptist have virus.

Report by Annette Hopgood and Susan Jarocki

Chairman Annette Hopgood has shared these photos of bloom succession from 2014 for your enjoyment:

MG Dahlia pictures 2014 bloom progression

2015 photos will be coming in the future but Chairman Annette Hopgood shares this Dahlia Growing Info:

Dahlia MG 2015 Public Instructions July 7 full page

Annette Hopgood also shares a website dealing with viruses in dahlias:   http://dahlia.wsu.edu/index.htm

May 12th – Planting Day at Meeks Park Dahlia Bed

The following met at Meeks Park to plant 52 dahlia tubers:

Nell Brown, Annette Hopgood, Marcia Little, Rod Burley, Kay Burley, Pat Smith, Susan Jarocki and Cathy Haist.

Nell presented her ‘helpers’ with certificates as Dahlia Dudes!

Each dahlia planted has its own rebar/label like at the Farmers Market. Most are planted in 1.7 gal pots with three planted in hardware cloth. TUMGA purchased 30 – 6’ pieces of cut rebar; Barb has received donations of fertilizer and additional rebar from local businesses. Larry Conley with Parks and Recreation did a great job of preparing beds. 10-10-10 was added; Pat and Susan recorded the varieties for a diagram. If plants do not survive we will try to replace them with varieties I have started in pots at home. Nell’s goal was to plant all varieties at Meeks; I think we have planted all known varieties between the two beds. I have a number of tubers without names that I will plant at home and identify. If you’d like to give a home to an ‘unknown’ LET ME KNOW!

Next year we might investigate a small bed to feature pink dahlias for breast cancer awareness. This idea was generated during planting! Thanks Pat.

Susan and I went back to the FM and planted 6, 12, and 18-inch zinnias under the split rail fence at the bed. Susan raked the bed and filled in some sunken areas. Susan and I may investigate some type of stepping stone between rows at FM.

I will have a few tubers at the Thursday, May 14th meeting; others will be available again on 5-23 at Strawberry Day for any donation.

May 5th – Planting Day at Union County Farmer’s Market Dahlia Bed

On May 5th members of the Towns-Union Master Gardeners met at the Union County Farmers Market to plant 2015 tubers. The soil had been prepared with lime last Fall and 10-10-10 this spring. Weeds were removed. Stakes and cord established planting rows and distance between tubers – 4’ between rows and 4’ between tubers. 35 tubers were planted, representing 30 varieties of Dahlia. Dahlia tubers are from the Nell Brown stock. Nell’s Father operated the Todd Dahlia Farm in Suches. Nell began working with dahlias when she was 2 years old. She is now 87 and master gardeners are helping her with her local beds. A second bed is at Meeks Park. Tubers were planted 2 inches below the ground with the sprout (from eye) facing up. ½ inch rebar were driven closed to the sprout so each new plant may be staked to the rebar later. More to come…… Next operation will be to groom the small plants and begin staking to the rebar. Members helping were Pat Smith, Marcia Little, Joan Pennington, Fran Browning, Susan Jarocki,  and Annette Hopgood. Spouses Bert Baumgardner and Wesley Hopgood also helped.

April 21, 2015 – Dahlia dividing day at Union County Farmers Market

The 50-plus varieties of dahlias from 2014 Union County Farmers Market bed were ready for division April 21st. Members of Towns –Union Master Gardeners met at the Market pavilion to divide tubers – many doing so for their first time. Tubers were dug up in November and stored in a crawlspace at about 50-55% with controlled humidity. Division involves taking a clump of tubers – sometimes 12 or more and finding ‘eyes’ that will sprout. The ‘eye’ appears above the neck of the tuber on the stalk of the original plant. Members included Rod and Kay Burley, Fran Browning, Pat Boland, Pat Smith, Barb Baumgardner, Elaine Bliss, Marsha Elliott, Marcia Little, Dan Greenfield, Annette Hopgood, Joan Pennington, Susan Jarocki and Dee Freed.  Spouse and friend Bert Baumgardner also helped. The group decided to plant fewer tubers, about 35, in the bed at the Market for 2015. This is so the plants can be groomed to encourage production of specimen flowers


Master Gardener Annette Hopgood recommends this site for additional information on dahlias (please note it is also posted on our “Resources” tab as well: http://www.dahlia.org/index.php?page=dahlia-articles

