The Bluebonnet Master Gardener Association is proud to announce the graduation of 19 Master Gardener Interns who completed its 2020 Master Gardener Training Class. Master Gardener training is tough any time, but this group of interns are a particularly hardy, dedicated, flexible and passionate group. The class endured unique challenges due to the pandemic sending the last five training classes, a total of 20 hours, to online video conference sessions. Even the required intern presentations and the final exam moved to an online format. All but one field trip was cancelled.
Congratulations to the 2020 BMGA intern graduates:
|Bobby Bentke||Linda Hufford|
|Mary Jane Berger||Lillian Kwiatkowski|
|Rex Boyd||Kathleen Lannou|
|Terri Burnham||Mike Lannou|
|Deanna Butler||Cindy McAllister|
|Cameron Carper||Scarbrough, Carol|
|Michael Fromm||Gary Scardino|
|Esther Hartman||Stephanie Vickers|
|Randy Hegemeyer||Bonnie Wills|
The class started out as one of change, including a new statewide Texas Master Gardener Handbook with new material to include in the program. In addition, the class was held for the first time in Washington County, first steps were taken to revive the mentor program and at the start of the class, efforts were made to move some administrative components of the class online. Although bumps in the road were expected due to the changes, a pandemic shutting down in-person training halfway through the 15-week program was not anticipated.
However, with the work and guidance of Washington County Texas AgriLife Extension Agent Kara Matheney, the many professionals associated with Texas A&M University and the class participants’ eagerness to continue their training, classes moved online with Zoom video presentations from AgriLife Specialists and others to complete the course. Although challenges persisted, the material and speakers were of the high quality required for Texas Master Gardener training.
The BMGA 2020 Training Class Committee gives a special “thank you” to all who presented to the class in-person or via video:
Kara Matheney – Introduction to AgriLife
Dr. Jake Mowrer – Soil Characteristics & Soil Improvement
Elizabeth Wizzie Brown – Insects
Joseph Johnson – Tour of the Leach Teaching Gardens at Texas A&M
Charlene & B.R. Koehler – Plant Propagation
Randy Albers – Plant Propagation
Michael Potter – Landscape Design
Jayla Fry – Plant Development
Sheila McBride – Diseases
Joel Pigg – Water
Tim Hartman – Earth-Kind Landscapes
Erfan Vafaie – Integrated Pest Management
Tim Hartman – Fruit Trees
Rebecca Bowling – Lawns & Weeds
Skip Richter – Vegetable and Herbs and Organic Gardening
We are excited to welcome Mr. Skip Richter for our BMGA Intern Training Class & Chapter Zoom Meeting on Vegetables and Organic Gardening.
Details to join the meeting were provided separately.
It was a cold and windy day February 6, 2020 when the Bluebonnet Master Gardener 2020 Training Class toured the Leach Teaching Gardens at Texas A&M University. Nonetheless, the class bundled up in jackets, hats, gloves and winter boots and did not let the blustery day deter their enthusiasm to get out in the gardens.
AgriLife’s Joseph Johnson, Program Manager – The Gardens at Texas A&M University, met the class in the AgriLife building atrium where he gave a brief history of The Gardens and their purpose. He explained that the concept of the overall project, The Gardens at Texas A&M University, is for training, research and to enhance the green space on campus. The Leach Teaching Gardens is Phase I of the 27-acre garden project on Texas A&M campus. The Leach Teaching Gardens, which opened June 15, 2018, encompass seven-acres and are named after lead donors Amy & Tim Leach.
Mr. Johnson explained that each garden section, or “room”, has a theme and is designed in the size of an average urban home’s yard. This way, homeowners who visit the gardens will see design, techniques and plants that can realistically be used in their Texas yards and gardens.
