Master Gardeners in Action – Secret Garden Project

Front: Wendy Bridgen MG, Agnes Tamoto MG, Igor Kaftan MG, Anne Marie Bell MG Back: Donna Gillis Intern, Bev Coutts MG, Ricardo, St. Andrew’s volunteer, Gosia Barrette Intern, Sharyn Wood Intern

Master Gardeners in Action – Secret Garden Project
St. Andrew’ s Rectory National Heritage Centre, 374 River Road, St. Andrew’s, Manitoba

By Agnes Tamoto, Master Gardener

On the grounds of the St. Andrew’s Heritage Centre there is a charming little secret garden. This garden was established sometime in the 1980’s. It was during that decade that Parks Canada took ownership of the St Andrew’s site and renovated the rectory. The ministers of St. Andrew’s Church continued to reside on the upper level of the rectory and used the garden as their own private space until 2010. The rectory houses a museum with recently updated exhibits as well as a small gift shop. The St. Andrew’s Rectory staff organize many events including children centred activities and garden related workshops.

Tomato Harvest-Time Troubles

By Ashley Gaden, Master Gardener Intern

Tomatoes. Gardeners love them. But what we don’t love is coming across something unexpected, unattractive and utterly unwanted on our tomatoes after waiting most of the summer for them. From cracks and discolouration to rot and pest damage, tomatoes seem particularly vulnerable to a whole suite of problems.

Awareness and prevention will go a long way to maintaining the literal fruits of your labour. Here we’ll review some of the most common tomato fruit disorders and best practices to prevent or reduce their occurrence.

Mycorrhizae: What they are and how gardeners can protect them.

Fungi growing in wood mulch – photo by Jane Zoutman

By Jane Zoutman, Master Gardener

Mycorrhizae means fungus roots. A mycorrhiza is a symbiotic relationship between fungi and plant roots. Fungi are very common in the soil and many types require this symbiotic relationship with plants for long-term survival. The relationship is also necessary for most plants, from trees to annuals, to thrive.

This relationship is beneficial to both the plant and the fungus. The fungus attaches to the plant roots and sends out hyphae (very small root like structures) to places in the soil the plants roots are too large to go. The fungus provides the plant with water and nutrients like phosphorus and other minerals it cannot otherwise access. The fungus absorbs carbohydrates and other nutrients it cannot produce from the plant. The fungi form an interconnected network between many plants and trees. The fungus allows the plants to thrive and because the plants are healthier they are better able to withstand environmental stress, pests and disease.

Interview with Board Member Lori Graham


Interview with Board Member Lori Graham

Newsletter (NL): How long have you been gardening?
Lori Graham (LG): On my own since 1980, helping my parents since I was very young.

NL: What kind of a garden/s do you have?
LG: Not anything formal or a particular style, a mix of the following: vegetables, perennials, native plants and annuals. I am always experimenting with new plants. Every year I try a vegetable I have not grown or sometimes grow one I gave up on. In this year of the garden 2022 I am trying onions again, never seem to have much luck with them.

NL: What are the things that give you most pleasure in your garden?
LG: Watching something come into bloom, harvesting vegetables for the table, more so now helping the pollinators out. I love to watch the bees and butterflies hover around the plants. I found out this summer that monarch butterflies sure like the native plant meadow blazing star, Liatris ligulistylis. Seeing that gave me great pleasure that I choose to grow that plant.


Monarch on Liatris

NL: Why and when did you decide to become a Master Gardener?
LG: I had already belonged to a garden group when first hearing about the Master Gardener program that was offered through the continuing education department at the Assiniboine Community College. I thought I needed to learn more about plants and their needs. I had planted many plants to watch them fail due to my ignorance, by placing plants not in the best location; that was a great starting point in my learning experience.

NL: You initiated and organized two fundraisers during the pandemic years when the MMGA Garden Tour had to be cancelled and thus ensured that our organization’s ongoing expenses were covered and we did not have to tap into its rainy-day funds. Do you have other ideas for fundraisers?
LG: I have some ideas; most will have to wait for the next garden season. A local greenhouse takes on-line plant orders where the MMGA would get a percentage of the sales, another spring plant sale and maybe a MMGA 2024 calendar where members can submit their garden pictures, along with dates when to start certain seeds or what to plant now each month.

