Our Mission:

The Rock Prairie Master Gardener Association, located in Rock County, Wisconsin, is the 42nd association of the Wisconsin Master Gardener Program.

This blog is used to distribute timely information to association members regarding volunteer opportunities, MGV highlights, and other social tid bits.

Horticulture related information is to be directed to the Horticulture Educator or the Plant Health Advisors.

This blog is not for garden related questions.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

CONTINUING ED OPPORTUNITY - RBG Botanic Talk: Gardening for Pollinators

Image result for bees and butterflies at Rotary Botanical Gardens
Bumble bee on a Mexican sunflower.
Photo courtesy of Rotary Botanical Gardens.
Rotary Gardens Event: Botanic Talk: Gardening for Pollinators
Wednesday, August 22
6:30-8:00 p.m.
Rotary Botanical Gardens
1455 Palmer Drive
Janesville, WI 53545

Pollinators include butterflies, hummingbirds, bees and even flies, beetles and wasps.

How important are pollinators to life around us?

Over 80% of plants require an animal pollinator to reproduce.

All pollinators are in trouble for many reasons.

Learn about all the different pollinators that are at work in your garden that you may have over looked. You will be amazed at the lengths that flowers go to in order to attract pollinators and will appreciate the interdependence that pollinators have with plants that we take for granted. Learn interesting facts about these pollinators and enjoy the photography by Larry Scheunemann in the program “Gardening for Pollinators.”

Handouts will be provided on gardening for butterflies and hummingbirds. Be inspired to plant for pollinators! Cost: $7 non-member, $5 RBG Members; includes printed and note taking materials (where applicable), admission to Rotary Botanical Gardens, and light refreshments.

Tickets to this event may be purchased at the door, or online, in advance.

Please note: if you would like to view the Gardens, please arrive with time prior to the beginning of the presentation as the Gardens close at 8:00 p.m. Those under 16 must be accompanied by an adult, who is also required to purchase a ticket.

This is an approved Continuing Education program.  MGVs and Interns will earn one (1) Continuing Education Unit (CEU) per hour of participation.

LOOKING FOR HOURS? Consider attending UW Dept. of Horticulture Field Days

This year the UW Dept. of Horticulture will see not one, but two different field day events at the UW’s West Madison Ag Research Station in the month of August.

West Madison 2016 Field Day.
The first is the general Horticultural Open House & Garden Field Day on Saturday, August 18th from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

A free, family-friendly event, visitors can tour the station’s vineyard, vegetable garden and extensive flowerbeds, and participate in a taste evaluation of fruits and vegetables.

UW–Madison and UW-Extension experts will share information and answer questions about pollinators and beneficial insects, plant diseases, turf-grass and general gardening. It’s an event that’s always worth attending.

The second focuses solely on organic vegetables and takes place on Monday, August 20, from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m.

“This is a great opportunity for vegetable growers to see new varieties out in the field,” says event organizer Julie Dawson, a UW–Madison assistant professor of horticulture and UW-Extension urban and regional food systems specialist. “They can talk with plant breeders and seed company staff to learn what’s in development and express their priorities and preferences for new varieties.”

You’ll have a chance to learn about the Seed to Kitchen Collaborative, a UW–Madison-led collaboration of local chefs, farmers, and plant breeders that is working to develop full-flavored vegetable varieties with high culinary quality. Also featured will be trials for sweet corn, bell peppers, acorn and delicata squash, cabbage, and tomatoes grown as part of the Northern Organic Vegetable Improvement Collaborative (NOVIC) project, as well as potato variety trials for organic systems, and tomato trials under organic high tunnel, caterpillar tunnel and field management. You’ll have to opportunity to help select beet varieties for high or low “earthy” flavor, and learn about breeding efforts to improve carrots for organic systems and culinary corn breeding. MGVs who’ve gone in the past rave about the information they got from this event!

These are approved continuing education events.  MGVs and Interns will earn one (1) Continuing Education Unit (CEU) per hour of participation.

NOTE:  Ruth Flescher and Mary Kay Thompson will be going up to Madison to visit the Field Days.  If you are interested in attending we can car pool!!  Send Ruth an email at or Mary Kay at to make arrangements. 

RECAP Garden Open House

RECAP Garden Open House
Wednesday August 22
4-7 p.m.

If you’ve never been out to the RECAP garden, next to Janesville’s community garden, this is a great day to go take a look!

The vegetable garden supports a weekly CSA program, farm-to-table dinner, and donates produce to local food pantries. There’s always something different growing: That’s a radish!? I had no idea pumpkins could get that big!

It’s also fun to explore the different growing techniques on display.

Image result for RECAP garden Rock County
RECAP inmates in the garden.
The garden supports a variety of pollinators with housing, nursery sites and flowers for the nectar and pollen. Beehives produce wax and honey. The beekeeper will be on site to answer questions.  Check out the brand new orchard. You may even see (or hear) the chickens.

The open house will also include educational displays and snacks and treats. And while you’re there, stroll around the rental plots of the Community Garden to see what other fascinating things people are up to.

The gardens are located near the corner of Highways 14 and 51, just east of the Rock County Sheriff’s office. Enter through the Hwy 14 entrance to the Sheriff’s office and veer left to the gardens. The RECAP garden is all the way out by Highway 14.

