July 2024 Master Gardener Volunteer Newsletter

In this issue…

From the President…

Potatoes growing in a gardenAs the fragrance of lilacs and the blooms on fruit trees fade, our gardens are all enjoying the great weather of the early growing season. June brought to my garden near-perfect conditions. Inspired by the early growth, I’m bursting with optimism for this season! I have quantities of garlic scapes, cauliflower, lettuce, broccoli, spinach, potato blossoms, peas, and sunflowers reaching for the sky. The house planters are also aglow with an array of new colors. Cheers to a better growing season than last year! 

While this is a busy season for gardeners, I would like to share a couple of related activities that may help you slow down and appreciate the wonder surrounding us:

  • Visit a neighbor’s/friend’s garden. No matter how big or small their garden is, there will be joy shared. Admire their array of choices, gardening skills, and seek to gain gardening wisdom and insights. The world looks like a much nicer place when we are in a garden without emails, mobile phones, political talk, and the evening news.
  • Involve and share your gardening expertise and time with children. School is out for the summer and despite their many activities, kids are more available. I am continually amazed by the children in my neighborhood and my two local grandchildren. They ask great questions and seek simple answers, which are the best! Enjoy inspiring a future master gardener.

Cauliflower with leavesA few CCMGA Board Updates:

  • Our June Meeting was our first in-person Board gathering since the pandemic. The Board was very pleased to be in person and plans to do a mixture of in person and Zoom meetings in the coming year. A big THANK YOU to Bonnie Barthmaier for her hospitality hosting our gathering.
  • Congratulations to David Elliot, long time CCMG, whose “Masters Gardener Emeritus” status was overwhelmingly approved.
  • The Board spent a great deal of time in productive discussion of the restructuring previously mentioned in the June newsletter. The Board intends to continue the commitment of making our group vibrant, educational, and a credit to our county. We have initiated a study-group to review the Association’s By-Laws. It’s our hope to strengthen the CCMG Committees and to provide a wider range of opportunities for members to be included in leadership and advisory roles. More to come on this after our September Meeting.
  • A very positive CCMGA Plant Sale report was received – see more details from Bonnie. Thank you to everyone who rolled up their sleeves and contributed to our largest fund-raising event.
  • Please mark your calendars for the Annual Harvest Celebration which is scheduled for Saturday, October 9th, 2024 from 3:00-6:00 PM at Tidewater in Falmouth.

Enjoy the growing season! May it yield us not only a beautiful and bountiful harvest, but as importantly, tranquility.

Gary Hoyt

CCMGA President

Master Gardener Plant Sale 2024

Master Gardener Volunteers at the 2024 Plant SaleA loud shout out to the 2024 Plant Sale Committee and all Master Gardeners who volunteered at the Master Gardener Plant Sale Saturday, June 1st.  What a great day! The final financial tally is still pending, but I am confident our profits will be amazing. However – more important than profits – I’m proud of our amazing team and their attention to the details: the vast selection of seedlings and native plants available, the professional appearance of the field, the smoothness of the checkout process, the educational opportunities offered, and the customer service provided. You made it look easy. 

I would especially like to thank the committee chairs for all the work they put into planning this event over the past six months.

Customers shopping through aisles of plants

  • Seedlings: Linda Grant, Tom Witwicki, Patricia Wheeler
  • The Dig Team: Lucretia Bagley, Nicki Griffin, Priscilla Nicholson, Vivian Horoshak
  • Gently Used: Leigh Mundhenk, Sandi Dunham
  • Raffle: Barbara Dee, Rose Greely
  • Volunteer Support: Sheri Fistal
  • Education: Marty Riehle
  • Marketing: Nancy Morris
  • Support Team: John Fox, Dd Swan, Dianne Lamson, Heather Winslow
  • Extension Office Support: Pamela Hargest, Abi Griffith, Jenni Cappello-Ruggiero

Thank you, Master Gardeners, for all your help in making Plant Sale Day the best day of the year!  

Bonnie Barthmaier

Roots – Get to Know a Fellow MGV 

Master Gardener Volunteer Elly at the beachBorn into a Navy family in Virginia, Eleanor L. Dominguez (Elly) moved all along the eastern seaboard before settling in Maine in the 90’s. Always a keeper of houseplants, she didn’t really get into gardening until after college, when she was in law school at the University of Maine. “I studied Environmental Science during college and studied Environmental, Marine Resource, and Water Law while in law school. After graduating, I worked for the Maine DEP for a period of time researching hazardous waste bills.” 

