Melba Waldrop—Long Heritage of Gardening From Janet Schaffer

April 2015
McLennan County Master Gardeners Association
April Master Gardener Meeting—
April 8th, 6 PM
No program after.
Melba Waldrop—Long Heritage of Gardening
Melba Waldrop was born in
Brownwood. Her family lived on a
farm in Hamilton County until she
was 10, when they moved to Waco.
Melba attended Midway schools
and graduated from high school
there. From early childhood Melba
became familiar with gardening,
for her dad was a quarter American
Indian, and the family largely lived
off the land. There was always a
huge vegetable garden. Most of what they ate came from
the garden and from animals raised on the farm or hunted.
Melba learned her love for gardening from her
grandmother, who always had beautiful flowers around her
home. Says Melba, “She could make anything grow.” They
joked that her grandmother could put a twig in the ground
and it would root and grow. She added Canadian peat moss
to her flower beds before planting annuals. She had
petunias, marigolds and zinnias in the spring and summer,
and pansies, snapdragons and dianthus in the fall.
too much rock, Melba and Mike had to bring in lots of
Melba adds compost and mulch to her garden — a neverending job but worth the effort. She maintains a compost
bin for table scraps, mulches the leaves each fall and
spreads them on her garden. Says Melba, “If plants can’t
survive on minimal watering and care, then they don’t need
to be in my landscape.”
There are large pots of bougainvillea, hibiscus and other
tropical plants that Melba overwinters in her greenhouse.
She enjoys propagating new plants and shares them with
friends and the MCMG annual Plant Sale.
In 2007 Melba retired from a job managing a rural water
supply corporation. After years of serving as a “taxi mom”
Melba looked to fill her time with something enjoyable. She
joined the 2001 MCMG class. Ila Jean Carothers
introduced her to Habitat for Humanity. Melba works with
Habitat as MCMG liaison and project leader. She is one of
our unsung heroes who stays quietly in the background but
does important work and represents us well.
After high school Melba attended school in Houston and
became a medical assistant. She worked for Eastside
Surgery and Medicine in Bellmead until starting a family.
Melba and future husband Mike were high school
sweethearts. The couple dated through high school and
married. They have been together 45 years, have two high
achieving daughters and two grandchildren.
Melba and Mike like to travel. They have a large backyard
pool and love to swim. They have snorkeled in Hawaii and
Alaska (in 40 degree weather) and Australia’s Great Barrier
Reef. Their next planned trip is Greece, where their
children and grandchildren will soon be moving.
In 1978 Melba and Mike built their home on 7-1/2 acres off
Highway 6. About an acre is landscaped, including the yard
and Melba’s flower garden. She has a pond, shrubs,
perennials, roses and annuals in her garden. They recently
added a tree house and zip line for the grandkids. A ravine
divides their property. There being too little soil covering
From Janet Schaffer
Notes from the President—
Top 10 Mistakes of Texas Gardeners
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According to Doug Welsh, six experts contributed to an
informal survey that indicated the top 10 mistakes that
Texas Gardeners make. These experts are Dotty Woodson
of Fort Worth, Robert “Skip” Richter of Austin, Stacy
Reese of Dallas, Jerry Parsons of San Antonio, and Keith
Hansen of Tyler and Calvin Finch of Austin.
Number 4 Mistake: Improperly identifying a plant problem
What is wrong with my
plant? How do I get rid of the
Gardeners we have all been
asked these two questions. If
you are anything like me you
are afraid to answer because
you don’t want to be wrong.
It could be over watered,
under watered, root rot, over
fertilized, under fertilized, pesticide damage, cold damage,
heat damage, mite damage, vascular wilt disease, bacterial
infection, nutrient deficiency , stem rot, powdery mildew,
sooty mold, fungal, or virus infections or even fluoride
toxicity. The list goes on and on. Is it any wonder we are
afraid to diagnose?
On a basic level we can break it down into three categories.
