The course this year was taught in mid-afternoon. I guess they're trying to turn it into a retirement club, because they apparently don't want working folk. Someone said they alternate between afternoons and evenings, but who could come in the afternoons that can't come in the evenings?
The local Master Gardener's in my area also only offers the program during the day, so my full time work schedule makes this problematic until retirement. However, they have evening seminars once a month that are open to everybody. I've been going to those whenever I have a chance - they are great. So many experts, so many topics!!! Terri
I like rentman's answer. I'm just happy that I grow enough veggies to feed us through the winter. Trying to add the scientific names to every thing would be way too much information for me to digest. I'll leave that for my great grandchildren.
I do not plan on becoming a Master Gardener for several reasons.
I have met and have many friends that are MG's and feel that I know more than they do from what I have learned here at DG.
I can also spend my extra time working here in my garden or in my families gardens, and still learn more from all these wonderful knowledgeable people here at DG.
I've made several attempts, starting with Yolo county, CA, thinking that the brains from UCDavis would rub off but not so much for me. But just as Schickenlady observed, there is a whole big heap of words to learn and I just didn't focus.
Moved to New England, total culture shock! I spent 4 years trying to grow okra...made a pest of myself at the Extentsion office but always came across as a southern gardener in denial. I'd show up at the local bait shops and ask for the crickets. I'm fairly certain that those Yankee boys sent me around to the other bait shops just for laughs.
Transferred to Texas, it is the same thing, I made a few attempts but all the Latin is Greek to me. Having gardened from coast to coast I have learned that to be able to ID a plant by the botanical name is truely helpful if you think you want to give a fellow gardener advice. Besides, this week I want to become a Texas Master Naturalist...and a rockin' guitar player...and a tig welder...what did I say about focus...???
I don't see a point to it myself since I am only doing this for a hooby for retirement. I do love the gardening but only for myself and some friends. I have learnt enough here on DG that I could call myslef a master LOL.
I see master gardening as an education that you obtain and give back in the community as service. Have always seen it as a way to give the gift of gardening and its beauty to others in the community through that service.
The Master Gardener program, at least the one in Missouri, is run by the state university extension program. It is an educational program of several weeks, covering many aspects of gardening, none of which to my knowledge involve memorizing botanical names. The appealing part of the program to me is that our group does a tremendous amount of community support, by teaching gardening and landscaping classes, contributing to the local food bank, and maintaining several demonstration gardens throughout the county. It also appears to be a good way to socialize with like minded folks.
jeffinsgf describes what I am interested in when I move to Brunswick GA. I am retired and think this would be an excellent opportunity to meet new folks with the same interest that I have in gardening. Also, it will teach me the types of plants to grow in a new zone in the coastal south. I would love in some small way to do something to enhance the beauty of the community. God gave us so many beautiful things and I would love to give something back.
What I like best about being a Master Gardener is mentoring the trainees and working the office hotline. I have been exposed to many more weeds, seeds, insects and diseases than I would have had the opportunity to see in just my own garden. I offer garden design consultation as my private sideline, so this exposure keeps me up to date on what I might see in my clients' gardens. The office has a large reference library and a microscope. If we get stumped we can call on the experts at the main office in Storrs (U Conn. cooperative extension head office) and also the folks at the CT agricultural experiment station. I guess you really have to enjoy this kind of sleuthing and problem solving. Besides, I can go on about gardening issues with fellow gardeners and clients without worrying about boring anyone.
Nice statement jeffinsgf. Mostly I think there is benefit in understanding what you're doing. I'm more successful when that is the case. My FIL and MIL are big in the Master Gardener program in Lubbock, TX. Like many others here, I would have pursued it but I have to earn money afternoons.
Our program and jeffinsgf's is very similar. Not much on Latin names and more about gardening. There has been a good trend in recent years to get away from the old idea of dousing everything with chemicals, and instead, looking at one's garden as a living entity. I like that much better.
Our MG program does not emphasize 'knowing it all', but rather, 'knowing where to go to get the information'. A lot of my information comes from DG!
The best part of the program is the community service. We give back to the community by maintaining demonstration gardens, volunteering at the Arkansas Flower and Garden Show (this past weekend), and providing Q&A booths at the local farmers market and other venues. It's a rewarding experience and a great way to meet nice people with like interests.
Obviously, I love to mingle with other gardeners and learn as much as I can from them. I don't know how much emphasis, if any, is placed on the botanical names, but I do know there is a requirement for a number of volunteer hours as part of our MG program. That and the additional knowledge is what inspires me to make this a top priority in the next couple of years.
DG is a most fantastic resource and I can't begin to recite all I have learned from it, but I want that designation for my own satisfaction. Call it ego, call it pride, call it selfishness, vanity, whatever. I want it!
I know I will never find a group of gardeners as wonderful, caring and sharing as this group on DG!
