North Country Master Gardeners currently have 22 active MGVs in our group. 17 volunteers are currently in training
In 2014 we volunteered
- 129 hours in youth education
- 159 hours in community education
- 1186 hours in support services
- and participated in 482 hours of continuing education
Our membership includes very active and diverse groups of volunteers working on a wide range of projects in communities across Burnett, Sawyer and Washburn Counties. While our official group meetings are in Spooner, we have several satellite groups in Hayward, Winter, Webster and Siren that are active in their communities. In addition our monthly meetings and various educational events we stay connected through email our North Country Gardener newsletter and through facebook.
Highlighted Project: All America Selections Landscape Design Contest
The North Country MGA has helped develop and maintain a Teaching & Display Garden at the Spooner Ag Research Station in partnership with UW-Extension and the Station for many years. Each year they host an annual Twilight Tour in August to educate the public about the plants that grow best in their area.
A portion of their demonstration garden is an official All-America Selections (AAS) Display Garden. Those varieties had always been grown in one long, straight bed. Although functional, the MGVs realized that this design was not particularly aesthetic and thought they could utilize the knowledge they had gained from their MG training in landscape design to showcase these plants in a more eye-catching manner. They redesigned the area in 2012, creating eight individual, slightly bermed, triangular beds to replace the traditional mass plantings that had the AAS Winners in one long row. Well-maintained lawn paths between the beds added to the beauty and function. Each bed included approximately 75% AAS Winners, combined with other flowers and vegetables to carry out a theme in each garden.
2013 AAS Landscape Design Contest Winners
After this transformation the Station entered their project in the All-America Selections Landscape Design Contest. This contest, introduced in 2012, evaluates gardens incorporating AAS Winners, past and present, and is judged based on quantity of AAS Winner varieties used, overall attractiveness of landscape design, creative use of AAS Winners in the design, promotion of the display to local media and garden visitors/members, and photo quality and design description/explanation. Entries are divided into three categories based on the number of visitors to that garden in one year.
In 2013 the Spooner Ag Research Station garden was awarded a second place finish, and in 2014 the garden received top honors by placing first in Category I. “Down on the Farm” was the theme, celebrating family farmers who survived through hard work and ingenuity. Using typical household items they organized and planted garden rooms then filled and interspersed those items with AAS Winners to provide a riot of colors. Judges gave the garden high rankings because of the number of AAS Winners used along with the unique props that helped tell an educational story. Then to top it off, Spooner did a fantastic job of spreading the word among their local community via Social Media, radio, newspapers, their own website, e-newlsetters and with the University of Wisconsin Extension programs.
Category I: fewer than 10,000 visitors per year
- 1st: University of Wisconsin Spooner Ag Research Station, Teaching and Display Garden, Spooner, Wisconsin.
- 2nd: Noelridgte Park Gardens, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
- 3rd: Purdue Extension Tippecanoe County Display & Idea Garden, Lafayette, Indiana
- Honorable Mention, “Best Inspiration” Garden: Kenosha County Center Demonstration Garden, Bristol, Wisconsin.
Major Accomplishments or projects
- Fort Folle Avoine historic park, educational gardens are located, near Webster. MGV maintain various raised gardens at the site that feature native plants, heirloom vegetables, herbs, perennials, and cut flowers. These gardens and other perennial landscape plantings around the historic buildings are an important part of this Burnett County owned and operated facility. A spring plant sale and many hours of volunteer labor provide a wonderful educational experience for local and out of town visitors.
- Bloom’n Kids School/Community Garden is located adjacent to the Hayward Primary and Intermediate school playgrounds. Originally this outdoor classroom was focused for hands-on horticulture instruction for K-2 grade students, in recent years it has expanded to grades 3-4. MGV and other community volunteers assist teachers with in class instruction and take leadership in organizing activities out in the garden. Produce from the garden is served in school and donated to needy families.
- Meet Me At The Garden container gardening workshop was held out in the Teaching & Display Garden and was organized and taught by MGVs. The workshop utilized the outdoor classroom space in the garden along with plants and other props. It was a beautiful night in the garden with lots of hands-on learning.
- Hayward Senior Center, raised bed gardens and green space project. MGV donated $500 dollars for raised beds and benches and other needed improvements. This space will allow visitors an opportunity to ‘adopt a garden box’ and help grow vegetables that will be used in the senior meals.
- Twilight Garden Tour this annual event features guest speakers, demonstrations, displays, a wagon tour of the Spooner Ag Research Station, grilling and tasting of vegetables, a silent auction, and new this year live music. The new All America Selections landscape display and the Enabling Gardens where two recent changes to this teaching and display garden located at the Spooner Ag Research Station. MGV are involved in all stages of organizing and putting on NCMG largest outreach event. Over 200 people attended this year.