Is the problem environmental, or is caused by an insect or
disease? Environmental causes would be over watering,
chemicals, light, or
Insect harm plants by
piercing and sucking,
Pathogenic diseases
bacteria, viruses, or
fungi or nematodes.
You will need to be methodical in your examination of the
plant, do some research and use common sense. If you still
can’t figure it out, do what I do, ask another master
Happy Gardening
From Janet at the Cardinal’s Corner
Some Interesting and Unusual
Gardening Techniques
Your newsletter staff is constantly searching for interesting
topics to research and feature. We look for things that might
work for gardeners here in Central Texas. Even a small
garden can be productive. Here are some ideas that might
interest you.
Love yummy fresh tomatoes? Try a Japanese Tomato Ring,
a big, simple ring of wire netting. Fill it with compost,
mulch and topsoil and plant tomatoes outside the rim with
the roots inside. The roots grow into the nutrient-rich soil
mix, which lets them breathe. Water on top and the water
percolates down, releasing soil nutrients to the roots. Tie
the vines to the sides and train them to grow over and along
the top. It is claimed that each plant can produce up to 600
tomatoes this way. Sounds worth a try!
gardening? Carefully cut
off the outer rims of old
tires with a utility knife or
saw. Turn the tires inside
out and stack them if you
like. Fill with soil, compost
and mulch, and plant. It’s
simple, cheap and effective.
You can stretch the tires
into different shapes and
hold them in place with rebar or sticks.
Straw bale gardening is easy, involves little work and no
digging. Use rectangular straw or spoiled hay bales. The
straw/hay will collect and hold
moisture, retain heat, slowly break
down and feed your plants. Soak and
fertilize your bales for a couple of
weeks and then plant seedlings.
Expect high yields with little
For a larger garden area consider Ruth Stout’s system.
Little effort is required. Spread an eight inch layer of mulch
to stop weeds Then layer on spoiled hay, straw, leaves,
weeds, sawdust, vegetable scraps, rotted manure, etc. Plant
your seedlings. There is no digging. Ruth used cottonseed
or soybean meal as fertilizer but you can use whatever is
handy. This is so easy that it should be called Couch Potato
Gardening. It’s even less work than Lasagna Gardening
(sheet mulching).
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For a Lasagna Garden you
start by stomping down
anything growing in your
chosen spot. Put down
thick layers of wet
newspapers. Layer on
chopped leaves, compost,
rotting manure, spoiled
hay or straw, grass
clippings, coir or peat moss (coir is considered sustainable),
etc. You need greens and browns like on a compost pile.
Wet it down and plant. Put cardboard down on your
pathways and spread wood chips or dead leaves on the
cardboard. Use your imagination. As you pull things up
from your garden you drop the inedible bits on the paths
and they become mulch over time. As you harvest you keep
adding new layers. Tending
time is minimal. It’s a bit
more work than Ruth Stout’s
system, but no digging,
tilling or weeding is
required. Neglect is good!
Soil bag gardening is another
simple way of being a
gardener with little effort. Get a 40 pound bag of top soil or
potting soil and cut the top out with a box cutter or sharp
knife. Plant seedlings right in the bag. The soil can be reused; just add some compost each time you plant. Mulch as
Apr. 10
There are other interesting, sometimes zany, ways to
garden. Let us hear from you if you would like to share
something that works for you.
Images are provided by their creators under Creative
Commons license; lasagna garden by Natural Flow; potato
plant in tires by Tony Bauer. Key hole garden is by our own
Eva FitzGerald.
Volunteer Opportunities
April 2015
Ask a Master
Gardener – AgrLife
Ext. Office – 2 vol.
