Johnny Morgan | 10/3/2017 8:42:43 PM
(10/03/17) HAMMOND, La. — Master Gardeners from around Louisiana were shown how much value they add to LSU AgCenter programs during an appreciation event at theAgCenter Hammond Research Station on Sept. 29.
More than 200 Master Gardeners attended the Master Gardener Appreciation Day event, which allowed members to get together and view many of the plants they’ve learned about during their training as well as visit with experts and hear horticulture presentations.
Activities included a presentation by retired LSU AgCenter horticulturist Allen Owings, who discussed recent ornamental plant introductions in the state and shared some of the accomplishments of Master Gardeners in the state over the past few years.
The other speaker was Pat Drackett, Mississippi State University assistant extension professor and director of Crosby Arboretum in Picayune, Mississippi.
Drackett discussed the research that she has been conducting over the past two and a half years on native milkweed species.
“Since milkweed is the only host plant of the monarch butterfly, many gardeners are interested in gaining knowledge on this plant since there has been a decline in the butterfly’s population over the past five or so years,” she said.
The program also included contests, such as “Name that Weed” and “What’s Wrong with This Plant?” with contest winners receiving plants as prizes.
Master Gardeners assist in educating the public about commercial and consumer horticultural items, said Rogers Leonard, LSU AgCenter associate vice president and program leader for plants, soils and ag water resources.
“The Master Gardener Associations across the state are really an extension of our extension service,” he said. “This event was designed to express our appreciation and showcase one of our favorite stations here at Hammond.”
State Master Gardener Coordinator Sara Shields said the appreciation event was started several years ago as a way to show how important their work is to the AgCenter and the people of Louisiana.
During the daylong event, informational tents were manned by AgCenter specialists to answer horticulture questions for the Master Gardeners.
AgCenter entomologist Dennis Ring and other specialists were on hand to discuss general entomology and other topics of interest to the group.
Ring said he and the other specialists are a resource the Master Gardeners can use to help them in their work.
“I’ll be speaking with them about insects on different plants that they are going to grow,” he said. “So I’m a source for them on what is the insect and how do you manage it.”
Shields said Louisiana has more than 2,500 active Master Gardeners now in the state.
Louisiana state Master Gardener coordinator Sara Shields, right, shared a light moment with Master Gardeners during the Louisiana Master Gardener Appreciation Day at the LSU AgCenter Hammond Research Station on Sept. 29. (Photo by Johnny Morgan, LSU AgCenter)
LSU AgCenter agent Henry Harrison discusses various plant diseases at the recent Louisiana Master Gardener Appreciation Day at the AgCenter Hammond Research Station on Sept. 29 (Photo by Johnny Morgan, LSU AgCenter)
Pat Drackett, Mississippi State University assistant extension professor and director of Crosby Arboretum in Picayune, Mississippi, talks about milkweed species for homeowners during the Louisiana Master Gardener Appreciation Day at the LSU AgCenter Hammond Research Station on Sept. 29. (Photo by Johnny Morgan, LSU AgCenter)
Jason Stagg, an instructor at the LSU AgCenter Hammond Research Station, leads a tour of the olive and tea research areas during the Louisiana Master Gardener Appreciation Day at the LSU AgCenter Hammond Research Station on Sept. 29. (Photo by Johnny Morgan, LSU AgCenter)