Glacial Gardeners

Glacial Gardeners Master Gardener Volunteer Association had about 40 Members in 2014, with 27 certified for 2015, and one a junior GG Associate.

In 2014 we volunteered

  • 171   hours in youth education
  • 484   hours in community education
  • 3,334   hours in support service
  • and participated in  565   hours in continuing education

Glacial Gardeners includes members from two counties in Michigan (Iron and Dickinson) and two counties in Wisconsin (Florence and part of northern Marinette). We cope with a short growing season (August frosts are not uncommon) and winter temperatures that can plummet to minus 30 degrees. Some members drive almost 80 miles one way to attend meetings or to volunteer on projects. Although we are spread apart geographically, we have pulled together to create a vibrant gardening organization that benefits our northwoods communities as well as individual members.

Major Accomplishments or Projects:

  1. Due to the tremendous success of our annual spring plant sale, we were able to give two $1,000 scholarships in 2014 rather than our usual one scholarship. We also provided a $250 Growing With Children grant to a third grade class in Niagara, WI to beautify a school entrance with flowering trees and other plantings. By adding a fall plant sale we are further boosting revenues.
  2. The complicated subject of Companion Planting was the theme for displays at two local fairs, Florence County, WI and Iron County, MI. The display depicted three common plant families and various planting strategies. Ideas for brochures were researched and three handouts were produced.
  3. A new hands-on approach to Advanced MG training using informal tours of members’ gardens was instituted. This Garden Walk Series included five sessions over the summer and provided a chance to discuss pest and disease problems and to see how plants adapt to the different microclimates in our far-flung service area.
  4. We provided horticultural expertise to the new Crossroad Community Garden in Florence, a project that brought together a wide range of individuals and community groups including UW-Extension. When the gardens were put to bed, our horticultural agent give a talk on winter storage for crops.
  5. We received a President’s Call to Service Award in recognition of our varied and extensive volunteer efforts. In addition, five members of Glacial Gardeners were honored individually.

Highlighted Project: Gazebo Garden

The Gazebo Garden on the main street of Florence is our most visible example of supporting the “Engaging Others in Gardening” theme. Located in front of the Florence Community Center, this perennial garden not only beautifies the town’s west entrance, but also provides a place where tourists and residents alike can learn about plants.

This has truly been a communitywide effort. In addition to funding from the Town Board, we received donations from community members and businesses for benches, mulch, plants, and other materials. A $400 WIMGA grant allowed us to purchase signage to educate visitors about the horticultural requirements of our plantings.

Although volunteers didn’t begin bed preparations until 2013, by 2014 the project was already attracting attention, including our first tour by another garden club. As this young garden matures, we expect even more interest.