master gardener

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How do you get to be a master gardener? Do you take a course or what?
Wayne
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Its not that hard.
Phone your local farm extension and ask.
Usually its a class, about once a week for 6 weeks or so, and 40 hrs of community service.
Hope this helps

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I don't know about that. The schedules are impossible if you hold down a job.
-- Toni South Florida USA Zone 10b http://ww.cearbhaill.com
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That's cuz the program is mainly for retired little old ladies & gents who've outlived most of their previous friends & need some new ones.
The "public service" volunteer aspect of the system requires each little old lady or gent who has achieved Master Gardener status to sit at a card table at Saturday markets or in nurseries to answer questions. If the question is "How do I join the Master Gardener program" they'll know. If it's anything about gardening anything like that, they won't know.
-paghat the ratgirl
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wrote

That might be true in general. The local extension agency has a program on cable access TV where they visit the gardens of local master gardeners. The people who they feature seem to be middle-age housewives, probably empty-nesters. Most of the gardens are nothing special, by the way. They aren't notable for either the selection of plants or the over-all design.
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snipped-for-privacy@netscape.net (paghat) wrote:

Each state runs their master gardener programs differently. I am not a master gardener, but know many and even tutored several who were studying for the master gardner status. In our area the master gardeners have a number of gardens they maintain for educational purposes and for the local Penn State campus. They participate in lots of actual gardening projects for local parks and provide demonstrations for school children. They go on interesting field trips and have a lot of information to share with each other. They tend to be cliquish and identify with each other. They do not sit at tables and answer questions. They include a cross section of our community including teachers, nursery and garden center workers, and other gardeners. In our area there is no waiting list to take classes and we get a lot of people taking the classes.
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The Master Gardener program run by the Massachusetts Horticultural Society is a serious program too, Stephen, but many people get their jollies out of ridiculing Master Gardeners. Not around here, they're known as knowledable advisors, but somewhere they must not be very effective to have earned this bad reputation.
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Ann, gardening in Zone 6a
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It is partly sour grapes and partly the statement "I am a Master Gardener". It is sort of like the bumper sticker "My child is an honor student." However, the ones here are knowledgeable and hard working also. I look at the Master Gardener program the same as the PhD programs in many universities. They give a distinguished title in exchange for slave labor. Sure, the person who receives the title has made an accomplishment, but the University extracts their measure of slave labor before they present it. In the Master Gardener program, the Extension Service keeps extracting the slave labor.
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The reality is that the University of Massachusetts Extension Service, assessing the master gardeners system as of very little value when it comes to education, stopped supporting a program that wasted University resources on what never became more than a social outlet for a very few amateur gardeners (some knowledgeable most not so much but none knowledgeable due to a workshop series & volunteer service). Now volunteer service is praiseworthy, but these volunteers are just about always lousy sources of horticultural information.
Since the Horticultural Society took over the program, four or five hundred of their 7,000 members have gone through the process & can now boast they are Master Gardeners. If they know they did it for social reasons & to help their Society squeeze more funds from them & to do good volunteer work as unpaid public garden weeders, then that's respectable enough. If "graduates" ever believe they're instantly the next best thing to an arborist then that's a little sad. But I think most people within the system know perfectly well they joined a club & their "teachers" are merely clubsters who joined earlier. It's only the occasional individual impressed by the word "master" but never saw the club in action who mistakes it for more than it is, a misconception master gardeners may at worse allow to go uncorrected.
In most states an agricultural college or horticultural system oversees the program so there's at least an off chance of encountering & learning from people with educating expertise (it just won't be anyone whose greatest boast is they're a Master Gardener, i.e., a club volunteer). Around here that would be Washington State University's extension. With the right affiliation Master Gardener volunteers will have access to soil sample testing services for the public or can give tours to enormous worm bins & do an "educational" show & tell for folks who've never seen a worm bin.
But the MG system as the University of Massachusetts figured out really is more suited to garden social clubs & public garden fundraising entities than it is to educational systems. In the future there are bound to be more colleges & extensions dropping their affiliations with the program. If the MG system is to survive into the longterm future as the club it has always been, it'll probably be increasingly sustained by the volunteers themselves, perhaps in affiliation with old horticultural clubs as in Massachusetts. But if the Massachussetts example becomes standard & more & more university systems ditch the MG as dead weight, this will hardly be evidence of its value as education.
Does that mean amateurs can't do good work? In some regions Master Gardeners work side by side with "ordinary" gardeners & other sorts of garden club members to help sustain roadside gardens, babysit in children's & youth gardens, work in p-patches that help feed the poor, & work for free in private & public gardens to keep things weeded & fertilized & topcoated, very rarely even to help select the plants. So yes they do good work. They only seem silly when their volunteer service means they end up sitting at a cardtable at a farmer's market or nursery to answer gardening questions they never can answer, because they so rarely have any expertise of any kind, & if one meets the very rare MG who is very knowledgeable, they got that knowledge elsewhere than the MG system.
Since it is an amateur system it occasionally happens that by sheer luck in one or another region there are more knowledgeable participants & instructors than elsewhere, but actual expertise is not a prerequisite, so it is more likely to be found elsewhere.
And if you find the facts "ridicule" M-G, that would be because YOU don't value the good volunteer work they do & so have to make up imaginary values above & beyond the helping hands their club can provide to underfunded gardens & p-patches that need unpaid laborers to survive.
-paghat the ratgirl
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snipped-for-privacy@netscape.net (paghat) expounded:

