Master Gardener Volunteers Newsletter – May 2023

Table of Contents


Upcoming Dates to Remember!

May 13th – Celebration of Life – Reeser Manley
May 27th –  Tour Wild Gardens of Acadia Field Trip (rain date May 28th)
May 29th – Memorial Day – office closed
June 3rd – Dry Gardening Workshop
June 26th – Moore Lavender Gardens / Ecotat Gardens Field Trip
July 21 – MGV / Team Admin – Meet & Greet – details to come
Aug 14 – Flash in the Pans MG/Family Concert Event – SAVE THE DATE!


FRIENDS IN ACTION GARDENSMaster Gardeners at Friends in Action Gardens

Located in a corner of the Moore Community Center at 115 State St. in Ellsworth the Friends In Action Garden grows and harvests for Friends In Action whose mission is to assist older adults and people living with disabilities so they can live independently and with dignity.

From spring until fall MGVs plant, mulch, water, weed, harvest and bag fresh produce to be distributed at the Senior Coffee House and the FIA meal program.Master Gardeners at Friends in Action Gardens

Begun in 2015, Friends In Action Garden meets collectively once a week on Thursdays and grows in 4 high raised beds for ease of access utilizing the Square Foot Gardening technique. This technique involves companion planting and intensive spacing for maximum yield.

A dedicated core group of volunteers has met for the past few years and friendship and a deep sense of camaraderie are ever present throughout their Thursday garden days whether they are erecting trellises, attempting to separate tiny carrot seeds for planting or pea picking with stools and ladders. This season’s volunteers included MGVs Nancy Adams, Brooks Engle, Joe Davanzo, Rita Buddemeyer, Mary Jude, Marie Doyle, Alison King, Andrea Ames, Elisabeth Curran and Jane Ham.

Throughout the growing season the simple moments of working the earth and the sense of accomplishment when you experience the results of your labor combined with the satisfaction that comes with volunteerism are celebrated by every member.


April 8 was the morning to learn everything one needs to know to “Grow Your Best Raspberries”.  Dr. David Handley offered an amazing presentation that kept 4 MGVs and 12 gardeners from the community busy taking notes as they absorbed the details that he explained and illustrated with slides.  Questions posed by crowd made clear their aims to apply the lessons.  Just in case you’re now in a shouldacoulda mode, check out David’s YouTube how-to videos offered through UMaine Cooperative Extension.

April 11 brought together the fortunate 8 MGVs who reserved places and their MGV guide for a tour of Chuck Weber’s greenhouse in Lamoine.  The group was excited to begin the field trip and became still more stirred as Chuck explained his systematic approach to selecting, starting, and ultimately growing the most productive vegetable plants for this area.  After the last frost, we will be able to purchase his garden plants and produce from the self-serve wagon Chuck will be placing each day in the Grange Hall parking lot.

April 29 was yet another amazing workshop attended by 12 MGVs who reserved places and 2 MGV assistants for a workshop by Dominika and John Delmastro on “Growing Shiitake Mushrooms on Logs”.  After learning details on the process, the group went outside so each could select a log, drill the necessary holes, and set plugs of mushroom inoculant.  Twelve new shiitake growers are now scattered across Hancock and Washington counties!  Check the web for the Delmastro’s info on their Middle Earth Mushrooms operation, and stop in at the farmers’ market in Ellsworth to purchase their tasty product.

NEXT!  Did you say, “Next”?

Don’t miss the field trips and workshops your MGV Continuing Education Committee has organized for May and June.  Reservations are required, and details on making them are offered in separate articles in this newsletter.

May TBD—Wild Gardens of Acadia tour guided by Helen Koch

June 3—Dry Farming  workshop presented by Kyra Alex

June 26—Moore Lavender Garden & Ecotat Gardens presentation with tour offered by the Moores and Ecotat tour presented by Mary, a Master Gardener Volunteer


A road trip with our MGV friends leading us to not just one but two fine gardens is scheduled, and we hope you will join in for good learning and great fun.  Pre-registration is required though there is no limit on the number who may attend.

The Monday, June 26 field trip to Moore Manor Lavender Farm in Newport begins at 10:00 AM with a presentation by the owners.  We will find out about growing lavender and tour at least a segment of the 7 acre farm which boasts 2,000 lavender plants in bloom and includes flower, rose, and butterfly gardens.  We may visit their gift shop and enjoy a carry-in picnic if we choose to do so.

ECOTAT Gardens in Hermon is on the return trip back toward Bangor.  At 1:00 PM, a Master Gardener who volunteers there looks forward to meeting our MGV group and will lead us on a tour of sections of the 8 acres of display gardens and nature trails.  What fun to see a beautiful array of perennials and trees with the opportunity to learn about the development and care of the garden.

Since a picture is worth a thousand words, please check the Internet to see grand views of each garden on their websites.

The day’s adventures are offered without charge to MGVs and your guest.  You may pre-register for one or both garden tours by contacting Rita at .  Please indicate the number in your party, which gardens you wish to visit, and if you are interested in car pooling.  (Moore garden is about a 1 hour drive from Ellsworth, and ECOTAT is about halfway between the lavender farm and Ellsworth.)  Note that we have set Wed., June 28 as a rain date.


