News & Events – Nov ’13 Real Dirt


Volunteer Recognition Dinner
September MG Meeting: Ciccone Vineyard and Winery
October MG Program: The Revolutionary Gardens Conference

Volunteer Recognition Dinner

November 6, 6:00 pm

All Master Gardeners, Trainees, Spouses and Friends are invited to join in our Annual Volunteer Recognition Dinner.

The Event includes a dinner of heavy hors d’oeuvres, socializing, Silent Auction to raise funds for scholarships, celebrating the accomplishments of 2013, Awarding hours and MG of the year,  Association Election, and more.  It is a warm and wonderful event and we are inspired by our Master Gardener Community.

The Events will be held at the Gilbert Lodge at Twin Lakes Camp, 6800 N. Long Lake Road.

Reservations are required, invitations have been mailed.  Click here to register online.  Call Matthew Bertrand 231-256-9888 for a last minute seat.

September MG Meeting: Ciccone Vineyard and Winery

Sue Sensenbaugh-Padgett

On September 3rd, the Master Gardeners’ met at Ciccone Vineyard and Winery.  Starting with the vines nearest the tasting room the owner, Tony Ciccone, led us through the many and diverse aspects of viticulture.

The vines closest to the tasting room showed symptoms of Powdery Mildew.  Tony explained the process of detection and treatment. First, Tony discussed the need for knowledge of the types and timings of diseases that affect grapes.  When asked about treatments, I found his answer most interesting.  Tony proceeded to explain that to treat properly, vigilance is the key.  The vines and the weather are observed daily. If the vines are showing any problems, he goes straight to the treatment records.  These records include dates and times for spraying and weather.  Using this information, he determines whether the problem is new, improper spraying, or a weather change.

Moving on through the vineyard, we learned about the importance of microclimates for specific grape varieties, the difference between European and New World varieties, and the process of veraison.  Veraison of the grapes is commonly called ripening, but Tony added a much deeper understanding.  As the grape ripens, the levels of sugar rise and the acidity decreases. The increase in sugar levels provides food for the yeast allowing for the creation of alcohol.

Tony led us through the banquet facilities and the magnificent views.  A deep love of viticulture became clear when asked about his children working at the vineyard. He said “I told them don’t come to get rich.  It’s all about work.  The big vineyards buy grapes to make more wine.  I make wine from the vines I prune myself. Our grapes are picked by hand.  It’s not the most efficient, but it makes for the best wines.”

Finally, we retired to the tasting room to enjoy samples of the wines created by the Ciccone Family.  It was an all-around pleasant time of learning and linking with fellow Master Gardeners.  Thank you to the Ciccone Family for hosting and especially to Tony for being our guide.

October MG Program: The Revolutionary Gardens Conference

Kristine Drake

The Revolutionary Gardens, Past, Present and Future Conference was held at the lovely and historic Fountain Point Resort on Lake Leelanau as a fundraiser for the Botanic Garden of Northwest Michigan on September 29 – October 2, 2013.

The morning began with a warm welcome, complete with a thoughtful gift bag filled with goodies such as tulip bulbs.  Educational handouts were provided on a number of topics.  A delightful continental breakfast was served.  It was a casual atmosphere, time to chat with old friends and meet new ones.  After the morning lectures there was a delicious buffet luncheon and we dined outside on the veranda.  The lecturers, Andrea Wulf, Peter Hatch and Warren Byrd, all gave excellent presentations.  Ms. Wulf’s lecture has piqued my interest and has prompted me to order her book “Founding Gardeners, The Revolutionary Generation, Nature & Shaping of the American Nation”.  The fact local fauna was used in our forefather’s gardens as a statement of national pride, appeals to my sense of planting native so I want to read more about it.  It was a wonderful conference.