NL: As Membership Director you know most of our members. What does impress you most about our membership?
LG: The Manitoba Master Gardener Association (MMGA) has the nicest members. Combined as a group, the members’ knowledge is excellent and they are always eager to share with others. I can always find someone if I have a garden problem, talking with other members about their experiences is far better than searching any website.

NL: Which volunteer activity do you think no MG should miss out on?
LG: I think the garden tour is a must. It is a great experience, an opportunity to meet like-minded people, share garden information with people new to gardening, and just a pleasant event all around.

NL: Is there anything you would like our members to know that would make your life as Membership Director easier?
LG: We now have a volunteer impact program where members can enter in their annual volunteer hours. Some members think when they reach the required annual hours they can stop inputting hours. We need all members to enter in all their hours. MMGA uses this for statistical purposes; it is also nice to see what our members are giving back to the different communities. Also, a nice wish, for members to meet deadlines when submitting membership dues and annual volunteer hours.

NL: Is there anything in particular that you wish the MMGA as an organization would accomplish in the future?
LG: I would like to see the MMGA offering an annual scholarship to new interns to help out with the costs of their courses. I would also like to see a grant provided by the MMGA for master gardener projects.

NL: What advice would you give to new Interns?
LG: Have fun while learning, step out of your comfort zone and get involved with a garden project. Most of all share what you learn! We all can make a difference.

Published:  September 2022

Starting All Over Again in the Country


By Kelley Liebzeit, Master Gardener

In 2015 I achieved some of my gardening goals. First I officially became a Master Gardener. Then in July my garden was featured on the Nature Manitoba Garden Tour and 2 weeks later on the Master Gardener Tour. To have my garden on these tours was a dream come true.

So why would I leave my garden to move to the country? My health had a lot to do with it as I no longer felt I could maintain it. My plan was to just have native plant gardens. I had developed and managed the Whyte Ridge Butterfly garden since 2014 and found it relatively easy to care for the plants.

St. Vital Agricultural Society Fair

Showcasing two of our members, Karen Fontaine and Debbie Innes, volunteering in the community!

Click Here for the article.

Interview with Sandy Venton, Vice-Chair

Newsletter (NL) – How did you become interested in gardening?

Sandy Venton (SV) – I must have been very young, because one of the first pictures taken of me is leaning over in the garden to smell the tiger lilies. My mother was an excellent gardener of both flowers and vegetables and I learned a great deal from her. I actually started to garden when I was about 4 years old.

Veronica ‘Sunny Border Blue’

Veronica ‘Sunny Border Blue’ in the Garden

By Nadine Kampen, Master Gardener

If someone described a perennial plant that thrives in Zone 3 through Zone 8, blooms and reblooms for four months with good deadheading, is tall and gorgeous and ‘blue’, great for pollinators, fabulous for cut flowers, requires little care, is tolerant of a wide range of soil types, is essentially pest and problem free, and looks stunning in just about any type of garden bed, would you be interested?

Managing Climate Change – What Are We to Do?

Mark Bauche, Master Gardener, MALA, SALA, CSLA

As Master Gardeners, we see the effects of climate change season after season, but what can we as individuals, or even as an association, do to help address it? There have traditionally been two approaches: mitigation and adaptation. These two strategies work hand in hand. Mitigation is all about taking our proverbial foot off the accelerator of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and holding carbon in the earth so that the atmosphere has a chance to catch up (so to speak). Adaptation is coming to terms with where we are, and figuring out how to create a world that can move with the changes, however extreme they may be. But in between the two, and feeding into both, is another secret tool that we have as Master Gardeners, one which I will reveal toward the end of this article.

Haskaps (Lonicera caerulea)

Haskap ‘Borealis’ in Bloom

By Lenore Linton, Master Gardener

I first discovered haskaps when I was taking courses required for my Master Gardener certificate during the summers of 2006 to 2008. These courses were offered at the University of Saskatchewan during “Hort Week.” In those years there was much excitement around the university’s fruit breeding program of cherries and haskaps, directed by Dr. Bob Bors and Rick Sawatzky.