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.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Rain, rain, go away - Reschedule of Saturday's Program

Due to circumstances beyond our control - the forecast for Saturday is rain, rain and more rain - we are moving our program up to Tuesday, October 17 at 5:30 p.m. 

Since this is an outdoor presentation we didn't feel it would be fair to have participants standing in the rain while we explained the four demonstration pollinator gardens we constructed this year.

Parsley plants are part of the herb pollinator garden at the
Rock County Fairgrounds. 

We're excited to be able to present our gardens: an herb pollinator garden at the Rock County Fairgrounds; two mixed floral pollinator gardens in the RECAP gardens at the Community Gardens; and a perennial garden on the grounds at Hedberg Public Library.  We were lucky to have dedicated teams of MGVs who were willing to give of their time and effort to create these gardens.  We hope you'll not only enjoy them but be inspired to begin pollinator gardens of your own.

Image result for Parsley blossoms
Parsley blossoms:  This is what we can expect from the parsley plants this
coming growing season.  Parsley is a biennial that blooms in its second year. 

If you have any questions about this event please contact the office at 608-757-5696 and leave a message for us.

Hope to see you Tuesday!!


Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Pollinator Gardens Brainstorming Tour - Oct. 14

As part of the ongoing Pollinator Project, we installed three pollinator gardens around Janesville this summer: one at the Community Garden, one at the Fairgrounds, and—most recently—one at Hedberg Public Library. The idea was that we would offer and use them as demonstration gardens to help people learn about pollinators.

Newly planted pollinator garden, Hedberg Public Library.

Blooming basil in the herb pollinator
garden at the Rock County Fairgrounds.
Each of the gardens is unique, but they currently have little more than just plants. Come see and learn about each of them, but bring your thinking cap as well. Help take stock of where we are and how to make these gardens better. 

Are there particular plants we could add? 

Any features (such as particular types of bee or bird nesting sites, water features etc.) that would improve them? 

What kind of educational materials or signage would make each a better resource? And how can we use--and promote other people’s use--of these gardens? We’ll start at the library and end at the community garden.

Date: Saturday, October 14
Time: 10:00-11:30 a.m.
Meet at Hedberg Public Library, downstairs entrance (near coffee shop)
Note: the Wisconsin/Purdue game begins at noon.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Field trip to West Ag a real treat

For those who didn't get a chance to join us for our trip to the University of Wisconsin West Agricultural Station - it was a real treat.  We received a guided tour, but you don't need to use a guide to tour the grounds. You can walk the gardens without a guide since all exhibits have signs telling what each plant is and in many cases when the plant was first included in the gardens.

A raised bed of ever-bearing strawberries.
I would highly encourage everyone interested in new plant varieties as well as old favorites to drive up and wander the test plots to see what is still available.  Many of the plots are currently in full bloom, apple trees are heavy with fruit, grapevines are filled with grapes.  The test gardens include annuals, perennials, landscaping trees and shrubs, fruit trees and grape vines, herbs and vegetables.  Many of them are AAS (All American Selection) winners - plants that are evaluated by a panel of 80 judges from around the country.  AAS is the oldest independent testing organization of flowers and edible varieties of plants in North America.

Mounds of New Guinea Impatiens.

The station is located at 8502 Mineral Point Road.  Office hours are 8 am to 4:30 pm Monday through Friday.  The grounds are open to the public from dawn to dusk, seven days a week.

Whenever we have a field trip like this if you don't understand directions to the site, the time and place of the event or any other facts, please contact the UWEX office at 608-757-5696 for clarification.

Beds of petunias.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Still seeking volunteers for Beloit Farmer's Market

We've been lucky enough this year to be included as vendors at both the Janesville and Beloit Farmer's Markets.  Our final date for the year is in Beloit on Oct. 7.

We are still looking for volunteers to staff the booth.  Hours are 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. but in order to be set up and be ready we usually arrive at least a half hour early and many of the vendors arrive as early as 7:00 a.m.  We will probably put up our tent for this event this time so Mary Thompson will have the equipment there at 7:00 a.m.

Hours for volunteers will be either the entire time - 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.