Oh blah, blah, blah, Paghat. I live here. I know the reputation of all, the Mass. Hort. Society, the UMass Extension service (both via the university and via the service, Dr. Lyle Craker is a personal friend of mine - oh, that means you'll do a character assasination on him. Sorry, Lyle!) and the Master Gardener Program. You haven't got a clue other than going on your usual rant against Master Gardeners. Diarrhea of the fingertips doesn't mean you know everything.
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Ann wrote:

Oooo. What a great comeback. You've convinced me. Or did you?
You didn't really say anything. You said you live somewhere, and you have a friend who's involved somehow (which isn't even very clear). And you said that paghat is wrong. But you really didn't do anything but express an unsupported opinion of paghat's assessment.
If you disagree, what parts of what paghat said do you disagree with? And why? What can you add to support your opinion other than making it a she-said/she-said thing? Ultimately, all you've convinced me of is that you have no respect for paghat. You didn't address the issue at all. Your post was all personal attack, and no substanance.
Do you have any real information to add? Or should we simply take your opinion over paghat's substantiated opinion because of your good name? (Or the one name you dropped?)
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Warren if you can't folow a thread don't expect me to replay it for you. Go back upthread and figure it out.
I don't do usenet tit for tat, I don't need to heavily research this, I have my own experience with the Master Gardener program in Massachusetts, and have read time and time again on rec.gardensthat it's worthless. It isn't around here. What is worthless are pompous know-it-alls blathering on just to make themselves feel important.
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you're blathering again.
-paggers
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Ann wrote:

I had been following it, but just in case I missed something, I went back a looked it over again. You didn't add anything of substance to support your opinion.
I'm not looking for tit for tat. I'm just looking for something of substance that tells me why you believe what you believe. Did you just make up your opinion, or is there a reason you came to your conclusions? All you've done is state a position without supporting it, and then call someone who has a different opinion, but can support that opinion, names.
All I can assume is that you aren't substantiating your opinion because you can't. There apparently is no basis for your opinion. And based on your attack of paghat's substantiated opinion, I'll have to assume that you're basing your opinion on your dislike of paghat, and your opinion will always be the opposite of hers just because it's her opinion.
If you have more substance behind your opinion, you certainly haven't taken the opportunity to show it.
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I live here, Warren, and have experience with the Master Gardener program in Massachusetts. That's my whole point. Sorry I can't document my experiences here for you, but why should I have to? Paghat made claims from across the country about a program she has no experience with and tried to pull some references from the UMass Extension service to back herself up, and what she's pull has little base in reality to the program I know. I don't presume to know how the gardening world operates where she is. And I get really stick of the sweeping generalizations about people who have gone through the MG program. Any organization has it's slackers. The MG's I know are knowledgable gardeners who help others learn, who work in the many public gardens in the state - and they do work. They aren't just in the program to list it in their obituary.
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Then the program you "know" is one of your imagination. M-G has no affiliation with U-M becuase U-M jettisoned Mastergardeners from their former affiliation.

Round these parts, you put the plants in the gorund, & with some water & sunshine they tend to grow. I assure you the moon looks the same on both coasts, too.

There you go dissing Mastergardeners again. I call them amateur volunteers, which they are, & I claim that as such they do good work. You call them slackers. There's a world of difference bertween my assessement of their "volunteer service" & your assessment that some of 'em are "slackers." The ones who don't fulfill their volunteer obligations may have done wrong, but I never mentioned them even in passing -- & it could be merely that they have lives to attend to rather than being the slackers you demean them as.
-paggers
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snipped-for-privacy@netscape.net (paghat) expounded:

No, Paghat, you were the one to bring them up. I know full well who certifies Master Gardeners around here, and said so in my post in reply to Stephen.

