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'The Gardening Guy'......?????

Posted by gardenlady48 z5 IL (My Page) on
Sat, Nov 27, 04 at 17:31

I'm sure some of you have seen this program on HGTV. Well, Paul James mentions openly throughout some of the shows that he is a MG. What is the 'golden' rule on announcing you are a MG AND earning money performing gardening services? There are many people in the green industry that are MG's. What exactly is forbidden when it comes to this issue?
Thanks


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: 'The Gardening Guy'......?????

Paul James never claims he is speaking for the university who sponsored his becoming a Master Gardener. In fact I have never heard him say anything contrary to what is being taught in the Master Gardener classes. I wish that were true for others who use Master Gardener as one of their credentials. Al


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RE: 'The Gardening Guy'......?????

Oh....so as long as you don't SPEAK on behalf of the University that sponsored your studies...then you CAN mention having MG training in your credentials? AL?


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RE: 'The Gardening Guy'......?????

Why couldn't you mention being a MG as a credential for a paying gig? I see no conflict of interest.

There is a difference between volunteer work you do to maintain your MG status, and paying work you do, for which being a MG is perhaps useful. I have gardening clients whom I charge money. Obviously, I can not count the work done for them as MG volunteer work, but they do benefit from my MG knowledge. I don't know if being a MG would aid in obtaining clients, but it couldn't hurt.

When speaking to groups or doing other activities for my MG hours, I also mention I'm a MG as it seems appropriate.

Monica


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RE: 'The Gardening Guy'......?????

Actually Paul James has degree in botany or some other biological science. You could read his bio on HGTV to check out what ir is in exactly.

I believe that Rebecca women on Rebecca's Garden is a MG too. But she started life as a weather girl... the difference is quite obvious.


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RE: 'The Gardening Guy'......?????

That HGTV program gives me hives but even so I don't begrudge Paul James using the title. The way I see it, Extension has absolutely no right telling you that you can't use the title after you've been legitimately certified, no matter what the context is. If you're contacted through the extension apparatus to do a program and then you ask to be paid for it, that's clearly not ethical. But to add the earned credential "Master Gardener" to your resume is every MG's right. We're not a secret society, after all! I work as a writer and if my topic is horticultural I definitely include the fact that I'm a certified MG in my bio. I paid the county for my training course, I donated thousands of hours doing the county's work, and I have no qualms about allowing the title to work for me when it is effective or useful. I urge every active MG to do the same.


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I agree with Shenandoah (well, except that I love Paul James!) and do pretty much the same with the title.

Monica


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RE: 'The Gardening Guy'......?????

I am often asked to do a talk or a seminar for some group or other because I am an MG. If they pay me more than expenses I can't claim it as volunteer hours. However if I am also getting credit for another group such as the Conservitory Volunteers, I can't claim those hours as an MG too. If a local store hires me because I am an MG that is OK, but they can't use that as part of their sales tactics (such as "We have an MG on staff to answer your questions") and I can't claim hours working for that store as volunteer hours. It can get confusing at times. Sandy


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RE: 'The Gardening Guy'......?????

Biggest problem is that he isnt a MG, never did his hours sooooo....


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Paul....Please explain about P. James Not being a MG. How do you know this? Thanks, Pam


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RE: 'The Gardening Guy'......?????

Do you have to be a Master Gardener to call yourself a Master Gardener? Jerry Baker, America's Master Gardener is not a certified Master Gardener, or so I've heard and no one is sueing him for using the title.


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RE: 'The Gardening Guy'......?????

Ahh ... and this is where the Extension Service really screwed up. They never bothered to register the name, "Master Gardener". Our old buddy, Jerry Baker did register his claim to "America's Master Gardener" and therefore, he is the only one legally entitled to use that specific title.

I don't know about him being a master gardener but he is unequivocally, a master salesman.

IronBelly


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RE: 'The Gardening Guy'......?????

I believe that one of the Extension offices registered the name but I don't remember which one. In my experience the copywrite is good only in the states it is registered. At least that was the case when I registered a business. We had checked the state registrations before we submitted the name and it was accepted. Later someone threatened to sue since he had the same name in another state. The suit was no good since we had added "of Wisconsin" to the name but it wouldn't have been good even if we had not added that since he was not registered in Wisconsin. Since what's their names had already registered and used Master Gardener they could legally continue but the Ext. could still register as (University Name) Master Gardener Assoc. I don't think many have done so but they require we use the University name when functioning as a Master Gardener and representing them. Sandy


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RE: 'The Gardening Guy'......?????

