Master Gardener 1993-2011
Don Freeman was essential in the organization, development and success of the Travis County Master Gardener program. Don was one of the primary groups who organized and incorporated the organization in 1993. Don Freeman was in the second TCMGA class in 1993. Once certified, he served as the first President. Don thought this new TCMGA organization could make a difference with many good projects in the community and immediately starting volunteering through TCMGA at Zilker Botanical Garden.
He was instrumental in planning and constructing the first Butterfly Garden for young children and school age groups to enjoy. His vast plant knowledge was quickly utilized in teaching bulb planting and then starting the Bulb Society of Travis County. His knowledge on roses is widely recognized, leading to rose pruning classes that TCMGA held in the Zilker Rose Garden for over 15 years. He also taught citrus propagation classes for TCMGA for numerous years.
Don organized the Iris Society to do their test trials through TCMGA. This brought iris growers from around the country to Austin in early 2000. He has given numerous talks and lectures on roses, iris and ferns around Travis County for our organization for over 15 years. He also assisted the Travis County Horticulturist in judging the youth exhibits at the Travis County Fair for several years.
He was instrumental in the early process of researching, purchasing and the installation of the TCMGA greenhouse in November 2000. This was most vital in the progress of our organization. Don also worked on the first rainwater collection systems (3) at Zilker Botanical Garden and then at the TCMGA greenhouse. Both provide a major showcase for educational opportunities involving rainwater harvesting. He volunteered at the TCMGA greenhouse for over 10 years, providing much needed expertise in all stages and phases of its continued operation.
For many years, Don attended both State Master Gardener meetings in College Station and annual Master Gardener Conferences around the state. He also attended 5 Regional Conferences, representing Travis County Master Gardeners. He has been bestowed numerous awards throughout his many years of service to this organization, among those are ‘5,000+ Hours of Service to Travis County Master Gardeners’ in 2010.