To Be a Master Gardener

I became interesting in becoming a Master Gardener when we first moved up here. I knew I wanted to learn more about gardening in this area, which is so different from S. Calif., and to make new friends.

What I didn’t know was how it would affect me. With each new day of involvement I find myself just listening and observing. Just recently we had our biggest fund raiser of the year. The Plant Sale Extravaganza.

Friday, the first day, many of us gathered in the early morning to begin set up. Expectations are high and there is a lot of work to be done. Sleeves are rolled up, aprons are donned and the work begins. Tables have to be set up, vendor areas measured and marked off, raffle area and items labeled and displayed, registers, holding areas, signs, kitchen, dividers and then all the plants arrive. By truck, car, trailer and vans they come one after the other for several hours. There were several times throughout the day I would stop and watch. While we were all sweating and tired, everyone smiled, joked with each and quickly came to over to help each other. After 9 hours, sore feet, tired backs and limping off, there was a sense of pride at a hard days work completed.

Saturday morning arrives all too early. Everyone moves a bit slowly till the muscles get worked out. It’s 7:30am, food is arriving for the potluck. At 8am everyone is briefed and it’s time for finishing touch ups, trimming. 8:30 am it’s time to man our stations. I am on herbs. Allow me to elaborate – We have Basil – Genovese, Mammoth Sweet, Cinnamon, Lemon, Lime, Siam, Sweet, Purple Ruffles, Spicy Globe and Crimson King. Regular chives and garlic chives. Parsley, Dill, Marjoram, Fennel, Thyme, Sage, Cilantro and Rosemary. Let’s just say I had the best smelling station. The doors will open at 9am and I am ready, at least I thought I was. Below is the picture I took just as the doors opened. Keep in mind behind that blue curtain is a whole area full of vendors, 70 of them. But did they stop there first…no! As you can see from the image on the right they swarmed us.

Before Chaos

Before Chaos

During Chaos

During Chaos

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was a mad house from 9am till 4pm. And I loved every minute of it!

But there is another side of being part of this organization. We have a large Discovery Garden which features numerous types of gardens. Herb, Easy Access, Xeriscape, Rock, Japanese, Rose, Butterfly, Hummingbird and Orchard gardens and more. And each of these is lovingly tended to by a team of MG’s who dedicate their time to going out every week and pruning, cleaning, replanting, mulching and all things necessary to keeping them looking beautiful.

Yesterday I was out in the easy access garden. This is designed with raised beds, wider walking paths and made for those who have a difficult time bending or walking. A group was over in the butterfly garden putting in new mulch, and a few folks down building the new rock garden. Others were putting finishing touches on the humming bird garden. It was quite outside, birds were singing and the sun was shining.  I work quietly removing weeds, removing soil from old containers, planting onions and beans. Suddenly I hear laughter from the other garden, and even though I am not over there to share in the humor, I am a part of it and smile. This is a community, my community. We are all connected through the things we grow, our gardens, our little patches of soil.

I leave you with some beautiful shots from our Discover Garden. Special thanks to Anita Yager for taking many of these pictures and sharing them with me.

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Paradise is so close to home

“Hey we have a few extra days, where do you want to go or do?”
“I don’t know, where should we go? Is there something going on we could do?”
“HHmm let me get on Google and see if I can find something.”

With gas prices soaring, and time for many being a precious commodity, it’s very hard to decide what to do. For those that are my age (no no don’t ask) I remember being piled into the family car and taking that ‘Sunday Drive’. As kids we had no idea where we were going. We didn’t complain (much) and we didn’t have every electronic gizmo in the world to distract us. We actually talked *gasp* with our family. We played games that spark our imaginations and challenged us.

I live in a very small community. And it is a wonderful community filled with folks that will start up a conversation like they’ve known you for years. The people here are humble, friendly and will often times be more than happy to come help you with a project you have going. If you head into the bigger town about 15 miles away you can walk into a Lowe’s or Home Depot where a nice man will, for the next 30 minutes, help you with every detail of getting your next project going. He’ll look at your list and make recommendations. As he walks off you suddenly realize he doesn’t even work there. Now that’s small town living.

So I decided to take off my city girl hat once and for all. I am a country gal now. I shall embrace all it has to offer. Here are a few of images of what can be seen within just a couple of miles from me.

A calm oasis.

A calm oasis.

Plat I Reservoir offers a peaceful setting where you’ll often times find folks fishing quietly by the shoreline. On Saturdays during the summer kids are out jumping off the docks and laughing.

Will need more foraging skills before I eat these.

Will need more foraging skills before I eat these.

Not sure what kind of mushrooms these were. But the cluster was about 6 inches wide and piled upon itself about another 6 inches up.

Even the ladybug seems happy to be here.

Even the ladybug seems happy to be here.

My pear tree was just magnificent this year! The blossoms are so beautiful with the white, yellow and red.

It's just amazing to watch them roll in.

It’s just amazing to watch them roll in.

A late storm rolled in at the end of May. I wish you could smell the air! If I could bottle this I would make a fortune.

Many were in full bloom, but the geese preferred I stay a bit farther back.

Many were in full bloom, but the geese preferred I stay a bit farther back.

Here at Cooper Creek Reservoir you will find lily pads in full bloom with big dragon flys buzzing along in all colors imaginable.

These little guys were very friendly

These little guys were very friendly

And I defy anyone to not go “OOhhh how cute!” when confronted by a friendly group of baby geese.

Late spring blossoms and a field of hay. Just beautiful.

Late spring blossoms and a field of hay. Just beautiful.

You know it’s early summer when the fields are being cut and the hay is rolled. Even some late spring flowers make for perfect quintessential scene.