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Sherry Thomas
Extension Program Coordinator, Ag and Natural Resources
University of Illinois Extension
1615 Commerce Parkway
Bloomington, IL 61704
Phone: 309-663-8306
FAX: 309-663-8270
sgthomas@illinois.edu

Kelly Allsup
Extension Educator, Horticulture
University of Illinois Extension
1615 Commerce Parkway
Bloomington, IL 61704
Phone: 309-663-8306
FAX: 309-663-8270
kallsup@illinois.edu

Brittnay Haag
Extension Educator, Horticulture
University of Illinois Extension
1615 Commerce Parkway
Bloomington, IL 61704
Phone: 309-663-8306
FAX: 309-663-8270
bhaag@illinois.edu

Livingston, McLean, and Woodford Master Gardeners

Livingston, McLean, and Woodford Master Gardeners

Woodford County Master Gardener Projects

Community Projects:

El Paso Library Pollinator Garden

Garden of Giving at Great Oaks Community Church

ICC Gardens

– Gazebo Garden

– Display Garden

Woodford County Courthouse Gardens

Germantown Hills School Garden

 

Educational Programs:

Eureka Library programs

El Paso Library programs

Educational Presentations to the public

Client Services/Outreach

– Webinars

– Booths

– Plant Science table

Gardeners’ Gathering in April

Plant Sale in May

                   

Project History:

 

Germantown Hills School Courtyard Garden

 Inception:         2006

Location:          Germantown Hills Middle School, Germantown Hills, Illinois

 

 The Germantown Hills Memory/Learning Garden (actually named the Simpson-Bandeko Learning Garden in September 2007 at the garden dedication ceremony) began in 2006. An addition was built onto the junior high a few years before, creating a large open courtyard approximately 60 feet by 200 feet. This sat as an empty eyesore for several years with parts of it growing up in weeds while other parts having soil so poor that nothing would grow; not even weeds. A member of the Germantown Hills Educational Foundation contacted Linda Simpson (a recently retired Germantown Hills teacher) to design and construct a garden in this space. Linda called on her Master Gardener friend, Cathy Bandeko, and the garden began. These two women actually designed eight small gardens within the courtyard, gathered the plants and with the help of three high school boys began the process. A semi-truck of Yordy’s turkey compost was hauled in, one wheelbarrow at a time, tilled into the soil and then a semi -truck of hardwood mulch was spread. The planting of the bones of the garden came next, trees, shrubs, and perennials. The school had constructed brick walkways and some raised beds and later, a koi pond with waterfall, bridge and a gazebo with seating for an entire class were added. Umbrella concrete tables provide additional seating.

 

The eight gardens contained in the courtyard include shade, herb, butterfly, prairie, bird, blue and white and a bulb garden. Plants were chosen that have special spring or late summer/fall interest as that is when the students are present. Seventh and eighth grade science and P.E. classes have regularly helped to spread mulch yearly and participate in two general clean-ups, one in the fall and one in the spring. Third grade students traditionally are involved in planting the vegetable garden in the spring of each year. They also plant marigold and zinnia seeds. These same students then come back in the fall as fourth graders and help to harvest veggies, collect marigold and zinnia seeds to save and also help with veggie garden clean-up. Fifth graders quite often plant cool weather crops in the fall or early spring. Other teachers use the garden in a variety of ways. There is a weather station in the garden and two bird feeders and some hummingbird feeders.

               

                         

ICC Demonstration Garden

 Inception:         Late 1990’s

Location:          Illinois Central College – 1 College Drive – East Peoria, IL

 

The origin of the ICC Demo Garden began with an idea from the faculty of ICC, in particular, Randy Wall in the late 1990’s. Randy came to the Peoria County Extension Service with the intent to partner with the Master Gardeners for a demonstration garden. The college was looking for a way to get more involved with the community and to spur interest in their horticultural center. The idea was presented as an opportunity for the newly graduated Master Gardeners to practice some of the techniques which they learned as part of the training received in the program. The idea was also extended to all three local extension offices since ICC serves more than one county. Therefore the idea of the Tri-county ICC Master Gardener Demonstration Garden began.

 

As part of this idea, the emphasis was not only on further education and practical experience of the Master Gardeners but also an avenue to demonstrate and educate the public on gardening techniques. This could be achieved by any means possible but there has always been a strong suggestion on the part of the ICC faculty to hold community classes with the Master Gardener’s involved.

 

A Tri-county Master Gardener interest group developed and from this, a committee formed in which a representative from each of the counties was selected to serve. Additional Master Gardener members from all three counties volunteered to serve in several capacities along with a member of extension who acted as an advisor in following extension rules and getting the project going in the right direction. The committee was given a plot of land (estimated in 1988), 50 x 100 ft., on the south side of the Horticulture Building and a yearly budget of $500 to do with what the committee wanted to meet the goals.

 

A basic plan was devised as a collaboration of the committee members, where all major areas of learning within the framework of the Master Gardener program was developed. This included garden areas sectioned off as the annual bed, the vegetable bed, the rose garden, the perennial bed, the grasses area, the fruit trees, bulbs, ground cover bed, the ornamental tree area, the small fruits area, and the herb garden. Over the years, these sections have morphed and evolved as the interest and abilities of the gardeners who work there have changed. But the main structures, the walkways, Gazebo, and defined garden spaces have remained intact with some slight changes. Note, too, that these main structures (brick and building) were a result of a collaborative effort with a local Boy Scout troop from Germantown Hills within the first three years of the garden.

 

As far as public education, holding classes at the garden with Master Gardener’s leading, were slow in the beginning but are now a regular occurrence during the planting and harvesting season as this continues to be a major function of the garden. The partnership with ICC has been a very good one over the course of time as they provide monetary support as well as caretaking. Additionally, advising from the staff at ICC is most helpful to the success of the garden. By and large this garden is run by the Master Gardener’s who have interest in and physically do the work there. Over the years, the Master Gardener participation has flourished and waned, and currently there is a non-formal committee still leading the direction of the garden. There is always room for anyone who wants to help.