Master Gardener Spring Conference

NHMGASaturday was the Spring Conference for New Hampshire Master Gardeners. It was about an hour drive with three of the very best local gardeners I know. Wow – I was psyched up before I even arrived

The Keynote speaker was Kerry Ann Mendez, author and garden designer. If you love perennials like I do check her out on Facebook and at www. She was excellent, and we came away with a handout listing her top perennial picks by season.

She also had a great suggestion for a gardening tool – a Black and Decker 6″ cordless hedge trimmer. She uses it as an easy way to trim spent blossoms and to cut back plants. In a quick look on-line, the reviews aren’t great so I’ll have to do a little more research. I like the idea but definitely want one that does the job. Maybe you have a suggestion?

She also spent quite a bit of time talking about how important light is to planting perennials so they can grow to their full potential.

  • Full sun:  6 hours of direct sun between 10 a.m.-6 p.m. but primarily in the afternoon
  • Part sun:  4 hours of direct sun between 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
  • Part shade:  1-2 hours of direct sun or dappled shade with no afternoon sun
  • Shade:  no afternoon sun

The most challenging part of the day was choosing which three sessions to attend. After much back and forth, I started with “Growing Great Tomatoes and Other Vegetables to Eat all Year” with Henry Homeyer, organic gardener and garden writer. He covered planting, dealing with pests and blight and how to preserve tomatoes so you can enjoy them all year long. He cans, freezes and dehydrates them.

Egg basket with fresh eggs from 1840 Farm :)

Egg basket with fresh eggs from 1840 Farm on the silent auction table  🙂

After checking out the silent auction, I enjoyed lunch with a full table of gardeners from my county.

For my second session, I decided to listen to  John Forti, Curator of Historic Gardens at Strawbery Banke in Portsmouth, and founder of Slow Food Seacoast. You can find him at The Heirloom Gardener on Facebook. His message was choosing to have a victory garden in your yard like years past instead of mowing and fertilizing a yard of grass.

Picking the last session was the toughest of all because I wanted to sit in on Kerry Mendez’s talk on “Deer-resistant Plants and Options for Preventing Wildlife Damage in Your Garden.”

But because of imminent need, I listened to Steve Gatcombe, a professional orchardist, talk about “Pruning for Good Fruit and Good Looks.”  We have three apple trees that are pruned yearly by deer and we have been totally unsuccessful with them. I came away thinking that we are successful with growing a lot of vegetables, fruits, and perennials but maybe we just need to forget apples.

It was a full day, my head was spinning with ideas. With an hour car ride we had an opportunity to discuss what personal and community projects we had lined up for this growing season and our Master Gardener plant sale in May. It was a great day.

Here are a few of the interesting auction items. I saw some future DIY projects.

Garden art from thrift store finds

Garden art from thrift store finds of glasses, cups, saucers, and figurines

Cute wire teapot

Cute wire teapot used as a planter

Painted Sap Buckets

Painted Sap Buckets

Bird feeders with Mason jars, cups and saucers

Bird feeders using Mason jars, cups and saucers

Compost sifter with hardware cloth

Compost sifter with hardware cloth

Bird baths with thrift store finds - vases

Bird baths with thrift store finds of vases, dishes, cups, and saucers

About Judy@NewEnglandGardenAndThread

Master Gardener who enjoys gardening, quilting, photography, and traveling.
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12 Responses to Master Gardener Spring Conference

  1. love all the objects made from recycled dishes. Wondering how you would go about connecting them? Some kind of construction adhesive in a caulking tube? Contact cement? I think the mason jar bird feeders are the best!!!

    Thinking about your deer and apple trees….my brother and his wife lived for 10+ years in Big Tujunga canyon in So. California and they battled the deer with the garden and fruit trees. They bought rainbird sprinklers on a post that had a motion sensor on them….deer walked past the sensor and the sprinkler came on; startled the deer and they ran off. Of course, that would not be much help with a New England winter, as I imagine the deer are just hungry!! And you can’t leave the hose on all winter with the freezing.
    So, makes me think about some kind of tall temporary fencing until the trees are big enough that the deer can’t reach the lowest branches???


    • I am going to try some of those projects with the recycled dishes the next time I go to Goodwill looking for sheets for the baskets. I’ll give a couple of different adhesives a try and let you know if one works better than the other. She was selling them for $50 each – they were all the same price. And, those are good ideas about the deer. I’m chuckling because the trees never grow because of the deer. They are actually smaller than when I bought them about four or five years ago. The perennial expert remarked that plants are not children, you can give them away if they don’t work for you. I think that is where I’m at with the apple trees. 🙂


      • I will enjoy seeing your “art” when you get a piece made. My brain keeps saying EPOXY…so presuming that is some kind of “glue” to put the pieces together….
        It is a shame about the apple trees. I think I would do some deer repellant web searching! Maybe something you could plant around the trees that makes the deer stay away…..


      • Charlotte says:

        Did you ever decide what would hold those lovely recycled gramma’s dishes together? I would love to make them and reenjoy the pleasures. Thanks


      • I used Loctite Stik’n Seal. It held on several places but failed on one.I redid it, and it has held. 🙂


  2. pbmgarden says:

    This conference sounds like a stimulating opportunity. I appreciate the listing of light requirements for perennials as I have been meaning to look that up.


  3. Karen says:

    I certainly would have enjoyed that interesting day…especially the seminar about tomatoes. I had late blight last year and am hoping I don’t have the same problem this year.


  4. Grandma Kc says:

    It is so fun to read your posts and feel the enthusiasm you have for your gardening. We should all be passionate about what we do.

    Mason jar bird feeders? So Cute! Has our friend Connie over at Family Home and Life seen them? She loves all things mason jars!


  5. Joyce says:

    Even though I’m a non-gardener (to say the least!) I appreciate the chart defining what constitutes “full sun” etc. Now I may be more successful with the few annuals I do try.
    And I really like getting your posts on Bloglovin instead of email! They don’t “get lost in the mail” as sometimes before!


    • I thought that light chart was of value because when she started talking about how critical light is I knew I had a few perennials that would do better in different spots. A neighbor took a tree down and one bed went from total shade to afternoon sun and I need to do some major movement there. Glad Bloglovin is working. I still have to ‘visit’ your blog in order to read your posts, but it’s worth the trip. 🙂


  6. Libby Keane says:

    I love this conference! I attended last year and came away with so much new knowledge. Thanks for the great post.


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