Six New Impact Areas

It is time to start thinking about what volunteer projects you would like to participate in this year! The College of Food, Agriculture, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) recently named three discovery themes (Ok, they were announced in 2016 but are just now impacting us) that are the focus on the college, and OSU Extension named six impact areas to match. Master Gardener Volunteers fall under CFAES as part of OSU Extension.

These impact areas can be helpful when deciding what projects to participate in and whether a project qualifies. When you log into VMS to track your hours you will notice that the project categories have changed to reflect this. All projects must fall into one of these six categories.

The six areas are:

Health and Wellness

Job Skills and Careers

Thriving Across the Life Span

Sustainable Food Systems

Engaged Ohioans, Vibrant Communities

Environmental Quality

To learn more about the OSU Extension impact areas follow this link.

A Bug’s World needs you: can you help?

A Bugs World

A Bug’s World is the OSU Department of Entomology’s outreach event for 2nd and 3rd graders, taking place this year on March 6th and 7th at the Shisler Conference Center on the OARDC campus, 1680 Madison Ave., Wooster.

We need volunteers on one or both days to help the event run smoothly. Volunteers will help greet children and students, assist with sessions, and help direct classes from session to session.

All sessions are led by Entomology students, faculty and staff, and include the Bug Zoo (an up-close experience), Café Insecta (a chance to munch on flavorful critters), and other insect-themed experiences to teach children about the wonders of insects.

Volunteers are needed from 9:00 to 1:30, one day or both days.

What you’ll get: a fun day helping kids learn about insects, lunch, an awesome t-shirt and Denise’s eternal gratitude!

Your responsibilities:

Show up on time if you commit to participating.

Have fun and patience with the students.

Offer feedback on how we can improve the experience at the end of this year’s event.

To participate:  please fill out this form.

Thanks so much — we truly couldn’t do it without our wonderful volunteers!

If you know of other OSU volunteers (Master Gardeners, OCVN’ers or 4-H volunteers) who might like to help, please forward this message to them, or contact me and I’ll follow up.

As always, let me know if you have questions or suggestions:

Hope to see you in March! ~Denise

Recertification Deadline Thursday

The deadline to recertify as a Master Gardener volunteer is here. If you went through training in 2017 you do not need to recertify. Please take 5 minutes to go through the recertification process if you desire to continue as a Secrest Master Gardener. If you do not recertify by January 25 you will be registered as inactive for 2018.

You will see a notification as soon as you log into VMS that will direct you to the recertification page. Simply paying the $20 dues does not recertifiy you. You must also complete the paperwork. This deadline is one that has been set by the state.

Please contact Paul with any questions regarding recertification.

What To Do With The Roselle

On the last day of class I gave everyone a Roselle or Rosa de Jamiaca (Hibiscus sabdariffa) plant. By now the plants should have grown tall and be flowering. The question now is, what do I do with my plant?

Hibiscus sabdariffa has many different uses, including being used to make hibiscus tea. Below I outline how to harvest the ripe caylyces.

The flower of Hibiscus sabdariffa.










Once the flowers fade, a fruit begins to develop inside the scarlet calyx.

Devloping fruits.

Ripe fruit, approximately 10 days after flowering.











Once the fruits ripen, roughly 10 days after flowering, harvet the fruits by picking them from the plant.

Next, remove the caylx to reveal the green capsule inside.

Left to right: removed calyx. Capsule.












Once the calyx has been removed it should be washed. The calyx can be used fresh or dried for use later.

Freshly dried Hibiscus sabdariffa.


Pollinator Garden help x 2

Volunteers are needed on Wednesday 9/13 in the Stinner Garden on the OARDC campus and on Thursday 9/14 at the Smuckers Store to help tend the pollinator gardens. Both sessions are from 10AM to Noon. You’re sure to learn a few new bees in the process! See prior posts for maps and addresses. Please call Denise if you have any questions: 330 495 1284. Hope to see you there!

We Speak For The Trees

We speak for the trees because someone has to. Speaking of trees, there are two workshops coming soon that are for anyone who loves trees.

September 25

Selecting Trees and Shrubs for Landscaping

This workshop will focus on making better woody plant selections for the long term. Including indoor and outdoor sessions. Perfect for landscapers, arborists and all plant lovers!

Registration Form

October 18

Why Trees Matter Forum

Come share with fellow tree people and co-horts. Why trees matter: aesthetically, economically, environmentally and socially. Trees – to your health!


“Parvis e glandibus quercus.”

Think Spring

Close your eyes for a second and imagine…on second thought don’t do that because you won’t know when to open them.

Imagine it is Febraury 4, after six weeks the clouds of Northeast Ohio have broken and it is sunny. It also happens to be the first day temperatures have risen to 65 degrees. Forget spring, summer is here! At least it seems like it for us. If you are like so many good northeast Ohioans, you make it a point to go outside on days like this. As gardeners we like to look around at our plants.

It is at this point that you notice something. You notice something that wasn’t in your garden in the fall (or so you thought). You see weeds! You gasp and exclaim, “where did all these come from!?” That is a great question and is one that we get regularly in the spring.

I am no weed expert by any means. I have learned some things over the years and have studied how to best control weeds in a landscape setting to better manage our collections at Secrest. However, I do know that winter annuals are starting to appear now. Just last night I found hairy bittercress, mouse ear chickweed, and annual bluegrass in my own landscape.

Winter annuals are starting to germinate and will continue to do so through the fall. This means that if you want to get good control of winter annuals you need to start now. If you wait until that first warm day in February to do something about them it can be too late. According to the University of Tennessee Extension, “Control measures implemented in the fall are often more effective than those applied in the spring once flowering has initiated.”

Start managing the weeds now. We are doing this at Secrest. Application of a pre and post emergent herbicide can give you good control into the late fall. Also, hand pulling is also effective this time of year. If you start now you can save yourself the surprise and additional work in the spring.

Hairy bittercress, annual bluegrass, and mouse ear chickweed. 8.24.17 in the Snyder landscape.


Happy gardening!




Pollinator garden volunteers needed: Wednesday in Wooster, Thursday in Orrville

Volunteers are needed on Wednesday 8/9 in the Stinner Garden on the OARDC campus and on Thursday 8/10 at the Smuckers Store to help tend the pollinator gardens. Both sessions are from 10AM to Noon. You’re sure to learn a few new bees in the process! See prior posts for maps and addresses. Please call Denise if you have any questions: 330 495 1284. Hope to see you there!

Volunteer Opportunity

Do you like prairie plants? What about plant propagation? If you like either one of those things then this project might be for you!

Wooster Memorial Park is looking for volunteers who would be interested in collecting seeds from prairie plants to help replant an area after a construction project.

I addition, the park is looking for someone or a team of people to develop interpretive signage about natural areas and ecosystems.

This is a project that can be done on evenings or weekends and begins immediately. You can sign up for it in the VMS  or by contacting Paul Snyder.


OSU Fact Sheets

Have you ever wanted to know where you could find a fact sheet on a particular topic? Have you ever had someone ask you a question and then wished you had a resource to give them?

Ohioline is an information resource developed by OSU Extension and provides research-based information to the public. Many of the fact sheets can be printed if you would like to give them to someone.

In addition, you can also search for a particular topic by entering a tag or keyword in the search box located on the righthand side of the page.