Our Mission:

The Rock Prairie Master Gardener Association, located in Rock County, Wisconsin, is the 42nd association of the Wisconsin Master Gardener Program.

This blog is used to distribute timely information to association members regarding volunteer opportunities, MGV highlights, and other social tid bits.

Horticulture related information is to be directed to the Horticulture Educator or the Plant Health Advisors.

This blog is not for garden related questions.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

February Meeting Rescheduled!! Hope to see you there!!

Hello, everyone!

Our February meeting has been rescheduled to Thursday, February 15 at the Rock County Courthouse, 5:30 pm in the ETN-A conference room on the second floor.  Come in the front door of the courthouse, go up the stairs to the second floor, follow the corridor to the end, go through the door and turn right to the ETN-A conference room. 

We'll be cleaning and packaging prairie/pollinator seeds that were harvested last fall. 

This is a small room which doubles as a materials and/or inventory storage room for UWEX programs so it may be a bit crowded, but it was a last minute reservation due to the reschedule.

Hope to see you there!


Thursday, February 8, 2018

Monday, January 29, 2018


Hello everyone:

In the past you have been used to receiving a newsletter prepared by Kim at the UWEX office.  Since Kim is no longer with the office we have taken on the responsibility of creating the monthly newsletters and will continue to do so until further notice.  The format may look a little different, but we will strive to do what we can to give you good information on events, classes, and educational opportunities in and around Rock County.  Like the previous newsletters you will be able to reach them by clicking on a link.  Ruth Flescher put in a lot of hard work and did a great job of pulling together the February newsletter.  

In future we will be looking for articles, book reviews and lots of other kinds of garden related topics.  If you have information you'd like to see included in the newsletters, let Ruth or Mary Kay Thompson know.  All submissions will need to meet Master Gardener guidelines.

Click on this link to see our first shot at the Master Gardener Update for RPMGA.

UPDATE - RPMGA February Meeting: Prairie Seed Processing

On a bright sunny day last fall, several MGVs went out to the prairie at Rotary Gardens and—with permission—gathered seedheads from almost twenty varieties of native plants. It’s time to clean the seeds from the waste material so that we can have the seeds to use in our ongoing Pollinator Project.

Date: Thursday, February 8
Time: 5:30-7:00 p.m.
Location: Rock County Courthouse, Room ETN-B (Continue down the hall past the Extension office and INTO the stairwell at the end. ETN-B is on the left.)
Come lend a hand and help us decide the best way to use these seeds. All you need to bring is yourself, and you’ll earn up to an hour and a half of volunteer time.
Continuing Education Units (CEUs) are awarded at a rate of 1 per hour when you are involved in an approved educational project or program.

Responses to our Brainstorming Session have been tallied

Ruth has received seven responses so far. Here's how she tallied them. For each person who mentioned they liked an idea, she put the priority of their response next to that item. For example, for the Pasque Flower Preserve tour, two people said they were interested. Of those two, one said it was the thing she wanted most, the other said it was her second favorite. So on the tally sheet, it says Pasque Flower Preserve: 1, 2.  For tours of member gardens, six out of seven included it as a priority, and most as a pretty high priority.

Tour Ideas 

Bill and Mary Powell's Epiphany Farm -- Daylily hybridizer, east of Fort Atkinson) 1,  
Pasque Flower Preserve in the Kettle Moraine --1, 2, 
Nature at the Confluence, South Beloit, Illinois --1, 1, 
RPMGA members private gardens --2, 2, 6, 2, 2 (or volunteer gardens), 3, 
Regenerative Roots / Cultivating the Commons -- 3, 1, 2, 
RECAP CSA project -- 4, 3, 
Michael Fields Institute near East Troy -- 5, 3, 1, 
Welty Environmental Center -- 5, 
The Angel Museum, Beloit -- 
Wirkus Nursery outside Clinton -- 4, 
Agrecol Native Seed and Plant Nursery -- 3, 
Milwaukee gardens: Boerner/Wehr/the Domes -- 
Rockford: Anderson / Klehm Arboretum -- 4, 
West Ag Research Station Field Day -- 3, 4
Olbrich / Allen Centennial Garden --
Family Garden Day (Allen Centennial Garden and UW Greenhouses) -- 4, 
UW Arboretum --

Additional Requests: Song Sparrow Open House May 12: 5, 

Program Ideas

Beekeeping Practices, Rock County Farm -- 
Tool Care,- How to rejuvenate rusted tools - Paul Haen -- 2, 
How to Build and Use Seed screens --1
Planning / Planting Flower Gardens (Mark Dwyer) -- 3, 3, 1, 
Creating and using pollinator mixes for specific purposes (bee mix, beneficial insect mix, butterfly mix, bird mix)
Soils --Testing the effects compost could have on your own home soil -- 2, 1, 
Help create a video on testing the difference mulch makes on growing plants
Germination Testing --
Companion planting -- (1 aimed at veggies), 
How to Make and Use Seed bombs -- 5, 
IPM for average folks/Home fruit trees -- 4, 3 (include pruning fruit trees), 2,
Weed IDs -- 4, 2, 3, 
More Insect houses -- 5

Additional Suggestions

Perennial Plant of the Year: Allium Millenium (good pollinator plant)
Growing and Using Hops
Possibilities related to installing an orchard at the community garden

Note:  We can still include others if you can get them to Ruth ASAP!  Thanks for your input!

