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Gary Stockton  |  7/3/2015 1:39:35 AM

Shelli Qyayhagen is a North Central Louisiana Master Gardener.

“Coffee, Garden, Coffee. Does a good morning need anything else”? -Betsy Canas Garmon

If you live by the words in the quote above, you may be one of us!

Who are we? We are the North Central Louisiana Master Gardener Association.

We love plants, gardening, and Mother Nature. A desire to be better gardeners led each of us to enroll in the Master Gardener course provided by the LSU AgCenter. The course is a twelve week program which includes classes on weeds, pests, soil, propagation, vegetables, herbs, ornamentals, lawns, and more. The classes are held at La Tech and taught by experts from the LSU AgCenter.

Upon completion, each graduate of the course is welcomed into our group of fun-loving, energetic men and women bound by a love of gardening and a constant desire to learn more about it. We meet monthly to enjoy informative presentations on topics such as bulbs, bee keeping, ferns, native plants, and garden design. We take interesting field trips to Louisiana nurseries and gardens. To fulfill our purpose of developing and enhancing community programs related to horticulture, we also present a garden seminar each February and plant sales in April and November. Our group donated and maintains a butterfly garden and xeriscape garden at Lincoln Parish Park and are in the process of developing a tree identification trail there as well. NCLMGA is also responsible for planting and maintaining the garden at the Dixie Theater. Some of our members are volunteer teachers with “Fit for Kids”, the LSU AgCenter’s Garden-based Nutrition Education Program for school gardens. Our volunteers work with children at Ruston Junior High and Cypress Springs Elementary, and will add A.J. Brown Elementary and Choudrant Elementary this fall.

North Central Louisiana Master Gardeners Association is a vibrant, active member of the community and would love to have you join us in all of our gardening endeavors.

I am Shelli Quayhagen, a member of NCLMGA. I am very excited to be representing NCLMGA when writing the occasional article for this portion of the Ruston Daily Leader. I recently retired from teaching science at Ruston Junior High and one of my first post-retirement goals was to become a Master Gardener. I have always gardened, flower and vegetable. I am attracted to plant nurseries like a hummingbird to nectar! But I didn’t really know what I was doing and I realized that if I wanted to truly be a successful gardener, I needed legitimate instruction. It was time for this teacher to become the student.

While taking the Master Gardener course, I learned so many things, life altering things! For instance, did you know that the gardener’s bane, nut grass, isn’t a grass?! No wonder I couldn’t kill it with grass killers!! Nut grass is really a sedge and until you treat it with nut sedge killer, it will come back time after time no matter how many hours you spend pulling that pesky little pain-in-the-neck weed out of your flower bed. See what I mean….we’re talking life altering stuff here!

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