Volunteer recognition dinner is November 3rd, 2019
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President's Letter

2019 – Reflection and Finish
By Michele Worden, AEMG

Goldenrod is blooming next to purple coneflower in my mother’s garden in southeast Michigan. It is a sure sign that summer is drawing to a close and fall is coming.  Though it’s hard to imagine the end of summer when it is 90 degrees outside!

September means we are almost to the end of the MGANM 2019 programming year.  We are seeking your input on programs to offer for 2020.  Please click here to take our survey on speakers or topics that are of interest to you, for next year. 

In 2019 we had record attendance at our events, which I think is because we delivered topics you asked for. I was amazed that 45 people showed up for our Lavender View Farm Tour in August!  It was truly an inspiring program at a beautiful site.

We have strong topics for our last two regular meetings:  September 3 – Native Grasses, and October 1 – Houseplants in Winter.  Hope to see you there!

Also, please save the date for the 2019 Volunteer Recognition Luncheon.  On November 3rd, we hope to have another fabulous caterer, amazing decorations, and a fun silent auction for our Scholarship & Education fund.  We are seeking volunteers to help with the event.  

We also need to round-up silent auction itemsLast year we raised a record $1400 with our silent auction!  I am hoping to continue that success this year if everyone can either donate a silent auction item of something they have made, or ask a business they frequent to donate a gift certificate or retail item.  Some examples of master gardener-made items: beautiful mosaic planters, freshly-baked bread with homemade jam, and container succulent gardens propagated by a member. Last year Master Gardeners asked restaurants, hair dressers, and art gallery owner friends to donate a gift certificate or item.  Here is the form that can be left with a business as a tax receipt.  We also need a completed copy of the form to create bid sheets for the auction.

Additionally, at the November Volunteer Recognition Luncheon we hold the annual board member elections.  We are seeking nominations for the positions of Vice-President, Treasurer and a Director-At-Large. Please let us know if you can serve!  It’s an effective way to get to know people and earn volunteer hours.

Lastly, in November we will be sending out our MGANM membership renewals for 2020.  We are sending them early to try to avoid confusion with the MG re-certification fee.  The re-certification fee is paid to MSU Extension in January to support the Master Gardener training program.  If you have any questions on your membership status, just email

Thank you for all you do!

The Botanic Garden at Historic Barns Park, July 2019. Photo by same.


What’s Happening at the Botanic Garden?
By Theresa Harding, MG

The Botanic Garden is beautiful any time of the year, but they may have out done themselves this time. The new pollinator garden is already full of buzzing and fluttering wings! Read more as Terry Harding shares the latest.

Tomato mites. Photo by Lisa Hagerty


Spider Mite Controls
By Lisa Hagerty, The Real Dirt Editor and MG trainee

As the cool weather arrives, those of us with gardens still fruiting can breathe an air of relief. Thankfully, spider mites prefer hot, dry weather. I know my own struggle with mites has been a long one, which prompted me to do some research on the subject. I found a few informative articles to share with you here.

Master Gardener Coordinator's Corner

Fall Cleanup to Protect Pollinators
By Nate Walton, Michigan State University Extension Master Gardener Coordinator

Not everyone knows that many of our pollinators overwinter in our gardens. The course of our actions during the fall cleanup process will often determine the fate of these critters. To find out more about how we can protect our pollinators as we work our gardens this fall, read Nate’s article.

Heliconia "Sexy Pink" in Maui, photo by Nancy Denison


Nourishing Differently
By Tamara Premo, MG Trainee

Plants and, in fact, entire gardens need nourishment to be the best they can be. Nourishment comes in many forms. It feeds our mind, body, soul…and even our traditions. Read on as Tam shares her own experiences with nourishment.

News & Events

There are so many wonderful events and workshops happening in our community that we simply cannot list them all. Please be sure to check directly with the websites and Facebook pages for these organizations and the events that they offer:
Botanical Gardens at Historic Barns Park, Boardman River Nature Center (Grand Traverse Conservation District), Plant it Wild, Wild Ones, NW Michigan Invasive Species Network, NW Michigan Horticulture Research Center, Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy, Saving Birds Thru Habitat, Benzie Conservation District, Leelanau Conservation District, and Leelanau Conservancy.


The educational meetings are held at The Boardman River Nature Center, 1450 Cass Road, Traverse City unless otherwise noted. They are open to the public but a $5 donation from non-members is appreciated.   

Tuesday, October 1st, 6:00 pm Houseplants in Winter by Plant Masters of Suttons Bay.  Potluck at 6:00 p.m. and program begins at 6:30 p.m.

Sunday, November 3rd, time TBD Volunteer Recognition Luncheon. Gilbert Lodge at Twin Lakes.


Doug Tallamy in NW lower Michigan
By Cheryl A. Gross, AEMG

With a primary focus on native plants of Michigan, Cheryl spends a lot of time finding ways to educate the community. Although Cheryl’s many years of gardening provide her with a great deal of insight, she still leans toward others to share in her enthusiasm for native plants. In this article, Cheryl discusses Doug Tallamy and his contribution to the cause.

Morgan Composting:  The Home of Dairy Doo
By Cheryl A. Gross, AEMG

Many of us will be cleaning out our garden boxes soon and turning the soil with compost in preparation for the spring. Dairy Doo is well-known in Michigan for their organic compost. In this article, Cheryl shares her experience from her recent tour of the Morgan Composting farm, which is where Dairy Doo originated.




Looking for gardeners...
to participate with The Real Dirt’s effort in sharing everything gardening.
We try to focus on the four main categories that matter to us most: Nourish, Beautify, Steward and Serve. In our September issue, we are lucky enough to share an enchanting story by a Master Gardener trainee about nourishing in different ways. We also have an Advanced Master Gardener who wrote an article about native plants of Michigan, which is her passion. These are just two of the articles you’ll find this issue. 

The Real Dirt posts stories and articles of all kinds that are plant, tree, or garden related and we need your help. You don’t have to be the best writer. We just need a story based on skill or experience that is relevant to the current time of the year. If you don’t have a good story to tell, maybe you can share some tips with The Real Dirt readers with an informative article (of course it needs to be science based). Or maybe you can attend one of our monthly meetings and would be willing to write a brief article about the meeting? Did you know you can earn volunteer hours for writing for The Real Dirt? 

Take a look at some of the past issues to get a better idea, if you like. Our next time in need will be for the November issue. January and March might be tough issues too. It gets tougher in the winter to write about all things gardening, which presents an even greater need for volunteer writers. We will take volunteer writers all year long! 

If you are interested at any time, please send an email to the Editor, Lisa Hagerty at Please consider joining us in our writing efforts!

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