We'll be releasing our final calendar soon.  Watch for it here on the blog, through Rock Hort, on Facebook, Twitter, or Google Plus.


Thursday, January 11, 2018

Help Us Choose - Results of brainstorming session

We need your help.  We're trying to plan events for RPMGA for 2018. At a brainstorming session Thursday, January 4, we developed a list of possibilities. Now we need to narrow that down to the ones we're most interested in.

So please look over the information below and send Ruth Flescher back a note listing the ones that most intrigue you (in order of most to least interested would be helpful).

If you have additional ideas, those are also welcome!

Thanks for your help!

Ruth Flescher


Tour Ideas
Daylily hybridizer and farm - Bill and Mary Powell hybridize and sell daylilies from their Epiphany Farm (off Hwy 106, East of Fort Atkinson).
Pasque Flower Preserve in the Kettle Moraine—One of the best sites to see one of our earliest spring flowers. Other wildflowers that may be blooming at the same time: Shooting stars, prairie smoke, kittentails, puccoon, pussy toes and several species of buttercups.
Nature at the Confluence, 306 Dickup St, So. Beloit, Ill. Tour their gardens and learn about their urban ecology plan.
RPMGA members private gardens (2-3)
CSA Options
Tour Regenerative Roots LLC in Jefferson - organic vegs (on a permaculture model) and Cultivating the Commons (grows vegetables for seed) near Fort Atkinson
Behind the scenes tour of the RECAP CSA project out at the Community Garden in Janesville
Michael Fields Agricultural Institute near East Troy - This organization offers hands-on education on sustainable agricultural—everything from soil basics to managing insects to marketing, much of which also applies to horticulture. If you want a look-see before deciding if you’d like this, the website is
The Angel Museum in Beloit (gardens)
Wirkus Nursery outside Clinton, WI
Tour Agrecol Native Seed and Plant Nursery - which grows native plants for many of the local prairie restoration specialty companies and conservation groups. Near Evansville.
Madison: Field day and vegetable tasting at the UW’s West Madison Ag Research Station
Allen Centennial Garden and DC Smith Greenhouse are part of the UW Family Garden Day (May 5)

Program Ideas

Beekeeping (at RECAP/Community Garden or another location)
Tool Care by Paul Haen of The Sharp Edge – rescuing damaged tools, plus a sharpening option.
Making and using seed screens (to clean trash from seeds you want to save)
The Art of Planning and Planting Flower Gardens (a talk by Mark Dwyer)
Making pollinator mixes for specific purposes (bee mix, beneficial insect mix, butterfly mix, bird mix)
Soils—Testing the effects compost could have on your own home soil
Help create a video on testing the difference mulch makes on growing plants
Hands-On class on Germination Testing
Companion planting
Making and using wildflower seed bombs (seeds mixed with clay that can be tossed out in appropriate locations to plant more native plants)
IPM for average folks/Home fruit trees - Hoping to invite Dennis Norton who is nurseryman at Royal Oak Farm Orchard in Harvard, Ill.
Weeds: ID at various growth stages, discussion of MGV’s weed control methods, uses of weeds such as fodder and food. Weeds you might keep and why.
Insect houses 2: Shelter boxes (vs. nursery boxes), using your houses, creating environments to support pollinators and beneficial insects
Contact Ruth Flescher with choices, comments and suggestions to We're looking forward to your input.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Know someone who'd like to train to be a MGV? Rock & Walworth Counties booking now!

Level 1 students learning to identify
 insects. Standing at rear is Master Gardener
Outreach Specialist Susan Mahr. 
Photo Mary Thompson 2012.
If you know someone who'd like to train to become a Master Gardener Volunteer, classes are booking now for residents of Rock and Walworth County.

Visit the website below to get all the information you'll need!!

Walworth and Rock County Master Gardener Training 2018

Wisconsin's Master Gardener Program Director Mike Maddox and University Services Associate Amy Freidig will be teaching the courses in Whitewater.

Director Maddox  is open to the idea that current MGVs could do retakes of Level 1 if they wish, however, those who have retaken classes as drop-in students in the past will find a different set of expectations.

"I'm open to the idea and my only request is that if anyone wants to retake the class, they will need to commit to the entirety due to the way it will be taught.  I predict "drop ins" with a flipped classroom would be disruptive and it wouldn't be enjoyable for them.  Please let me know by mid-January if you know of anyone who would like to retake it," Maddox concluded.

If you or someone you know would be a new student start your search for information by visiting the website above.

If potential retakers would want a new manual it would be $40.  Otherwise there would be no additional charge for those retaking the class.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

January 4, 2018 - Brainstorming Session at Hedberg

On Thursday, January 4 RPMGA will hold an open meeting for all members in the conference room by the Ground Floor coffee shop at Hedberg Public Library.

The meeting will begin at 5:30pm.  It will be an open format  - a brainstorming session - where all comers can present ideas and suggestions for programs, field trips, classes, or projects.

Bring yourself and your ideas!!  Looking forward to seeing everyone there.  

Hedberg is located at 316 S. Main St., Janesville.