The Wild Gardens of Acadia, a native garden featuring over 400 species of plants, has been nurtured happily for over sixty years at Sieur de Monts Spring within Acadia National Park.  All of the plants featured in the 13 habitats are native to Acadia. We should be able to admire some special ephemerals: the fleeting spring woodland flowers.  We will talk about why a plant grows where it does and what might grow well in your garden. Come to this guided tour to learn more and you may find yourself visiting this living field guide every season of the year.

More information on the Wild Gardens can be found at the Friends of Acadia website, or
Wild Gardens of Acadia Flooded

Caveat:  as you may know, the Wild Gardens has had a REALLY tough winter, in that the whole basin in which the Gardens lie has been under water and ice for three-plus months.  Although plants are emerging, we don’t have a sense yet of how much has survived. Registrants should keep an eye out for any changes in plans.

Saturday, May 27 at 10 am
Sieur de Monts Spring, Bar Harbor  Rain date: Sunday, May 28, at 10 am.
Please register with Helen Koch: hkoch2@mac.comHelen will send out more detailed directions, if needed, to the registrants.  Space is limited to 15


Prepare to have some of your gardening practices shaken up and made greener and easier! Kyra Alex at DI Stonington HS GardensKyra Alex gardens in Stonington, grows all of her own vegetables and supervises The Garden Project.

The Garden Project offers seasonal after school and summer jobs for high schoolers to spend time growing as well as operating an open-air cafe. The Project continues the mentoring program Ready By 21 that she sponsored at the Deer Isle-Stonington High school,  pre-COVID.

Public gardening on a shoe string, limited water, as well as inspiration from off-beat, old-time renegade gardeners has formed her climate-friendly techniques. Imagine less watering, increased tolerance of beneficial weeds, and making use of available (cheap or local) materials. These are the methods she’s embraced with annually increasing returns.

Come on Saturday, June 3, experience Kyra’s enthusiasm and refreshingly irreverent practices and learn how to move your gardening into a more sustainable future.

When:  June 3rd at 10 am
Location:  Hancock County Extension Office
Registration is required by calling 207-667-8212 or email
Open to the public, space is limited


There’s a reason you’ve probably never heard of Wild Ones, at least not in the context of plants. Although Wild Ones is a nation-wide organization, we’ve never had a chapter in Maine. Now we do.Wild Gardens Cayla and Amy

Maine’s first chapter of Wild Ones was co-founded in February 2023 by Amy Jensen and Cayla Mäki-Pittman. (right)  Wild Ones is a national organization whose mission is to promote environmentally friendly, sound, landscaping to preserve biodiversity through the preservation, restoration, and establishment of native plant communities. They have over 100 chapters in 30 states and over 8,000 members.

I met Amy several years ago when she volunteered at the Native Gardens of Blue Hill. She is a Restoration ecologist, but her Texas background did not include a lot of knowledge of Maine natives, and she had recently become a summer resident in Camden. I met Cayla when Amy brought her to a Native Garden volunteer day. Cayla is a Master Gardener Volunteer who owns Harmless Gardens, an ecological garden design firm in Camden. Together, they organized the Inaugural Camden Native Plant Sale, which took place in September 2022 through a partnership with the Camden Public Library, where the sale was held, and hosted by Wild Seed Project.

The sale was wildly successful and it became clear to them that Midcoast Maine needed a local organizing group for those interested in promoting and learning about native plants. Thus was born Wild Ones Midcoast Maine. Although the chapter is dedicated to Knox, Waldo, Lincoln and Sagadahoc counties, it is open to all, regardless of resident status in the Midcoast area or state. Cayla reached out to me last month and asked if I would be interested in becoming a Founding Member, and so I am.

So, fellow MGVs, check it out. The chapter already has members from all over the state, and the hope is that their work will spark interest in others to start more chapters in Maine. When a new chapter forms, members in that area are welcome and encouraged to switch into their local chapter. Wild One Downeast, anyone?

Questions? Interested in learning more? Email us at

More about the national organization’s mission:

Midcoast Maine chapter:


MGV Project Leaders are reminded to please take photos of your workdays, volunteers, and harvest throughout the season.   If you have photos to share, please send them along to


MGV’s looking for locally grown plants for the garden? Here are some plant sales happening in the area.
  • Castine Garden Club Plant Sale, Saturday, May 27th, 9:00-12:00, Emerson Hall (town office) 67 Court Street. Castine
  • Surry Garden Club Plant Sale & Bake Sale, May 27th, 9:00 am, Rural Hall, 680 Surry Road, Surry
  • Bucksport Garden Club Plant & Bake Sale, May 27th, 9:00 am, 74 Main Street, Bucksporty
  • Ellsworth Garden Club Annual Tulip festival and Plant sale, June 3rd, 9:00-2:00, Ronald Little Park, 99 State Street, Ellsworth
  • Hancock Woman’s Club Plant Sale, Saturday, June 12 the 9:00-1:00, Hancock Community Center, 1416 US Highway 1, Hancock Village
  • Native Gardens of Blue Hill Plant Sale, Sunday, September 12th, 9:00-12:00, Bagaduce Music, 49 South Street, Blue Hill.

This month’s newsletter sent by Sue includes articles from our new “Communicate with MGV’s” task force.  We’d like the next edition to feature your suggestions and articles about gardeners and gardens.  MGV’s, please contact us at with your ideas as we work on ways for us to stay in touch with all our gardening friends while following virus-safe guidelines.

Thank you from
Betsy Adams, Jan M. Jane, Wendy, Linda, Mary D., Mary H., and Rita