Classroom Worm Chow-Down Initiative
Lillian Mahaney, Advanced Master Gardener

Worms and food scraps equal vermicomposting.  Add a Master Gardener and children and you have education, stewardship, MG volunteering project and fun!  Click here to read about the vermicomposting expert and her Master Gardener volunteering.


Meijer Garden
Nancy Denison, Master Gardener

Botanic Gardens in Michigan differ from one another significantly.  The Meijer Garden marries art and nature.  At home in Grand Rapids, read here to discover what you will see on your next visit!

News & Events

July MGANM Meeting: Friendly Garden Club Walk

When: THURSDAY, July 16th, 2015 11am-7pm
Where: In and around Traverse City, MI
Who: Open to the public, tickets available for purchase through The Friendly Garden Club
What: Ever wonder what the yards look like behind those beautiful homes downtown Traverse City? This is your chance to see! A select group of homes are chosen every year by The Friendly Garden Club to be on this tour.
Cost: $8 in advance, $10 day of event (information for purchasing tickets is on their website)

August MGANM Meeting: Let's Talk About Hops!

When: Tuesday, August 4th 2015, 6:00 pm
Where: Northwest Michigan Horticultural Research Center(NWMHRC), 6686 South Center Highway, Traverse City, MI 49684 
Who: Free for MGANM members, $5 suggested donation for the public
What: Learn all about the plant that gives life to beer! Humulus lupulus is a fast growing crop for local farmers, but how does it differ from other crops? And with vertical growth, how do you harvest it? MSU Extension has a hop variety planting trial at this location, and they will show us how a hop-picking machine works. This tour and talk will be hosted by Rob Sirrine, MSU Extension Educator Please bring comfortable clothing and shoes based on the weather, as we will be doing light walking in the planted area.
For the rest of this year's events, see our newly remodeled website!


U of M Medicinal Garden Opens August 2 
by Cheryl Gross, Advanced Master Gardener

A medicinal garden was once a key component of a medical education.  The connection between plants and the valuable drugs they provide has been lost over time.  The University of Michigan created a team of horticultural, medical and pharmaceutical staff to create the all new Medicinal Gardens in Ann Arbor.  Read about the new kid on the block Here

Inspired at Greenspire 
by Nancy Denison, Master Gardener

The Real Dirt offers summaries of our regularly scheduled meetings.  Click Here to learn about a Middle School in Traverse City that incorporates nature and gardening in the daily curriculum.


Why be a Master Gardener? Part 1

By Michele Worden,  Advanced Master Gardener, Member of Master Gardener Association of Northwest Michigan

The Master Gardener program in the state of Michigan has experienced some significant changes in the past five years driven by funding changes at MSU.  Few Master Gardeners understand what happened and why and its effect on current and past Master Gardeners.  Michele Worden is digging into the topic in a three part series.  Read Part 1 here.

The Michigan Master Gardener Program:  Its Partners, Their Roles & Responsibilities.

by Elise M. Carolan,  Michigan State University Extension, Leelanau County Program Instructor, Consumer Horticulture

Elise Carolan is our MGANM MSU Extension Coordinator.  How does her role as a Leelanau County employee and MSU Consumer Horticulture Program Instructor connect local Master Gardeners to the programs in the state?  Read here to understand her role and Master Gardener’s connections here.


Natural Shorelines on Inland Lakes
by Becky Smits, Master Gardener in Training

Shorelines, or the place along the edge of a lake or a river where the water and land meet plays a significant role.   In this place, what we do to alter the natural shoreline has  critical impact on water quality.  Read Here about the recent efforts in Michigan to educate landowners on best practices.

Pollinators and Pesticides
by Cheryl Gross, Advanced Master Gardener

While the exact causes of serious pollinator decline have yet to be scientifically proven, there is plenty of evidence that pesticides kill bugs and insects.  That is their purpose, after all.  Read Here to help connect the dots and take an active role in protecting pollinators. 

Green Roofs
by Jamie Gothard, MG in Training

Years ago, where building materials were scarce, humans lived in sod houses.  The soil over their heads provided cover and warmth, while hosting plants above.  Today a green roof is designed to do much the same thing... provide insulated warmth and host plants above.  Read Here to learn about this ‘new’ trend!

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