Master Gardener Volunteers Newsletter – June 2023

Table of Contents


Upcoming Dates to Remember!

June 3rd – Dry Gardening Workshop
June 17th – Plant Sale / Wild Gardens of Acadia/Bar Harbor
June 26th – Moore Lavender Gardens / Ecotat Gardens Field Trip
July 11th – Milbridge Commons Field Trip
July 21st – MGV / Team Admin – Meet & Greet – details to come
July 28th – Blue Hill Native Gardens and Blue Hill Community Garden Field Trip
Aug 12th- Vermiculture Workshop
Aug 14th – Flash in the Pans MG/Family Concert Event – SAVE THE DATE!
Aug 22nd –  Sweet Haven Farm Field Trip

-Someone who inspires your gardening?
-Someone who is making a difference environmentally, food security, climate change mitigation – whether quietly
or loudly in one small plot or large project?
– We want to know, here is one way to tell us

Our MGV newsletter is for and about Washington/Hancock MGV people, projects, and community., was established as a way for readers to recommend interesting topics or people for future articles, provide comments or ask questions. It has been a little used resource, but for some of you it has been a way to not only give input to the newsletter committee, but also to make suggestions for Continuing Education and MGV projects. Try it!



The Blue Hill Community Garden sits conspicuously on Tenney Hill outside the village and next to the George Stevens Academy dormitory for all who pass to watch the seasonal growth and changes. A core group of committed members meets on Wednesday afternoons and Saturday mornings to maintain the 2400 square foot pick-your-own public garden. They enthusiastically encourage volunteers of all ages to come and join the group whenever they can or to come on your own at any time during the week. Any and all are encouraged to harvest what they desire to meet their needs.

This is the third complete growing season of the collaborative effort between the Blue Hill Garden Club, GSA, Healthy Acadia’s Downeast Gleaning Initiative and the extension. MGVs Rachel Emus and Kate O’Dell lend their time, dedication and expertise to the garden and inspire both gardening experts and novices throughout the season.

The garden hosts over 60 varieties of vegetables, herbs, fruits and flowers and is modeled on the Incredible Edible Network “to create kind, confident and connected communities through the power of food.” A brilliantly composed and arranged information board gives all the knowledge needed to help and take advantage of the garden’s offerings. This season saw over one thousand pounds of produce harvested for individuals and the Downeast Gleaning Initiative for distribution to the Magic Food Bus, Tree of Life Food Pantry and Simmering Pot.

The sense of community here is as abundant as the plantings. Volunteers have come together to meet, lend a hand, learn and share and caring friendships old and new are evidence of one of the sweetest fruits this garden grows.

WILD GARDENS OF ACADIA – Flooding & Garden Update

Compiled by MGV 13′ Helen Koch from resources
by Acadia National Park and Friends of Acadia

For several months this past winter and spring, the Great Meadow Wetland and Sieur de Monts area of Acadia National Park were flooded due to a partially collapsed culvert under the Park Loop Road.  Rain and snowmelt flows could not drain out of Great Meadow via Cromwell Brook; they flooded the Wild Gardens of Acadia, Sueur de Monts Nature Center, Jesup Path, and Hemlock Road.

The flooding at Sieur de Monts and Great Meadow is not an isolated incident. The Great Meadow has been significantly altered by humans and doesn’t drain the way a meadow should. This issue is heightened because of climate change and a high number of invasive plants in the area.  Because of this, the National Park Service (NPS), Friends of Acadia, and the Schoodic Institute have been partnering for several years on a long-term plan to restore the Great Meadow Wetland.  The NPS has hopes to replace the undersized culvert in 2024 with an open bottom box culvert designed to accommodate larger rainfalls.

Although many of the plants in the Wild Gardens are adaptable, four months underwater is a long time!  Additionally, the movement of winter ice atop the flood waters broke off many small shrubs and trees. Other plants, adapted to well-drained soil, have been heavily impacted.  The result of continuous inundation by water is not always visible right away.  Pests, diseases, and damage to roots from the flood stress may appear over the coming months.  These impacts may also be seen outside the Gardens in the surrounding forested areas that were similarly flooded.

The NPS and partners hope to have the Nature Center open as soon as possible so that park visitors can learn about the effects of climate change on Acadia.  Thanks to all of the volunteers who have worked so diligently to assist the park in getting the Wild Gardens reopened so that visitors may enjoy the native plants of Acadia.

