Gardeners sought for program
by Paisley Boston
Jan 14, 2014 | 3413 views | 0 0 comments | 30 30 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Master Gardener Program of Bolivar County is seeking new members and according to Extension Coordinator Laura Giaccaglia, the program is very beneficial to individuals who enjoy gardening.

Members of the Master Gardener Program met Monday to discuss upcoming classes and membership requirements.

"The program is a great way to gain horticultural expertise at a low cost, meet other avid gardeners, share gardening experiences, get connected to the community and belong to a well-respected educational organization," said Giaccaglia.

Master Gardening training classes are set to begin Feb. 11 and will continue until March 1.

The deadline to register for the classes is Jan. 22 and the classes are taught at the Bolivar County Extension Service office via satellite.

"The coarse is full of specifics but you will definitely learn a lot and it is great for retired individuals who enjoy gardening. It is kind of like gardening 101," said Master Gardener Mary Ann Davis.

"It is a fun and exciting program and anyone can do it," she added.

The Master Gardener training program provides more than 40 hours of classroom and hands-on instruction.

Class instructors include extension specialists, agents and Certified Master Gardener Instructor Volunteers.

Training consists of basic botany, soils, vegetables, ornamental plants, home fruit, nut production and lawn care.

Individuals who desire to take the training classes and become a Master Gardener are required to pay a one-time fee of $85.

The fee covers materials, refreshments and a one-year membership in the Mississippi Master Gardener Association.

As a Master Gardener, individuals will have the opportunity to conduct plant clinics, answer home horticulture questions, develop demonstration gardens, assist with research projects, provide leadership to county and state organizations, participate in 4–H Junior Master Gardener or other 4–H gardening projects, act as new class coordinator and participate in community beautification projects.

The Master Gardener program is an educational exchange program offered through county offices of the Mississippi State University Extension Service.

Through this program, individuals are trained and certified in horticulture and related areas.

In exchange for educational training, individuals are asked to volunteer their time to help county extension offices with horticulture projects that benefit the local community.

"We want people to understand that this is a volunteer community service organization. The Master Gardener Program and its name is not for commercial use," said Master Gardener Robert Naron.

According to Giaccaglia, the program requires individuals be at least 18 years of age and willing to devote 40 hours of service within a year.

"After obtaining the 40 hours required to become a Master Gardener, they still need 12 education hours and 20 service hours," she added.

According to Giaccaglia, Master Gardeners are very instrumental in the community.

"They make home visits, conduct educational meetings and maintain the landscape of the Agriculture Center," she continued.

Individuals who desire to become a Master Gardener must contact the Bolivar County Extension service at 662-843-8361 or visit the office to retrieve an application form.