By Beverly Drapalik
No doubt you have noticed some beautiful public spaces in your county. Many times, those spaces are filled with plants and trees that have magically appeared on the scene. Was it magic or a Master Gardener?
In Clinton County, a super dog park, canoes filled with flowers, and plant-lined paths have recently appeared. One of the newest additions to Wilmington’s J.W. Denver Williams Jr. Memorial Park is a dog park, and Clinton County Master Gardeners designed the plantings at the gate. They also designed the flowers in the canoes on the lake at the park, as well as the landscaping at Xidas Park, in downtown Wilmington.
Ohio’s counties are filled with Master Gardener programs and projects — everything from educational programs for children at schools, to public programs at libraries, to yearly plant sales.
Many times, the general public is unaware of these “workers of the earth” who volunteer countless hours to create appealing spaces and share information.
According to the Ohio Master Gardener website, “The Ohio State University Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Program provides intensive training in horticulture to interested Ohio residents.”
Ohio began the Master Gardener program in the 1970s, and now includes approximately 3,000 members in 62 counties in Ohio. After extensive training, a gardener is required to volunteer in his home county each year. Its mission is to train volunteers to be empowered and to educate others with research-based gardening information.
Master Gardeners don’t become part of the group because they “know it all,” however. All one really needs is an interest.
Judy Grosvenor, Clinton County Master Gardener, said, “I really love working the soil and communicating with other fellow enthusiasts.” But, most importantly, she said learning about bugs, diseases and vegetables is rewarding when she can “pass on that education, joy and knowledge of growing to other people.”
One annual event in Clinton County is the Master Gardener Plant Sale, held the day before Mother’s Day on Nelson Avenue.
“My eyes, or I should say my hands, are not big enough or my garden large enough to accommodate everything I see,” said Master Gardener Connie Hardie who enjoys the sale.
Clinton County Master Gardener Juanita Tigar, of Juanita’s Flowers in Morrow, supplies the plants each year. Her varieties of tomatoes and peppers have become favorites of attendees.
When you drive past a house built by Habitat for Humanity in Clinton County, take a second look at the landscaping. Dori Sabino is the Master Gardener with a passion for designing the yards and educating new home owners — a definite salute to the mission. Her enthusiasm is contagious.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Beverly is the treasurer of the Clinton County Master Gardeners.
CLINTON COUNTY MASTER GARDENERS
Contact: Tony Nye, agriculture and natural resources educator, county chair
Address: Clinton County Extension Office, 111 S. Nelson Ave., Suite 2, Wilmington, OH 45177