Sandy,

I'm sure you are correct with your information. However, this is an area that causes some uneasiness. Although they don't really like to talk about it, there is a reason behind why they want you to answer the phone with something like: "Extension Master Gardener" or "(University Name) Master Gardener".

Legally, Jerry Baker (and perhaps others) beat them to the punch through a door they should have never left open. (Isn't hind sight easy?) I think this is a thin line that we are walking -- thinner than they would really like to talk about.

IronBelly


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RE: 'The Gardening Guy'......?????

Eddie from Ga, I also wondered if you have to attend the courses to be considered a master gardener. They say experience is the best teacher and most serious gardeners learn by doing. Though I have often considered taking the master gardening courses, some who have seem to not know any more than I in my 45 years of growing. For beginning gardeners, the program is a wonderful opportunity to learn the basics and in turn, help others by volunteering hours.

By the way, I enjoy Paul James and his off the wall humor. Mary


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RE: 'The Gardening Guy'......?????

The big deal is that you are not to use the MG credentials as a reason to hire you.

You cannot say "Hire me, because I am a Master Gardener", therefore insinuating that the state has trained you in all aspects of gardening and associated topics.

In Texas, the whole thing was/is about assisting the Extension Agent, to answer the phones when he is out of the office, etc., and we were basically taught how and where to find the answers to John Q. Public's questions. So you really couldn't say that we were trained in any particular thing, unless you have taken some of the specialist training.

We had some ritzy titzy ladies from the class ahead of us that were just horrified that a whole class of rowdy low- life persons had joined up with the Master Gardeners, and we were admonished often and loudly to NEVER! use the MG name and money in the same breath!

It used to do us no end of good to provoke them. hehe

Janie


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RE: 'The Gardening Guy'......?????

Mary,

Maybe as a MG from Iowa, I can address your comments a little more directly. It sounds like you and I have been gardening for about the same number of years. Your observation is correct but not complete.

Unless you are a total idiot (which I don't think you are), in spite of a high level of knowledge and experience, once you start taking the classes, you begin to realize how much more there is to know. This applies to old timers, professionals and academics with degrees in botany. I have said it many times over the years on these forums but it is still quite valid: "The more I learn, the more I realize just how little I really know." The field of horticulture is so broad that you just cannot begin to know it all -- and I don't care who you are.

The classes are merely just a place to begin. In the brief time allotted, there is no way that you can acquire even a small percentage of the information about the huge topic of horticulture. Hopefully, what you will come out of the classes with is a good assortment of reference materials and a number of people in your local area and (in your case) Iowa State University that you can contact directly. Perhaps the greatest benefit if the classes is that it enables you to begin networking at a much higher level.

Although I don't question your excellent gardening skills, do you know the best person in state to ask about a new plant disease you or a neighbor is suddenly having trouble with? I do -- not because of my intellect but because through the MG program I learned where to find the answers and/or who to ask. One of the greatest assets of the training is not so much increased knowledge but rather an increased abilitiy for how to find out the information.

I'll be the first to admit, just as in any endeavor, there are a few ringers in the MG program. However, life is filled with underachievers and I am not ready to say that life is bad. The program offers tremendous potential. It is up to the individual to groom their own potential.

IronBelly


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RE: 'The Gardening Guy'......?????

"...I learned where to find the answers and/or who to ask. One of the greatest assets of the training is not so much increased knowledge but rather an increased abilitiy for how to find out the information."

Thank you, Ironbelly, for that excellent explanation. Over the years I have half jokingly told people that we were masters at researching questions rather than master "gardeners." LOL

One of my first encounters with a MG was regarding the safety of using shredded roadside tree trimmings on my vegetable garden. I was worried about chemicals from exhaust fumes as well as any pesticides etc. that may have found their way into this wonderful source of mulch. The MG was very nice but I could almost hear him scratching his head over the phone! He was honest that he didn't have a clue but would find an answer for me. I figured that was the end of that but he called back later that day, still with no answer, but assured me someone would find it for me. It took a couple of days, but somebody did call back with the answer and it really impressed me that they had taken the time to research this for lowly little gardener me.