I am a Pasco County Florida (West Central) master gardener. I've been a gardener most of my life, but since becoming certified, I share the knowledge with a vast number of people and propagate plants for sharing and sales to benefit both the local MG's and many charities via two local garden clubs. I love it and would urge anyone who has the time to take the courses offered by your local extention offices.
I enjoy being a member of my Master Gardener volunteer group. Our main purpose is to help our extension agents disperse university-based research information to the public. We, along with the agents, help to dispel lots of myths and gardening misinformation. We teach the best and most environmentally friendly gardening and landscape practices for our state and area. Along the way, we become better gardeners ourselves.
Incidentally, most of my Master Gardener friends know very little about botanical nomenclature. That's not a required part of the curriculum--thank goodness! I've learned more about scientific names through National Garden Clubs and participating in flower shows than I did through the MG program.
Unfortunately the MGs I have met up with - with exceptions - are just "too good to be true", unsociable and very much into themselves. Make a mistake in pronunciation, whatever - they don't try to help but just laugh at you! I just stay out of their way. I can learn w/o being patronized or not learn - whatever I choose - I don't need someone being "unhelpful" or whatever. I'll make my mistakes and if I choose to laugh at it I will but I don't like someone who fancies themselves as more "learned" starting the laughter. I hobby-garden. I'm happy w/my successes and not too distressed at my failures. I don't need a MG to talk down to me.
Ann - I refer to those as "snobs" or "holier than thou". Sadly they are out there. I have experienced that myself. That's why I'm here at Dave's. ☺We don't really have to deal with "those" people very much.
Ann: I think those people are garden snobs, not what I envision a true MG to be. Most gardeners are enthusiastic people who love gardens and gardening and are eager to learn from and share with other gardeners their mistakes and their successes. The people you mention are probably snobbish in other areas as well, not those I would seek out at all! They're not worth wasting time or thought on.
I went through the training in Jefferson County, Colorado (near Denver) in the mid-80s. I loved learning all the things I thought I knew. We had a wonderful professor, Whitney Cranshaw, teach us about insects and integrated pest management. Staffing the MG office at the local extension service taught me even more. Then I moved to Chicago and haven't taken it up again since, but I'm the better for it. DG is just frosting on the cake. I still have my MG patch and my certificate on the bulletin board next to my desk. It was a wonderful experience that I wouldn't trade for anything. Would I do it again? In a heartbeat.
I'll chime in that when I go to the monthly evening seminars that are open to everybody, the MG's there are friendly, enthusiastic, and go out of their way to make non MG's welcome. They also do the community service that is mentioned in several of the posts, and are always willing to answer questions. I look forward to the first Thursday evening of every month as a fun social advent - in fact, March's seminar is this week! Topic is native wildflowers, and speaker is a horticulturist from one of the regional public gardens. Should be interesting ... terri
For years I prided myself in knowing more about plants and flowers than all of my friends.But since discovering DG,I have learned I am quite the NOVICE! I feel like I have gone back to school,and actually like it this time.Everyday I call my momma and say ,you know what I learned today!! Even though my husband thinks I really need help,I am quite obsessed,and this cold weather dragging on is driving me insane.Thank you for being the cheapest college I could of ever found.
I LOVED Master Gardener Classes. Like many people here at Dave's i was a hobby gardener.
i had losses and successes but for me I never knew why.
This course gives you the science , the University trials, the university Knowledge. you are trained ( or at least in Michigan ) by Horticultural agents in many fields of farming, lawn, fruit, insects, soil, composting, pruning, etc...
Dave's is invaluable as many here know. Dave's gardeners share all of this information.
And i dare say there are people here who are as good and better !
However, I LOVED every minute of my cold January, Feb., March and April immersed in the science
of growing! it was a gift to myself to fill myself up for once day and night with information and PEOPLE who shared my passion!! Now i turn to Dave's for that same feeling and comrodery.
I would do it all over again. i gained many friends and I had some of the best "Beer & Wine Garden Tours"
Where some of my class mates and I got together to see each others places and share some fun!!
But then again you can't give me enough plants or books or conversation about plants in the cold winters!!
It's too bad that some of you have encountered snobby MG groups in your areas. I think most are not that way.
Both Magnolialover and Jeffinsgf (and others) described the program's intent perfectly.
Each program is conducted differently but in mine there were no closed book tests and no hard words to memorize. There were certainly a lot of big words thrown at me during the classes and my eyes glazed over more than once, but it was a lot of fun nevertheless.
The MG program is for people who like to volunteer. Which is not for everyone, obviously. We don't all have the inclination nor the time.
Washington State was the first MG program in the country and we are in danger of losing it due to budget cuts. Well, we would lose all the WSU funding and support - my guess is that some sort of program would continue with 100% volunteers, but that would be difficult and the program would certainly not be the same. So we're hoping the state feels the program is important enough not to cut it.
No, nor do I plan to attain the designation.
