Overview of Programs – Ascension Parish

Mariah Simoneaux, Shields, Sara Rogers

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Ascension Master Gardener Association

Library Series

The Library Series is the longest running educational program of the Ascension Master Gardeners. Two series are held each year, one in spring and another in the fall. Each series consists of four workshops held over several weeks covering a variety of horticulture related topics. The Ascension Master Gardner Association partners with the Ascension Parish Library to schedule the workshops at the different branches throughout the parish. The final workshop of each series includes an old-fashioned plant swap, where there are often over 1,000 plants given away.

A group of people attending the plant swap.

The plant swap is a favorite event of Ascension Master Gardeners and community members.

School Gardens

School gardens throughout Ascension Parish are maintained with help from the Ascension Master Gardener Association. The school garden program took off in 2015 after the LSU AgCenter and Ascension Parish School Board received a $30,000 grant to install gardens at 13 primary and middle schools. Since then, the Ascension Parish 4-H Foundation has received additional grant funds to continue school garden programming in the parish. Activities conducted by this committee include a fall teacher workshop, plant and seed distributions, raised bed maintenance, and irrigation repair.

Students, teacher and volunteers at the Oak Grove School Garden.

Students, teachers, and volunteers gather to work in the school garden at Oak Grove Primary School.

Bluebird Trail

Ascension Master Gardeners installed a trail of eight bluebird boxes at the Lamar Dixon Recreational Park in the Fall of 2019. Many of the Master Gardeners have an interest in birds and wildlife in addition to gardening. The trail is monitored and maintained by a committee of Ascension Master Gardeners throughout the year. Breeding statistics are reported to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s NestWatch Program, which is used to collect data to improve the understanding of birds and wildlife through research, education, and citizen science.

A group of people walking on the Bluebird Trail.

Bluebird committee members teach fellow bird enthusiasts how to check and monitor bluebird boxes.

Demonstration Gardens

Demonstration gardens are maintained by Ascension Master Gardeners on the grounds of the Lamar Dixon Expo Center in Gonzales. Ornamental beds located at the front entrance of the complex feature perennial and annual Louisiana Super Plants. A vegetable garden composed of 11 raised beds and a fruit orchard are located nearby. Ascension Master Gardeners utilize the gardens for educational programming throughout the year.

A group of 3 people standing in the demo garden.

Citrus pruning demonstrations are a popular educational event in the demonstration garden.

Kidz Kove Discovery Park

Kidz Kove Discovery Park is an “all access” playground in the City of Gonzales which is utilized by children throughout Ascension Parish and the surrounding area. Ascension Master Gardeners maintain an ornamental bed located at the park. The bed requires regular weeding and mulching, and plants are added and removed according to the seasons. Ascension Master Gardeners take pride in the park’s beautification as it is a unique and wonderful addition to the community.

A group of four Ascension Master Gardeners at the Kidz Kove Discovery Park.

Ascension Master Gardeners are all smiles after cleaning up the flower bed at Kidz Kove.

River Parishes Master Gardener Seminar

The first River Parishes Master Gardener Seminar was held in September of 2022. Ascension Master Gardeners hosted the seminar to encourage idea sharing amongst Master Gardener Associations in the Southeast Region of the state. They also wished to provide an entertaining and educational experience to gardening enthusiasts. While the seminar was tailored to Master Gardeners, it was also open to the public. It is the hope of the Ascension Master Gardener Association that the seminar will become a biannual event, the next one tentatively scheduled for the fall of 2024.

Ascension Master Gardener volunteers welcome guests as they enter the seminar.

Ascension Master Gardener volunteers welcome guests as they enter the seminar.

6/29/2023 1:14:40 PM
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