We at the Real Dirt hope you like the new look and feel of our newsletter. We have integrated the newsletter with the MGANM website and Facebook page so that they are interactive. You can click on the images or content to take you to the full story. Please feel free to forward our newsletter to anyone who might find the articles beneficial.  Your feedback is always welcome.  Enjoy!


Jr. MG Tip for FUN with Children in the Garden
Lillian Mahaney & Cheryl Gross

This is a continuation of a series of articles about the Junior Master Gardener Training Program, headed by Lillian Mahaney. Today's article focuses on using fun & wacky music to keep your class interested. If you've never heard of Banana Slug String Band, click here to read Lillian's ideas for using their music with your course!

The Case for Natural Shoreline Management
Mike Jones, Benzie Conservation District

Many homeowners believe that there must be a hard line drawn between the local shoreline and their lawn. Not true, according to Mike.  Everything from engineered structures to manicured lawns can disrupt the natural flow of the local ecosystem. Discover this topic more in-depth, and read his ideas for alternative landscaping solutions.  Click on the image for this article to read more!


A look at Andrea Wulf
Sue Sensenbaugh

As one of our keynote speakers for the upcoming Revolutionary Gardens Conference, Andrea Wulf will bring international acclaim to the podium.  Her accomplishments are many, and we are very privileged to have such a powerful and passionate speaker here in Northern Michigan. Click on the image for this article to read about her accomplishments. 

Revolutionary Gardens Conference Schedule

Sunday Sept 29, 2013 - Thursday, Oct 3, 2013

This 4-day conference is a tax-deductible benefit event for the Botanical Garden Society of Northwest Michigan and will feature a series of lectures by internationally-known garden authors and designers Andrea Wulf, Peter Hatch and Warren Byrd.  You may register for single workshops, single days, or the complete conference.  Two special donor options are also available: Garden VIP and Garden Friend.  You may pay on-line through Pay Pal or send your check to: BGSNM, Box 1247, Traverse City, MI 49685-1247. Checks should be made payable to BGSNM.  Registrants can sign up for a variety of programs. Go to the BGS webpage to register, and/or click on the image for this article to take you to a copy of the full schedule. 

News & Events

July/August Meeting

Natural Shoreline Project Tour
Friday, July 26, 3pm
Almira Township Public Beach, Lake Ann (view map)

Join the Master Gardener Association of Northwest Michigan and the Benzie Conservation District for a tour of demonstration sites for natural shoreline landscapes.  See for yourself how you can use natural shorelines to beautify your landscape and help ensure clean waters, deter geese, prevent erosion problems, and improve fish and wildlife habitat.  We will be touring shoreline projects at Lake Ann, Platte Lake, and Watervale Resort.  $5 suggested donation.  Please RSVP to the Benzie Conservation District, (231) 882-4391.


Growing Minds Need Growing Gardens
Sonia Clem

Oftentimes we can trace our love of gardens, whether food or flowers, to a specific point in our lives.  Read about the misadventures of a child, and the path she took.  Also, learn more about the efforts of Mike Davis, Kirsten Gerbatsch, Mike Kiessell, Ellen Lapekas, Trina Ball, and so many other MG’s for their heroic efforts in creating community and school gardens especially for children.  Be inspired and stay informed about the creative school gardens and MG-Seeds Demonstration garden project, and get involved if you can, here.

Michele Worden

Learn more about the many types of beans, first with clarification of what they really are with a brief history. Then delve into the specifics, including Latin name, Botanical family, origin, fun facts, nutrition, culinary uses, impact on culture, and appearances in literature.  This is a very informative article, and is styled much like Michele's previous article "The Potato." Click on the image for this article to navigate to our site and enrich your mind!



May MGANM Meeting Notes
Nancy Denison

Our local Northwestern Botanical Garden Society's Karen Schmidt gave a light-hearted past-present-future story of their gardens. Included in her presentation was a plethora of information about their ongoing projects. Click on the image for this article to read the full notes.

June MGANM Meeting Notes
Held at Grow Benzie!
Cheryl Gross

Read the description of MGANM's tour of Grow Benzie!. Yet again, our area has an innovative organization that is on the forefront of community technology! Click on the image for this article to read the full notes. 


Buckets of Rain
Nancy Denison

Former owners of North Coast Nursery, Chris and Sue Skellenger, have created a non-profit organization to teach poverty-stricken areas how to grow food in an economical way.  They use parts and tools that are commonly on hand in these areas to work their magic. They have worked around the world, and are currently working diligently in the Detroit area. Click on the image for this article to read more.

Defending Our Plants!
Steve Fouch, L & S Tree Service

Are you having problems with deer damaging your trees? Or are you discovering that you have been invaded by the Emerald Ash Borer or Birch Borer? This article touches on a few ways that problems can arise in any landscape, and ways to try to prevent them.  He even names a product that is "the highes rated material to protect your ash trees from EAB". Wondering what it is? Click on the image for this article to find out!

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The Real Dirt is brought to you by: Sonia Clem, Nancy Denison, Cheryl Gross (committee chair), Whitney Miller, and Sue Sensenbaugh.  If you have further questions about The Real Dirt, please contact Cheryl at
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