I don't see anything wrong if someone wants to become one, I just don't find it necessary to enjoy my gardening hobby. Personally, I value experience much more than titles or certificates. Sometimes I suspect that such titles are merely platforms for becoming pretentious, since after 30yrs of gardening I have found that there is no such thing as a 'Master Gardener'. The wealth of information in libraries and the internet and the kind advice of fellow gardeners experienced in problems & questions I have faced have always sufficed. In short, the title is unimportant & unimpressive to me.
It is definitely geared toward retired people or a stay at home Moms who have babysitting support because you can't bring your children to anything, even things that could be child friendly. Plus if your time is limited, it can be difficult to get that time slot you need because there is competition for those hours.
"Master Gardener" is a misnomer and many people on the forums are more knowledgeable than those that participate in the MG programs. Not all MG's are true plant geeks who prefer lurking on gardening forums to watching TV. However, you really won't get the diagnosing experience on a forum that you do while working a hotline. Some problems I have come across while working the hotline (or in my yard for that matter) I have never come across on forums. Having samples and microscopes is a whole new level. Really - microscopes ROCK!
It isn't all about botanical names but that is still part of it. Plants come in that need an ID. Not just plants but bugs, fungus, molds and animal damage. Then questions come in that might not be your area of interest - like lawns which I couldn't care less about. Now I'm forced to know something. Some MG's will have answers at the tip of their tongue but mostly the answers are researched and many times, the problem is not evident with what is given. Even if you do know the problem, all recommendations have to be endorsed by the University. You are not suppose to tell callers to sink a cup of beer in the ground to get rid of slugs because the University maintains that will attract them (but it worked for me). You have to be very careful when recommending chemical controls.
Helpline aside, there are other things. This year, I helped install a raingarden. There are those that work with horticultural therapy, those that write articles for the newsletter, maintain the library and members who host garden tours and swaps. Yes, there are always dominate types who like to be the most knowledgeable but I respect that and still enjoy them. I have overheard incorrect information given out by others and there are problems I have difficulty solving and wish I could post a photo on the forums (or wished I even had a photo of the problem in the first place). All in all, it is a wonderful way to meet friendly, like-minded people. Our extension center has been lucky that way.
Just finished my certification last month, and have a full time job. I burned some vacation time taking the classes in the afternoon (once a week) but it was well worth it. The focus is training a volunteer task force to help the extenion offices cover the increased number of gardeners (including lawncare) in the community above and beyond the farmers making use of the extension office information. I've met some great people through volunteering in the program, a couple of them in my own neighborhood.
Well, I am very glad that this discussion was started. I had been wondering just what a "Master Gardener" was when at home. This has given me a better idea. Sounds kind of fun, if you have the time available, but it's all I can do to get my seeds started and tended to!
People who can go to day classes and not night classes are frequently night/evening shift workers and people who can't see to drive at night and that is not always age related (smile). I missed out on many classes back when I worked the evening and night shifts. That said, I have a crazy rotating schedule and I won't be able to take the classes either until I retire.
I was working at a local garden center, and they offered a bonus for those of us who went through the "Certified Nursery Professional" program (may be something local) and I did that instead of the MG program. The Master Gardener program just didn't seem to be set up for the nursery worker. More of a volunteer program to assist in gardening education. I just don't have the hours to give to volunteer. But we have a very active group here locally, and they do some very nice work. Unfortunately, I've encountered those "I know more than you do" types, but certainly not all of them are like that.
Yes, Very active. I am a past president of our counties group. I would urge anyone who loves growing plants to join a master gardener group. No matter how much you think you know about growing plants, after joining the master gardeners you will know so much more. At one of our meetings there is over 2,000 years of gardening experience.
I became a certified Master Composter a number of years ago -- during that class some of the folks were also taking Master Gardener classes and they indicated most of what they had to learn was about which chemicals to use on which pests or plant diseases. Based on that I never felt inspired to pursue Master Gardener certification. Glad to hear from Melody that the classes are now more geared to the garden as a living system.
I also have to say, the whole "Master" thing to me is, well, a bit overblown. I no more believe I am a true master of the art, science, and skill of composting than I believe I have blue skin. I did learn a heck of a lot in that six weeks though and I am sure folks who take up Master Gardener training also learn a lot.
At this stage I am happy just to learn as I go and consider myself a perpetual novice at most things.
It's great to get as much information on gardening as we can get. I use the internet.
Live in a small town, $$ to drive to cities for classes. Love DG..Volunteer? Am redoing the garden of a historical church in town and doing a planter by post office. We HAVE to pick up our mail, no home delivery.
Plants to use?? Cannot throw out any plant that was planted at the church. This was planted by some family in town. Maybe just a plain ole green hosta that slugs like but I try to incorporate it into some kind of design. I don't want to be regimated by modern ideas or have to work through beaurocracy...am too old for that ...will be long buried before I could get those politicians to help in some way. Get volunteer plants from other gardeners.
