Are you a Master Gardener?

There are a total of 454 votes:

Yes, I am quite active in our local program.
(50 votes, 11%)
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Yes, but I'm not currently active.
(36 votes, 7%)
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No, but I am planning on becoming one.
(74 votes, 16%)
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At this point, I do not plan on becoming a Master Gardener.
(245 votes, 53%)
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What is a Master Gardener?
(49 votes, 10%)
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Previous Polls

Upstate, NY(Zone 5a)

I have thought about it but I would have to say it isn't a plan for the near future.

Kannapolis, NC

It's right at the top of my to-do list when I retire! Just can't wait.

Morganton, NC

I've been in college studying Horticulture and I only lack about 2 semesters to get my associates degree, so i picked I am planning to become one.

Frankfort, KY(Zone 6a)

I don't need to be a Master Gardener, I have Daves Garden

Sherrie In, NH(Zone 5a)

No way could I remember all the words.

Brighton, MO(Zone 6a)

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?

Lucketts, VA(Zone 7a)

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

Hornick, IA(Zone 4b)

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.

St. Louis County, MO(Zone 5a)

I'm lucky to remember my own name, I'll have to stay just a regular gardener.

Huntington Beach, CA(Zone 10a)

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.

Thank goodness for DG!!


Beautiful Brazoria C, TX(Zone 9a)

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...???

This message was edited Mar 7, 2009 6:58 AM

Washington, IN(Zone 6a)

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.

West Warren, MA

Want to enjoy my gardening without much worry on the 'why's and wherefor's' !

Sydney, Australia

Ummmm ...Master Gardener? I have often wondered what that mean't, is it a course or something? I don't think it is something we have here in Australia ...I am the master of my garden that'll do me.

West Warren, MA

Yes Chrissy, I like the 'power' of being the 'one' in 'control' of my garden!!

Southern, WI(Zone 5a)

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.

Brighton, MO(Zone 6a)

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.

Brunswick , GA(Zone 9a)

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.

Fairfield County, CT(Zone 6b)

Taking Master Gardener classes is the first thing on my To Do list when I retire.

Brookfield, CT

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.

Albuquerque, NM(Zone 7b)

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.

Benton, KY(Zone 7a)

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.

Ferndale, AR(Zone 7b)

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.

North Augusta, ON

I've never had an urge to become one. I believe experience counts just as much.

This message was edited Mar 2, 2009 11:40 AM

Charlotte, NC(Zone 7b)

I was a registered Master Gardener in another state. I learned a lot and enjoyed every minute of it. Talking to other gardeners in my class was a real treat.

Karin ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Kannapolis, NC

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.

Bartlett, TN(Zone 7b)

Who needs MG when we all have DG?
... just sayin :D

Kannapolis, NC

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!

New Port Richey, FL

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.

Valparaiso, FL(Zone 8b)

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.

Katy, TX(Zone 8b)

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.


Bartlett, TN(Zone 7b)

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.

Kannapolis, NC

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.

(Judith) Denver, CO(Zone 5b)

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.

Lucketts, VA(Zone 7a)

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

Carrollton, OH(Zone 6a)

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.

Fenton, MI(Zone 5b)

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!!

College Station, TX(Zone 8b)

I'm with the ones further up in the thread. I'd like to try it when I retire. The classes are during the day and in the summer I'm too busy trying to keep up with my own garden.


Langley, WA(Zone 7b)

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.

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