News Release Distributed 05/10/07
SHREVEPORT – The Northwest Louisiana Master Gardener Association has completed the first phase of a project to enhance the gardens at the Randle T. Moore Center, a majestic home built in the 1920s that now is a senior citizens center. They showed off their work at an open house May 9.
“The Master Gardener program is one of our most popular programs,” said Dr. Paul Coreil, LSU AgCenter vice chancellor and director of the Louisiana Cooperative Extension Service. “We have waiting lists all over the state.”
The Moore Center is just one project this gardening association has tackled since it was established in 2000. Others include the Pioneer Heritage Center Gardens at LSU Shreveport, Schumpert Conservatory, the gardens at the Louisiana State Exhibit Museum and Bossier City Liberty Garden.
Shelly Ragle-Stone, director of Shreveport Parks and Recreation, said the partnership with the Master Gardeners was a culmination of talent, resources and money.
“This is a beautiful addition to this part of town and the city,” she said of the Moore garden.
Phase II of the public gardens at the Moore center will include a butterfly, vegetable and cutting garden, said Denyse Cummins, LSU AgCenter horticulture agent and the coordinator of the Master Gardener program in Shreveport. Goals for next year include the installation of a greenhouse at Moore to use in Master Gardener classes and share with the Council on Aging.
In 2004, David Helms, Master Gardener president at the time, and representatives from the LSU AgCenter and the city began talks to renovate the Carriage House on the Moore property for an office for the Master Gardeners and the LSU AgCenter horticulture program. Two years later the facility was completed, and the first phase of the landscape project began.
Currently, 185 Master Gardeners serve the Northwest Louisiana region, Cummins said.
The Northwest Louisiana Master Gardener Association was organized in 2000 with the help of retired area horticulture agent Dr. Joe White to support the LSU AgCenter in disseminating research-based gardening information.
Since 1998, more than 450 individuals have been certified as Master Gardeners in Northwest Louisiana. In the Master Gardener program, people are trained in gardening and horticulture skills by LSU AgCenter faculty. In exchange for the free training, they must volunteer hours of community service to help Louisiana citizens with gardening and landscaping projects.
Northwest Louisiana Master Gardener activities include the World of Gardening Seminar with four free lectures presented to the public annually and a hotline, (318) 698-0010, for gardeners to call with questions.
In addition, the Master Gardeners publish a free monthly newsletter called “The Seedling” and offer a spring tour of area gardens and an April plant sale.
Contact: Denyse Cummins at (318) 698-0010, or email@example.com
Writer: Mary Ann Van Osdell at (318) 741-7430, ext. 1104, or firstname.lastname@example.org