Gary A. Stockton, Fields, Lee Ann
Have you ever thought about becoming a Master Gardener? Maybe you aren’t even sure what a Master Gardener is. Here is my own definition:
A Master Gardener is someone who loves nature, flowers, gardens, trees, fresh vegetables and has tons of fun learning about these things and then sharing that knowledge with others.
Master Gardeners love to grow things; we never tire of watching seeds germinate or making more plants from the ones we have in order to share with others. We never tire of talking about what we are growing, what we want to grow or have seen growing somewhere or even the plants we have killed. We are plant nerds.
Maybe you have seen us at one of our plant sales or seminars. Maybe your children or grandchildren participate in a school garden that is supervised by Master Gardeners. Maybe you have seen our pollinator and xeriscape teaching gardens at Lincoln Parish Park. Did you notice how much fun we were having? Recently a group of Master Gardening friends were discussing why we enjoy this group so much. We talked about how much knowledge we have gained from both the class and from our monthly meetings. We concluded that we have learned the most from each other, from listening and asking questions among ourselves. Someone mentioned the trips we have made to many wonderful conferences and gardens. One member said how she treasures the many passalong plants she has received from other members. I have enjoyed and learned so much from visiting the gardens of other members. But everyone agreed that the very best thing about Master Gardeners is the friends we have made with other plant nerds and gardening fanatics – people of all different ages and walks of life that we never would have connected with if not for sharing this common interest.
FYI, here is the LSU Ag Center definition of Master Gardening:
The Louisiana Master Gardener program is a service and educational activity offered by the Louisiana Cooperative Extension Service. The program is designed to recruit and train volunteers to help meet the educational needs of home gardeners while providing an enjoyable and worthwhile service experience for volunteers.
If you would like to be a part of this diverse group of plant nerds and garden fanatics, here is your chance. There will be a new Master Gardener class beginning August 23, 2017. The classes will meet on Wednesday afternoons for 11 weeks. In order to receive the coveted Master Gardener nametag, potential members must attend at least 80% of the classes, pass an open-book exam, and volunteer for 40 hours. The classes, taught by LSU Ag Center employees and local Master Gardeners, cover such topics as soils, trees, pests and vegetables. Fortunately you won’t have to remember all that information – each student is given a huge loose-leaf handbook full of the information presented.
Cost of registration is $150 and includes a handbook. A discount of $25 is offered to those registering by July 21. For more information or to register, please call the Lincoln Parish LSU Ag Center at (318) 251-5134.