What Is The Most Valuable Lesson Learned As A MG (or MG trainee?)

back_yard_guy(z6 KS)October 12, 2004

What has been the most valuable lesson that you've learned so far? I think that mine may very well be not to offer unsolicted advice. It would be interesting to hear about yours.

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I gave a slide presentation once for the local Master Gardener club I belong to and tried to cover everything from A to Z. I handed out a response sheet and Hal Massie, a great American and a great garden writer, said I should narrow my focus. I broke that program down into the beginnings of three separate programs: Edible Landscaping, Amending the Soil, and Yard Art. Had I not recieved that comment I may never have created those three distinct programs.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2004 at 10:44PM
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sleeplessinftwayne(z4-5 IND)

LOL! I knew this before but I keep having new lessons given to me. No one knows the answer to all the questions. Sandy

    Bookmark   October 13, 2004 at 1:56AM
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I learned to spend my time and money on the soil and the plants will take care of themselves. Al

    Bookmark   October 13, 2004 at 8:54AM
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coffeemom(Broward z10)

I learned that Florida Zone 10 Gardening is different from anywhere else. I also learned everything I was doing wrong... and I had quite a list!

    Bookmark   October 15, 2004 at 6:40PM
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ginger_nh(z4 NH)

Hello, Larry! Did not realize you are a MG. Are you in the program or a "graduate?" I am a MG 99'.

Probably the most interesting lesson I learned was that Master Gardeners are not commonly "Masters." Previously, when I heard the term "Master Gardener" I thought it meant that the gardener with the Master Gardener program credentials was an advanced, very experienced, learned, horiculturalist/gardener--similar to a Japanese professional gardener.

When my sister-in-law in VA talked about enrolling in the UVA Master Gardening program many years ago, I actually thought she was going for her Master's degree in hort/botany!

However, once I found out what the term actually meant and what the program was truly offering, I applied and have learned an incredible amount of gardening information, lore, practices, met great people, etc. over the past 6 years. Just completed 50 hours of volunteer gardening this season at the Domestic Violence Shelter in a nearby town.

Good to hear from you again.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2004 at 9:11PM
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back_yard_guy(z6 KS)

Ginger, I was thrilled to hear from you again! Yes, I enrolled in current MG program. I figured it would augument my other skills, and has it ever. It's one of the most worthwhile endeavors that I've ventured into. I'm anxious to hear about your summer's experiences.

Glad you dropped in,


    Bookmark   October 15, 2004 at 11:24PM
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little_dani(9, S. Tex Coast)

The most valuable thing I have learned is how to find the answer to any question. There is always an answer, you just have to know where to look to find it!


    Bookmark   October 19, 2004 at 11:33PM
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landman41(z5 Colo)

Well hello Larry and Ginger....names I know from elsewhere.

I am by no means a "Master gardener"..in fact Im barely a "green gardener". I am finding as I delve into LD that I strive very hard to learn my horticulture. What kind of programs would you recommend to get involved with to become more proficient at not just knowing names but truly understanding how plants work best in certain conditions, how to plant properly, etc. I am greatly interested in llearning the Master Gardener program.


    Bookmark   October 20, 2004 at 3:28PM
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ginger_nh(z4 NH)

The Master Gardener program is great but is supposed to be for amateurs, not pros, and particularlly for those wanting to volunteer in their communities.

Short of degree programs in hort and botany from institutions of higher learning, many community colleges have good landscape design certificate programs for landscape professionals wanting to know more about plants and horticulture. Also, actual gardening, horticultural, and design experience. There are gardening schools like Ann Lovejoy's in Oregon and those associated with large botanical gardens; also on-line landscape design degree programs. The one through the Univeraity of Guelph in Canada is supposed to be one of the best distance learning landscape design programs.

I have learned a lot from attending workshops and licensing/certification programs offered by state universities; MA, VT, and NH cooperative extensions; Northeastern Organic Farmer's Organization, NH Forestry, Fish and Game, Conservation Commission offerings; the annual green industry convention in Boston; books, journals, magazines; the Internet, especially GardenWeb and Google. Self-teaching through experience and trial & error. Hooking up with experienced gardeners, naturalists and the like willing to share their knowledge: a mentor. And experience, experience, experience.


    Bookmark   October 21, 2004 at 10:52PM
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kyuodsnukis(z6 N.E.P.A.)

Laerning, caring and shareing, with some of the most wonderful people we could ever meet. In the program 4 years now and some of the friendships would never have been found without the program. For me the best choice I ever made I will hold all the experience, knowledge,interaction,work, teaching,planning,celebrating, forever close to my heart

    Bookmark   October 22, 2004 at 5:36PM
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ltcollins1949(9a TX)

It's hard to pinpoint just one thing, because of all the wealth of knowledge that is offered by the MG program. However, I guess what I can say is that I did not know nearly as much about gardening as I thought that I knew before I took the course. The program offers a huge variety of gardening classes which are wonderful, some better than others, but always informative.

Just this past Tuesday, we had a joint Master Gardeners class with our group, Aransas/San Patricio County MG's, and the Nueces County MG's. It was a program on Organic Gardening and the teacher was John Droomgole. I've heard him give classes several times, but this one was the best that I've heard.

I have to admit that the more I learn about organic gardening, the more I want to learn. I think that this is a very important class for the MG program.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2004 at 8:52PM
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huffy1(z6A MO)

That it's a team effort! No one is required or expected to stand alone. Look at all the support that's available.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2004 at 6:04PM
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gardenfaerie(z5b Michigan)

Not to dress as a master gardener at a Halloween party, because no one will "get" your costume. :)

My jeans were even fresh with soil *and* I was wearing my MG name tag *and* I had my bucket of tools in tow *and* I was wearing a "Beat the Beetle" (EAB) t-shirt. Sigh.

Granted, it was a 20-something coworker's party and all her friends were her age and hip. I'm almost 40 and not cool outside the gardening world, lol! ;-)

Seriosuly, I also think being able to find answers to questions is the most valuable thing I've learned.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2004 at 8:41AM
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bomber095(z5b MA)

I give vegetable gardening lectures at URI. I think the knowledge I give people is invaluable. In fact, I have gotten several thank you emails from the advice I give. When I introduce myself as an MG and tell people I'm only 27, they are shocked :)

    Bookmark   November 2, 2004 at 10:13AM
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jazzmom516(Zone 7 LI, NY)

I learned that most folks really appreciate the information we disburse to them be it face to face or over the phones.Most people in the MG program really enjoy being around people with similiar interests and I learned to ignore or have minimal contact with those who were the 'Pests' in the organization and not get too bent out of shape about it.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2005 at 2:47PM
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bambooo(6 CT USA)

#1 lesson?
Don't shoot from the hip.
Verify that the answers you give are supported by research.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2005 at 10:42AM
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buyorsell888(Zone 8 Portland OR)

Not trying to be rude but wanted to point out that Ann Lovejoy is in Bainbridge Island, Washington. Wish she was here in Oregon although she does speak here often.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2005 at 1:23PM
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