When the gardens were designed, the design criteria required use of the native soil and water rather than bringing in soil or treating the water. As the soil in the area is sandy loam and the water has a high salinity content, this presented special design challenges. One area in the garden that illustrates the challenge with the local water, is where the irrigation system sprays on the lower leaves of some young trees. The salt in the water damages the leaves, especially in warmer temperatures, so the damaged leaves fall off the trees. Eventually the trees will grow tall enough so that the water does not spray the leaves and the trees will survive. Mr. Johnson explained that the teaching point is that a drip irrigation system is so important in the Brazos River Valley area.
The garden areas the class toured included the Earth-Kind garden provided by donations from the Texas Master Gardener Program which includes a rainwater harvesting system, a vegetable garden, a water garden, a butterfly garden, a pollinator garden, a vineyard, bird garden, the Food and Fiber field featuring wheat (corn in warmer months), a peach and plum orchard, the Mexican Heritage Garden celebrating the many plants originally from Mexico that grow well and are common in Texas gardens, sections celebrating Texas’ rich German and Czech heritage and of, course, an Aggie Maroon & White garden.
A special section of the garden was left totally in its native condition as its center piece is a magnificent 200+ year old post oak tree, dubbed the Century Oak. Mr. Johnson explained the measures that taken to protect this special tree from damage during the construction of the rest of the garden and the importance of not disturbing the area around the tree. He explained that that post oak are sensitive trees that do not do well when their environment is disturbed. Nor do they transplant well. He is working with others on a research project to try to develop techniques to grow and transplant post oak so that in the future, areas where post oak are lost due to urbanization and other disturbances to their environment may be replanted.
Although Winter may not be the most robust growing season, a visit to the Leach Teaching Gardens on a cold windy day in February clearly illustrated that Texas gardeners can have beautiful and interesting gardens year around by planning and choosing the proper plants. Many in the tour group expressed desire to come back in the Spring to the gardens again.
The 2020 Bluebonnet Master Gardener Training Class is appreciative of Mr. Johnson’s knowledge about and passion for the Leach Teaching Gardens, and especially grateful for his willingness to bundle-up in winterwear to provide a such a fine informative garden tour on a day most folks would rather stay indoors!
From more information about the Leach Teaching Gardens, visit: https://gardens.tamu.edu/leach-teaching-gardens/
The BMGA annual Awards Program and pot luck lunch.
Board Meeting: 8:30 – 10:00
Social: 10:00 – 10:30
Program: 10:30 – 12:00
The Bluebonnet Master Gardener Association is hosting three Open House events in January, 2020. If you are interested in learning more about the Master Gardener Program in Texas or want to sign-up for the intensive 5o- hour certficiation training class, please be our guest at one of these three events:
La Grange Open House
January 8, 2020
10:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon
Fayette County AgriLife Meeting Room
255 Svoboda Ln, Rm 134
La Grange, TX 78945
Brenham Open House
January 9, 2020
11:30 a.m.– 1:00 p.m.
Washington County Fairgrounds Sales Facility (Entrance on Independence St across from Sherriff’s Office)
1305 East Blue Bell Road
Brenham, TX 77833
Bellville Open House
January 9, 2020
10:00 a.m. 12:00 noon
AgriLife Extension Office – Austin County
800 E. Wendt St.
Bellville, TX 77418
The Bluebonnet Master Gardener Association 2020 Training Class will be held in Brenham. Space is limited. For more information and to apply online visit our Application Page.
“With every deed you are sowing a seed, though the harvest you may not see. “Ella Wheeler Wilcox, poet.
The Bluebonnet Master Gardener Association is reviving the mentor program that was so successful in the past to help trainees achieve Master Gardener certification. Starting with the 2020 BMGA Training Class, certified BMGA members may volunteer to mentor a trainee. The mentor’s obligation extends from when the classroom portion of the training program begins until the mentee achieves Master Gardener certification, up to one year from graduation from the training class.
Because so much information is provided during the training class about gardening, volunteering, continuing education, the relationship with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, BMGA projects, meetings and other activities, the mentor will help usher the trainee through the program. The mentor’s role is to assist the mentee as they move through the training class, help them achieve their required 50 volunteer hours within 1-year from graduation of the training program, answer questions about the Master Gardener program and simply be a friend who shares a passion for gardening.
