September, 2014


  • Sun., Sep. 21, 4-6pm – AREC Center (Frederick), Nathan Stanley, Wetland Studies & Solutions

Directions:  From Interstate 81, take the Stephens City exit on the south side of Winchester.  Go west into Stephens City (200 yards off of I-81) and proceed straight through traffic light onto Rt. 631. Continue west on Rt. 631 approximately 3.5 miles.  Turn right (north) onto Rt. 628 at the “T” intersection.  Go 1.5 miles north on Rt. 628 and turn left (west) onto Rt. 629. Go 0.8 miles.  The center is on the left side of the road.

  • Sun., Oct 19, 4-6pm – Southern States, 447 Amherst St., Winchester (Frederick)
  • Sun., Nov. 16, 2-4pm – Election/Annual Business Meeting – Warren County Government Center, 220 N. Commerce Ave., Front Royal (Warren)


  • Sat,. Sep 13, 10am-2pm, Extension Farm-Family Showcase (details below)


Shenandoah County VCE is celebrating Cooperative Extension’s 100th anniversary with the Extension Farm-Family Showcase.  The event will be Saturday, September 13, 10:00am to 2:00pm at the Shenandoah County Park in Maurertown.  This will also be the grand opening of the Shenandoah County Sustainable Farm Demonstration.

The Showcase will have displays of the many educational programs Extension provides to the people of Shenandoah County.  Programs to be highlighted include Master Gardener Program, Well Water Education, 4-H Programs and their history in the County, Family Financial Management, Food Safety, Livestock Quality Assurance, Farm-Bio-Security and  No-till Farming.  The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Lord Fairfax Soil and Water Conservation District will have information on the latest conservation activities.  Sponsors of the Showcase will also have displays.

The event is the kick-off for the Shenandoah Sustainable Farm Demonstration.  The Farm will show long term sustainable practices as part of a full systems approach integrating all aspects of sustainability, including Best Management Practices to help sustain water quality and soil health, farm profitability and landowner satisfaction.  Hayrides will provide transport to the Farm to see what has been accomplished so far.

Food will be available from 4-Hers as a part of their fundraising to help finance 4-H activities.  Food and drink include hotdogs, and weather willing, ice cream, and water.

Everyone is invited to come.  Even if you aren’t from Shenandoah County, you may learn something to take back to your home county.

People with disabilities who need devises, services or other accommodations should contact Bobby Clark, Senior Extension Agent, at 540/459-6140; the TDD number is 800/828-1120.

As with all Extension programs, the Showcase is open to all, regardless of race, color, ethnicity, national origin, religion, age political belief, sexual orientation, genetic information, marital, family or veteran status or any other basis protected by law.


As I tocrape myrtleld you in my last NSVMGA Newsletter column, I grew up in Connecticut.  When I moved to Virginia as a married adult, there were a number of new experiences of the “Southern” variety that I had never before encountered—and I fell in love with a good many of them.  The tastes of country ham and pecan pie, the distinctive architecture of small white country churches, the beauty of crape myrtle—all these things had been missing from my growing up years.

So when we bought a home and later came back to live in Berryville in retirement, the first new bush I put in was a crape myrtle.  My five year old crape myrtle was going strong—until this winter.  By the middle of June I realized that the severe winter we had last year had killed it, and all I had left were dead sticks.  So I cut it down—and mourned its passing.

Imagine my surprise when new stalks started up through the ground.  And now in August, a wonderful and welcome burst of color!  Mark tells me that in the “old days” crape myrtle did not grow well around here because it was too cold, and it was considered a “perennial bush” that died over each winter and sent up new growth each summer.

I am preparing for our Project Evaluation Meeting on Saturday, September 6 (beginning at 10 AM at Grace United Methodist Church 7882 Main Street in Middletown), and wondering about our projects.  Which ones need to be pruned?  Which will surprise us with amazing new growth?  What new projects do we need to plant?

Being a gardener is always interesting, because plants never do exactly what you are expecting.  The same is true of people, and of projects—but aren’t the end results worth it?

EDUCATION by Helen Lake

If you have not gotten a copy of the revised Plant Invaders of Mid-Atlantic Natural Areas, please contact your county coordinators.  It has been updated with more species and expanded control guidance.  At last month’s Board Meeting each county coordinator got 50 copies of the book to give to their members.  I also brought copies to our monthly meeting.

It is an excellent reference for all of us to use and retain in our MG libraries at home or in the Extension Offices.


It is fall and time for the fourth session of the JrMG Program to begin at Greenwood Mill.  This year we hold most classes outside at picnic tables beside the team garden beds.  In inclement weather we can regroup in the Science Lab as we have in previous sessions.  We are continually tweaking and evolving the program to ensure that we provide a positive learning environment for the students while at the same time retaining the fun aspects of learning science and math from a different perspective.Our program continues to be very popular with the students.Laurie cocina on far left and Shan kilby  on right putting binders together for the jrmg class

Over 80 students applied for 24 slots, and the principal and vice principal had the unenviable job of selecting which of those eager students would join the ranks of the Wiggly Worms, Bumbly Bees or Mighty Mantises.  Classes will run from September 4 through November 13, ending with a Garden Feast and Award Ceremony with special guests (parents, science committee teachers, MGs and school officials).JrMG plots

We are fortunate to have many returning MGs as instructors or helpers and several new participants jumping into the fun. New this fall are parent volunteers who will be helping in a variety of ways during our classes, but they will not teach. At this time only MGs will teach.