RECAP stands for Rock County Education and Criminal Addiction Program. Through RECAP, the Rock County Sheriff’s department helps people who’ve gotten in trouble learn new coping skills, which will allow them to keep themselves out of jail in the future. Working in the garden and its associated CSA is just one part of the program, which may also include addiction services, anger management, parenting skills, basic education, job skills and much more.

This is an approved continuing education opportunity.  MGVs and interns can earn Continuing Education Units (CEUs), one (1) per hour of participation.

REMINDER: Honoring Shirley Stekel

Image result for Shirley Stekel
Shirley working at Rotary Botanical Gardens.

Most of you know MGV and RPMGA member Shirley Stekel passed on June 15 (see June 17 post at A memorial service for Shirley will take place Sunday, August 19, at the Cravath Lakefront Community Center in Whitewater, WI, from 11:30 to 2:30.

Her husband Frank said “Please tell her friends and colleagues that we would greatly appreciate if any of them could attend.”

If you wish to make a donation in Shirley’s memory, the family suggests either Rotary Gardens or the Humane Society of Jefferson County.

For Rotary, you can make a check payable to them and send it directly to the garden with a note saying it’s in memory of Shirley Stekel.  Business Manager Marcia Leuty says Rotary tracks all memorial donations and notifies the family of their receipt. Mailing address: Rotary Botanical Gardens, Attn: Marcia Leuty, 1455 Palmer Drive, Janesville, WI 53545.

RPMGA is making a donation in her honor to benefit children’s education programming at Rotary Gardens.

For the Humane Society of Jefferson County, the address is W6127 Kiesling Rd Jefferson, WI 53549, or donate through their website at

CONTINUING ED. REMINDER: State Bee Inspector, August 30

Apiary inspector
Bee Inspector at work.
RPMGA August Program:
A Talk with the Bee Inspector
Thursday, August 30
5:30-7:00 p.m.

Did you know that Wisconsin’s Dept. of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) has two bee inspectors on staff? The inspector for the southern half of the state is Daniel Ziehli, and he will be coming to share his expertise in things that go buzz in the day.

As an inspector, he spends the months from May to October checking on backyard and commercial honeybee hives and helping to educate bee keepers on keeping their hives happy. Plus he has expertise on solitary and native bees. There aren’t many others who can share as much information on the status of pollinators in Wisconsin.

A knowledgeable MGV who heard him speak recently was thoroughly impressed, and learned a lot from him. This talk is for you if you have an interest in pollinators of any kind. Dan will address the current state of the overall pollinator community-- health, threats, update on colony collapse disorder, etc.--and the kinds of things you can do to help support pollinators.

Date/Time: Thursday, August 30, 5:30 to 7:00 p.m.
Location: Rock County Courthouse, Rm. CCC (Courthouse Conference Center) on the 2nd floor.

Please RSVP by August 24 to with the number attending so we know how many handouts to prepare.

This is an approved continuing education program.  MGVs and Interns will earn 1 Continuing Education Unit (CEU) per hour of participation. 

Monday, August 6, 2018

REMINDER - August 11 Janesville Farmer's Market

Hello, MGVs.  We are looking for one more volunteer for the Janesville Farmer's Market from 11:30am to 1pm.

You'll be working outside under a 10 x 10 popup tent, talking to folks and giving away free seeds.

To volunteer visit

This is an approved volunteer opportunity.  MGVs and interns will earn 1 Continuing Education Unit (CEU) per hour of participation.

XERCES WORKSHOP - Pollinator Habitat Planning for Farmers and Landowners

Tuesday, August 14th, 2018                               
9:30 AM – 4:30 PM                                             
Edgerton Public Library (AM Classroom)         
101 Albion St.                                                     
Edgerton, WI 53534                                           
Silverwood County Park (PM Field Session)     
To register go to:                                             

Thursday, August 30th, 2018
9:30 AM - 4:30 PM
Cooksville Community Center (AM Classroom)
11204 W. State Rd. 59,
Evansville, WI 53536
Rover Farm (PM Field Session)
To register go to:

There is a $50 registration fee for this workshop.

Learn how to attract pollinators in this practical workshop on the why and how of installing pollinator habitat. Get a crash course in basic bee field identification, pollinator biology and habitat requirements, habitat restoration, bee-friendly farm management practices, and federal conservation programs that help to create pollinator habitat on farms.

Take home the Xerces Society's book, Attracting Native Pollinators and other technical & financial assistance resources to help increase pollinator habitat on your land.

Taught by Karin Jokela of the Xerces Society with Mark Renz, Extension Weed Specialist, and planners from the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), this is a comprehensive one-day training tailored to farmers, landowners, crop consultants, Extension agents, NRCS personnel, and others interested in pollinator conservation.

At each venue a morning classroom session will be followed by an afternoon, on-farm demonstration session that includes interactive discussion of specific needs of participants. Lunch will be provided.

Technical & financial assistance resources provided.

This is an approved Continuing Education Program for MGVs and Interns. Continuing Education Units (CEUs)will be awarded at 1 per hour of participation. This program is highly recommended for all those who are involved in the RPMGA Pollinator Project and all those who wish to help bring back the pollinators.

For more details about the workshop visit this website: Pollinator Workshop