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.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Wild Flower Walk rescheduled due to cold weather

Unexpectedly wintry weather has pushed the wildflower walk back for one week.

We received an email from Mariette Nowak saying the cold weather has delayed the spring flower bloom. 

The only thing that's changed is the day of the month--now April 29. We're still meeting at 1:30 on a Sunday, at the Ice Age Trail parking lot at the corner of Highway 12 and Sherwood Forest Road.

We are adding a car pool meeting site in Janesville. We'll meet in the Janesville Mall, by the Steinhafels Mattress Store at 12:45pm.  From there we'll take Highway 26 to Highway 59 at Milton. Take 59 to Whitewater. At the stop sign in Whitewater, turn right for a block, then left onto Highway 12 East.

Hope to see you there!

Thursday, April 12, 2018

MAY EDUCATIONAL EVENT - Wild Flower Walk with Mariette Nowak, Sunday, April 22

RPMGA Event: Wildflower Flower Walk with Mariette Nowak

Sunday, April 22, 1:30 p.m.

This is actually our May educational opportunity, but the wild flowers bloom when they bloom, and we don’t want to miss them!

Mariette Nowak is the author of Birdscaping in the Midwest, A Guide to Gardening with Native Plants to Attract Birds, and a leader in both the Kettle Moraine Chapter of The Wild Ones and the Lakeland Audubon Society.

This very knowledgeable lady had agreed to take us on a walk through the Kettle Moraine State Forest to view early spring wildflowers. If the sun shines that afternoon, we’ll be heading to the pasque flower preserve, located between Eagle and North Prairie. But the pasque flowers don’t open if it’s overcast. If that’s the case, we’ll consider another good wildflower location that’s a little closer, between Whitewater and Palmyra. We’ll meet near the closer location at 1:30, then decide which location is our best bet that day.
Mariette Nowak

Location: Meet at 1:30 p.m. at the Ice Age Trail parking lot on Highway 12, approximately 5 miles east of the intersection of U.S. 12 and Hwy 89, at Sherwood Forest Road. Look for the big brown sign on the north side of the road that says “Ice Age National Scenic Trail.” Bring or wear waterproof hiking boots, just in case, as the closer location tends to be wet.

This is an approved Continuing Education program.  Master Gardener Volunteers and interns will earn 1 Continuing Education Units (CEUs) per hour of participation. 

Monday, April 9, 2018

Volunteer Opportunity - Freedom Fest Booth June 30

New Life Freedom Fest, 2017.
Julie Gibes has been approached by New Life Assembly of God to head up a Garden in a Bag initiative to be held during Freedom Fest, Saturday, June 30, 2018. The initiative is part of the Convoy of Hope which sponsors a grocery give away at Freedom Fest. 

Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds will supply the seeds and wants people who can offer garden advice at the distribution. Julie thought MGVs would be perfect for this event.  She is looking for volunteers to contact her directly.

Julie explained the project like this, "As part of Convoy of Hope, we will be distributing 'Gardens in a Bag' targeting low income individuals in the Rock County area during Freedom Fest which takes place the morning of June 30th on the grounds of New Life Assembly of God Church in Janesville, WI on the corner of Hwy 14 and Wright Rd."

She is looking for the following volunteers (no kids under 10): 

  • One Assistant Team Leader
  • Three to Four Garden Educators
  • Three to Four Distributors for the day of the event 
Julie has requested that Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds provide at least a list, if not the seeds themselves, to be sent ahead of time so volunteers can work on preparing targeted fact sheets.  If seeds are sent early enough, there is a possibility of starting seedlings for distribution. 

She says there will be room enough to make up displays or have a project for participation.  She currently has reserved a 10x10 foot area, but that can be doubled if necessary.

Julie is eager to discuss the project with anyone who is willing to volunteer.  She is asking that potential volunteers call as soon as possible.  She can be reached by phone at 608-290-5157 or by email at

This is an approved Continuing Education project.  Participating MGVs and interns will earn 1 Continuing Education Unit (CEU) per hour of participation.  

Volunteer Opportunity - Jefferson School 4th Grade spring program at JSOL

Would you be interested in volunteering for the Jefferson Elementary school's outdoor learning center program on May 14th at the Janesville Schools Outdoor Lab (JSOL)?