8:00 a.m. to 10:30 am
10:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Ruth Flescher and Mary Thompson will set up and tear down.  They will be responsible for collecting the equipment to set up and will deliver it back to storage at the courthouse on the next workday after the event.

We've had deeply gratifying response at both the Beloit and Janesville Farmer's Markets.  Lots of folks took free seeds and we've had the opportunity to meet people who are interested in the Master Gardener program.  We've answered lots of questions, gotten our presence known, and made a lot of new friends.

It's a great experience!  This is an approved continuing education project.  Volunteers will receive one (1) Continuing Education Unit (CEU) for each hour of participation.

Contact either Ruth Flescher or Mary Thompson with questions about volunteering.  Call Kim Mork at the UWEX office.  She'll get your message to either Ruth or Mary and they'll call you back asap.

Hope to hear from you soon!

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Last Tour of the Summer - West Ag Research Station - Sept. 14

2013 UW-WARS Flower Trials

The University of Wisconsin maintains a series of agricultural research stations in various places throughout the state. 

The Hancock station does a lot of potato research. 

The Bayfield station looks closely at apple varieties. 

Fortunately for us, the station with the greatest focus on horticulture is just on the far west side of Madison. 

The West Ag Research Station is an All America Selections display garden. The display gardens include flowers and other ornamentals, vegetables, over 200 grape vines, and a number of other fruits.  It has displays on organic growing, low-maintenance perennials and a rain garden.

Once we arrive at the station a docent will be on hand to walk us through the site and give us an overview of the kinds of research taking place there.

If you’re meeting us there the address is 8502 Mineral Point Road, Madison.  Take the Beltline west toward Middleton, and exit at Mineral Point Road. Turn left (west) and go less than two miles to the station on the right (north).

The tour begins at 10:30.  If you want to car pool meet at the shed at Janesville’s Community Gardens at 9:00 a.m.

This is an approved Master Gardener continuing education program.  All MGV participants will receive one (1) Continuing Education Unit (CEU) per hour of participation. 

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

FIELD TRIP REMINDER - August 13, Sunflower Days at Pope Farm Conservancy

Hello everyone!!

Just a quick reminder that we'll be traveling to Pope Farm Conservancy for Sunflower Days on Sunday, August 13.

Come prepared to walk.  Bring sunblock, water, insect spray and whatever else you might need to protect yourself from the sun.

We'll see nine acres of sunflowers at their peak.

Carpooling is encouraged.  We'll meet at the Community Garden Shed (near the Rock County Sheriff's Office) where we can safely park our cars for the day and carpool to our destination.  We'll depart at noon.

This is an approved continuing education event.  You will earn one (1) Continuing Education Unit (CEU) for hour of participation.

Looking forward to this event!  Hope to see you there.


Thursday, July 27, 2017

August event - Pope Farm Conservancy, 8-13-17

Half a Million Sunflowers in Bloom!
Nine acres of sunflowers glowing in the sunlight are the key feature of RPMGA’s August field trip. On Sunday, August 13, we’re heading out to the Pope Farm Conservancy, a little west of Madison, to catch these beauties at their peak.
The former farm is uniquely situated on 105 acres that span three watersheds, three recessional moraines and over 10,000 years of geological and human history.  In addition to the sunflowers, the conservancy has six prairie restorations, a Native American garden, a rain garden, eight miles of trails with interpretive signs, abundant wildlife and great views.  Restrooms are available near the picnic area. Entry is free. There is no formal tour, but ambassadors are on hand evenings and weekends to answer questions about the sunflowers. Self-guided walking tours through other areas of the conservancy range from a half mile to two miles. For more information, see the website at
Parking at the site is limited, so carpooling would be good.  Meet at the designated time at the Community Garden in Janesville (near the sheriff’s office) and we’ll go from there
Date/time: Sunday, August 13.  Noon. If it rains, the conservancy closes, so the alternate rain date is Wednesday, August 16 at 5:00 p.m.
This is an educational opportunity for MGVs. You will earn one (1) Continuing Education Unit for each hour of participation.
Bring if desired: A friend. A sun hat or parasol. Bug spray. Sun block. A camera.  Water (or purchase on-site).