After buying her house in 2011, Elly started getting serious about gardening, especially as her work shifted away from environmental law due to challenges in the job market. “When we first moved in, the previous owner had planted goutweed in the front garden and it had overtaken pretty much the entire space. It took us two years to get it all removed and stop from coming back – there was A LOT of weeding involved!” With the goutweed gone, Elly focuses on perennials and native plants in her garden, and her favorite things to grow are peonies and clematis.  An MGV since 2014, she also received a CMBG Certification in Native Plants and Ecological Horticulture in 2023.

When not in the garden, you’ll find Elly hanging with husband, Chris, her dog Izzy, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, or exploring one of her many hobbies including bowling, metal detecting, gem hunting, biking, hiking, coin collecting, children’s books, puzzles, and fostering kittens. And, of course, there’s her volunteering. Elly has dedicated herself to the Garden Angels program, which ties nicely to her current professional work in Elder Law, and encourages others to join her. “The best part is the people and their stories. They are so wonderful!  I could pull three weeds and they’re so grateful!

Is there a Master Gardener Volunteer you’d like to see featured here? Nominate them by emailing Heather Wiggins Berger.

Volunteer Opportunities

Raised garden beds at the Bridgton Community GardenThe Bridgton Community Garden Project is always looking for new ideas on how to enhance the garden including beautifying the area, increasing food production for donation, planning a future children’s garden, and troubleshooting an ongoing groundhog problem. Unfortunately the garden cannot be fenced in and so pest management is always a challenge! There are several specific and immediate volunteer opportunities available at the Bridgton Community Garden:

  1. Vegetable Garden: The garden consists of 50 individual beds, of which 5 beds are maintained by MGV’s. Veggies grown in these beds are donated to the Bridgton Community Center senior lunch program.  Volunteers help with tending the beds on a weekly basis, including weeding, watering, and succession planting. This work averages out to about an hour of volunteering each week. 
  2. Pollinator Garden: Volunteers here help with the weeding and maintenance of the garden, totalling about 2 hours a month.  The Bridgton Community Garden project is hoping to provide an educational component to the pollinator garden which could add potential volunteer hours for those interested. 
  3. General Maintenance: Finally, the beds around the Community Center are overgrown and in need of maintenance – another volunteer opportunity! 

If you are interested in volunteering at the Bridgton Community Garden, you can reach out to Ann Lasman  or Surrie Coyne

If you are needing volunteers and would like your project featured in the newsletter, please reach out to Kerri Frazier.

Upcoming Events

MGV Housekeeping 

Speaker Series 

The Speaker Series Committee needs your help to arrange the schedule for September 2024 through June 2025. Please send any ideas, topics, names of potential speakers, or comments to Barbara Dee

New PIN Numbers for MGV Portal

Thanks to your feedback, we have worked with our techs for the Master Gardener Volunteer Portal and Dashboard to improve the login experience. 

We are happy to announce that beginning June 1st, you will no longer need to receive an email with a temporary pin number. Instead, each Master Gardener Volunteer will be assigned a unique number to log into the MGV Portal and access the Master Gardener Volunteer Dashboard. 

Please watch your email for your new PIN number! Beginning June 1st, you will log in by entering your email address and your assigned PIN number. 

If you have any questions or need assistance, please email extension.mastergardeners@maine.edu

Reporting MGV Hours and Produce Donations

Please be sure to report your hours through the new Master Gardener Volunteer Portal. If you have any questions, please email extension.mastergardeners@maine.edu for help. 


Need more CLYNK bags? CLYNK bags can be picked up at the office Monday thru Friday, 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM. Our account grows steadily and the money supports Cumberland County Master Gardener projects. Collect your returnables in one of our designated CLYNK bags, drop off at your local Hannaford and help us grow our Seed Money.

Past Editions

Missed a previous newsletter? View them all HERE  (password: ladybug)
The Cumberland County Master Gardener Volunteer Newsletter is edited by Clarissa Brown, Kerri Frazier, and Heather Wiggins Berger. If you would like to submit an event, article,or help with any aspect of the Newsletter, please contact Heather Wiggins Berger, the newsletter coordinator.