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In the News

Beautifying one project at a time — Master Gardeners isn’t just for women

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Published by : El Dorado News Times

Barbie Luther

Union County Master Gardener

EL DORADO — Union County Master Gardeners are a very diverse group of volunteers who love growing things and sharing that with the community and other gardeners. Some are long time gardeners who learned a lot from parents and grandparents.

Others are fairly new to this whole digging in the dirt thing. When Master Gardeners get together as a group, whether it is the monthly meeting, working on a project, or carpooling to an event, the talk is all about what we are growing or what we hope to grow.

Leon Miles is mostly interested in growing things you can eat and teases others growing ornamentals. When Leon first inquired about Master Gardeners, he was interested in learning more about growing fruit trees. Leon may show up to a project workday without a shovel but he smilingly takes the shovel handed to him and gets right to work.

John Segraves is another Master Gardener probably more interested in growing vegetables than flowers. John is a chef and does wonderful things with the food he grows. John often shares some of his cooking as refreshments at monthly meetings. John seldom misses a project workday and working with the Master Gardener greenhouse is a particular passion.

Henry Nunley quietly works at project workdays and always has a smile on his face. Henry seems to be interested in all aspects of gardening, both flowers, fruit and vegetables and in fact is growing a thorn-less blackberry that was shared by another Master Gardener.

Union County Master Gardeners does have other men in the group, but the men are outnumbered by the women.

Leon, John, Henry and our other guys, would really appreciate some of you men out there joining in the fun they have volunteering as Master Gardeners. Now is a great time some of you fellows to man-up.

The Ouachita Area Master Gardener training is being offered on Tuesday afternoons from 1 until 6 p.m. beginning Feb. 7, at the Ouachita County Extension office in Camden. Training will continue through March 28 and the fee for the class is $80. The training is 40 hours of instruction through the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service on a wide range of horticulture topics, from botany to soil science, pruning and much more.

After the training, Master Gardeners use what they have learned to beautify their community and promote horticulture through projects like the El Dorado City Hall garden, Barton Library and the South Arkansas Arboretum. If you would like to take the training and join others who share an interest in gardening, call the Union County Extension office at 864-1916 for more information and an application.