Master gardener help?

In response to one of my posts about my recently acquired garden, someone posted that an agricultural organisation would send someone out, usually a volunteer master gardener, to help with identification of plants. I thought this was an excellent idea, but didn't think to ask how to go about this.
Now then, bearing in mind I'm from England and have no idea how things work over here in Texas (but I'm learning ;-), can anyone give me some pointers of who or where I should be approaching to go about this?
The alternative would be for me to take a whole bunch of pics and post them on my website for y'all to look at. Meh, I might just do that anyway! But I do think it would be great to have someone walk around my garden with me and share their knowledge. TIA. -- Lynda
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On Fri, 19 Dec 2003 04:10:19 GMT, Lynda LeCompte

You might start looking here:
http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/mastergd /
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hehe - yes, thanks. Spooky actually, as I found this site this morning before I took my son to school and was going to post about it when I got back... but ya beat me to it :-)
When I was first searching, I made the mistake of using 'agriculture' instead of 'horticulture' in the search strings. Duh! -- Lynda
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Using M2, Opera's revolutionary e-mail client: http://www.opera.com/m2 /

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On Fri, 19 Dec 2003 14:28:21 GMT, Lynda LeCompte

^_^ I used "master gardener" and as it happened, there were references on the first page to Texas.
The usual response is "call your local extension agent/office," which is rather cryptic sometimes. Many (most? all?) state universities have a public service operation that is a coordinating information resource for local agricultural, horticultural, home (cleaning, canning), social, and other topics. They vary in usefulness. I discovered, looking for some specific info on the web, that many are ready to supply the same 1950s pamphlets that must have been distributed in the millions. However...they *do* generally coordinate Master Gardener programs, handle things like soil-sampling, and *may* have a genuine expert on local conditions.
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You may not get as much help from this source as you would like. Were I to ask a MG to do this in my state (and this is where the MG program started), I would be telling THEM what plants were what. If you have pretty basic plantings - ie., your standard foundation plants, etc. - this may work. Otherwise you may want someone in with a higher skill level.. Ask at a local nursery if they can recommend a horticulturist to assist with this task. You will have to pay for their time but at least you can count on what they are telling you is accurate.
pam - gardengal

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wrote:

Hmm - okay, thanks for the tip. I just wrote to the Brazoria County MG people, explaining my case. I'll see what happens. If they are willing to send someone out, I guess I could see how much help I can glean from them and then if necessary take it a step further with a local nursery if I need more advice. Really, any advice will be beneficial. This is a far cry from my little English garden with, amongst other things... roses, London's pride, several iceplants, a glorious huge peony that I was so proud of, poppies, pansies, zillions of marigolds... there was nothing tropical about that garden ;-) -- Lynda
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Lynda LeCompte wrote:

http://brazoria-tx.tamu.edu /
If you don't find the help you need there, take a short road trip down to seabrook and visit Maas Nursery.
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gardenia wrote:

http://www.maasnursery.com /
Hit the wrong key combinations and my post went before I wanted it to. Whereabouts do you live in Brazoria county? Believe it or not, there's a huge difference between the northern section of the county (Pearland) and the southern end of the county (Freeport) because of the water.
pat, your neighbor down in galveston..
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Thanks Pat.

I'm actually in Pearland - well, a little village called Brookside on the outskirts of Pearland. Hubby played a gig at the Balinese in your neck of the woods recently. Cool place.

:-) /waves -- Lynda
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If you aren't familiar with Neil Sperry you might want to check out his web site http://www.neilsperry.com . He has a excellent magazine on Texas gardening and has written several excellent books.
dennis

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On Fri, 19 Dec 2003 04:10:19 GMT, Lynda LeCompte

Over here in Tennessee what I advise the newly arrived to this region (the ones from Florida who are used to zone 8 and 9 and are now facing zone 7 with undertones of the former 6b zone and want "something to bloom all year......'try silk plants' lol) but seriously, I would go to the phone book and look in the blue pages. Those are the listings for the government and such. Or yellow pages and look for University of Texas (or closest one to where you are) and then for the Agricultural department. The university's Master Gardening program is thru the Agricultural department (mine was, I went to University of Tennessee in Knoxville for my master gardening classes but since then, they've expanded them to Walter State Community college closer to me, just at different times). If you don't find the listing in the book, you can just dial 1411 (I'd expect the first two or so information calls are free thru the phone company) and ask for the number.
Here I have BellSouth and when I dial 1411 I get "if you need a number and in English, push one, what listing? (most of them now are voice activated) what city? what state? the number is *** *******, if you'd like for us to connect to that number for an additional charge of bla bla, push or say bla, again the number is..............."
Nine times out of ten, you'll get a very friendly and helpful phone operator and they'll direct you to the proper number.

