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Heron's Garden Party

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Master Gardeners Joyce Pence and Barbara Ross Master Gardeners Joyce Pence and Barbara Ross

Master Gardeners provide a guide to spring

Just five days after the vernal equinox (the sign of spring in some areas) a group of budding young gardeners met with some more seasoned individuals at the Heron Community Center for a Gardener’s Tea. It was, what we hope to be, the first of many such events. While the traditional tea began with grazing through scones and brownies, it quickly moved into a presentation by four Master Gardeners all educated under the auspices of the University of Idaho Extension in Sandpoint.  

Barbara Ross began the program discussing tomatoes from seeds to the canning pot.  The audience was enraptured by her wealth of knowledge and her ability to field questions regarding her favorite vegetable.  Barbara has been successful in growing tomatoes for over thirty years in the rather challenging location of Bull River and that in itself, if you are familiar with the location, would make her an expert.

Following Barbara’s information I discussed companion planting and the use of row covers for a more natural way to combat perceived garden pests. As our society as a whole becomes more aware of the dangers of our increasingly chemical world I felt the more alternative information available to the public the better. I learned about row covers last year and through them and companion planting I was able to successfully produce brussels sprouts which had been a long time personal goal.

The entire panel collaboratively fielded questions throughout from the almost thirty guests and it was good to have Janis Clark and Sue Ball also there to offer their years of gardening expertise and what worked for them along what doesn’t. Janis not only completed the Master Gardener Class but she went on to develop a web site on the Wisdom of Healthy Food 

Lastly, and just importantly Joyce Pence briefly touched on the importance of good sharp tools in the garden, and demonstrated to the group how to simply sharpen our own pruning sheers with the use of an oversized emery board. She also discussed cleaning and maintenance of gardening tools.

Behind the gathering, quietly organizing door prizes and lunch, was Meggen Fitchett.  Meggen is a force all under herself in that she planned the entire event, as well as being the main coordinator behind the Tea’s sponsor, The Heron Community Health Center. For the last year Meggen has managed to procure workout equipment, organize volunteers and literally build a gym from the ground up.  Everyone in the Community has benefited from this woman’s efforts to bring greater health awareness to our community and others.

There is a great deal of cooperation in our river valley, that extends across the borders and cultures and this is just one example.  The Gardener’s Tea had people on the panel from Clark Fork and from Heron, all of whom had been educated through the University of Idaho Extension. Our gym and library is open to anyone in the area and we also have a reciprocal courtesy with the libraries in Sandpoint and Clark Fork.

If you have plant problems or questions all the residents of this area are invited to contact the Bonner County Plant Clinic in the Extension Office. This service is available Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9 am to 3 pm. Their phone number is 208-263-8511.

So spring is here, signaled by the vernal equinox and with it comes gardening tips, seed and plant sharing and the perennial hope of a great gardening year in our beautiful River Valley.

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Author info

Kathleen Huntley

Tagged as:

Heron, gardening, Master Gardeners, spring, Heron Community Center, Janis Clark, Sue Ball, Joyce Pence, Barbara Ross, Kathleen Huntley, University of Idaho Extension Service, Meggen Fitchett, Heron Community Health Center, Gardener's Tea

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