The vision of hands-on demonstrations for the general public spurred Master Gardeners to establish different types of gardens on site at the St. Charles County Extension Center. The gardens give residents a place to learn about plants that do well in St. Charles County, as well as to see gardening techniques and methods. Master Gardeners also use the gardens in many of the gardening classes they offer. Plot plan for the demonstration garden at the extension center (PDF) Note: After opening document, enlarge view for legibility.
Annual Bed and Sign Garden
Provides beautiful blooms all season from easy-to-grow species. Complementing color schemes and the use of texture adds visual interest. The Master Gardeners incorporate new varieties.
Exhibits named varieties of spring bulbs including daffodils, lilies, anemone, hyacinth, and crocus. During the summer annuals fill the garden along with summer bulbs including gladiolas. We have also experimented with a few plants that are not winter hardy.
Active compost piles fill the decorative bins constructed in 2006. Additional passive bins are also located on the site. Learn how to recycle lawn and garden waste into the black gold that replenishes soil with nutrients. This demonstration area will be enhanced with a soil building display in the future.
The Daylily Garden contains 99 varieties that bloom throughout the season. Daylily characteristics chart (PDF) | Daylily images (PDF)
Wheel-chair accessible. Used to teach practical gardening techniques for people with a variety of disabilities.
Extension Entrance Sign Garden
A small area around the entrance sign to the St. Charles County Extension Center became a garden for seasonal plants. A few perennials serve as backbone to the bulbs and annuals that splash color around the sign.
The foundation plantings are designed to anchor the buildings into the site and provide visual interest. Planting completely around the building requires the use of plants for all types of growing and light needs.
A small, formal herb garden was established in 2006. Container-grown herbs are used as well as in-ground plantings. This garden is a good example of small space gardening — a single herb can delight the senses.
Hybrid Tea Rose Garden
The rose garden is designed to add interest to a small slope next to a wall. It contains fragrant varieties of grafted tea roses to provide wonderful smells as you enter the building.
Over 50 tall bearded iris grace the iris bed. Planted in July of 2010, they will be in full bloom in May of 2011. Iris were donated by Master Gardeners and the Greater St. Louis Iris Society.
This garden demonstrates a technique for starting a new bed without any digging or tilling. By layering soil amendments such as straw, peat moss, compost, shredded paper, etc., you create the conditions for soil development without the backbreaking job of turning soil. Weeds are suppressed with a layer of cardboard and plants can be put in immediately.
Three gardens were established with Missouri native forbs, grasses, sedges and shrubs. Plants that thrive in moist-to-wet conditions fill the rain garden, which takes storm-water runoff from a parking lot. Plants that serve as host or nectar source for butterflies fill the butterfly garden and a mix of prairie plants and grasses were started from seed in 2006 to create a prairie plot. Residents can learn what plants do well in a home landscape and become familiar with the growth and bloom cycles of the natives growing in the gardens.
The Demonstration Orchard serves to provide horticultural education by demonstrating how to grow, train and care for fruits trees as well as strawberries, blackberries, raspberries and others. The fruit produced is supplied to a local food pantry.
The raised vegetable beds demonstrate a way to bring beauty to vegetable gardening. Trellises add the visual interest to the ordinary view of vegetable plants. A variety of vegetables grow well in the raised beds -- an attribute to the benefits of raising the bed. Produce is harvested and donated to a local food bank.
This garden holds a variety of perennials and shrubs, many of them being Plants of Merit. It was officially given Plants of Merit Garden designation in 2006. It surrounds a flagpole and was designed to offer year-round interest.
Plant Propagation Area
This area is used for growing plants used in the gardens and for the plant sales. Some plants are moved annually while others take a year or two to be ready.
The Demonstration Vineyard is a teaching lab. It is used to teach grape vine pruning principles. It also shows the selection of appropriate table and wine varieties for this area as well as different training and trellising systems. The grapes produced are either given to a local food pantry or made into wine by Master Gardeners.
Gardens under development
When the garden is completed, more than a dozen different types of azaleas will be on display, including the one Missouri native plant.
When completed, the Treescape will contain a selection of trees ideally suited for local residences, as well as a variety of complementary shrubs and flowers surrounding each specimen tree to form a compelling landscape picture. As the trees mature, suitable understory shrubs and small trees will be added to each landscape demonstration option.