Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Master the garden

A lapse in posting = a busy summer with freelancing assignments, Campaign Guy's communications and strategy needs, getting College Guy ready to move on campus, and prepping High School Girl for her first year in high school.

At long last, I'm applying for DeKalb County's Master Gardener Program through its Extension Service. I hope that I transition from killing plants to nurturing beautiful gardens filled with edibles and ornamentals.

Interested? Here are the details:

Dear Gardener,

Thank you for your interest in the 2012 training for Georgia Master Gardeners in DeKalb.

The Master Gardener program provides community-minded gardeners with practical horticultural training that prepares them to be volunteers for their county’s Cooperative Extension. The DeKalb Cooperative Extension is a joint program of DeKalb County and the University of Georgia . Through the program, homeowners are provided with unbiased, research-oriented horticultural and gardening information.

Master Gardener training and information is provided by the horticulture, entomology, pathology, and crop and soil sciences departments of UGA’s College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences. Master Gardener volunteers answer horticulture inquiries via telephone, email, and in person at the Extension Service office. They also speak to civic groups, design and install beautification projects, and participate in a variety of community service projects.

To receive an application for the program you will need to attend one of the three available information sessions in September. Because we want to be certain that all applicants are aware of the responsibilities – and possibilities! – of the Master Gardener Program, applications are available only at the information sessions.
Please plan to attend any one of the following:

Friday, Sept. 2, 10:00 am – noon at the Cooperative Extension Main Office, 4380 Memorial Drive , Decatur (Demonstration Kitchen)

Wednesday, Sept. 7, 10:00 am – noon at the Cooperative Extension Main Office, 4380 Memorial Drive , Decatur (Demonstration Kitchen)

Thursday, Sept. 8, 10:00 a.m. - noon at the Cooperative Extension Main Office, 4380 Memorial Drive , Decatur (Demonstration Kitchen)

At the information session, we will review the Master Gardener program with you, we will answer any questions you may have about the Master Gardener program, and you will pick up a training application. Deadline for submitting applications (with your deposit) is Friday, Oct. 7, 5:00 PM. Late or incomplete applications will not be considered.

Classes will begin Wednesday, January 4, 2012, and run through Wednesday, March 28. Classes meet on Wednesdays only, 9:30 - 12:00 noon, and 1:00 p.m. - 3:30 p.m., with a one hour lunch break. An orientation for DeKalb Master Gardener trainees will be held Wednesday, April 4. Attendance at all classes and the orientation session is mandatory. To become a Certified Master Gardener you must successfully complete the training and 50 hours of volunteer time in the following twelve months.

Cost of the classes is $140. This covers all materials, including the extensive Georgia Master Gardener Handbook.
Space is limited. Students are accepted on the basis of their commitment to volunteer activity that satisfies a gardening interest and meets county needs. Note that you must be a DeKalb County resident to apply through this office. If you are a resident of another county, you must apply through the Extension Service office in that county. To reach your nearest county Extension office call 1-800-ASK-UGA1.

For more information about Georgia Master Gardeners in DeKalb contact Gary Peiffer or Averil Bonsall at 404-298-4080, or email Averil at

We look forward to meeting you at a future Cooperative Extension Program. We hope that you will take this opportunity to join our dedicated group of gardeners, and share your talents and enthusiasm!


Gary Peiffer                                         Averil Bonsall
DeKalb County Agent                        Master Gardener Coordinator for DeKalb

Maybe, when I'm finished, I'll fit in with this savvy gang, the Master Gardeners tending to the native plantings at Dunwoody Nature Center.

Have you noticed this sign as you enter Dunwoody Nature Center? Just a small reminder that the beautiful plantings are the result of hard work by dedicated volunteers.

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