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.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

With sadness we say goodbye to Shirley Stekel

It is with great sadness that we say goodbye to our friend Shirley Stekel.  An avid volunteer and a woman of many accomplishments, Shirley's unexpected death on June 15 will leave a hole in our hearts.

Shirley hiking through a restored prairie
here in Wisconsin
It appears she fainted while gardening, was able to call 911 and was medflighted to Madison where she underwent surgery.  She died later of an aneurysm. 

Shirley loved the outdoors. At right is a picture of her with walking poles hiking through a restored prairie here in Wisconsin. In her volunteer work at Rotary Botanical Gardens she preferred to work as a docent, guiding children through the gardens.

According to the OSU Alumni website she retired from the Physics Department at the University of Wisconsin – Whitewater. Something of a ground breaker, when she began studying for her BA she was the only woman in her math and physics classes and remembers walking into the old Men’s gym for mass exams and feeling very alone. She said “I just liked physics and math, and wanted to see how far I could go with it. But another very important part of feeling comfortable on campus were my friends at Winston House. There were 30 -35 women who lived and worked together there. Most quarters, I had a class with someone from the House. German, American Literature, Music Appreciation, etc. provided enough credits for a BA.” She had room for extra courses because she was not required to take ROTC.

She went on to get her Masters in Physics at OSU before moving on to faculty positions in Washington and Michigan and finally an Assistant Professorship at Whitewater with a sabbatical break at the Indiana Synchrotron facility. She was a long term supporter of Physics at OSU.

Her work as a volunteer at RBG brought her in contact with others of like mind. She was much loved and will be sorely missed.  We will be sending a condolence card to her husband, Frank.

The Children's Education volunteers plan to purchase a memorial brick at RBG. The RPMGA Advisory Committee was queried as to whether we would like to be involved. Consensus was that we would. If you are interested in donating toward a memorial brick please contact Mary Kay Thompson at 608-322-4800 or by email at

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Improving the blog - making it easier to find links.

Hello, everyone:

One of our members has been having trouble finding and clicking on links to our Newsletters.

I am going to try to find a way to make the links more visible and easier to use.

I'd like you to tell me which of the two links below are easiest for you to understand and to use.



JUNE NEWSLETTER (click here)


June newsletter (click here)

Thanks, everyone!!

Let me know if either, or neither of these, works for you.


Hello, honey! Meeting Wisconsin's Honey Princess at Saturday's Farmer's Market

We were fortunate to meet and chat with Wisconsin's Honey Princess, Lexi Gegare, at Saturday's Janesville Farmer's Market.

The Wisconsin Honey Producers Association (WHPA) sponsors the Wisconsin Honey Queen program and annually selects a young woman between the ages of 18 and 24 to serve a year long term as the Wisconsin Honey Queen. The selection is made at the WHPA convention in November. Honey Princess Lexi, and Honey Queen Hannah Sjostrom of Maiden Rock, will spend 2018 promoting the beekeeping industry in Wisconsin. They are available to speak with civic groups and appear at fairs, festivals, and farmers markets. They will also give presentations in schools about honeybees and the beekeeping industry

Originally from Milton, Lexi is a senior at UW-LaCrosse, where she majors in Therapeutic Recreation.

Lexi was pleased to see us at the Farmer's Market and to learn that the RPMGA is working to encourage local residents to plant pollinator gardens through our work planting them at three locations in Janesville, and through programs we have presented about pollinators as part of our ongoing Pollinator Project.

Left, Ruth Flescher, right, Lexi Gegare.  

Saturday, June 9, 2018

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES - From our friends at UW, Whitewater

Prairie, Gardens, and Greenhouse Tours Held this Summer at UW-Whitewater 
Sustainability Coordinator, Wes Enterline.

Summer is the most beautiful time of year on the UW-Whitewater campus, and the community is invited to explore during free guided tours this summer! 

