History

Ellis County Master Gardener Association (ECMGA)

The Ellis County Master Gardener Association supports Texas A&M Agrilife Extension Service in the community through our annual Expo, numerous horticultural classes, speaking engagements, monthly newsletter, and our community and learning gardens.

Created in 1997 with five members, one who is still active, we are celebrating 20 years as a local gardening association in 2017. Our Master Gardeners volunteer an average of 8,000 plus hours yearly, at a value of more than $184,000 annually helping the Agrilife Extension service achieve their mission of disseminating horticultural information to the county. An intern training class is conducted yearly bringing new talent into the association. Our 94 volunteer members share their interests, specializations, and service to the community through various forums.

In March 2018, the association will hold its 18th Lawn and Garden Expo. This annual event is highly anticipated by all who attend, from Ellis County and other surrounding counties. Each year over 2,500 attendees attend educational sessions, purchase plants, meet vendors, and have the opportunity to ask gardening questions.

Ellis County Master Gardeners are most proud of our ability to offer scholarships to graduating seniors in Ellis County. Our scholarship program is funded by our annual Lawn and Garden Expo. The Ellis County Master Gardeners are proud to have awarded $71,100 in scholarships, since beginning this program in 2003, to 39 Ellis County seniors.

In 2018 we will produce our 12th annual gardening focused calendar which is always eagerly awaited by both gardeners and local nurseries for its helpful gardening information and timely garden reminders. The Master Gardeners give away over 5,400 copies of the calendar.

Ellis County’s Junior Master Gardener Program has grown each year and currently has over 200 students enrolled. This program is in several elementary schools and also has a group specifically for home schoolers in the county.

ECMGA’s award winning monthly e-gardening newsletter is distributed electronically to over 1,200 recipients. Each month’s upcoming events, educational opportunities, and articles written by our members, are included to keep the public up to date and informed. Master Gardeners can be heard on both a daily and weekly segment on local radio station, KBEC, which reaches over 12,000 listeners in the surrounding area. Educational outreach is also achieved via a weekly newspaper article reaching over 33,000 readers. Monthly gardening and landscape information is published in a bi-monthly living magazine that has a print circulation of 30,000 readers and approximately 10,000 online readers.

Master Gardeners teach classes at Waxahachie Lighthouse for Learning, a cooperative effort between Waxahachie ISD, Texas A&M Extension, Master Gardeners and other organizations and businesses in Ellis County.

Volunteers participate in numerous events as another way of interacting with and being of service to the community: Waxahachie Gingerbread Trail and Public Garden Tour, 4th of July Parade, Midlothian Quilt Show, Ennis Bluebonnet Festival, and Ferris Earth Day. Our dedicated members can be found weekly at the Waxahachie Farmers Market passing out information and answering questions (April – October).

Ellis County master gardeners maintain several public gardens that are enjoyed by the community: Waxahachie’s Horticulture Learning Center, Extension Office, and Butterfly Garden located on the Waxahachie Bike and Hike Trail, and also Ridgeview Park located in Midlothian.

Please come our and enjoy one of our many gardens!

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