Along Debbie Roland
It wasn’t until I turned 30 that I became interested in gardening. He was busy with work and raising children. Then, slowly, the plants drew me in. I started taking slow walks through my favorite gardens, frequenting the gardening department of the big box stores. I’m laughing now, remembering that part of the dream. A family emergency changed the season of my life and my husband and I decided it was time to retire.
Then after that emergency was over, I called a friend who is a master gardener and she sent me my inquiry on how to become a member. I filled out, passed the required background checks, and wrote a check to pay for the books, speakers, and handouts I received during the training. I was accepted and went to orientation in January 2013. After that, I attended her one day class a week for 12 weeks. I have received an enormous amount of information from professors, extension workers and local master gardeners.
There were 16 “trainees” in my class, all with varying levels of horticultural knowledge. Some were already good gardeners, others were much less experienced, like me, who didn’t know the difference between compost and mulch. I have to admit that I was able to, but the master gardener who was there to help with the class ensured we survived and we did.
We have tests every week. Don’t let that scare you. The class works together to complete them. You can learn a lot more if you can discuss what is right and what is not. passed! 14 of us finished class. It’s amazing how you can make friends while digging in the dirt or trying to identify plants in a meadow.
The following spring, after graduating and becoming a trainee, I was looking for vegetable seeds at a local large-scale retail store around the clock. I said yes. I am still amazed that it can be done.
Create a mini oasis in your backyard. We’ve rebuilt fences, added patios for potted plants, and created raised beds full of native plants, vegetables, and flowers that thrive in our climate. We have two greenhouses so that your needs can be met. Not one hedge. My training changed my mindset and ignited my love for native and edible plants.
Next week’s article will explain what Texas A&M AgriLife is, how it relates to Master Gardeners, and what to expect when you sign up.
If you have any questions, please call the AgriLife office in Odessa at 498-4071 or Midland at 686-4700.
Additional information and a blog to access past articles are available at westtexasgardening.org. Click Resources.