UW-Whitewater Continuing Education is pleased to offer tours of the prairie and nature preserve, landscapes, flower and vegetable gardens, and greenhouse throughout the season. Kick off the tour season with an evening tour of the prairie and nature preserve on the summer solstice, June 21. 

Wes Enterline, UW-Whitewater’s sustainability coordinator and Master Gardener volunteer, will lead the tours. 

All tours are free with registration and open to the public.

Space is limited. 

Register for any or all tours here:

Titles, dates and times of tours are:

Prairie and Nature Preserve

See how the prairie vegetation and wildlife changes over the summer months.

Thursday, June 21, 6:00 -7:30 p.m.
Saturday, July 7, 9:00 - 10:30 a.m.
Thursday, August 9, 6:00 - 7:30 p.m.

Meet at Lot 19

Campus Flower Gardens

Check out our annuals and perennials and learn more about the sustainable practices we use.

Thursday, August 23, 6:00 - 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, August 25, 10:00 - 11:30 a.m.

Meet at the Visitor Center, Lot 7

Upham Greenhouse and Campus Vegetable Garden

Our gardens yield hundreds of pounds of organic produce each summer, all donated to local food pantries.

Thursday, August 16, 5:00 - 6:00 p.m.
Thursday, August 30, 5:00 - 6:00 p.m.

Meet at the Visitor Center, Lot 7

These are walking tours with low activity levels. If you need accommodations or have questions about physical access, please contact Kari Borne at or 262-472-1003. Register for any or all tours here: Campus maps can be found here:

These are approved continuing education opportunities.  MGVs and Interns will receive one (1) Continuing Education Unit (CEU) for each hour of participation. 

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

REMINDER - June Program - Weed ID

Hello, everyone!

Stinging Nettle - a weed that has practical uses.
Don't forget to bring your weed questions with you to tomorrow night's educational event - Weed ID - in the conference room by the Ground Floor at Hedberg Public Library at 5:30 pm!

Pot your weeds, or pick them fresh and bring them wrapped in moist paper towels.

As part of the class we'll teach you how to use the University of Wisconsin's Weed ID tool online so bring your laptop, tablet or smartphone with you!

This is an approved educational event so MGVs and interns will earn 1 Continuing Education Unit (CEU) per hour.

See you there!

Volunteer Opportunity - Day Lily Dig, June 12 at RBG

Day Lily Dig at Rotary Botanical Gardens

Tuesday, June 12 at 9 am

Mark Dwyer is looking for six people to help with this project which should take from two to three hours to complete.

Volunteers should meet at the Horticulture Center, 825 Sharon Road, Janesville.

Tools will be provided.  Bring gardening gloves.

For more information contact Mark Dwyer at 608.754.1779

This is an approved Master Gardener project.  All MGVs and Interns who participate will receive one (1) Continuing Education Unit (CEU) for each hour of participation.  Don't forget to report your hours to both RBG and the UWEX. 

Friday, June 1, 2018

Volunteer Opportunity at Rotary Botanical Gardens - Saturday, June 2

Hello everyone:

Tomorrow, Saturday, June 2, will be a huge day for planting annuals at Rotary Botanical Gardens (RBG).

Without the help of hundreds of volunteers RBG wouldn't be the magical place that it is. This is a volunteer hours opportunity for Master Gardener Volunteers and Interns as well as family and community members, friends, and neighbors.  The more volunteers who are involved, the more work we'll get done.

RBG will provide tools. Bring your own garden gloves.

Volunteers will meet at the main visitor center at 8 am, break for donuts at 10 am., then back to work until noon. Come for the whole morning, or just a couple of hours - it all helps.

Image result for Planting annuals at Rotary Botanical Gardens
For years annuals have been a bright spot in the landscape.

MGVs and Interns will earn 1 Continuing Education Unit (CEU) per hour of participation.  Tally your hours and remember to add them to your total for the year.  Report them to RBG and to the UWEX.