Monday, December 10, 2007

What is a 'master gardener' anyway?

I received my acceptance letter into the Master Gardeners program a few days ago. My first class starts in mid January. I've been trying to do this for years but have had work schedule conflicts which prevented me signing up. So now I'm asking myself, "What exactly is a master gardener?" I know I take classes and probably get a piece of paper in the end saying that I'm a certified one. I must then contribute 40 hours of community service, possibly answering people's questions on the telephone at my county's extension office or perhaps working on a landscaping project. And I hear that there may be field trips - that sounds fun! The thought though of being a "master" at anything is kind of unsettling to me. Sure I love to dispense advice on my web site and blog about gardening related matters but I get nervous when people start looking me up expecting the ultimate answer on what is corrupting their tomatoes or blemishing their dahlias. Maybe I will have all these answers after I take the courses (I doubt it though, my comprehension and retention levels are not that great). If anything, it will be nice to have a "connection" with my local gardening community and since I do serve on my local Beautification Board, the designation might be nice. And, I'm sure that I'll learn some new things about plants. I will probably be sharing what I learn here. It should be interesting...

9 comments:

  1. Congratulations on taking that first step toward certification. I took the MG course about 15 years ago and was a bit surprised on how much useful information I learned. I am pretty sure you will enjoy the experience. I liked the question answering part as people were calling in with some tough 'real world' garden problems. If I didn't know the answer I would say "I'll get back to you" and do some research on the problem/question. This enhanced what I gleaned from the course.

    Good Luck!

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  2. You will love it! I don't feel much like a "Master" but I really enjoy the heck out of the MGs. The best part to me was all the people I've met. And judging from the meeting that was up in your area, the people there are very nice too.

    I work our hotline sometimes and you don't have to know everything... they have every reference book you could imagine.

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  3. Another MG here. I love working the helpline because I learn so much looking up the answers to callers' questions. And when the phones aren't ringing, I get to read, either books in the MG library or Fact Sheets as I file them.

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  4. Congrats on the decision to become a Master Gardener. I hope to walk the same path one day. I want to start off by telling you that your garden is absolutely wonderful! I looked at most all the pictures on the ‘A Southern Garden’ site. We are just starting our garden and what you have is what we hope to one day achieve. I read somewhere on your page that your first mistake was trying to do everything at once. I got a chuckle out of that, because I’ve been guilty of the same thing this year. I’m forty so I feel like I’m getting a late start on this whole gardening thing. We have busted our butts to get done what we did this year. I’m going to share your site with my partner and we’ll study your ideas and hopefully they will flip a switch and a couple of lights will go on for us. I look forward to enjoying your blog in the months to come.

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  5. I would love to take the MG course, but it will have to wait until I retire and have more free time on my hands. Good luck

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  6. Phillip, I too want to take the MG program one of these years. Finding the time for me would be hard. Also don't let you head get too big when you are done. We have a couple of MG in our garden club and they think their stuff don't stink! I can't imagine you getting that way. Good Luck!!! You will go great!!

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  7. Congrats on doing the MG course. I took the Texas course last year and loved it. For a gardening enthusiast, it's like drinking from a firehose! You come out of the sessions just teeming with thoughts and ideas. And I really enjoy working our phone desk, I learn something new every time. And I definitely don't know the answers right when they call but it's really fun to research, call them back and let them know the solution or more ideas.
    Have a great time, can't wait to hear your thoughts. I'll keep watching your blog!

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  8. When I took the course, I and others in class were a bit concened that we would not be able to help others, because the more we learned, the more we realized we didn't know. The horticulturist leading the discussion told us to remember that although we wouldn't know everything, we would know more than 90 percent of population about garden related issues, and that gave us confidence to work the phones and serve as MG Ambassadors. He was right!
    Good luck in your MG endeavor.
    Aiyana

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  9. I've wanted to do this too, so I can't wait to see how it goes for you. Good luck and have fun!

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