Monday, March 14, 2016

Become a Master Gardener!

West Virginia University Master Gardener – become one now!

Becoming a Master Gardener is something that anyone can do.

What is a Master Gardener?

The American Horticultural Society describes it this way:

The Master Gardener program, typically offered through universities in the United States and Canada, provides intensive horticultural training to individuals who then volunteer as Master Gardeners in their communities by giving lectures, creating gardens, conducting research, and many other projects. For some of the best, regionally specific advice you can get on home gardening.
The Master Gardener programs are provided by Cooperative Extension, a program of land-grant universities.

Marie Iannotti, Garden Expert at explains what Cooperative Extension is:

The Cooperative Extension System is a nationwide educational network that is a collaboration of federal, state and local governments and a state land-grant university (A land-grant university means, among other things, that they research and teach practical agriculture). The mission of the Cooperative Extension System is to disseminate research-based information on topics as varied as nutrition, child rearing, agriculture, horticulture, husbandry, small business and personal finance. Every U.S. state and territory has a central state Extension office at its land-grant university. Each state Extension serves its residents through a network of local or regional offices staffed by professionals in their field.
These professionals are called Agents. There is an agent in each county, or they may be over two or more counties. They are considered faculty members of their respective university.

West Virginia University, Morgantown, West Virginia is our land-grant University and provides Master Gardener Education.

Who are Master Gardeners? They are just every day people from all professions and walks of life, or may be retired,  who share the love of gardening and probably have a backyard garden where they grow flowers and/or vegetables. They love to share their hard-earned knowledge of growing things throughout the years - or maybe they’re kind of new at it. But they know they love gardening. 

They may especially love teaching children how to garden, or would like to share plants with the elderly at an assisted living facility.

Master Gardeners love to share and learn more. If this describes you, and you are in or near the West Virginia Northern Panhandle call Hancock County Cooperative Extension Agent Carol Scheerbaum at 304-564-3805. Classes will be starting soon!

If you live in another state and would like to look into becoming a Master Gardener check out The American Horticultural Society's page to find a program near you. Let me know if you are interested!

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Plant A Flower Day!

Today, March 12, is National Plant A Flower Day. While its history is somewhat blurry, I’ll take any day that celebrates flower planting.

Perhaps I would not plant any flowers, such as annuals, just yet here in the Northern Panhandle of West Virginia. The temps outside this week will be in the low to mid 60’s, for which I’m so grateful! But being only mid-March, we still can get some freezing killing cold that will destroy anything planted outside.  Of course, we can plant perennials now, but I still think I’ll wait a few weeks. 

Pansies are an annual, or biennial, that you might try planting. 

This gorgeous flower will take some really cold temps and even freezing.


I planted several in pots this past Fall and we’ll see how they do.

Right this minute they look like no life is ready to emerge, but I have hope. I've seen some look like this, and low and behold, fresh green emerges from the centers when temps get warm on a regular basis. I am excited by the way, how healthy and green my rhododendron I planted last Fall is!
March’s birthday flower is the daffodil and hopefully, you have planted these bulbs last Fall, and may be seeing clumps of fresh green leaves popping up! 

I have this lone wolf clump coming up alongside my neighbor' house and right outside my kitchen door! They'll never see them, only because they don't come around this way - but I will enjoy them for sure!                             

So today may not be the best day to plant flowers but it’s a GREAT day for thinking about it, for planting seeds and for designing your garden, which is exactly what I plan on doing.

Do you plant anything in early Spring?