State Master Gardeners conference coming to town 

Published 10:43 am Friday, August 3, 2018

By JOYANNA LOVE/ Senior Staff Writer

The Alabama Master Gardeners Association Spring Conference will be held at the Clanton Conference and Performing Arts Center in May 2019.

The Chilton County Master Gardeners, along with groups from Autauga and Shelby, are already planning for the long-anticipated event. This year’s theme is “Party in the Garden.”

Sondra Henley, CCMG president and co-chair of the state 2019 steering committee, said local Master Gardeners have been trying to persuade the state board that Chilton County would be a good location for the conference for years.

“In 2015, Chilton County hosted the AMGA fall seminar,” Henley said. “That was September 2015. That was our test run to see how well we handled the number of participants that attended in our facility.”

It had taken her three years to get the organization to commit to giving the Clanton location this trial run opportunity.

“I kept telling them that we could handle it and that we had this wonderful facility out in the middle of nowhere,” Henley said. “… When we were doing the fall seminar, it was not even half over and the board at that time said, ‘Yes, you can have it (the spring conference). It will be 2019.”

The fall seminar in Chilton County had the largest attendance for the event to that point.

Henley said planning for the 2019 spring conference began in 2016. Pat Farmer is also co-chair of the state 2019 steering committee.

The Master Gardeners are already receiving community support for the endeavor in that the Clanton City Council has donated some of their days at the CPAC, so the facility rental fee will be waived.

Henley said the three-day event will bring revenue to the area through hotel stays. Henley said the organizers are striving to use all local vendors for food and other items for the conference.

All of the AMGA state board and advisory meetings already take place in Jemison once a quarter.

The Chilton County Master Gardeners are also looking for community and business support through event and food sponsorships, vendors, silent auction items, door prizes and simply welcoming visitors that come for the conference.

“I would love it if the businesses put on their signs, ‘Welcome Master Gardeners,'” Henley said.

A variety of sponsorship levels are available. As a thank you, AMGA will recognize the sponsors in publication and announcements as well as provide tickets to the event, depending on the sponsorship level. For more information, contact the Chilton County Extension Office at (205)


MG is a non-profit, and donations are tax deductible as allowed by law.

“We really need some sponsorships from Chilton County,” Henley said.

The silent auction raises funds for a scholarship given out by the state organization annually to a horticulture student.

Henley said the deadline for becoming a sponsor is March 1, 2019.

Inactive Master Gardeners are also invited to come back to volunteer during the event.

The conference will be May 8-10 and is open to the public, regardless of membership.

While there is a cost attend the conference, there will be free guided tours provided at Petals from the Past and the Chilton County Research and Extension Center.

Visit for more information.