To Mary, I too had been gardening all my (long!) life and thought I knew something! I knew how to research and who to ask, or so I thought! It's humbling to realize how much I didn't and still don't know. But the big difference since the MG course is now I really do know how to find the answers, and not just to my own personal interests, but to a much wider array of subjects within the field. (And I like Paul James too, screaming fleas and all! LOL)

To anybody who is considering the course, I say go for it. Don't ever think you can't learn something of benefit. But even if you already know it all and don't learn anything from the course (highly unlikely!), you will have met a very nice group of people with your same love of gardening. And that can be the biggest benefit of all.


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RE: 'The Gardening Guy'......?????

I found the answer I was looking for finally...at least in writing in my official Illinois MG Manual. So, I'll put this concern of mine to rest, but thought I would share it with you all. Don't know if all manuals are the same, in the introduction section and under 'Illinois MG Responsibilities', page A-9, ...and the title "University of Illinois Extension Master Gardener" is to be used only when conductiing unpaid volunteer work in the program. So, as long as I am not using that complete title with the mention of the specific UNIVERSITY, and not doing volunteer work, I am not breaking any regulations. Just as Paul James does on his program....There is mention of him being a MG on his program, which is acceptable, BUT, he doesn't mention in the same breath, University of 'BLA, BLA, BLA Master Gardener.
Pam


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Sorry to be so long in responding.

Info. straight from OSU Extension in Tulsa, OK where Mr. James is from.

Paul


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It seems like when I took the Master Gardener training, I either had to sign something or agree to the fact that I wouldn't use the Master Gardener title in order to make money in any way. I'm not really sure about the logic in this. Seems like if they DID allow people that actually took the Master Gardener training to say that they are Certified Master Gardeners, it would give the whole title a lot more credence than letting just anyone use it. It is kind of like arborists. There are a lot of people that will work on your trees and say that they are "licensed" and people think that means they know what they are doing. To the best of my knowledge, you don't really have to do anything special to apply for a license that says you cut people's trees. However, to become a certified arborist requires testing.
In my county, they are somewhat selective about who they let into the master gardener program. Most of the people that take the training are genuine plant lovers and try to pass that message on whether in their volunteer work or in their profession. I see nothing wrong with using the term Master Gardener in any field of work, IF you took the Master Gardener training (that's just my opinion of course). I am a freelance writer and I do have stated in my resume that I am a trained master gardener as well as a National Wildlife Federation volunteer. The very strange thing is that some editors see it as a CONFLICT OF INTEREST if I write about anything that has to do with either of those organizations.


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RE: 'The Gardening Guy'......?????

Same here, when you become a PSU CMG, you agree not to use the "credentials" in anything commercial. At the same time, however, PSU's Ag College lends its name and endorsements to a number of undeniably commercial ventures. Personally, it annoys me, and on a few occasions, I've made my displeasure know to co-op extension officials, whom I am sure did't much care.
I tend to embrace the idea that if you bought and paid for the certification, the certification is yours. Not surprisingly, they don't see it that way.

Now, about being selective as to admitting people into the program. I don't believe that is, or ever has been, the case in PA. There is an entrance exam, but it's used strictly to get a grasp of what you may or may not know, not as a determining factor in admission. I'd be curious to know if anyone anywhere has been denied acceptance into a CMG program.


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RE: 'The Gardening Guy'......?????

Backyarder & Sween,
As I mentioned in a previous reply to this thread that I personally started, in my MG manual it specifically states MG's must not use their title in any form of advertisement. However it goes on to say in the same paragraph that the title "University of Illinois Extension Master Gardener" is to be used ONLY when conducting unpaid volunteer work in the program. So if I just use the general term 'master gardener' in my advertising without mention of the university I should not be in violation of any rules. If anyone disagrees with my understanding and can back this up with proof, I would really appreciate you sharing it with me. Thanks for your time. ;-))


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We would generally encourage people not to take the course. The Master Gardener program is primarily a volunteer organization that works through gardening. If you have no interest in volunteering you should look for a different training program through a local community college or something.

We would often have 150 applications for about 75 spots, so yes we would occasionally have to turn people away.


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RE: 'The Gardening Guy'......?????

Well, here's one for you to ponder. What do you think of a sneak that signs herself a Master Gardener when she didn't even finish the course, and definately didn't do the follow up hours?


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It occurs to me that no one has asked the real question which is why the system doesn't want their name included when you are off the volunteer clock. It is really very simple. They don't want to be held legally responsible if you tell someone to spray their lawn with Roundup. Sandy


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RE: 'The Gardening Guy'......?????