Annette has compiled a comprehensive list of the dahlias grown at the UC Farmer’s Market in 2014, together with information and most ID’d.  Please take a look if you would like to see these beauties:  FarmersMarket(Autosaved) 2014 Dahlias

Remember you can just click on a picture to see it larger:An
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July 2014 – Dahlias starting to bloom at the Farmers Market:  

Dark purple dahlia Farmers Market 2014

Dark purple dahlia Farmers Market 2014

Lavendar dahlia at Farmers Market 2014

Lavendar dahlia at Farmers Market 2014


Union County Extension Office – 2015


Posted by Barb B | Posted in Community Projects | Posted on 22-06-2014

Union County Extension Office: : President Dan Greenfield was speaking with Jammie of the Union County Extension office and does she have a deal for those of us that are fed up with the heat but would like to log some hours. If you volunteer at the office you get the perks of air conditioning, free parking, and all that other stuff that can only be had at the Extension office in beautiful downtown Blairsville. Besides I’m sure Jammie could use the help on occasion.
Please give this some consideration as we bear through the sweltering summer months.
Jammie can be contacted at (706) 439-6030 or email her at uge1291@uga.edu

For further information, please contact:  Dan Greenfield, President – dgreenfi@hotmail.com

TUMGA Newsletters – 2014


Posted by Barb B | Posted in Community Projects | Posted on 22-06-2014

TUMGA Newsletter: A quarterly newsletter written by our members for the website. Contains many useful and interesting articles as well as project updates.
Contact: Jo Anne Allen, Chairman MG Extension Volunteer

For further information, please contact:  Dan Greenfield, President – dgreenfi@hotmail.com

Union County Blue Bird Project 2015


Posted by Barb B | Posted in Community Projects | Posted on 22-06-2014

Union County Blue Bird Project: Education of the public on the ‘how to’ of preserving Eastern blue bird habitats in the community; We have installed blue bird houses at Union County Farmer’s Market and will be installing some on the dog trail at Meeks Park. We continue to clean and maintain houses around the community. We are working in cooperation with Union County Commissioner’s Office.
Contact: Barbara Baumgardner, Chairman MG Extension Volunteer
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For further information, please contact:  Dan Greenfield, President – dgreenfi@hotmail.com





Union County Farmer’s Market “Ask A Master Gardener” 2014


Posted by Barb B | Posted in Community Projects | Posted on 22-06-2014

Union County Farmer’s Market: “Ask a Master Gardener” program provides education and answers to common gardening questions. June thru October, Saturdays 7am-1pm
Contact: Donna Cates

For more information: Jo Anne Allen and Judy Caines , Co-Presidents

Sharp United Methodist Church 2016


Posted by Barb B | Posted in Community Projects | Posted on 22-06-2014

Sharp United Methodist Church: Assist the Church in the maintenance and beautification of the church property, usually twice a year. This is an ‘in-kind’ project in return for our monthly meeting space.
For further information, please contact:  Dan Greenfield, President – dgreenfi@hotmail.com

2016 Grounds Manicure – Sharp United Methodist Church

A huge “shout out” and many kudos to the Master Gardeners who did grounds cleanup at Sharp UMC this morning. In less than three hours, the majority of the church grounds were refreshed. Beds were weeded, shrubbery was clipped, perennials were divided, etc. It was as if a total manicure was done.   Some pictures of the MGs at work.

After two previous attempts, we were finally successful this morning in completing our obligation to the church. We do a grounds clean up twice a year in exchange for being able to have our monthly TUMGA meetings at the church at no charge. The church is most appreciative for its new “spring do Many compliments were expressed by visitors who came to do early shopping at the rummage sale.

Certainly “many hands did indeed make light work” this morning. Thank you again for the superb jog that was done in “beautifying” Sharp UMC.  Marsha Elliott, Chairman

Hamilton Rhododendron Gardens 2017


Posted by Barb B | Posted in Community Projects | Posted on 22-06-2014

2017 Stewardship Garden at Hamilton Gardens by Cathy Haist

Beginning – 2016 - 

Now the amazing progress in July 2017:  


February 2016 update on Hamilton Gardens in Hiawassee.  This has been a project for TUMGA for approximately five years and we have members of our group on the new board.  Please check back for the next report on this wonderful garden in the near future.