I do buy perennials that will come back from roots and am trying to grow from seeds. Will also have a small vegetable garden behind the church for church lunches and to give to seniors walking by. I enjoy what I am doing and there are a lot of other just plain ole gardeners out there, swapping plants, sharring produce.
No need for MG. We have 'smiles' and a great feeling working in our gardens.
We have Certified Nursery Professionals in KY as well. It is a bit different than the MG course.
Our MG's are more community service oriented and focus on the helpline and community beautification. Our oldest graduate was 94 at the time and he proudly displayed a MG sign on his white fence by his drive. Ironically, he was thrown from a horse and passed shortly after that. (yes, thrown from a horse at 94. It was a cutting horse, as he was out rounding up his cattle. Tough old fella)
Folks come to me all the time for gardening advice--relatives, co-workers, neighbors, & church family; even the librarian! Since I'm so passionate about gardening, I guess that's why people come to me for advice. I'm seriously considering the Master Gardener program offered at Missouri Botanical Garden. I just don't know when I'll have the time, but it's on my list of things to do before I become compost.
School of Hard Knocks Gardener/farmers wife... no fancy degrees or badges here, just a case of a pair of chronically dirty hands, sore eyes from reading and a sore back achieved throughout the decades and the acreage, but if I have to count the 6 months I took vocational horticulture and floral training when I was a pup, well, yeah then, I guess, then there is a rather old certificate stuffed in a storage box someplace and up till now, no one has ever cared to see it or asked. Yup, same box the old highschool diploma is in that no one has ever asked to see either! Did a little Garden Club thing and 4-H as a kid, but all that was, like any other day was just another day of experience.
I still poke it in the dirt, fertilize and water it and if it grows it grows.. if it dont I start over...I dont try to make rocket science out of gardening!
I was a Master Gardener for seven years and retired at the end of 2008. Master Gardener programs are in every state and backed by University research. And all the good things that have been said are true. The programs vary from county to county and are very adaptable to the people who volunteer. I never had to learn latin names, had no interest in that or lawns. I ran the plant ID clinic for two years and worked in it twice a month. Loved it and learned so much and helped so many people. I was treasurer for four years and loved it and being on the board. I ran the plant sale for the last two years. Wonderful experience. Loved to go to the monthly meeting where we usually had a local expert that did a half hour class on what they loved. Meet many wonderful people (no snobs). We do a Garden Tour every year usually get seven local gardens to join in. Did my garden one year. Lost seven pounds getting it ready for the tour. We have an auction along with the 4-H once a year and split the proceeds. You can join the foundation and help with fund raising or writing grants and not be a Master Gardener. We do Country Living Workshops yearly. We have a Food Bank Garden at the Fairgrounds and give thousands of pounds of produce to the needy in our county. And we are a small county, Mason County in Washington state.
And the Master Gardener classes are going on-line. Mason County is having a class this September and it will be on-line for people who work.
We have also had children attend our classes, no problem. The Plant ID information is going on-line also. So it is a changing and growing program that is going through a hard time just like the rest of us. Hopefully it will survive.
I have heard that our Master Gardener's program here is very good. There are so many things I am interested in that being a Master Gardener isn't top of the list. Learning about my computer is more of a priority this summer.
I took the Master Gardener's class up to a point but then my life intervened and I didn't get to finish. It was very interesting and I would love to take it again from the top, but haven't had the chance. My problem is that I have enough trouble keeping up with my own place and I don't really want to spend time maintaining the community demonstration gardens as noble an effort as I think that is. Just selfish I guess.
I've been gardening for over 40 years now so I guess you could say that I am a Master Gardener. I learn as I go even though I have gone through college and earned my degree in Horticulture. I find that you can tell people what the problem is and how to fix it very easily but it never seems to sink in and they just keep going on doing what they were doing. Here where I live they have the Garden Walks in summer to show case those gardens that seem to make people just drool. Those people with those gardens are considered MG's. I just chuckle. I kindasorta gave up on trying to help people with their plants and gardens and I am just content to take care of what I have as best as I can. You could say that I got very disallusioned upon graduating from college. What they teach you and what is actually done are two different things.
Planter56.. seems like those garden walks showcase those who just plain and simple have money to pay Chemlawn...I would like to see them try doing it organically and really get some blisters on the facts.
Most people can buy plants at a Nursery (or Home Depot), plant them with some mixed in compost and some fertilizer, water, and get flowers for a season. New season, new plants, don't buy the one that died last year. Nice if you want to enjoy flowers with little investment in time and learning. Not so much worth a showcase. Sometimes the president of the local gardening club does it that way ...
Do you really think so? I have never belonged to a Garden Club, but the Garden Club Presidents I have known have been absolutely nutty about gardening. Not that I have known a whole lot of them, but the outgoing President of our current iris society is also the President of a Garden Club and won a price for arranging roses and he and his wife are definitely skilled gardeners.