Must contact Carol
Reiking at
[email protected]
Marietta Diehl
Lisa Daily
Apr. 12
Gardener’s Gathering
Woodway Arboretum
Elizabeth Vondran
Apr. 18
Waco Downtown
Farmer’s Market. Set
up at 8:30; Depart at
1:00. Composting
Penny Gifford
Rianna Magee
Apr. 23
Extension Office
Shade Garden
Workday, 9:00
Cathy Cole
Apr 25
Earth Day/Party for
the Planet, 9-3
Cameron Park Zoo
Jeanette Kelly
Apr 29
China Spring
Elementary Water
Field Day, 8:30-10:10
Kindergarten, 1:002:40, First Grade
China Spring
Elementary Water
Field Day 1:00-2:40
2nd grade
Sherry Matthews
Apr 30
You already know about keyhole gardens and square foot
gardens, right? A keyhole garden can be amazingly
productive. There is no stooping over to tend it and few
weeds. A square foot garden is the next best thing to a
keyhole garden if you lack the time and inclination for the
needed to answer
Woodway Elementary
Green Classroom
Day in the Garden
Sherry Matthews
March 2015 Speaker’s Report
March 17 - Ila Jean Carothers did a presentation on
Bucket Gardens for the Four Seasons Garden
Club. Thirty-three people attended.
March 18 Lunch with the Masters. Carol Wood and Gene
Hering spoke to 55 people about vegetable gardening.
March 19 - Jo Von Rosenberg spoke on Water-Wise
Landscaping at the Crawford Garden Club. Eleven
members attended.
March 19 - Barry Vokes and Louie McDaniel hosted the
Urban Gardening Coalition to their ranch. Four adults and
1 child toured their greenhouse and aquaponics and
hydroponics operation.
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They also learned about keyhole gardens, hugelkutur and
Barry's square foot garden beds.
McLennan County Master Gardener
March 28 - Louie McDaniel will do a Rainwater
Harvesting demonstration at the Outdoor Expo in Waco.
March 11, 2015
March 29 - Jeanette Kelly will do Children's Gardening at
the Outdoor Expo.
Nelda Cooper
Speaker's Bureau Coordinator
If you are a certified MG and would like to be a speaker or
have questions about becoming a speaker to area
clubs/organizations, please contact Nelda Cooper at 8221629, [email protected] We have prepared
programs on the MG laptop that can be checked out from
the Agri-Life Office. Current MG speakers are willing to
act as mentors.
MCMG Meeting Attendance for
Monthly Meeting Minutes –
The regular monthly meeting of the McLennan County
Master Gardener Association was held at the Carleen
Bright Arboretum on March 11, 2015. President Janet
Schaffer called the meeting to order at noon. Emily
Davidson, Secretary recorded minutes of the meeting.
The minutes were approved as written in the February
newsletter after one correction was added: Grady Bonner
was awarded his twenty year service pin at the February
meeting, motion made and seconded, motion carried.
The treasurer’s report was given by Andrea Moore and
included a report on the BIG Conference funds. The report
was approved with a motion made and seconded, motion
MCMG received thank you letters from Texas A&M for
our Gardens and Greenway donation, and one of the letters
was read by Emily Davidson.
March 11, 2015
Intern Carolyn Smathers has completed her volunteer hours
and will receive her certificate.
Barnett, Mark; Belanger, Bonnie; Burchfield, Billy;
Burchfield, Linda; Burr, Tom; Calhoon, Ralph; Cole;
Catherine; Curtis, Virgil; Daniel, David; Davidson, Emily;
DeMuynck, Lynn; Diehl, Mariettta;
FitzGerald, Eva; Fitzgerald, Melody; Ford, Kris; Foulks,
Xan; Gifford, Penny; Golubski, Brenda;
Hahn, Judy; Haller, Judy; Henson, Sherry; Hering, Jene;
High, Melody; Holcomb, Peggy Hughes, Carolyn; Kelly,
Jeanette; Kelly, Taddie; Khoury, Julia; Kinder, Missy;
Kinnison, Denise; Kruse, Linda Deal; Mabry, Cindy;
Marlin, Patricia; Matthew, Sherry; McDaniel, Louie
McLatcher, Claudia; Milam, Elizabeth; Milnor, Gerry;
Moore, Andrea; Petru, Ernie; Plasek, Anne; Powers,
Robert; Reinking, Art; Reinking, Carol; Richardson,
Sharon; Schaffer, Janet; Scott, Sandra; Sefcik, Ann;
Serface, Jan; Setser, Della; Tawwater, Betty; Traynor,
Tina; Trice, Mary Lou; Vance, Barbara; Vokes, Barry
Waldrop, Melba; Whitehead, M J.; Woods, Carol
It was noted that T-shirts , hats and aprons can be ordered
during the March and April meetings, with the order to be
paid when placed, using cash or check. The April 8th
meeting is the deadline to order.