Pictures to make you want to visit the gardens now – May 2016

This is a copy of the press release from the week of February 18, 2016:


Last week, Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds, Inc. and the Georgia Mountain Authority officially turned over the operation and management of Hamilton Gardens, effective immediately, to Hamilton Gardens at Lake Chatuge, Inc., (HGLC) a duly authorized nonprofit corporation. And so a new beginning is taking place as the HGLC, Inc. Board of Directors look to a future for the gardens that brings new ideas, energy, and excitement, while supporting the long standing primary mission to preserve and restore the gardens.

Fred Hamilton donated his collection of rhododendrons to Towns County beginning in 1982, with the understanding they would be cared for and preserved in perpetuity. The gardens have been an important attraction in our community for a very long time, and are indeed old treasures which have been under the care of the Towns County Lions Club, and GMF, Inc. These two groups have spent countless volunteer hours over the years, working in support of the Gardens.

The new caretaker, HGLC, Inc. will be able to raise money through grants and private sources to begin a series of carefully planned initiatives to take this garden to the forefront of Georgia gardens, which are an increasingly important family attraction, and source of education and revenue throughout the state. Hamilton Gardens house one of the largest and most diverse collections of rhododendrons in the southeast. The first task will be to ‘spruce up’ the gardens in preparation for the blooming season, which runs typically from mid April through mid May. While there will be no rhododendron ‘festival’ this year, there will be a plant sale of rhododendrons and azaleas on  weekends during the bloom season. There will be no ticket charge this year, but donations are strongly encouraged and appreciated. Towns County residents will always be admitted ‘free of charge.’

The HGLC, Inc. Board of Directors is comprised of Grace Howard, Doug Canup, Martha Cunningham, Teresa Stephens, Marsha Elliott, Anne Mitchell, Joan Crothers, and Noel Turner. It is the belief of this Board that a garden needs many things to support it, the three most important being money, skilled labor, and passion. We have the passion and will work hard to obtain the other two.

The website, www.fredhamiltongardens.org, and the Face Book page will be getting a facelift as part of the new beginnings. For more information contact us at HGLC, Inc. PO Box 973, Hiawassee, Ga. 30546. Stay tuned!


Crepe Myrtle Pruning 2014


Posted by Barb B | Posted in Community Projects | Posted on 22-06-2014

Crepe Myrtle Pruning: Annual pruning plus a public workshop on pruning techniques; and a bit of summer work to keep the ‘suckers’ cut back.
Contact: Grace Howard

For more information: Jo Anne Allen and Judy Caines , Co-Presidents

Pioneer Cabin & Garden At Georgia Mountain Fairground 2017


Posted by Barb B | Posted in Community Projects | Posted on 22-06-2014

Pioneer Cabin and Gardens at GMF: Plan for the addition and planting of perennials this year in the cabin area. Finish the rock walkways around cabin. Prepare grounds for GM Fair and other events. An Appalachian garden planted with vegetables of the era. Spring clean-up, planting and mulching; harvesting of crops.
Contact: Sheleila O’Neil

June 2017 Update on Pioneer House

A few pictures of the work this month:

July 2016 Update on Pioneer House

Work has been ongoing around the grounds and in the vegetable garden at the Pioneer House. Several workdays have already been held, and two more are scheduled: Wednesday, July 6 and Wednesday, July 13 beginning at 9:00 am. The beds still need some “prettying up”, bedding plants put out, sawdust moved along the paths, weeds pulled, etc. In addition, some carpentry work needs to be done on the MG booth to get it ready for company. Any contribution of time and energy and gardening/carpentry skills by any MG member would be greatly appreciated for these two workdays. 9:00 is the announced start time,  but folks may certainly start earlier if desired.

