December 2023 Master Gardener Volunteer Newsletter

In this issue…

From the President…

A garden in wintertime.
Border at The Winter Garden, Bressingham Gardens, Norfolk, UK.

Dear CCMGVs, welcome to December!

With all that is going on this month, this letter will be short. Your board held their meeting on November 13th.  Again, financially the association is in good shape. The Seed Grant applications are in. There are fewer applications this year, but most are requesting an increase in the amount of funding. The seed grant review committee will start working diligently on the review process.

The board is revisiting the possibility of having an in-person annual meeting. We are investigating different locations. Hopefully there will be more to report in February’s newsletter, so stay tuned. 

I am positive most if not all of you have read Doug Tallamy’s book Bringing Nature Home. If you ever have the opportunity to attend one of Doug’s in-person all-day presentations, I hope you take the opportunity to attend. In the meantime, visit Doug Tallamy’s Homegrown National Park website.

Wishing you a wonderful holiday season.

David Elliott

Volunteer Opportunity

The Cape Elizabeth Garden Club is looking for someone to give a presentation on Soil Health and Soil Testing at the Thomas Memorial Library in Cape Elizabeth on Thursday, March 21 at 6:30pm. The event will be sponsored by the Cape Elizabeth Garden Club and open to the public. Rebecca Long, our Sustainable Agriculture & Horticultural Professional and soils guru, has offered to help coach anyone who is willing to present on this topic. Please let Pamela know if you are interested in this opportunity (, 207-949-4524).

Growing Native Plants from Seed Workshop in Support of Tidewater Farm 

Saturday, December 9, 10:00 AM to 11:30 AM | Program Fee*: Sliding Scale, $5-$15
Registration: Required, Register Online

Did you know that late fall and early winter is the perfect time to start native seeds outdoors? In this workshop, you’ll learn how to start and care for your native plants from seed to transplant, including sowing techniques, protecting your seeds from critters, and dividing your plants in the spring. Each participant will take home two containers with seeds that they planted. Space is limited. This workshop will take place in the high tunnel at Tidewater Farm.

*All proceeds from Tidewater Farm workshops support the educational mission of the gardens.

2023-2024 Cumberland County Master Gardener Speaker Series

Holiday centerpiece with candle
An example of a holiday centerpiece.

Holiday Centerpiece Workshop | December 6, 2023 2:00 – 4:00 pm | In-person at Extension Office in Falmouth 

Limit 12 participants. $10 materials fee.

Deborah Gray, a member of the Longfellow Garden Club will lead the workshop. Deb has made many holiday arrangements for her church’s Christmas Fair, and has led workshops for garden clubs and adult education programs in Cumberland.

Create two centerpieces (one to keep, one to give to a resident at an assisted living residence or nursing home) with greens and candles. The arrangements will allow participants to honor their own personal traditions common to the winter season, including Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Bodhi Day, Winter Solstice, and more. 

Plastic bowls, floral foam, greens and candles will be provided.  Bring clippers and any items specific to your special holiday as well as additional items you’d like to use in your arrangement: greens from your yard, pinecones, small figures or ornaments, ribbon, etc.  


SAVE THE DATE 2023-2024 MGV Speaker Series: 

JAN 11: Growing Figs in Containers in Maine w/ Bob McArdle/MGV (Zoom) 5 – 6:30 pm
JAN. 24: Doug Tallamy (sponsored by the Maine Garden Club and Audubon)
JAN 25: Winter Sowing w/ Tyra Hatcher-Mitchell/MGV (Zoom) 5 – 6:30 pm
DATE TBD: Landscape for Life w/ Amy Witt/Earthwalkers (Five sessions)
FEB. TBD: Homegrown National Park w/ Andrew Tufts/Maine Audubon (Zoom) 5 – 6:30 pm
FEB. 29: All About Seaweed for Gardeners w/ Maine Seaweed Council (Zoom) 5 – 6:30 pm
MAR. 21: The Problem with Peat w/ Tom Witwicki and Bonnie Barthmaier/MGVs (Zoom) 5 – 6:30 pm
APR 11: No Till Practices w/ Mariam Telob/MOFGA (Zoom) 5 – 6:30 pm
MAY 24: Ornamentals w/ Nicki Griffin and Lucretia Bagley/MGVs (Zoom) 5 – 6:30 pm
JUN. 6: Small Fruits w/ Joel Leak/MGV (Zoom) 5:30 – 7:00 pm

Harvest Celebration Lost & Found

We still have a few items remaining in our office that were left behind at the Harvest Celebration. If any of these belong to you, please stop in to the Extension office to pick them up! Any items not claimed by December 31st will be donated.

Serving dishes and implements left behind at the harvest celebration.
Lost and found items left behind at the Harvest Celebration.

USDA Updates Plant Hardiness Zones

The USDA recently updated the Plant Hardiness Zone Map here. You can read more about how this map is different from the old one and how you can use this map to select plants in our Maine Gardener Manual here.

2023 USDA Plant Hardiness Map

Upcoming Event

Thurs. Dec.7: Gilsland Farm Bird Walk |  8 – 10AM (Maine Audubon Gilsland Farm Falmouth)
Thurs. Dec. 7: Wild Seed Project Seed Sowing Workshop | 3:30 – 5PM (Falmouth Memorial Library)
Sat. Dec. 9: Growing Native Plants from Seed Workshop | 10 – 11AM (Tidewater Farm)
Thurs. Dec 14: Thirteen Maine Organic Apples | 5:30 – 7:30PM (Maine Organic Marketplace)
Sun. Dec 10: Guided Walk at River Point Conservation Area | 2 – 3PM (Falmouth, ME)
Tues. Dec. 12: Butterflies of Maine & Canadian Maritimes Book Talk | 6:30 – 8PM ( Gilsland Farm)
Sun. Dec 17: Winter Plant Walk | 10 AM – 12PM (Maine Audubon Gilsland Farm Falmouth)
Mon. Dec. 18: Youth Maker Series: Maker Monday Holiday Decorations | 4 – 5PM (Extension Office)
Wed. Dec. 20: Youth Maker Series: Wacky Wednesday Holiday Decorations | 3 – 4PM (Extension Office)
Sun. Jan 7: Winter Plant Walk | 10 AM – 12PM (Maine Audubon Gilsland Farm Falmouth)
Thurs. Jan. 11: Making Marmalade | 5 – 8PM (Bath Regional Career and Technical Center) $40
Thurs. Jan. 18: Fermenting Sauerkraut | 5:30 – 7PM (Root Wild Kombucha) $25
Sun. Jan 21: Winter Plant Walk | 10 AM – 12PM (Maine Audubon Gilsland Farm Falmouth)

Reporting MGV Hours and Produce Donations

Thank you to everyone who has been reporting their hours so far this year. This is a friendly reminder to report your volunteer hours here: Reporting Master Gardener Volunteer Hours (bookmark this page!). MGVs have until the end of the year (December 31, 2023) to complete their annual requirement of 20 hours or 40 hours if you are currently working on your certification.

Need to check the status of your MGV hours?
Email Becky Gray at or call 207.356.1348

If you are donating produce this season, please report the number of pounds donated here: Cumberland County Maine Harvest for Hunger Donation Report Form.


Do you need more CLYNK bags? CLYNK bags can be picked up at the office Monday thru Friday, 8:00am to 4:30pm. 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.

The Cumberland County Master Gardener Volunteer Newsletter is edited by Clarissa Brown and Annika Schmidt.
Event listings are compiled by Stephanie Karakantas. If you would like to submit an article or help with any aspect of the Newsletter contact AJ Cornell, the newsletter coordinator.