Dixon, Jenny; Fauver, Myrt; Federwisch, Ernest;
Hamelin, Bevrly; Hopkins-Higham, Debby Reynolds,
Darlene; Saladin, Diane Kay; Tindell, Patsy
Instructions were given for the procedure on processing a
request from a school when working the Ask a Master
Gardener Help Line at the Extension office: after getting
the information from the caller, contact Pat Marlin who will
handle the request. Instructions will be posted on the
bulletin board.
Randy Fish from World Hunger Relief has invited Master
Gardeners to visit their farm; Tom Burr stated Mark Burnett
will be providing training for them on General tree care and
Dr. Joe Masabni is planning on a one day educational
seminar open to the public on Hydroponics & Aquaponics
in conjunction with Louie McDaniel, more information will
be coming later.
A member survey is being conducted by our at large
members Tom Burr and Marietta Diehl concerning home
garden tours possibly being held this year. An email was
sent to members utilizing the Volunteer System, with
copies available today. All members are requested to
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The MCMG 2015 Directories are available, along with
membership cards. Updates to member information will be
included in the newsletter.
Carol Wood still has 39 member photos that need to be
taken to complete the Pictorial Directory.
The Texas Star Water Project with Louie McDaniel as
project coordinator is moving forward and looks to begin
this summer.
The Veterans One Stop Project has been postponed due to
an upcoming location change for their organization.
The Learn, Grow, Eat Go project has been presented to
Region 12 and we are waiting for their response. The
Educational Opportunity listed on the Agenda for the
National Children & Youth Garden Symposium on July 9 th
– 11th will be teaching this curriculum. Their website will
have registration open at the end of March for this
symposium with the cost estimated as $350. to $380. for the
entire course.
The Volunteer Opportunities list for March / April 2015
provided on the back of the agenda was reviewed by Betty
Tawwater, with additional requests:
Janet Shaffer
announced that she needs more volunteers for the Baylor
Work day at the Arboretum on March 28 th – this is their
spring planting and you would be supervising the students,
Carol Reinking asked for volunteers to sign up for the Ask
a Master Gardener helpline, Jeanette Kelly noted a new
volunteer opportunity on March 28th & 29th at the Extraco
Louie McDaniel gave a general report on the plant sale:
Lots of committees, the new opening time is 8:00
am on Saturday with the set up on Friday night, no
pre sales, no half price sale this year, no sales to
master gardeners, will have hanging baskets as a
focus this year, garden crafts will be for sale, and
new plant labels are some of the changes.
Garden Craft Committee - Andrea Moore said a variety of
crafts were discussed at their committee meeting
and noted all members could provide a garden
themed craft for the sale. Samples of crafts will be
brought to the April meeting.
Plant Labeling Committee - Darlene Reynolds displayed
the proposed plant labels (simple, clear, concise,
flexible on information, quick to apply) and
demonstrated how to apply them; Ernie Petru noted
he was there to help members identify their plants,
and will coordinate plants for members that have
extra and need help with caring for them.