I also lived next door to another one some years ago. I bought the house and proceeded to remove a scraggly pine tree outside my kitchen door and got reamed out because apparently she had been using its branches for Christmas flower arrangements for 20 years. How was I supposed to know?
I got the feeling that she took, at least the growing part, very seriously.
That is certainly the way it should be and probably is more often. I have observed one of the Albuquerque clubs that was more socially driven than plant driven. I've also seen people who do incredible things that are worth stopping for a look and a tour if you are lucky.
Hope I didn't come on too strong on MG, just that some like to quote latin names of plants and think 'thats' it' ( a real 'turn off'' to gardeners, if we want the latin name we will ask for it ). Also those who think a MG 'has to' and usually 'has to' do all the work on community projects. Community is supposed to be 'all' in the community not just the MG.
Our garden club is run by newbies who like to plant in planters and replace plants every year...usually forget to water and fertilize these planters...and look at you like 'duh' water ?? fertilizer ??
I love doing the projects I choose and not have to answer to others that would actually delay or eliminate these projects.
Well meaning advise is always appreciated and helpful.
That is why I love DG...
please do not take this wrong but Latin names ARE Very important to identify a plant.
Many plants have regional names and can't be found or identified by those names "money plant",
"poached egg" plant. But given the Latin name it can be identified every time!
Using Latin to identify is NOT a snub or snobbery it is necessary for identification.
This is one of the things you learn in MGS. I never knew of it's importance either. We have people here at Dave's from other countries...You would have to use the Latin name so anyone of a different language would be able to find the same plant! Believe me we were not taught Latin , only taught to respect its use
and to understand why it is used. And thankfully for me too it is not always necessary when speaking with
friends in you own yard and garden!
Latin names are important, but making them a matter of serious work and moral obligation doesn't fit in a hobby for enjoyment. The names are a matter of communication. Sometimes I think the common names are more stable as botanists keep re-deciding on the classification and re-doing the Latin. I've done enough searches online where I had to use the "old" latin name as well as the "new" latin name to find what I was after. So much for concise, accurate communication. Sometimes I wish that once given, the Latin name cannot be changed - even if somebody decides later that it is incorrect.
DH signed me up with the county extension 2 years ago. I went to the classes all the way through passed that with one wrong answer (actually I think the answer should have held personal likes & dislikes but who am I?) and a couple volunteer jobs but the volunteering hours would have not gone along with my personal schedules of house, DGD, and 17 of my own gardens to tend. There just wasn't enough time in the day.
DH was fine with MG it was when he realized it was MGV 'Master gardener Volunteer' he said heck with that I want you to get PAID!!!!
I am an MG, and I am surprised on peoples opinions and comments about the program. I am guessing each group must be wildly different as are people.
The one thing I have learned from the program is what little I know about gardening after all these years.
It has given me the chance to take classes on gardening that I never even knew existed before and given me the chance to make friends with people in my community that have the same interest.
About 1/2 of our group works and 1/2 of our group doesn't. Our ages swing from 20's to 70's, single, married, come alone and come with spouses.
As far as knowing botanical name of plants as much as I would like to know them I don't. I do volunteer hours in our community and love it, along with a full time job outside the home, my own gardens, family and other activities. Gardening is gardening and I love it no matter where I am playing or talking about it.
We have a great blend of gardeners who seem to have their own special interest from, strict organic, herbs, ornamental grasses, native plants, tropical plants (in zone 5), small gardens, huge gardens, truck gardener, and even someone whose nicname is chemical man. What more could you ask for!
I've looked into the program but don't have all the time necessary to devote to it right now.
Our local program also offers the classes, alternating between day and evening classes, every other year. One can pay for the classes or one can take the classes with a promise to volunteer time throughout the year. I believe that 50 hours needs to be volunteered to fulfill the promise. If 50 hours are not volunteered, full payment for the class is required (If I'm not mistaken, this is a U of MN college class so regular tuition rates apply.) Once I'm closer to retirement (if ever) I'd like to go through the program.
It has been a dream of mine for a while now. I even thought about taking a Latin course so I would be better prepared. I do have knowledge of some Latin terminology because of my medical background. I even taught the Medical Office Administration course for a period of time. It was saturated with Latin terminology.
Since I am true to my user name, I will make the plunge one of of these days. I wonder if my brain is still usable since it seems to leak out so much information at an alarming rate. No better way to find out than to try.
I do appreciate all the help I get from so many knowledgeable people here in DG whether they are MGs or not.
Elaine (and Otis), you probably don't need a Latin class. If you use the names over and over again, the common ones will stick in your mind. Like sanseveria, i.e. Mother-In-Law's Tongue, or impatiens, i.e. Busy Lizzie. Or as I learned a few years ago here on DG, ipomoea, i.e. Morning Glory. There are sub names too. You'll catch on. Do take the class. You'll love it!