Plant Sale benefiting the Wild Gardens of Acadia to be held June 17th in Bar Harbor

The Wild Gardens of Acadia Plant Sale will be held Saturday, June 17th from 9 a.m. to noon a St. Saviour’s Episcopal Church (41 Mt. Desert Street) in Bar Harbor.  This plant sale features many natives, ferns, perennials, annuals, houseplants, and a selection of vegetable seedlings. Cash or checks will be accepted.

Proceeds from the plant sale fund the maintenance and operations of the Wild Gardens of Acadia at Sieur de Monts in Acadia National Park. Since 1961, the Gardens have displayed over 400 native plants in habitats that represent those found in the park. The Gardens are open daily from dawn to dusk.

For more information about the Gardens, visit and click on Visiting Acadia, Activities, Wild Gardens or

Come Join Us in the Gardens at the MILBRIDGE COMMONS

July 11, 10:00 a.m.Milbridge Commons

Welcome to the Milbridge Commons. I can’t believe MGV’s haven’t been here since the summer of 2019.  I think that was the first or second year the garden existed. Hardly much to see but veggies trying to survive.  So much has changed and expanded since we last got together. Time for another look see.

We will be hosted by Zabet Neu Collins, a 19′ Master Garden Volunteer and Assistant Director of Women for Healthy Living, WHRL. Zabet will start her presentation at the Ed Flanagan Pollinator Garden located in the Milbridge Commons. Zabet will focus on pollinators, plants that attract them and identification of those plants.

As we proceed through the Milbridge Commons, one of the WHRL’s two Incredible Edible Milbridge (IEM) gardens, Zabet will inform us about the garden’s expansion. The 18,000 square foot gardenMilbridge Commons includes organically grown veggies and fruit trees that are free to pick. While we are walking along Zabet will gladly answer questions as we tour the garden.

The gardens are not only productive but are exquisitely designed to add beauty to the area. Milbridge Commons overlooks the sweeping views of the Narraguagus Bay. Bring your cameras as there will be many photo opts in this garden, especially the butterfly wall created by Maeve Perry.

When we leave the Milbridge Commons we will proceed just down the road to the Red Barn Garden. It is a 14,000 square foot IEM garden. Here we will see another public vegetable garden focusing mainly on vegetables. The IEM educational initiative was designed to create a stronger. healthier and food independent community. Both gardensMilbridge Commons View are pick your own free gardens.

Come join us in the Milbridge Commons on Tuesday July 11 at 10 Rain date Tuesday July 18 at 10. Reserve your space by emailing Rita  at  We will meet at Milbridge Commons Parking lot. Extra parking is across the street at 87 Main St., Milbridge. You can bring a lunch and eat at the picnic tables in the park. There are also several take-out restaurants in the area.

Hope to see you there.  Jan Migneault, MGV 16′

Continuing Education Field Trip

Blue Hill Native Gardens and Blue Hill Community Garden

Friday, July 28, 10 AM to 1 PM

10 AM – noon
For those of you who are interested in restoring land by incorporating native plants, the Blue Hill Native Gardens (BHNG) are a must see! This work-in- progress is on 4 acres surrounding the Bagaduce Music Lending Library in Blue Hill and is a beautiful collaboration between BHMG and the Library. The visit will include an hour touring the woodlands and the more managed garden areas; attendees are also invited to informally watch the garden work more extensively until noon. Blue Hill Native Gardens, Bagaduce Music Lending Library, 49 South Street, Blue Hill.   Native Gardens of Blue Hill

Bring a bag lunch for between sites.

12:15 PM
Visit the Blue Hill Community Gardens just a mile or two away on Tenny Hill (becomes Main Street). The Community Garden consists of 2,400 square feet on land owned by George Stevens Academy, and is a joint project of the Academy, University of Maine Cooperative Extension, Heathy Acadia’s Downeast Gleaning, and the Blue Hill Garden Club. The garden featuring over 60 varieties of vegetables, herbs, flowers and native perennials, is modeled after the Incredible Edible Network. Tenny Hill (across from Arborvine Restaurant), Blue Hill.

For reservations, please contact Mary Hartley, Please reserve by July 20th.


