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Who do you call if you have a question like “When do I prune my roses?” While many of you are probably familiar with the Master Gardener Program in your area; how many of you know what they actually do?
Master Gardeners are required to take a 16-week class which focuses on the key principals of sustainable gardening in addition to completing a community project. After graduation, Master Gardeners are expected to volunteer 40 hours of their time each year to be considered active in the program.
A Master Gardener is first and foremost a volunteer. In exchange for horticulture training, they provide volunteer time to reach out to communities and educate other interested gardeners. A large number of residents in this area are not local. Many come from up North where the temperatures and climate are different.
Brunswick County has many soil types and the pH can vary greatly, even within the same yard. That is why it is so important to educate newcomers about the challenges of this gardening environment. Without the proper knowledge someone could waste a great deal of money on their landscape.
This year a new program was introduced through the North Carolina Cooperative Extension service called A Day in the Yard. This is a six-week program that is an abbreviated Master Gardener class but without the volunteer commitment. It is a mobile program that can be introduced to your community provided you have at least 15 participants.
The best element to this program is it is taught by the Brunswick County Master Gardeners. This is another way that they give back to the community and spread their knowledge throughout the county. This program has been extremely successful.
Another program that the Master Gardeners are involved in is the Restitution Program. This program was developed to help children who have committed a crime, pay off their debt to society. Almost every Saturday Master Gardeners along with the program director, work with the children, teaching them about plants and how to maintain them. They have planted trees, propagated shrubs and perennials and even planted tomato seeds.
Many of our Master Gardeners prefer to work within the schools with our Junior Master Gardeners. They go into the classrooms and plant seeds or teach small lessons on plant production. They have developed school nature trails and planted gardens for the students to enjoy and observe.
Some volunteers prefer to work with the North Carolina 4-H Horticulture Contest. This is a fun challenging and rewarding competition that encourages youth to learn all about plants, how they grow and develop and how to identify and judge them for quality.
The Master Gardeners are a support arm for Brunswick County residents to use when they encounter a gardening question or problem, need help planning a landscape or need training or consultation for any lawn, pest or gardening issue.