become a Master Gardener? I gave that question some consideration and decided that my personal description of a Master Gardener would be… “anyone who is passionate about gardening, loves to learn, and loves to share gardening knowledge and experiences with others”.
One misconception I would like to dispel is the notion that you should be an expert gardener before joining the Master Gardener program. When someone says to me “Oh, I don’t know enough to take the Master Gardener course”… I have to reply, “that’s the whole point”. I believe that the program’s ability to broaden your horizons and provide new sources of inspiration and information may be its primary benefits. I may not recall her words verbatim, but it stuck with me when our former Master Gardener Association President, Linda Lindquist, remarked… “I realized that I didn’t take the Master Gardener course to learn everything about gardening, but to learn just how much I did not know about gardening”. Therein is a truth to realize; individual Master Gardeners don’t know everything about gardening… that is not possible.
I like to quote a few sentences from Jim Wilson, a former host of the popular Victory Garden television series. From his 1990 book Masters of the Victory Garden, Jim described the specialist (“master”) gardeners
featured in that publication as follows…“None has the hubris to proclaim, “I am the best!” They flinch at the term “expert”, and even grumble at being called an “authority”. You see, what these seasoned gardeners have discovered is that no individual ever completely masters gardening. Much of the fascination in one of this country’s most popular hobbies is that one revelation leads to another, and another. Gardening is a lifelong
voyage of discovery.” Jim Wilson was not speaking directly about the Master Gardener program offered by the agriculture Extension service, but his words accurately reflect the attitude and outlook of many of those state-certified Master Gardeners that I know.
If you have a similar love of gardening and discovery, I encourage you to register for the Master Gardener certification course which begins in January here in Rutherford County. Or, if you live elsewhere, check with your county or state agriculture Extension service to inquire about their Master Gardener program.
blog entry by Mark Murphy, CMG