Vermiculture workshop

Saturday, August 12th – 10 AM

Learn the Wonders of WormsVermiculture

Willing to Turn Your Kitchen Scraps into Garden Compost

Saturday, August 12 at 10:00 AM, a free workshop open to the public will be presented on vermiculture.  Master Gardener Volunteers, Lavon Bartel and David Struck, will explain while the worms demonstrate the value of composting with worms.  Learn the basics of how to put worms to work 24/7, 365 days a year in a limited space to create black gold to nourish and help make vibrant your indoor and outdoor plants.

Space in the classroom at Cooperative Extension on Boggy Brook Road in Ellsworth is limited to 20 participants, and pre-registration is required by contacting

Sweet Haven Farm Field Trip

Tuesday, August 22, 2023 at 9:30am (rain date Tuesday, August 29)

Maximum 8 participants

We invite you to visit the Sweet Haven Farm Harvest for Hunger Project during summer abundance. We’ll share with you our set-up and an overview of how we go about achieving our goal of supplying fresh organic garden produce to senior and other congregate housing facilities on Mount Desert Island where residents are at risk of food insecurity. We’ve experimented and learned a lot over the years, and continue to do so!

The project is located on property that has been farmed for over a century and consists of open fields and tillable soil making it an ideal place for vegetable gardening. Three of the four garden plots were converted to raised beds for convenient access and better crop management, including crop rotations and succession plantings. Four hoop houses with “Earth Box” planters provide season extension for planting cold weather crops earlier and later than the natural environment allows. The hoop houses also provide protection for warm weather crops like tomatoes, peppers and eggplants.

We use organic soil management and pest control methods. All seedlings are started on site. Flowers that attract pollinators are planted amongst the vegetable plots.

From its initiation with two people trying to produce vegetables to share with their community, the project now includes some 15-20 volunteers, some from the Mount Desert Island community and some MGVs. We look forward to meeting you.

Please contact Heidi ( if you are interested in joining us for this field trip.

WE OR ME or US?Lavon and David

West to East from youth in Oregon to the state of Maine

with many stops in the United States in between.

Lavon Bartel’s career (nutrition, food sciences, and higher education) and David Struck’s professional investment (water and air quality, housing and environment, and commercial orchard management) have taken them across the country.  Settled in Steuben, they have been MGVs of Hancock and Washington Counties since Lavon joined 2007 and David in 2011.

Since early childhood each has been engaged in gardening, and David has the special advantage of growing up in a family of orchard owners and managers.  As members of our MGV team, they have served on the advisory committee,

Maine Seacoast Mission
Lavon and David at Maine SeaCoast Mission Gardens

continuing education committee, project review committee, MGV applicant selection committee, and book club.  Thus, they know quite well the history

and structure of our organization, and they continue contributing to it in substantial ways.  Always staffing the “Ask a Master Gardener Volunteer” table at our plant sales, often presenting workshops to the public on edible flowers and vermiculture, the couple lives out in numerous ways the value they place on learning and teaching.

Because they especially enjoy gardening, coaching, and learning with others, Lavon and David have volunteered in various MGV projects including:  Loaves & Fishes Food Pantry Garden, Maine Seacoast Mission Gardens, Cooperative Extension Demonstration Gardens, and Woodland Community Garden.  This year they will volunteer closer to home and become a part of the amazing Incredible Edible Milbridge/Community Garden/The Commons.

How important to salute their contributions of many volunteer hours, thank them for such valuable

participation in sustainable food production, and note the gardening couple is:

Lavon and David MGV
Lavon and David – Apple Gleaning with MGV’s

Definitely WE and US with a mighty positive influence on you and me.

Behind the scenes in a plastic bin kept in the house, their red worms have also been working for years.  They pleasantly compost kitchen scraps and in the process create black gold for amending garden soil and providing the material for compost tea to nourish indoor plants.  Learn all about a relatively lazy, cheap way you too can compost year round as Lavon and David present a workshop on Saturday, August 12 at 10:00 AM at Cooperative Extension.  In addition to live worms demonstrating their work, our presenters will offer tips on keeping a worm bin in top shape and offer links to most helpful websites on vermiculture.  (See previous article FMI on registering to meet the worms and learn all about them.)



THANK YOU RITA!Rita B in class

I have known Rita Buddemeyer for 13 years.  She’s a person who changes your life without you realizing it.

Her behind-the-scenes gentle leadership style brings out the best in each of us.  She empowers people to shine.

Rita joined the Hancock County Master Gardener Volunteers in 2010.  What a delight it was to have her in class.  A sponge.  She had an enchanting and contagious enthusiasm for learning.

