“Master Gardener” is not just a fancy name for a garden lover; it’s half of the actual title of this hard working group of volunteers. The most important words on their badge are “Extension Volunteer.” These last two words were added to the name last year to better indicate the mission of the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Master Gardener program. The Carroll County Master Gardener Association is made up of Master Gardener Extension Volunteers and is based out of the Carroll County Agricultural Education Center on Newnan Road in Carrollton.
Master Gardener Extension Volunteers are the people to go to for advice on residential vegetable and flower gardening questions, and with issues about lawn care and trees. They host educational workshops and seminars for the public, and give talks and presentations to other service organizations about gardening. They educate children in the ways of nature and horticulture, and teach them about conservation of our water and resources. Here are a few of the committees that you’ll see representing the Carroll County Master Gardener Association (CCMGA):
GRANTS: CCMGA awards grants to local gardening programs for beautification projects in the area.
EDUCATION: The Education Committee members host several seasonal presentations and workshops for the public throughout the year. Some of the recent workshops have included Orchid Care, Winter Gardening and Home Décor, Preparation of Vegetable gardens and Panel Discussions by local experts in gardening issues. Experts from universities and commercial nurseries, local professionals in horticulture, and garden writers have all educated our residential gardeners through these workshops. The CCMGA also includes a presenter or speaker on garden related topics at each of its monthly meetings to instruct the members of the organization and any other guests who would like to attend.
SCHOLARSHIPS: College scholarships are awarded to local students in the horticultural or environmental sciences fields.
JUNIOR MASTER GARDENERS: This group has two functions. Twice monthly, they organize and host educational meetings for 8- to 12-year-old children who are working to earn their Junior Master Gardener Certification. This certification process is not only meant to be educational in the horticultural and environmental areas, but also to promote team work and individual creativity. The Junior Master Gardener Committee’s big event each year is their three-day summer camp for 8- to 12-year-olds, appropriately named “Camp Dirty Knees.” It’s held at the Carroll County Ag Center grounds, and the children learn about the natural world around them. CDK is a whirlwind of activities and presentations, crafts and treats, trail walks and digging in the dirt.
DEMONSTRATION GARDEN: If there was ever a “best kept secret” in Carroll County, this is it. Up the hill from the Ag Center on Newnan Road is an inconspicuous gravel drive that leads back to the Master Gardener’s Buffalo Creek Demonstration Garden. This lovely floral garden is tended completely by volunteers in the CCMGA who have parceled out the beds to talented Master Gardeners who dig and plant, transplant, fertilize, build walls and grow the most beautiful public garden in Carroll County. The best time of year to stroll the gardens is late spring and early summer when the blooms are exploding with color, the fragrances are delicious, and the butterflies and bees add their own lovely charm. In any season, you’ll find plenty of gardening inspiration and ideas in this peaceful spot. The Demonstration Garden is open daily, and everyone is welcome to visit. More often than not, you’ll find a Master Gardener Extension Volunteer right there working in his or her bed, and they will be happy to answer any questions you may have about the gardens, or questions about your own garden.
The busy season for Master Gardeners is coming up quick, with our Mother’s Day Plant Sale, Demonstration Garden Open House, Camp Dirty Knees and various talks and seminars in the next few months. Keep an eye out for the dates, and be sure to attend these events. Now you see what Master Gardeners Extension Volunteers really do – a lot!