Master Gardener Test

Paula in the Garden SpotMay 16, 2001

Yesterday, I took the Master Gardener test and I thought it was hard! I thought I knew a lot about gardening, but this had a lot of botany questions, i.e., in what part of an oak tree is the phloem? Never heard of the phloem. Also there were pesticide questions and I don't use pesticides. I did know about the N-P-K ratio in fertlizers and how to propagate plants which were also on the test.

They did say that the interview was more important than the test score and I have that next month so I'm hoping that goes well.

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My question is this: How can someone be considered a master gardener and not know what ploem is? This is basic botanical information. Just exactly what is it that master gardeners are supposed to masters of?


    Bookmark   June 18, 2001 at 3:59PM
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Did you take the entry test? Don't worry about knowing everything!!!!!! Or at least the basic stuff that you were taught in grade school. The goal to this master garden stuff is to excel in what your interested in so you can pass the information along to others. Here in NJ we have open book test and the information is always going to be there for you to look up when you need to know. Your time is really what they need most and you passion for gardening. deb Lux

    Bookmark   July 25, 2001 at 4:50AM
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I'm not sure where Eleanor Gray5 or Deblux are from or even where you are from, but don't worry about tests. Unless you are becoming a Master Gardener to become a professional, who cares! I took the course because I bought a house with ready made landscape and three huge gardens. I had never gardened before and just wanted to learn enough so I wouldn't kill what was already here! We didn't have an entrance exam, just paid the fee (although the class is not given in our county every year and space is limited) and went to class every week. I fear that most of it was way over my head and doubt I will ever be grafting a tree (one whole class on that!). We did have a quiz every week from the class the week before, but as was Deb, it was open book. The most important thing I learned was where to find the answer to questions I might have. The second most important thing I learned is that even the most knowledgeable gardeners kill things! I say relax, enjoy what you have learned, and seek more information on those areas you are most interested in. If you are a book reader, there is even a garden book club you can join with discount books. I have dozens now and they have been VERY helpful. Good Luck! Peglet

    Bookmark   August 1, 2001 at 9:20PM
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I've been a master Gardener for 3 years now and I had to look up Phloem (notice miss know-it-all didn't know how to spell it) I feel that that is why I took the course. The main thing it taught me was how to find the answers. I learn more from people asking me questions too. I can answer a lot of them but I'm no expert and I'm not afraid to admit that.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2001 at 9:05PM
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What (if any) on this is available in Mississippi?

    Bookmark   April 19, 2003 at 6:09PM
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All of this is available in Mississippi, and every other State in the Union (and for every Country in the World)! Check out your local Library - or try a search on the Web! That's what they are here for...
Have fun! :)

    Bookmark   April 22, 2003 at 4:23PM
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The Master Gardener program is initiated through the county extension office. Just give them a call and they'll be able to help you.
Master Gardener for 5 years from Iowa.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2003 at 10:00PM
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TaraRose(z5/6 MO)

Everybody knows that phloem is what you get when the tree has a cold.

::waits for the groans::

Completely non-masterful gardener Tara

    Bookmark   April 25, 2003 at 6:03PM
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does anyone know of master gardener programs via online. i am disabled and have no transportation freely available...

any suggestions much appreciated

    Bookmark   May 22, 2003 at 10:42PM
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SthrnTami(z7 AL)


Very simply, a Master Gardener is someone who is interested in learning more about gardening, and is willing to share that knowledge with others.

We are VOLUNTEERS who share our time and accumulated knowledge about gardening with our communities.

Someone interested in the program, should contact the local county extension office. He/she will fill out an application and pay a small fee (to cover the materials). Apparently some areas also test the applicants. It may vary from one area to another, but here we then take 40 hours of instruction and give 40 hours of volunteer hours before we are certified Master Gardeners.

The title is a little intimidating. After 20 years of gardening, one sure thing I know is that there is always something more to learn, and NO ONE will ever master gardening.

The Master Gardener program allowed me to interact with experts in many areas of gardening, and I gained a great deal of knowledge, and learned how to go about finding the answer to future questions. Better yet, I met many wonderful people in my own community who are also interested in gardening.

I still don't know what Phloem is. But I bet I can find out.


    Bookmark   August 29, 2003 at 11:36AM
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SthrnTami(z7 AL)

Gee, a quick jaunt to the online dictionary provided the answer:

"Phloem: a complex tissue in the vascular system of higher plants that consists mainly of sieve tubes and elongated parenchyma cells usually with fibers and that functions in translocation and in support and storage."

I seriously doubt that as Master Gardener, I'll ever need that knowledge, but I know where I can reference it if I need to!


