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.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

How to Make a Great Entrance

Decorations can turn your home into an inviting holiday statement.

It's no surprise that this time of the year brings out strings of lights, ribbons, bows, reindeer on the roof, and a jolly little fat guy dressed all in red waving from the front lawn.  

On Thursday, December 3 at 5:30pm at Craig Center in the Janesville Fairgrounds the Rock Prairie Master Gardeners Association will present "How to Make a Great Entrance" a hands-on workshop where attendees will get a chance to show off their natural talent and creativity making seasonal decorations.

Patty Bailey of Patty's Plants Natural and Organic Garden Supply at Oak Village on Highway 26 between Janesville and Milton will walk us through the steps, explaining the benefits of the types of plants used in your creations.  Her expertise with plants stretches back through her entire work life. She worked at K&W Greenery for 22 years.  Following that she opened Patty's Plants in Milton and ran that business for 6 years.  Today she works with Oak Village.  Her experience and expertise make her a natural teacher.  

There is a modest fee of  $10 for supplies which will include:
Evergreen swag bunches of fir, spruce, balsam and pine, and holly bunches, and horticulture wire.

RPMGA will supply:
  • Wired fabric ribbon (five designs and colors) see photo at right - click to enlarge
  • Green and gold spray on glitter - see photo at right - click to enlarge
  • Spray on glue (dries instantly)
  • Grapevine wreath bases - vines donated by one of our members
  • Staplers
  • Sand to fill bases
  • Clear plastic bags to cover your design for the trip home.
All attendees will be encouraged to bring:
  • bypass pruner
  • pliers
  • scissors or a craft knife (or both)
  • gloves
If you will be bringing a hot glue gun we will have extension cords available to use.

A first aid kit for the occasional cut or scrape will be available on the premises.  

Embellishments - We strongly encourage you to bring items from your own gardens and landscapes. Dried seed heads such as yarrow or lavender (stabilized with clear spray varnish, hair spray or spray paint), statice, grasses, dried foliage or leaves, winter berries, artichokes, pine cones, cobs of decorative corn, pine boughs (preferably from pruning), empty milkweed pods, sprays of rose branches with rose hips, bare branches (from pruning) spray painted seasonal colors, dried cockscomb or clusters of sumac berries.

Be selective.  Some things may not be appropriate because they won't outlast the rigors of winter weather.  Some are very tough, however.  Dried hydrangea heads make great all-season wreaths.  Brilliant red cayenne and other brightly colored peppers dry well and can make charming wreaths as well.

Designs can benefit greatly from the base used to place them in or on.  You can use old milk cans, sleds, boots, coal scuttles, half bushel or bushel baskets, antique tea pots, wooden boxes.  


If you are using ceramic items for your bases remember that they might fill with moisture over the winter due to freezing and thawing, snow, sleet or rain.  Make sure they have adequate drainage. Even then freezing and thawing could cause expansion and contraction of the contents causing cracking followed by breakage and complete disintegration.  If the container is where it will be exposed to snow, rain or sleet, check it frequently for accumulating water.  If the weather is warm enough and the water is liquid, drain it off.  If it's frozen, check frequently for cracks.  Once a crack begins the vessel will no longer be usable.  In some cases it may be appropriate to put a plastic pot inside the decorative pot to prevent this possibility.

If you wish to purchase additional materials to add to your design all registered attendees who shop at Oak Village will receive a 10% discount just by identifying themselves at the cash register.

To register either visit the office and pay at the counter or mail your check to the attention of Kim or Christy at:

Rock County - UW Extension
Rock County Courthouse
51 Main St.,
Janesville, WI 53545-3978

Write your check to RPMGA.

When you register please let Kim or Christy know what plant material you would prefer, the mixed greens, or the holly.  We will need that information to be able to calculate how much material she will need to have available for the workshop.

This is an approved UWEX Master Gardener Volunteer project that will earn you CEUs for attending.  



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