Towns County Courthouse – 2014


Posted by Barb B | Posted in Community Projects | Posted on 22-06-2014

Towns County Courthouse: Weed and supervise detainees to add mulch, provided by county, as needed. Add 2 bush type plants (looking at camellias) by front entrance.
Contact: Joan Crothers

For more information: Jo Anne Allen and Judy Caines , Co-Presidents

Hiawassee Square – 2014


Posted by Barb B | Posted in Community Projects | Posted on 22-06-2014

Hiawassee Square: Continue to implement the design of the approved plan for the Square, by adding plants when appropriate. Weed, mulch as needed. Place signs to identify and provide education.
Contact: Joan Crothers

For more information: Jo Anne Allen and Judy Caines , Co-Presidents

Cottage Food Bank


Posted by Judy | Posted in Community Projects | Posted on 26-02-2012


In 2011, Master Gardener’s started a garden for the House of Prayer’s Cottage Food Bank, located in Blairsville.  This was an effort to add  fresh vegetables to canned and dry goods.  The garden produced 1,500 lbs of food it’s first year, consisting of zucchini, yellow squash, tomatoes and cucumbers.  We also had an abundance of hot peppers, Romain and Red Leaf lettuce, and collard greens.   Lisa DeCarlo, church member and fellow master gardener, applied for a scholarship and was awarded $650 from Ga. Master Gardener Assoc.  The funds will be used to create raised beds which we hope will double our production in 2012.









Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds “Ask A Master Gardener Booth” 2017


Posted by Judy | Posted in Community Projects | Posted on 20-02-2012

July 2017 “Ask A Master Gardener Booth” at Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds

To TUMGA members…..  Good morning. I hope this finds you doing well and enjoying these lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer. With it being summer, that means it will soon be time for the GA Mountain Fair. Such will be taking place July 21-29.

Attached  is the sign-up sheet for the “Ask a Master Gardener” booth at the fair. This is one of our big MG projects, and it will take many folks to cover the booth for the 9 days of the fair. The shifts are 4 1/2 hours in length, and those who work will be given a pass to use for the entire length of the fair.

The sign-up sheet will be also be available at the TUMGA meeting on July 13.  To view the sign-up sheet, click here please: untainFair-AskaMasterGardenerBoothSign-upSheet-July2017  If you would like you may email me some dates that you might be available to work at the booth –Marsha E.  rmelliott@windstream.net


“Ask a Master Gardener”Booth – GA Mountain Fair Fall Festival

The GA Mountain Fair Fall Festival opened on Friday, October 7 and the “Ask a Master Gardener” booth adjacent to the Mountain Home opened as well. The booth is well stocked with a variety of printed information and very knowledgeable and enthusiastic TUMGA volunteers have signed up to “man” the booth for the eight days of the fair. All volunteer slots for “manning” the booth have been filled, and much appreciation is expressed to all who have volunteered to do such. Hopefully the merits of the Master Gardener program will be emphasized during fair week by these wonderful “gardening ambassadors”. Sheleila O’Neal and others have worked hard to make the grounds of the mountain home “look good”. Certainly these two projects are outstanding examples of the work that is done by TUMGA members.

July 2016 “Ask A Master Gardener Booth” at Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds

The Towns/Union Master Gardeners will operate an “Ask a Master Gardener” Booth during the GA Mountain Fair – July 15-23. The booth is located adjacent to the Pioneer House and will be manned/womaned during the eight days of the fair by TUMGA members. A variety of printed materials will be available, as well as knowledgeable and enthusiastic MG “gardening ambassadors” who will be on site to answer questions and offer gardening advice to the hundreds of visitors who come to the fair. Doing this booth provides one of the largest venues to “educate and enlighten” the public about the joys and benefits that come from gardening.
Shift times for the MG booth are 10:00 – 2:30 and 2:30 – 7:00. Hopefully the schedule for the booth is attached to this email. As you will note, there are still many “opportunities” to sign up to work one or more shifts during the fair. Please send Masha an email letting her know of times that you might be able to work and she will “pencil you in” on the schedule. Everyone who does work will get a pass/nametag that will be good for use throughout the fair. These will be available for pick-up at the TUMGA meeting on July 14. If for some reason, you will not be at that meeting, please let Marsha know and she will get the pass to you.
For More Information, Contact:  Dan Greenfield, President – dgreenfi@hotmail.com

Master Gardeners chose the Pioneer House at the Ga. Mtn Fairgrounds in Hiawassee (Towns County) Ga. to create an example of perennials and annuals that would bloom in the Summer, during the Fair.  We added flower beds and an herb garden.  Large flower boxes were placed on the porch and filled with impatiens.  In 2012 we would like to expand the gardens to the rear of the cabin, and also plant a small vegetable garden to resemble one that would have been planted in pioneer days.