    Bookmark   August 29, 2003 at 11:42AM
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Rosa(4ish CO Rockie)

Yikes, doesn't have to be that complicated:
Phloem are the food conducting tissues and Xylem are the water conducting tissue in plants. Damage one or both and you have a problem (unless you are tapping a tree to making maple sugar).

I know many people who flat out failed the entry test (20's and 30's), but received in the high 90's when the course was over!! We all took our tests on the first day of class after the interview.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2003 at 10:02PM
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I had no idea that some people had to take a test just to get IN!?! I joined the class because I love gardening, not because I already knew everything (including "basic botanical information"). In my area, it seems that the classes offered expand as the community interest grows, instead of becoming exclusive. Well, hats off to you fellow amateurs that made it in! I'm freshly certified and I still had to look up phloem. Maybe they shouldn't have let me OUT.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2003 at 11:45PM
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weebus(Z8 Sunset 5 WA)

This is why I have always felt the moniker "Master Gardener" should be changed to something like "Community volunteer gardener". That would more aptly describe what they truly are...

    Bookmark   January 30, 2004 at 1:15AM
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trowelgal(Kansas Zone 5)

I enjoyed reading the comments about "master gardeners". I just completed the 9 weeks of MG classes and am in the process of putting in my 40 volunteer hours. I met wonderful people and learned a great deal. The most valuable lesson I learned was that I still have a lot to learn and will enjoy the journey. The Extension Master Gardener program here in Johnson County Kansas is a volunteer recruitment program. It is absolutely wonderful and I was priveledged to get in as they only take 60 people a year. All one needs is a love of gardening, willingness to learn and time to volunteer. If you have the opportunity to take this training it is well worth your time.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2004 at 10:32PM
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I took the Master Gardeners class back in 1978 or 79. I was a new mother and former workaholic with cabin fever. I discovered that most of the class members were newly retired and with similar identity crisis. I have long completed the required volunteer hours, but continue with 4-H gardening. One of the things that I did not learn in the MG class was what pH means. Of course they teach you about acids and alkalinity, but my kids always ask "but what does pH mean?" I was amazed how hard it was to find the answer. All scientific folks would go into great depth to help me understand. I did finally find out that pH means potential hydrogen.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2004 at 9:18PM
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becoming a master gardener?? does anyone feel this might help when you are planning to start a business of your own, having this certification/title?? i am wanting to do any or all of the following as a business: interior scaping, consulting/design of residential landscapes, and/or personal/professional gardener. any inof/suggestions is helpful.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2004 at 10:26AM
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Any formal training you can get will help when you start your business. The Master Gardener course covers a very broad range of topics, all of them valuable to anyone in the business. Some of the MGs I've met have since started their own businesses and they have never regretted taking the course first. At least one of the students in my class was already in the landscaping business and just wanted to broaden her knowledge base. And I've found that others in the business do tend to respect the fact that somebody has made the effort to learn more. (The best learning for MGs comes when you do the volunteer time. The questions people ask will force you to learn much more than any class can ever teach!)

(I just found this forum and I'm so glad to see other Master Gardeners here! Hi all!)


    Bookmark   February 19, 2004 at 10:40AM
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giniag(z9 TX)

Most individuals who have completed the Master Gardener training course will tell you they found out how much more they need to know to even think about becoming "masterful"!

I was certified (this time it wasn't for the funny farm) in January after taking my class in June '03. I work with the Precinct 2 Master Gardeners of Harris County, Texas.

I have read about people being fingerprinted, interviewed, tested, rejected, etc. We have three separate courses just so that we can accomodate as many people as possible. This organization was meant to be helpful, not exclusive. In some places it is a social organization, which meaans, unfortunately, that selection criteria are "elite".

We all get our hands dity together, get berry stained lips together, and rejoice in the beauty and rewards of working hard together.

There are people from all backgrounds, religions, income levels and race. We leave all that at the garden gate.

We grow food for the hungry, school gardens for children and help our neighbors with their questions. And, as Tami said, we know enough to find out the answers!

If the MG program isn't what you want in your county, try a neighboring county. The regulations vary not only from state to state, but county to county.

Good luck

    Bookmark   March 1, 2004 at 7:59PM
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serenity_kate(z4/5 Omaha)

Ginia, I appreciated your well rounded response. No one can ever be a true Master. We are just trying to do our part, help each other out and enjoy ourselves in the process.

Sometimes people get too caught up on the science. Great if you know it but it's ok if you don't it all comes with time. Do you think people generations ago knew all the basic plant botany and terms that went along with plant science? Of course not, but they knew the secrets to making a garden grow. No quick fix from the local store either.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2004 at 3:06PM
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