Serving Denton, NC & Surrounding Communities

October 7, 2015 Edition

The Denton Orator


Got Milkweed?
DC Master Gardeners…Gardening for Monarchs

By Kelly Bledsoe
Every year 100 million Monarch butterflies make an extraordinary journey, some of them traveling all the way from Canada to the Transvolcanic Mountains in Mexico, where they will spend the winter. In the spring they will mate and head north once again. The female will fly until she locates a patch of milkweed (Asclepias), then lays her eggs and dies.

However, this amazing migration has been labeled an “Endangered Phenomenon,” as a result of threats to wintering sites in Mexico and threats to Monarch breeding areas in the U.S. and Canada.

Monarchs must have milkweed. They have an obligate relationship with this family of plants. No milkweed = no monarchs.
In response, the Master Gardeners in Davidson County recently established a Monarch Waystation in the demonstration gardens at the Davidson County Cooperative Extension building located at 301 E Center St, Lexington, NC 27292. These Master Gardeners are leading efforts to educate the public that monarch butterflies are at risk and are encouraging the public to follow suite by planting gardens that will sustain the monarch population.

Peggy Walser, a member of Davidson County Master Gardeners, said they learned of the Waystation Project at a statewide conference several years ago and decided to add the plants necessary to the existing gardens at the Ag Center to help the plight of the monarchs.

“It has been a very rewarding project,” she adds, “and very appropriate for us since we already had many of the plants required to become a Waystation.”

So what exactly is a Monarch Waystation? A Monarch Waystation is simply a garden that has both milkweed plants, which monarchs feed on as caterpillars, and nectar plants that they feed on as adults. A Waystation can be as small or as large as you want to make it and can be located in home gardens, at schools, churches, businesses, parks, along roadsides and in other unused plots of land. No effort is too small to have a positive impact.

 The DC Master Gardeners celebrated the Waystation success last Thursday afternoon with a small recognition ceremony. The demonstration garden at the Ag Center is now certified as an Official Monarch Waystation by Monarch Watch, and the habitat is included in the international Monarch Waystation registry. Amy-Lynn Albertson, Extension Agent, Horticulture for North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service said, “We have really enjoyed watching the caterpillars eating the milkweed, and we have many chrysalis and emerging butterflies.” She adds, “This is just one of the many projects the Davidson County Master Gardeners have taken on…Davidson County is really blessed to have such fabulous, fun volunteers. They work really hard to make our gardens beautiful and spread so much joy and education about gardening in our community.”

If you are interested in becoming an Extension Master Gardener Volunteer, there will be an information session on October 22 from 12-1pm at the Davidson County Ag Center in Lexington with details about the 2016 course. Anyone interested in creating and maintaining a Monarch Waystation can get more information by visiting or contacting the Ag Extension office at (336) 242-2080.

Equally exciting, the Davidson County Master Gardeners also received a $1,000 grant from the State Master Gardeners Association to help with the Annual Gardeners Conference.

The Davidson County Master Gardener Association has hosted conferences devoted to education, sharing ideas and fellowship. Held annually, these conferences feature exceptional speakers, demonstrations, and a plethora of information.

Sue Smith, member of the Davidson County Master Gardeners and one of the coordinators of the conference notes, “When we began planning our first conference we decided we wanted to have quality speakers but wanted to keep the cost affordable for all interested gardeners. Our goal was to design the conference as our Master Gardener gift to the community. For the past two years we have been fortunate to receive a grant of $1,000 each year from NCEMGVA, the state master gardener organization. Although prices for speakers as well as the cost of meals have risen we are still able to afford nationally recognized garden experts at our conferences thanks to these grants.”

The highly anticipated 2016 Master Gardener Conference is scheduled for February 11th with a snow date of February 18th at Center Methodist Church in Welcome on Center Church Road.

Since the Master Gardeners have been able to secure great speakers each year the attendance has grown substantially. Formerly hosted at First Lutheran Church in Lexington, which has been an excellent venue in the past, the group now must look for a larger space to accommodate more attendees. This year they hope to have an audience closer to 200 after starting with around 45 the first year. With the help of the grant and funds raised from the plant sale on October 10th, and the garden tour in June the group will supplement costs to have another great conference this year. Julie Dayvault chairperson of the Gardeners’ Conference committee wrote the grant.

Edna Gaston, president of NCEMGVA, presents the grant to DC Master Gardener members Martha Keel (middle) and Peggy Walser who were attending the State Conference in Cary, NC.

(Team members working on the Monarch Waystation project include: Peggy Walser, Barbara Williams, Vicky Gray, Margaret Wooten, Camille Morgan, Martha Keel, Julia Soto, Nancy Quigley, Susan Berrier, and Martha Yarborough. They all agree that the project has created a lot of public interest, inspiring other gardeners to create, conserve and protect monarch habitats.)




STOP when Crossing!
By: Tennille Sullins-Morris

The Town of Denton Board of Commissioners would like drivers to be aware that effective, Thursday, October 8, 2015, stop signs will be installed in place of yield signs at the railroad crossing located at West First Street in Denton near Suntrust Bank.

This decision made by the Board came as a result of receiving a letter from the Rail Division of the North Carolina Department of Transportation asking the Town to install cross arms at this particular location.  The preliminary estimated project cost was $250,000 with 90% of the cost to be covered by federal funds. The Town would be required to pay for the remaining 10% ($25,000) of the projected costs along $1,500 in annual maintenance.

 The Board consulted with Town Attorney Paul Mitchell and weighed the various options as whether to install the cross arms, to close the streets to all vehicular traffic or to install stops signs at West First Street. After holding a public meeting, the Board made the final decision to relocate the railroad crossing signs for better visibility and to install stops signs at West First Street (beside Suntrust bank) in Denton.

The stop signs will be installed on October 8, 2015.  Drivers are to always use caution when approaching any railroad crossing and will be expected to STOP, not yield at West First Street in Denton.