Suggestions from members were for the correct
name to be included, and the library at the MCMG
office to be used for research. Your plant list is
needed, even if your plants are tentative. A master
plant list will be sent out each Monday. Please send
any additional suggestions to the labeling
Educational Opportunities were mentioned: Lunch with
the Masters held on the 3rd Wednesday of each
month, 2 hours of Educational hours are available;
Efficiency Training Specialist Class on March 23 –
25 in Bexar County, see; TMGA
Conference on April 16th & 17TH in Belton, see, Tyler Rose Garden will present Jewels
in the Garden June 6th, cost is $25.00; National
Children & Youth Garden Symposium on July 9 th
– 11th (already mentioned).
Members Cares and Concerns: Linda Burchfield is
scheduled to have surgery.
The April meeting will be one of the three night meetings,
and will be held at the Whitehall Center at the Arboretum.
The roses were trimmed at the McGregor Demonstration
The State Conference in Belton will allow attendance at the
workshops without a requirement to attend the other
The Cookies for Commissioners sign up was completed,
thanks from Della Setser for volunteering.
The meeting was adjourned by President Schaffer at 12:48
An educational program was presented by MCMG member
Louie McDaniel before the meeting on soil
preparation for propagation and planting. One hour
of education was available for those who attended.
An educational program was presented by MCMG member
Penny Gifford after the meeting on hanging
baskets, with examples shown of different basket
compositions. MCMG member Mary Lou Trice
demonstrated how to construct a rope hanger.
Plants, baskets and soil were provided after the
demonstration for members to construct baskets
that will be available at the plant sale. One hour of
education was available for those who attended.
Respectfully submitted,
Emily Davidson, Secretary
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Master Gardener T-Shirts
MCMG Hours for 3/4/15-3/25/15
Volunteer hours
Education hours
Miles traveled
MCMG members reporting
Dear Master Gardeners, remember that
April 8th is the deadline for ordering
any MG apparel shirts (polo, denim, or
tee), caps, or aprons. See you at the
(The hours listed below are included in the above
Carleen Bright Arboretum Superstar Bed
Carleen Bright Arboretum Trailside Bed
Ask a MG telephone line
Cedar Ridge Green Classroom
Continuing Education
McGregor Demonstration Garden
UHS Greenhouse
MCMG Clerical/Admin.
MCMG Plant Sale
Other Volunteer Hours
Speaker’s Bureau
Veteran’s One Stop
Waco Farmers’ Market
Master Gardener Updates
Janet Schaffer’s new email is [email protected]
Andrea Moore’s new email is [email protected]
Chris Ford’s new email is [email protected]
Wayne Hamilton is transferring from the Harris County
Master Gardeners to our county. His contact info is:1141
Knotty Oaks Drive Waco, Tx 76712; 281-889-7161
[email protected] Welcome Wayne!
Darlene’s cell phone is 717-3530.
Sharon Romano’s address is changed to 1132 Boldmere
Educational Opportunities
Lunch with the Masters
April 15th—12:00-2:00PM
EarthKind Practices: Sandy Back-Katz
Location: The Pavilion at the Carleen Bright Arboretum.
Master Gardener State Conference: April 16th—18th
Belton Texas
Spring poppies at the Fort Worth Botanical Garden
Farmers’ Market Worm Composting: April 18th
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Master Gardeners About Town
Teaching students at Cedar Ridge about
potting up plants for the garden.
Potting up plants is hard work!
Don’t forget we need your photos for
the newsletter!
McLennan County Master Gardeners Association Officers 2015
Schaffer Secretary-Sharon
Janet Vice
Sherry Matthews,
Secretary: Emily Davidson, Treasurer: Andrea Moore
Treasurer-Andrea Moore
AgriLife Sponsor – Shane McLellan, County Agent
Our website:
Educational programs of Texas AgriLife Extension Service serve people of all ages regardless of socioeconomic level,
race, color, sex, religion, disability, or national origin. The Texas A&M University System, U. S Department of
Agriculture, and the County Commissioners Courts of Texas Cooperating
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