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.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Identifying Trees in Winter - April 6 Continuing Education Program

Red maple
Identifying trees in those seasons when they are covered with full blown leaves is much easier than in the winter and very early spring when there are no leaves on them at all.  Learning to identify trees from shape, bark, and fruit or blossoms can be a real challenge.

Janesville Urban Forester, Ethan Lee, is going to walk us through the fine points of tree identification without a full-blown leaf to be seen.  Below are a few examples to give you an idea what we'll be looking for.

We will be meeting at Riverside Park on the north end by the ball diamonds at 4 pm.  That area has a good variety of tree species.  Bring something to use for notes, wear warm clothing and water-proof shoes.  We don't know what the weather will be like, but if you wear layers you can adjust your comfort level on the spot.

We will provide study guides and split into small groups to work together to identify trees then bring your conclusions back to the full group for discussion.

This is an approved Continuing Education program which will earn Master Gardeners one (1) Continuing Education Unit (CEU) per hour of participation.

Eastern White Pine
Paper Bark Birch
If you have friends, neighbors, family members who are not MGVs but who would like to learn more about tree ID, bring them along.  Our charter is education.  We'd be happy to include those who are interested this very valuable skill.  There is no charge for this class.

All photographs used in the announcement are public domain, non-copyrighted material.  Click on the photos to enlarge them.

River Birch 
River Birch Catkin

White Oak

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Follow-Up on Pollinators 101

We had a good turnout for our Pollinators 101 program on Thursday night.  19 people in all. Our hands-on workshop (building pollinator hotels) went very smoothly.

Sandy Wiley and Bev Drew

Werner and Rose Last.

Bev Drew and Karen Bernard

Carol Knoll and Sandy Czubek
Looking forward to setting up demonstration gardens for the Pollinator Project.  If you are interested in taking point on organizing a demonstration garden, or would just like to be involved working on the project, contact Mary Thompson at 608-322-4800 or shoot me an email at

Monday, March 6, 2017

Volunteer Opportunity - Spring Gardening for Rock 4-H

Photo Courtesy of UWEX
Kevin Gunn, Club Chair of Rock 4-H, has asked for someone to do a presentation for their 4-H club about Spring Gardening at their meeting on Thursday, April 13, 2017. The meeting begins at 7:00 p.m.

This is a great opportunity to teach one of your favorite subjects to kids (and adults) in a casual atmosphere. The meeting will be held at Rock Town Hall, 5102 S. County Road D, Afton WI 53501.

Contact Kim by phone or email before March 17, 2017 if you would like to do this volunteer opportunity.

You will get volunteer hours for the time you spend preparing and for the presentation itself.

Reminder - Pollinators 101 - This Thursday

Thursday evening, March 9, the RPMGA is presenting a program on the importance of pollinators - Pollinators 101.
Solitary bee.
We are beginning a series of programs, workshop and community outreach projects to spread the word on the importance of pollinators, the issues that threaten them, and what we can do about it.

As part of Thursday evening's program we'll be hosting a hands-on segment on how to make simple tin-can pollinator hotels for solitary bees.  The plan is that this simple project will engage all who attend and show them how even the smallest endeavor can work to further public awareness and involvement.

Join us Thursday evening in the second floor conference room of the Rock County Courthouse at 5:30.  Bring friends.

This is an approved continuing education project for master gardeners.  You will earn 1 Continuing Education Unit for each hour of participation.

We're looking forward to seeing you.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Pollinators 101 - March 9

On March 9 the RPMGA will launch its Pollator Project,  a long term endeavor that could take from 2 to 5 years to bring to completion.

The goal of the Pollinator Project is to educate  public outreach, build demonstration gardens and teach classes on pollinators that will be open to the public.  Classes will be approved for MGV continuing education opportunities.

The first step in the project is Pollinators 101 - a class designed to help you understand what pollinators are, and how important they are to all the plants in our lives.

Perhaps two of the most classic photos about pollinators were published by the Ecological Society of America.  They portray just how important pollinators are to the food chain.

The Pollinator Program hopes to work with other community organizations to offer the public information on how to promote and protect pollinators in our yards and gardens and across our cities.

There will be extensive handouts available for all who attend, and a short hands-on workshop on how to make a solitary bee house from tin cans and some paper tubes.

If you will be participating in the bee house workshop, contact Kim at the UWEX office and let her know how many will be in your party, and how many bee houses you'll be making.  (Kim Mork - 757-5696)

Join us in this exciting adventure.  The fun begins at 5:30 pm.

This is an approved MGV continuing education program that will net all MGV participants 1 Continuing Education Unit (CEU) per hour.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Reminder - Friday, Feb. 3 - Small Fruits

Friday, Feb 3, at 5:30 pm the Rock Prairie Master Gardener Association will host a lecture on Small Fruits by Rock County Ag. Educator, Nick Baker.  

Nick Baker

The event will be held in the CCC Conference Room on the second floor of the Rock County Courthouse.  

This is an approved Master Gardener Volunteer continuing education course that will earn MGVs 1 Continuing Education Unit (CEU) per hour.  

Saturday, January 28, 2017

So who's minding the UWEX/MGV store?

Since Christy Marsden's departure you may have been wondering who will take her place as horticulture educator for the UWEX Master Gardener Program, as well as serve as advisor for the Rock Prairie Master Gardener Association.

Until the state finalizes its changes to the UWEX budget, and subsequently to the levels of staffing, it is unknown whether or not there will be a replacement for Christy.  In the interim we have two very qualified individuals who will work with us as advisors: Ag Educator Nick Baker, and Family Living Educator and co-department head Angie Flickinger.  

Angie Flickinger:

Angie Flickinger
Angela Flickinger joined UW-Extension in 2005 and currently holds the role as Family Living Educator and Department Head in Rock County, WI.  She leads the Wisconsin StrongWomen (evidence-based strength training) program which has over 16,000 participants.  

Her education includes being a Registered Dietitian, having a Masters in Public Health and holding her personal training certificate.  Prior to joining Extension, Angie held a position with the NC WIC Program.  On a personal note she enjoys food, family, faith, fitness and all things furry.

Nick Baker:

Nick grew up on a dairy and crop farm outside of Darien, Wisconsin before obtaining a Bachelor's degree in Agriculture Education and a Masters in Adult Education with an Agriculture Emphasis.

Nick Baker
Prior to coming to Rock County he spent nine years working at the USDA Dairy Forage Research Center running a grass and forage breeding field research program.

He currently resides in Evansville with his wife and daughter.  When not working he enjoys spending time with his family, hunting, fishing, gardening and helping on his family farm. He assists producers throughout Rock County, working to strengthen the research completed at the county farm, is active with agriculture producer groups and assists with youth agriculture organizations and trainings.