El Paso Library
El Paso Library and Woodford County Master Gardeners are educating the public on the importance of creating pollinator habitats.
Woodford Master Gardeners designed a pollinator-friendly garden to promote native insect habitat. The garden is designated a Pollinator Pocket, as well as, a Monarch Waystation and features New England Aster, Coneflower, Joe Pye Weed, Goldenrod, Lilac, and Baptisia.
Garden of Giving
Garden of Giving demonstrates the true power of a community.
In fall 2016, Woodford County Master Gardeners joined efforts with Great Oaks Community Church to continue growing the Garden of Giving. Created in 2012 by the church, gardeners of the 100-by-100-foot garden remain committed to the garden, despite facing new gardening challenges every year, including potato beetles, weeds, squash bugs, too much rain, too little rain...limited teamwork during COVID-19.
Master Gardener expertise is resourced to plan the garden; combat pest and disease problems; and educate on best-growing practices.
In 20 years, Garden of Giving has donated 35,000 pounds of produce to local food pantries and developed a community of committed volunteers.
Garden of Giving reaches the community through various events and education:
- Camp of Champions Elementary School Camp garden visits
- I-Pollinate participation
- Garden tours during the annual Community Bash
Germantown Hills School Garden
Germantown Hills School is home to a "hidden treasure". Once the site of a bare courtyard, even neglected by the weeds, it is now the site of a standout garden, blooming most brilliantly in spring and summer.
Designed as a memorial to staff and an outdoor education space, the project consists of eight individual garden spaces:
- Vegetable Garden
- Herb Garden
- Shade Garden
- Prairie Garden
- Bird Garden
- Blue and White Garden (school colors)
- Bulb Garden
- Butterfly Garden
The space also features a gazebo and an extensive water feature that includes a koi pond, a waterfall, and a bridge crossing a stream. All plantings were chosen to look best in spring and fall when students are present.
Truly a community effort, students, Master Gardeners and school staff engage with and maintain the garden year-round:
- SPRING: Seeds sown by 3rd-graders who return in fall as 4th-graders, discover a transformation...
- SUMMER: Master Gardeners and custodial staff nurture each year's growth
- FALL: 4th-graders collect and pass on the seeds to a new class of 3rd-graders
Other grades, from kindergarten to middle school, plant bulbs, release butterflies, or explore the garden through a scientific lens or literary work. Students also benefit from the space during sessions on personal development like speech therapy or consulting a counselor. Seventh and eighth graders have helped to haul in and spread mulch and compost, wheelbarrow after heavy wheelbarrow.
Whether seeking a space for personal development or hauling a load of mulch, students and staff are always welcomed by a croak, a buzz, or flutter from a friendly critter!
Photo by Linda Simpson, Woodford County Master Gardener
Illinois Central College Demonstration Garden
With careful coordination and great effort the Master Gardener programs of Central Illinois provide beauty and education at Illinois Central College (ICC) Horticulture Center's Demonstration Garden.
Master Gardeners of Woodford, Tazewell, and Peoria County plan and maintain a 5,000 sq. ft. demonstration garden, offering the public education on gardening best practices with ornamentals, natives, vegetables and herbs.
With 20 years of development the garden has both mature and new plantings to enjoy:
- Raised vegetable garden
- Rose garden
- Children’s garden
- Ornamental grass garden
- Small fruits planting
- Ground cover plantings
- Mulitple annual and perennial spaces.
Experimentation with hardscapes provides accessibility while educating on the various options for outlining, guiding and shaping a garden.
Master Gardeners are always available to educate within the Demonstration Garden and throughout the many beautiful and varied gardens of ICC. Various Master Gardeners have special expertise and experience working in the Japanese, hosta, and native prairie gardens. Throughout the growing season, Master Gardeners host educational booths at ICC Horticulture Center. ICC Landscape and Garden Days, held in September, is an annual favorite among the gardeners.
Woodford County Courthouse
In 2009, Green Acres Herb Farm approached Woodford Master Gardeners to partner on a demonstration garden at the Woodford County courthouse and increase the public’s awareness to the beauty and value of herbs.
Each year, Master Gardeners add new herbs to the collection, labels existing plantings, and oversee general care of the garden. In recent years, the Master Gardeners have expanded to beatifying the building entrance with low maintenance plantings. Their spring bulb display is worth noting!
Master Gardeners use their expertise to educate public on how to grow and use herbs with tips and pictures in local media.
Gardeners' Gathering (April)
Inspiring, educating and encouraging gardeners, whether they have a balcony and a sunny window or an acre to grow. This educational event is for all who love plants and want to discover new gardening hacks and tips while having fun.