We are looking for a total of 6 to 8 volunteers, but any number would be helpful. There will be high school "cadets" and parent chaperones there to assist.

This is an all morning event with about 60 children. The teacher who is organizing this has split it into four stations. 1 or 2 people per station should work.

Susan Wood is taking the lead on this project. She and the teacher have discussed preliminary plans for the event.

  • Volunteers should be on site at JSOL by 9am and will be there until noon. 
  • Teachers will brief and set up with volunteers from 9 to 9:30am. 
  • Students will begin stations at 9:30am. Stations will run about 20 to 30 minutes with transition times between stations.
  • We will be done at noon. Cadets and teachers will help us tear down and pack up while students eat their lunches.
  • two near the water area,
  • two at or near the pavilion
  • with a 30 minutes break to get from one area to the next
Station 1 & 2 will be near the water.

Station 1:
  • JSOL staff will lead on this one. 
  • There will be a 15 minute transition between close areas. 

Station 2:
  • Wildflowers along the water area and or prairie area
  • There will be a 30 minute transition between water area and pavilion
Stations 3 & 4 will be at the pavilion.

Station 3:
  • Teacher suggested something about birds and nature of the area. (Susan suggested soils and composting, or maybe something on Pollinators?)
Station 4:
  • Measuring trees and parts of a tree. JSOL has some materials available to instruct this.
These topics are not yet set in stone. They are still being discussed.
Thank you to anyone who is willing to help with this event!
Please contact me at the listing below:
Susan Wood
woodslibraymedia@gmail.comPhone -- 262-510-5554 (cell)

This is an approved Continuing Education event. All participating MGVs and interns will earn 1 Continuing Education Unit (CEU) for each hour of participation.

Monday, April 2, 2018

Volunteers needed - Family Gardening Day MG Booth, May 5

The UW Madison Family Gardening Day is a joint outreach effort including DC Smith Greenhouse, Allen Centennial Garden, Steenbock Library, and several other UW Madison entities. The overall purpose of the event is to engage young children and families in gardening. This year, the MG booth will have a pollinator display and give away Mexican sunflower seedlings. MG Volunteers are needed to engage with visitors, discuss pollinators, and give away plants. This event is more about social engagement, and less about answering gardening questions. Event is scheduled to run 10am to 1pm. Shifts below reflect set up and take down. The booth is outside Steenbock library. Please dress for the weather. We can use 2 to 3 volunteers per shift. Must be a certified WI MGV or intern.

This is an approved continuing education event. MGVs (and interns) will earn 1 Continuing Education Unit (CEU) for each hour of participation.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Last Spring Frost - First Fall Frost - FYI

Climate Station - Afton, Wisconsin
Altitude - 741' above sea level
Last Spring Frost - April 26
First Fall Frost - October 9
Growing Season - 165 Days

Data Courtesy of Old Farmer's Almanac 

You're no doubt heard of the Old Farmer's Almanac, but what do you know about it?  The OFA is a reference book which contains weather forecasts, planting charts, astronomical data, recipes and articles.  Topics include: gardening, sports, astronomy, and folklore.

According to Wikipedia:

It was originally founded by Robert B. Thomas and published in 1792.  Today the almanac is published by Yankee Publishing, Inc.  Current Editor-in-Chief is Judson D. Hale, Sr.  The publication is based in Dublin, New Hampshire.

2018 Collector's Edition

April Master Gardener Update & Educational Event Reminder

Hello everyone.

Here is our April Newsletter!  Click the link to open.  This is a pdf which you can download to save if you wish.  

Don't forget to join us on Thursday evening, April 5 at 5:30pm in the Stock Pavilion at the Rock County Fairgrounds.  

Rusty and dull but not hopeless.
Professional tool sharpener Paul Haen will be our guest.  The focus of this event is how to rehabilitate your dull, rusty garden tools.  Bring some with you.  First tool will be sharpened free of charge. If you have more than one Paul will have coupons available.

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

Directions:  The Rock County Fairgrounds is located at 1301 Craig Ave., Janesville.  Enter the fairgrounds through the main gate and turn right until you reach the office.  Turn left at the office and go one block to the Stock Pavilion which is on the right.  There is parking in the immediate area.  The Pavilion will be heated, but the building may still be cool.  Please wear warm clothes.