On May 24, Master Gardeners on the Town was hosted by Amy at the Metra Greenhouse Ed Center. Mary Davis and Amy planned on having a crackling fire to welcome all with, but winds and rain made that option impossible. Lucky for us the greenhouse became the perfect location for serving up some refreshing root beer floats to about 14 takers.
Things are coming along out there, especially the disappearance of the weeds, thanks to Greg T, Sherry D, Mary D, Gloria E, Marilyn L, Joann and Corry G.
Inside the greenhouse the Tumbleweed Teens have planted up 5 4×4 square foot beds, which are coming along nicely. Still looking for volunteers to adopt a garden patch or two out there, so if you are interested, just let Amy know.
Article and pictures by Amy Grandpre
On May 23, a dozen Master Gardeners embarked on the grand adventure of finding the Delane Langton home to tour incredible iris beds he’s cultivated. Last year we were about a week too late…and this year porbably a week too early, but there were still plenty of blooms to enjoy even though, it was a beautiful evening for a tour.
Delane has quite the location. His home is perched on a hill, with gardens cascading over the top and shoulders of the hill. Then he points out another acre over the side that more iris are nestled into. Delane (now retired), is expanding his hilltop garden even more. He explains that the different slope orientations provide for an extended blooming period, the south side blooming first and then the north side blooming later.
The colors and variations were quite impressive, complete with some heirloom varieties. He also has a Moss Mansion iris bed, cultivated when an iris bed at the Moss was removed because the tree’s shade was too intense for iris growing. He took the pathetic looking rhizomes, planted them, gave them some TLC and now has iris plants he proudly claims are Moss Mansion originals.
Also, we learned that when he divides his iris, he doesn’t dig up the whole clump. He usually digs up the mother (or the one that bloomed last year), with the daughters that are on one side, leaving the other daughters in place. He’s had the unfortunate experience of digging all, dividing, and losing all.
I know I’m planning to divide my iris differently than before…and am going to plant the extras on our dry, rocky hillside surrounding our property. I’ve always marveled at the iris growing on the rims going up to the airport. I now understand and appreciate even more how hardy and tough these beauties really are.
Photos and submission by Amy Grandpre
The Montana Department of Natural Resources & Conservation keeps records on the largest trees in the state. These trees have been cataloged as the largest representatives of their particular species discovered so far. From looking at past registries, it appears that most of these record trees are located in the northwestern part of the state.
However, many species of Montana trees have not yet been nominated and there is a special category for urban trees. There is no funding to support this program; its success is mostly dependent on the volunteer efforts.
Forms and technical directions on how to measure a tree for nomination can be found on-line http://dnrc.mt.gov/divisions/forestry/forestry-assistance/montana-big-trees-program
http://billingsgazette.com/ eedition/page-a/ page_64df6c88-bfb5-519c -a021-742ebfb67aeb.html
Maybe like me, this will perk your interest in becoming a “Big Tree Hunter”. Is there a “specimen big tree” in your yard or neighborhood? Or, will one of us find a tree to nominate in one of our outdoor adventures across the state?
(By the way, if you really get into this, there is also a national big tree registry. http:// http://www.americanforests.org/bigtree )
An excellent reference book on trees: Michael Dirr’s Manual of Woody Landscape Plants.
Submitted by Elaine Allard
APRIL 18 ~ BLGS LIBRARY ~ LAWN CARE
MAY 2 ~ ARBOR DAY ~ LAUREL Murry Park 9 am – 12pm
MAY 4 ~ ARBOR DAY ~ BILLINGS VETERANS PARK, 7:30 am – 1 pm
MAY 20 ~ GERANIUM FEST ~ ZOO MONTANA 10 am – 4 pm
Since the opening of the new library, Master Gardeners Tracy Livingston & Elaine Allard have coordinated almost 20 presentations with Master Gardeners and community members volunteering to share their expertise. Recent presentations were Gainan’s on Micro Greens in January; Tom Kress on Tools and Tips for Seed Starting in February; and Arborist Mike Garvey on “Unique and Seldom Seen Trees Planted in Billings” in March. Coming up on April 18th (5:00-6:00) is lawn expert James Roberts from TruGreen. James will talk about lawn care including: nutrient needs, pest management, and cultural practices and how to address common problems such as weeds, insects, diseases and corrective and preventative actions.
Information on upcoming gardening presentations can be found on the Library calendar http://billingslibrary.org/ calendar.aspx and in the Library Newsletter http://billingslibrary.org/DocumentCenter/View/317 and listed in Amy’s calendar as upcoming events.
Submitted by Elaine Allard