An amazing group of individuals participated in the 2009 Master Gardener training classes. Once completing their over 50 hours of instruction at the end of March, they began earning volunteer hours. They have been an active, volunteer force in our community since then.
Watch for them! They carry pruning shears, wear hats and gloves and show up where plants are in need. One project was landscaping the Texas White House in Stonewall. Park Superintendent, Russ Whitlock, wanted the grounds of the home to replicate the landscape plans Lady Bird Johnson approved in the 1960’s. The problem included too many weeds, no mulch, pruning needs, plants to be removed and new ones to be planted.
Mark Tresselt, a Park employee and new Master Gardener Intern, arranged for MG help.
Working on this project were Leona Carleton, Barbara Counts, Susan Hamm, David Hamm, Mary Joyce, Betty Mucha, Mary Nabors, Bobby Rushing, Henrietta Smith, Pastor Sid Spiller, Cerice Spivey and Mark Tresselt.
Master Gardeners do not spend all of their time in the garden. Providing educational opportunities in our community such as the A to Z Herbs and Barron Rector’s Environmental Horticulture program are high priority. Our Junior Master Gardener program for Blanco County 4th graders is provided by Gabriel Gregerman, Diane Blackburn, Mary Joyce and Henrietta Smith.
In June Master Gardeners sponsored a program for the JC Discovery Camp at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin.. The children spent the morning learning to use a compass, collecting seeds and pollinating flowers with ’puppet’ bees, hummingbirds and butterflies. Along the meadow trail one group spotted a long, tan snake and other students were excited to see a lizard and a bright red dragonfly near the pond. Assisting the children were Margaret and Wilber Mengers, Susan and David Hamm, Barbara Counts and Betty Mucha.
Three exciting, new educational projects are starting this year. The first is a research project to learn more about the best growing conditions for the Blanco Crab Apple and to introduce more of the plants into Blanco County. The number of Blanco Crab Apples is declining due to an over population of deer and the past grazing of goats. Master Gardener intern, James Blackburn is directing this MG project. Texas’s Champion
Blanco Crab Apple is located on the Bamberger Preserve.
The second project is the publication of a booklet about Blanco County native grasses. Project coordinator is Jose Ramirez with committee members Bobby Rushing, Alfred Syamken, Susan Hamm and Todd Swift, Blanco County Extension Agent. The booklet’s goal is to help land owners from 1 to over 40 acres be good stewards of their land.
The third project is to identify and locate endangered plants once found in Blanco County. Biologist Bill Carr from San Antonio is our scientific advisor. Our local project coordinator is Pastor Sid Spiller. Ask Pastor Sid if he has found the Hill County Wild Mercury plant. He is in hot pursuit. At one time the plant could be found on a few selected areas along Highway 281. Theses are just a few projects from our new Master Gardener class. What an outstanding group of people.