Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Why a Master Gardener Program?

I must admit that I have never heard of the Johnson County Extension Office - or maybe I have but never really understood who they were and what they did and quite frankly I am still confused.

But, tina at In the Garden, mentioned that I should look into it - and so the internet search began. Which, I must say, the Master Gardener Program and the local extension offices really lack a presence on the web. It took me a good while to find them and what I did find wasn't too entirely helpful. Maybe I am just a techie who relies way too much on the internet for all my information, but honestly if I can't Google it than I generally have no idea about it.

And this Master Gardener Program - what is it and why would someone want to be a Master Gardener? Is it for personal use or more for people who own greenhouses and nurseries where they sell plants to the public? Why would I want to pay $100 and go through all the fuss to become a Master Gardener?

Someone do fill me in on what I am missing here.


tina said...

Trust me, you WANT to do this. I have done some posts on the master gardeners here. Now we in this county have a very active program. About 50-60 gardeners show up each month for the meetings. Well worth it for the opportunity to meet master gardeners and exchange plants and meet new friends and visit other gardens and I could go on and on. But I am short on time. I have a field trip today then garden club tonight. The initial $100 is pretty cheap for the education and materials. Yes, you have to volunteer, but blog hours count! As do many other things you probably already do. After 10 years of being current, you are a lifetime master gardener and no longer have the hour requirement. Just $20 annual dues. Our group does community projects, sponsors garden tours and gives scholarships to deserving teens. This year a total of 6 of I think $600 a piece. All volunteer run but an organization that is diverse and fun. Also, good monthly programs so you can always learn and our group is taking a bus trip to Don Shadows nursery next month. Lotsa fun. Need I go on? Check out the posts under master gardeners and master gardening winter training if you need more info. Each state is different and each county different, but the group is what the members make it. Do you need to do it? No, probably not. If you are already a very experienced gardener, but it can't hurt to have some formal training. I like doing it and initially went thru the program in Alabama in 1997. I transferred up here, owing in part to my blog and my articles. I am so glad I did. Garden clubs are fun (we are all going to a refuge today), but more a social thing than gardening. Try it! Did I warn you I am a bit wordy??

prairievisiondesign : handmade said...

If you're not already going, you should attend the IMA's annual perennial sale which is today through Sat. It is the best for interesting plants and garden accessories (a good place for ideas, too).

Babs said...

I know Marion County has tons of stuff on the web. You can even access the readings they use for class.

I've been watching their class schedules for about a year hoping they will finally offer a class on days/times when I would actually be able to attend. So far no luck.

I think it's more for personal enjoyment, wanting to expand you own knowledge. But it's also about giving back to the community. After the classroom portion you have to do some gardening 'service hours' before you're officially a master gardener.

Carol said...

Why not? If you are new to gardening or just unsure of yourself or have a lot of questions when you are out planting, I think the Master Gardeners program would fill in the gaps for you.

As Babs noted, the classes aren't always at the most convenient times for 9-5 M-F working people, but if it fits your schedule, I'd do it. You'd meet some people who love to garden, that's for sure.

Carol, May Dreams Gardens

SuzyQ said...

Hmm. Thank you, everyone the for the great answers to my question! You have all inspired me to continue looking into the program as something I may possibly want to pursue in the near future. Having never really heard of the program I was skeptical of its purpose and benefits - but everyone has such great things to say about it!

Tina - thank you for the vast amount of info about the program - the blog hours make the volunteering aspect of the program a little less threatening for me. And it would be exciting to meet other gardeners in this area.

PrarieVision - thank you for the tip about the IMA sale - I hadn't heard about it - I will have to try to check it out today!

Babs - thank you for the link. I was getting quick exasperated at the lack of info I was finding.

Carol - yes, I think the program would definitely be beneficial to me. Especially since I am new to gardening - it would give me an edge I think I need.

You all are marvelous - thank you for the input and support!

MrsWebster said...

Have you attended? I googled the subject and found you. ;) An update?

Stacy said...

I wish! The classes are held during my work hours. :( And this summer in particular I was growing more than a garden...our first was born Oct 5! :) But it is still something that I very much want to do!