By: Lorrie Jackson | Category: Lawn & Garden | Issue: June 2007
Master Gardeners Ruth Hensley, Dee Sconyers and Janice Hensley plant at the Veterans Affairs Center in Claremore.
The Rogers County Master Gardeners Association will host the Oklahoma State Master Gardeners Conference. “This is a very big privilege to have been chosen to host this event,” says Master Gardener Vicky Hensley. “We’re excited to be a part of this.” The anticipated event will take place June 7 and 8 at the Claremore Expo Center, located at 400 Veterans Parkway in Claremore.
The event is open to Master Gardeners across the state and is designed to help further the education of those who are already Master Gardeners. Although the conference will be kicked off Thursday night with a wine and cheese reception, Friday’s conference will be all business. Ten different classes and an educational tour of local Master Gardener gardening sites will be held throughout the day. The conference itself is not open to the public, but Hensley hopes that it will help increase local awareness of the Master Gardener program.
Trained Master Gardeners participate in many community events throughout the year, including the Master Gardener Plant Sale and the Spring Event. Members of the Master Gardening Association of Rogers County do landscaping projects for Habitat for Humanity, the Veterans Affairs Center and the Rogers County Courthouse. The organization is looking forward to landscaping the J.M. Davis Gun Museum this summer. Educational seminars for the public are also hosted by the group. “Horticulture in the Classroom” was held to educate kindergarteners. Master Gardeners also participate in community plantings and guest lecture on various gardening topics.
One of organization’s biggest events is the upcoming SafeNet Annual Garden Tour, which ties in this year with the Master Gardeners Conference. “Combined with the Friday conference tour, there are currently 40 Master Gardeners getting ready for the SafeNet tour. All of which spend a total of 500 combined hours preparing for the event,” Hensley says. “It is our way of showcasing to the public what we do all year.” The Saturday tour showcases gardens at four homes. Each garden that is chosen to be displayed at the event is a picture perfect model of what Master Gardening is all about and why members spend so many hours learning about the hobby.
Master Gardeners work with a homeowner to identify plants before a previous SafeNet Garden Tour. Pictured are (L to R): Roger Johnson, Mary Mosier, homeowner Evelyn Clark, Lynn Edwards and Janice Hensley.
“Nearly everything we do is educational,” Hensley discusses. “We teach a variety of classes, and we additionally have educational booths at the Claremore Home and Garden Show and at the fair.” Master Gardeners help children make “dirt buddies” at the fair. “We want to get kids interested in gardening at a young age,” Hensley says. The purpose of the Master Gardener program is to provide horticulture information to the public.
The Rogers County Master Gardeners Association was formed six years ago and currently has 60 active members. The group is part of the OSU Extension Center and is coordinated by John Haase, the Rogers County horticultural agent. The Master Gardeners Association not only helps gardeners expand their knowledge, but it gives them the opportunity to share their knowledge and love of gardening with the community. New members are required to complete 60 hours of formal Master Gardening education in gardening and landscape horticulture while under the instruction of OSU Extension Center professionals. They are then required to pledge 45 hours of volunteer service. It may sound a bit overwhelming, but Vicky points out, “Graduates in the program have found it to be a rewarding experience. Most remain active Master Gardeners far beyond their first year of training and volunteer service.”
If you have a passion for gardening and want to spread your talents beyond your backyard, get involved today. Contact the Rogers County Master Gardeners Association and become a part of the bigger landscape in Rogers County gardening.
John Haase, OSU Cooperative Extension Office
Rogers County Extension Office | Claremore, OK