I recall gardening with my grandfather when I was little and loving his worm patch/compost pile, into which he threw all the kitchen scraps my grandma kept by the sink in an iron skillet with no handle. He was an organic gardener, lovingly tending his flower and veggie garden, all without the assistance of chemicals. We would wander through his large peony and rose gardens, my grandpa chatting with me about this and that. Now, I know he was sharing his knowledge. I would give anything to have some of his transplanted flowers in my garden. But, I think of my grandpa, every time I look at my own peonies and climbing roses.
My goal for many, many years has been to be a Master Gardener. I have had gardens ever since I was in high school, even in all our rental apartments and houses. When we bought our first house, a requirement was a large yard. The perennial garden in that house took shape over the years. I was planting perennial plants long before the local garden centers sold anything but trees, bushes and annuals. The big box stores, where you can buy all kinds of perennials in today’s world, didn’t even exist. In those days you had to order perennials through a catalog, such as Wayside Gardens, and many would come bare root. I’ve got to say that I never had much luck with bare root plants.
Anyway, last summer I had the privilege of being accepted into the 2012 class of the Kansas State Extension Master Gardeners of Johnson County. We went through our training last fall – 9 weeks of all day (on Tuesdays) presentations by Kansas State professors and other horticulture experts about their areas of expertise. There was so much knowledge shared with us that, at times, it was overwhelming.
We Master Gardeners start “digging in the dirt” this week at our demonstration gardens, assuming the soil is dry enough to work, after all our rain. I am working in the Shawnee Indian Mission vegetable and herb garden, and am working in one of the gardens that will be on the Master Gardeners biannual garden tour May 18th and 19th. I am looking forward to working in the gardens; learning more about vegetable gardening; and developing new friendships. I have to say, I have found over the years that gardeners tend to be the nicest people when it comes to sharing knowledge.
I will blog about the Master Gardener 2012 tour; the Shawnee Indian Mission gardens and other Master Gardener topics of interest as the year progresses. Save the dates of May 18th and 19th for the Master Gardener Tour, if you live in the Kansas City area. The tour never disappoints and provides a wealth of knowledge.
Here are links to the Shawnee Indian Mission and the Master Gardener tour if you’re interested.