Compiled by Kate Skinner
The Brazos County Master Gardeners are a group of trained volunteers, focusing on “research-based horticulture, landscape management, soil improvement, water conservation, and other important areas pertaining to gardening.” They seek to serve the community by sharing their knowledge and experience. Whether through workshops, exhibits, demonstrations, or classroom seminars, the goal remains the same: to meet the unique horticultural needs of the community.
However, being a Master Gardener is more than having a love for gardening and volunteering time. Horticulture Program Assistant at Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, Charla Anthony describes the process as an extensive one–first an individual must apply and meet a series of criteria, and then proceed to log more than 60 hours of classroom instruction and at least 50 hours of service to earn the title of Master Gardener. The process takes a year to complete, and recertification is required each year. “Master Gardeners are gardeners all their lives. They can trace it to someone who inspired them-that thread of inspiration. They have a heart to share how to have a garden, a real concern for the environment, [and] are very civic-minded individuals serving wherever they have lived,” says Anthony.
For Brazos County citizens, there are several opportunities to get involved.
In the upcoming months, a series of entry-level courses called Gardening 101 will be offered through the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Earth-Kind Environmental Stewardship Program. Topics include “Be Earth-Kind–Compost” on March 18, “Earth-Kind Plants for Brazos Valley Landscapes” on April 15, and “Earth-Kind Gardens for Butterflies” on May 20. Participants will learn ways to make outdoor and kitchen wastes become a useable byproduct, which plants are better suited to the climate and soil locally, and how to attract and host some of nature’s most beautiful natural pollinators, respectively. The classes are $15 per person, and held on Tuesdays from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Cypress Grove Intermediate School. Register online at rectrac.cstx.gov or at Stephen C. Beachy Central Park. For more information call (979) 764-3486.
The Master Gardeners Plant Sale offers a variety of plant life grown in the gardens of local Master Gardeners, with proceeds supporting the continuation of future programs. The sale will take place March 29 from 9 a.m. to noon, with an 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. pre-sale talk and walk-through at the Texas AgriLife Extension Office. For more information contact Susan Smith at email@example.com or call (832) 428-4632.