To prepare the three garden beds at the school, we spent a warm August morning shoveling and spreading mushroom compost which was generously donated by Shenandoah Sand.  Helping spread it around, were MGs Laurie Cocina, Ginny Smith and newly returned MG, Shan Kilby.


The 62nd Annual Page Valley Agricultural and Industrial Fair was held the week of August 16-23rd.  The Page County Master Gardeners guided the entrants in the Youth and in the Adult Horticultural Competitions.  Approximately 10 youth exhibitors and 32 adult exhibitors participated in the competition.  Our own MG Shelby Hadeler won ‘Best in Show’, in the “any other” category, with her nine budded lily.

Charlie Newton discussed Water Quality with folks who stopped at his booth while walking through the Agricultural section.

Tree height measurementOak Tree problems have been at the top of the list of our Greenline questions.  Peeling bark sections and browning leaves were a problem for two area homeowners.  Samples were sent to Virginia Tech for a final, definitive analysis.

Tom and Lesley Mack attended the Virginia Big Tree Workshop in Hampton Roads.  MGs from all over Virginia attended the day-long session.  MGs learned about the VA Big Tree Program, identified and measured Big Trees, and discussed ways to nominate, protect, and care for Big Trees in Virginia.  If you think you know of, or have a Big Tree to nominate, contact Eric Wiseman, Program Coordinator,  See for more information.

MG SHIRTS by Carolyn Wilson

Time to order your MG shirts:

  • T shirt    $8.50
  • short sleeve polo    $12.25
  • long sleeve polo    $15.50
  • sweatshirt    $14.25
  • sizes XXL and larger add $2

Make checks payable to NSVMGA and please write style and size on your check.  Elena Lycas is taking over the ordering of shirts.  She must receive your check by September 29. Her address is Elena Lycas, 2680 Supinlick Ridge Rd, Mt Jackson Virginia 22842.


We have finished the children’s gardening programs for the year.  Between the 4-H camps and the elementary schools, our program on seeds reached almost 200 children.  One of the favorite activities was eating popcorn in the seeds we eat segment.

The greenline was a little light this month.  We are between gardening problems and many people were on vacation.  I am sure September will be busier with fall gardening questions.

The MG booth at the Woodstock Farmer’s Market continues to field gardening questions and gives the interns a fun way to earn their hours.  It will go through September.

We had a good session at the New Market rain garden system in mid-August with 6 members (including 3 interns) working.  After we finished, some of us enjoyed ice cream and fellowship as it got dark.  I think that working together on projects like this really helps build bonds of friendship and commitment to Master Gardeners.

Our biggest event this month was our MG information booth at the Shenandoah County fair. Bob Carlton and Mike Marx helped receive the entries and assist the judges all day Saturday.  Teams of 3 MGs manned the booth each evening.  About 20 Shenandoah county MGs and interns were involved it getting our name out to gardening public and helping them with their horticulture questions.

I know that she was introduced at the August MG meeting, but, for anyone who missed it, Sharon Bradshaw will take over the Shenandoah county coordinator position starting in January.  Sharon has been very active in many MG projects and I know that she will do a great job.  Thanks, Sharon!


Farmers’ Market.  The market runs through October, so there are only two months to go.  If you would like to help out, you can go to the calendar on VMS and sign up.  It is easy. Just click on the week you want to sign up for and enter your information.  You can even set it up to send you a reminder when your Saturday is coming up.  Now that the summer is over, I hope a few of you that have not been able to sign up will get a chance.  If you do not want to use VMS you can just send me an email at  Thank you to all who have helped this summer.

We will be having a wrap up meeting sometime in October.  Please send me the dates and times that work best for you.  A potluck brunch would be nice.  We will go over projects for the year and see what worked and what could be improved on.  We will see if there are any new projects that we are able to take on.

Thank you to all who worked a shift at the Clarke County Fair.  We had a great spot on the corner.  The first two nights were pretty much rained out, but after mid-week we had a good amount of traffic at our booth.

Rain Barrel Raffle.  Just a reminder, each county is encouraged to sell raffle tickets at Farmers’ Markets and other public events.  The drawing will be held at Blandy’s Arborfest in October, so there’s still time to get tickets sold.  Each county should have a binder with the information about selling them, as well as some water quality handouts.  We appreciate everyone pitching in to make this a successful raffle.


Last month I visited the demonstration garden at Belle Grove in Middletown.  It was wonderful!  I met with Lynn Hoffman who showed me some of the MG Larry Haun and Belle Grove Volunteer Sherri tend to historic Belle Grove gardenplanting areas and explained their significance.  Master Gardeners Claire Demasi, Larry Haun, and intern Elena Lycus were there to lend a hand.