I had to add in that the Latin names are important if you are trying to identify a plant or to find it's relatives. It is a kind of " clue " that can be helpful, as are the common names. It can help when you are looking at a plant in a foreign country because the Latin is a common language. It is an amazing system!
I got a wonderful package of various seeds sent to me for wintersowing and most of the names were in Latin. It was work researching them in PlantFiles but I learned a lot. And, as said above, the repetition makes it stick in the brain. I loved the fact that I started to recognize certain plants by their Latin name. It was a labor of love for me.
Reminds me of the saying - How do you eat an elephant? Answer - One bite at a time.
You know, I use the kind of names the people around me use. If everybody around me is using common names, I use common names. If everybody around me is using latin names, I use latin names. At the moment, most of the people I talk to about gardening use common names so I am a little rusty on latin. But actually, I really don't care which I use.
Very unimpressed with what I've been able to dig up on WSU's Master Gardener program. Not only are all of the classes 4 hours per day in the middle of the work day, the information seminars and registration were also in the middle of the day. Very few of the volunteer opportunities happen outside of normal work hours, either. And the exemption from volunteer hours for people who work in garden centers and nurseries is a bit of a joke.
They do clinics and such, but it is all aimed at informing people of their stance on various agricultural and horticultural issues. There is little effort to get the community involved or provide any service that you couldn't get out of the right books, despite their obscure demo garden and WSU-only activities. The business of passing on factual information like this becomes less relevant the larger internet sites like Dave's Garden become.
It seems to be a retired-persons only club, and possibly worse for those who work in the industry. It's a pity, as I think it could be a useful thing, and it's certainly a wasted opportunity for networking, sharing, and helping each other.
Maybe you could get an alternative program started by contacting your county extension office, which is the agency that sponsors our local programs, not the college. If there is enough demand, I'm sure they'd be happy to start a program. In today's economy, more people are returning to gardening, both for fun and feeding their families, so it might be an opportune time for such a project!
I loved my MG classes and still enjoy doing the volunteer hours!!! After the first yr. in my state we only need to do 20 hrs of volunteer time. Which in a yrs time is nothing!!! Please don't think that MGers have all the answers...they don't!!! They do know where to get the answers and get back with you though and that is a bigger for most people!!! Now with DG it's even easier!!!!
I've given it some thought, but right now it's not terribly high on my list of priorities. I want to guess that Wisconsin probably has a decent MG program, and maybe someday I'll take the leap, but for now I have my own new garden to build.
The Wisconsin Master Gardeners have a spring plant sale each May. It's a zoo, and plants sell out very quickly (so you gotta get there early and line up to get in), but it's fun. For now, buying some plants (for $5 or less in most cases) from the MGs is enough for me. :)
Well if you are a MG, you get to buy plants the day before the sale after a delicious lunch that our group provides for all our hard work. No big crowd and the pick of the plants!!! After the sale anything that doesn't sell is reduced and again a major bargain!!! LOL It's a lot of hard work but also a lot of fun!!!
We also do a plant sale, but we don't allow the MG's to buy before the sale, but we do give away the plants left after the sale. We are trying to attract the public so we want the best of the best for them. Also we grow our plants so why would I want to charge a friend for a plant I can split or swap (alot like DG but without postage and any more postage is a big deal).
Really the best way to change a bad program is to join and change it.
I would love to become a MG but unfortunately the MG program where I live seem to only cater to old people who are retired or have nothing else to do with their time. They want an entire day for the scheduled classes and that is just not good for me and my 2 year old. It's like an exclusive club here.
I couldn't find my niche w/in the membership of MG. It was rather like being in Jr. High once again - very tight groups of those who had been "in" for a number of years - and they just didn't cotton to the newbies - at all. Huge disappointment for me. However, I enjoyed the classes and the payback hours.
It is a sad thing how a lot of you feel about the MG's. The county coordinators should all read this forum. Maybe they could use the info in a constructive way. It's also sad how a lot of people want to feel like a large frog in their small ponds.
I've considered it and a couple of my friends are Master Gardeners but it doesn't seem to be worth a whole lot. I enjoy gardening and do fairly well at it but I don't want to learn all the taxonomy of plants.
I love the idea on the plant sales. If more MG had them and we were able to meet MG's we could talk about plants in an informal setting...and 'please' we all know it is necessary to have the latin names of plants, just talk in regular trade names with helpful hints, unless we ask you for the latin names of plants.
I take my title if you will serious...I worked real hard for it and volunteered many hours to become a Master Gardener...And who cares what it is called, and I really can not figure out why folks are so hung up on the title Master Gardener. There are winners and loser's in many fields but for the most part, those of us who have worked hard are dedicated to teaching others and sharing our knowledge . I took on organizing a whole new Master Gardener Class from start to finish. I attended all 13 weeks of class the point I am trying to make is even though I had already done this 3 years prior, I was still learning more on the very subjects that I had taken.
