Master Gardener class graduates

Published 3:15 pm Friday, April 21, 2017

By JOYANNA LOVE/Senior Staff Writer

Weeks of hard work paid off for Master Gardener students on April 19 when the graduated from the introductory class and became official members of the Chilton County Master Gardeners.

During their last meeting as students, co-facilitators Tricia Williams and Pat Farmer explained the ways Master Gardeners earn and track their required volunteer hours.

There are also continuing education requirements for the Master Gardeners.

John Wallace said he wanted to be a Master Gardener because he enjoyed vegetable gardening and wanted to expand his knowledge.

“The presenters were so knowledgeable,” Wallace said. “Most of them are professors or have been in the field a lot.”

He especially enjoyed the class on plant propagation. The entire course “has been outstanding,” Wallace said.

The new Master Gardener was feeling a bit overwhelmed by all the information by the end of the course. However, the book and notes from the course will serve as helpful reminders when he goes to apply what was presented to his own garden.

Williams said the identifying markers used for trees can also be helpful to gardeners in identifying various types of plants also.

Wallace said the course also helped the gardeners learn the proper terminology to use.

“I love the comic relief of it too. Dirt and soil—I was notified immediately when I got into the first day of class that I do not use dirt, it is soil,” Larry Jones Jr. said.

Daniel Castleberry said he enjoyed the soil class taught by Dr. Charles Mitchell.

“The way he was able to break everything down and also help you learn how to break down your fertilizers, and get the correct mix,” Castleberry said. “I think he did it in a way that drew us all in and made it simple.”

Jones said he became interested in the program because a woman he worked for talked about it all the time. Retirement gave Jones the time he needed to be able to attend the class.

“It’s been such a blessing to me. Because I had ideas, I grew up in gardening, but I didn’t have all that knowledge that I needed.”

Castleberry said he enrolled in the course because he wanted to improve his farming and gardening skills.

“When I signed up I thought I was just taking a gardening class … I had no idea I was going to learn about trees and butterfly bushes and rose bushes and everything else,” Castleberry said.

Sherry Ray said she had joined the course in order to learn more about flowers and landscaping.

“I knew about vegetable gardening and fruits, but I didn’t know as much as I wanted to about herbs,” Ray said.

She especially enjoyed the class about insects.

For Susan Cleckler, it was the opportunity to learn about native plants and deer resistant plants that attracted her to the class.

Chilton County Master Gardeners meet monthly for continued education on plants and best practices in gardening.