Master Gardeners

Leo A. Martin
Fri, 31 Jul 2009 18:53:08 PDT
Disclosure: I'm not a master gardener but I know a lot of people who are.

It takes a lot of time to become one and I doubt many people can manage it
unless retired or supported by a spouse. I'm sure I would learn something
if I went through the program but not enough to make it worth all that
time. I'd rather spend the time tending the plants I know how to grow.
And, having friends in the landscaping business keeps me up on current
trends in irrigation systems, and other technology.

Output of any system is no better than the input. MG program quality seems
to vary around the USA. I have observed most MGs around the USA know basic
flower, shrub and vegetable gardening pretty well, as well as knowing
something about major themes in current gardening practice (drip
irrigation, composting, mulch, pest management.) And they learn about
their specific local gardening issues.

Our local Maricopa County, Arizona MG program turns out people who know
quite a bit about xerophytic plants and drip systems. They are evangelists
for low-water-use gardening, which is exactly what our region needs. (Our
five biggest-selling perennial landscape plants are bermuda grass, yellow
lantana, Barbara Karst bougainvillea, hibiscus bybrids, and the queen palm
Syagrus romanzoffiana. None of these are low-water-use plants in our
climate, and the palm rarely lives more than 5-7 years here.)

But not everybody can learn everything, especially in a two-year program!
I don't know much about peonies other than they smell good, they attract
ants, they looked great in my grandma's garden in Milwaukee, and don't
bother with them in Phoenix.

Leo Martin
Phoenix Arizona USA

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