Why did you decide to become a Master Gardener?
I decided to become a Master Gardener because I wanted to help others develop their gardening skills as I developed mine. As a society, we need to learn to enjoy and live in greater harmony with the world we have been given.
What did you like best and least about the training?
The Master Gardener Training was a comprehensive exposure to the science of all kinds of gardening subjects that I never would have pursued on my own. I was humbled by the amount I didn’t – and couldn’t possibly be expected – to know, but it also gave me the tools to know where (and how) to discover the information I needed.
Did you love or hate the 60 Intern Hours?
The 60 hours of volunteer service required of Trainees flew by before I knew it because it was so exciting to put to use what I had learned in class, and to extend it with some hands-on experience. While I was awed by the Master Gardeners with whom I worked, they were eager to help by sharing what they knew.
What do you like best now about being a Master Gardener?
I am happiest helping others solve their gardening issues. Comparing notes, thinking through problems, sharing information – there’s nothing like it. At the same time, the Western Massachusetts Master Gardener Association cannot do this on the scale it does (250 members throughout western Massachusetts) without a degree of organizational support – keeping records, organizing volunteers, developing policies through consensus, etc. It is very satisfying to be able to use the non-gardening skills I acquired through my work to make this possible.
What would you tell someone contemplating applying for our MG training?
There is no better way to work toward developing the horticultural expertise of our region, and the benefits of doing so – from combating climate change, to making our ecosystems healthier and more enjoyable, to growing more nutritious and tasty foods for ourselves – are invaluable. This is a way we can, as individuals, make a difference.