I think I did a thorough job on that one <g>

agreed. and send me some of yer pics! I'd love to see them. Get up in the faces of the plants and such so I can see the buggers though because although I'm getting good at this, I'm not nearly as good as my friend in Nashville who can identify everything by it's leaf.....I've nicknamed him the Garden Guru.........and he studied and went to college and took Horticulture at UT :) (more study, gotta study and read more, more knowledge....get more knowledge,,,,,,,)
I hope this helps more......everyone has given you good advice so far but this is more hands on with where you're at. Let me know how it goes....... madgardener up on the snowy and wintery ridge, back in Fairy Holler, overlooking a snow covered English Mountain (actually you can't SEE English Mountain for the snow and clouds today) in Eastern Tennessee, zone 7 (feels more like zone 5 today!) Sunset zone 36

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<snipped here and there>

hehe - I wouldn't kid too much. What is it with the silk plant folks over here in the U.S? A relative of my hubby's was actually amazed when she realised that I had 'real' plants inside my house.

Well, I think I found the right people, but judging by what some on here are saying, I may not get the kind of help I was after. But here's the good news...
... I was chatting with my new neighbour yesterday, who came over to apologise for not coming over sooner and asking if we needed any help (however, when I pointed to the rake he looked at me as though I had asked him to cut his head off... lol!). Anyway, it transpires that he and his wife are keeping in touch with the lady who used to live in my house. She was the super gardener that tended these lovely gardens. My neighbour thought that she might be delighted to come over and take me through what used to be her gardens, telling me what's what. I probably couldn't get much better than that!

Well, I've taken the pics and I'll start another thread for that one. Even though I'll have Mrs ex house owner coming over at some point - hopefully - maybe - it might be good to get some other's input on what's what and what's best to do. If anything it will be a bit of entertainment for the experts out there, where they will be able to say, "you don't know what THAT is!?!?" :-) Thanks all! -- Lynda
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ROTFLMAO!!!!!
You are asking for expert advice from "Master Gardeners"?
That must be the funniest thing I've read all year!!!
From what I've seen, they couldn't even identify their own hands in front of their faces.
Why don't you have Jerry Baker mix you up a magic potion while you are waiting?

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On Fri, 19 Dec 2003 17:55:53 GMT, "Cereoid-UR12-"

I don't think this is quite fair. While I'm sure the MG programs have their fair share of retired postal clerks who decided to take up a new hobby, I'm also confident (no personal experience, as usual) that lifelong gardeners may also choose to participate. Most plant folk are willing and eager to share their experience and knowledge. I *did* have one 'extension agent' go through all kinds of hoops and information/analysis resources to help me with a tree problem. Shoot, if there's someone who can say, "I don't know, but there's this guy who lives about 5 miles from you who's an expert," it's worth making the effort.
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I say post them, I love id'ing plants. :o)
Dave

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wrote:

Okay... you asked for it ;-) In fact I was just about to don my cam and go do the deed after reading madgardener's post - which I will respond to properly after some time outdoors. It's a beautiful day... much can be accomplished. Where's my gloves... -- Lynda
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thank you Lynda. And when some people poke fun of the others here, it's just best to pat them on the head and ignore them. You'll find that Cereoid is quite knowledgable despite his sharp tongue. And has a mean dry wit about him too! <g> madgardener turning on the ceramic heater in the nook as the windchill factor is beginning to affect the warmth of the room thru the walls brrrrr

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It is best you post your pix to alt.binaries.pictures.gardens, unless you have your own photo website, of course.
Leave the "Master Gardeners" to do what they do best.............potting up plants and pulling weeds!!! You don't want to hurt their little heads by making them try to think too hard. Most of them think plant taxonomy is either stuffing dead plants or garden expenses they have to account for on their income tax form.

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Lynda -- Just take pics of each and post them to your web site. You'll get a quicker response and it will likely be more accurate. When photographing, be sure to get a few of each plant in particular -- flowers are very helpful and pics that show the textures of the leaves help as well.
Given those pics and an e-mail address, you'll find far more useful discussion and knowledge through online resources than having a single person come out. FWIW, don't be tripped up by the title "MG" -- quality of MG programs vary widely from state to state and the quality of the individual varies widely within the programs.
James
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Yah - thanks James. I had already posted some pics (The 'Plant ID Extravaganza' thread), as you suggested, and am about to post my followup to that. Thanks for the input :-) -- Lynda
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