Pet peeves

gardener_sandyJanuary 2, 2009

I think my absolute worst pet peeve is to drive down the street in a beautiful subdivision and see some of the horrible pruning that landscapers do to the trees in the common areas. It makes me want to get out and "fix" the poor things as best I can. So far I've resisted the impulse but if I see a crew out this winter doing their best to maim and kill the trees, I might have to stop and say something. I know it won't do any good but I might feel better for trying.

Ok, rant over. Now it's your turn.


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In our town the government built a beautiful new post office complete with expensive landscaping. One morning while at the post office I noticed the ornamental trees being pruned in an entirely new style. I asked the man doing the work what he knew about tree pruning. He said he was the post office janitor and his boss told him to prune the trees. That was all he knew about pruning. I could not argue with that. Al

    Bookmark   January 5, 2009 at 9:28AM
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blueheron(z6 PA)

I know what you mean. We just moved to a retirement community where the landscaping is done by the maintenance department. All the boxwoods around our villa are pruned into balls!

We are allowed to do some landscaping around our place and I can't wait until spring to remove some of the boxwoods and plant perennials and other shrubs.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2009 at 1:49PM
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I started gardening when I was a kid, and started 'seriously gardening' about 22 years ago. I now have three acres planted with 11 fruit trees (all producing), 66 roses, a 25' X 35' vegetable garden and about 1500' of flower beds that include many heirlooms passed down from my grandmother. I love to garden and have been reading everything here and in the other gardening forums for many years. I have a large collection of gardening books, all of which I have read. I have 8 compost piles and a worm farm, producing many barrels of rich compost. I love everything about the soil, plants, trees and ecology.

My pet peeve? I'm not a Master Gardener because I have to work for a living. I have been working full time for the federal government for over 20 years. Until 2006 I was also in the Navy Reserve for 27 years. When I retired from the Reserves I was pretty excited about all that extra time I'd have on the weekends to do more gardening and I inquired with my county about the MG program. Oh, no, I can't become a MG because they only offer classes during the week in the middle of the day. The program is designed for the 'Leisure Class' not working people like me.

I'm 57 and will be working full time for several more years. I work in a secure envoronment so my office has no windows. I have been doing this for so long, and some days I never even get to see the sun. I hate working indoors all day, but this work is so important to the fight against terrorism and the security of our nation, that I won't quit until I have to.

I guess I'll never be a "Master Gardener" by Parker County's definition, but I've got news for the lot of them. Being truely knowlegeable about soil, plants, landscaping, entomology, pathology and composting doesn't require attendance at classes offered only by them at their convenieence. I've spent many hours in study on line and in libraries. I consider myself to be an expert in the art and science of gardening and when I do retire, I plan to offer my services to the Botanic Gardens as a volunteer gardener and I doubt I'll waste a single day in a classroom trying to earn a title. Kinda makes me sad to say that because I've wanted to get into the program for nearly 20 years. So there it is, my pet peeve. Thanks for letting me vent.


    Bookmark   January 15, 2009 at 9:42AM
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Our county always has held their classes on Saturday, while neighboring counties have them during the week. Every year we get several from our neighbors while they get some from us who can't do Saturdays. When the class is over they all revert back to their home areas to do their hours and become local members. Where there is a will there is a way. Al

    Bookmark   January 17, 2009 at 9:59AM
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tommie_jo(z8b TX)

I'm a certified Texas Master Gardener who attended MG classes in 1999 on Tuesday afternoons for 13 weeks - when I was working full time - I arranged to take the time off using vacation hours and/or making up the time. I didn't complain about the inconvenience, I just adapted. Since that time I have retired and continue to be a very active MG volunteer.

If timing of the MG class doesn't work out for you and surrounding counties don't offer Saturday classes, don't be disappointed, just look for alternatives and be happy with those until such time you can participate in the MG program if thatÂs what you still want to do. Every year our MG class has students that work full time plus those who are retired or have flexible schedules.

No, of course you don't have to become a certified MG to gain knowledge, be a great gardener, share your garden with others who appreciate your work, and volunteer your time.

Sorry that you are so angry but there are reasons for day time classes: availability of meeting rooms for extended usage, schedule of instructors (especially if they are coming from some distance), etc. Much time and planning goes into staging MG classes which you are not aware of.
Please don't knock us if we can't please everyone. TJ

    Bookmark   January 31, 2009 at 11:29AM
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It's great that there are other ways to be helpful to the gardening community for those who can't take the MG classes. Like TJ, I was working full time (still am) and had to rearrange my schedule with my job and other responsibilities so I could take the course. I know that's not possible in every situation but sometimes it can be done.

