In fact, bylaws for the Davidson County Extension Master Gardeners Association require members to perform a minimum number of community service hours.
Much of the group’s handiwork can be seen around town and the county. The demo gardens at the extension center’s headquarters at 301 E. Center St., for example, is a project that is pruned and tended by master gardeners.
In addition to offering a college scholarship, helping with landscaping and plantings around county buildings and such places as Boone’s Cave Park, they are also available for consulting about design plans.
The creation of the Community Garden in Thomasville, which is conveniently located near the farmers’ market, is due in large to the group.
On Feb. 12, the organization will host its third annual Gardeners’ Conference at First Lutheran Church.
Julie Dayvault, the event’s chairwoman, is emphasizing that the conference is open to anyone interested in plants and gardening, not just master gardeners.
Mark Weathington from the JC Raulston Arboretum in Raleigh and Pam Beck, noted garden writer and photographer, will be the main speakers.
Weathington will address new and underutilized plants for distinctive landscapes. Beck will talk about garden sites in North Carolina.
There will be four other speakers at breakout sessions: Debbie Roos will talk about pollinators and other beneficial insects; Diane Demers Smith, gardening with hydrangeas; Sherry Koontz, pondscapes and hardscapes; and Madge Eggena and Jane Albe, the woodland herb garden.
Tickets are $25, with lunch included. Registration is required by Jan. 28. Local vendors will be on hand, and door prizes will be awarded.
“We have speakers from all over the state to talk and show slides of different aspects of gardening. This is for anyone,” Dayvault said.
She said the conference is held in the dead of winter because that’s when the gardeners have most of their down time.
“We try to get ideas about what people would like to hear about. We had 49 people the first year and over 60 the second year. This year we are hoping to have about 100,” Dayvault said.
As part of the Davidson County Cooperative Extension Service and a national volunteer gardening association, Dayvault and others take part in various workshops across the land.
She attended one in Alaska this past fall.
“We go through training to learn about plants and disease,” Dayvault explained. “We take a six-week course and are required to do 40 hours of community service.”
The group also has a plant sale and a tour of various gardens in Davidson County in the spring. Fundraisers are held to help with projects.
Dayvault, who writes for a gardening magazine, said being a member of the organization is a great way to be involved in the community and to meet others interested in gardening. The local master gardeners meet once a month.
Most members are retired, which allows them time to be involved in volunteer work, she pointed out.
Dayvault’s favorite plants are perennials, she said, “because they come back every year.”
She has a small yard and has planted mondo grass, which doesn’t require mowing. “You still have to spray it for weeds,” she said.
The local extension office offers free soil testing.
Dwight Davis can be reached at 249-3981, ext, 226 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Article source: http://www.the-dispatch.com/article/20131230/LIVING/312309995