We should all be very careful about representing any organization when it comes to the matter of possible liability. I recently sat on the board of a non-profit organization whose lawyer told us flat out - "If you attract litigation as a member of this board, you're on your own, we have no system in place to protect you." Here's a shocker, I resigned that board on the spot, and am now unavailable for any other such obligation. I'm not kidding here, or overstating the facts, we all need to be personally careful, very careful.

Look before you leap, try and ascertain if you any good works you do might come back to bite you on the butt. So help me, I heard years ago that, "No good deed goes unpunished." And I am increasingly convinced that it's true 98% of the time.


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RE: 'The Gardening Guy'......?????

What's the difference between a Master Gardener and a Horticulturist?. Are those titles for the same education?
Juan


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RE: 'The Gardening Guy'......?????

Juan, if you are talking about a degreed horticulturist, there is a world of difference and there will be some here who will disagree with me and quote the exceptions to the rule which I agree do exist.


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RE: 'The Gardening Guy'......?????

Personally, without offending people who like him, I believe that Paul James and his garden show is not entertaining at all. All he refers to pretty much is redesigning his yard, moving plants around and giving some pretty simple tips to simple problems. Anyone that keeps moving the plants in the landscape several times a year to a differen't place in the yard is just batty. HGTV and RFD (especially HGTV) need to bring out the more informative, more exciting, and less tiresome garden shows that don't make you tired while watching them. But then again, this is my opinion......


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RE: 'The Gardening Guy'......?????

Admittedly, Mr. James doesn't fulfill the needs of most experienced gardeners. And now, that would include me. Ten years ago, there was a ton I could learn from his approach. What I do believe his greatest gift has been is the interest in gardening he's generated with his "If I can - You can" method of presenting the delights of gardening. He's also the first person I'd ever seen with the designation Certified Master Gardener, so I suppose he got me interested in the program in the first place.

A generation before Paul James, Jerry Baker got America gardening with his similar and enthusiastic approach. Whether Baker's methods are legit or not, he made people want to garden, garden, garden. And if only for that, we do owe him some small debt.

For my money, there is a real shortage of gardening shows out there period. HGTV could easily drop the "G" for all the gardening shows they carry. And without naming names, they do carry a landscaping show or two that are as dry as dust, I mean boooooooorrrrrrringggg.

Now, about that horticulturist thing. It's my understanding that one can call one's self a horticulturist without possessing a degree in horticulture. There are certain college credits, that once successfully obtained, allow the use of the term horticulturist. I'm certainly not using the title, and none of the MGs I'm active with do either. So far, I've only met one person in the MG program who is actually a horticulturist.


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Anyone remember last year when Miracle Gro was using Peter Strauss as their hawker of their products on TV? The title under his name said Master Gardener. Now this year the same commercial is running only it now says Peter Strauss, Avid Gardener.Someone or a lot of people must've complained to Scott's Company for the title change.


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being a master gardener doesn't qualify you to be a professional anything and although i think you could list it as a hobby on a resume' it certainly isnt a qualification for a job in horticulture. i know i'll get flamed for saying this but it is true and i know many people will silently agree with me.


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RE: 'The Gardening Guy'......?????

Sween,
The MG program through the University system has legal protection for MG's as long as you only give out University research based advice. Anything else and you're on your own.

Also, most high end none profits do have board/director indemnification. To be safe, you can also get Directors insurance underwritten and purchase it on your own, and then deduct that from your taxes.

All that said, you have a very valid point. One must be very careful. The world is full of underemployed attorneys. They may not win, but they can cause you tons of grief trying to extract blood and/or money from you.


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RE: 'The Gardening Guy'......?????

Unlike the majority of master gardeners Paul James actually has degree in botany. That may make a difference but doesn't that Rebbeca's Garden ex-weather girl go a round saying she's a MG?

An old friend of mine that was head of Cooperative extension in Arizona used say being a mater gardener doens't make you a horticulturist just like having subsrciption to Playboy doesn't make you a gyneclogist.


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RE: 'The Gardening Guy'......?????

I'm pretty sure Paul James has a degree in Chemistry and he decided to go on to botany after many of his friends in college became MDs and didn't like it at all. I saw him a few years ago at a lecture at a large college here when they were holding the annual flower show.


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RE: 'The Gardening Guy'......?????

JAZZMOM, my bad must have mis-read his HGTV bio about him studying botany as an undergrad.


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