So, although there may be an impression that the program is designed for the "leisure class," many of us are far from ladies or gentlemen of leisure! Yes, we do have quite a number of retired or otherwise unemployed Master Gardeners in our program but I suspect an equal number are employed. And I'm finding that those without paying jobs are sometimes busier than those who must work for a living. (Not all, but some!)

Cheryl, thank you for your dedication and service to our country and for helping preserve our safety and freedom. There are no words that can convey the deep appreciation that most of us feel for you and others who have chosen your path. I sincerely hope and pray that your work is successful and that we all can continue to enjoy the wonderful USA. It's because of people like you that we are able to spend time volunteering in a field we enjoy. And because of you that we are able to freely express our opinions on forums like this.

Thank you.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2009 at 5:30PM
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Luckily our Extension Office holds the class in the evenings, so I was able to go through the program last year. But I'm taking a different class now and using vacation time to go during the day. Secure jobs usually mean secure benefits, so sometimes you can use vacation or personal time.

Have you also made your preference known to the Extension Office? I can't believe you're the only one. But if you and others don't speak up they won't know how many people are missing out. Our Extension Office takes polls regarding when to hold classes, they said it's about evenly split between day or evening/weekend preference.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2009 at 2:00PM
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little_dani(9, S. Tex Coast)

Cheryl, here in Jackson County, our classes are in the evening. We can attract the most participants in the evening, and some people from neighboring counties come here to take the classes too.

There is a fundamental problem with having classes at night, and classes that are populated with all "people who work". The Master Gardener program is primarily to train people to assist the Extension Office, to answer phones, to keep the office open when all the agents have to be out of the office, to help our agents. It is hard to man the office if everybody is at their 'real' job.

Master Gardeners is fun, but it is also work!

Have you checked with the Botanical Gardens about helping out on Saturday or Sunday? I am sure they never have enough help. If not the Botanical Garden, maybe there are local gardens that you can help out in. If I wanted to share my knowledge, I would just have to find a way.

Good Luck, and thanks for what you do. I know what the sacrifice is, my Dad was career, my DH was Career, and my son is Career. God Bless the USA!


    Bookmark   March 11, 2009 at 12:38AM
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Master Gardeners of Ontario has arranged for online classes through Nova Scotia Agricultural College. I belive the NSAC program was customized for Ontario enrollees.

This is something that should be explored by other MG groups. Our province is too large and too sparcely populated to hold actual class meetings; but I have learned a lot from the online program. It involves actual projects and activities in addition to testing in each of 4 courses.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2009 at 11:08AM
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cjc45(9 Mount Dora FL)

Janie, you're exactly right. When I inquired about Saturday classes, I was told that they didn't think people working full time could contribute the necessary volunteer hours. Now that I'm retired, I'm a volunteer gardener at the nature center and the art center.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2009 at 10:07AM
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catbird(z7 AL)

I retired in February just as I turned 68. The MG classes started in January, so I took every Tuesday off that last month so I could get into that year's class. I'd been doing learn-as-you-go gardening for years and had learned enough that I didn't have to study quite as much for the classes. It's never too late, and it's a great way to move into retirement.

Guess we've moved away from the original topic of this thread. ;-)

    Bookmark   June 3, 2009 at 10:43PM
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Well, I guess I started it by ranting about the MG program's unavailability to the working class, but hey, I'm sure there are lots of other pet peeves out there, and in fact I have another one. The maintenance on the Naval Air Station where I work is provided by trustees from a local women's federal prison. These ladies come over by bus and provide basic housekeeping and lawn mowing and trimming on the base.

In front of our office door there was a little patch of bare earth about 4' x 10' so I and a coworker decided to plant something in it. Instead of smoke breaks or coffee breaks we'd take gardening breaks. SO we planted some hollyhocks next to the handicap ramp railing and daffodil bulbs and daylilies. In the small spaces we tucked in sweet williams and creeping jenny. But about the time things were coming up nicely and just about to bloom, along comes this yard crew and weed whacks everything to the ground.

Who does that? We were stunned speechless when we walked out and saw what they had done. My friend confronted the weed-whackin' mama, and although I didn't hear everything that was said, I think she felt lucky to walk away on her own two feet!

My pet peeve? Convicts with weed-whackers. Cheryl

    Bookmark   June 5, 2009 at 9:50AM
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