Sunday, March 19, 2017

Master Gardeners

Yesterday I had the opportunity to speak to the Madison Area Master Gardeners at their annual meeting. The Master Gardeners, organized in the late 1970s in Wisconsin, are trained by University of Wisconsin-Extension specialists in all matters related to gardening. As a group of volunteers, they answer phone requests for horticultural information, work with youth groups, schools, help with demonstration gardens and more.

I wish there had been Master Gardeners when I worked as an Extension agent in Green Bay, in the early 1960s. I worked as a livestock and 4-H agent, at a time when the folks living in the city of Green Bay discovered that the our office knew something about horticulture. I was the one with the least knowledge about horticulture—except for my practical experience as an already long-time vegetable gardener.

A call came in with a question about a plum tree. I drove out to the woman’s house on the east side of Green Bay. I soon learned, even before I saw the plum tree, that it was one of this woman’s favorites. She told me she had bought it from a nursery in New York State, and she said, “It has done so well until this year.”

I walked with her to her backyard, where she showed me her little plum tree, now about eight feet tall. This was in June, and already the little tree, clearly in trouble, had dropped most of its leaves, which lay on the ground under the tree.

“What spray would you recommend for my poor little tree?” she said.

After looking closely at the tree, and deciding there was no hope for it, I said, “I would recommend pruning.”

“Oh,” she said. “What kind of pruning?”

“I would suggest pruning--level with the ground?”

“What?” she huffed. Had there been a shovel handy I believe she would have clobbered me with it.

I hurried to my car and back to the office where I encountered the office chair who had already gotten a call from this woman, insisting “that the incompetent young man you sent to solve my plum problem should be fired.” He was laughing, and when he regained his composure said, “You likely gave her the correct answer, but you need to work on your approach.” He was still laughing when he said it.

Photo: Speaking to Madison Area Gardeners.

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: Sometimes how you say something is more important than what you say.

WRITER’S WORKSHOP: Saturday, April 8, 9-12:00 a.m. Patterson Memorial Library, Wild Rose, WI. Call 920-622-3835 for reservations. Limited enrollment. Workshop meets Nine to Twelve in the morning.

WRITER’S WORKSHOP: Friday, August 18, 9-4:00 p.m. The Clearing, Door County.
Call 920-854-4088. Limited enrollment.


Wednesday, March 29, 10:00 a.m., Keynote speaker, Master Agriculturist Award Program, Oshkosh.

April 6, 1:00 p.m. Union Grove Library.

April 8, 9-12:00 Writing Workshop, Patterson Memorial Library, Wild Rose, WI

April 10, 1:30. Kiel Library, One-Room Schools

April 17, 6:30. New Berlin Library. Never Curse the Rain.

Purchase Jerry’s DVDS and his Books from the Patterson Memorial Library in Wild Rose, Wisconsin (a fundraiser for them):

The library now has available signed copies of Jerry’s DVDs:

Emmy Winner, A Farm Winter with Jerry Apps (based on The Quiet Season book.)
Jerry Apps a Farm Story (based on Rural Wit and Wisdom and Old Farm books.)
The Land with Jerry Apps, (based on the book Whispers and Shadows.)

Also available are several of Jerry’s signed books including: Jerry’s newest nonfiction book, Never Curse the Rain, and his newest novel, The Great Sand Fracas of Ames County. Also available are Wisconsin Agriculture: A History,
Roshara Journal (with photos by Steve Apps) and Telling Your Story—a guide book for those who want to write their own stories.

Contact the library for prices and special package deals.
Patterson Memorial Library
500 Division Street
Wild Rose, WI 54984

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