I am an Advanced Master Gardener...and when people comment on that title, I like to say, Yup, that and rocket fuel will get you to the moon...point being, Master Gardeners are learning all the time. It doesn't mean its a end all, or that they know it all, by no means...Its a work in progress.
"The Master in Master Gardener doesn't mean you know everything about gardening. It means that you volunteer your time helping others grow and educating your community.
I have been a Master Gardener for eight years now...and it was something I just wanted to do to enrich my life with more knowledge about gardening. I am constantly looking up information in my huge text book which is like a bible in gardening to me...
Here in Michigan, the Master Gardener program goes for 12 to 13 weeks of a 40 hour program. You are tested each week on the particular subject that was presented to you the week before. So please, for those of you who have not been through this program, and think its frivolous, there are more of us out there who are real serious about horticulture and botany. Each subject has over 100 pages to read. We Master Gardeners take our title serious, alot of study went into this title, and many many volunteer hours as well, which is required in order to keep your MG status activated. May I suggest you check out the websites to your state MG program.
Although each state is just a tad different, the basic concept is the same...The Master Gardener course provides an overview of major horticultural subjects in a classroom setting. Upon completion of their educational training, students provide a minimum of 40 hours of volunteer service to their community. Their volunteer leadership and service provide home gardening information to their community through a wide variety of gardening related activities. The student must complete 5 hours of additional eduction each year as well.
Plantladyhou...I am so sorry that those folks laughed at you when you were asking them a legitimate question...just know that not all Master Gardeners are like that.
2 racing boys...am I to be considered one of "those people". I personally think its unfair for you to lump all Master Gardeners together. There are alot of us out there who love to share our knowledge...I can guarantee you that if you were to ask me a question, and I did not know the answer to it, I would have that answer for you in 24 hours...I would not only be helping you, but myself included.
I agree wholeheartedly, there are so many well informed gardeners out there whom I learn from on a daily basis, each time I visit Dave's Garden.
I think I understand what a master gardener is, but we don't have that course/qualification here in Aussie. I took horticulture classes, one day a week, for 3 years and learned alot! I also work as a gardener, and learned even more doing that! I still learn something new every day, and I love Latin names. Just don't be scared of them, have a go! My husband says them wrong on purpose, just to stir me. It's funny!
I learn alot from other DGers too, and google alot! When i thin of the words Master Gardener, I think of Yoda! May the force be with you!
By coincidence, today marks the 36th anniversary of the first MG group completing their training ;o)
That tidbit and other fun history are on the DG home page.
I took the training, but I did not do the volunteer hours. I dug my heels in because the volunteer hours had nothing to do with giving back any knowledge, or really anything related to horticulture. Specifically, they wanted us to "man" the concession stand for 4-H events. I have nothing against flipping burgers...with three kids in countless team sports over the years, I've done it many times for many volunteer efforts over the years. But when I learned that was how we were supposed to earn our volunteer hours, I protested and voted with my feet.
Some day...when all the kids are grown and life slows down, I'd like to approach the MG program and offer to help in any way I can, which may include organizing and coordinating community outreach programs, test gardens, landscaping Habitat for Humanity homes, creating a local hotline, or a myriad of other meaningful activities that MGs can engage in and learn while sharing what they know.
Sorry, not to downgrade anyone and I appreciate the fact that some people always like to learn more; but Master Gardener in many states is not more than an 80 hour course that does not near cover what a person who would call themselves master of anything would require. That is why they have colleges to attend; you need to take a couple of years of horticulture classes (at least) to qualify for such a title. However, the Master Gardeners in my area can be helpful to those people just starting out as they do have some of the basics down. As some of the other members pointed out; it is really volunteer work for stands at fairs and community events; and some experienced home gardeners offer hints, of course. Nothing to be ashamed of; just not enough to be master of anything!
Well, one thing that's clear is that the MG program varies widely from state to state... I have to say tho that I am glad it exists! even though clearly there is room for improvement in lots of places, that seems to be true of most things...
one, I am too old; two, I don't have the time, three, I would be a terrible know-it-all if I were a Master Gardener. I have studied and read and been on DG long enough that I don't think I need to talk to a master gardener. That said, one county I lived near had wonderful field trips to various plant farms like day lilies and they gave out really good printed information. Anyone could go on their field trips; they just had to register. This particular one was very valuable and I benefited from it.
I took it back in '84 in Roswell, NM and it was the biggest waste of my time and effort. One year of horticultural propagation classes along with 9 more hours of upper level courses at New Mexico State taught me more than anything else except experience in my own yards.
Don't ever be intimidiated by "Master Gardeners". I wasn't impressed with what they taught one little bit.
**edited to say that I just read the thread and forgot to say that working with Habitat for Humanity is a great way to use any gardening skills you have. We just completed our first one in Taft, Texas.