As BMGA is a four county Master Gardener chapter covering the large geographical area of Austin, Colorado, Fayette & Washington Counties, mentors will be matched to trainees based on county of residence.
BMGA members are asked to sign-up for this important role in connection with the 2020 Training Class. If you are interested in mentoring a new trainee, please go to the Members Only Area to sign-up as mentor.
As Winston Churchill said, “We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.”
2019 Master Gardener Open House Event Scheduled
Colorado County members of the Bluebonnet Master Gardener Association would like to extend an invitation to learn more about the master gardener program! The Bluebonnet Master Gardener Assocation is a four county chapter spanning Austin, Colorado, Fayette, and Washington Counties. Master Gardeners are volunteers, trained by Texas A&M AgriLife Extension in research-based horticulture including soils, water conservation, composting, entomology, plant pathology and related subjects. As County Extension Service volunteers, they give to the community by extending research-based knowledge and providing solutions in one-to-one problem solving, in a demonstration gardens and educational programs. What really sets Master Gardeners apart from other home gardeners is their special training in horticulture. The next Master Gardener certification training course will begin in January of 2020. It is an intensive 14 week course with both classroom instruction and field trips. More information on the 2020 training class can be found on our website at https://txmg.org/bluebonnet/join-us-2/. Please join us on Saturday, October 26th from 9 am – 1pm on the Colorado County Courthouse Square in conjunction with the Columbus Country Market to learn more about the master gardener program! If you have any questions please contact the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Office of Colorado County at 979-732-2082.
2020 Master Gardener Open House Event Scheduled
Colorado County members of the Bluebonnet Master Gardener Association would like to extend an invitation to learn more about the master gardener program! The Bluebonnet Master Gardener Association is a four county chapter spanning Austin, Colorado, Fayette, and Washington Counties. Master Gardeners are volunteers, trained by Texas A&M AgriLife Extension in research-based horticulture including soils, water conservation, composting, entomology, plant pathology and related subjects. As County Extension Service volunteers, they give to the community by extending research-based knowledge and providing solutions in one-to-one problem solving, in a demonstration gardens and educational programs. What really sets Master Gardeners apart from other home gardeners is their special training in horticulture. The next Master Gardener certification training course will begin in January of 2020. It is an intensive 14 week course with both classroom instruction and field trips. More information on the 2020 training class can be found on our website at https://txmg.org/bluebonnet/join-us-2/.
Please join us on Saturday, October 26th from 9 am – 1pm on the Colorado County Courthouse Square in conjunction with the Columbus Country Market to learn more about the master gardener program! If you have any questions please contact the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Office of Colorado County at 979-732-2082.
Our 2020 Master Gardener Certification Training Class is scheduled each Thursday from January 16th – April 23rd with the final graduation class on Tuesday, April 28, 2020. Participants from Austin, Colorado, Fayette & Washington Counties are welcome. The 64 hours of classes will be held at the Washington County Extension Sales Facility at 1305 East Bell Road, Brenham, Texas 77833 (use the Independence Rd entrance) , plus some field trips to be announced in class. The updated training manual compiled by the Texas Master Gardener Association, is included in the $175 registration fee. You may register online below or contact the Washington County Extension office at (979) 277-6262 for more information.
The Bluebonnet Master Gardener Association, will host an open house in Brenham for those interested in the training classes which run from January 17, 2019 t0 April 23, 2019. The Bluebonnet Master Gardener Association is a four-county Master Gardener Association covering Austin, Fayette, Colorado & Washington Counties, Texas.