In Rita’s thirteen years volunteering, she has given her heart and soul to many projects.  In fact, she helped get many of them off the ground (well, IN the ground), including food security projects like the Downeast AIDS Network (DEAN) Garden, the Friends in Action Garden for seniors, and the Woodlawn Community Garden.

Rita’s passion for learning led her into the realm of Continuing Education for MGVs.  For many years, with a small team of creative volunteers, she organized exciting MGV field trips to farms, horticulture businesses, botanic gardens and nature preserves. She worked with this same volunteer team to coordinate years of summer gardening workshops for the public, creating opportunities for our MGVs to share their passions and talents with hundreds of people!

With her cheerful and modest leadership, Rita and her co-chair Camilla Cochrane led the Hancock County Master Gardener Advisory Committee to greatness. They dramatically strengthened the way we communicate, support, and recognize our ever-growing family of volunteers.

Rita is an individual that you just want to be with.  Even at your lowest of lows, Rita magically makes you feel good about yourself.  She sees every challenge as a neat opportunity for growth and learning.  In situations that demand creative thinking or a degree of tact that I do not possess, I find myself channeling my inner Rita.

As of early 2022, Rita had volunteered over 1600 hours with the Master Gardener program.

My words for Rita:  Astute.  Humble.  Creative.  Poetic.  Eloquent.  Dedicated.  Appreciative.  Empowering.  Generous.  Empathic.  Genuine.

~ Marjorie Peronto


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Rita is a teacher at heart, instructs us in the nicest and subtlest ways.

She is a MGV, MGV advisory board member, friend. Wednesday Painter, who always makes sure there are refreshments, no matter what the occasion.

She had knee replacement and, after the briefest hiatus, was back gardening at Friends In Action.

We will miss all she brings to our group when she moves.      ~ Mary Jude

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Rita has been an absolute rock in the Hancock County Master Gardener Volunteer program.  Steady, kind, and funny, Rita has kept us all on track with her super organizational skills and gentle nudges, usually delivered with a pun.  ~ Helen Koch

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Doesn’t everyone dream of love at first sight? Well, I got lucky. For me it happened when I saw Rita in action for the first time. Attending the MGV program in 2014, I was supposed to pick a project to volunteer at over the summer. I already had my mind set on the gardens at the Extension when Rita happened. She was looking for Woodlawn volunteers, and of course, I signed up the minute she was done talking. The energy, enthusiasm, wit and humor radiating from this woman did not only make me want to become her friend but her family. And that was that!

If I may cite from the UMaine website: “The mission of the UMaine Extension is to help Maine people improve their lives through an educational process that uses research-based knowledge focused on issues and needs.”

Rita’s mission is to help people improve their lives through educational process that uses research-based knowledge, wisdom and a whole lot of heart focused on issues and needs. The lucky individual who knows and works with Rita will understand that her insight and curiosity extend beyond gardening and the MGV program.

She is an extraordinary individual who has the rare gift to listen, teach and make anyone who interacts with her feel like the center of the universe.

The way Rita sandwiches critical suggestions into butter smooth layers without spite or cruelty, is magical. She is the neck that turns the head in the right direction and never gets tired of bringing the best out in people. No matter how long it takes, she will continue to spread positivity and inspiration until you feel special and valued.

In Germany there is a great way to describe a person like Rita: She is “someone to steal horses with”, meaning a person with whom you can do something extraordinary, difficult or crazy. Somebody who is game for everything. A person who is reliable and trustworthy. Someone you can be yourself with, or simply put, a GREAT friend. Rita has your back, no matter what.

A BIG heart on two legs, Rita wanders off to Orono. How lucky her new neighbors and friends are! THANK YOU for your mentorship, inspiration, enthusiasm and friendship! There are a lot more horses out there waiting to be stolen!     ~ Antjelita Hlavaty


MGV’s looking for locally grown plants for the garden? Here are some plant sales happening in the area.
  • Hancock Woman’s Club Plant Sale, Saturday, June 12 the 9:00-1:00, Hancock Community Center, 1416 US Highway 1, Hancock Village
  • The Wild Gardens of Acadia Plant Sale will be held Saturday, June 17th from 9 a.m. to noon a St. Saviour’s Episcopal Church (41 Mt. Desert Street) in Bar Harbor.
  • 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