I've never done it not only because of the time constraints (I agree that the courses seem to cater to those who are 'retired'...and I have 2 jobs and kids at home!) but also because the MG courses seem to focus on 'outdoor' gardening, and my main interest is growing tropical plants *indoors*.
I have a lot of books relating to the many aspects of gardening,(both indoors and outdoors) and my self-study of them has been a great benefit.
I am sorry for the people who had bad times with the MG program.
I have never worked or been asked to work a concession stand inconjunction with the MG.
We do help our high school horticulture program by helping transplant nursery stock, helping with the greenhouse, helping with their plant sale, or anything thing else they may ask of us.
Our volunteer hours range from plantings in our community and churches, answering questions from the hotline, writing a small column in our local newspaper about gardening, assisting the high school horticulture program. Soon we will be starting a program for kids and gardening. We have had volunteers work with the elderly in the nursing homes and as soon as I can retire my goal is to start flower gardens in our public park.
I realize I live in a small community and maybe that is the difference. When I started the training I did not know one person in the group. Course that was 5 years ago atleast.
I have no interest in obtaining "certification" as a Master Gardener ;) from some academicians with notions of how to do things. My only interest is in my flora and the fauna that I also care for. Given the extreme differences between local ground conditions (a concrete like mixture of sand, gravel, rock, clay, and some caliche) and what most gardeners and all academicians "expect" to start with, I doubt that their certification course would have any relevance in the real world here in the desert. LOCAL people who know what they're talking about, I'll listen to. Self styled experts: waste of time in my opinion.
Not all MGs are "self-styled experts." Most that I have encountered are very giving of their time and their knowledge. Please don't paint all MGs with one stroke of the brush. I agree that there are experts who are not MGs. People who have dealt with certain growing conditions and know what will work and what won't. It is a very diverse world. Many of the experts who are our ancestors knew about growing conditions and never took a course. Theirs were life lessons.
I am thoroughly enjoying this thread. It has made me aware of so many things that I never gave enough thought to. Thanks for posting the topic.
I took most of the master gardener classes (missed a few I didn't make up, so didn't become a "master gardener." I found it to be extremely basic, as if the program was designed for elementary school students. I was very disappointed. Think they should change the name, as completing the class does not in any way turn you into anything resembling a master gardener. I did a lot of the volunteer hours I promised, but probably still owe some. Guess I really ought to call them up and finish my hours one of these days.
When one of my daughters was teaching kindergarten years ago, I built raised beds for the kindergarten classes and they learned to grow both seeds and plants of veggies and flowers. I think they learned more from the experience than I learned about the cold hours required to grow apple trees !
I've been a MG for 3 years now. I have a personal project that I work on to get my volunteer hours in. Not really involved with the group. It is like a retirement club and I just don't have time for it.
I met a MG and she was soooooo nice!!
A 'regular' person to talk to.
I think most gardeners have their own 'pet' projects. Mine is doing the church..
I do pick up some excellent ideas from other gardeners and MGs.
Would like MG's to be more helpful in finding certain plants and knowing growers in our areas. Yes, they do help to identify diseases and bugs...but the 'final' decision of planting certain things and where, and fetilizers or chemicals should be our own. I find that that some MGs seem to 'push' what 'they' like.
Off to church, was able to clean up outside for 10 min. yesterday, snow storm comming in MA.. Crocuses starting to bloom, kids that planted them will be happy to see them today..
Speaking of Master Gardeners and what makes them that leads me to a question I have wondered about: What makes a Rosarian a Rosarian? The affectionatos of roses in California seem to think that they are rosarians. If so, what makes them that?
Not only are MGers NOT supposed to push their own brands and beliefs, they have a pretty well defined "script" they are to follow under the auspices of the Department of Agriculture and the University w/in their state that forms the structure for MG. This is very clear on the issue of herbicides and pesticides ...and if one is wanting to use those items, they may indeed run afoul of a MG who is following the guidelines in terms of recommendations and such.
It is my understanding the name came from the old German term Meister Gartener meaning head gardener; they never meant it to imply one was the master of anything. It seems to have stuck however as we now have Master Naturalists and Master Foresters and probably a few others.
It is sad so many have had poor MG experiences but it all boils down to the proficiency of the instructor (they are all different) and how the program is presented. It is not a class to help you learn about gardening. It's supposed to give you the skills to help others with their gardening. You will have to learn about subjects you have no interest in at all but that is because the purpose of the program is to assist the extension agents with the questions they get. There were a number of areas I had no interest in, like those cooling hours for apples, but guess what the first questions I had were about???
Let's be careful we don't paint with a broad brush here--sweeping generalizations and stereotypes are never truly fair or accurate.
As always, the weekly voting booth question was meant to be informative and fun, not derogatory or inflammatory. Since it's now closed to any additional "votes" and a new topic has replaced it, I would gently suggest we move on from this thread and let's see if we can't find some common ground.