***Please Note*** Classes will be on Thursdays from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. in La Grange.
The Bluebonnet Master Gardener Assocation, serving Washington, Fayette, Colorado and Austin Counties, is hosting two open houses the first week in January 2019. Cerfified Master Gardeners will be on hand to answer questions about the Master Gardener Program and how they serve the community by assisting the area’s AgriLife Extension Agents in educating the public about gardening. The Master Gardeners will accept applciations for the 2019 intensive training class which is required to acheive Master Gardener cerfitification. The series of classes start January 17, 2019 and run through April 25, 2019 in La Grange.
The series of classes taught by experts in various area of horticulture consist of both class room instruction and field trips. Instruction consists of fact-based non-biased information about horticulture. Texas A&M AgriLife Extension is the sponsor of the Master Gardener Program in Texas and provides many of the expert instructors and resources for the training class.
The Bluebonnet Master Gardener Assocation 2019 training classes begin January 17th in La Grange, Texas. The series consists of 50 hours of training held every Thursday until April 25th, 2019. Master Gardener Carol Daniels of La Grange is the coordinator of the 2019 training program. Ms. Daneils also coordinated the 2017 training class for BMGA. The class is designed for trainees from any of the four Bluebonnet Master Gardener counties of Austin, Colorado, Fayette and Washington. Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service provides the training material used by Master Gardener programs statewide.
This is a unique opportunity for individuals who are interested in horticulture and serving their community. Master Gardeners are trained in all facets of horticulture such as plant & soil science, entomology, plant pathology, fruit and vegetable gardening, and much more. Upon completion of their training, Master Gardeners will be required to give at least 50 hours of volunteer service time in their local community in order to receive the title of “Master Gardener”.
Two Open House dates have been set for January 2019 for anyone interested in learning more about the program. These two events will provide a great opportunity to visit with current Master Gardeners, learn about projects in each of the counties, and enjoy a few Master Gardener goodies.
Training classes begin January 17th and will be held every Thursday through April 18th at the Fayette County Extension Office at 255 Svoboda Lane in La Grange from 8:30am-12:30pm. Final assesment and graduation will be held April 23. Applications are available at the Fayette County Extension Office. Class size will be limited, so to ensure your spot in the 2019 BMGA Training Class the application and payment of $175 must be turned into the Extension Office as soon as possible.
Come out and enjoy lots of wonderful refreshments and a chance to learn more about what all the Master Gardeners have to offer! For more information on the Master Gardener program, contact the Extension office at (979) 968-5831.
The members of Texas A&M AgriLife will provide equal opportunities in programs and employment to all persons regardless of race, color, sex, religion, national origin, age, disability, genetic information, veteran status, sexual orientation, or gender identity and will strive to achieve full and equal employment opportunity throughout Texas A&M AgriLife.
The Texas A&M University System, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the County Commissioners Courts of Texas Cooperating.
Individuals with disabilities who require an auxiliary aid, service or accommodation in order to participate in this meeting are encouraged to contact the Fayette County Extension Office at (979)968-5831 seven work days prior to the meeting to determine how reasonable accommodations can be made.
The 2018 Bluebonnet Master Gardener Association’s intern training class of 24 trainees held its April 4th class on the grounds of Festival Hill in Round Top, Texas. BMGA takes its intern training class to this “Jewel in the Crown of Texas” each year and the outing is usually a class favorite, especially when the weather is a nice Spring Texas day.
Guided by Festival Hill docent Mary Reeves, this year’s class and a few of their spouses toured the music conservatory’s campus and Festival Hill Herb Gardens. Ms. Reaves, along with her husband Charles, was instrumental in bringing the extensive gardens to their potential since the early 1980s. Ms. Reaves also makes all the floral arrangements for social events at the campus. The tour provided a historical overview of Festival Hill and discussed native plants around the grounds and in the different herb gardens. The group learned about herbs from around the world as well as the usual culinary and medicinal herbs. After the tour, the group enjoyed lunch in the Menke House kitchen which uses herbs from the campus gardens in their cooking. The interns last formal training class is April 11, and after passing a written exam, they will graduate the from Texas Master Gardener training program April 24th at BMGA’s chapter meeting at Grace Community Church in Bellville.