Gardens, Greenhouse, & Master Gardeners

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Master Gardener Activity Report - February 2017

Activity Report from Master Gardeners Lowe Park Greenhouse reported by Phil Pfister:

Nine Master Gardeners and MG Interns participated in the Kokedama workshop on Saturday, 11 February, 2017. The workshop was led by Tina Patterson and Shelby Foley. Tina’s goal was to make 20 plants within the time allotted for the workshop, but the well organized and productive team finished the workshop with a total of 49. The Kokedama will be some of the plants on sale at the Winter Gardening Fair and other events.
Seeding has started with early flowers, herb, peppers and eggplant. Work sessions are taking place every week on Tuesday and Thursday from 9:00 a.m. to noon. We have had one Thursday evening workshop, with more coming later in March.
We are covering and uncovering the shutters and fans almost daily as the sun comes higher in the sky, and stronger, and the temperatures continue to warm. We still cover everything at night to conserve heat.
Thanks to a donation by one of our Master Gardeners, we have added another heat mat to help with rooting of the cuttings. We now have one full bench that is heated with heat mats. Since we run the greenhouse on the cool side, this makes a significant difference in the time it takes the cutting to root, and the number of cuttings that root.


Master Gardeners - Family Gardening for Food and Fun:

A new program from the Linn County Master Gardeners - Family Gardening for Food and Fun - kicks off at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 18 at the Lowe Park Demonstration Gardens. This event will take place on the third Tuesday of each month, ending in September. The topic for the first evening is pruning. Linn County Master Gardeners Doug Smith and Steve Bartlett will conduct a walking tour around Lowe Park and discuss pruning techniques for the various plants, from ornamental shrubs to the new orchard just to the west of the greenhouse. Refreshments will follow.



Master Gardeners are a dedicated group of trained volunteers willing to share their horticulture knowledge, a love of gardening, an enthusiasm for learning, and a commitment to helping others.

Master Gardeners are members of the local community who take an active interest in their lawns, trees, shrubs, flowers, and gardens. They are willing to learn more and share their knowledge about horticulture. Master Gardeners attend classes taught by Iowa State University Extension staff and specialists.  The program offers 40 hours of instruction that covers topics such as lawn care, flower and vegetable gardening, ornamental trees and shrubs, fruit crops, and houseplants. Training also covers insects, disease, and weed control, soil and plant nutrition, as well as pesticide safety.

In exchange for training, participants are asked to volunteer 40 hours of service back to their local county extension programs by the end of the calendar year following completion of class hours. The type of service done by Master Gardeners includes: educating youth and the community, answering questions on the Hotline, answering horticulture related questions at a booth at public events, and planting demonstration educational garden plots. Once the 40 hours are completed, Interns become Master Gardeners and are then only required to volunteer 12 hours a year plus 6 educational hours a year to stay certified.


Lowe Park GreenhouseThe Lowe Park Greenhouse is a joint project between the City of Marion and the ISU Extension Linn County Master Gardeners. The greenhouse is used as a classroom for educational workshops, growing plants for the Lowe Park demonstration gardens, the Linn County Master Gardener Plant Sale, flowers for the Marion Parks Department & the donation of vegetable plants to low income families who are supplementing their diet with home grown foods, and various other projects.


Children's Discovery Garden SignageThe Linn County Master Gardeners’ Lowe Park Demonstration Gardens and ABC Discovery Garden offer an outdoor plant growing lab. Visit our public outdoor plant learning lab at Lowe Park, 4500 N 10th Street in Marion, Iowa.

Demo GardensTwelve continuously developing gardens are available for public education and enjoyment. The gardens are accessible all day, every day. Take a self-guided tour through the gardens using the Demonstration Garden Brochure available at Lowe Park in the garden mail box (pictured above). Linn County Master Gardeners are available to answer questions regularly on Tuesday evenings and Thursday mornings.


Availability and Workshops:

Master Gardeners are generally available at the Lowe Park Greenhouse for questions and/or tours on a regular basis as the schedule indicates below.

Mid-January to Mid-May: Tuesdays, 10 a.m. –12 p.m.                                                           
                                            Thursdays, 6:30-8:30 p.m.

Mid-May-Mid September: Tuesdays, 6:30 p.m.-dusk
                                             Thursdays, 9 a.m.– 12 p.m.

Fall workshops at the Lowe Park Greenhouse

These are all open to the public. Where required, registration would be through the Linn County Extension and Outreach Office at 383 Collins Road NE, Suite 201, Cedar Rapids, IA 52402. Phone: (319) 377-9839.

Sat. Sept. 9 10 AM to noon Corn husk Wreath Workshop materials fee $15.00 registration required

Sat. Sept. 30 Swamp Fox Festival 4:30 PM Seed Saving 5 PM tomato/pepper tasting no fee no registration

Sat. Oct. 14 10 AM to noon Forcing Bulbs Demonstration/Workshop materials fee $25.00 registration required

Sat. Nov. 11 10 AM to noon Bow Workshop materials fee $10.00 registration required

Thurs. Dec. 7 6:30 to 8 PM Winter Container Workshop materials fee $20.00 registration required