Nice twist, Ratgirl. You're the one doing the dissing. Pay attention.
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Character assassination of Lyle? I agree with his NORML activism as a marijuana advocate & glad he joined with the American Civil Liberties Union as the poster boy for pot. Though I would certainly never use the stuff myself I think Lyle & everyone else on the HIGH TIME'S "top ten" heroes list should have the legal right to make that decision for themselves. Heroin too as point of fact so I'd take it further than Lyle seems to.
Not that i believe for one second he knows who the hell YOU are. Even imagining you imposed yourself on him somewhere in some icky way he'll never forget, well hell, it doesn't make YOU any smarter. Like hey, Stephen King's a personal friend of mine & wrote a lovely introduction for one of my books. That doesn't make me a wealthy writer with lots of film options, as surprisingly little rubs off from mere friendship, & if I have an opinion on some book, i won't have to say i'm King's buddy & imagine that proves I'm right.
And if you REALLY chummed around with leading marijuana activists, it wouldn't change the reality of what the m-g program is -- unless you're saying in Massachusetts mastergardeners are yours or Lyle's source for the stuff. Cuz i hadn't known they were involved in illegalities for the cause & still assume they remain only a club for amateur gardeners who want to perform volunteer services while hanging out with fellow amateur gardeners. You're the one that despises the actual work in favor of imaginary values above & beyond what is real. I think it's fine to be an amateur devoted to volunteerism, & the master gardeners in those p-patches helping to feed the poor are helping to relieve real suffering. If your local amateurs of the m-g system happen also to be growing marijuana for aids or cancer patients, that's just as cool. Everybody should volunteer for SOMEthing.
-paggers
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snipped-for-privacy@netscape.net (paghat) expounded:

Oh, for chrissake, you latch onto something that means nothing and go on and on about it. My association with him has nothing to do with marijuana, he does quite a bit more than that, but you would know that from your 'research'.

Now you're implying that Master Gardeners have something to do with marijuana.....stretching for your audience again.

What the hell are you talking about? Despises the actual work of what? Now I'm lazy? Actually it doesn't matter.

Really, Paghat, can't you stick to one subject? Or are you spicing up your diahrrea because you really have nothing to say but you need to continue because you ...just....can't...stop. The issue is Master Gardeners, not pot.
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I dunno whether you're lazy (likely you are), but you certainly are a dim bulb! You so despise the ACTUAL good work of M-G -- which I & not you listed (volunteering in p-patches that feed poor top of the list) -- that you have to IMAGINE this club by & for amateurs is more than it is. Perhaps YOU think being an amateur is a bad thing -- I'm an amateur herpetologist & an amateur gardener & quite happy with that status in those areas.
You even pretend you're friends with Lyle at U-M which would mean what if you weren't lying? That U-M didn't as I noted ditch the M-G affiliation? Because U-M most certainly did ditch M-G & that's the only reason they had to affiliate with another garden club instead of a university extension. You not only deny that rather simple reality reality, but you completely undermine, dismiss, ignore, or despise the actual volunteer service an organization by & for amateurs can do.

Hey, you're the one introducing non-sequitors along with your feces fixation where you have no facts. Your imaginary friendship with a professor at U-M who is a leader in the marijuana rights movement I agree has nothing whatsoever to do with Master Gardeners, but YOU name-dropped your fantasized buddyhood in the context of M-G as if it had anything to do with anything. IF you meant to imply M-Gs are the ones providing Lyle with his pot after the government stopped him from growing it himself, fine, he wants it for good uses & that'd be brave of M-Gs to take that risk -- if you're now saying they're not brave at all & have nothing to do with Lyle's garden needs, then why'd you drag him into the conversation, silly? (Yes, I know why, to build YOURSELF up, but that failed).
If on the other hand you meant to imply your imaginary friendship with Lyle proved the Univeristy of Ma didn't ditch the Master Gardeners exactly as I outlined, then you obviously know nothing whatsoever about the history of M-G in Massachusetts, because that's what they're most famous for -- losing their university affiliation. And other M-G volunteer services do worry they could be next to lose the right to boast of an association with university extensions across the nation.
I cannot agree with mere delusions of affiliations that do not exist but which you seeminglyl believe do exist. That you insist on your own fabrications but have had NOTHING to say about the GOOD work I outlined that volunteerism through the MG system can lead to is YOUR disrespect of what M-G really is. I have every respect for any M-G who helps feed the poor by hoeing in a p-patch or helps keep weeds out of public gardens or shows little kids how to start a worm bin. I don't think they should be using up university extension resources ANYwhere, as that makes them a drain on the public rather than an asset. So the University of MA did exactly the right thing jettisoning that affiliation, & I would be glad if Washington State U did the same thing here. M-G affiliation with public garden fundraising entities as now occurs in Massachusetts is a better model.
-paggers
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