Interested in Gardening? Master Gardeners Education Series To Be Held

Iowa State University Extension

An Education Series will be hosted by the Mahaska County Master Gardeners in March. These meetings will be held at the Mahaska County Extension Office dates and time indicated. Anyone interested in the topics is encouraged to attend; there is no fee to attend. Speakers and topics are:

March 7 (7 pm) – Invasive Species with Ben Hoskinson, Mahaska County Roadside Vegetation Manager. Ben Hoskinson is a graduate of Simpson College with a BA in Environmental Biology. He has worked for Mahaska County for nearly 18 years including 6 years with the Mahaska County Conservation Board, and 12 years at his current position as Roadside Vegetation Manager/Weed Commissioner.

March 11 (10 am) —Peonies with Kris Jurik, Story County Master Gardener. Kris Jurik is the American Peony Society Treasurer and a Board of Director and Story County Master Gardener. Kris and her husband, Tom, live on an acreage overlooking the South Skunk River just north of Ames, Iowa. Kris grows numerous peonies, over 700 of them. Her peonies are from a wide range of hybridizers, from the very newest introductions to historical and antiques. She has species, herbaceous, intersectionals, and Chinese, Japanese, and American tree peonies. This spring the Jurik’s will be on the American Iris Society’s ‘Rhythm of the Prairie’ national meeting tour. They have planted over 600 guest iris, bearded and non bearded. Plus, they grow their own iris. They have an upland forest, restored prairie, floodplain forest, and riverside beach habitats, over a 60-ft elevational gradient. In addition to the peonies and iris, they have an extensive collection of hostas accompanied by other woodland plants. Later in the season numerous lilies, daylilies, and various composites and companions will become the focus.

March 14 (7 pm) – Jumbo Vegetables with Marty Schnicker, Henry County Master Gardener. Marty Schnicker and his wife Mary have 6 children ages 4 – 16 and been growing Jumbo produce since 2004. They have won 3 times at the Iowa State Fair Giant Pumpkin Contest with the largest at 1131 pounds. Currently have the State Record for watermelon at 209 pounds and past record holder twice at the Long gourd. They hold 5 State Fair records for jumbo produce and compete in other vegetable contests there receiving several Blue ribbons. They have been published in The Iowa Gardening Magazine and also “Blue Ribbon Gardening” by Jodi Torpey. Marty is a past president of the Henry County Master Gardeners.

March 21 (7 pm) –Honeybees: A Gardener’s Companion with Eve Vanden Broek, Marion County Master Gardener A radio interview of Holly Bishop, author of the book Robbing the Bees, interested Eve Vanden Boek in bees. But it wasn’t until the winter of 2010 that she took her first beekeeping course. Today, she and her husband Theo have 26 hives on their property outside Pella and two out yards selling honey out of their home. Eve is active with the Back to Basics Beekeeping Club which meets in Oskaloosa, a Marion County Master Gardener and relishes any opportunity to educate the public about honey bees.

More information regarding horticulture programming can be found at the Mahaska County Extension Office; 212 North I Street; Oskaloosa Phone 641-673-5841; and

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