The garden is historical, consisting of different plots with species that would have been useful to residents 100 to 200 years ago.  Among them are plots for herbs, vegetables, and plants used Belle Grove and historic demonstration gardenfor making fabric dye.  Volunteers were collecting seeds and cutting back plants this past week.  Lynn and volunteers meet each Tuesday morning at 9:00 to tend the garden.  Lynn also has an active role in discussing and teaching Belle Grove visitors about the various plants and their uses.  She also provides Belle Grove with educational material explaining the garden plantings.  If you would like to be involved in the demonstration garden at Belle Grove, contact Lynn Hoffman or me.

I also had the opportunity to work the Greenline.  Thanks to Elizabeth Bevan for stepping up and leading this valuable service and to the cadre of MG and Intern volunteers.  It is still a busy place with questions coming by phone, email, and walk-ins.  Currently we have 163 contacts and counting!  We are on course to have 200 client contacts before the season ends.  Many questions are about trees.  Because I know very little about trees, I have been learning a lot.  We always can use more volunteers!  The Greenline is staffed Friday mornings (9:00-12:00) at the Frederick County Extension Office.   It is a great environment to work in.  The Extension Office personnel are helpful and make the experience easy.  It is a very rewarding service rewarding.  Let Elizabeth or myself know if you would like to help.

Frederick County MGs will meet at my home (1008 Caroline St, Winchester) Sep. 8, 6:45 pm.  I want county members’ thoughts on programs for the coming year and review those from the past year.  It is very important that members have a say in the programs that Master Gardeners provide for Frederick County, so please attend!


The county fairs are behind us now. The rides and games of the midways have moved on, along with the demolition derbies, truck/tractor pulls, pig races, camel rides and all the carnival games.  I managed to drag my husband to every fair in our five county unit.  I guess “drag” is not accurate.  He willingly went, especially to the first couple, and then he started to lose his enthusiasm a bit.  I have discovered over the years that city boys don’t appreciate a good hog when they see one, or a good chicken, cow, goat, sheep, etc.  Viewing of the chickens was particularly trying for him since I take my time and really look them over.  I also liked pointing out the ones that had ‘for sale’ signs on them.  This seemed to bother him for some reason.

All the fairs had good points, some were better than others but they all offered a medley of events, foods, and entertainment. I was very impressed with Clarke and Shenandoah Counties’ animal barns. Each barn had tables that were manned by 4-H and/or FFA members.  You could ask a question at any barn and get an answer.  Clarke’s poultry barn had an incubator with eggs hatching next to pens with chicks separated out by how many days old they were–very educational for youngsters and adults alike.  Clarke was holding their 4-H awards when we were there, and I couldn’t believe how many kids were packed into the awards area.

The Horticulture buildings were interesting too.  The Page County building had a fantastic display on soils made by their 4-H club.  They also had grow bins showing corn plants growing in different soils.  It had Plexiglas panels so you could see the roots beneath the plants.  Page and Clarke had volunteers in their buildings answering questions.  Frederick County has a nice way of displaying entries, especially the photographs.  Warren County had all entries in one and had events going on in the Hort/Textile building, which brought people inside. Shenandoah County had the most entries in the horticultural area and had nice displays of the vegetable entries.  We saw Master Gardener tables set up in Clarke, Warren, and Shenandoah Counties.  I think Page County had one set up but we didn’t see it when we were there.  Some MG tables were inside and some, outside, and they all looked really nice.

In both the Horticulture and Textile buildings we saw a lot of Master Gardener’s names on entries and some even had blue ribbons on them.  Members placed entries in canning, vegetables, flowers, photography, baking, and textiles, including sewing, crochet, knitting, and quilting.  There may have been some entries in the arts and crafts but there are so many entries in arts and crafts it is hard to see the names.  You are a truly talented bunch.  I know there is even more talent out there so I challenge all MGs, including myself, to enter something, anything, in their county fair.  It doesn’t have to win a ribbon but every entry shows our commitment to our counties and our support for our 4-H and FFA units that work very hard all year long to have their accomplishments compete at the fair.  And you can sign up to volunteer at the MG table since you’ll be there anyway, I mean you’ll need to go and see if you received a ribbon or not and check out your competition.  Right?

Now I can’t wait till next year. Bring on the Fairs! 

EDITORS CORNER by Richard Stromberg

LepiotamushroomsclosedFungus in the lawn?  You don’t want any that will kill your grass, but mushrooms popping up probably indicate good nutrition available in the soil.

Fungi do not produce their own carbohydrates as leafy plants do.  The fungi are decomposing dead material to obtain carbohydrates or they are mycorrhizal, meaning they are bringing nutrients to plants in return for carbohydrates that the plants provide.

I am thinking about this because of these six-inch Lepiotamushroomsopenmushrooms that popped up in my yard.  My best guess is that they are in the genus Lepiota.  Getting any more precise requires a microscope and more expertise than I have.

Printable Newsletter:
September 2014