Yesterday, I had the pleasure of interviewing several people who are interested in joining our local master gardener ranks. The interview process is pretty quick and simple. Review their application, ask a few questions about why they want to be master gardeners and how they heard of the program. Do they understand the time commitment for the program etc. What is really interesting is the enthusiasm, the excitement they show about starting this journey.
It reminds me of the start of my MG journey back in 2000. I attended the local Landscapes West home and garden show in February. I was relatively new to the Western Slope area and having very little luck with my personal garden. I went there seeking knowledge and ideas. I sat next to Sue Roberts during the lunch break. She was very friendly and we started chatting about the speakers and topics. She told me she was a master gardener and how much it helped her over the years with her garden and landscape. She said the program was a great place to learn more about our challenging climate and how to garden successfully in it. But, more important, it was a great place to meet people who had the same goals as I did and wanted to share these ideas with the community.
I was so excited to hear about this group but quickly found out the winter classes had already started and I had to wait until next January. :-( So, I waited and waited and waited. Finally the announcement came out in late Fall that CSU Extension would be accepting applications for the next master gardener classes. I filled out my application, sent my check along with personal referrals to the Extension office and waited to hear from someone. Susan Rose, the Master Gardener coordinator, called and set up a time for my interview. Two lovely ladies talked to me about the program and my goals. Did I understand the commitment, etc? I nervously answered their questions and took the test (which sent me into a panic!). I brought the ginormous MG handbook home to start my studies and eagerly awaited the first class.
When I arrived at the Masonic Center that cold, dreary morning in January I couldn't believe my eyes. So many people were taking these classes, so many people were just as excited as I was about learning and sharing all of the wonderful garden research, techniques and ideas. I felt right at home from the first day. To make the experience even better, I sat at a table with a woman who would become my MG mentor and very dear friend. Thirteen years later, Meredith Pratt and I still go out to lunch and talk about our gardens, the MG program and all of the people we have known through the years.
I am looking forward to attending the MG classes this year and feel the excitement and enthusiasm of the apprentices and seeing lots of my old friends who have gone through the program in previous years. Our Master Gardener program is so much more than gardening. Its a journey of education, community involvement and friendship.